Monday, October 22, 2012

Reflecting on the GAME Plan

Reflecting on the GAME Plan 
The game plan I developed and followed through this course helped me to solidify my Lego Mindstorm Robot Building and Programming unit for seventh graders.  Dr. Cennamo states that authentic instruction is based on active learning (Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P., 2009).  By following the game plan using building activities, blogging and social networking, I was able to provide a common thread of the robot experience with several technologies. Using this new instructional practice helped the students take ownership of the entire three part process. This was a real breakthrough for me because usually I go day by day with a variety of programs in computer applications class. However, by planning three units which included problem solving, blogging and social networking, my students were able to share their experiences with each other and with students in other classes. This sharing of information opened the borders of my classroom. It also initiated the use of Web 2.0 tools into my curriculum.
According to Dr. Cennamo, plans for self-directed learning include a goal, actions to achieve the goal, monitoring the actions and evaluating the results of your actions (Laureate Education Inc., Producer., 2010b). 
As I evaluated my results, I did notice that I need to revise my plan when students are absent too much. I noticed that partnering students has many benefits and it was essential in the building and programming portion of the problem solving. However, some problems with pairing students are bound to come up such as attendance and compatibility. When this occurs, a diplomatic adjustment among the students is the best solution, so I need to apply flexibility when the situation warrants change.
I have learned that problem solving lesson plans need three to four class periods. Rushing the students to meet a class bell schedule does not produce the best results. Comparing, critical thinking and discussion are integral parts when using technology in the content area.  Finally, I learned that planning to use technology in the classroom needs to center on core standards that students must master. Developing a unit GAME plan for integrating technology to master common core standards it a goal of our district, and this class has refined lesson plan building to satisfy these goals.   

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010b). Program 2: Promoting creative thinking with technology [DVD] Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Monitoring Progress with my GAME Plan

Two professional goals I have for implementing this GAME plan concern Iste.Nets standards. The first goal is Teacher 2. Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments whereby teachers design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge skills and attitudes identified in the NETS.S. (International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE.t), 2008).The second goal is Student 3. Research and information fluency whereby students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information (International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE.S), 2007). 
A third professional goal for this plan is to incorporate Common Core Writing Standard 8 into my 7th grade curriculum. This standard states: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following standard format for citation (Ohio Dept. Education., 2012.)
Progress this week, toward these goals in my GAME plan came about mainly because I modified my approach in teaching the CHOMP method to avoid plagiarism. I noticed students were as frustrated as I over the lack of success we were experiencing. After assessing the second attempt students made at creating an original work from Internet data, I realized many of them were copying way too much information, pasting it on a document, then making only feeble attempts at chomping out the little words.
I used these too zealous of attempts to discover and copy Internet data as examples of what not to do. Then I showed them a paper with one substantial paragraph of data. I had a student volunteer eliminate the three letter or less words from the paragraph. This demonstration set the stage for our lesson plan that day. Students were instructed to find one paragraph of data online that stated the birthday and birth place of the famous person they were researching.
After finding the information, they copied and pasted the selected data on a document. I told them not to copy more data than they were willing to read. I think they were under the misconception that the more they copied the better they had completed the assignment. I apologized to the students for not recognizing this misconception sooner, and could they please try to find online, just the birth place and birthday of the famous person. The students did this, mostly with ease, and they actually chomped out the little words in the text. I had the students save this CHOMP attempt and had them drop the assignment in my dropbox. 
The next day, after assessing their paragraphs,  I instructed them how to verify the data they selected with two more websites. This too had a better result because the students understood the instructions and knew they were only having to confirm two facts; the birth place and the birth date of their famous person. As Dr. Peggy Ertmer states, successful teachers need to plan their work and then work their plan (Laureate Education, Inc.., Producer., 2010).
What I learned from this lesson plan experience was that the goals and the action of my plan were clear to me, but not to my students. As I monitored the student learning I noticed the resistance to the task and lack of success in completing the task I described in the lesson plan. As I evaluated the work samples, I realized that the students were overwhelming themselves with data, and to chomp through everything they pasted from the Internet was going to be a monumental task. I learned I needed to rephrase and repeat with clarity my goals for the avoid plagiarism unit. I also learned that re-approaching the students was not a bad idea at all. By accepting the blame of not defining my goal clearly, I removed negativity associated with their first two attempts at chomping. 
New questions I have regarding my GAME plan is how often will I need to revise it and how can I make it universal in design? Do the majority of my students understand my directions? I believe monitoring my actions and evaluating my next set of results from the students documents will guide my future actions. 

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Enriching content area learning with technology, part 1 [Webcast]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (Nets.t). Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). National education standards for students (Nets.s). Retrieved from 

Ohio Department of Education., 2012., National Technology Standards., Department of Accountability., Retrieved on September 20, 2012 from

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Carrying out your GAME Plan

This week in my 7th grade classes, I tried to introduce my GAME plan to reduce plagiarism in student's report writing by introducing the second attempt at CHOMP website information in order to produce original work.  After 3 days of instructing and encouraging and editing students work, plus answering the same question over and over, several items became very clear to me. First of all, the students expect miraculous results after putting in very little work, my students are not listening, a few students have developed a helplessness attitude, plus I need to remain calm and consistent throughout all the complaining. My reflection on my GAME plan to introduce The Website Data CHOMP Unit indicated to me that students need to understand what plagiarism 'looks' like before they can identify it; then avoid it. My reflection also revealed that students were doing better on this second assignment then they did on the first one. 
      I shared my GAME plan with my tech coordinator. She approved of this because Common Core Writing Standard 8 states "Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation (Ohio Department of Education., 2011). This standard is very relevant to 21st century learners and is packed with significance. I realize covering all the components in this standard will take time and need to be thoroughly organized. 
      Bothersome for me this week, was the resistance my students had to learning this method. They complained it was too hard, why should they do this, wasn't copy and pasting plagiarism anyway? One girl even said, "What does this have to do with computer?" I realized they don't like it because it does take effort, but it is the best avoid plagiarism method I have been introduce to, and it makes sense. The 21st century students need to learn Internet research methods because that is their choice when seeking information (Dana, N. & Yendol-Hoppey., 2009.) 
       The resources and information I will need to carry out my GAME plan are computers with Internet connection, document making software, projector and screen. I will need to supplement my lecturing, with videos from Common Craft by Lee Lefevore, and show samples of previous reports and reference pages. I need to have samples showing the proper formatting of a simple reference page. I realized I need to teach some remedial computer skills such as copy, paste as opposed to cut, paste. Students were not sure what double spacing a document meant, or looked like, much less how to select the text and then click the correct tool for double space. I will need a vast supply of patience because teaching the new techniques, and students learning the new techniques are too far apart in my class of 7th graders.  

Dana, N. F. & Yendol-Hoppey, D., The reflective educators guide to classroom research., (2009) Corwin Press., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Ohio Department of Education., 2012., National Technology Standards., Department of Accountability., Retrieved on September 20, 2012 from

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Game Plan to Integrate Technology

       I teach computer applications in a middle school and need to adhere to common core technology standards by school year 2113-2114. I have decided to begin implementing common core standards this year so I can be ready for the change. My tech coordinator has identified common core standards from reading, writing, speaking, listening and language for sixth and seventh grade students. In order for me to meet these standards I need a plan. In addition to a plan, I would like to strengthen my confidence in the following NETS-T indicators. 
  1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
   Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.
  1. Design and Develop digital age learning experiences and assessments.
    I desire to design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experinces and assessmnet incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS-S. (International Society for Technology in Education, (2008).
  Key components of a GAME plan are identifying goals, taking action to reach those goals, monitoring progress toward achieving goals and evaluating whether the goals were achieved and willingness to extend your learning to new situations” (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009 ). For standard one, I will continue to have my students explore different cultures by researching countries from the website Instead of just collecting facts about the countries, I will ask for recipes, pop culture topics and a short video clip depicting their country to be included in the final presentation. By watchig a video of students from a school in India, my students will hear the language spoken, see the clothing worn by India teenagers, and see a foreign school. These real world artifacts about the countries will expand the facts from the CIA website. My goal is to expand my foreign country project to include virtual field trips, educational video clips, and video conferencing. When students engage in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments; I will be attaining Stanard 1. 
Ms. Laufenberg (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010) revised her teaching strategy on election day results to include cell phone interviews, short videos and photos taken at voting stations. This innovative idea enriched her students’ learning and enthusiasm for this unit. She even shared her results with schools from other states which made her students proud of their involvement. I am hoping to expand my foreign country project by mirroring components from her game plan. 
           I am hoping to meet the performance indicators of standard two, by using our MacBook laptop applications to allow students to either make a Keynote presentation, an iMovie or a traditional research paper when they summarize their foreign country research data. I have been instructing studnets in how to use the CHOMP method when taking verbatim data from websites in order to minimize the chances of plagiarism. Some of my students loved the CHOMP method right from the start. Other students still found it difficult to construct good sentences on their own, but they are learning. 
I want to encourage my students’ creativity, therefore, I have to be willing to let students use these applicaiotns on their own and teach things like movie editing to me. I need to be confident enough to relax control of the classroom and begin using the MacBook applications even if I am not totally in command of the applications myself.
As I begin to transform my computer lab, I am wondering if anyone has any advice for me about rules to employ when running a movie studio theme in a computer classroom. I am particularly interested in noise control, improving audio quality, and interesting scripts for 6th and 7th grade students.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use; a standards-based approach (Laureate   Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education (2008). National education standards for teachers (nets-t). Retrieved 09/10/2012 from  

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Enriching content area learning experiences with technology- Part 2. Integrating technology across the content areas [DVD]. United States

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reflection on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction and Technology

First and foremost, I believe every student is capable of learning. The speed at which the learning process is accomplished varies for every child. Models of learning theory include behaviorism, cognitivism, constructionism/constructivism and social constructionism. To think that my personal theory of learning guides everything I do in the classroom is very enlightening. My classroom actions and delivery style are intentional and guided  with a depth I did not previously realize. This concept, that my personal learning style is directing my behavior, offers me the opportunity to examine my actions. 
Brain research can facilitate a shift in focus from teaching to learning. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011). Dr. Patricia Wolfe states the brain is sculpted from experience. (Laureate. 2011).   Since the brain in not a camcorder, it will reject nonsense and sift though what it learns for what is meaningful. (Laureate.) To easily teach a new concept, a wise teacher will hook the new information to prior knowledge  to create a meaningful pattern or logical connection.
Learning needs memory which is a process the brain goes through. Procedure memory, for example walking, is unconsciously  retrieved and performed.. Declarative memory is consciously remembering facts, like Christophe Columbus sailed to the new land in 1492. Students need memory to learn, and the more emotionally pleasing an experience is, the better it is remembered. 
Dr. Orey introduced instructional theory and learning theory. What a teacher does to engage student’s minds is instructional theory. How that instruction is perceived in the minds of their student’s is learning theory. When a teacher mindfully conducts their delivery of information to provide active learning, students are immersed and captivated with the lesson. Hands on experiments, group discussions, and collaboratively building a model are good examples of interactive learning.
     Understanding learning is the first step a teacher must take in planning effective learning. Learning theory tells us how learning might occur.  A teacher’s style is typically a function of one’s personal preferences. (Lever-Duffey, McDonald., 2008.) Therefore, after reviewing, reading and analyzing the different theories, I related best with the cognitivist and constructivist perspectives. I believe learning is a mental operation that takes place when information enters through the senses. Information undergoes mental manipulation, is stored, and is finally used. (Lever-Duffy, McDonald., 2008.) 
I also subscribe to the contructivist perspective wherein knowledge is a constructed element resulting from the learning process. Many computer programs used to introduce firmware  and codes reply on constructivist theory. Scratch, a MacBook application, allows students to animate a sprite, which is a figure they choose from a folder. The sprite can be coded to bounce, count, score points or interact with another sprite. The application is endless with possibilities. As students build their sprite’s code for movement, they are constructing the project. I do believe this type of instruction is shaping contemporary eduction.
As I reflect on the learning theories, instructional strategies and technology tools covered in this course, I believe I am better educated in behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and social constructivism theories. It was enlightening to read professional brain research and findings. Understanding how the brain works is important information when delivering teaching instruction. This course has deepened my knowledge and understanding of learning theory by defining the four theories with examples and expert findings. After reviewing the nine instructional strategies, I have adjusted my instructional practice by specifically choosing cooperative learning strategy. Our district specifically wants problem and project based learning instruction for sixth and seventh grade computer applications class. I have been asked to extend Robot C building and programming to include all sixth graders next year. This class has prepared me to concentrate on mastering cooperative learning strategy and I know I will be successful now that I have gained knowledge regarding the strategy.
A second adjustment I will make in my instructional practice is to increase my reinforcing of effort and provide more recognition to all my students. I do provide positive encouragement when I see students are following steps in our project successfully, however I now know that consistent and relevant recognition will increase  success by twenty-nine percent. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).
     Two technology tools I will  use with my students are concept maps and voice threads. These are tools I had not previously been introduced to. These  tools will enhance my students’ learning by having them be actively involved in creating their own project. My students readily opened accounts in Spiderscribe, watched the video tour and began making excellent maps. I realized I was holding the class back by not providing new meaningful ways to use technology. I realized my fear of making mistakes was mine alone. Students are eager to incorporate technology tools and they do not obsess over knowing every detail ahead of time. I am grateful that this class has  expanded my repertoire of instructional skills to include webquests, voicethreads, concept maps and wikispaces.
       One long term goal I would like to make to my instructional practice is to develop a 6th grade and a seventh grade class wikipage. By integrating a wiki, I will provide more cohesion among the classes. Students can communicate with each other in a one venue. Students can also collaborate with each other beyond our class period time. One strategy I will incorporate to increase class participation is to post homework and announcements on the wiki. Students will be required to post at least one comment a week to the wiki.
A second goal I would like to make in my instructional practice is to increase my use of venn diagrams to illustrate similarities and differences. Dr. Pickering states that this instructional strategy increases student learning by forty-five percent. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). I plan to use concept mapping to have students create a visual representation of similarities and differences from several novels they are required to read in language arts class. I have already begun discussing this plan with the sixth grade  language arts department.
Finally, I am better educated in understanding how the brain works. The four learning theories and the nine instructional strategies have been very well outlined in this course. I have more confidence now, knowing my underlying motivation as I deliver instruction based on students successfully building their own models and projects. I do believe that when children encounter new knowledge they accommodate it. This process of assimilation and accommodation continually modifies their cognitive structures, and thus knowledge is continually under construction. 


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program two: Brain research and learning [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory,instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program one: Understanding the brain [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eleven: Instructional strategies, Part one [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program twelve: Instructional strategies, Part two [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, Jean B., Theoretical Foundations,Laureate Education, Inc. taken  from Teaching and Learning with Technology, Third Edition, (2008), Allyn and Bacon., Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bringing Theory, Instruction, and Technology Together

This course has introduced important concepts effective teachers need to be aware of. The nine research-based instructional strategies and the four learning theories are presented after Dr. Patricia Wolfe initiates us into how the brain works. Dr. Wolfe explains that the brain is sculpted from experience. The main function of the  brain is to survive and it seeks meaningful patterns in order to do so. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  Dr.Wolfe continues teaching by explaining procedural memory and declarative memory. She states brain research can facilitate a shift in focus from teaching to learning. (Laureate, 2011.)
         Dr. Michael Orey explains how the brain receptors view and store experiences in memory. The more connections a good lesson plan induces for a student, the more easily the topic is learned and remembered. Therefore, the lesson needs to be relevant for the student, it needs to follow prior knowledge of the student, and it needs to deliver subsequent knowledge and information. Dr. Orey then expounds on the four learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism, constructionism/constructivism and social learning.
After reviewing the previous weeks information,  I have decided to focus on technology tools because I believe using 21st century skills bridges the gap between learning and instruction for this generation. The first instructional strategy I will use incorporates cooperative learning. I will use this strategy of cooperative learning by introducing a Voicethread with sixth graders. Previously I taught the Character Counts unit using the application Keynote which is similar to PowerPoint. This was a constructionist activity, but it was individual and repetitive. Instead of having students produce these individual keynote presentations, I will prepare a Voicethread detailing the six pillars of character and posing a question for the students to solve. The question will be, “How can our students practicing respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness and citizenship to help a new student at Sailorway adapt to their new school?” I will introduce the virtual student as a reserved fifth grade boy with younger siblings, none of which are middle school age. The student will be assign an ambassador for the first week of school. (The ambassador is a student council member trained to help transition a new student.) How will the day go for the new student and the ambassador? What helpful advice  can you give that revolves around the six pillars of character?
This Voicethread will require at least two comments from each student in the class. Students can comment on the original slides, or they can comment on each others comments. In addition, in order to balance the comments among the six character traits, I will assign small groups of four or five students to comment on one slide in particular. with their second comment connected to any slide. This instructional strategy aligns with constructionist learning theory and dabbles into social constructivist theory. Dr. Orey states interactions with others to build some artifact and become actively involved in conversations promotes social constructivism. (Laureate Education Inc., 2011) Also, to be prepared for the fast-paced, virtual workspace that they will inherit, today’s students need to be able to learn and produce cooperatively. (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007.)
The second instructional strategy I will practice is identifying similarities and differences.  Dr. Debra Pickering states that research has proven students’ retention of information increases forty-five percent when this strategy is correctly used. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011) The technology tool I will incorporate to practice this theory is Concept Mapping. The website provided an excellent, easy to use format to develop a map. 
The learning theory this lesson will encompass is cognitivism and constructivism. Fifth graders read the novel, Through a Door in the Floor, by Joan Stiver. The novel is about an underground railroad adventure. The concept map will be created using three cross-links coming from the question, “What is life like for ten year old Lizzie Coffin and for 10 year old Effie Mae Blue?  One link will represent Lizzie Coffin , a white homesteader in Indiana. One link will represent Effie Mae Blue an escaped slave. The middle link will represent any  similarities in life the girls share. 
This concept mapping will graphically illustrate the similarities and differences in the girl’s lives. It will also touch on summarizing and note taking since the map will ultimately probe many of the novels details. Incidentally, fifth grade students are usually ten years old during some part of their fifth grade year, so the novel is age appropriate. Students will be encouraged to identify topics from the novel, and will also be able to relate their lives now, to the situation of a ten year old in 1850 when The Fugitive Slave Act was  enforced.
As different details arise from student discussion, different cross-links may appear in relation to the first three cross-links. We will keep the general concepts at the top of the map and more specific concepts arranged below the main topics. 
One question that has evolved for me is, “Do the learning strategies  blend?” It seems my concept map will lead from cooperatively building similarities and differences, to a note taking and summarization of the novel. Is this ok? Is this correct? 
Laureate Education, Inc., Producer. (2011). Program one: Understanding the brain [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc., Producer. (2011). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from 
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M. & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, Va.; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Robot C is a Challenge

     Robot C is a Lego Mindstorm educational kit. Our sixth graders build them using  an NXT brick. The brick can either be charged overnight, or it runs on 4 double A batteries. Students build a variety of different models and I have developed a voicethread to show you our  progress.

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="480" height="360"></embed></object>