Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blog Post #13

Engage in an E-Media Fast

no electronics

     This past week, I was given the assignment of being electronic-free for 24 hours. I was not allowed to use any electricity or battery powered communications or entertainment devices. I took this one step further and cut out as many electrical or battery-powered devices that I could that weren't only for communications or entertainment. I choose to complete this arduous task on Wednesday. I began at 9:36 a.m. on Wednesday morning, which is when I got up and I completed my 24 hours on Thursday morning at 9:36 a.m. I made an exception in the battery-powered devices category because of my job. I needed to be able to check my cellphone once in the afternoon before I left for work because of the way my job is set up. The rest of the time, I had my cellphone completely turned off. I didn't really have an issue with not using my cellphone because it's not a smartphone and the only calls I make are for work or to my boyfriend and family. I will say that it was very inconvenient when I couldn't simply call or text my boyfriend about something.

     The worst part of no electronics for me was that I had no idea what time it was. I normally keep try of time with my car clock and my cellphone, but I wasn't using either one. When I needed to know the time, I would ask someone. These questions lead to great conversations. When I ate lunch in the cafeteria, I asked a girl about the time and explained that I was not using electronics for 24 hours. She and the rest of the people at her table agreed that they didn't think they couldn't go longer than an hour or two without their cellphones. While I was in the cafeteria, I noticed that there were quite a few televisions on the walls. I hadn't noticed them before, but finding a place to eat where I couldn't see them was pretty difficult.

When I got home in the evening, I found that I didn't really have anything that I could do. All of my homework needed to be completed online and I couldn't watch a movie or the television. We usually watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as a family, but I couldn't, so everyone was a little frustrated with me. Fortunately, I was able to convince everyone to play Monopoly after dinner. When we finally made it upstairs to bed, I found a book that had been sitting on my shelf for months since I hadn't had the time to read it. I got a good start on the book and feel asleep. In the morning, I was woken up by my father, as I do not own an alarm clock and normally would use my cellphone.

Over the course of my 24 hours without electronics, I realized that I don't really do anything for entertainment that doesn't involve electronics. Normally, I would watch a movie, television, surf the web, etc. I found that it was really nice to not use technology all of  the time, but that it's really in everything we do. I also noticed that time seemed to move more slowly. This was probably because I wasn't zoned in on a screen at any point.

I spent a lot of time during my e-media fast thinking about my future students and just how wired they are going to be to electronics. I kept thinking of an article I read previously that suggested students should bring their own media to school because they will be more familiar with it. After doing this exercise, I think that it's impossible to think that one can get away with not using technology in the classroom. I think that if we don't, we will immediately lose our students as they will be thinking about when they can next be connected via electronics.

C4T #4 Summary Post

During the week of 4/9-4./15, I left a comment for Dr. Strange on his blog post entitled, "Lectures - Part 1." His post was about effectiveness of using the lecture method in the classroom. He discussed the opinions of several notable people and then asked these questions: why abandon lectures, what would be better, and what are the impediment to achieving a better replacement for lectures? Dr. Strange agave an answer to each of these questions, but also asked for opinions and thoughts.

Here is my comment:
Dr. Strange,
I have been "fussing" about the lecture method of teaching since I started college. I have had many professors simply lecture directly from PowerPoint slides. Oftentimes, these slides were provided, in entirety, by the textbook company. I felt as though my professors did not truly care about their students. I think that the "bond between professor and student," as Wesch suggests is very important and can be addressed in many ways. One of those ways is to not read from PowerPoints that are pre-made. 
I think that the traditional lecture method has had its heyday. I don't advocate for its complete eradication, but I do think that it needs to be used sparingly and carefully. 
I plan to use a combination of videos, interactive learning projects, discussions, and lectures to keep my students fully engaged and actively learning. It's important to find a level at which I can connect with my students and thus, facilitate an eagerness to learn, as well.
I hope to impart in my students an understanding and awareness of imagination, possibilities, life, and real-world skills.

Fact or Opinion?

During the week of 4/23-4/29, I another of Dr. Strange's blog posts. This particular post was titled, "Facts."
Dr. Strange explained his thoughts on the irrelevance of facts in today's world. He says that simply regurgingtating a fact is pointless, instead one should really want find answers and go through the important steps in finding them. He also argues that nearly anyone can say anything on the internet, so it is difficult to find the "real facts."

Below is the comment that I left for Dr. Strange:
Dr. Strange,I don't think that facts are irrelevant in all fields. In the above blog post, you referred to a conversation with a man about facts in American History. I can see where learning the exact dates of certain events in history isn't productive. However, it is very important to know about Boyle's Law in Chemistry, without fully knowing and being able to use Boyle's Law one cannot progress in Chemistry. Where does one draw the line about what facts should and shouldn't be "taught?"
In your final paragraph, you mention the usage of the internet in fact finding and checking. I think that one should use the same care in selecting a reliable website as one does in finding reliable sources for research papers or anything else where accuracy matters.
I believe in facts and do not think they are irrelevant. However, I heard a very interesting story on NPR today that was titled 'The Death Of Facts In An Age Of 'Truthiness' It seems that you and NPR agree that facts are no longer in the grand scheme of things. Here is a link to the NPR story:
Best,Eleanor Pomerat

Project #15

Final Report on PLN

I've spent quite a bit of time building up my PLN this semester. One of the things I can across was this video, which gave new meaning to my PLN.

How do my life experiences make me a better teacher?
     Through EDM310 and many other education classes, I have developed and will continue to develop many friends and acquaintances who are education students, teachers and professors. Each of these people play a vital role in my PLN(personal learning network). These physical connections are tied into my online connections through blogging, twitter, email, commenting, and other things like these. For example, any friends or acquaintances that I've made in EDM310 have all of the above mentioned tools and I've probably communicated with them in at least one of those ways. I've also made connections online that are outside of school. I've been able to comment on many teacher's blogs and I've tweeted to some, as well. All of these experiences and the education classes that I have yet to take will hopefully make me a well-rounded and educated individual. I've really enjoyed learning about how to utilize technology in the classroom. I hope to bring this knowledge to my students and the demands of the modern-day classroom head on.

How do my relationships make me a better teacher?
     My relationships allow me to continue to learn and grow. Not only can I ask fellow students for their opinion, but I can go to professors and ask for help. Now, with my new-found knowledge of technology in the education field, I am able to ask a teacher, fellow student, or professor for help online. I also draw some of my creativity from seeing the wealth of ideas that other teachers have. It's truly wonderful to be able to see the hard work of a teacher in another country through the internet.

Now, here is most of my PLN:
my symbaloo
As you can see in the above photo, I have plenty of white spaces, but I think that the connections are made within most of these wonderful websites.

My PLN also includes:
Skype, Comments4Kids, Comments4Classmates, and Comments4Teachers. I will say that the blogs in the bottom right corner of the photo are mostly blogs that I've found through my C4T assignments.

I think PLN's are very important and I'm thrilled to have had them introduced to me. I plan to continue growing my PLN as I think it is an ongoing and ever-changing network that is never really complete.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blog Post #12

Read the following articles and watch the video on the use of video games in the classroom. Do you think that video games should be used in the classroom? If you don't think that video games should be used in the classroom, explain your reasoning 2 or more paragraphs. If yes, pick a video game that fits into your specialty( Elementary Ed, History, Physical Ed, etc.) and write about the possible uses for the game in your future classroom. Should you be an expert on the game before using it in your classroom or should you allow your students to be the experts as you and they play the game and learn. 

1.The Games Show(The first page is black)
2.Wii Love Learning: Using Gaming Technology to Engage Students
3.Becoming Lore Keepers
4.Using Video Games in the Classroom(video)

     Yes, I definitely think that video games can be used to supplement learning in the classroom. I don't think that my students should play only video games in class, but I can see the many uses that they have in making learning more accessible and interesting for students.

     The video game the I have chosen to write about is called Zoo Tycoon 2. In Zoo Tycoon 2, students are responsible for building up a zoo, managing its finances, hiring employees.  Each student has an unlimited amount of money, but they have limited space. The student must built the proper habitat for the proper animal. For example, a zebra must live in the savannah. Students are also required provide food and drink stands for visitors to the zoo. This game can be used to help my future students learn about animals and their habitats, responsibility, and money management.

     I think that because I will be teaching Elementary age students, I will need to know the intricacies of the game, inside and out. I'm sure that I will be asked many questions and I need to be able to know how to answer them from the beginning. If there is a child that knows how to play the game very well, then I'll be glad to ask for additional advice or allow him/her to help someone who is having trouble.

Note: I really enjoyed this assignment. Thank you for the opportunity to design my own assignment.

Progress Report on Project #16

     My group and I are excited about our project for Project #16. We have had the plan for it in place as long as  we have had a group formed, so very near the beginning of the semester. We've spend a little bit of time discussing our project #16 during our online sessions for project #13. Thus, we have been able to finalize our plans for it and will be meeting on Tuesday of this coming week to make sure that we have it completed in time for the deadline.

Final Project

C4K Summary for April

Kids Connected Around the World

On March 31st, I commented on a wonderful slideshow that Drew made about Global Warming. He outlined some problems: temperatures and sea levels rising. He also outlined some solutions: Use less hot water, switch off the lights, and "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle."

Here is the comment that I left for Drew:
Dear Drew,
My name is Eleanor Pomerat and I’m a student at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed your presentation on Global Warming. It was very convincing and it seemed like you put a lot of thought into it. I will try to donate a dollar to the plantabillion website; Until I read your blog post, I had never heard of it. Where did you find out about it? I look forward to reading your future posts. 

     On April 8th*, I commented on Drew's blog again. This time it was on a post entitled "Making A Difference in the World." Drew's blog post was focused on He did a superb job listing facts, posting pictures, and posting a link to a video. At the end of his post, Drew asks his readers these questions: "What will you do to help? Raise awareness? donate? Or the big one, actually fly over to the countries and help out.

This is the comment that I left for Drew on April 8th:
Dear Drew,
My name is Eleanor Pomerat and I’m commenting on your blog for the second week.
I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I read your post and then, I spent some time looking around It really is a great website!
I will help by spreading awareness. I don’t really have the funds to be able to donate and I certainly can’t afford to fly overseas. However, lack of clean drinking water is a major issue and deserves much more awareness. I will create awareness by using’s surprising facts and by holding fundraisers. Do you know of any other websites that have good facts and information to use?
I have one tip for you: remember to proofread.
Eleanor Pomerat

     Drew didn't have a new post for me for leave a comment on during the week of April 9th to 15th*, so I went back in time (per Dr. Strange's suggestion) and left a comment on a previous blog post by Drew. He had a wonderful post about how to comment. He explained that it is important to focus on the things are done well in a blog post and then to give advice on the things that need improvement. Secondly, Drew suggested that you ask questions. Finally, he wrote that it's very important to only say "useful" things. The comment I left for Drew was in reply to his post and encouraging him to post again.

Here it is:
Dear Drew,
My name is Eleanor Pomerat and I am a student at the University of South Alabama.
I really enjoyed reading your advice on the best way to comment. Earlier this semester, my professor gave us suggestions on how to write good comments. His suggestions were really close to yours.
How long have you been blogging?
I left you a comment on this post because you didn’t have any new posts that I could read and comment on. I always enjoy reading your posts and hope to see a new one soon!
Eleanor Pomerat

     On April 20th, I left a comment on Titan's blog. He is a 1st grader in Ms. Cassidy's classroom. His post was entitled "Hiding Eggs At Easter." Titan's post is too short for me to properly summarize, so I will copy it here:"las tim it wus esd and the esd bune hud esd."

Here is the comment that I left for Titan:
Hi Titan,
I really enjoyed reading your blog post. Did the Easter Bunny hide eggs at school and at home? I love Easter, but I can't eat very much chocolate because it will give me a headache. What is your favorite kind of Easter Candy?
Eleanor Pomerat
University of South Alabama

 *For the comments that I left on April 8th and April 15th. The actual comments show a time-stamp of the following day. However, I sent emails immediately after leaving these comments to and those emails were sent on April 8th and April 15th, respectively. Thus, it is impossible for me to have left those comments on the following day. I wrote about this issue in my c4k email on April 8th.

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post #12A

Childlike Curiosity

1. Do schools in the United States systematically destroy (or inhibit) the development of curiosity and/or creativity in students? If yes, why does that happen? If no, how do you counter the argument of Sir Ken Robinson that schools do undermine the development of creativity in students?

     Yes, schools do destroy the development of creativity and curiosity in students. This is done by forcing students to take standardized tests. Students end up spending all of their time learning material to be tested on and teachers spend much of their time "teaching to the test." These students should be creatively exploring their world and learning for the sake of learning. If given the chance, children will want to learn and explore.

2. Can a curriculum be developed that increases the curiosity of students? If so, what would be the key components of such a curriculum?
3.Can a curriculum be developed that increases the creativity of students? If so, what would be the key components of such a curriculum?

     Yes, there are actually quite a few possibilities for a curriculum that increases (doesn't inhibit) the curiosity or creativity of students. In this class, we've seen the possibilities of a project-based curriculum. A project-based curriculum is set up on a pass or fail scale and there are no grades for individual projects, only completed, not completed, and late. Another possible curriculum could be the Waldorf curriculum (What is Waldorf Education?). In the Waldorf curriculm children are encouraged to play, sing, and learn from their environment. There are no grades, only pass or fail. Individual assignments are given ar completed or not completed status. Testing is not a component of either of the above curriculum. Both of the aforementioned curriculum's allow for learning about one's own environment in ways that encourage curiosity, creativity and the nurturing of a child.

4. Can a teacher's actions increase the curiosity of students? If so, what would be those actions?
5. Can a teacher's actions increase the creativity of students? If so, what would be those actions?

     Yes, I think that a teacher can completly change the tone and feel of a classroom. If a teacher doesn't particularily care about his/her students or their success, the students will know it. It is one hundred percent vital that a teacher cares about his/her students completely. I think that in many ways a wonderful curriculum can be completely spoiled by a poor teacher. A teacher can facilitate creativity and curiosity by using a good curriculum, truly caring, and by supporting her/ his students.

6.What would help you become more creative? What role would teachers and/or schools have in that process?
7. What would help you become more curious? What role would teachers and/or schools have in that process?

     I think that I am more creative, curious, and generally happy because I'm in the field of education. I feel that I will be able to go into the classroom and make a difference in the lives of my students. With all of that said, I will be careful in choosing a school that is a good fit for me and what I want to achieve. If I cannot get along with the teachers and administration, then I won't be able to make my changes. Also, I think it's important to find a healthy school environment.

     Elli's full name is Elspeth Bishop. She was born and grew up in Colorado. Elspeth now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah where skiing.  She is the author of Curiosity Fuels Creativity: Teaching your kids to be curious and writes for More information about her can be found out on her Google+.

    I could easily contact Ms. Bishop through Google+, but I chose not to contact her because her profile was private and I didn't want to intrude into her life. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Post #11

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class

     I really enjoyed watching the 1st grader's in Ms. Cassidy's Class. As part of their online experience they use a class webpage, wikis, blogs, videos, Skype, and a Nintendo DS game called Nintendogs. They are definitely some very technologically-literate students.

Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy

     Ms. Cassidy explained that she got involved in teaching with technology about "10 years ago," when her classroom was given 5 computers that had internet access, but could not have programs added to them. Ms. Cassidy explored the possibilities and took some time for professional development. What technology she ultimately decided to use can be seen in the video above. These days, Ms. Cassidy uses many kinds of technology with her 1st grade students.  While listening to the interview with Ms. Cassidy, I heard her say that she was the only person that she knew in her school, who teaches like she does, with technology. However, she did say that the other grade 1 teacher had been very interested in adding technology to the classroom. She says that she uses blogs because her students aren't interested in simply writing on paper for an audience of one (her). A blog allows her students to have a much larger audience. She even records the pages views that they get on their blogs with something called Class Blogmeister. The Skype interview was conducted in 2010 during which Ms. Cassidy had her students blogging once per week, occasionally twice. She says that her policy on this changes each year.

     Ms. Cassidy says that she really has not encountered negativity within the administration of her school and school board. She thinks this is partly because of her wonderful technology coordinator. I think that I would be very likely to encounter issues with administration at my school and with the local school board, if I implemented as much technology in the classroom as Ms. Cassidy has. However, I would love to have a website set up for my students to use, like the one in the video above. I would also love to have students blog and Skype. I might even include some video making. I loved the point that Ms. Cassidy made that her students have grown up with this kind of technology and thus are comfortable with it.  I think that my students will have better communication skills. They will be able to write, spell, and work together much better. I believe this because they will be writing for an audience at a young age and thus making an effort.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

kids and technology

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blog Post #10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

     The above video is about the difference in the definitions of the words to teach and to educate. I think the video makes a strong case that anyone and everyone should educate not simply teach. When I decided to get into the field of education, it was partly because I don't like the way that students are being taught in schools. I want to change this; not for every student, as I know that isn't feasible, but for all students that I come in contact with. I want them to be educated and to be active learners.

     I believe that everyone deserves the chance to learn from and engage their environment. This is a matter of respect. Thus, we should not simply explain everything and not allow for the active learning. In my classroom, I look forward to seeing mistakes; they are what allow each of us to learn. Making mistakes helps us to understand what we did wrong and/or what we can do better. Yet, if we only do what we are told, then we simply don't know how to do any better.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home


     Mr. Spencer's post was written as a response to Larry Ferlazzo's post on home computer usage. Regardless, I was very frustrated by Mr. Spencer's post because I noticed that Gertrude, as he calls her, completely missed the real point of the study. She took someone else's conclusion and used it to jump to another erroneous conclusion. It very important to scientifically think about one's conclusions and how they are reached. Gertrude assumed that pencils are inherently "bad." She made this assumption based on reading one study. How could she negate centuries of pencil usage, just like that?

     Pencils are writing tools. We use them everyday to write essays, notes, and even to fill out tests. I don't understand how students using pencils at home can decrease their test scores. Actually, if pencils are used properly at home, then test scores should go up. Mr. Spencer was very smart to suggest educating students and parents on proper pencil usage. I even agree with him that playing Hangman and writing to Pen-Pals can be educational. Students can learn to spell words more accurately and write less haltingly. All-in-all, I think that pencils are very important tools that must be used carefully. There is even a very high chance that with the appropriate usage pencils can help to increase test scores.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

C4T #3

web technology conference

     Mr. David Wees posted a blog post entitled: Math in the Real World: Gardening. In his post, he describes a problem that his aunt and uncle are having; They want to build a garden bed with a special size and shape. When their garden bed is done, they want it to be 3 feet on 3 sides and 4 feet on one side with a trapezoid shape. His uncle just needs to know the angle for each side of the trapezoid, so the he can cut the wood with his miter saw. Mr. Wees decides that this problem will need to be solved using more that one method and uses Wolfram Alpha, a graphing calculator, Geogebra, and the Law of Cosines. After using of of theses methods, he is pretty sure of his solution, but he asks the question: "Which of these techniques would you classify as "mathematics"?"

     During the week of March 19th to March 25th, I left a comment for Mr. Wees on this blog post. I wrote the following comment:

Dear Mr. Wees,
I am leaving you a comment as part of an assignment for Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.
Firstly, I really enjoyed reading your blog post.
You ask if it matters how you solve the problem: I think that real-life mathematics problems should be solved by using whatever tools are available, so long as you are able to carefully check over your work. It should then go without saying that regardless of the method/technique used, I would classify it as mathematics. I noticed that you used quite a few techniques to check you work. Do you think that it's important to use more than one technique, when finding the solution to a mathematical problem?
Eleanor Pomerat

On March 30th, David Wees posted a blog post entitled, Another alternative to the traditional conference. He wrote of a new and interesting idea that would revolutionize the traditional conference model. The traditional model has each conference member making it to the conference and attempting to make connections with people, while there. This new model would have a system of email set up with each conference member in a "cohort" way before the conference. Hopefully, this new model will/would allow for members to make contacts before they every reach the conference and then, once at the conference, they will/would be placed into the same sort of groups for their sessions. This way allows each person to make contacts way in advance of a conference and to simply continue the communication, once there.

During the week of March 26th to April 1st, I left a comment for Mr. Wees on this blog post. Here is my comment:

Mr Wees,
My name is Eleanor Pomerat. I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I will post a summary of of the comments that I have left for you to my blog before 4/2.
I was very interested to read your thoughts on changing the way conferences work. I've heard of using twitter during a session; someone asking for responses by tweet and such, but that's a very limited use of technology and doesn't really bring people together with a sense of community, as conferences are really meant to. I agree that email is the best option currently available that is widely used and accepted by all ages. With that said, I think that email will become a sort of dinosaur for the next generation, who are currently shying away from it. I say this as a member of this younger generation. I don't have a perfect solution, but I think the perfect kind of new technology would mesh the community side of Facebook with the professional side of email. This new interface would need to be carefully set up to allow for archiving, but also for interactive activities within a session. Do you know of something that is currently available that is a cross between facebook, email, and a forum? I think that would be the very best option.
I really enjoyed reading your post and hope that this kind of conference come to fruition; it's a wonderful idea.
Eleanor Pomerat

Blog Post #9


Key Points

  • How to Read the Crowd
  • Be Flexible
  • Communicate
  • Be Reasonable
  • Don't be Afraid of Technology
  • Listen to Your Students
  • Never Stop Learning
  • Adapt
  • The Path Least Traveled
  • Find Your School Mom
  • Check You Ego At The Door
  • Don't Be a Control Freak
  • Scope and Sequence
  • Don't Lose Sight of What's Important
  • It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Matters
     Above are the headers for each section of McClung's What I've Learned in the Past Year blog posts from 2008-2010. The points that I've deemed most important have been made bold.

     Mr. McClung writes that it's important to remain flexible when teaching because a lesson plan never goes according to plan. This point is very crucial and yet rather simple, in my opinion. Next, Mr. Joe McClung says that communication is important and he explains that it isn't really the communication with students that he learned from, but dealing with other teachers. At the same time, Mr. McClung suggests finding someone, whom he calls a "School Mom" to help you navigate the individual quirks of the school you are teaching at. He then says that listening to ones students is essential and that teacher do not know in enough, in general about the students they are teaching. Mr. McClung brings up adapt because he taught at a different school the second year, then his first. His second year he taught in three different subjects. 

     Mr. McClung warns not to lose yourself in teaching and simply going with the flow. He suggests taking whatever path suits you and if you're the only person on it, so be it. Finally, he says that it's important to let things happen in the classroom. If a classroom discussion gets slightly off topic, but the kids are learning and paying attention, then don't stress it. Basically, "don't lose sight of what's important," which is doing the very best you can for you students. 

I really enjoyed reading Mr. McClung's blog posts. I think that a great deal of his key points are common sense, but perhaps, I only say that because I've been working with kids for the last 8 years; I don't expect anything to go perfectly according to plan. Regardless, it's not Mr. Joe McClung's key points that I found wonderful, but his comments on the school workplace environment, his realization that he could keep his students attention by asking them get up to get their own handout, and his advice that everyone needs a "School Mom." Also, I was thrilled to read that he didn't give up when he realized that he was just giving lectures. He figured out what he could do and did it. That is exactly the kind of attitude that we need in teachers. 
The Best Teachers Teach What We Can't Learn From Books

Project #14

C4K Summary for March

What I Did With Scouts: by Kai
Snowball fight

     In his blog post, Kai wrote about a scouting trip that he took for a weekend, with friends. He wrote about some of the activities that he was able to participate in over the weekend, including archery, bed time bingo, and a snow ball fight. Kai said that he was able to get an "arrow in the middle" during archery. It sounded, to me, like he quite a bit of fun on the trip.

     I left Kai a comment during the week of 3/19-3/25. I wrote that when I was younger, I enjoyed archery and told him that making a bull's-eye was "awesome." Then,  I asked Kai what made Bed Time Bingo different from traditional bingo. Finally, I wrote that it hadn't snowed in over 10 years and I wished it would snow here, in Mobile more often because I would love to be able have a snowball fight.