Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” was extremely inspirational. Pausch was very courageous to give a lecture after being diagnosed with cancer and told that he only had 3-6 months left of good health. Pausch made a point that he was not going to talk about cancer or spirituality and that he did not want pity from the audience.

What I learned about teaching and learning from Pausch was that learning should be fun for students, good results eventually come from hard work, always set the bar high to achieve students’ full potential, and to use project based learning. I am a firm believer that learning should be fun for students. Pausch made the point that it should be so fun that students could be having a great time but not realizing that they are actually learning. Once students are deeply engaged in a project, they will easily retain the information compared to lesson that is dull. In addition, he talked about setting the bar high. The worst thing a teacher can do is to not believe in his or her students. Students have to be work to their full potential and if they fail, they can learn from their mistakes. Pausch frequently talked about how learned from his regrets and he kept trying in things he was trying to achieve. Most importantly, he talked about project using project based learning. In other words, project based learning is the best type of learning to get the most out of the students.

What stuck out to me in his lecture was the concept of the “head fake”, where one learns indirectly. For example, one of his dreams was to play in the NFL. Although he did not get a chance to play in the NFL, he learned a lot of things from playing football as a child. He learned how to be disciplined, how to work with other people, and many other concepts. In essence, parents who have their children join little league football or not trying to have them learn football, but are trying to help them learn other things that being on a team teaches.

All in all, Pausch presented a very dynamic personality on stage that really captured my attention. For example, I found him completely hilarious when he stated that he was probably in greater shape than most people in the audience and dropped down to do push-ups. His funny personality had the audience completely mesmerized.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Asking Questions

Asking questions during lessons are critical for helping students to retain the information they are being taught and to stimulate critical thinking. The type of questions that I typical ask my students revolve around the higher order thinking questions. For the most part, I like to know what my students are thinking and I piggy back off of that. In addition, I try to make whatever we are learning become relevant to them. If the lesson is relevant to them, the students will have a keen interest in the lesson. The type of questions to avoid are questions that do not challenge students. For example, I never ask a student to tell me the date of birth of an author. The student does not have to think about a question like that; the student can simply find the in the text because date of birth is listed. Consequently, questions such as those do not require much effort. Every lesson that I begin starts with an essential question. The essential question helps the students to ponder and think about what they are learning. Once the essential question has been established, higher order thinking questions are asked during the lesson to stimulate discussion. As a result, I am not merely lecturing to the students but having a productive conversation with them. All in all, asking the right questions are critical to students understanding of a lesson. Most importantly, good questions challenges the students.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Summary of Comments

C4T Rotating Summary

The Teacher who I am assigned too for C4T is Beth Still. For the most part, my comments are still being waited to be approved. Mrs. Still has not updated recently so the first comment I made was on a previously dated post concerning holiday treats. Mrs. Still put together a google docs application where everyone could submit their recipes for their holiday treats. My comment commended her on using google docs effectively to share common interest. In another post, Mrs. Still discussed the budding artist project. The project was funded by Donorschoose. The organization provided Mrs. Still with the material to carry out the project. The project consisted of her students coming together and painting. Mrs. Still spoke of her the project allowed her students to bond with each other and how grateful she was to Donorschoose for donating the material.

C4K Summary

The student whom I was assigned, Courtney, have not made any posts so I commented on other students’ blog. First, I commented on Sarah’s blog from Mrs. Long class, Sarah talked about a new idea that she have in mind concerning her hair. Sarah was interested in getting some new braids. She provided a link to a site that showed a picture of the hair due and commented on how awesome the braids would look. Second, I commented on Yolo’s blog from Mrs. Frahm class. YoLo posted a story about students during spring break. The story was very entertaining and commented encouraging him to keep up the good up. Finally, I commented on Sierra’s blog from Mrs. Frahm class. Sierra created a poster about which ancient city would be the best place to live, Sparta or Athens. She chose Sparta and posted a pic of a poster she created to support her reasons. I agreed with her that Sparta would be best the place to live and I commended her on her poster.

C4T Semester Long

The teacher that I was assigned semester long for C4T is Math teacher Dave Sladkey. One of the post that he posted was “Have Students Teach Something”. The post talked about how to keep the students engaged and one way to do that is to have them teach the class something. The concept is that by teaching it will help them learn the material quicker. He provided a pie graph showing the benefits and during instructions this way. Overall, I commented on how great of an idea the method was and that I would most certainly use the strategy in my classroom.

C4T Chosen

The C4T teacher chosen by me and James Boutin. He posted a post titled “I Don’t Have Enough Time to Be a Good Teacher.” The post focused on things that good teachers do and must do in order to be a good teacher. In other words, they should become second nature. I commented on the post commending his tips and suggestions. In addition, he posted a post about what’s best for kids. The posted focused on things that teachers should be doing to help bring the most out of the students. In addition, he talked about what the schools should be doing as well.


The use of technology in classrooms has dramatically changed and enhanced the way subjects are being taught. Previously, teachers used chart boards and did not frequently involve students in the lessons. Because of this, students were frequently lost and disengaged from the lesson thus making the learning experience unproductive. For the most part, today’s teachers are required to use technology in the classrooms. Most importantly, teachers must frequently engage students in the lessons with the use of technology. Most classrooms have Smart Boards and access to a Wi-Fi connection to satisfy this requirement. The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards is built around the Common Core Curriculum. The Common Core Curriculum involves developing problem solving skills, enhancing critical thinking skills, and participating in project based learning.

First, the use of technology in the classroom helps satisfy the component of developing students’ problem solving skills. In a traditional classroom, students are frequently given worksheets or asked to answer the questions at the end of a chapter in the textbook. Consequently, assignments like those do not help develop problem solving skills. Now teachers can develop lessons for the SmartBoard that focuses on problem solving skills. In addition, there are sites like exchange.smarttech.com/‎ which have premade lessons for teachers to use in their classrooms. For example, some of the lessons offered requires students to critically think about the problem and actually become engaged in solving the problem. Simply put, the students will not be able to get by through quickly choosing a multiple choice answer.

Next, Common Core involves enhancing critical thinking skills. The use of technology in helps develop this skill by offering students different ways to approach a problem or question. For example, a student will be able to create things using technology and gain hands on experience concerning that particular lesson. Students will be involved in project based learning. Anthony Capps talked about having an authentic audience, student interest, involving the community, and the projects being driven by content. By doing those things, critical thinking skills and problem solving skills can be developed through project based learning.

Project 3 Presentation