Wednesday, March 30, 2011

C4T#3 Post Summary

A GeekyMomma's Blog

The teacher that I had the privilege of commenting on for this round of C4Ts was Lee Kolbert. Lee Kolbert is a teacher in Boca Raton, Florida. She is a very interesting woman and I loved reading her blog. Her interests (according to her blog) include helping educators learn and learning from others. I think this is something we should all take notes on.

Here is what Lee talked about in her first blog: Meetings: Who Owns the Problem?

This blog discussed the issue of meetings in the workplace. Lee started her blog out with a question: "Meeting's make me__________." Here are your choices: a. want to call in sick on meeting days, b. want to stick toothpicks in my eyes, c. understand how people can "go postal", d. feel inspired to work hard towards our common goals and mission. If you pick option d., you truly have something to teach everyone else! Lee then goes on to talk about her struggles with meetings.

Lee says that through her career she has sat in on many meetings and even had to lead several meetings. It is through this that she has formed her opinions on how meetings work (or don't work). Lee believes that basically everyone has the same goals with regards to their school or organization. Everyone wants common goals and a mission, to be understood, to be trusted, and to be treated fairly just to name a few. She then goes on to say that many of the behaviors employees take part in, especially during meetings, tends to take away from achieving these goals. Such behaviors as texting, emailing, whispering, and bad body language take away any benefit from the meetings by distracting the person giving the meeting.

Lee says that since becoming manager her perspective about meetings has definitely changed. She goes on to say that she used to be guilty of some of the very same behaviors listed above, and now she wishes someone would have told her how distracting they can be in a meeting. Lee compares meeting with teachers trying to teach their students. It is very difficult to teach a room full of students when you have any distractions. You can lose your train of thought and not be able to focus on the lesson at hand. This leads Lee to wonder if the people in the meetings or classrooms even care that they are distracting others who want to pay attention? Also, is it the teacher or meeting leader's fault that the presentation was not interesting enough to keep everyone's attention?

Lee ends her blog post by talking about another blog written by Chris Brogan. In his post, Brogan talks about meetings and here are a few of the things that caught Lee's eye. Schedule for brevity- keep your meetings short and only discuss decisions that need to be made. Keep agendas taut- don't try to rush through your last few items because time is short. Table anything that does not fit the format- if it is not on your agenda try to put it off until the next meeting. The last thing Lee says is "I do believe these ideas from Chris would help make meetings more efficient. But, would more efficient meetings really correct the issues with adults behaving poorly?" This is the key point to her whole blog.

Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange's class EDM310, and am commenting on your blog as part of an assignment. You can find a summary of your blog with my comments here by April 3. You can also follow me on Twitter @jennabaxter1988. First of all, let me say thank you for allowing me to view and comment on your blog. It really shows how interested you are in advancing the education of others.

I thought your blog post was quite interesting. While I have not been in very many meetings, I can definitely see your point. It is very hard to concentrate on what you are trying to say, especially when no one seems to be paying any attention. You then start to wonder if it is your fault because your presentation was not interesting enough. I don't really think it is the content of the meetings that makes everyone start "multitasking." I think it is the notion of the meeting itself. I know when I hear we are having a meeting at work I instantly dread it, before even finding out what it is about. I believe the word "meeting" has so much stigma attached to it that people often assume they will be boring and want to do something more interesting than paying attention. Good luck in your future meetings and thanks again for allowing me to read your blog!

cat resting his head on a table

The next blog that I commented on in Lee Kolbert's blog was titled "Are You a Good Teacher?". In this blog Lee shows a picture of the Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year Award winner, Kristen Rulison. In the back ground of the picture you see a bulletin board that lists the FCAT skills. This leads Lee to two questions: What does this say about the things our district is forcing our "good" teachers to teach? and at what/whose expense? and What is our district's criteria for "good" teaching? Finally Lee asks, "Are you a good teacher?"

Here is what I had to say in response to Lee's blog:

This is Jenna again from EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. This is the second blog that I will comment on for my assignment. My summary will be posted by April 3 on my blog. Once again, thanks for letting me follow your blog.

This blog post brings up an excellent question: What is a good teacher? While I may not be a teacher yet, I do have my opinions. I believe a good teacher stands up for her students and tries to always put their needs first. Good teachers are willing to put in the extra hours necessary to make sure their students succeed. Also, good teachers think of their students as individuals and not just a name on paper (or computer). We must always remember why we wanted to become teachers: to help children have a better chance at life by giving them the best education possible. I hope to be able to instill these beliefs in my teaching and be the best teacher I can be. Thanks for making me think about what makes a good teacher!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Project #12: Skype Interview

For this project I decided to interview a foreign exchange student from Sweden. Her name is Amanda Sving and she is staying with a friend of mine's family. I asked her questions on her experience through the foreign exchange program. Here is our interview:

Blog Assignment 9

"What I've Learned this Year"

cover of book reading

This blog post chronicles some of the things that Mr. McClung learned in his first year of teaching. Mr.McClung did his first year of teaching at an elementary school in Noel, Missouri. While teaching he says that he learned some very valuable lessons and he uses this blog to share those lessons with fellow educators.

The first lesson that Mr.McClung learned was "how to read the crowd." As new educators, we sometimes focus too much on how our lessons come across to our superiors. Instead, we should be worried about how effective our lessons were on teaching our students. Our lessons should be student centered and we should always be checking for student comprehension.

The next lesson learned is that we must be flexible. You should never expect a perfect lesson, because the truth is that nothing is perfect. Mr. McClung says that during his first year of teaching he often beat himself up if a lesson did not go as he planned. However, now he realizes that things are not going to perfect and that we must make the best of our mistakes (and always with a smile).

Communication is yet another lesson learned. Communication is so important in every aspect of life. We must build a rapport with our fellow educators and make sure we can communicate effectively with our students. Also, communication skills are hard to develop and must be practiced constantly in order to build strong relationships.

Be reasonable; this lesson speaks for itself. We must remember that we are teaching children and while it is great to have expectations, we must not set the bar too high. Students can only do so much and to expect more than they can handle only leads to disappointment for all involved. The students are not perfect and neither are we; we must remember this. As Mr. McClung said, "Our job as teachers is to simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again."

Another lesson Mr. McClung talked about is don't be afraid of technology. Instead of treating computers like they are trying to take over the world, we should embrace their use in the classroom. We can not expect to master everything about computers on the first try, but we must never give up.

The last two lessons Mr. McClung talked about are to listen to your students and never stop learning. Teachers may be the only people to truly listen to what children have to say and it is important that we do. We must build relationships with our students and learn everything we can about them in order to earn their respect in the classroom. Lastly, we must never stop learning. It is never too late to change and we must be willing to adapt. We expect our students to come to school and learn everyday, but many teachers believe they are above learning anything else. This is not the way it should be. As stated by Mr. McClung, "We work in a learning environment, so why not soak up as much as you can? We owe it to our students."

I really enjoyed reading this blog post because I believe it will be quite helpful on my journey to becoming a teacher. Every teacher, and aspiring teacher, should read this blog and keep these things in mind as they enter the classroom. My favorite lesson that Mr. McClung talked about was listening to the students. Often times we are so busy trying to get through a lesson that we don't take time to hear what the students say. We must make time to hear these students out if we ever expect them to take us seriously. I also liked Mr. McClung's quote about dusting our students off after they fail, and encouraging them to try again. Mistakes are a part of everyday life and we must not expect our students to get everything right the first time. Our most important lessons are usually learned through mistakes. I look forward to reading more of Mr. McClung's blog posts and am really grateful to have his lessons learned to look back on as I enter the adventure of teaching!

notebook page saying Welcome: Orientation for New Teachers and Administrators

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

C4K Summary Post 2

C4K #4

In this C4K's assignment, I commented on a fourth grader in Mr. Wolfe's class in Birmingham, Alabama.

This is what was discussed in the blog:

The student (hd2011) apparently was having a craving for chocolate. The student then apparently ate too much chocolate and had a stomach ache. There was also a picture of a chocolate bar and several emoticons were also used.

This is what I had to say in response:

Hey, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am majoring in Elementary Education and am taking a class called EDM310 taught by Dr. Strange. One of our assignments in this class is to comment on other kids blogs from around the world. I will comment on your blog and then post a summary on my blog, which can be found by clicking here. The summary should be posted by March 27.

I can tell that you must really like chocolate! I also like chocolate, but I have found that some things are better in moderation. I thought your choices of emoticons were interesting. I also liked the picture of the chocolate bar. It kind of made me want some chocolate. Try not to eat so much chocolate, that way you don’t get a stomach ache! Good luck in school and I really enjoyed reading some of your blog posts!

C4K #5
Tamara's blog

boy standing beside tent

This week I got to comment on a student in Mrs. Toni Nau's room at Pt. England School. This school is in Auckland, New Zealand. The student I was asked to comment on was Tamara, who is a year 8 student in Mrs. Nau's class. The students in this class are amazing! They have done so many projects that I did not even know how to do before this year. This is also their first year being able to use net books in the classroom, which is really exciting.

Here is what Tamara's blog talked about:

Tamara is giving instructions on how to put up a tent. First, she lists all of the equipment that you will need. Then she she gives step by step instructions on how to put the tent up. the first thing you need to do is to unpack your tent and make sure you have all of your equipment. Second, you will take out the inner tent and the fly and lay it on the ground. Third, take out the four pegs you will need for the tent and put away any unneeded equipment. Fourth, you will hammer the the four pegs in at each corner of the tent at a 45 degree angle. Fifth, find the two long poles and clip them on the eyelit of the tent. Sixth, put the fly (cover)on top of the tent and make sure to put the last pole through the tent. Now you are ready to sleep in your tent!

Here is what I had to comment on Tamara's blog:

Hey Tamara, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking a class called EDM310, in which I get to comment on other students blogs from around the world. I will comment on your blog and then post a summary to my blog, which can be found by clicking here.

I thought you did a good job of describing some of the basics of setting up a tent. I think your teacher is right that you may have left out some important steps, but you are at a really great starting point! Your instructions were easy to read and could really be helpful for someone trying to put up a tent. I liked how you listed out all of the equipment that was needed. Having everything you need to get the job done is very important! One more thing, make you sure you proof read for any errors in grammar. Keep up the great work on your blog and I really enjoyed reading several of the things you had posted!

Ryan's Blog: Spalding Basketballs

For this week's C4Ks assignment, I commented on Ryan's blog. Ryan is a seventh grader, who loves sports. His favorite sport is basketball and he has several blog posts dedicated to the sport. The blog post that I was assigned to is called "Spalding Basketballs." This blog appears to be a report that Ryan had to do for school and it talks about the history of the Spalding company.

This is what Ryan had to say:

The Spalding company was started in 1876 by Albert and James Spalding. Spalding is a sports company that is known for producing the basketballs used in the NBA and WNBA. The three most interesting things about Spalding are how the company came to be, Albert's past, and what kind of products the company sells.

Albert Spalding is best known for his involvement in baseball- not basketball. Albert was an underhanded pitcher and is the first pitcher to win 200 games. He is part of the Baseball Hall of Fame and retired from the sport in 1877. Before retiring, Albert led Boston to win four consecutive pennants.

The Spalding company was started in 1876 by the two Spalding brothers. They started out making baseballs, but were approached by Dr. James Naismith to create a ball to be used in basketball. This led to the Spalding basketball being named the official ball in the NBA. The technology used in making the basketball has changed over time with the invention of infusion technology and the never-flat technology.

While Spalding is still the official ball used in basketball, the company has sold all of its lines except golf. Golf constitutes 70% of the revenue that Spalding receives, therefore that is were they have put most of their effort.

Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey Ryan, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking a class called EDM310 in which we get to comment on student’s blogs from around the world. You are the student that I was assigned to this week. I will post a summary of your blog along with my response on my blog by March 27.

First of all, let me say that you are doing a wonderful job on your blog. Everything looks really professional and your blogs are informative. As a sports fan myself, I enjoyed reading your blog about the Spalding basketball. I play softball so I find it interesting that Albert Spalding was a baseball player. You did a great job of giving some interesting facts that I would not have known otherwise. I also did not know that Spalding no longer owns the part of the company that makes the basketballs. Keep up the good work on your blog!!

Spalding basketball

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

This is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2
Richard Miller
This is How We Dream

the cover of Writing at the End of the World

Richard Miller is an English professor at Rutgers University. In these two videos, Miller is showing how the world of writing is changing. In the first video, Miller focuses on the way writing used to be and is still sometimes perceived. You would go to the library to do research when writing a paper. You would then publish the writing in a book or journal, which would most likely just end up in a library. Finally, you would be at the library again to look at these pieces of work. This is how writing was, not how it should be. Miller also shows how technology is slowly changing the way people perceive writing.

In Miller's second video, the writing of the future is key. No longer are essays and papers just filled with words. Now we can add video and audio to them and create truly amazing pieces of work. The internet and use of computers in the humanities opens up a whole new world. When you write something and publish it, it no longer sits in a library waiting for someone. Your work is out there available for everyone, all the time. What's more is that more people will actually be more willing to read about your thoughts and see what you have to say. Miller talks about how three months after publishing these videos on the web, he had nine thousand hits. He also adds that had this just been a print lecture, it would have taken two years to catch on. This truly goes to show that by adding pictures and audio to a piece of work, you really can reach more people.

These videos make me excited about the future of writing. I look forward to doing papers where I can add something besides just words to paper. I also think this way of writing will be great in the classrooms of younger students. The students will be more eager to write when they can make it truly interesting. I hope to get some practice in this type of writing that way I can pass the knowledge on to my future students. The future is looking quite bright and I can't wait to get there!

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies

The Chipper series was quite an interesting video. When it first started out I had no clue where it was headed. After the first few clips, though, I caught on pretty fast. What a slippery slope our life can be. One day turning a few assignments in late and the next you are a garbage collector! I think this video did a great job of showing students that being responsible is very important in life. No matter what kind of career you chose, you must always try your best and always be on time. You can no longer only think of yourself and you have to start thinking about the interests of others. I did think the video was a little repetitive, but it did get the point across.

EDM310 for Dummies

I really felt like I connected with this video! For the first few weeks of class I thought I was going to scream. It seemed like so much, but with the lab and the tutorials I managed to get a grip. This video does a great job of showing you how to do better in EDM310. With a little common sense and paying attention this class is not as stressful! The only thing I can think of that would be a good video is showing the importance of attending the lab sessions of EDM310. I know without the lab assistants I would be quite stressed out. The EDM310 for Dummies video did not really stress the use of the lab and the assistants, which is vital for success in this class. Another video idea that I have is to show the importance of being a good group member. Since having to do a few group projects, I think it would be a good idea to show students the rights and wrongs of working in a group. Both of these videos were entertaining and educational!

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
Learn to Change...

This is a video that says that we are teaching our students the wrong way, and we need to do something to change that. One of the people interviewed said that the 21st century is the "death of education and the dawn of learning." He could not be more right. It is time to stop simply teaching our students enough to get them to pass a test, and start teaching them ways they can continue to learn for a lifetime. Being able to pass a standardized test is not going to be able to help our students in the future. Our students future should be what is most important, not passing a test. As stated in the video, students do most of their learning outside of the classroom. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, or Google, students are seeking out knowledge that is not being taught in the classroom.

Instead of allowing technology to help our students learn, we are banning it from our schools. Why not incorporate the use of all of these sites that students are so familiar with into their everyday learning? This video points out what is wrong with our educational system and gives opinions on how to change it. Maybe we should start listening more closely to how we can change for the better of ourselves and our students.

The Secret Powers of Time
Philip Zimbardo

spiral clock

I really like the way this video was set up. Philip Zimbardo uses cartoon drawings to get his point across about how time can influence every aspect of life. Zimbardo starts out talking about six different time orientations. The first two are past oriented: past positive and past negative. The next two are present oriented: hedonistic and those that say it doesn't pay to plan. The last two are future oriented: those that work instead of play and those that believe that life begins after the death of the mortal body.

Zimbardo then goes on to discuss how being past, present, or future oriented can effect your life. Future oriented people tend to be more successful and harder workers. This has its downfall because these people also tend to put their family and friends on the back burner for success. Also discussed is how much time is spent wasted everyday. We waste time standing in line, sitting at a dentist office, or just having fun. This leads to the discussion of a different pace of life for people in different cultures. Many Americans get mad when they have to wait for their computer to boot up or when waiting for something to download. People that live in this fast-paced life tend to have worst health, which goes to show that time really can effect every aspect of your life.

Zimbardo then goes on to say that we are all born as hedonistic and that it is the school's place to turn us into future oriented people. With the amount of time that students (particularly boys) spend playing video games or with other technology, they are becoming less interested in the way that schools are teaching. Schools teach passively and this is just not the way students are interested in learning. They like things that are hands on and keep them involved. An interesting statistic that Zimbardo gave was that a student drops out of school every nine seconds. This is truly astounding and we must do something to change this. Zimbardo did a great job of showing how we orient ourselves with time can effect every aspect of our lives from birth to adulthood.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
David Pink

In this video David Pink discusses what really motivates us. He starts out saying that we are not as predictable as we once believed. He then gives two topics that he is going to talk about: if you reward something do you get more of the behavior that you want? and if you punish something do you get less of the behavior that you want? Here is what he had to say on these two topics.

Pink uses an experiment that was done a M.I.T to discuss whether rewards get you the behavior you want. As was expected, when the students who were participating in the experiment were asked to do mechanical work to get the reward the end result was this: higher pay, better performance. However, when cognitive abilities were needed the opposite occurred. Higher pay led to lower performance. The rewards did not work! Pink then lists three factors that can lead to better performance in the work place: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is the desire to be self directed and this is usually taken away in the work place. Pink that it is important to incorporate autonomy in the work place to motivate the workers. Mastery is the urge to get better at something. People will work harder to get better at something if they are motivated. The last thing Pink talks about is purpose. People want to work for a company that has a purpose. All of this boils down to one thing according to Pink: let's start treating people like people instead of better smelling horses!

I really liked this video. As someone that is out there in the working world, I felt I could really relate! I am pretty much allowed to work in my own way as long as all of my work gets done at the end of the day (autonomy). This makes my working experience much more bearable. Working should not always be about the money, you should want to go to work because it is something you enjoy doing. It should not be all about the paycheck, and I think that is what David Pink is trying to say.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Project #13: SMART board Instruction

This project was a collaborative effort by Jenna Baxter, Kelsey Robinson, Kristan Steele, and Woodie Holloway. For our SMART board instruction we taught chose to teach a lesson about the Solar System to fourth graders. We taught the students about each planet and then played a game to reinforce what we had taught. The students then had to go home and take a test. Here are the results from their tests.

As you can see all of the students done a great job! Only one student missed one question. I think this shows that we did a good job of teaching the lesson and asking questions on the test that came from that lesson. The students also were great about participating in the lesson and the review game. I believe the game was instrumental in reinforcing what we taught.

This was my first time using a SMART board so I was quite intimidated! After a few practice runs I felt that I understood how to work the board much better. I believe this is a great tool that can really get the students involved and interested in learning. I also liked using Google forms. This is an easy way to create tests and send them to students. All of the answers from the tests are saved in an easy to read spreadsheet. You can also view the summary of responses as shown above. This way of seeing the results really lets you see how well the students understood the test and lessons. I really enjoyed working on this project and felt like I learned a lot about teaching with the SMART board.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Assignment 7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Last Lecture

I will be honest, when I saw that I was going to have to watch a one hour video I was not too excited. Well now I can definitely say that I have changed my mind. This was a truly inspiring and amazing last lecture. For a man that is dying of cancer to get up there and give such an amazing lecture really astounds me! Randy Pausch did such a great job keeping the audience listening by injecting humor into the lecture that it did not even feel like it was an hour long. I would recommend anyone to watch this video. The main points of Pausch's lecture are his childhood dreams, enabling the childhood dreams of others, lessons learned, and how to get people to help you.

Pausch starts off his lecture by talking about his childhood dreams. His dreams were being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being like Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being a Disney Imagineer. Pausch got to accomplish all of his childhood dreams except playing in the NFL. While he did not succeed in accomplishing all of his dreams on the first try, with dedication he was able to accomplish them all. Pausch talked about brick walls being there for a reason; they prove who wants things badly enough. I thoroughly agree with this point. If everything in life was given to you, you would never truly appreciate the things you have. Pausch goes on to talk about playing football as a kid. While he never got to play in the NFL, he did have an amazing coach who taught him about fundamentals and the "head fake". The "head fake" is a way of learning indirectly. While the kids play football just for the game, they are really learning about team work, working hard, and practicing. This is a great way for anyone to learn anything. When you make learning fun your students will want to learn more.

The next point that Pausch talks about is enabling the dreams of others. As a professor, Pausch thought that it was important to help his students reach some of their childhood dreams. One way of accomplishing this was by creating the Building Virtual Worlds class. This was a class that consisted of 50 students from around the world who had to come together and work on five projects during a semester. The students were grouped in fours and the groups would change at the end of every project (about two weeks). Another project of Pausch's was the Dream Fulfillment Factory project. Pausch worked on this project with Don Marinelli. This was a 2 year degree program that brought artists and technologists together to work on projects. The curriculum is strictly project based. The ALICE program is yet another project that Pausch worked on. This program teaches student about computer programming through making videos and video games. I believe that helping our students have the tools necessary to reach their dreams should be the goal of all teachers. As educators we are blessed to be able to know the dreams of our students and should do everything in our power to help them reach them.

The third point that Pausch touched on was some lessons he learned on his journey. Pausch talks about how important the roles of parents and mentors are in children's lives. Parents should try to give their kids some freedom and give them room to grow creatively. Parents should also be there to support their children, especially during the hard times. Mentors are also very important in the lives of students. These mentors give the students guidance and help them reach their goals. Some other lessons that Pausch learned include respect authority while questioning it, have fun, never lose the child-like wonder, help others, loyalty is a two way street, and never give up. I believe this lessons are very important. As educators we need to try and reach our students on their level and we must also remember to always question things we are not sure of.

The last thing that Pausch talked about in his lecture was ways to get people to help you. Pausch says you must tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others, not yourself. These are very important things to know. By doing all of these things you can build relationships with people that may benefit you in the future. Some other things he adds to the end are to get a feedback loop and listen to what is said, always show gratitude, and don't complain, just work harder.

Everything that Pausch discussed in his last lecture is quite relevant to life. It is important to follow your dreams, help others accomplish their dreams, and make sure you learn life's lessons along the way. Pausch was an amazing man who will be greatly missed in the educational world. I was truly glad to have the opportunity to watch his last lecture and blog about it. If you are reading this blog and have not watched the video, I encourage you to do so. It may change your life!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Project #11: Short Movie

For this short movie project I read Curious George to my son, Hunter.

My PLN: 1st Progress Report

To be completely honest, I still do not fully understand the PLN (Personal Learning Network)! So, my first question when I read this assignment was, "What is a PLN?". Here is the answer: a PLN is the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online (

This helped me out; sort of. A website that really helped me to get on the right track was Onceateacher.wordpress. On this website there was an article titled "PLN: Your Personal Learning Network Made Easy." This article gave several examples of other websites that would be beneficial in creating a PLN.I have also watched several videos about building a PLN and these have helped me some what. The video done about a seventh grader's PLN was especially useful. I really got a lot of good ideas about what websites to add to my account on Symbaloo. With all of this information, I went to Symbaloo and started creating my PLN. Symbaloo is a great place to start your PLN because it allows you to store all of the websites you need on one page. This is very useful for someone like me who is always short on time. All I have to do is go to Symbaloo's website and everything I need is right there!

Along with adding all of these websites to Symbaloo, I also started following several educators on Twitter. I started to see what they had to say and could carry on conversations with educators all over the world. Talk about being connected! While I am no where near where I want to be with my PLN, I do feel that I am now on the right track and am looking forward to expanding my connections. I know that creating a great PLN will be very beneficial to me, especially once I become a teacher. Because of this, I really want to focus more on this project than I have been previously. Being connected will make all the difference!

man surrounded by networking tools

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

C4T #2

Being the Best Parent in the World
By: Teacher Tom
father and child holding hands

For this comment for teachers assignment, I got to follow Teacher Tom's (Tom Hobson's) blog. In the first blog I read, Teacher Tom discussed the anxiety of motherhood. As a preschool teacher, Teacher Tom says that he sees mothers everyday who are worried about every little detail of their children's lives. Teacher Tom contributes this high anxiety level to years of women being told that they should instinctively be great mothers.

Tom also discussed that girls who grew up having to help out with younger siblings, and learned this "on the job training", were much more confident mothers. In years past, child care was considered women's work. This "women's work" consisted of raising the children, cooking, and housekeeping. With so much work to do it is no wonder the older siblings had to help out. In today's society, Tom compares having the first child to getting a new job. Without much of the experience gained in childhood of having to help raise younger siblings, women today are usually learning everything about motherhood with their first child. Once again, no wonder the anxiety levels and self-doubt are through the roof!

In closing out his blog, Tom says that women's confidence, with regards to parenting, seems to grow as their children get older or when they have multiple children. Tom has purposefully left out fathers in this blog because he believes that men tend not to worry as much about parenting as women do. Tom contributes this to men not being held to hundreds of years of expectations. Teacher Tom also believes that men are "graded" on their parenting skills merely by "effort and earnestness" and that all parents should be graded the same!

Here is what I had to say in response to Tom Hobson's blog:

Hi Teacher Tom, my name is Jenna Baxter. I am a student at the University of South Alabama and majoring in Elementary Education. I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class and have been assigned to comment on your blog. I will post a summary of your blog and my comments by March 6 on my class blog, which can be found by clicking here. You can also follow me on twitter @jennabaxter1988.

First of all I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. As a mother of a four year old, I can definitely relate to the anxiety felt by many mothers. Being a woman, I am just supposed to be a perfect mother (something we all know is impossible). When I was growing up, I did not have any younger siblings to take care of. My son really is the guinea pig of my parenting skills. As he has grown older I find myself not freaking out as much as I used too. I have come to the realization that there are going to be ups and downs in parenting, and that I just have to do the best I can. I do also feel that it is important for young girls to be taught some of the skills they will need when they one day become parents. This will hopefully lessen some of their anxiety. As a society, we also need to get away from this belief that women are "born" caretakers and they should be perfect at it. I believe that if you try your best and you show your children that they are loved, then you are a great parent! Thanks again for letting me read your blog! I found it very insightful.

Inventing Us
By Teacher Tom (Tom Hobson)

In this post Hobson discusses the belief that "knowing stuff is the enemy of education." Hobson also discusses that he does not find it gratifying when his students perform a task exactly as he expected them to. Fewer instructions leads to greater creativity. The classroom should be treated like an experiment in which everyone, including the teacher, is learning. Hobson also thinks the classroom should have room for "failure, frustration, and conflict", but also be a place for "wonder, epiphany, and friendship." A quote by Thomas Edison is also provided in the blog: "I didn't fail a thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with a thousand steps." According to Hobson, this is how the classroom should be. Through thousands of steps we are inventing ourselves. Hobson finishes up his blog by saying that if you find a teacher who has a fail proof plan for educating students, then that teacher is not interested in education. They are interested in "standardization."

Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey, this is Jenna again from Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I will have a summary of this blog post along with "Being the Best Parent in the World" available by March 6 on my blog ( I believe you made some very interesting points in this blog post. Too many times teachers want to go right by the rule book and squander any creativity their students have. It is very important that learning be a quest, or as you said an experiment, in which the teacher is continuing to learn with the students.

I also liked how you added the quote by Thomas Edison. Failure is considered such a horrible thing in today's society. We should really be thinking of failure as a time to learn from our mistakes. I also believe that our lives are made up of thousands of steps and we determine which steps we take. I truly enjoyed reading this post and I feel that I am able to take a lot away from it. Thanks for allowing me to follow your blog!