Final Reflection

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I enrolled in this class. I wanted to find a couple of useful technology lessons or new tools that I could immediately use in my classroom.  Instead, I was reminded of something I knew but need to be retold. There is no perfect tool or lesson.

 TPACK gave me the formula to understand the use of technology in education. Content is the knowledge we have to teach.  Pedagogy is the strategies we have to teach content.  Technology provides us with a method to deliver our lessons or a method for the students to research or…    Yes, the list of things technology can do for us is unlimited.   However, as a 21st century teacher, I’ll need to repurpose and redesign the tools that the technology industry provides. 

 Another main idea that had a huge impact on me is the value of Professional and Personal Learning Networks.  I have created a lot of new accounts, Twitter, Feedly and I would like to make a personal commitment to use them.  Taking this class as I was finishing the school year didn’t allow me a lot of time to examine fellow student’s work.  However this past week I have been able to view lesson, video and blogs. I am amazed at the diversity in our class.  I shouldn’t be because I know that with every classroom comes diversity.  I learned how to start fires, braid hair and frost cakes. There are newbies to technology, students without classrooms as well as those of us who have been teaching a number of years.   We are all learners as well as teachers.  This is so important.   I believe if you are going to teach, then you need to make a personal commitment to continue to learn. I am very excited to have been a part of this community.   I have commented on blogs and reached out to teachers.   I hope that I have established new contacts, contacts that can support and develop our understanding of learning with technology.

 As a teacher,  I intend to help my students expand their networks too.   In our district, we talk about the 4 Cs, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication.  These ideas are not new ideas in education but have a different meaning in this century.  Students today have a large audience and they are aware of it.  They want their work to be seen.  They are creative, the means by which they can communicate are endless and they love technology.   I can’t wait to share with my students and help them explore creative ways to use the technology that we have at school, in imaginative and meaningful ways.

 After this class, I have lots of questions about technology in education. Big ones: How much screen time should a child experience in a day?  How young is too young to work on an iPad?   Questions that no one knows the answer to yet and ones that maybe we’ll never be able to answer.  Little questions: How can I improve the use of the app Sock Puppets during independent writing time?   Which apps should we buy this year?  I love out of the box thinking and doing.  It is the goal of every teacher to inspire his or her students to think and reach.  This is what this class has done for me.   It validated my teaching, it challenged me to improve myself but most importantly, it inspired me to question and want to do more! 

 Until we meet again, always remember, that life is good!


I love music!  It makes the world such a beautiful and happy place.  It doesn’t matter if you hum, sing, play an instrument, or just listen it generates positive energy.  A little over a month ago I made a decision to try and start a goal, learning to play the piano.   I have not gone far but I have started and that is a good thing.

Google, google and google again, today everyone is constantly researching something.  The average hits per day in 2012 for Google were 5,134,000,000.  We often get lost in our searches and forget what our original search was.   You know what I’m talking about, you are looking for a recipe for sweet potatoe fries you start out the search with sweet potatoe, you go to sweet potato recipes, follow a picture to a cooking blog and the blog links you to health, because the sweet potato is on the healthiest foods you can eat.  Before you know it, you are reading the latest on Obama’s health care plan.  Sometimes we get so lost in the research that we can never get started on our project.  I’ll just do some quick research and an hour later, you are still researching.  The Internet can definitely work as a rival.

What does this mean for my video challenge?  One thing for sure I did way too much research and listening and not enough practicing.  I need to discipline myself and use the advice I readily give out, balance on screen time with off.  Use the computer/iPad to move me forward not to distract.  Finally, learn once and for all that I really can’t multi-task; watching and playing the piano at the same time doesn’t work.


Medina, J. (2008). Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.  Seattle, WA:  Pear Press

Statistic Brain.

June 18, 2013 Statistic Brain Research Institute, publishing as Statistic Brain.

Enjoy the video!

This week’s project for CEP-810 is Cooking with TPACK.  I decided that since I was still in school I would have my class assist me in creating the video.  They love technology and I am taking this course because I want to improve my use of technology in the classroom, it seemed like a win win situation.  I chose one student to select my tools, from the kitchen in the teacher’s lounge.   The four menu items were positioned under four boxes in our room.  Number two the whipping cream wasn’t something I had in my kitchen at home so it was my mulligan.

The video we created is in iMovie.  There were times I had to stop it for logistical reasons or to control the crowd’s enthusiasm, so for ease of viewing I used iMovie.  I apologize for never calling the pot a pot.  But the lesson learned by all was that you can repurpose any tool in a playful way and complete a task.  You can slice cheese with a bowl

After watching the video and thinking back on the student’s reactions and comments, it affirmed for me that the students are always imagining and repurposing.  It really doesn’t matter how you go about the task or how you use the technology.  According to the framework of TPACK it is the overlap of pedagogy, technology and content that teachers need to embrace.  Then we can all learn.

Enjoy our final class video!

A Lesson in Technology…


I devote one day a week in our elementary school supporting teachers in their quest to integrate technology into their curriculum.  Developing projects that integrate the “4” Cs, creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking of a 21st century learner is a welcomed challenge to my workweek.  The lesson I developed with a fourth grade 1st year teacher was creating a Book Trailer using iMovie. This lesson begans with the viewing of several fun and engaging You Tube video book trailers. The enthusiasm was palatable and the teacher and I heard more than once, “How way more exciting” this was going to be then the usual response to literature writing.   Freidman (2013) comments about student motivation and personal connection resonant as I reflect back on this lesson.  More significant though are the thoughts of Will Richards and Tony Baldasaro .  They blog about the need to “curate for the new elite” the out of the box, the nontraditional learners. Using iMovie instead of the traditional pen in paper to summarize a book really addresses this idea. One of our goals for the lesson was to evaluate the work of two students that found it hard to express ideas in written form and see if the new modality captured their ability.

Creativity was the most prevalent (Hobb 2011) competency in this lesson.  The students were given choice and autonomy to see what they could do using technology. Access, analyze and acting competencies (Hobb 2011) as well as reflection were also components found in the lesson but not as strong as creativity. Personally using challenge-based learning projects that reflect the “acting” ability, is an area that I need to further develop. Finding the time and project that works within the confines of the curriculum is difficult. Or maybe this is the idea that I need to leave behind as I move towards creating a new type of learning environment.  An environment where Thomas (2011) states “You get to see students learn, discover, explore, play, and develop, which is the primary reason I think that most of us got into the job of teaching.”  Thinking back I realize that we did create the classroom where the teacher guides as the students play in our lesson; Making a Book Trailer. But I need to trust in that process and continue to use technology to create an environment according to Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) that engenders and embraces change.


Friedman, T. (2013, March 30). Need a job? Invent it. The New York Times Sunday Review. Retrieved from

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Jekins, H.  (2011, January 19).   A New Culture of Learning: An Interview with John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas (Part One)

(Web log comment) Retrieved from culture of_learning_an_i.html

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

Lesson Plan

Title: Book Trailers using iMovies       Subject: Language Arts              Grade: 4

Rationale: The purpose of the lesson is to generate enthusiasm for reading, to assess the student’s comprehension and opinion of a book.  To create a persuasive challenge based project in which students express their view and present it for an intended audience.  Book trailers are a very popular. There is a wealth of material available.  I created the lesson based on the Common Core Standards for 4th grade language arts (RL2 ,RL3, RL12, Rl13, RW1, RW6).

Lesson Objectives:

  • Student will read a book determine central ideas of the text and analyze their development by summarizing the key supporting details and ideas.
  • Student will use a storyboard to create a text that includes descriptive details and a clear sequence of events
  • Students will create a book trailer
  • Student will analyze how multimedia elements can contribute to the meaning and aesthetics of their work
  • Students will collaborate, share and publish their work

Prerequisite Concepts and Skills

  • Technical skills, Google Docs, iMovie

Materials and Resources

Internet connected computer w/LCD projection capabilities

Storyboard Template


Student Reflection Sheet


Time: 5-6 45-minute class periods



Day 1: Introduction

  1. Begin with unrolling a movie poster or a red carpet (red chart paper). Talk about the movies, movie trailers and the excitement they generate for seeing the movie.
  2. Introduce book trailers to the students.
  3. View some trailers.
  4.  Discuss their reactions to the videos.  Which ones did they like?  What about the trailer made them want to read the book?  Good trailer versus bad trailer?  Is this an effective way to get someone to read a book?
  5. Create a chart.

Day 2:  Planning

  1. Revisit the chart and discuss the elements that the student should include in their trailer.
  • Include: Main idea of the story
  • Include: Characters and setting
  • Include: Details that give away something that will entice the audience to read the book
  • Include: Title, author and a picture of the cover of the
  • Include:  Music, graphics, text
  • DO NOT Include: Copyright restricted material
  • Include: Reference page at the end
  1. Distribute rubric and storyboard template. Explain the instructions and expectations of the project.   Review how to use iMovie and other media tools
  2. Give the students planning time.

Day 3-5: Work Days

  1. Conference with the students about their storyboards
  2. Students are finishing storyboards
  3. Students are looking for images and music
  4. Creating iMovie
  5. Peer editing their work
  6. Complete the reflection page
  7. Upload trailer to Google Drive, share with teacher and 2 other classmates

(We create tech. workers for each of the projects we do in class.  These are the students that are proficient in the technology we are currently using and can trouble shoot along with the teacher.)

Day 6: Share and Celebrate 

  1. Students present trailers.

Into the night…

I haven’t mentioned that we shipped our piano to our son a number of years ago.  He is actually the pianist in the family and had decided to give lesson in search of additional income.  Without a piano I have been heading back to school at odd hours of the night to practice.  I go at night because I really don’t want to explain nor am I ready to perform for anyone.  Hector the night custodian nods and smiles when he sees me.  He is way to polite to ask what I am doing and as time has gone on I see less and less of him.  He has probably learned my routine and works far away the music room when he knows I might be nearby.  I only wish that I could provide him with some beautiful music as he works.  I am sure that he has learned to run the vacuum or wear ear buds when he thinks I’m around.

After a few lessons, the instructor asked us to purchase a book.  Since we can’t spend money on this assignment, I have taken screen shots of the songs from the book, as she graciously showed the songs we were to practice.  I’m not sure how long I can continue the assignment without investing in a book.  This week to supersede the problem I looked for a new instructor.  After an extensive search I may have found several.  One instructor is demonstrating finger exercises. Definitely something I need to practice more.  Another is helping me stay motivated.

As I continue to work on this task though, I recognize that the internet has provided me with only part of the tools I need to learn.  My next step is a Skype session with my son, the piano teacher.   The collaboration, assessment and  the feedback that I need to learn has been missing.   It’s time  for some face-to-face lessons. I’m thrilled and can’t wait to find out what my new instructor thinks of my playing.

GTD Thoughts

I was excited to get started with this assignment.  I felt organized. I recognized and used many of the programs.  Teachers are great collectors and in the digital world I am one of the best.  Google is my go to for most of my sharing and organizing.  I have Google drive, calendar and Gmail.  My 2nd grade students all have an account and share their work with each other and me.  I use Dropbox and diigo.  What’s not to love about Pinterest!  It is a perfect resource for those of us that are visual learners.  On my iPad I have Evernote, Notability, Dropbox, Google Drive and Snapguide.  Snapguide is Pinterest but with a How to Guide.   Can you feel my excitement for this assignment?

Then reality struck.  I listened to David Allen at TED; I definitely needed to do some reorganization of my organization. The idea of eliminating the clutter in my mind resonated with me.  My husband loves to produce lists and elaborate systems for completing those lists.  I thought that this was just a man thing, I know better now.  First though, I had to download 30/30 app I had read about on twitter.  If I could set a list and time it, maybe it would happen.

Gmail was updated to the new system.                                                                          Combined the materials in Goggle Drive and Dropbox, in an effort to eliminate one.    Explored Springpad but only a little, didn’t want to get pulled into using yet another “organization” tool.

As I finished I reminded myself that this activity will lead to stress –free productivity, a goal that sounds oh so good and maybe a little more attainable after this week.

NLB –Post2    When To Practice? 

NLB –Post2    When To Practice?

“It is never too late to start to play an instrument.”  That’s is what I been told.  However, it is probably way too late for me to become a world class pianist but I can become “better good. ”  You Tube video available for viewing if you are feeling silly or to old to learn too play an instrument.

Spent the last couple of weeks learning to play scales with the correct finger positions. I’ve learned C, G, D major scales and A and D minor scales.  The scales, hands apart are going fairly well.  Hands together not so good. The reminder of the lessons I have watched involve music theory, sharps, flats, treble clef, bass clef, whole and half tones.  Material that is overwhelming taken out of  context.  But I’m sure will make sense as my study progresses.   Finding the time to practice is what is slowing me down. I’m enjoying the video lessons and there is no pressure to perform for an actually teacher but  mustering the discipline to sit down at the piano and practice  is very difficult.  Next step, learn to play a song.  I was hoping for a classic or a recognizable tune but no luck, just a piano book favorite.


This process of learning something new, has given me insight into my own teaching.  Last summer I read Flip Your Classroom and found the concept fascinating.  Thinking that it probably wouldn’t work in an elementary classroom I put the book aside.  Realizing now, how many times I have watched the same piano lesson hoping to understand the concept maybe,  if I made a video of  myself teaching a lesson that the students found hard to understand watching it a number of times would  benefit them too.  I also recently switched to a new piano instructor.  After about three lessons I realized I couldn’t learn from the teacher.  I found a new instructor that is motivating and has clearer instructions.  Interestingly enough, what about that student that I’m just not reaching, maybe watching a video of another teacher teaching a lesson might motivate them too.  As primary educators, we feel the pressure to teach everybody everything and we are willing to stand on our heads trying.  The book is back off the shelf and I am talking to a colleague to see if we can’t work on videoing some math lessons, our take on Khan Academy.  But then the mention of Khan Academy and video instruction opens up a whole new debate.  Nope, no time for that, need to practice.

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I have been using this app all year with my students. It is a great tool for helping them organize their thoughts before they write. The ability to add pictures makes it even more exciting and creative.

Enjoyed looking at my PLN and thinking how technology has exponentially changed it.

Something I Always Wanted to Learn!

I’ve done some soul searching and from my bucket list of things to do, learning to play the piano has risen to the top.   My virtual tour has begun.   I am hoping that apps gone free will provide me with a little help.  But if not there is plenty of information online. I noticed too that there are a number of us looking at developing our musical skills, within our class I found a guitarist and violinist.  Perhaps we can collaborate and create a trio.

The following links are where I began my tour.

Music makes my soul sing!

CEP 810 Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change Essay

The definition of learning has changed and reflects a deeper understanding of how the brain works.  According to Simon, the meaning of knowing has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find it and use it (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 5).  Disconnected memorized facts don’t lead to a deep understanding or an easy transfer of knowledge from one situation to another. In contrast, when converted to usable knowledge that is connected and organized around important concepts, this knowledge can lead to understanding and transfers to new and other situations.

A learner’s ability to understand new concepts is always tied to their prior knowledge. The use of this knowledge allows them to construct new understanding and supports the claim “all learning involves transfer from previous experiences” (Bransford et al., 2000, p.42).  Prior knowledge needs to be activated, guided and dealt with in a sensitive manner for a learner to construct knowledge that can be “conditionalized’ and retrievable for later use.

Expert and novice learners exist in classrooms and other learning environments.  There are six principles that describe and differentiate an expert from a novice. Experts are able to see patterns and features in information that are not seen by the novice.   Experts have a wealth of knowledge that is organized and leads to a deep understanding.  Retrieval of knowledge for an expert is fluent and can be applied to numerous situations; not just the one in which the information was taught.  They know when they don’t fully comprehend and are able to regroup, rethink and approach a problem differently. The one remaining principle that seems somewhat disconcerting but relevant is that experts are often unable to teach others what they know (Bransford et al., 2000, p.31).

My first two paragraphs are nothing more than an exercise in memorizing and regurgitating the facts from this weeks reading. I didn’t deepen my understanding of learning or teaching.  Yet this is what we often ask of our students to do and then wonder why they don’t understand or even remember a concept.  Having previously read How People Learnand having just finished the book Brain Rules, I can tell you I am a big fan of brain research and it’s implications for learning.  We are moving more in our classroom and sensory stimulation is constant and changing. “Because many new technologies are interactive (Greenfield and Cocking, 1996), it is now easier to create environments in which students can learn by doing, receive feedback, and continually refine their understanding and build new knowledge (Barron et al., 1998; Bereiter and Scardamalia, 1993; Hmelo and Williams, 1998; Kafai, 1995; Schwartz et al., 1999) (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 206).  Watch a movie on Brain-Pop Jr. with a second grader and you’ll experience first hand what technology can do to motivate a learner.  Read My Father’s Dragon on the iPad and without leaving your seat, you can define the new word Banyan tree and travel to Bangalore to gaze at forest of Banyan trees. Everyone is engaged, even me.  Together the students and I are becoming experts at using technology in our learning.  What’s my conceptual change then?  Hoping that as I become an expert in technology, I can still teach teachers what I know.  I can be the impetus of change.  Too early for me to tell, one week down seven to grow.


Bransford, J., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.), How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Retrieved from

Medina, J. (2008). Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.  Seattle, WA:  Pear Press