Podcasts

Back again with another new idea for the classroom.  I had the assignment to find a podcast that could be used with my class.  Physical education could easily find all sorts of podcasts that deal with specific sports but there really isn’t a lot about helping someone improve.  Most has to deal with professional sports.  So to integrate podcasts into my class short of creating one myself, I decided I could use my warm up time to play a podcast for the students.  This is a time at the beginning of class where the students jog and do some strength building.  While they are running, I can play over the audio system, Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.  Each of these podcasts offers a quick useful English language tip that students can listen to while warming up.  This will help integrate English standards that our school has adopted into the physical education class.  Here is the link: Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.  I’m sure there are other uses for podcasts in physical education class that will be uploaded in the future.

Brad

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Flickr

Back again with another idea from my class.  I’ve used an online photo archive (photobucket.com) for years.  I didn’t think of it as anything but a storage place so if my hard drive crashed, I wouldn’t lose some cherished photos.  Now with a site such as flickr.com, there are new possibilities of using photos that have been tagged.  If I decide to do a unit on Cooperstown during my baseball unit, I can grab some images that some people have taken and tagged and bring Cooperstown right into my classroom from the perspective of real people.

Bryce Edwards. (June 23, 2004). MLB Hall of Fame. Bryce Edward’s Photostream. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryce_edwards/253061787/.

This can allow my students to take a virtual field trip to anywhere in the world through the eyes of tourists.

 

Brad

5-A-2 Blog for my Class

Is all of this testing good for the kids?

Our state is about to change the standardized test, the ISTEP in favor of the national PAARC test.  PAARC is to be a test that measures student growth and teacher effectiveness.  Our state will now require students in 3rd grade to pass a test called IREAD with failure of this one test meaning the student will repeat 3rd grade.

I remember taking standardized tests when I was a student.  They didn’t seem like a big deal to me at the time.  Now I see my daughter taking standardized tests and crying during that week because of the pressure she feels.  This pressure comes from teacher’s placing such a strong emphasis on students doing well because ultimately their jobs depend on their students doing well on the test.

A recent news article http://www.wthr.com/story/17288525/indiana-students-to-face-new-aptitude-tests talks about under the old ISTEP 70% of students in Indiana passed which means 30% fail.  The new PAARC test is touted to be more rigorous.  Can our students keep performing well under these conditions?  Currently my school also utilizes an Acuity test that predicts what students will do on the ISTEP.  This happens 3 times a year.  Again my daughter will come home crying because she did poorly on a section that the teacher will explain is O.K. because those standards haven’t been covered yet.

Have standardized tests become a way for companies to make money?  I remember my first time I thought that testing companies were a racket was back in college when I had to take the PPST.  I had to pay money to take a test that would tell my college if I was smart enough in English and mathematics to be allowed into the teaching school.  I guess my college didn’t place enough trust in their own math and English departments to evaluate me.   Publishing companies have taken to lobbying politicians and some companies spend over a million dollars in a year lobbying according to the website http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/lobbying.php?ind=B01++ .  Why would a publishing company need to lobby a politician?  It is because there is big money to be made in the contract for the state standardized tests.

Maybe I have become old and cynical in my views on standardized test scores.  I find it interesting that a test graded on a curve (percentiles) would be used to evaluate student achievement and teacher worth.   I can’t help but think that standardized tests are not accomplishing what they were originally meant to accomplish.  Instead of student achievement it is measuring the teacher, the school district, and serving the politicians.

What do you think?  Is it the same across the country?

Brad

Link

Wikis

Still in my infancy of becoming knowlegeable in the tools available on the web, I am becoming familiar with Wikis.  I am currently part of two Wikis for two college classes I am taking.  A Wiki is a “living” document that can be edited by all members of a group.  I’m finding that my organization may be different than someone else’s organization. This can create problems when we try to have flow in a group Wiki.  Depending on how specific that goal is for a Wiki can also determine which direction the Wiki will go.  Currently my group’s Wiki on how to use Youtube in teaching is evolving.  There is so much information on the web that paring it down is hard.  I have found several sites like Youtube that have potential to help me become a better teacher that this assignment has been beneficial for me.

I’ve always been skeptical of Wikipedia due to how people can edit it.  Although there are still areas of concern, it can be a great starting point for research.  Facts should be verified by other sources though.  I’ve changed my opinion and believe Wikipedia can be a valuable resource.

I haven’t brought up using Wikis in my class but am working on ways I can have students use them in my class.  This may be as simple as collaborating on researching various sports.  I believe Wikis will be well received by both my administration and my students.

Brad

Social Bookmarking

What a time saver!  I’ve never been the most organized person but organization is where it is at.  Using social bookmarking sites such as http://www.delicious.com/stacks/angolajones, I can quickly search by key terms and link my lessons with other people’s resources.  I can have students compile a treasure trove of information on a given subject and have them link them together using a common key word that is unique to the class.  This can lead to my grouping lessons and saving time along with the students saving time and staying engaged.

By sharing with other professionals in my subject areas, I can become a better teacher by using resources others have found.  Why reinvent the wheel when it is right there for the taking?  It will take some time initially to organize the links and to evaluate and make sure the links are valid but that is a small price to pay for a great resource.

 

Brad

RSS

I’ve known about this button for a few years but never knew how it would help me out.  Now due to a class I am taking, I have begun using this resource to subscribe to information I feel will be useful to me.  I don’t have to do a search every time I want to find something out.  In the past I would go like clockwork to various sites to read what people had posted.  Now, that information comes to me through Google Reader.  This is going to save me time. 

I can also use this through my class as students can compile a list of resources that are constantly being updated.  They will be able to read what other students are doing on a day to day basis by subscribing to feeds of other students or classes that are similar to theirs.

Possibilities are endless.

Brad