A New Year

Good Morning All,

I sure do get excited at the beginning of each school year. Incredibly, I still get butterflies at the start of each semester (and this is my 15th year teaching). I love school and I’ve made it my mission to help my students share their voice, their passions, and their talents with the world around them. I believe that technology can help them do that.

All things in moderation, right? Technology is no different. I like to use digital tools when they serve a purpose. For example, if a student works on a service learning project, it’s more powerful if the student creates an infographic and shares his learning with the school, with his family, with his community, and with his friends INSTEAD OF just turning in a report to the teacher.  Having an authentic audience provides a sense of purpose to a project.

As our world gets increasingly “flat,” it’s important that we learn (and teach our students) how to collaborate in digital spaces. Google Drive provides several tools that can enable students to work together across great distances, or across the room, to create documents, presentations, etc. Not only can students collaborate in this manner, educators can work together as well. For example, after the recent events in Charlottesville, VA- educators took to Twitter with #CharlottesvilleCurriculum and shared ideas for helping students. One educator started this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1afj_R5ZjDcChmLQnQ-6PigVdPHu_VKFOCOThLDn7xyU/edit to encourage collaboration and the sharing of resources.

Another way to use digital tools in the classroom is to increase communication. For example, teachers can use Flipgrid to encourage their students to communicate within and beyond the four walls of the classroom. And, guess what? You’re going to try this tool today.  It’s free. It’s an app (for phone or tablet) and it has a web-based platform as well.  Instead of typing or hand-writing a response, students can record up to a minute and a half of their thoughts and post the video to a discussion board.  Did I mention it was free? And easy!  Let’s try it now (look at your instructions in Blackboard).  After you post to our board, think about how you could use Flipgrid in your own classroom.

For more ideas on increasing authenticity, collaboration, and communication in your classroom, check out From Pencils to Podcasts and stay tuned to EDCO 305!

Many Hugs-
Dr. Yearta

Advertisements

Back to School

Hello and Welcome:)

 

 

I’m a teacher, plain and simple. I look forward to the beginning of a new school year like some people look forward to a vacation in the Bahamas.  I LOVE the beginning of school!  The new year holds so much promise. We get to decide what we want to learn, what we want to try, and what kind of change we want to make.

You have chosen to work with children. You have selected one of the most honorable careers that exists. We get to teach our kids how to advocate for themselves and for causes that they believe to be important. How to keep trying, even when they want to give up. 

In this course, we’ll learn about technology that can help us in our personal and professional lives. You know what else you’ll learn?  How to keep trying when you want to give up.  Sometimes technology can be frustrating. But if you stick with it, if you get creative and think of other options, if you collaborate with others to find a better solution, you will learn some valuable life skills. We want our students to have a “growth mindset.”  We want our students to equate trying hard with getting desired results.  (See this article in the Huffington Post). Therefore, it’s vitally important that we  live this mindset as well. I look forward to teaching and learning with you this semester.

Hello from Dr. Yearta’s Voki!

Dr. Yearta

because of mr. terupt

 

mt

In a poignant convergence of the lives of seven fifth graders in a brand-new teacher’s classroom, Rob Buyea enables his readers to see themselves reflected in the pages.  While reading because of mr. terupt, I could not help but think about the fact that each of us is dealing with our own problems, heartache, and how- when we are kind and considerate of one another, when we work to build one another up instead of tearing each other down- we are all better off for it.

Mr. Terupt is the new teacher at Snow Hill School and while he certainly has a classroom full of strong, what could be considered stereotypical personalities, each of his students is as different from one another as any student or teacher would expect. The seven narrators of the story are as follows: the typical class clown, the queen bee, as some would call her, the mean girl ringleader as others might say, the shy, withdrawn girl, the genius, the new girl in town, the timid follower, and the slacker.  As the readers get further into the story, they realize several things. First, labels are just that, short phrase-like descriptions that do not even scratch the surface of who someone is. We have to get to know one another. We have to give each other a chance. Each person is engaged in his or her own battle.  Kindness wins. Love is the lesson to be learned here- not fractions, the Great Depression, or the five paragraph essay.

When Mr. Terupt is involved in a terrible accident, it’s clear that the ripples of love and kindness that emanate from him have a lasting impact on his students and their families. Who knows where his resounding influence will end.  He is the type of teacher that we all strive to be (and, of course, Mr. Terupt begins his teacher career like this).

Whether working on building empathy in your classroom or simply searching for an engaging story, this would make for an excellent read aloud for third through eighth grade.  It would also serve as a wonderful choice for a literature circle book. The quality discussions that can be had while reading this book are infinite.

Because of Mr. Terupt is a story of love, of forgiveness, of not giving up on one another no matter what. We are each a work in progress. We can wake up each day, determined to do better, to be better, than the day before.

Cyberbullying

While attempting to locate sources for a diverse class full of many different majors, I came across Trisha Prabhu’s TedTalk. I found it to be informative, yes.  More importantly, I felt that it had an emotional draw.  I was invested from the beginning as I listened to her tell of children, yes children, who had killed themselves as a result of being victims of cyber-bullying.

I know that I’m teaching a “Technology in the Inclusive Classroom” course.  But, I couldn’t help but think that the same things could easily happen in a face-to-face bullying situation.  Trisha created a tool, the Rethink your Words tool, that allows parents and educators the opportunity to put one more safeguard in place for their children.  This tool forces users to think about their message, if it appears to be harmful.  Trisha found that in most instances, this moment to think was enough to change teens’ minds about posting.

I don’t think that all tools need to be digital. In fact, Christian’s Buddy Bench is another tool created by a student that allows for children to feel more accepted and the environment to be more inclusive. In my opinion, the most important thing is that we have conversations. That we encourage our children to think of others and to remember that we’re all in this together.

Welcome to EDCO 305!

 

Hello and Welcome:)

I am very much looking forward to this semester. I’d like to take a minute to introduce myself.   My research predominantly focuses on the utilization of technology in the literacy classroom. For example, I have looked at the impact of a digital word wall on the acquisition, retention, and motivation to study Greek and Latin roots. My colleague and I have a book coming out this July on how teachers can effectively use digital tools in the classroom.

Now, for a bit about my family… I have a six year old daughter, Grace, who is a rambunctious, smart (sometimes too smart), active child. She loves to play in the yard for hours.  I also have a nine month old named Elizabeth.  My husband, Charles, and I met when we were in college. He and I (well, mostly he) are painstakingly attempting to renovate our 1938 house. I’m really good at picking out colors and deciding what room needs the most work. Charles is good at making it happen! We also have two Westies, a brother and a sister, who are now twelve years old.

I love to read.  I have been teased for years about how much I love to read.  I always have a book with me. My family can attest to the fact that there are books all over our house.  If you’ve read anything good lately, shoot me an email with the title. Reciprocally, if you need a book suggestion, let me know! I enjoy writing and researching. I also enjoy running. I can run about 3 miles now; I’m not fast but I’m proud of the distance that I can cover, considering I couldn’t run a mile in high school. So, three miles isn’t too bad for this old gal.

That’s about it. As I mentioned earlier, I am really looking forward to getting to know you all. This will be a “fast and furious” course. It will be a significant amount of work, but it will be worth it. Please let me know if you need anything.

Dr. Yearta

 

Hello from Dr. Yearta’s Voki!