Monday, March 31, 2014

Loving Animals

After reading the post about a woman who argues with her sons about keeping a dog they rescued I am compelled to write about the dog we rescued 3 years ago....

We already had two pure bred golden retrievers who were well trained, personable and absolutely crazy when they wanted to be, need not mention they wanted to be 75 pound lap dogs. One day my brother called my mom and ask if we could take in a new dog and find him a home. After more probing and questions we were told this situation:

My brother's girlfriend had a neighbor who was looking for a good home for her dog, he was pure bred golden retriever and he was well behaved. If we didn't take him they were going to take him to a pound where they would most likely put him down and not find a loving and caring home for him at the young age of two.

Being the caring and compassionate family we are we decided to take him in. We already had two dogs, what was one more?

My brother finally brought Jeter home and we couldn't wait to meet him. We all worked at different times that day and had to see him individually. To keep the other dogs from pestering him before he was well acquainted and to make sure no dog fighting happened we left him in my brothers room with the door closed unless someone was home to properly integrate the dogs together.

Not much after he was brought home my mom called to tell me "We are not keeping him!" I was upset and confused as to why we were finding another home for this poor dog. Well when I met him I knew why...

Jeter was not a pure bred, he was a mix of which we are still not sure of. He had pointy ears, fluffy hair, a curly tail and a very purple tongue. However, he was just too sweet and cute not to love instantly.

Even though Jeter was not the dog we thought we were going to rescue from a home that no longer wanted him, three years later he is the light of my life and a very happy and well cared for puppy. He has taught us new tricks and he has warmed up to the family after what we think was an abusive past. I am happy to call him my little fluff ball and wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Facilitating this weeks class was much harder task than I was expecting. However, I feel I pulled the most and best information from the articles and videos and posed great questions. Here is my summary and questions:

What is the difference between collaborative and cooperative learning?

         Both terms favor small group active student participation over passive, lecture based teaching. Both strategies assign group roles and encourage collaborative learning through working together to finish a specific task.  One difference is that cooperative learning is more structurally defined than collaborative learning.

        Differences can be categorized by knowledge and power. Cooperative learning is a methodology for traditional knowledge and collaborative learning is a methodology for social construct. Simpler, cooperative learning is a teacher based model where the teacher holds the authority and group tasks have specific answers, whereas collaborative learning is student based learning where groups are given complex tasks.
When these terms are used in conjunction with each other these are other terms used as well:
team learning; problem-based learning including guided design, case studies, simulations; peer-assisted instruction including supplemental instruction, writing fellows, mathematics workshops; discussion groups and seminars; learning communities; and lab work”
  • ·        What ways do you support collaborative and cooperative learning in your classrooms?
  • ·         Do you use them together, separately or not at all?
  • ·         Is there a strategy you feel works best?

Constructivism and Inquiry Based Learning

         Constructivism is described as the methodology that allows individuals build knowledge through their experiences. Individuals are active in the process and not passive to receiving the information. It’s stated that it is important for schools and teachers to get the students to think outside the box and thinking critically to finding solutions to the problems. The process through understanding and creating gets the students learning in a process that builds on prior knowledge and experiences. Constructivism is a theory behind the WebQuest Model and in support of inquiry based learning.

         Inquiry Based Learning is active learning by putting the learner in the center of the activity. Inquiry based learning is based on critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving. The strategy helps students become independent in thinking and generating answers to the questions.  As technology evolves in to the Web 2.0 world, inquiry based learning takes a turn into the WebQuest and World Wide Web to generate answers to the questions and elevating the learning experience.  
  • ·        Do you use WebQuests for inquiry based learning?
  • After exploring the resources will you start to implement WebQuests in your classrooms?
  • ·         Will you create your own WebQuests?

The process of cooperation and morality of experiments with animals

         This video was very interesting for me. He speaks about different animals and how they work together, fight, make up and procreate based on cooperation, food and discipline.  Much like humans chimpanzees reconcile after fights, they hug and kiss in embrace after a fight. The pillars of morality are reciprocity and empathy. He gives examples of chimpanzees and elephants. When viewing the video of the chimpanzees they cooperate to pull in a box that has food on top, they go to another video after one chimp is already full. But through motion, gestures and communication the other chimp helps out his friend get fed. The most interesting fact was that the chimpanzees will eventually return the favor for helping his friend get food.

         In the elephants video they have an apparatus around a rope and the rope needs to be pulled simultaneously otherwise the rope disappears. The elephants come to the apparatus where food is waiting; they come together, pull together and are fed together. They make the process harder and change the way they release the elephants this now shows the intelligence of how the elephants work together to reach an end result.

Synchronization- when I yawn; you yawn. Related to empathy, activates same part of the brain.  Autistic children don’t have yawn contagion.  He did this the same thing with chimpanzees and he also experiences yawn contagion. This idea is universal in most mammals.
Consolation- When someone is upset and someone else comes over with a hand on the shoulder to calm them down.
Pro-social- Tokens and rewards system. Red means they won’t share and green means they will share.  The chimp picking the tokens will always be fed. This study showed that they did care about the welfare and wellbeing of the other chimps. The pro social token rate went down when the chimp started taunting the other. One chimp saying to the other, “If you aren’t going to behave, you won’t be fed.”

           As he continues to show the life and experiments with chimps he feels they are getting closer to fairness and that animals can have it. Experiments were done with different mammals to see the changes or differences in each.

  • ·         Do you think most mammals have a sense of cooperation and empathy? Is it training or genetics?

Video-Clay Shirky about Web 2.0

          Desperate housewives, I love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island have dissipated thinking that built up and caused society to overheat. He states that, “Waking up from a cognitive bender that is now a cognitive as surplus than a crisis.”  How big is the surplus? Wikipedia in its entirety one hundred million hours of human thought. He breaks down the surplus as television watching 200 billion hours in the US alone every year, 100 million hours a weekend just watching the Ads. Very large surplus, what do we do with it? Experiment and find new ways to integrate the surplus and finding new ways to use it which eventually finds its way into society.  “Better to do something, than nothing.”

  • ·         What forms of civic surplus can you also contribute?
  • ·         Is there a form of Web 2.0 you think the surplus will hit first? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Today's Inspiration is balancing work and home life. I chuckle to myself as I see this because I never have had a sense of balance especially when it comes to work and home life. I have been working since I was 13 and officially hired at my first job at 16. I have only continued to work 2 or more jobs at any given time to pay my bills, get myself through school and even create a social life in the work place. I loved almost all of my jobs and I enjoy going to school as well. Even though this is all hard work and expensive it creates me.

This is where I feel my home life suffers. I always had work come first, seeing as work paid my way through everything I have done. My family has always understood and never gave me a problem over working because my end result was always finishing my degrees and going forward with my career as a teacher. As I get older my family has always changed holiday dinners and meetings to meet my needs at work. I never stopped to think if this was setting the rest of my life off balance.

Do I work too much? Should I cut back and be home more? How do I change my ways? Does work really run my life? I think it's time to stop and evaluate my work and home life to make it better for myself and my family. My friends always tease me that I work too hard and I am frequently over worked and I do not disagree however I am not sure how to stop....

I value my work and every job I have ever done, I feel this will lead me to and help me be the best teacher I can be when I finally get into that position.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interactive Learning 101

Technology has been playing a huge part in teaching today. Do we integrate technology? Do we continue with no integration? What do we use? What don't we use? How much is too much? Is it not enough?
There are questions brought up all the time in today's classrooms. Now most classrooms are using some form of technology even if it's just a SMARTboard.

After reviewing some articles this week I learned more from one article than I expected. Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts. First off I had no idea bout Facebook and video chats let alone Facebook and Skype have partnered up.  The article talks about the pros, cons and differences between the two. I have used Google Hangouts for my online class when our group needs to meet, for me it works great. Unlike WizIq it was much easier to use and all of us had no issues with our webcams or audio. I have not tried the new feature of Facebook yet and not sure if I plan to, seeing as I no longer have a Facebook and not every one has one, so signing up just to use the Chat Feature would be a small waste, when you can use Skype or Google Hangouts by using a phone number or email. I am interested to see what battles are created between Facebook and Google in the future as far as who creates what first and which one works better and sticks around...... Let's see what the future holds!

Another article that blows my mind! Methodology explains that it isn't who is teaching a course but how. This for me is a revelation. I grew up in a traditional classroom when technology had not made a big surface yet. We had the old school projectors that if you moved wrong the papers went flying or you moved it the wrong way and it went blurry. We had hunky Dell computers and floppy disks. Now times have absolutely made a change and are much different. A study was done with two almost identical classrooms and one was taught by a veteran teacher giving a traditional lecture--in comparison the other classroom was taught by teaching assistants with TV remote like devices. Guess what class learned more?  Yes, the classroom with the teaching assistants scored almost twice as high on a test.  This might just put us teachers out of business. If anyone with the knowledge of technology and the course information can teach than us teachers should gear up and start being hands on and loose the lecturing method.
                      "It's really what's going on in the students' minds rather than who is instructing them," said lead                            researcher Carl Wieman of the University of British Columbia, who shared a Nobel physics prize                          in 2001. "This is clearly more effective learning. Everybody should be doing this. ... You're                                  practicing bad teaching if you are not doing this.

                      Lloyd Armstrong, a former provost at the University of Southern California and professor of                                   physics and education, agreed that the study shows "it's not the professor, it's not even the                               technology, it's the approach."

The last line of the article states:
                     "Lectures have been equally ineffective for centuries," the Nobelist said. "Now we have figured out                         ways to do it better." 
I couldn't agree more!


Blogging To Connect

Blogging to connect-a term or phrase I never gave much thought to. Now that I have reviewed Blogging to Connect by Dr. Nancy Zingrone that there is more to blogging than writing, connecting, teaching, homework, classrooms, ect.

The simple facts that she states are so obvious I can't believe I have never gave it thought or realized what the benefits were. In today's world social media has given way to a much larger social interaction via technology and internet. Blogging is not much different than social media, but it's a place where you can post your individual thoughts and feelings while creating a beautiful page that reflects just you!  Each blog is differnt and we learn more about the person then just what they write about. We learn their style, way of writing, maybe even their favorite color and their themes of the page. The more time goes on I find myself using more blogs and connecting with people on different sites I never thought I would, (i.e. TwoWritingTeachers) and enjoying every moment of it.

Some things that Dr. Zingrone discusses about blogging are:

  • connecting yourself by sharing your personal ways
  • connecting to anyone-anywhere
  • blogging is your intellectual, personal journey
  • authenticity of blogging- sharing not forcing
  • use different blogging forms- see what fits you best
  • integrate different forms of technology 
    • screen-cast-o-matic
    • podcasting
    • voice thread
  • personal blog--blogging connecting with yourself
She makes an excellent point about writing and if we write on paper anymore. Most poeple are using blogs for writing in any form and not paper any more. Dr. Nellie Deutsch states that , "I cannot write on paper anymore."

See some snap shots from the meeting: 

This slide is of one she shares from a class the day before

 All the link she speaks about


Week 3 of posting my Slice of Life, I realize that a lot of the posts and inspiration is based off of poetry. The older I get I find it harder to sit down and write. I used to love expressing my ideas, stories and views from my personal point of view. However, I truly believe I let work and life get in the way. As a student and a worker for most of my life I never allowed my self "free" time. The only free time I allow is for my friends and now a lot for reading (usually before bed most nights).

As life goes on I reflect on my work, recently I decided to retrieve a poem I had published years ago when I was writing frequently on They chose my poem and it was published in a book for me and my grandfather purchased a copy for me to keep and remember. I remember how happy and excited my family was for me, every year they encouraged me to write for the news paper Halloween Short Stories (non which I was picked for) and continue to write poem and try to publish them elsewhere. 

The inspiration for this poem came one warm summer night when we were kids at my neighbors house. We live where there is ton of woods and wildlife. As a typical summer night we were all on the front porch playing cards and two deer come out to feed on the berry bushes in the clearing of my neighbors yard. 

Here is my first and only published poem:

The Amazing Sight

The house I know I'm at
Looking far and near
The warm air soothes me
As I watch the bushes sway
The mother deer comes out and looks around
We all stopped to watch
All of a sudden a fawn comes out to play
It stays close to its mom, not to go very far
As we watch closely, the fawn feeds on the berry bushes
Once it had its fill, it runs away into the woods
Mother following after
Not to be seen again for a while
Then we go back to talking
And as we did before
Also what we had just seen before

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Different Way of Life

It's Tuesday and I am 3 days into a new and different way of life. Over the last few years I have worked hard to dedicate time and effort to maintaining a healthy life style. 3 weeks ago that all changed...

On Valentine's Day I enjoyed an amazing dinner with my boyfriend, that evening after retiring to bed I woke with the most excruciating pain I have ever experience in my abdomen. I chalked it up to heart burn and indigestion because I ate very close to going to bed. However, 3 weeks later and 3 more episodes of this excruciating pain I landed in the Emergency Room.

Saturday night I only had two choices- 1) remain in pain and let it pass, not knowing what it was caused by or 2) go to the emergency room and see if it is serious or not!

1 doctor, 2 nurses, blood work and an ultra sound later; I  was diagnosed with gallstones! I am now almost half a week into revamping my lifestyle to avoid this pain... I have to say it is going well, I always thought I ate well but now it has a whole new meaning. I now have to be cautious of any food I eat.  I have to eat a diet full of most fruits and vegetables and avoid any fat, juices, and  meats. I realize how important this is to my health but boy is it hard.

2 more weeks to go before I find out if I loose this tiny little painful organ in my liver or if I get to keep it and these insane eating habits...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Digital Citizenship, Footprints & Internet Safety

As the sun gets closer to the earth and the days get longer I sit here and play games on Blubbr. I still am unsure of how I really work this site and I am not a huge fan of games. If I play games I prefer to play Sudoku and Mind Games. I prefer to read, but I gave it my best shot. 

I have played the Digital Citizenship, Digital Footprint and Internet Safety games. Each game is a short video clip of information whether it is a song, a person, a comic or just words and follows is a question on the information that was just given. The information is right in the video if you are actually paying attention. When I first signed onto the site they sent me to a game that was lyrics of music I was unsure of I did not do very well. However, on the ones I was asked to complete I did very well with the information given, although the ones I got wrong I was just careless and not paying attention. 

Here is screen shots of my scores:

After playing the games and reviewing the information given it is important that the younger digital natives of the world know this information before they access the internet. I no longer am a part of Facebook or Twitter, I do have an Instagram but I do not post frequently. The accessibility by anyone to this information usually only involves a few clicks or hacking into someones account. As a teacher I would like to play the games in my classroom and gain awareness to how important it is to protect yourself and those you allow on your pages or what and where you post. As fast as technology is taking over and making our lives more entertaining, easy and knowledgeable we need to create a world of safe internet use! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Slice of Life

A challenge posed to me is to create a Slice of Life post on Tuesdays and share it on the Two Writing Teachers Website. I wasn't sure what this all meant but it is just a snip-it of your life that day and shared with the world.

Here is my Slice of Life:

Today's as I take the drive to work, the hour long commute on 4 different highways can leave me to have plenty of time to think. Usually about the daily tasks and upcoming events for work, school or my personal life; and today was no different.  On my way to work my assistant manager let me know that we were out of milk and she hadn't had time to get any. So instead of trying to find time in the day I drove to work, passed my store and down the street to the local Kings Market. Here I would pick up milk before work so I would not run out during the day. I went into the Kings Market and returned to my car promptly five minutes later. I then returned to my car back up the hill to my job. I opened the door and went to put everything away and get my day started. I had a lot to do after being off for two days. However, this mornings easy task of putting the milk away did not go as I planned. I turned on the lights took off my coat and went to grab the grocery bag that kept the gallon of whole milk. As I took my second step toward the fridge on the other side of the door the plastic handle broke and the milk went tumbling to the ground. As the milk hit the floor the plastic container broke and milk poured all over the floor and under the freezer. Luckily I was able to save more than half of the milk and transferred it to the empty container we had left from the last one. Needless to say my day did not start well, I spent 15 minutes trying to get the milk out from under the freezer so that it was completely clean. I went about my day and didn't let the spilled milk ruin my day, however it was a speed bump I could have done with out! What's the saying? "There is not use in crying over spilled milk"