Sunday, May 4, 2014

C4T Chosen

photograph of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
"'Galloping Girtie'" 

A lesson based on an actual engineering nightmare and failure! The Tacoma Narrows Bridge (picture right) was given the nickname "Galloping Girtie" and collapsed only four months and one week after opening. (egirl Team, March 27, 2012)

 In his post, "STEM: Cantilevers Span," Brian Crosby explains what happens at a family science night when you supply students and parents with paint sticks and washers, give them a few instructions followed by "shoulder shrugs," and stand back to watch the action. Students and parents had a great time learning!

Crosby also explains on his blog, Learning Is Messy!, that this lesson can be extended into other curricular areas such as math and language arts. He even suggests students write a poem from the data they collect! I love it! 

In my comments, I wrote that I would like to initiate a family science night when I return to teaching. I think it's a great way to get parents involved in their child's education. It can be difficult, at times, to get parents motivated and involved. I also suggested that he invite a guest speaker as part of the lesson. Asking a civil engineer to speak to his students may give some of them a career idea to explore. This could even turn into a geography lesson in which students research the state of Washington. 

(I need to work on my "shoulder shrug." Too often in the past, I came to the rescue of my students too soon.)


Restricted Area/Keep Out sign
"Restricted Area!" 

In his post, "Rethinking School District Social Media Policies for Teachers/Students," Mr. Crosby asked for advice on getting changes made to policies that would allow students to use popular sites like YouTube, blogs, and Twitter. Most districts block these sites because they feel the need to protect the students from any inappropriate content that may be lurking there. 

In my comments, like many of the others who had commented, I recommended that Crosby share success stories of districts who had implemented a more open policy. Unlike the others, I did not recommend he start with sharing these success stories with the administration but with the parents of students. If he could get parents on his side, they would push the administration for change which might lead to changes in legislation. I expressed that if he could convince parents their children would be properly monitored and taught ethical use of these blocked sites while at the same time showing them the value of these sites in educating students, parents would be supportive.

word wall with descriptive words about blogging
"Blogging in the Classroom"

Brian Crosby expressed his thoughts about blogging in the classroom in his post, "Unleash the Learning Power of Blogs by Actually Using Them Consistently!" He wrote about the importance of using them consistently in order to gain the maximum benefit from them. He compared it to a model using a gym to sculpt and tone their bodies. He thinks blogging is a great way for students to sculpt and tone their brains and writing skills.

I agree! I wrote in my response that I was new to blogging and have developed a fondness for it. I also said that I would start a blog in my classroom once I return to teaching. My favorite part has been connecting with people in different places around the world, and I think students would enjoy that also. It would not only help them develop technology, thinking, and writing skills, but it would also provide exposure to different cultures! In a way, blogging reminds me of the pen pal writing that we did in school years ago, except it's much quicker! 

photograph of a sprouting seed
"STEM Seeds"

In this post, Mr. Crosby provides links to a fellow STEM teacher's blog. Wes Fryer has a blog called "Moving at the Speed of Creativity". There is also a link to a youtube video that is an hour long which I began to watch but did not have the luxury of time to finish watching. 

Hopefully, in the future, I'll have some time to delve into STEM and see what the theory behind it is. From my first impressions, I think it is closely related to project based learning. I'm also amazed by how easy it is to connect with teachers from all over the world and the impact that's having on the teaching profession. 

NBC News Education Nation logo
"Teacher's Overlooked
 by News Media" 

"With all the talk about how much we value teachers, and especially great teachers..." is a blog post in which Mr. Crosby expresses his concern over the news media being hyper focused on athletes, musicians, and movie stars to the point that a very important awards ceremony in education was overlooked by the news media. He points out that there are several award shows honoring these well-deserving people like the Oscars, but he also wonders where is the spotlight for those deserving teachers who were recently honored at the White House for being the best.

Unfortunately, teachers don't get enough ratings. That's my opinion. The national new media outlets are focused on what gets ratings and what brings in the money. Our society doesn't want to hear about educators. People want to hear about sex, violence, and scandal. 

Mr. Crosby asked if any coverage of the event honoring our nation's highest teachers had been covered by our local news media. I answered with a, "No." I went on further to explain that the latest story involving schools or education that I heard was about a fight between some boys at a nearby school. (Violence gets ratings.) I also pointed out that there are several other professions that go under-recognized by the news media. Some of these include nurses, police officers, and fire fighters.  

Picture of students video conferencing

"Building Literacy Skills"

Mr. Crosby writes about how students communications skills are greatly improved when they are given the opportunities to discuss learning experiences through outlets such as blogging and making videos in "Sharing Real-World Projects Sharpens the Literacy Skills of Connected Students."

He had this to say, "It’s not that being connected is more important than what you want to learn about or learn to do. It is that connectedness can and does lead to learning or resources to learn from and with." I agree with this statement. 

By giving students opportunities to connect and communicate about what they've been learning, we're giving them opportunities to build on what they've already learned, especially in the literacy skills department. Blogging is just one of those ways. I also like the idea of recording videos of students because it's not only important to write effectively but to also speak effectively. 

learning pyramid with methods of training compared to retention rates
This came up in my image search. I liked it, so I used it. 

In this post, Mr. Crosby writes a long list of things he describes as constructive learning. 
I liked this one the most.

Constructive learning is everything fell apart. The group, what we were trying to do, the idea, and it’s best to just walk away.
Constructive learning is everything fell apart. The group, what we were trying to do, the idea, but now we’ve had time and we are enthusiastic about it again.
In my response, I wrote a "Constructive Learning Is..." (as he requested)
Constructive learning is reading blogs and commenting on them on a weekly basis as part of your college computer class assignment! I have been exposed to and learned so much through this assignment. It has lead me to research so many different topics and gain knowledge in a very untraditional and fun way. I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

cover of sports illustrated from 1989 world series
"Earthquake Terror"

In "A Whole 'Lotta Shaking Goin' On," Brian shares his experience of living through the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. It's a very suspenseful account of what happened in the hours and days after the earthquake. He also talks about how preparing his students for earthquakes lead to them being informed and ready to help out with important decisions that could have possibly even saved lives. Some students told parents to fill bathtubs with water, and others suggested shutting off gas lines to prevent fires. Brian had done a great job of preparing his students! 

His story made me think of how I can help prepare students for natural disasters. The one natural disaster that we face here on the gulf coast is, of course, hurricanes. Luckily, we get a warning with those! But that doesn't mean that everyone heeds those warnings. I also told Brian that his story reminded me of a book called Earthquake Terror. When I was a student teacher, the class I was student teaching in was reading this book. It captivated the students, as his story had captivated me, and it also sparked lots of good questions! I wonder if there are any similar books about hurricanes. Hmmm... I'm getting ideas for a lesson! 

picture of a 3D printer
"A 3D Printer!!!" 

Brian Crosby has got to be one of the luckiest teachers in the world! He was recently invited to the University of Nevada, Reno, to build a 3D printer which he will get to take back to his district. In "Building My Own 3D Printer," Brian chronicles the events of putting the 3D printer together and includes lots of photos. (His use of photos is one of the reason I love his blog!) 

In my comments, I applaud him for taking on this challenge because he mentions that he had some reservations since he isn't a proficient programmer. I add that I would like to see some universities in Alabama offer a program like the one offered by the University of Nevada. Having a 3D printer would be such an asset! I can't wait to see how Mr. Crosby uses the printer to enrich the learning process for his students! 

Note: I have thoroughly enjoyed following Mr. Crosby's blog this semester. He's a great role model for teachers, and his enthusiasm for the profession is evident! 

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