Monday, October 22, 2007

balance and blogging

I'm sitting in my research class completely overwhelmed. I thought I was almost finished with my research proposal and now I'm not!
One conversation with my professor and my ego is blown....I don't really know how to pick up the pieces of my proposal and have it ready to go next Monday.
I thought that my proposal was focused, but now its unfocused and my focus has changed...

So, since I'm stepping back to rewrite by proposal I'm thinking about my questions and my treatment:
  • does blogging impact student voice
  • does blogging make my student more reflective about content
  • does blogging increase writing proficiency
  • does blogging help students feel part of a classroom community
This is good, I'm just used to being the top of my class, with everything done before everyone else...better than everyone else....for the first time I am not as secure and I don't like it!

Okay, I'm going to step away and try to get it together tomorrow....
ahh tomorrow, I have NHS inductions and Wednesday I have a Read-180 meeting....thursday and Friday I teach at KMS. ....Maybe I can't do it all this week....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Teacher Training Web 2.0

Welcome New teachers to my blog...

A blog is a a place where you can reflect on experiences and knowledge. The unique part of blogging is it is available for the whole world.

To begin your experience, take a look at some of the blogs that I'm reading in my shared blackboard.

I use an aggregator from google to gather all of my favorite blogs in one place. If there is a post that I really like I share it and it shows up on my shared blackboard.

Take a look at one or two and comment on them...
if you feel comfortable comment on the blog directly, if you'd rather go ahead and post a comment to this post about what you read about!!

Happy Blogging!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

ideas for change

In a comment to my blog a few weeks ago, Terry Freedman encouraged me to use technology as a way to differentiate my instruction. The over-all product and duration could act as tools of differentiation. I've been thinking about that and struggling with it.

This week I signed up for a free on-line course on teaching with primary resources that runs on blackboard...

Last week I read a pbwiki blog post by a college instructor who moved away from blackboard to a more collaborative setting and utilized their blog post....

Today I began setting up an ESL history course that is completely moderated through my pbwiki. From here, students could collaborate, read, and create products to meet our goals and objectives...
I'm thinking that at the beginning of the week I give them a video, an article and other resources on the wiki....then they create something to prove to me they understand the content.

Another thought...talking to Joe Miller yesterday at the homecoming parade (go Eagles). I realized I'm not utilizing the iPods AT ALL....big bummer. I quickly made an excuse that my classes were too bid and that I don't trust my students....

My language learners could really bennefit from having the visual and audio reinforcement....

so today...I went to the iTunes "store" and looked for some history podcasts....I couldn't find anything that would accommodate my students...

So, I think I will make my own video podcast for each week that will reinforce the vocabulary and concepts that we are studying...

I'll put the podcast on the wiki and students can access it when they need...

I have 5 weeks until term II when I can test this I really need to get moving and get some input...
if anyone has anything... I'd appreciate the collaboration!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


My evening Adult ESL classes are where I tryout the things I'd like to use in my classroom with my students. The classes are very small and I can test out my tools. For the past few weeks we have been working on using FLICKR and photostory to creat videos relating to the part of speech or skill the students are working on.

here is an example of a video:

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Today I found some really cool tools on one of the links from the K12 Online that gives 50 tools for presentations conference that I want to try out in the next few weeks. The problem I face however, is that the videos and such don't show up through the district filters and firewalls., but the video it creates won't show up in-district. I hope to try out the tools on this site to create some rockin' stuff with them in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I'll pilot them with my adults and have my students use them next semester. (My History classes are still baneed from laptops since two have come up missing!


Okay, I've been tagged by Regina Stewart. I can't wait for K12Online for the following reasons:
  • I'm excited about having the videos load as podcasts and watching them while I walk the dog!
  • I'm excited by the pre-keynote that I watched yesterday and the idea of preparing our students for jobs that don't exist yet
  • Connecting with new people who share my passion.
I will tag non-Global Learners:
Jenn Skrobella
Nadja Tizer
Suzie Philson
L-D Jennings

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday/Monday to do list

I decided to use bullets because I'm not quite awake enough to assign importance to any task.
  • wash the dog
  • dishes
  • grade papers for AM HIS 3
  • Begin drafting unit plan for Vietnam
  • finish work for grad school research class:
    • Final purpose
    • Data collection narrative and chart
    • Tools - draft
    • benefit and risk section
    • confidentiality section
    • Parent and child consent forms.
  • Hopefully I can do some laundry
  • shop for/plant bulbs
  • Maybe some dusting?
  • work on New Teacher training presentation: Web 2.0
  • Read my new book: Suite Francaise
  • NHS officer meeting agenda
  • clean my desk
Black text = done

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Originally uploaded by aatoniajohnson
This is a test. Evidently I can post a picture to my blog via by
sending an email. That sorda' rocks

Thursday, October 4, 2007

MISSION: Create a society that can...

I've been thinking about the discipline post that I ran across yesterday. Especially after I had a run-in with a notorious student. I had a bit of a wake-up call....or a remembrance.

I decided to teach at this school because I was tired of people feeling sorry for these students. Compassion, Empathy, and Understanding are essential characteristics of educators however, as with everything in education, they need to be handled with balance.

Students are given many chances because we feel sorry for them, because we are aware of their background. I appreciate this sensitivity. However, at some point these students learn to be dependent on their extra chances. They stop being grateful because they are always given a "free lunch." It works well for us here, but then they leave here and go to a world that, frankly, doesn't give a s@#$. What life are we teaching them to live if we don't expect them to step up to the plate, and they'll be given a third and fourth chance if they don't?

What if we expected them to use their diversity to become strong people who knew how to help themselves?

What if we expected that they could handle the little extra pressure, because they already are used to carrying an extra load?

Then, would we create students that were leaders?
Then, would we create students who could think and handle tough situations with ease?
Then, would we really be doing our jobs?

If we don't take student behavior serious enough...and laugh it off too many times...I believe that we are setting the student up for failure.

Yeah, we can be nice. We can be friendly...but we need to do it in such a way the the student understands the seriousness of his/her actions.

On the other side of the same coin, we can be tough...but we need to do it in such a way that discipline is a learning experience and that we do it because we care about the student.

In the long-run, my job is to make adults and productive members of society out of my teens. I can do this by making sure they understand that, as a society, we have norms and values that everyone follows.

"The law, for all its failings, has a noble goal - to make the little bit of life that people can actually control more just. We can't end disease or natural disasters, but we can devise rules for our dealings with one another that fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone, and which, therefore, reflect our best vision of ourselves."
--Scott Turow, Author of Presumed Innocent and Limitations (from my Starbucks coffee cup)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

do you suffer from leadership deficiency disorder?

I found this on the Throughlines blog
Discipline seems to be a consistent "hot topic" for educators. Even with the best intentions and amazing lesson plans, student behavior can get the best of us. I enjoyed reading this clip and wanted to share it!

"This passage appeared as a column by John Rosemond in today's Honolulu Advertiser. Tough to find anything to argue with here." -- Bruce Schauble, author of Throughlines

I've said it before, but it cannot be said often enough: The discipline of a child is not accomplished by manipulating reward and punishment. Yes, a child needs to understand that behavior results in consequences, but that understanding alone is not sufficient to grow a well-behaved, well-mannered child.

Besides, whereas proper consequences will virtually guarantee proper behavior in a dog, proper consequences do not guarantee proper behavior in a child (or human of any other age). If they did, no criminal would spend more than one, maybe two, stints in jail.

Discipline is the process by which parents transform a child into a disciple, a little person who will look up to them, follow their lead, and subscribe to their values. This is accomplished through proper leadership, not through the manipulation of consequences. The principles that define proper leadership do not change from one leadership context to another. Therefore, if one understands leadership in, say, a business environment, then one understands how to lead children.

The most important of all leadership qualities is decisiveness. All effective leaders act like they know what they are doing. They act like they believe sincerely in the rightness of their decisions. In parenting, this translates to standing behind one's instructions to a child, enforcing rules dispassionately, and proving that "no" means nothing other than "no."

I have taken to challenging parents in my most recent audiences to assess their leadership using this simple standard. "Raise your hand," I ask, "if your children know, without a shadow of doubt, that when you give an instruction, you are going to make sure it is carried out, that when you state a rule, you are going to enforce it, and that when you say 'no,' you mean nothing less than 'no.' " In a recent audience of some 200 parents, only five responded affirmatively.

I then ask, "Now raise your hand if as a child you knew, beyond a shadow of doubt!, that your parents were going to enforce their instructions and rules and that when they said 'no,' they meant 'no,' period." In that same audience, I estimated that 150 hands were in the air. The relative proportion has been approximately the same in 50 other audiences, bigger and smaller, across America.

This exercise tells why today's children come to school considerably less disciplined than children of even 20 years ago (I've never heard an experienced teacher testify to the contrary). This tells why today's parents are having so many more problems in the area of discipline than did their parents, and certainly their grandparents. It is not because they are not manipulating consequences as skillfully; rather, it is because they are not demonstrating to their children that when they speak, they mean exactly what they say.

Yesteryear's parents were apt to simply tell their children to pick up their toys. Today's parents are apt to ask their children if they will please pick up their toys, "OK?" Today's parents, in the face of their children's emotional dramatics, are likely to demonstrate to their children that sufficient displays of emotional dramatics on their parts will result in "no" changing to "oh, all right!"

The du-jour explanation for a child who will not take no for an answer, who tests every instruction and every rule with the full might of his or her free will, is that an inherited chemical imbalance causes knee-jerk resistance to authority. Concrete verification of this proposition is lacking, but as recent audiences of mine have demonstrated, proof abounds that many if not most of today's parents are suffering from leadership deficiency disorder.

As educators, we should take these comments seriously. The way we "discipline" students molds their identity and their future decisions. Discipline is best accomplished by leadership.

wiki mishaps

my goal in my literacy class today was to have students use my new wiki to describe the reading strategy planning and monitoring and begin adding vocabulary for our story. However, if one student was editing the rest of the students had to wait. And somehow student could "steal" editing privileges, so students would get kicked out of editing. When these students regained control and clicked "save" they accidently erased what everyone else had done!

So, I need to think of a procedure for using wikis. I think that next week I'll try google docs....I think we can all edit and collaborate at the same time.

I'm glad I tried this with my 15 student literacy class and not my 36 student American History class...ouch...I may not have recovered from that...I see my literacy classes as my technology sand box. I figure out the procedures and needs there...and then transfer them to my other classes.

What would a day teaching be without learning...