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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 | Author:

My web inquiry is about the student creating his/her own definition of poetry.  I feel that poetry can be intimidating for some students because it is abstract and open to interpretation.  I feel students need to realize that because of the abstract nature of poetry, different pieces of work may have different meanings to individuals and they should not be afraid to “think outside the box”.

The main objectives of this webquest are allowing students to realize that poems take many shapes and forms, and are not limited to the rigid structures of limerick, haiku, sonnet, etc.  Once all of the tasks are completed students should realize that poetry can be found anywhere, is open to interpretation, and should be an enjoyable experience.  As a bonus the students will also work on their individual skills and group/partner skills.

This web quest guides the students down many different avenues to explore the definition of poetry. I have provided web definitions and video compilations that provide different perspectives of what poetry is to many different types of people.  This web quest also introduces students to some different forms of poetry that are less structured and more free-style, including song lyrics.   The order of the different tasks provides scaffolding so the students can eventually search the internet or a physical text to find a piece of poetry to analyze with a partner.

In the end, the final group discussion should somewhat resemble the video interpretations of poetry, where the meaning of poetry is different for each student depending on his/her previous experiences and the journey through this web inquiry.  This web inquiry will also show students that there are many sources to leaf through for something as seemingly simple as finding a definition for poetry.


Why is this an inquiry oriented activity?

-This is an inquiry oriented activity because it allows students to read different ideas of what poetry is. They are then asked to synthesis these different views and come up with their own definition.


What elements make it an inquiry oriented activity?

-Internet research, group participation, group discussions, and comparative analysis.


Why will your students be engaged in this topic in this activity?

-The use of current material such as song lyrics, collaboration within a group, ability to pick their own piece of poetry to explore further, using and coming up with their own ideas to analyze poetry.


How do you know they are learning what is intended?

-If the students are able to relate to the poems and provide meaningful interpretations. They may be surprised to find out that songs are a form of poetry.


If anyone is working on poetry with his or her class feel free to take my project into the classroom and let me know how it works out!  It can be found here:

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Friday, March 29th, 2013 | Author:

I loved the websites and!  It is nice to see that there are free resources on the web for extended learning tools that anyone can access.  Not all families can afford different learning software’s and game systems, such as LeapFrog and VTech, and I feel as though this is an excellent substitution.  When I first accessed these two websites my immediate thought was how juvenile they both looked.  However, after setting up a profile and getting started I found it hard to stop playing the games on each site.

I’m sure students will catch on that the games are actual learning tools but it gives them a goal to work towards something, whether it be accumulating money in minyanland or points and badges in brainnook.  It is nice that both tools allow students to take their earnings and “spend them” on different features embedded within the virtual society.  I also like the option to play against other people who are online gaming at the same time.

At this point I’m not sure how I would incorporate brainnook or minyanland into my lesson-plans, for high school students, but I can see how these would be fun websites to visit if students have extra time at the end of class or if there is time to fill before a long break, such as spring break, to keep student’s brains working.   These two websites are also great tools for students to access over spring, winter, and summer break to keep their minds engaged in academics while still having a bit of fun.

The application/tool Edusim (found at is an amazing creation!  I thought this would be a wonderful tool to use with high school students, where the possibilities are endless and there is so much fun to be had!  This would be something to get students up and out of their seats to explore the world around them and receive information on different objects without even asking questions.  I think it would be fun to use this tool to work on research papers, not only to find materials such as books but also to pull information from tangible objects.  Students in the D.C. Metro area could take this tool into the city and pull all kinds of great information on the different monuments to use in a paper.  In a way this type of tool could make students more willing to explore physical locations with this tool to gather information.

What I found most interesting in the presentation of this tool was the “joke” the woman (Pattie Maes) threw out at the end saying they could eventually work toward a brain implant of this technology.  I laughed a little to myself because for years I have joked with some of my friends that if they could implant their phones into their heads they would, this tool brings us closer to that reality and probably will evolve into some sort of brain implant.  Very cool idea overall though!

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Friday, March 22nd, 2013 | Author:

I struggled this week trying to choose which two mini-projects I was going to complete.  I felt as though this selection of tools would all work wonderfully for history and social studies classes because of the very specific nature of some of the websites that involved timelines.

At first I thought I would try working a timeline for Jack London’s “To Build A Fire,” but then I realized there were not any specific dates tied to the story, so my “timeline’s” dates would have been inaccurate.  I would have been grateful for an “estimate date” option or a “year only” option for my timeline.  It also would have been nice to see options such as “Day 1”, “Day 2”, “Day 3”, to show the progression of a short story that has no specific dates.  This frustrated me a bit so I decided to move on with my project and create a simple timeline of William Shakespeare.  While he was an actual person, there were still issues with the program requiring specific dates.  A good portion of the information regarding Shakespeare contains estimated timeframes, but I gave it my best effort and made sure to include in the details when my dates were not exact.  Overall, I enjoyed timetoast but I will definately look for a tool that allows students to chronologgially order short stories or larger works of literature without the need for specific dates.

Check out my timetoast:–96

The next mini-project I tackled was the google my maps.  I actually had a lot of fun with this tool, but it can become a bit time consuming.  I recommend having a definite plan before starting this type of project because it is easy to “pin” every little detail.  The features I really enjoyed were the ease of incorporating images and text, the extremely user-friendly interface, and the ability to relate different events to different places on the world map.  This will be an incredible tool for visual students who need to see where each location is that is being discussed along with relevant images to the text and content being discussed.   I also feel as though students in the middle to high school level would enjoy putting together mini-projects such as this.  It probably would not be too much of a stretch for them since students today are so wrapped-up in technology anyway.

Check out my google my maps here,-122.305298&spn=0.281803,0.593948

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Friday, March 15th, 2013 | Author:

Overall I enjoyed exploring all of the different technology tools presented in this week’s class.  I decided to further explore the use of the comic book format and talking avatar mostly because they are both something I have never used.   I am so glad I decided to try something new this week because I loved using both of these tools!

Picture 4

Comic life was so much fun that my 4 year old got in on the action when I decided to use her dolls to depict my story.  I will admit that the process is not short and quite labor intensive, but I believe the final product was worth every second, and I’m proud of the comic I put together.  It took so much time because first I logged into the site and immediately saw that I needed to have a game plan.

So, I started to brainstorm:

-What was my story was going to be about?

-How many characters did I need?

-Who are the characters going to be?

-How was I going to put the story together?

-Was I going to use my own images or pull them off the internet?

-Do I need to resize the images?

-Do I have enough content to meet the assignments requirements?

This was great because I now know exactly what my students need to do before they start working with this tool.  I feel it is a great way to get students to use technology and also learn about their content area at the same time.  Being able to tell a story with what has been learned is a great way to reinforce information in hopes that it can work it’s way into the long-term memory.

Picture 5Picture 3

The Voki website was also a wonderful experience.  I had so much fun creating my avatar; my husband was cracking up behind me as I talked my way through all of the options.  I guess I made it sound so interesting that he had to come over to the computer and check out what exactly it was I was doing.  He even thought it was a pretty cool little tool.  I will admit that I am having trouble getting my Voki to embed into a website but hopefully I can get the code to work on my portfolio instead of just using the link and a screen shot.  I believe that students will LOVE this tool.  What is more fun than making a female avatar with a male voice that has an Australian accent?  With Voki this is possible and because of all the diverse features it offers the opportunities are limitless for a classroom full of students.

Check out my vokis:

Dog – Idiom Voki

Girl – INDT501 Webportfolio Introduction Voki


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Friday, March 01st, 2013 | Author:

I’m not sold on this shared sticky note idea.  I don’t like that sticky notes can become hidden behind other sticky notes when there are multiple post-its on the wall.  I had no trouble moving around post-its on my own wall but when I was on other walls I did not have the ability to move around post-its that were not my own.  This was frustrating because I could see that some were hidden but I could not access them.  If I was using this with a class would I then have to contact the students who’s post-its were “in the way” and have them move them?  This seems like a whole lot of extra work that could be avoided by starting a discussion board through a class website or even a class facebook page.  It just seems as though it would be easy to miss information that is posted on a wall because there is no organization.  This may just be a flaw of my own because I am somewhat obsessive about having everything organized and being visually pleasing.  As a teacher I feel I would constantly be updating and arranging the wall, so something that should have been a “fun” activity would end up consuming a large amount of my time.  This is why I feel this is not something for me, but I would encourage my students to try it out for themselves, because obviously there will be students who will enjoy this format of expression and collaboration.

As for use in the classroom, it may be fun to use this to create a wall of posts for pieces of literature that have been read in class.  The teacher could take the first 10-15 minutes of class-time to lead a class discussion about the previous nights reading assignment.  The teacher or student volunteers can then record the class discussion on the post-it wall.  Post-its can be broken down by main ideas, the message the author is sending, students favorite moments in the story, possible essay topics students would like to explore, etc.  A link can then be placed on the class website so students can reference the wall from home, the library, their phones, etc, when it comes time to review for a test, write an essay, or complete a project.  I believe that all students could benefit from this but it will really help out the students who don’t take great notes or don’t take any notes at all.  The class discussions will also allow students to build or improve their literacy skills by teaching them what to look for and think about when reading.

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Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 | Author:

This is a wonderful concept and something I would like to try once I get inside the classroom.  Providing students with the flexibility to take the classroom anywhere opens so many doors.  Looking at it from an English teachers perspective this could be very useful when it comes to teaching grammar lessons.  The students can watch the “lecture” portion on their time, and the following class the warm-up activity for the first 10-20 minutes of class can be dedicated to putting into practice what they learned the night before. It would also be a useful tool when introducing students to new vocabulary terms in pieces of literature they are reading. However, it does worries me that some students may not be motivated to watch the lectures on their own, but I guess that leaves it up to the teacher to make the videos entertaining and short enough to make the students want to watch them.

I also enjoyed reading the article “The Flipped Classroom Revealed” in The Daily Riff because it pointed out some of the characteristics that appeared in a successful “flipped” classroom environment.  The common theme throughout all of the characteristics was based on the students’ focus and drive.  Discussions were led by the students and typically reached higher orders of critical thinking.  The students were able to collaborate seamlessly with one another on various topics and interest, and in turn were able to relate what they were learning to real-world scenarios.  The students challenged each other, took ownership of the material, and led one another in discussions without prompting from the teacher.  It was apparent that students in the successful flipped learning environment were becoming active listeners, who were actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that went beyond the scope of the course and beyond the core curriculum.

These students had become genuinely interested in what they were learning and in turn they wanted to fully understand how, when and where to apply their new knowledge.  These are the types of students I want in my classroom, so if I need to “flip” it around in order to find these students I don’t see any problem in at least trying it out.  Besides kids today are so attached to their handheld devices that I’m sure they would love to go home and tell their parents they “have to use the internet” to do their homework.  I realize there is still the possibility of students not having access to a computer or streaming device at home, but they can always take advantage of other resources such as the local library, school library, or work with a friend to complete the online lectures.  Where there is a will there is a way, and I believe that part of this flipped classroom environment is putting the student in control of whether or not they will come to class ready to work or not.



Bennet, B., Gudenrath, A., Kern, J., & McIntosh, P.  (2012).  The flipped class revealed.  The Daily Riff.  Retrieved from

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Friday, February 15th, 2013 | Author:


My drama review animoto take a look

This is an incredible tool for use in the classroom, my favorite so far in this class!  I decided to take a PowerPoint I created on drama (for a practicum class I was in) and the results were worlds away from my PowerPoint.  This format truly takes the viewer on a journey and I believe a lot of that has to do with being able to add sound to the presentation of information.  I wish I had known about this tool sooner because it would have been a much less “painful” approach for the students in the classroom.  The movement, pictures, and words moving all over the screen should keep the attention of the majority of the students, and if all of those aspects are working together the student should be able to walk away with a solid foundation for the teacher to start building upon.

I also thought it was great that took my 10 minute PowerPoint and cut it down into 2.5 minutes.  The character limit is brilliant in that it really forces the creator to simplify and get to the point.  However, for the amount of time I took searching for images, it was disappointing that the video clip was only 2.5 minutes long.  Even though it can be quite time consuming it will not deter me from utilizing this took.  I feel that this format is something today’s students can connect to because it is keeps moving, gets the point across quickly, utilizes tons of color, incorporates music, and can be personalized.

As a quick summary I have also included 2 lists.  One for my favorite features and the other for my not so favorite features:

Favorite features:

-The great selection of music

-The decent selection of photos

-Ease of use

-The character limits

-Availability of websites to import information from

-Ability to import personal photos


-Theme options

-The utter beauty of the final product

-The video changes a bit with each playback

Not so favorite features:

-Where is the auto-save feature?  My computer decided to run into technical difficulties and I lost all of my work!

-After adding text and hitting enter, why do I need to “escape” from that screen?  I believe it should automatically return to the slide interface.

-No pictures of people.

-Text options limited (Where are the size and color?)

In other news for this week….

Twitter.  I’m not sure I’m going to like it.  I don’t have great cell reception at my house and I feel like twitter is a tool that most people use on their phones for “on the go” quick blogging.  I actually have to log on my home computer to use it most of the time.  I find this a bit annoying, just another browser I have to open.

Linked in is something I have been a member of for quite a few years now.  I feel it will be a great help when I complete this Masters program.


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Thursday, February 07th, 2013 | Author:

Scratch Pic

My scratch link:

I spent so much time on this “Scratch Website” this week, I am going to focus my blog on that and answer the questions posed by Dr. Coffman.

What types of problems did you have to solve to create your program?

What problems didn’t I encounter?  I had to go about making 2 full video shorts because in the first one I couldn’t figure out how to get my sprite to reappear back on the page, and then I couldn’t figure out how to save it properly.  I don’t feel that this website is as intuitive as I’d like it to be.  I found myself constantly going back to the tutorials to “see how to do” whatever it was I was trying to accomplish.  It was extremely frustrating to spend so much time on something that looked so childish and mediocre.  Even looking through the site at some of the other projects people posted, I was not impressed by the majority of them.

How did you approach designing your program? Did you sit down and think about what you wanted and what you would need to build your program?

I first sat down (after watching several tutorials) and started playing around with the different features.  I played around with the different sections and then decided to make something simple because I realized this is something that would drive me crazy because I am a bit of a perfectionist.

What are your take-a-ways?

As a perfectionist this type of program is no good.  I could spend at least a week trying to perfect a video in scratch, and still not get “it right”.  If I did suggest this tool to my students I would tell them not to over think or overdo it, but to view it as a fun little resource to restate a main point (whether it is in game, video, or some other format).

I don’t like that I can’t export the videos and I can only paste a link.  I would much rather be able to past in my video somewhere rather than include a like to it.

My favorite moment, however, was when my 6 year old watched my scratch and told me it was for babies and that babies could do this.  I was tempted to let her play around with it, but unfortunately it was her bedtime.  I don’t doubt that she would find this much easier to navigate than myself.  Maybe if we find some extra time one day I’ll sit her down and show her how to use it, and before long she’ll be telling me how it really works.  This made me wonder what secondary students might really think about this tool.

How will this aid in your teaching?

I don’t see this aiding in my own teaching, but I think it would be a great tool to offer up to students.  Personally it is not something that worked for me, but if my students want to use it and it works for them, then by all means I won’t be the one to stop them.

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Sunday, February 03rd, 2013 | Author:

“Cross-Eyed Finger-Eating Cat”

When I looked at the three image search options for this week’s blog post, I realized how lucky I am because I could have pulled ALL of them from my own hard drive.  I have two cats that are constantly cracking me up, a plethora of photos and artifacts in my home from my husband’s trip to Egypt, and also an uncountable number of pictures of monuments from my many visits to the D.C. Metro area.  Alas, the assignment was not to pull pictures of my own, but to find an image that someone else had produced.  I chose to search for a cat image via google and found the included image of the cross-eyed finger-eating cat.

Here are the image search strategies I used:

-Open Google advanced image search
-Used the search phrase “amusing cat”
-Selected Image Size “medium”
-Selected “filter explicit results” in Safe Search option
-Selected “JPG files” under image type
-Selected “free to use or share” under usage rights
-Kept all other options as default selections
-Selected image and dragged and dropped it onto my desktop
-Clicked on image and copied the link it originated from:
-Clicked on the link provided on the webpage ( with the privacy policies that stated in layman’s terms that the privacy policy was: You are free to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work; You are free to Remix — to adapt the work.

The image I choose is protected by a creative commons copyright witch encourages me to share it and use it for my own interests, at least that’s what I gathered in the video we watched this week (  I also went to the blog this photo originated from and the creative commons copyright terms were those that I noted above.

I want to be a good role model in the classroom and this includes following proper copyright procedures.  I do not want my students to end up in court or paying heavy fines because they took away misinformation regarding proper copyright etiquette in my classroom based on my actions.  I believe that actions speak louder than words, so if I back up all of my presentations and materials with copyright information, it will not only show the students that I take the time to do this but also provide them with an example of a citation.

I will take the time to teach this important skill to my students, as digital natives, with so much information at their fingertips, I doubt they even think about who owns what they are re-posting and tweeting all over the internet.  At the rate information moves through cyber-space it is hard to keep track of who owns what, but I want my students to at least make an attempt at avoiding theft of someone else’s hard work.


Nika. (2008, November 23). Lost in the supermarket: Dear Jabari [Photo]. Retrieved from

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Friday, January 25th, 2013 | Author:

This week’s material raised many questions for me, beginning with the Digital Native vs Digital Immigrant section. I found this rather interesting because there is no firm definition of who a digital native or immigrant is. The definitions are loose at best and give concrete ages rather than a year to define who digital natives or immigrants are. That’s all fine and dandy but when it comes to time, it doesn’t stand still, so how is a specific age relevant in a definition? The urban dictionary specifies that digital immigrants are “anyone over the age of 28” (2004), but without looking at when this definition was published, that information may be taken at face value. Something many of today’s digital natives probably wouldn’t take note of because, as Jamie McKenzie states in his article “From Now On”, “they are guilty of “arcade scholarship” (which is) analysis that is superficial and cartoonish” (2007). With that in mind it is hard to believe that today’s digital natives will read all the fine print and make an accurate assessment of the definitions they are reading.

An alternative definition in the urban dictionary suggests a digital immigrant is “someone who was born before the existance of digital technologies and adopted it to some extent later in life” (2011). This definition is a bit vague as well, but it forces the reader to possibly do a bit of research to find out when digital technologies came into existance. Of course the digital native will more than likely scroll down the page in the urban dictionary and find the previouse definition mentioned (with the specified age) and call it a day. Of course the best option would be for the reader/researcher to verify this information by using multiple sources but this would take more work, time and effort.

This brings me to the article we read this week by Greg Toppo “What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st century skills’?”. I agree that students today must master these 21st century skills in order to be successful in the future, and secure jobs that will be relevant in the next 10-20 years. The world wide web has opened vast opportunities to communicate with people from all around the world, so it is extremely important today’s students understand how to use these technologies properly and also how to communicate and collaborate effectively.  However, I also agree that we cannot leave behind what the initial goal of education was, the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic), as they are the building blocks that aid in understanding the technological world that surrounds us today. 

I believe the best way to accomplish both of these goals is to find ways to marry them together and not choose one over the other.  This is something teachers are beginning to do with the introduction of SMART boards/Interactive white boards in many of today’s classrooms.  Teacher’s should be responsible for teaching the core curriculm and allowing students to build on it using additional resources and technologies.  This way the students are given the choice to retain the core knowledge and build on it when working independetnly or in groups, or forget the information and continue to research and learn informaiton on a superficial or shallow level.  

After looking at the Partnership for 21st-Century skills website, I believe this group is on the right track to incorporate the 3Rs and 4Cs into a working curriculum.  While this is still a fairly new idea (2002) their diagram (below) shows great potential and a vision that knows where it wants to go.  Obviously the plan needs some adjustments but that can only happen through a series of trials and errors. There is always room for improvement and in this fast changing world of technology this particular way of teaching and learning will constantly be evolving. The biggest challenge is fitting it all into a 9 month time period but I have high hopes that the integration of technology will make this possible.

















Framework for 21st century learning: 21st century student outcomes and support systems. Partnership for 21st-Century Skills. Retrieved from

McKenzie, Jamie. (2007). From now on. The Educational Technology Journal, vol 17 (2). Retrieved from

Oingodeboingo. (2004, November 11). Digital immigrant. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Snippllewitz, Millard. (2011, September 6). Digital immigrant. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Toppo, Greg. (2009, May 5). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or 21st-century skills’?. USA Today. Retrieved from

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