There are countless ways to express ourselves these days. Up until very recently I stuck to speaking and writing. But now look at me go! I'm a video making machine. This is exciting on a personal level because I feel like my upbringing lacked a lot of technology. However, this is most exciting for how my classroom will change.
I'm going to be making and using a lot more videos to supplement stations in my small group rotation. Using EdPuzzle will help make videos interactive and students can evaluate their learning with a Quizizz or Google form. This is going to engage students and support their transliteracy journey as well. As Jeremy Bruek says in his IDEA talk that the transfer of knowledge in a society can shift the power.
It doesn't feel real. It still feels like we're going to log on to Zoom at 7:30 pm after a long day of teaching to have class. Did we really do it?
This past year was hard. I complained to my family, friends, and co-workers every chance I could get about how tired I was, how burnt out I was feeling, and how stressed I was about getting everything done. But you know what? I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
The skills and knowledge that I've gained since last August is vital to my career. Even if I choose to leave the classroom I know that this year was a year of immense growth. I can make a video (on more than one program!), use google forms for more than just multiple choice quizzes, build a website on weebly. I feel unstoppable. I am a transliterate, tech savvy, TPACK using teacher queen.
I come from a long line of strong and highly educated women. It is an honor to join them and hopefully be an inspiration for future generations.
With just one more week left all the pieces are starting to fall into place. I was really hoping that they would, but you know the saying: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I was getting prepared for the worst. As it turns out, this Summer hasn't been so bad. The hard part was having to teach, collect data, and go to class. In comparison putting all the research together on the website, recording audio over videos, and copying items onto the poster have been a breeze.
When you don't have a day job sucking up 8-10 hours of your day 5 days a week you really have a lot of free time to get other stuff done! Even though I usually pride myself on being lazy or traveling during the Summer months I have to say it's been nice working towards a goal.
Although putting research results into the poster, executive summary, home page video, capstone presentation video, capstone website, and infographics has felt a smidge repetitive. I suppose the degree will be well worth it. It still feels good to see how far we have all come. I can truly say now that I feel transliterate. A term I hadn't even heard of before this program.
I feel okay about my capstone video. Is it going to be a masterpiece? Probably not. Will it include information about my project? Yes.
I was hoping to try stop motion. Sadly, shaky hands and lack of patience quickly defeated me. Next, I thought I'd try some cute pan shots of me doing a big rainbow breath with nature in the background. But have you ever seen yourself in a video and thought, "who is that????" and not in a good way? I have. I'm not a movie star. I'm a teacher who is more comfortable on stage in my classroom than on the silver screen. Thankfully, JP was able to share some stock footage of professionals doing pretty much what I wanted FOR FREE! It elevates the quality of my otherwise plain adobe spark presentation.
Another challenge of this video has been the 90 second time limit. Usually I have no issue staying within time limits because I'm not a very chatty person. However, this is the culmination of our Master's research. I have a lot to say! I'm still playing with the script. As with everything I'm sure it will be just fine.
In Judaism there is a concept called תיקון עולם-Tikkun Olam, or literally repair the world. I feel that my capstone project embodies Touro's Judaic Values in education. Over the course of the school year students learned how to take deep calming breaths in order to focus. With this students are able to repair on their own. By empowering the students to determine when they need to take a breath on their own the student is able to become more independent and confident; thus, able to take the reigns of their own learning.
From here, I will share my research with the new staff I will be a part of at Pennycook Elementary. Originally, I thought it would be best to share this research with grades that took the CAASPP test. However, if even younger students are able to begin practicing taking control of their test anxiety then they will be even more prepared.
Each individual is valuable, diverse, curious, and has the ability to go out to change the world. As teachers we are simply the facilitators of this journey.
When we first started this program back in August I never would have thought that I would become a director, writer, producer, and voice actor. Subsequently I'm also in charge of wardrobe, craft service, script research, hair/make-up, and editing. I'm really a one woman show.
Back in my undergraduate career I helped some fellow actor friends by doing small parts in short films. Creating this capstone video feels a little bit like your boss calling you out for some obscure special skill you lied about on your resume.
"But you said that you have basic video editing skills!"
Over these past few months I've gotten comfortable using Adobe Spark. Now I don't want to use anything else. But, we're pushing to use new tricks. I thought about doing some cute stop motion stick figure stuff. Big mistake. Drawing isn't my thing, not even stick figures. Plus you need 1.5 billion stills to make .02 seconds of a stop motion reel. I felt like Ben Wyatt in Parks and Rec. So, while I'm camping this week I'm forcing my friends to take some shots of me doing some breathing. I don't have to draw anything and hopefully the natural light will be kind.
I appreciated that in Visual Storytelling and the Digital Documentary the author says it's more engaging to use humor. Which is great. I love to laugh and make people laugh. Tough part here is that I want people laughing with me...not at me.
Technology, pedagogy, and content are all deeply connected in a 21st century classroom. The need for students to be comfortable using technology is huge in order to be successful in a world full of apps, gadgets, and tools. I try to incorporate the use of technology for two main reasons: promote collaboration and ease of data collection.
Since the CAASPP test is given all through a computer medium I knew that students needed to engage with technology in order to be as comfortable typing as using a pencil. Their familiarity with technology would also, in theory, ease a portion of stress associated with test taking.
Students have grown up in a world of technology. They have not known a life without smartphones or tablets. With this in mind I turned to GoNoodle to show students interactive videos about breathing and focusing. Breathing is a simple way to reduce blood pressure and increase focus.
Before tests students take the Westside Test Anxiety Scale through Google Forms. This is convenient and easy for teachers since the data is collected and sorted automatically. Based on students’ scores the teacher can assess how students are feeling before taking a test.
Being in the classroom together creates a strong shared experience for students much like the bond between co-workers or family. They learn to become strong on their own and encourage each other.
I really wish I had a big white board to help with my script or two big screens to move stuff around on. If I wasn't trying to reduce my paper trail I would have printed and reprinted my script about 10 times now. But I'm still chugging along.
In class last week I was thinking out loud that there is a fine line between a funny capstone video and an unprofessional one. I like to think that I'm a pretty funny person. However, not everyone would agree with me. That being said I'm going to stick to a more informative style script while using memes that (hopefully) people will find professionally amusing.
As far as video editors go I'm sticking to old faithful: Adobe Spark. It took a long time for me to get comfortable using spark, and there are still components that I'm getting to know. THIS IS MY CAPSTONE! I want the video to turn out nice, so I'm not taking any big risks. I feel like I've already been pretty risky even thinking that I could complete a Master's program.
"Our Mission is to meet or exceed our goals in the area of equity, excellence, educational effectiveness and economic sustainability which determines our daily efforts. We will foster collaborative teamwork to accomplish these goals. We recognize that we must build powerful home to school relationships that support the success of all students. Because safety is critical for each school campus; we will enforce high adult visibility and respond to student matters in a timely manner.
In order to assess whether students are meeting academic and social expectations, we will consistently monitor student progress using a variety of data: observations, walkthroughs, progress reports, test scores, etc., and commit to focusing our resources to best support our students."
Read more from Dr. Adam Clark here.
While, there isn't any true reference to technology in this mission statement...I don't hate it. Vallejo has a relatively new superintendent, Dr. Adam Clark. He's already made some controversials cuts in the district, but these cuts were necessary (I feel) for the the survival of the district.
The team at Vallejo City Unified School District has their heart in the right place. They strive to, "meet or exceed our goals in the area of equity, excellence..." I realize this phrasing is broad. But over the 4 short years I've been with the district I've witnessed more technology coming into the classroom. We've gone from having a computer lab for the whole school to almost each classroom having 1:1 chromebooks. VCUSD is really trying their hardest to play catch up right now. Buildings are in need of renovation and the budget is small. But VCUSD is committed to, "...focusing our resources to best support our students." Do they talk about technology? No. However, to suggest that the district lacks a technology policy and scold them for that would be akin to telling a toddler they should start looking into Ivy League colleges.
When VCUSD is in a more stable place I would love to suggest some ways that our mission could incorporate 21st century learning more explicitly. In a revised mission statement they could say: VCUSD strives to ensure that all students are 21st century learners. VCUSD students and staff are fluent in digital literacy. Students are not only using technology in the classroom to ensure their success in a 21st century classroom, but also in a digital workplace.
There are countless resources that are simple and user friendly to get them started. I would suggest becoming a Common Sense Media district.
Logos: a good one will grab your attention, a bad one will grab your attention for all the wrong reasons. If we look at our favorite brands, companies, and fast food restaurants their logos all have something in common. The bold use of color, simple word choice, and strategic white space.
This week I tried my own hand at creating my own logo. I knew that I wanted bold colors. But I found that it was difficult to create something of my own imagination. I started on Logomakr. Through this website the user has freedom to choose a variety of icons or graphics. This website is user friendly and has many options. Maybe too many options for me personally. Ultimately I went back to Logo Joy, or Looka.com, which I had explored during class time. This site takes a little of the creative freedom out of the process, but for someone like me it simplifies the process by asking a series of questions then Looka generates a few options for you to choose from.
See my first draft from Logo Joy here.
While, I like the simplicity of this logo (I'm a sucker for black and white), I don't think it really captures the feeling of my capstone. So, it'll do for now, but I'm going to keep playing with it.