Amy Barnabi - Reflections of Blogging

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WII In Use

Christmas at CIS & the Wii Fit Project


Lots of amazing things have happened since this dream became a reality in June 2009. The Wii Fit Project is up and running at Claymont Intermediate, in Dennison, OH, and as of early December, we've just received funding for a NEW grant (Ohio Action for Healthy Kids - Thank you!) that will place the Wii project in a third grade elementary class at Eastport in January (thank you Derek!).

This project will also take another step forward in January, as it will be used by the Pre-K classes at Claymont on Thursday mornings (during my prep period). Thank you Avy and staff! *In November, took the Wii Fit to Immaculate Conception (pre-k, second, seventh grades), and it was a HUGE hit!!

From a personal stand point I cannot be any more pleased than I am with the results of the first cycle and 1/2 of this research project. The more I read about gaming in education/exercise and how it correlates nothing but positive results, the more I get excited about expanding this.

On the last day of school for this year, the students played the teachers in dodge ball (kids brought in x amount of canned goods for under the Christmas tree, they got to play). The only part of my body that was sore the next day was my arms from throwing. I thought for sure I would get sore as the day went on.. I wasn't. Then it dawned on me. I exercise with the kids every morning using the Wii Fit Project. That's 15-20 minutes a day M-F. We stretch and do moderate cardiovascular exercises (still need ten more minutes in gym). If this is what it's doing for me - Imagine what it must be doing for the students? Wait, I know the answer to that one..

May God bless you in the New Year.
Get up, Get out, Get Active!
The Wii Fit Project 2010 -

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Month 7 Action Research

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15MvT2O7zyg

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Can you believe that it's already Thanksgiving? I'm currently working on my Cycle 1 results from the first cycle. The numbers are impressive! I also am writing my Lit Review. I'm anxious to get both completed to show the results so far in The Wii Fit Project. Narrowing down a new name for the project - something more original. I think I found a winner! Waiting on imput.

The numbers of those who are participating in the morning have faded a bit, but I have consitantly 14-15 kids in the gym every morning (there are 22 students in my homeroom). Of those that are participating, WOW! It just reinforces what I've thought all along... Exercising improves every aspect of the student's lives! God Bless all of us :) and thank you, God, for all the blessings in my life. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EMDTA_Action Research BLOG 11/15



* How is your AR project unfolding for you?
My AR project is going very well. I wish, however, that I had more time to devote JUST to it at this point in time. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving break for various reasons, but also in hopes that I'll get to spend a bit more time working on my project.

* How are you tracking your data?
Cycle 1 is completed. I'm going to put my data into Numbers. All the data has been collected for Cycle 1, it just needs to be written out in black and white.

* What's happening in your research that you didn't expect? Explain.
The receptiveness of the program of itself has been incredible. I have people throughout the district and community asking questions about our project, and others wanting to volunteer to be a Guest Friday participant with my students in the gym. I also didn't anticipate wanting to start another Wii Project™ so soon, but my hopes is to get at least one or two other buildings up and running by spring. My other goal is to get all buildings active using this program by fall 2010 (that would include a total of five buildings).

* How has this month’s course (so far) helping in shaping your ARP?
This is by far the hardest course I've taken from FS thus far. Lisa has been great, but there are lots of things I just didn't know how to do, so I've had to ask for lots of help with this. I love the idea of designing my own e-learning site, but it's like anything else, trying to find the time to do so.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

Building is getting hit by various germs. I was out today. We have been using the NEW Wii Fit PLUS and kids love it! I've taken lots of pics and videos this week of kids using the program. They continue to amaze me on how simple this program is and how much they truly love being up and active in the morning prior to starting our days. I know it throws me off when we can't be in the gym (example picture day).

The kids who are actively participating are showing a difference in the classroom and out of the classroom. I still wish I could spent at least 10 more minutes in the gym in the morning. At CIS, we give kids breakfast in the morning, so they need time to eat and get organized before the day officially starts at 7:50AM. We are in the gym right now from 7:15-7:35. The kids always hate leaving. One thing we always do before dismissing to classes is we huddle up and discuss how to focus and approach the day. This is my favorite time! I miss coaching and these guys and gals are my TEAM and then some this year! I feel personally connected to each and every one of my kids.

One guy is still on the sidelines and not participating. Mom and dad are not sure about using video games in the classroom to teach. I will meet with them during conferences in a few weeks and hope to convince them otherwise. He paces back and fourth in the back while we are doing the Fit Project. He doesn't have to come into the gym, and is allowed to sit with the others in the cafeteria, but chooses to join us each morning. I'll keep you updated!

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009

Just returned home from seeing WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE with my four year old son, Nate. Movie was dark, just like the book. Too much Full Sail in my blood now. I was critique the movie - and how they could have made it better.

Project was at a stand still this week due to sixth grade camp. We will start again on Monday first thing. Can't wait!!

Starting my AR website this weekend (thanks for the input, Roxanne!!). Now that I know what I have to do, I can let the ideas flow! I love fall. It brings an intensity unlike any other season for me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 4 - POST #7 SECOND LIFE

Second Life

I joined EDtech in Second Life tonight. It may serve as a valuable resource for teachers like myself, but I was less than impressed when in this PG rated room, I overheard an X-rated, let’s say, “simulation” taking place. For myself, that is the biggest concern of this virtual community, the content that sometimes slips through the cracks and gets filtered out for all to see, or in this case, hear. For educators who think real life does not offer enough opportunities to practice their profession, there is Second Life, an Internet-based virtual environment that counts thousands of educators among its enthusiasts. Second Life bears a passing resemblance to an online game, with users represented by digitally drawn characters, called avatars, that can interact and engage in a vast array of activities. But a growing number of K-12 educators and groups have come to see the 3-D virtual environment as having educational potential that is very real (Science Daily, 2009).

Hundreds of leading universities and school systems around the world use Second Life as a vibrant part of their educational programs. Linden Lab works enthusiastically with education organizations to familiarize them with the benefits of virtual worlds, connect them with educational peers active in Second Life, and showcase their in world projects and communities (Second Life Grid, 2009). For the thousand of high schools and middle schools wanting to use Second Life, there is the teen site, Teen Grid. where only teenage players can socialize. When teenagers turn 20, they must automatically leave Teen Grid and join the Second Life “real world.” Studies produced by Northwestern University show that most teens are chatting and interacting with their real life friends, or friends of their friends. In the virtual world we have found ways to follow the trends of teens. In our own world where we often find it difficult to find out information about what’s going on in our own teenagers life, this study is phenomenal!

Online chats and virtual worlds, than often are recreated in historical relevance, help students become proactive in their learning. Most people, even educators, think online learning doesn't require participation or engagement with course material. But in "Second Life" there's real-time interaction, which means students need to engage in the discussion -- much as if they were sitting in a brick and mortar classroom (CNN, 2006).

Wong, Grace. (2006). Educators explore second life online. Retrieved September 25, 2009 from, http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/11/13/second.life.university/index.html

Northwestern University (2009, February 14). Tracking the digital traces of social networks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/02/090213161031.html

Second Life (September 2009). Second life grid. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from http://secondlifegrid.net/slfe/education-use-virtual-world

Month 4 Action Research

http://web.me.com/abarnabi/Amy_Barnabi/Above_Average.html

LINK TO MY IWEB SITE WHERE NEW BLOG ARP Month 4 - IS POSTED! CHECK IT OUT :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WEEK 4 - POST #8 Reflections on Blogging

http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?pi=0&ps=20&sf=added&sa=0&sq=&dm=1

The above link is my Reflections on Blogging video on YOUTUBE!
The video is also posted at the TOP of THIS blog page!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 3 Post #6 - Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

COP’s or Communities of Practice are defined as, the process of social learning that occurs and the shared sociocultural practices that emerge and evolve when people who have common goals interact as they strive towards those goals (Wikipedia, 2009).

Learning is fundamentally a social phenomenon! People organize their learning around the social communities to which they belong. Therefore, schools are only powerful learning environments for students whose social communities coincide with that school.

Knowledge is integrated in the life of communities that share values, beliefs, languages, and ways of doing things. These are called communities of practice. Real knowledge is integrated in the doing, social relations, and expertise of these communities.
The processes of learning and membership in a community of practice are inseparable. Because learning is intertwined with community membership, it is what lets us belong to and adjust our status in the group. As we change our learning, our identity–and our relationship to the group–changes (Rodriguez, 2009).
Recently I started blogging with my sixth grade students using Classroompress.com (Classroompress, 2009). My kids feel empowered by their own learning environment via the web. This site offers a unique blogging experiences, and at the same time, allows me to totally control their online environment. I have special education students who are intimidated in the classroom, but become at ease when behind a computer screen learning at their own pace. The success that technology gives to all my students is invaluable. Blogging has opened up a world that maybe I become a part of in the spring. Students are sharing and answering academic questions via the blog site, Classroompress.com, without the dull every day life of just pencil and paper.

Communities of Practices such as Teachertube and Youtube, allow me to pull curriculum based material shared by thousands to empower my teaching, creating a unique environmental classroom that my students actually want to take part in.

Rodríguez, Marco, A. R. (2009). Communities of practice. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from, http://www.funderstanding.com/content/communities-of-practice

Wikipedia. (2009). Communities of practice. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice

Week 3 Post #5 - Social Media

Social Media

While most districts are still figuring out Web-based collaboration tools from pedagogical and security perspectives, a large number of teachers are already out there using these tools to supplement instruction, engage learners, and encourage their students to become producers of information, as well as consumers of it. In other words, they're experimenting (Nagel, 2008). 1. Digital Media Sharing & Learning Communities that include such sites as – Schooltube.com: 1. SchoolTube provides students and educators a safe, world class, and FREE media sharing website that is nationally endorsed by premier education associations (Schooltube, 2009). 2. Blackboard: You may not have thought about Blackboard as a social media tool, but it offers all the interactivity you can desire with students and with parents. Corporations and nonprofit organizations now use this platform to stay in touch with employees and members, for educational purposes and to increase organizational performance. 3. Moodle: This virtual learning environment is free to use, and it includes a myriad of ways to build ‘community’ in the classroom (Digital Learning People, 2009).

Great digital media sites for teachers include: 1. 4Teachers: If you want to learn how to teach with technology, or if you want to hone your current skills and teach others what you know, then this venue might be for you. Learn about new tools, get support and stay on top of your game. 2. Promethean Planet: Billed as “the world’s largest interactive whiteboard community,” this site offers support for teachers through searchable resources, lessons, educational Web links and many more tools.
3. ProTeacher Community: This is a community for school teachers in grades PreK-8. Participants mostly are from the U.S., but guests from around the world are invited. 4. TeacherLingo: Tryout this educational community that connects teachers from every educational level.
5. We the Teachers: Find teachers in your neighborhood or from around the world to share lesson plans and other classroom resources (Digital Learning People, 2009).

While all of these sites are wonderful, we must remember that we have a responsibility. Social Media is a wonderful tool for educators and helps us bridge the gap. The future is literally at our fingertips, but with that comes a greater and more important factor; to teach our students the responsibilities of online learning. Not everyone out there wants the same things we want for our students, and not every parent is monitoring their children as much as you and I would monitor our own. Keep in mind, that social media means teaching kids to be responsible and smart while accessing information. While we do our best to keep the “bad guys” out in school, we don’t have that luxury when they leave our rooms. First and foremost, do your best to keep them safe and smart.

Nagel, David. (2008). Spotlight: Free social media tools for educators. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from
http://thejournal.com/articles/2008/04/16/spotlight-free-social-media-tools-for-educators.aspx

Schooltube.com. (2009). About schooltube, page 1. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from http://www.schooltube.com

The Digital Learning People. (2009). 25 excellent social media sites for teachers. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from,
http://www. toponlineuniversityreviews.com/2009/25-excellent-social-media-sites-for-teachers/

DAY ONE.......

It went well :). Kids are excited. Wish we had more time in the gym. I hadn't anticipated the kids coming in at varied times. Bugs to work out, but kids love it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Wii Fit Project starting on MONDAY, 9/21!

We are starting our Wii Project ™ one week early! The kids can't wait for Monday!! Our first guest for guest Friday this week will be Ryan Delaney, Claymont's superintendent.

Students are BLOGGING!

My sixth grade students are BLOGGING! My homeroom kids will be blogging about The Wii Fit Project™, the others in my class will be blogging in social studies/language arts (this also includes homeroom students). They are required to blog twice a week. One question will be curriculum, the other will be a journal question. I have TOTAL control of what is published and the students have set rules. If they are not followed, they will booted from blogging for an entire nine week period. I will take grades on these blogs - students will also have the opportunity to correct any incorrect answers on their blog. I can send them private message and vice versa, or they can post it to their blog page that they design for all to see. Do you know how many kids I have blogging from home??? :) - See smile for answer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WEEK 2 Post #5 - Social Media

Just a bite tomorrow.... Setting up Wii and showing kids how it will look tomorrow. Only time I can do it is during my lunch hour. They will come back to lunch (whole sixth grade), and I will open curtains (kids are sitting in cafeteria (auditeriem (sp)), and introduce Wii Fit Project ™. I can't wait to build it up!! Thinking we will use new Wii EA Active Sports for show. I can't even begin to tell you how very excited I am... If I can, I'll have a third party video tape introduction of project and post it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WEEK 2 Post #4 - 21st Literacy Lifelong Learning

THE 21ST SKILLS AND LIFELONG LEARNING

How am I supposed to teach my students TODAY when what I’m teaching them now will be irrelevant by the time they turn around? The jobs they’ll have when they are my age, have yet to be invented. How can I possibly prepare them for that? What do we really know about today’s youth? As educators, do we truly understand how they think, learn, communicate, and socialize? As if you didn’t know by now, they don’t perform any of the aforementioned skills in any manner like the youth of years past. Our students live in a digital world, altered by ever-changing technology (21st Century School, 2008).

However, as Dr. Michael Wesch points out, although today’s students understand how to access and utilize these tools, many of them are used for entertainment purposes only, and the students are not really media literate ( 21st Century Schools, 2008). The digital generation has unknowingly incorporated 21st Century skills into their day-to-day lives by becoming innovators, creative designers, critical thinkers, collaborators, and complex problem-solvers. While these students are having fun, they are also learning (Richardson, n.d.).

What is PLE that many educators are talking about today? A PLE (personal learning environment) is: a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning, manage both content and process, and communicate with others in the process of learning (Cann, 2008).

In a nutshell: Students being responsible and engaging in their own learning. Students actually taking an active role and participation in education, gee, why didn’t we think of this earlier? Because, we didn’t have to the tools needed. We had all the talent in the world, but couldn’t quit give to our students what they needed. We can now. John Dewey, a well-known educational reformer, says it best, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” Why not step outside our comfort zones and reach out for the future? The traditional educational view of drill and practice and test taking is a difficult concept to abandon or reconsider for many educators (21st Century Schools, 2008) Lewis Carroll summed it up nicely when he said in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,

“One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”


21st Century Schools. (2008). Possibilities of the 21st century. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/What_is_21st_Century_Education.html

Richardson, Cathleen. (n.d.). Hot chalk-Possibilities of the 21st century. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/editorial/54-students/100-21st-century-learners-an-introduction.html

Cann, Alan, J. (2008). What the heck is ple and why would I want one? Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.microbiologybytes.com/tutorials/ple/index.html

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WEEK 2 POST #3- Media Literacy

Media Literacy

"Tech is the 21st century. We're putting kids behind the eight ball if they don't have any contact with computers," said Jamal Hicks, a teacher of social studies and technology at Jonas Salk Middle School in Sacramento, Calif. (Olsen, 2006)

You don’t have to understand the game of pool, to understand what that means: We are falling farther and farther behind as a nation in education, by not using every angle possible to teach our kids.

One such program in emergent technology that is offered is blogging. How can you use blogging in the classroom? Have your students post journal entries as historical figures sharing their thoughts and feelings as they traversed oceans or continents. Students can record data from scientific experiments and post their observations. Or they can post summaries of the day’s lesson for students who may have been absent or did not understand the concepts fully. Blogs give educators the opportunity to open up their classroom to the world. (EdTech, 2007)

So what are we afraid of? "Schools tend to react to emerging technology like MySpace by restricting student use with a heavy hand...(But) to improve education, we must put real digital-age tools in student hands," said Dennis Harper, founder of GenYes. (Olsen, 2006) Letting students be responsible for their own learning? Imagine that. Imagine the possibilities!

Another wonderful program that is free and offered on the web is Google Docs and spreadsheets. Google Docs and Spreadsheets are powerful online collaborative tool. Google Docs has an online word processor, formula spreadsheet, and a presentation tool. They are not Microsoft, but have a similar graphical interface. All of these documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can be opened, edited, and saved – as well as printed and exported into other file formats. (EdTech, 2007)

Emergent technology was designed to make an educator’s life easier. Don’t work harder, work smarter!

EdTech. (2007). The future is here! Emerging technologies in the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from, http://www.tcubed.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/the-future-is-here-emerging-technologies-in-the-classroom/

Olsen, Stephanie. (2006). When digital kids rule the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from http://news.cnet.com/When-digital-kids-rule-the-classroom/2009-1041_3-6065108.html

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 1 POST #2 - Learning 2.0

E-LEARNING

Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire- W.B. Yeats

What is e-learning and how is it benefiting K-12 schools? E-Learning lessons are generally designed to guide students through information or to help students perform in specific tasks. Information based e-Learning content communicates information to the student. Examples include content that distributes the history or facts related to a service, company, or product. In information-based content, there is no specific skill to be learned. In performance-based content, the lessons build off of a procedural skill in which the student is expected to increase proficiency. (Wikipedia, 2009)

E-learning is not something new, but something that has been around for the past ten years. (Phillips, n.d.) So why haven’t more schools picked up on the idea of e-learning? Distance learning used to be putting students in a room, setting up a projector, and talking to another class. Today e-learning offers so much more. Blogging is currently “the thing” to do with students. There are many opportunies for teachers to use blogging with their students in the classroom. One such site includes classpress.com, or educationworld.com. Teachers are starting to explore the potential of blogs, media-sharing services and other social software - which, although not designed specifically for e-learning, can be used to empower students and create exciting new learning opportunities. (O’Hare, 2006)

Using my Wii Fit Project™, I am currently looking for new and innovative ways to reach my students. I’m looking to set up a e-learning environment within my classroom by using Wii’s Animal Crossing and creating high tech pen pals. Using Animal Crossing, my students will not only become more familiar with the concept of economics and the process of moving into a new community, looking for a house, getting a loan, finding a job, but also, using the microphone attachment with the Animal Crossing game, be able to set up high tech pen pals where we can engage in strategies and converse on students’ daily lives in different parts of the country. E-learning is not a new idea, but new ideas need to be used in the classroom to continue to reach our today’s learners.

“Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” – Plato

References:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Learning

EdTech. (2007). The future is here! Emerging technologies in the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from, http://www.tcubed.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/the-future-is-here-emerging-technologies-in-the-classroom/



Friday, September 4, 2009

WEEK 1 POST #1 - Web 2.0


WEB 2.0

Web 2.0 applications are changing the face of, not only technology as we know, but more notably, education as we know it today. More and more educators are turning to free applications on the internet to add to their classrooms. Much like a new car, once new textbooks leave the factory, their value of what can be offered, declines.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter what our schools are currently doing, most of our students are already actively involved in this content creation and conversation outside of school. (Hargadon, 2008) Kids today are bored, plain and simple. We cannot possibly, at the rate we are going, keep them readily engaged inside four walls. We must change our ways of reaching kids, or we will only continue to fight an already losing battle.

Like the web itself, the early promise of e-learning - that of empowerment - has not been fully realized. (O’Hare 2006) Technology, in every aspect, should not be a reward, but a must. We must use any means necessary (most of which are free), to teach to this generation. To not offer what web 2.0 programs are available for our students, is a crime.

The future is now. With or without us, our children will use technology to engage in a world that can teach them more than we ever could. We don’t have all the tools now, but what we do have, is the capability of accessing these tools and using them productively in the classroom.We are, to paraphrase Clay Shirky, in the midst of the greatest increase of creative capability in the history of the world. A regular student can write, film, and edit a video which then can be uploaded to YouTube and potentially seen by more of an audience than some commercial films actually garner. (Hargadon, 2008) Why not teach our students to get to this level? Now.

References:

Hargadon, Steve. (2008) Moving towards web 2.0 in k-12 education. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/10/moving-toward-web-20-in-k-12- education/

O'Hare, Steve. (2006) Elearning 2.0 How web technology is sahping education. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/e-learning_20.php

The Wii Fit Project 9/5

I can't seem to sleep again. When I close my eyes all I do is think of new things for this project and I have to get up and work on my ideas. It just comes to me. I can't explain it. Like it's meant to happen. Driving in the car after school today I saw the colors I want to use for my logo design. Just like the phrase, "Get up, Get out, Get active," it came to me (that phrase appeared three ago and I can tell you exactly where I was when it happened). I knew then that I wanted to help kids become more active, but I didn't know how. Now I know.