Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Journal 9: First Graders with iPads?

Getting, S. & Swainey, K. (2012, August). First graders with ipads?. Learning and Leading with Technology, 40(1), 24-26. Retrieved from

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Journal 4: Join the Flock & Enhance Your Twitter Experience

These two articles pertain to NETS-T 5: “Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership”.

Ferguson, H. (2010, June/July). Join the flock. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

Summary: In the article, "the Flock!", author Hadley Ferguson discusses how Twitter can help individuals build their Personal Learning Network (PLN).  A PLN is a way for people to come together to collaborate, learn, and grow.  Collaboration is a term often heard in discussions about education and it is important to note that education isn't a solo endeavour, it often takes a village.  

Twitter is also a support system where perfect strangers with the same interests and passions can interact with one another.  They can share what they know, how they know it, where they know it from, show you how to know it and learn from others who share the same things. It is something that take an investment in terms of time.  The more you use it, the more you can benefit from it. 

The first step is to set up an account---you "choose the people you want to learn from".  The next step is to follow people.  "A good way to find people is to check out the lists that other people create."  The authors for example follows specific educators that have identified people who are, "committed to learning and growing in a Web 2.0 world."  If you don't feel comfortable enough to immerse yourself completely in this online community on Twitter, it's completely acceptable.  You can read tweets, observe a chat (like a fly on the wall) that others are partaking in, look at blogs, and learn from what others are sharing.  Retweeting something you find important is a way to get the word out there as well.  Retweeting multiplies the number of potential viewers who will see the tweet.  The last two steps in the process are to expose yourself (once you are comfortable), i.e. posting an educational article or tweeting links to helpful resources, and tag your tweets.  Using a hashtag will give the idea more exposure.  The article concludes with a piece of advice, "the more you retweet, the more people will begin to follow you because you will have made yourself visible in the PLN world."   

I think this is a great tool.  Everyone can be a part of this community, whether you are a teacher, student, educator, or just a plain human being.  Information can travel at high volumes to vast amounts of individuals.  It's a great way to stay current, stay informed, and stay knowledgeable.  The more an individual immerses themselves in a PLN the chances are they'll reflect about what they see.  Reflecting is crucial to obtaining a deeper understanding and Twitter gives individuals a place to do just that.

Q1: How can educators use Twitter in the classroom?

A1: Teachers can have their students use Twitter in a number of ways.  An example may be for the teacher to ask their students to sign up for a Twitter account, to be used specifically for the educational purposes of the class.  The teacher can provide them with a lists and people to follow, have students "lurk" around and write about something interesting that they learned.  They can also give students assignments that involves doing research on Twitter via (educationally appropriate) websites, articles, and education chats or discussion boards.
Miller McClintock, S. (2010, June/July). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from

Summary:  Author of "Enhance Your Twitter Experience," Shannon McClintock Miller is amongst the strongest advocates of using social media to enhance an individual's PLN.  The articles goes beyond how to use Twitter and discusses the benefits of adding a Twitter organizer or manager to your desk top such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.  Both of these tools organize your Twitter stream into columns so you can be streaming information from various places simultaneously.  It's also important to reflect and look back on what you or others have tweeted.  A good formula to use may be one derived from a blog the author discovered, "Twitter Engagement Formula- 70% of Twitter time should be spent sharing voices, opinions, and tools; 20% of tweets should be directly responding, connecting, and collaborating, and co-creating with Twitter colleagues; and 10% is chit-chatting trivial details about your life as a human being."

Using a Twitter organizer can be a helpful tool in creating a PLN.  I like the fact that it opens up the flood gates for communication and a constant exchange of ideas.  To learn and grow takes frequent and consistent questioning and reflection and I believe that those using Twitter for professional and educational purposes can benefit from the experience.  The only reservation: determining reliable sources.
Q1: Is it possible to have "information overload" or "too much stimulation" while using this tool?

A2:  If there is too much going on, on the screen, organizers like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck leave it up to the user to determine how many sites they are managing at one time.  If the user wants to have only a few streaming, it's up to them, and it's easy to change.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Journal 2: Technology Self-Assessment: School 2.0 Reflection

The article that I chose, "Virtual Schooling" by Niki Davis and Dales Niederhauser, was one of the resources listed under NETS-T 5: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. I regularly evaluate and reflect on current research and apply promising practices for using existing and emerging tools and resources in support of student learning. In the article, the authors begin by explaining what "Virtual Schooling" actually is. My understanding of VS is that it's an educational experience that includes all of the components associated with learning (most if not all of the curriculum is completed in an online environment). Essentially an actual or "physical" classroom is made obsolete. The incorporation of VS is a rising experience in the U.S. and it is especially so, at the high school level. 

Within the VS, there are three key roles that work together as an educational team: 1. Teacher 2. Designer and 3. VS site facilitator. Each of these roles require strong organizational and communication skills and are responsible for, “providing students with comprehensive informational activities, a wide variety of communication tools, activities that are planned in order to meet VS, timely feedback in regard to assessment, and opportunity for peer collaboration.” The individuals currently involved in this revolutionary movement are responsible for creating and establishing the roles themselves as well as making this experience one that is accessible, effective, and heavily utilized by students of the present and future. Students participating in VS are able to obtain an education inside virtual walls (“on site” sessions are also a component) through things like: email, videoconferencing, and various learning management systems like Blackboard or Moodle. There is much emphasis placed on technical, technology, and pedagogy support.

I think that the concept of VS is in alignment with the direction that education is headed toward. For reasons like the U.S.’s current economic crisis, budget cuts and teacher lay offs, and technological advances in society, Virtual Schooling seems to offer a quasi-solution to elevating education in America. VS individually personalizes schooling and helps schools respond to the No Child Left Behind Act. It also provides ways for students to get ahead or simply get any sort of an education when conditions are poor i.e. place bound or displaced students like those who lived in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. It also allows students to enroll in courses they need but were unable to sign up for at their physical schools. The article states, “Eighty percent of participating school districts in a recent study cited “the course was otherwise unavailable” as the number one reason why students enrolled in VS. I believe that we will see this concept grow and expand in education today. The only reservation that I have would be the lack of socialization and a deeper understanding of material due to multi-tasking as well as increased levels of attention deficit in students and an instant gratification mentality. One solution to this may be an incorporation of “physical” class time or meetings that coexist with the cyber classroom. Using only one medium in education, is not a good thing---balance, equality, and diversity in mediums is necessary as well in order for education in America to progress.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

Sheninger, E. (2010, August 28). Personal learning networks 101. Retrieved from

A PLN or Personal Learning Network, is a community of individuals or groups who are supportive, collaborative, willing to share, willing to learn, eager to help others grow professionally, available to answer questions at all times (24-7)...ALL AROUND THE WORLD.  A strong global PLN supports, answers, helps, listens, shares, and suggests ideas.  And it's free.  The concept of a PLN wasn't always that way.  In the past, PLNs consisted of teacher lounges and expensive conferences that educators had to pay for, in order to attend.  Now, we can thank the internet/advances in technology for providing us with the luxury ofinstant, available, and diverse information---around the clock.  The author of the article, "Personal Learning 101," Eric Scheninger accurately defines the importance of a PLN by reflecting upon what he's gained from his own experience, " PLN provides me with a constant supply of resources, thought-provoking discussions, knowledge, leadership strategies, and ways to successfully integrate technology."   
There are a number of tools and networks that can be utilized in building a strong PLN.  The categories consist of the following:
  • Social Networking - online service that facilitates social networking between individuals or groups i.e. Facebook
  • Microblogging - online service; only allotted 140 characters (think: mini Facebook); can be used professionally to share info, exchange resources, and make connections i.e. Twitter
  • Professional Profiles - online service used to create professional profiles i.e. Linkedin
  • Wikis - Community monitored sites that can be used as websites or for group organization and projects i.e. Wikispace
  • Blogs - online service where one can voice personal opinions, monitor new trends in education and have access to an abundance of information such as best classroom practices i.e. Blogger
  • RSS Readers - allows access to multiple blogs simultaneously i.e. Google Reader
  • Social Bookmarking - online service that allows the user to bookmark websites and access them from any computer, share their bookmarks with others (and vice-versa), create lists, tag bookmarks for organization and easy access and join groups i.e. Diigo
  • Webinars - presentations, lectures, workshops, or seminars that take place online i.e. Edchat
  • Nings - online platform for individuals/groups to create online social networks i.e. Classroom 2.0
The tools/networks that I am currently using to build my PLN are: Twitter (microblogging), Blogger (Blog), Classroom 2.0 & The Educator's PLN (Nings), Diigo (Social Bookmarking), and Edchat (Webinar).  So...why are PLNs so popular in education?  The answer is simple, "It's how we learn best=being part of a community of peers."  (Classroom 2.0)
Personally, my PLN will help me as a teacher by providing me with the opportunity (via online platforms) to make connections with professionals, experts and like-minded individuals and gain/share new information and resources that will help me to constantly improve classroom practices as well as develop or "fine-tune" my personal pedagogy.  I will use my PLN to:
  • Assist in the growth of my professional development 
  • Be able to learn from content-area specialists 
  • Find resources for my classroom (often achieved through seeking direction from others in my PLN) 
  • Gain lesson plan ideas from master teachers
  • Learn about new technology/methodology and how to integrate/apply it in my classroom
  • Find collaborative solutions 
  • Discover interesting links, articles, tutorials, blogs, educational news, etc.  
Building a strong PLN will help me to become a better teacher through use of online platforms that facilitate research, analysis, and reflection. 

Up until recently, I failed (was unwilling) to understand and take part in the whole 'Twitter Phenomenon.'  All I knew of the online social networking and microblogging service was what I heard from the media---essentially information revolving around celebrities and their self-revolving/promoting tweets.  Never-the-less, I couldn't help wonder why it was, that the whole world seemingly adopted the routine  "Eat, Sleep, Tweet" - over night.  In time, and in large part because of my enrollment in Ed422, I signed up for a twitter account and joined the community of 175+ million (registered) Twitter users.  What I discovered was worthwhile.  First, I used the search bar to search for people and groups to follow.  I familiarized myself with hash tags and started my journey in seeking after educators and like-minded individuals.  I followed my instructor & peers in my Ed422 class, followed individuals who were being followed by those I was following, and followed complete and absolute strangers (who were using Twitter for professional and educational purposes).  My network essentially consists of other professionals, experts and peers that I thought would provide me with helpful resources/tools/information as well as a handful of news outlets that will help me stay current and up-to-date in issues, reform, methods, etc. pertaining to education. 

Here are some of the people/groups that I am following:

Edublogs - this Twitter account provides tips, news, ideas, and announcements that I thought would help me to understand/effectively utilize edublogs.

Will Richardson - is a "parent, author, speaker, instigator, blogger about social Web tools and their effects on schools, education and learning." I followed Mr. Richardson so that I could see education through the lens of an experienced individual, currently in the teaching field.  Mr. Richardson constantly posts articles, links, and personal commentary about education, which inspires me to reflect and analyze topics, trends, issues, etc. in education today.  By following his Twitter page I find myself learning/thinking about teaching in ways that I had never thought of before.   

NEA"The National Education Association's official publication, committed to a great public education for all students."  I thought following this Twitter account would be a good way to access free resources, news, etc.

Top Educational Tweets - What better way to improve my professional development than to follow, "only the best education Twitter accounts"? ( as written in TET's profile description)

Heather Wilson - I starting following Heather, a 1st grade teacher from Michigan, after noticing her contribution to the Edchat that I participated in on Sunday.  Heather provided a lot of helpful tools, resources, and information for improving teaching practices, made herself available to collaborate with other teachers, and asked thought-provoking questions that I thought were extremely insightful.  She "gave" and "received" during the Edchat, in the exact way the articles that I read on PLNs talked about.  I think that I can benefit greatly from following passionate educators like Heather that contribute, collaborate, and constantly try to stay informed about current topics in education. 

Educational Chat

Date: Sunday, August 5, 2012
Time: 5pm
Chat: #1stchat
Topic: Getting to know our #1stchat friends

On Sunday, I decided to participate in an education chat where first grade teachers could introduce themselves, meet other 1st grade teachers, and bring up topics pertaining to the first grade.  Although, I am not a first grade teacher, I thought this chat would be a good first #edchat to observe/participate in.  At first, I was a little apprehensive about how it would work and what I was going to contribute.  I wasn't too familiar with Tweetchat or Hootsuit prior to this #edchat but I learned how to use it pretty quickly just by being "thrown into" the live chat.  I taught myself how to utilize these platforms while simultaneously using the services/taking part in the process i.e. I wanted a better way to see the conversation since it was moving so quickly so I signed on to Hootsuit which helped me achieve what I wanted through it's multiple columns of live-streaming platforms.

The beginning of the chat was slow to start.  The experts hosting the chat were not as efficient in getting the chat started as I thought they'd be however, the participants in the chat made up for it by bringing up discussion topics and encouraging collaborative discussion.  I couldn't offer much information in regard to teaching first grade but I did introduce myself, ask questions about certain resources that other educators were using in their classrooom, and Retweeted posts that I thought were insightful and would benefit others (my followers).  I was pleasantly surprised, and slightly overwhelmed, by all of the support and offerings that these (strangers) provided to one another, myself included.  

It was a little difficult to follow everyone's posts and track the responses however, I did find that taking screen shots and looking over the "archived" chat made my stress level go down, assuring me with ways to go back and find information, if I missed it the first time.  TweetChat is an extremely beneficial online service that will help me through out my teaching career...I will definitely use this tool as a means of building my PLN. 

Another networking tool that I use in my PLN is Diigo, the social bookmarking site, that allows me to bookmark websites that I want to revisit, access my bookmarks from any computer, tag sites for organization/easy access, highlight and annotate pages I bookmark (saving them to my Diigo library), and share my bookmarks with others.  Diigo allows me to gather all of my research and save it in one place.  Diigo makes the process of tracking down pieces of vital information less tedious and allows for efficient time management.  

I can also weed out content that I don't want by highlighting/annotating the information that I do want (on the actual website).  Once I'm ready to move on, I can tag the websites that I bookmark.  This helps me keep everything organized which is extremely useful if I am conducting research for multiple assignments i.e.  while completing a bookmarking scavenger hunt activity, I can bookmark my websites and tag them under "Scavenger Hunt" while simultaneously bookmarking websites that I come across for my research paper and tag them as something different like, "Research Paper."   

In the past, I saved websites that I wanted to revisit by adding them to the toolbar of my computer. However, only a small number of bookmarks could be displayed on the toolbar, making it difficult to get a visual (or do inventory) of everything that I had gathered...I always thought it was a disorganized way to save information and create clutter.

Today, Diigo is the way to go!  I use Diigo to build my PLN by looking at bookmarks tagged by educators, like-minded individuals, colleagues, peers, etc. who post and update information regarding education.  I personally used Diigo to bookmark and tag tools and resources like Twitter, Classroom 2.0, and various teaching blogs because each of them can be used to share information with individuals in my PLN.   

Another tool that I have included in my PLN, is the digital discussion forum (or Ning network), Classroom 2.0.  This network is a useful resource because it serves as a platform for users to conduct social networking by meeting other educators and sharing conversations, information, events, news, and videos.  The video that I chose to explore was called, "aPLaNet What is a Personal Learning Network" which in fact, helped me write this journal entry.  The video was extremely informative and made the concept of a PLN clear and concrete.  The video discussed what an Internet PLN includes, how the Internet has revolutionized our ability to connect globally, and what a strong global PLN entails.  This video was the first video that I clicked on and it was great!  Usually, finding a video or tutorial online, requires sifting through a number of Youtube videos until I find one that I like.  Since the general public can upload videos onto Youtube---including uneducated individuals or scammers, quality assurance isn't guaranteed.  Classroom 2.0 is different not only because it is designed specifically for educators interested in using Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies but it also requires approval of its users after they sign up.  Thus providing resources and tools (of greater quality and content) for it's community. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3: Upside Down & Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning

This article pertains to NETS-T 1: "Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity"

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside Down and Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning. Learning and leading with technology, 39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

Photo Credit:

Summary:  In the article, "Upside Down and Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning," author Kathleen Fulton discusses a new "fad" in education called 'the flipped classroom'. According to the article, the idea to transition from the traditional classroom to new digitally instructional design was pioneered by teachers in the science field Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams at Woodland Park High School (CO).  The "flipped" part of the flipped classroom is essentially structured so that students watch or listen to lessons at home and do their "homework" in class."  Now the flipped classroom has a conference, several websites, and a Professional Learning Network of more than 3,000 teachers.  The article primarily discusses this new instructional design through the story of the most "enthusiatic advocates"--- the math teachers at Minnesosta's Byron High School (BHS). In the article it states that students who are currently or will partake in this new concept in education are extremely connected to technology as part of the curriculum, whether it be through Ipads, laptops, and smartphones.  The Calculus teacher at BHS, Troy Faulkner, utilizes his class time by going over important problems from the previous night's video lesson on the electronic white board, gives his students time to work on them, and then holds a class discussion.  Faulkner will move from student to student, "watching, listening, noting students who need help," when he breaks them off to work on their own, or in groups.  This allows students to work at their own pace and 'in their own style'.  Daily spot quizzes (completed with clickers), are given in order for teachers and students to get immediate results.  The feedback allows for group discussion and peer instruction on the problems which teachers (and colleagues) can use to revise their lesson plans/curriculum in a timely fashion. Personally, I believe that this educational innovation is moving in same direction that the school systems are heading toward in the future.  Due to the realities we face in education today like budget cuts and a rapidly growing digital age, I believe that the traditional classroom will slowly become obsolete and a 'flipped classroom' or homeschooling will take its place.  Some other transformations may also include the role of the teacher---transformation from sage on the stage to guide on the side as well as a shift in the classroom from competitiveness to cooperation, which can be observed by the students helping, teaching, and motivating their peers.  The collaborative environment is extremely emphasized in the 'flipped classroom'.
Q1: How will teachers of a 'flipped classroom' keep their students focused, motivated, and on task since this educational model requires a great deal of student independence/proactiveness and at home learning?
A1: In the article it states, "BHS educators are the first to admit that one size does not fit all, with the flipped teaching or any instructional approach" however, I believe that there are ways to increase a student's motivation and ability to stay on task.  One example would be the use of daily spot quizzes that can be given in order for students to complete their homework and assignments in preparation for the assessment.  Another component that I believe would encourage students to keep up with their school work is the emphasis on a collaborative environment (in the flipped classroom).  A collaborative environment calls for peer discussions and peer instruction.  I think that when students are given the opportunity to work with and help teach their peers, the intimidation and fear that may arise from the students' interaction with the sage on the stage in now replaced by collaboration with their peers who are in the same boat.  Peer motivation is an effective way to motivate students to do well.Q2: Do you believe that the emphasis of technology in classroom will negatively or positively affect our society?


A2: I have always thought that the rapid growth of technology on our society isn't always for the better.  Today, children grow up with a video game controller, iPod, iPad, etc. glued to their hand.  They don't pass time exploring and playing (physical exercise) in their neighborhoods after school or socializing with their peers (face to face) as much as earlier generations. Some believe that this has contributed to the instant gratification mentality of today's youth as well as their inability to reason.  However, while this may be true in certain aspects, I also believe that innovations like the iPad can contribute significantly to intellectual growth.   Technological devices are full of moving pictures, sound, animation, 3-D images---they are much more dynamic than what student’s learned from in the past, like a sketch of the universe done by Copernicus in a book . Now we have the ability to see places we’ve never been to before (via the Internet) or have access to infinite amounts of resources, tools, and applications (through various types of media/technology) that add greatly to our library of knowledge. Technological devices are full of moving pictures, sound, animation, 3-D images---they are much more dynamic than what student’s learned from in the past, i.e. a 2D sketch of the universe done by Copernicus in a book . Now we have the ability to see places we’ve never been to before (via the Internet) or have access to infinite amounts of resources, tools, and applications (through various types of media/technology) that add greatly to our library of knowledge.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Journal 1: 100 Things that Make Me :)

1. a baby's laugh
2. dancing
3. watching a child figure something out for the first time
4. catching up with friends from the past
5. old photo albums
6. Seinfeld
7. hearing a song on the radio that lifts your spirits, right at the moment you needed it the most
8. Coachella
9. the beach
10. my dog Oreo
11. hiking
12. writing
13. my family
14. my friends
15. coffee
16. ocean beach
17. mission beach
18. thinking about how great my college years truly were
19. Italy
20. traveling
21. reading
22. driving
23. good movies, esp. ones that make you think differently about life
24. shopping, esp. finding good deals on high end/quality stuff!
25. nailing an interview
26. getting complimented/praised at work
27. doing well in school
28. getting into CSUSM's multi-subject teaching credential program
29. taking pictures
30. Instagram
31. facebook
32. Youtube playlists
33. seeing Slo Mo randomly in Mission Beach
34. getting in a cab in Pacific Beach and realizing it's the Disco Cab
35. Fashion
36. Alone time
37. my iPhone
38. anything Apple related actually
39. hearing my parents tell stories about how they first met/what life was like before I was born
40. my parent's laugh
41. motivational quotes
42. learning something new
43. surprising those who think they have me "figured out"
44. figuring something out for myself, that I didn't initially think that I could
45. friendly people
46. an unexpected "hello" or a "smile" from a stranger
47. making new friends
48. receiving a written letter/card in the mail
49. sending a written letter/card in the mail
50. people with a sense of humor
51. being independent
52. receiving flowers
53. hearing "i love you" from someone special
54. making someone laugh
55. Orbit Cinnamint gum
56. big bags/purses
57. picnics
58. helping out a friend, family member, or random/stranger
59. being prepared
60. road trips
61. ice cream
62. taking my dog to the park and watching her socialize the other dogs
63. working hard
64. and having money
65. warm sheets/clothes/blankets/socks fresh out of the dryer
66. using the internet to explore things that weren't accessible to us before
67. DVR
68. my bed
69. 4th of July fireworks
70. moments when you realize that, "everything happens for a reason"
71. knowing that I have a supportive (family and friend) base
72. having a purpose
73. being a positive influence on children
74. teaching a new concept to someone
75. and realizing that they "got it"
76. laughing so hard your stomach hurts
77. reminiscing about high school
78. laughing with old friends over embarrassing moments that are funny now, but were horrifying then
79. good night's rest
80. napping
81. not letting anything or anyone stop me from what I set out to achieve
82. looking nice, dressing appropriately, and making a statement just by what I am wearing---it's one of my favorite forms of self expression
83. receiving a compliment
84. giving a compliment
85. cheese & wheat thins snack combo.
86. abbreviating wds.
87. eating out (bc I don't do it very often)
88. texting
89. witty bantar
90. "ah ha!" moments
91. reading my horoscope on a day when it is SPOT ON
92. jewelry
93. talking to my grandma on the phone
94. telling a joke and getting the punch line right...on the first try
95. watching sporting events
96. TMZ
97. having the day off on a rainy day
98. being out in the sun
99. sushi
100. starting CSUSM's teaching credential program this fall---moving one step closer toward what i've always wanted to do...teach

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Journal 6: 10 Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (NETS-T 2 & 5)

Spencer, J. (2011, 08 19). Education rethink: Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from

In the article, "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)" the author John T. Spencer discusses the need for more active and outdoor learning and less indoor text-book directed study. He is an advocate for letting children go home after school and explore, learn, and navigate their own lessons within the confines of their neighborhood borders. Spencer believes that children should learn through their experiences involving essentially all of the senses. Specifically, the senses touch and feel. Instead, the authors advocates for his readers to, "emphasize the idea that learning can and will happen naturally at home or elsewhere in a child's world."  I happen to agree with the author here. I know that some of the most meaningful experiences and greatest learning occurred when I was left to discover it on my own. It was when I went exploring in Florence, Italy when I was studying abroad. It was when I went to a museum in Balboa Park just to look around, for my own intrinsic happiness. It was when I taught myself to use Prezi on my front porch, watching Youtube tutorials and accepting that the process would be one of "trial and error". Some of the greatest learning achieved can be done simply by walking outdoors and letting your senses do the observing. We acknowledge what we are seeing, reflect, and try to make sense of it in our own way. Essentially, the author states that if we our left to our own devices, without a book to our head and a pencil to our hand, we will learn (informally) by paying attention to things that interest us, that grab our attention.

5 Alternatives to Homework

1. Have students go outside and explore.  Have students write down what they see.  Don't give any instruction other than to journal what they observe.  

2. Encourage students to have a cultural experience i.e. help your family make an ethnic cuisine for dinner, watch a culturally diverse movie in a different language (subtitles okay), festivals, farmer's markets, etc.

3. Have students plant a garden (flowers or butterfly garden).  Observe. Analyze. Reflect.

4. Have students showcase what they learn by using digital media i.e. students can answer questions or show knowledge of subject matter by taking photographs or film, outside the home.

5. Encourage families to spend the weekend traveling.  Some of the best learning experiences and memories I have are from exploring the world.  Especially the world unfamiliar to me and my comfort zone.