Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Post #7

Project Based Learning Part 1
In this interview between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, Dr. Strange begins by asking Anthony about the different aspects of being a project based learning teacher. Anthony states "When we think about project based learning we think projects are what you do at the end of a lesson to show that you've learned what you are suppose to have learned." The goal of project based learning is that it is a means to get the students to learn something, not only to show what they have learned. As a teacher, you have to create a project that the students will need all of the content you need them to know in order to complete that project. Project based learning allows students to be excited about what they are learning and to be engaged in the lesson since they are creating their own work and using their own knowledge. The goal of a good project is one that has an authentic audience, one that has student interest, one that involves the community, and one that is driven by content. One of the project based learning projects Anthony has done in his third grade classroom incorporating writing standards, reading standards, and social studies stands was have the students do research in iCurio and write a letter to Congressman Bonner whether they thought it was appropriate for women to fight in open combat or not. This specific project really sparked the students interest because they have family, friends, and neighbors who are in the military that they interviewed and got input on their opinions. There were twenty-eight students in the class and the students worked together to pick the eight best letters to send. The students also got responses from the state office and this made the project even more interesting for them.

Project Based Learning Part 2
In this interview between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, Anthony starts by explaining another project he did in his classroom. The project Anthony explained was his favorite project that his students have done. His third grade class had been studying the elements of different cultures. The class started out exploring Haiti. When the students started studying Afghanistan, Anthony Anthony told the students they were to write a narrative on what it would be like to be a child in Afghanistan and record the narration in iMovie on an iPad. The students were to pull pictures from Discovery Ed or iCurio to incorporate in their narration. The students focused on food, fashion, warfare, religion, and some did a blend on those topics. This specific projects got the students to be very engaged. Anthony held a parents awards night to allow the students to display their work and the outcome was great. Anthony states "with project based learning you are going to get more than you expect, so never limit your students by giving them exactly what you want them to do." Anthony also talks about creating opportunities for your students to go beyond what you want them to and they will. Anthony is a great model to learn from. He loves seeing his students excited and engaged in what they are learning. Students learn more when they are actively involved and engaged in the project. When students are involved in project based learning they are proud of their accomplishments and projects and this also encourages them to learn more and be more creative.
iCurio logo
In this video, Dr. Strange begins by asking Anthony about iCurio and what it is and how he uses it in his own classroom. Anthony tells us that iCurio is an online tool that can serve several purposes. One purpose is that iCurio allows students to safely search websites, videos, images, and other online media that have been pulled and filtered for educational uses. This tool is a filtered search engine that allows us to search text, audio, and video around subjects that would fit in the Alabama College and Career Ready standards as well as other state standards. The students are able to go on iCurio with their personal login and use it themselves. Another component of iCurio is its storage capacity for students. iCurio allows teachers and students to store any content that they find valuable. By using the storage capacity, the students are able to learn virtual organization. This feature helps with doing projects over a period of time or when the day gets interrupted by different things the students can just store their findings and pick up right where they left off. iCurio also has a "historical figures" feature. With this feature, you can search by criteria. iCurio is useful for any grade level with a teacher that feels comfortable letting their students search the web. iCurio also has a read-aloud feature that is useful to students with disabilities, ELL students, or blind students.

Discovery Education
Discovery Education logo with earth
In this video, Anthony refers to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" and he says that " a video must be worth a million." If you can pair any text article you give a child with a visual then the students will retain a lot more information. Discovery Ed has everything for science and social studies that you could think of to help add visuals to your lessons and to help your students learn and retain more information. Discovery Ed offers great resources for students to research specific topics. Discovery Ed is a very effective tool for project based learning. Discovery Education takes you way beyond just a picture, it provides a video for the topic and brings experts into the classroom via video. Anthony uses Discovery Ed for student searches so that they can enrich their research experiences, and Anthony uses Discovery Ed to bring different texts to life. This allows Anthony to provide his students with the opportunity to compare and contrast what they are reading, to what they are actually seeing and finding on Discovery Ed.

Don't Teach Tech - Use It
Summarized by: Keri Brown
Anthony starts off by explaining that whether we like it or not we use technology every day. He states “we’re immersed in it whether you want to be or not, you can’t buy groceries without it.” Anthony says that technology is natural for kids whether they are in low-income areas or high-income areas, technology is a part of their lives. When creating your lessons, you should scaffold technology into those plans. Anthony says that you should focus on one technology at a time and make sure your students have different opportunities to review and continue practicing and using each technology. Once students have practice with a technology tool you can then add on and incorporate the use of other technology. Anthony uses iMovie with his third graders and he says that by allowing them to use iMovie they can be creative, express themselves, it is free, it is clean, and the students love it. You should use technology in your classroom to allow your students to get excited about what they are doing, use it to let them share what they are doing, and scaffold it to let them use one tool at a time then progressively add in more tools. Do not expect perfection from your students, because it is not going to happen. Students will make mistakes, but as a teacher you should allow time to reflect on those mistakes so they can better themselves the next time they use this technology. Dr. Strange states “you don’t have to worry about spending a great deal of time or energy teaching your kids how to use technology, just give them the opportunity, and don’t expect perfect.” As the teacher, you should “do it first.” Use the technology and do the projects to better understand why students are asking questions and how you can help them.

The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1
Summarized by: Chelsea Calvert
In this video Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps are creating a list of things that consists of things that as teachers we should do. They make a list of four things that teachers should do. Teachers need to be lifelong learners. To prepare ourselves to get into the teaching field we need to be extremely interested in learning. We need to be constantly learning and modeling how to learn. Teaching is hard work and even after you leave your classroom you should still be seeking to learn new information. Learning how to teach should be a teacher’s hobby and part of their everyday lives. It can be very rewarding once you have learned something new that you can incorporate within your classroom. Teacher need to be flexible and creative. As teachers, we need to be prepared for surprises that might arise in the classroom. We need to be prepared to go outside the normal routine if something were to come up. Teachers should also reflect on their work. We need to be able to critic ourselves to master teaching. These four things are all important tasks that teachers need to focus on.

Additional Thought About Lessons
Summarized by: Kenesha Brown
Anthony Capps explains that “a lesson is four layers thick.” When teachers are preparing their lessons, there are four things to think about. The first layer is think about the lesson in terms of the year. Teachers should think about how are they going to cover the content standards and have the curriculum they prepared covers all of the standards. The next layer is a unit. There are layers within unit that create the rest of the four layers to an effective lesson. Teacher should consider unfolding a unit in a way “that is meaningful and that is connected in some type of way.” The unit should be a stairwell of goals that teachers want their students to meet. “Stretch out a unit by saying we going to start the unit off with this and by the end of the unit the student should be able to do this.” The unit then moves down to the week. Teachers should think about their goal on a week scale. They will need to try to figure out how everything is going to get done. Most importantly, the final layer is the daily lesson. The daily lesson is the way teachers get students’ attention. It is the hook to what they can expect to do. It is also the way teachers can evaluate students learning.


  1. I enjoyed reading this blog, very well written. I only noticed one mistake in the whole thing it was in Part 2 you said Anthony twice, but other than that I agree with everything you said and how you backed it up with evidence. Good Job.

  2. This comment only applies to your individual portion of the blog post.

    I think you need to review comma placement rules, but otherwise, good post!