Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Affinity Space!

This is my Affinity Space right now.  My Affinity Spaces have changed over the course of my life and I am sad to see that I do not have quite the social life I once had when I was younger; however it was nice to discover that I was still a part of something, part of a group.  It dawned on me I am part of a lot of groups in fact, as we all are.  Sometimes we are just the lurkers and sometimes we are the masters passing out information and knowledge to the group.  


Pinterest/ Home Improvement

1.       Common Endeavors -  The sense of community can be felt among the users as they are working towards various similar goals, which is to improve their home and land doing it themselves.  People are from all over the country and world adding to the group as a whole.  Members of this group are from all socioeconomic backgrounds none of which are of any real importance.  Pinterest is the portal that connects .  Identity is your own.
2.       Newbies & Masters – share the common space.  Some are great pools of knowledge while others simply gather the information that is being freely given.  It ranges from people are who very skilled and have turned themselves into semi-professionals while you have others who struggle with more simple things, to those who simply “lurk” and give no other indication of their being involved other than to continue to pass along and to possibly help collect additional information for the group.
3.       Some portals are stronger than others.  Pinterest being the main portal also leads to other portals.  Primarily these are websites, tutorials, videos, and photos.  Some hold a vast amount of information that can be highly useful while others are sharing more so than to help teach.
4.       Content organization is transformed by interactional organization – Pinterest changes with each person who pins, shares, comments, adds, or ignores.  The content is member driven and therefore some information can be more easily found if repined and shared by multiple people and other information can simply be ignored if no one else feels the need to keep this information for themselves on their “boards”.
5.       Both intensive and extensive knowledge are encouraged.  Pins can be created by a user to showcase a photo or their own website (as I have mine) to share with others.  It is used to share the knowledge I have with others who may be needing the same information.  trust me I have Googled which primer paints work the best, and in finding a video on the subject someone has just did all that work for me.  I like to pass along the same thing.
6.       Both individual and distrusted knowledge are encouraged.  All information is welcome be it through own personal experience or something they have found to be helpful.  The beautiful thing about Pinterest and the DIYers is that everyone is wanting to both gain more knowledge and to share more knowledge.  If one person grows all have the potential to grow as well.
7.       Dispersing knowledge is encouraged.  Multiple boards can be created to share the information.
8.       Tactic knowledge is encouraged and honored.  Usually this comes through in picture tutorials which have shown me a LOT of things.  Some people learn visually and these truly help.  Creating your own tutorials for something you may know is very much encouraged and sometimes requested.
9.       Different forms and routes to participation – can be a lurker, and simply add and pin as you like, or you can create and truly search out good information people may need or enjoy.  Participation can be in spurts (as I do) or it can be continuous.  It simply just depends on a person’s preference though you will miss a lot if you don’t get on for days.
10.   Leadership is porous and leaders are resources – these are evident in their personal websites.  Some websites are beautifully crafted to help people complete more DIY projects around the home than others.  Everyone is a valuable member, especially when they want to be one.  You can share you wealth of knowledge or pass along what you see never really adding to what is already available.  Leadership changes with each new project or tutorial.  Anyone can be a leader at any time, it is user generated.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DS106 Project C

In this assignment you had to take an article and scratch out parts to leave another story that was completely different from the first.  My original was about brewing your own beer.  My story reads, "Once upon a time on a safari within a short drive of a store, you wonder, "Why even bother.""  I enjoyed this assignment and I think it will be something that I will do with my students actually.  It's something to make them read, think, but is also something fun for them to do.  Maybe have them create poems or something didactic or just something silly.  

GeoMapping Project

In this project I began by wanting to map out my local elementary schools, mostly because I have friends who work in these schools and so I know first hand the challenges both the kids and the teachers face.  I am also interested in poverty and the effects that poverty has on students and in turn their lives as they go from student to adult.  While I included all the statistics on the CRCTs that were available when it came to the projection of how poverty was impacting our students I focused on Reading and Language Arts.

Also in this project I added public housing into the equation as they tend to be located close to certain schools.  I have a friend who works at Southeast as a Kindergarten teacher and close are the "South Rome Projects" as we all refer to them as, or John Graham Housing as they are properly named.  This school is consistently the worst performing elementary school in the city school system and honestly I wanted to know why.  So by tracing where the other housing authority and Section 8 housing students were attending school and by comparing them against one another it looks as though those particular housing units are not the direct cause of lower testing scores, however it does look as though there is a difference between the Section 8 housing and the Housing Authority in that the later's schools had lower testing scores.

When looking at the 3rd-6th Grade Comparison charts I created you can see that Southeast Elementary School performs consistently poorer than all the other schools in most every grade and subject matter.  The demographics of that school are that 99% of all their kids are qualified for free or reduced lunch.  The second worst performing school, Main Elementary, has 98% of its students on free or reduced lunch.  Elm Street Elementary performs in the middle, but leans more towards being one of the worst schools and though it has a lower number of free and reduced lunch students at 89%, it does has the highest instance of ESOL students at 47% of its student population.

So gathering all the data I see that poverty plays a large roll in the academic achievement of the schools as do students that have a limited English proficiency.  Unfortunately for myself I still don't feel I truly found the "reason" why these schools are performing worse than other schools.  If you ask teachers parental involvement plays a huge role in how their student will perform and learn.  Learning has to be a priority for both the parents and the child.  In all honesty the South Rome Projects where the students attend Southeast have always been the worst of all the housing, followed by the Green and Gold, where students attend Main.  So it seems the correlation between the two may not simply be just what "people say", but it may have some truth to it as well.  The question then turns to how to do we fix it....


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where I'm From

Where I'm From

Where I'm from comes with a long rich history
Where my grandparents and their grandparents not only lived but survived
The Great Depression that knocked this country to it's knees
And my grandfather never could shake the memories
Of hunger, and loss, and struggle

Where I'm from my grandmother buried her father at 5
She remembered how cold the floors were in their rented room
And why they never needed closets
Because a hook on a wall was sufficient 

Where I'm from I feel the history of the town
I love the lighted trees on Broad Street that now is for relaxation
That was once the center of commerce
Where cotton dust filled the air as it was shipped down stream 
And the Cotton Block is now something where the city has a block party

Where I'm from keeps me connected to my past
And allows me to enjoy the beauty of my future.

In doing my poem I know I stuck mainly to the location aspect of where I am from, but at the same time, I connect deeply to those places.  I mostly connect so deeply because of the history that my family takes up in this town.  If you ever read Rick Bragg then that is the type of story telling I am used to, minus the drunks being in my family, they were cousins and such.  I would have to say I am affirming the story of the South.  I think history is important especially family history.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Online Participation

#ENGCHAT Experience:

I engaged in an #engchat on October 22 and I found it a lot of fun.  I liked having the ability to quickly converse and hope into conversations with fellow teachers from all over the country.  What I liked about this is the ability to move between conversations quickly.  There are a lot of ideas being brought up, links being shared, and basic sharing of information.  #Literacies November 1, is a planned chat and on this date is on Digital Peer Review, I intend to lurk on this one only as they are really asking experienced teachers about their own peer reviewing processes, however I hope to take away a good deal of information and some ideas on what I could include in my own class.

Link to Article with Comment:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Personal Learning Network

I have learned a great deal about personal learning networks and how they work from Rheingold.  I think it is fairly obvious to say that we, as people, need supportive people around us to encourage and to be able to bounce ideas off of and to learn from.  My network is currently small as a pre-service teacher, but I do see the importance of adding to this network in a greater way.  Not only in learning to be a better English teacher at the high school level or any other level I may venture into, but in general.  I put an emphasis on my strong network ties rather than weaker ones at first (although this is so small it is hard to tell that is what took place), yet Rheingold made a good valid point that a vast number of weaker ties are important as well.  They in fact are the best way to create more diverse learning and to foster innovation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Talk about Demotivating!  There are few things that demotivate me more than knowing there is no point in saving for the future when so much money is printed my money is worthless the longer I hold on to it!  =(   

Truthful Movie Poster

I loved this assignment, I really loved seeing what everyone else put up.  It was fun and thought provoking.

This is a project I want to do with my students in the future, sans the foul language.  I think this teaches students that they have to truly think of why a movie is made, the audience is is searching for, and the purpose of the movie itself.  I would also like to link this together with a "book poster" idea.  Having students create a poster or cover with the truthful spin allows students to voice their own opinion on the book.  I know a lot of kids loved the Twilight series, while an entire other group hated the books (I would be in the later of the two groups).  Having these visual projects allows for creativity in a multitude of ways both from the visual and in the usage of words in the project.


Collaboration is something we all do, daily, whether it is in a learning environment, in the work place, or simply being a member of society.  What I found to be the most profound ideas in Rheingold was not the idea of how much we collaborate on a daily basis, I think that is fairly well understood, but rather collaboration in terms of human evolution.  I will honestly say I was taken aback by this notion that human evolution should be looked at through the eyes of collaboration rather than the survival of the fittest manner in which I have always viewed evolution.  The idea that the human brain correlates directly with how we are social seems as though it could be questionable, then it is followed up by the fact that as humans we can work in groups of up to around 148 people, which is roughly the size of a military unit.  It may be that is it simply chance or it could be that the US Military finds credibility in this idea or that they in fact found the same to be true independent or new studies and theories.  I also enjoyed the fact that gossiping was the first form of language... I think it justifies my long conversations with my girlfriends since it has always been that way.  =)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Odyssey on Maps

I created a Google Map based on the Odyssey intended to use in future classes in school.  I would like to use this activity again for other books as well.  I am thinking along the lines of Mark Twain, or Jane Austen.  I am a visual person so something like this could be very useful in class and something fun for students to create themselves.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This I Believe Essay & Composer Notes

I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Ours lives are shaped by our decisions and it is my belief, not in a grand already made plan, but that the choices I have made have brought me down a path where I find myself right now and in some divine way it happened all as it should.  Simply looking at the way I met my husband shows me how everything is shaped together to form what makes our lives today.  Had I not switched jobs, had I moved to a different apartment, had I stayed out that night, had I not been bored, had I done anything differently our chance meeting would we have never met?  Had anything been different, the slightest timing change we never would have met and this would no longer be my story.  It has happened many times over in my life that I think of these things.  When my Dad was too sick to work it just so happened that I lost my job a month before I had to take on his.  Had I gotten the job I was sure I was going to be offered I would have never moved.  Had the job field I had previously been in not taken such a hit I never would have gone back to school for teaching.  Had I had the courage to stand alone I never would have found myself again.  Had I not taken the chance I never would have had what I have now.  So while I know my choices are never perfect and regret can seep into my mind from time to time it doesn’t take much for me to remember that I have what I have due to choices and possibly chance but either way I believe everything happens for a reason and that consoles me.

Composition Notes:
I began this project writing first.  Once we came to class and I saw where I would have to find images to go along with it it became much more difficult.  I think the visual aspect is going to be much harder for me.  Maybe because of the topic... I’m not sure...

Things To DO:
Figure out a software to use!!??!  Windows Movie Maker
Find Photos
Find a video.... thinking Jack White building a guitar
Find music for background

I’ve decided after much thought to change my project completely... I went from “I Believe that everything happens for a reason”, to “I believe there is beauty in the ordinary”  At least that is where I am right at this moment.. much better than earlier to today when I wanted to do “I believe I am surrounded by idiots that need to commit mass suicide”... definitely a better place now.  =)

Finding photos to go along with the idea of what I have in mind for my project.  I’m mostly thinking of finding old photos from the US Archives.  If you haven’t been to the site, do.  Some are just so beautiful and are free to download and use.

Finding photos and thinking about how I will use the voiceover to the photos.  Created a video with photos, played around with some other software ideas on making the photos not simply just appear and disappear.

Totally scratched my second idea and reverted back to my original idea and edited the written portion.  My heart just was not in the second idea.  I tried, but it was hard.  Changing a lot of the photos, but able to keep a few.  Making my husband help me get my voice recording done, with an 8 month old and staying in my mother’s house while we renovate mine... NOT easy!  

Having Issues with audio jack on my computer, put it on my husbands also using his software to combine the voice with music.  Found a great add on for ripping music off youtube.  Hallelujah! Voice and music are together, working on creating the visual, which is by far the hardest part which I had anticipated.  Hoping to do good on my vision.  Also, I suppose I will always despise my own voice on a recording.

Added the images and voice recording.  I also found some instrumental music to add to my voice recording which went nicely.  At the end I had wanted the music to keep playing longer, however it was not possible as it was a loop and would have started over.  I really liked having the photos go by faster and faster.  That was what I was most excited about.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Attention... or lack thereof...

Is it odd that the first subject matter to come up in a digital media class for prospective English teachers is attention?  I would venture to say no, and I would also like to commend my professor for allowing us o speak so honestly about our own attentiveness.  It seems that most teachers are stuck on teaching the way it has "always been done" and in that kids must keep their attention in class with closed mouths, but the fact of the matter is every one today struggles with a lowered ability to keep focus.  ADD is not something that I have been diagnosed with and when I say I have it I say it playfully.  The reality is the older I have gotten my brain seems to run a million miles in 8 directions.  I can not longer sit and watch TV (although I have never been a big fan), and lord knows you can forget trying to watch a movie with me.  I get antsy, I need to move around, I want to look up things on Google, I think about what I should be doing, what I could be doing, what I will be doing, and what I forgot to do and need to make note to do later.  It seems the whole world has become ADD in the past 10 years.  Maybe our ability to have everything at the touch of a button, and now with cell phones being internet capable there is truly no escaping the mindless internet searching I have become privy to.  Even now as I write about my experience to noticing just how truly unable I am to keep my attention on a single piece of dense text my eyes are fluttering back to my daughter playing in her crib, texts and phone calls coming in, and trying to remember to reserve a U-haul for my husband less I forget again for the 5th time this week.  Trying to write a paper these days is something that my husband finds humorous as I take breaks to - pause to hand my daughter my computer mouse she was reaching for- clear my head and mindlessly open another tab of Facebook.  This is my reality now.  In order for me to best perform I need seclusion, I have to turn off the wireless internet otherwise I will forever sit wandering from page to page, picture to article, video to statistic until hours have passed and I am no further ahead than had I tried to write the paper in the middle of a family gathering.  This is all from a woman who is 28 and remembers a time before technology was everywhere and times I could be MIA and not tracked down via my GPS enabled cellphone.  It causes me to wonder what our kids go through in technological word they were raised in.  Are they better adapted?  As a teacher what can I do to help them?  What can I do to help myself??  Honestly I crave silence.  I miss silence, maybe that happens when you have kids, and maybe I should ask my husband to build me a studio in the backyard... I bet I could find a cute one on Pinterest and a tutorial to go with it.  =)