Archive | April, 2012


26 Apr

I can’t believe this is the last day of class……Time flies…   😦


OK..we have so many things to do today.  Let’s start with Kenzie and Meghana’s presentation about their Learning Adventure.


We have two evaluations that we need to do.

1. COE evaluation

2. VoiceThread Cross-cultural Communication Project Evaluation


We have two ways to do the evaluation…

1. Vote for two activities and then we are going to evaluate the same two for everyone…

2. Evaluate the e-portfolio in general…content, design, color and everything…

Which way do you want to do?


I enjoy having you all in this class very much.  Thanks for being creative, innovative and supportive!  You do give me a lot of ideas and thoughts.  Thank you all!

OK…we need to do several tings before we say goodbye…

1. I will email you the final grades after I am done with grading…if you have any problem with it, just email me.

2. Apparently, you all need to stop by and see me either before I go back to Taiwan for summer break or next semester…because your gifts from your Taiwanese partners are still on the way.  I will email you when I get them.  Then we need to make appointments to get the gift.

3. If you still haven’t given me the gifts for your Taiwanese partners, please give it to me by May 4 (next Friday)…Thanks!  It’s kind of rude that you get the gifts from others and you don’t give them something to show your appreciation…

4. If you like (want, can…), you can recommend EDIT 2000 to your friends.  🙂

5. Class picture!!

Good luck on your finals and have a great summer!



Learning Adventure Presentation Day

24 Apr


Today we are going to present our learning adventure project.  I haven’t seen any big issues in your sites.   So…let’s start the show.


1. To complete the learning adventure project, you need to create a new page on your main website called “Learning Adventure”. Then, write a short description of your Learning Adventure (at least 2 paragraphs).

2. If you get any suggestion about how to make your project better today, you still can revise it.  I will finish grading this weekend.  Therefore, any revision should be due by midnight this Friday.  And none of you talked to me about anything last Thursday, so I believe that you are in good shape for your complete e-portfolio.  I will review them on Wednesday, if I see any issue, I will email you.  Then we are going to make the final evaluation this Thursday.

3. During the last day of class, we will:

  • Complete the end-of-course evaluation and a short survey about the cross-cultural communication project.
  • Give 1 minute informal overviews of each learning adventure.
  • Look over each other’s projects from the entire semester, with particular focus on the learning adventure.
  • Select the most exemplary portfolio from our class. Winner will get a Trader Joes’ gift card.
  • Take a class picture

4. Although Chuck mentioned that it will be the ice cream day again in the creamery, I don’t think that we are able to go there…Sorry, guys!  We need to stay in the classroom to use the computer for the final evaluation.  If you can bring some food, that will be awesome.  If you can’t, no worries.  I will still prepare something for the final class…even though it may not be some yummy Taiwanese snacks.  I will try my best!  Remember to come to the last class.  It’s very important to get those things done!



Problem Solving and Critical Thinking– Day 4

19 Apr

Before we move to the last two sections in the Learning Adventure Project, we need to make sure that you are ready for two things.  The first one is the site construction and the second one is the author introduction.


It is the same as the way you construct your e-portfolio and almost every group has constructed.  Therefore, we just need to work on the navigation bar settings.  Many of you are probably wondering why your pages are showing up in alphabetical order rather than the order you intentionally designed. Because we want to create ease in navigation on the site, it is important to organize our navigation bar.  The order that we have been talking about is as follows:

  • Author Introduction (video)
  • Inquire
  • Hook
  • Organize
  • Explore
  • Show What You Know
  • Apply (Finding a Career)
  • Parent/Teacher Letter

You may have chosen slightly different titles to describe you pages and that is perfectly fine.

If you have question in adjusting the sidebars, please let me know and we will change it today.


In your video you will want to tell about yourself and why you choose this topic.  If you have any questions, take a look at the examples we have.

After finishing recording, you need to save the file, even a .wmv file as an attachment to your Google Page. However, the file might be too big.  I can upload the file to YouTube if you don’t have an account, or you can use your Gmail to log into YouTube.   If you are using iMovie, the tutorial includes specific instructions for uploading.


In this section, you

  • Give children information on answering these types of questions as a career. (Example: sound: audiologist, musician; weather: meteorologist, climatologist, etc.)
  • Link to sites about the career, conduct a brief interview with someone in the field – include a picture if possible.


In this section, you will write a letter to parents/teachers with the following in mind:

  • An introduction to the adventure for parents: purpose of activities, helpful hints, materials needed, what sections need parental guidance, opportunities for extension (field trips, additional books, etc.), include a list of book titles that relate to the question.
  • Rather than simply listing what you find on Amazon – search the Athens library and the CMC – find good books, not just books on the topic.
  • Include LEARNING OBJECTIVES: use national standards, not state standards.


You have created a new site for this project and you need to make a page to describe this Learning Adventure Project in your e-portfolio before your presentation. So…pay attention:

1. To turn it in, you will need to create a new page on your main website called “Learning Adventure”. Then, write a short description of your Learning Adventure (at least 2 paragraphs).

2. Double-check your learning adventure with the rubric.  All group members should do this – make sure everything is covered.

3. Uploading your video to youtube is the easiest way to embed it onto your adventure’s introduction page.  You can login to youtube with your google account. Once you’ve uploaded your video, copy the url, go to your introduction page, click on “Insert”, then choose Video<Youtube and paste in the url that you copied earlier. You’ll just see a yellow box on your page but once you save the page you should be able to view your video. Or you can just embed the video into your e-portfolio…but again..I will worry that the file might be too big.


1. Your learning adventure is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday. Please note that this is the absolute last day to turn in any other missing assignments. Talk with me TODAY if you have questions about anything other than your learning adventure – these assignments become 0′s in my gradebook after Thursday’s class.

2. Your website/portfolio should be complete. The only thing left to do is update your introduction page.  Reread what you wrote about what you wanted to learn from the beginning of the semester. Then, write an overview of what you have learned this semester and what you feel you have left to learn. Your final introduction should be at least 2 paragraphs (seriously – you don’ t have a final in here, it’s the least you can do!)

3. During the last day of class (next Thursday) we will:

  • Complete the end-of-course evaluation and a short survey about the cross-cultural communication project.
  • Give 1 minute informal overviews of each learning adventure.
  • Look over each other’s projects from the entire semester, with particular focus on the learning adventure.
  • Select the most exemplary portfolio from our class. Winner will get a prize!
  • Take a class picture.

4. Thursday will be much more enjoyable if everyone:

  • arrives on time
  • brings a small snack to share
  • decorates their workspace so we’re more interested in visiting your “station”
  • smiles for the class picture

5. Don’t forget to bring the gifts for your Taiwanese friends! You can bring in the gifts next Tuesday and Thursday.  Arthur has already send the gifts…so your gifts are on the way already!

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking– Day 3

17 Apr

Today we are going to continue working on the Learning Adventure project.  I have the idea about what Claire and Chuck are going to do, but I haven’t got further information from the others.  I hope you all have an essential question that can guides you through and a good hook for your students. I think it’s better for us to share this now…so if there is something wrong, we still have time to fix it.


By now you’ve come up with a topic, decided on a project for your students to complete, and have possibly come up with some engaging wording for your “Driving” or “Essential” or “Interesting” Question.  The “Hook” section or anticipatory set should be designed to focus the attention of your learners. It’s the part that hooks them into your topic. You’ll do some of this in your introductory video, too – but this “Hook” section should get them really into your topic.

Please tell your peers about your idea for the final project.  If you are still thinking about project ideas, here’s a long list of project ideas. Read about Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects for more ideas.


We are using the backward design approach.  As a designer, here I mean a teacher, you need to think about the final product or artifact that you want your students to create.  Sometimes I do think this is the best way to teach.  Think about cooking…do you prefer thinking about what you want to eat or what you want to buy first?  Most of us will think about what we want to eat first, right?  So, let’s figure out what kinds of projects your students might complete.  Then we’ll working on organizing resources to help them create their projects. Just as we choose a recipe by looking at pictures, alot of kids will choose your adventure based on the project they will complete.

Together, we’ll watch the video on Applying Math Skills to a Real-World Problem.  What evidence do you see that this is a good project? What are the characteristics of a good project-based learning activity?  What is the final product?

Now it’s time to brainstorm project . What kinds of projects might your student do? What will they create?  Will they create a glogster poster to show how the define a hero? Or will they create a video to talk about recycling? Maybe you’ll encourage your student to start a blog to help other middle schooler’s learn how to make and keep their friends.

What makes a good student product? Whatdo you want your students to do as part of their adventure? Is it meaningful or busywork? Are they using critical thinking and problem solving skills or just repeating facts? Keep these questions in mind as you create this part of your project.

The rubric states, “This is the product – after they’ve learned about the topic, what can students create to show what they’ve learned and/or to learn more about the topic? This will be a creative endeavor – not a worksheet or research paper. In addition, how will students share their final product with you?”

Check out this Beginning with the End in Mind website to see how you may think about designing the end product that students will work on. It may also help to see what former students have designed for this section. Check out this example – notice this student created the “Show what you know” in his “Figure It Out” section. He then created a page for how students will submit their work on the “Show What You Know” page. You can choose to include this information on one page to consolidate and just title it “Show What You Know.”


Organizing the Investigation for Students

Now we’re going to create a chart for students to organize information – this could be a KWL chart, a cause and effect chart, etc. It is best if it becomes a tool to help them navigate through all of the parts of the adventure – so they know where to go and what to do in each section.

This will serve as a “to do” list. Use age appropriate graphics. Let’s look at some ways to help students organize information. You may find something you like on this teacher site, you may choose to create an organizer using Dabbleboard, Webspiration, or even using Word. This is up to you and your group. You can also look at some examples from former projects, such as the Health Adventure: You Are What You Eat and the Adventure in the Wilderness.

After you’ve selected or created an organizer for your investigation, include a write up on your Google Site for students. Just posting an organizer isn’t enough. You need to write to the students, explaining what they are going to do with it. Do you want them to print it? If so, you need to tell them. Let’s take some time in class now to select/create an organizer and write directions for students.


Now you have already created an essential question, a hook, the idea for final product and the graphic organizer.  Weare going to explore more about the topic.  Your students might use the “Get Organized” graphic organizer – or there might be an additional one for this section. Your group will need to provide a list of websites that are age-appropriate. Be sure you are not just listing websites, but describing the relevant sites and giving student something to do when they enter a site.  Also, please notice that these websites are your selections, not Google’s selections.  Please DO NOT give me the first five websites you get from any search engine.

Where can you go to find interactive games and resources to use in this section and the “Explore” section?  In class today we’ll look at Thinkfinity – which is an appropriate resource regardless of grade or subject area.


1. We did so many things today.  I know some of you may not finish everything.  Therefore, we will have about another half hour on Thursday to work on these sections.  Then we will work on the last two sections of the Learning Adventure in the second half of Thursday’s class.  Also, we are going to talk about how to construct all these in a new site.  If you need any help, please let me know how I can best assist you.  You know me.  I am always here to help you.

2. I will check out a camcorder this Thursday.  If you and your partner want to make the introduction video clip on that day, you can also do it in class.  I will try to find a quiet place for you.  Then you also need to have a laptop or a thumb drive in order to save the file.  If you don’t want to do it in class, please remember to do it before the final presentation which is on April 24.

3. Thanks for completing the VoiceThread Communication project. You all did a great job.  you can start thinking about the gifts.  I will start collecting the gifts that you want to give to your Taiwanese partners this Thursday.  I am bringing the gift back to Taiwan and meet them in their class this June.  Arthur will collect the gifts and send them to me this week.  Hopefully we will get their gifts before the last class.

4. Unfortunately, Gretchen is not going to have the SMARTBoard class this fall semester.  However, she has a new option.  Here is her new idea.  If you are interested, feel free to contact her asap.  Thanks!

“In the fall I’m teaching a one-time only section of EDIT 4000 – Technology and Innovation – special section for CMSD majors.  This is a 3.0 credit hour course that will meet on T/Th from 12:30-1:45 in Aderhold (no room assignment yet).  The purpose of the course will be to explore, as a group, how technology can be used to support children who need assistance with speech and language issues. I’m bringing my knowledge of technology and you’re bringing your knowledge of all things CMSD. Talk with me if you are interested in learning more about the course or enrolling. You will need to be cleared by me to register.”

Problem Solving and CriticalThinking– Day 2

12 Apr


By now, you should an idea about who you will be working with (or if you want to work alone) and an idea for your project. Make sure you reference this rubric throughout the project.

Let’s talk about critical thinking and problem solving.  Let’s look at the NETS again.

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  1. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  2. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  3. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  4. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

What does your book say about problem solving?

“Students apply critical and creative thinking skills to prior knowledge during the problem solving process. The end result of problem solving is typically some kind of a decision: choosing a solution and then evaluating it.” (p 155)

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that combines critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and inquiry as students explore real-world problems. It is based on unstructured, complex, and authentic problems that are often presented as part of a project.” (p 156)

If you type the texts into a word cloud software, then you will see the word cloud like this.
Wordle: problem solving

Here is a video talking about project-based learning.


So, now, what’s the differences between project-based learning and problem-based learning?  Both of them are PBL in short term.  Some people are confused when they see PBL…I am one of them. 🙂

Let’s take a quick look at this article and figure out the differences.


You’ll want to get students interested in your topic by starting with an essential question. We’re going to try and write a few ourselves today.

  1. On an index card, write a question related to a topic about which you enjoy learning. For example, “what happened to the dinosaurs?”, “why did the Titanic sink”, etc.
  2. Get in a group with  another classmates, and use a tubric to turn your question into an essential question.
  3. How good is your question? Use the essential question development checklist on the last page of this handout to see how well you did.

Share at least one good question with the class. Then, as a class, we’ll form a definition of essential questions and talk about how you can use these in your Learning Adventures.


Think about lessons in school that really hooked you in, or made you want to engage in the lesson. The task and hook work hand in hand to focus the students on the learner outcomes. Designing the task and hook is a balancing act between providing the students with a direction and purpose, but not directing them with steps to follow or a menu of choices. The hook is just what it sounds like. It is a way to compel the students to want or need to know and learn the content the teacher has included in the project.

Some questions to think about:

  • Who owns the problem presented?
  • How does this problem relate to the student?
  • Does the task or problem pass the “so what” test?
  • Do the students have input as to how the task is approached?
  • Are there multiple solutions for the task?
  • Does the problem seem authentic for the student?
  • From (

The Anticipatory Set

  • Give some facts, interesting websites, additional questions, etc. – this is considered the anticipatory set – the part of the adventure where you get students excited about the question.
  • Include an appropriate online game or activity related to your question – don’t just provide a link – give students something specific to do
  • If appropriate for your topic – create a small gallery of photos that fit the question. But give students something to do with the pictures – or encourage them to create a photo album of their own pictures related to the question.

Let’s take a look at the previous students’ examples again.

Five Senses
Animals on the Farm
Health Adventure: You Are What You Eat
Adventure in the Wilderness


1. Finish the VoiceThread Discussion this Friday.

2. If you haven’t finished the four required reading guides today, you get one minus point already (unless you use your late pass).  Please upload all the reading guides to your e-portfolio by 12 PM next Monday.

3. Complete the first two parts in your Learning Adventure– the Inquire and the Hook.

4. If you have time, you can create a new Google site for your Learning Adventure.  Please note:  It is a NEW SITE, NOT a new page in your e-portfolio.  Also, please pay attention to these reminders:

  • Make sure the title of your site reflects the nature of your adventure.
  • Share permissions within your site with your partner of group if you have a partner. You will want to make sure your partner can make edits.
  • Make sure your navigation bar reflects the sections in the rubric: Author Introduction, Inquire, Hook, Organize, Explore, Show What you Know, Finding a Career, and Parent Teacher Letter.

5. If you are an education major, here are some readings about project-based learning for your reference.  We won’t have time to talk about these in class, but if you are interested in knowing more about PBL…you probably will get some ideas here.

  • This Scholastic article  is about project-based learning for Thursday’s class.
  • Here’s one about writing effective driving questions.
  • Read about a real-world example of project-based learning. Be prepared to share about it in class.
  • Listen to John Hunter talk about his World Peace game. Stick with it – it gets really interesting about 10 minutes in.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving– Day 1

10 Apr


We are going to wrap up the discussion for the second topic this week.  Originally, we plan to finish the discussion today.  However, your Taiwanese partners had spring break last week.  So…the discussion will be extended for another 3 days.  Please check the comments in your group and give feedback to your partners by Friday.  Then we are going to do the evaluation next Tuesday.

Gift Exchange: They didn’t meet last week, so Arthur will check with them this Wednesday to see how everything goes.  You and your American partner can decide how you are going to buy or make the gifts.


You guys are fantastic last Thursday.  We have two more presentation to go.


These two concepts are usually bonded together.  There are always multiple ways to solve one single problem.  Now, let’s try to solve one problem.

Task: using the 3 bamboo skewers and clay – create a structure that balances by the point of one skewer on your fingertip.

Here are some questions related to the task.  Choose to answer.

  • There are 2 types of problems: open-ended and close-ended. Which was the balancing activity?
  • How is the balance activity an inquiry activity?
  • Could the balance activity be considered problem-based learning?
  • When have you experienced the problem-based learning approach in your classes? (What is problem-based learning?)
  • How is this connected to critical thinking? For that matter, what IS critical thinking?

Here is the NETS standard for problem solving.

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  1. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  2. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  3. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  4. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.


We are going to start a new project, the Learning Adventure.  This is our final project in which yo will demonstrate what you have learned this semester.  Think about what we have done this semester.  Personal website, infomercial, image editing and film making, social network discussion, interactive whiteboard…so now it’s time to integrate everything into one project.

I gave four example links last week.  Which one is the most impressive one?

Five Senses
Animals on the Farm

If these are not enough or clear to you, here are two more examples.

Health Adventure: You Are What You Eat
Adventure in the Wilderness

Please take some time to browse these examples to help you understand more about this project.


After looking at the student examples, what questions do you have? How do you think the adventure could have been improved? Do you notice any missing elements of the adventure that could have made it better? Think on this – maybe as we work through the project, you will want to go about it differently. That’s okay! Just be sure to talk with me to let me know your ideas.

Partners and Groups

I would prefer you worked with a partner for this project. It’s okay if you find yourself planning an adventure in a subject or grade level that is different than the one you identified at the beginning of the semester. I am open to people working alone, but you need to be forewarned that this can be a lot of work – being able to share the work load will help you stay on target. You do not have to decide today who you’d like to work with, but be prepared to share this in class on Tuesday.

Project Rubric

Open this UGA EDIT 2000 Learning Adventure Rubric.  Talking through the rubric will help you understand what is expected of you throughout the project. It also contains a time line so you can keep on target. You will notice that the criteria for receiving full credit is part of the rubric. Let’s look at this together. If we have enough time, we will also be creating our own criteria for the project as a class.


1.  If you haven’t finished four reading guides, you need to do the last two, Chapter 4 Reading Guide: Critical Thinking and Chapter 6 Reading Guide: Problem Solving.  If you need to do chapter 6 reading guide, skip question number 5, 9, and 12 (questions about webquest). I’ve enjoyed a lot reading your thoughts this semester. Keep it up!  🙂

Remember, both reading guides are due this Thursday.  This Thursday is also the last day you can use late pass.  That is, the Learning Adventure project CANNOT be late. 

2. Think about who you would like to work with and some possible topics for your project.

SMARTBoard Microteaching

5 Apr


Thanks for uploading the great images of the most interesting/ attractive instructional activity in American K-12 learning environment.  They are great and your explanation make the image so vivid.  However, I forgot to tell you that your Taiwanese partners actually are having their spring break right now….so they may give the feedback a little bit later.  Therefore, the discussion will be finished next Tuesday (Apr. 10).

As for the gift exchange, we might need to think about how we are going to do it.  This is the first time that we have uneven students numbers for the communication…so…let’s think about it.


Microteaching is an instructional strategy.  It usually means that teachers watch a series of videos of the lessons after each session.  I try to borrow the idea and make today a microteaching day.  Therefore, all of you are going to teach us your SMARTBoard Notebook activity.  I will give you some time to practice with the real SMARTBoard now…because I feel it’s very different to use the software on SMARTBoard and the laptop.

We may not finish all the presentation today, so we will save some for next Tuesday.  Then we are going to move to the last project: the Learning Adventure.


This project is related to the last two topics, critical thinking and problem solving.  We need to find an essential question and then try to think about some ways to help students to solve that problem.

Here are some example from previous EDIT 2000 students:

Five Senses
Animals on the Farm

By viewing these examples, I hope you will have an idea what this final project will look like.  We will spend next Tuesday to talk about it.


1. Upload your SMARTBoard Notebook Activity to your assignment page in your e-portfolio.

2. Finish the last two reading guides if you need to.  These two reading guides will be due next Thursday, which i also the last day for late pass.

3. Think about some problems that you have encountered in your daily life or some questions that you think children may want to know the answer.