Friday, January 31, 2014

A Fresh Start

Starting new classes has always been fun for me. I like to see what I have to look forward to in a semester and it's nice to gauge my overall workload. Which so far, despite classes being cancelled this week because of weather, doesn’t seem like it will be awful this semester.

I’m taking six classes this semester and each is worth three credit hours. I’m enrolled in…

·         COM 135 (Introduction to Public Expression and Critical Inquiry)
·         ENG 131 (Life and Thought in English Literature)
·         ENG 223 (Strategies for Writers)
·         ENG 134 (Introduction to Shakespeare)
·         EDL 318 (Teacher Leadership and School Organization)
·         EDP 279 (Technology + Media Literacy and Learning)

Picture I took of my planner for this week.
The fact that three of my six classes are English classes seemed daunting to me at first, but after this week, I’m more at ease with the idea and I don’t think that my workload will be unmanageable. While I’m in for another semester of a lot of reading and writing, I don’t particularly mind. After all, I was expecting a lot of reading and writing when I decided on my major and minor. 

I’m especially interested in my EDP 279 class this semester as it is an online class. This will be the first class that I have taken that is solely online. It will be a different experience than any of my other classes, but I’m curious to see how it will all work.

I’m also looking forward to my COM 135 class. I’ve had quite a bit of experience in public speaking, but I’m interested to see how I can improve on my skills.

It was nice to have some classes cancelled this week, as it made coming back a lot easier, but I'm definitely ready to get back into the swing of things.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Brief, Exhausting, and Amazing Trip Abroad

Picture I took inside
the Old Library at
Trinity College in Dublin.
For the past week, I was in Ireland and the United Kingdom with my parents and one of my siblings. This was my first time abroad, but I certainly hope it was not my last.

Picture I took of St. Patrick's Cathedral
in Dublin, Ireland.
We started our trip in Dublin, Ireland. The first day we were there, we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, as well as the Old Library on campus. The Old Library was one of the places I wanted to see while we were in Dublin and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

On our second day in Dublin it was raining, so we went to the Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. That night, we listened to live Irish music, which was a lot of fun.

Picture I took of Big
Ben in London.
We started our third day very early and went to the airport to take a plane to London. While we were in London, we had beautiful weather that allowed us to walk and we took the underground all around the city.

Picture I took of
Westminster Abbey in
First, we went to see Buckingham Palace, then we had afternoon tea at the Kingsway Hotel, we saw Big Ben, the outside of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar’s Square. Since we only had two days in London, we were trying to pack in as much as we could.

On the fourth day of our trip, we toured Westminster Abbey and I was able to see graves and memorials for many famous writers in Poets’ Corner. In addition, being able to walk around Westminster Abbey was incredible on its own. The building is rich with history and is absolutely stunning.

Picture I took of the Irish Sea from
Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.
After we toured Westminster Abbey, we took a train to Windsor and toured Windsor Castle. When we got back to London, we saw Kensington Palace and walked through the Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Later that night, we flew back to Dublin.

Picture I took of
Malahide Castle in
Malahide, Ireland.
On our fifth day, we took a train to Dún Laoghaire. While we were there, we saw the Irish Sea and walked around the town. When we were back in Dublin, we went to the National Gallery of Ireland to look at artwork.

The sixth day, our last day, we took a train from Dublin to Malahide and went on a tour of Malahide Castle. While we were there, we also toured the gardens.

While it was a whirlwind of a trip, I learned a lot about different places in the world and it made me want to travel more.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Being a Member of the Miami Student Education Association

During fall semester, I decided to officially become a member of the Miami Student Education Association (MSEA). Being a member of this organization has a lot of perks.

First off, the group is made up of education majors so it’s a way to connect with people outside of class who have differing levels of experience in the College of Education, Health, and Society. It’s nice to be able to ask juniors and seniors in the program for advice on classes as well as their experiences.

In the fall, one of the meetings MSEA had, was a teacher panel. Teachers with varying levels of experience were asked to come to our meeting and answer any questions we, as pre-service teachers, had. One of the teachers on the panel was a current student going through student teaching. It was interesting to hear about her experiences.  

As a member in MSEA, that also means I am a member of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the National Education Association (NEA).

Another perk of being a member is that I had the opportunity to also join the Intergenerational Mentoring Program (IGM).

The idea behind this program is for the mentors to help guide pre-service teachers and help them get ready to start their career as a teacher.

The mentor I was paired with taught for 39 years and has been a great resource. It’s interesting to hear about her experiences and her perspective.

The program holds meetings and in between meetings, my mentor and I send each other e-mails. So far, I have really enjoyed being a part of this program and I’m glad I will also be a part of it for the next two and a half years. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Technology in the Classroom

A common theme I’ve seen in my education classes is how we as teachers can incorporate technology into our classrooms.

Most recently this past semester, we discussed this in two of my classes with a particular focus on specific apps that students can download.

Image I took of my cell phone. Students can use their cell
phones, iPods, or iPads to download apps that can assist
them in the classroom.
In my EDT 246A class, Foundations of Language and Literacy, we had a special focus on apps that would help English Language Learners (ELLs). Some of the apps that my group found for this project focused on grammar lessons so students could learn basic grammar rules.

My group also found an app that would allow students to interact with a piece of text by marking it up, highlighting it, using virtual sticky notes, and the app also allows students to draw on the text. This would benefit students as it is a way for them to write on their textbooks without making a mark in the actual book.

In this class, we also had a project on how we can utilize social media in the classroom. Many of the articles that my group found dealt with how to use Facebook, Twitter, and blogs in the classroom.

An example of a project that would use Facebook/Twitter is having students create profiles for fictional characters. As for blogs, students can create informative blogs on a specific topic or blogs can be used as discussion boards for students to share ideas.

For this project, my group and I also found an interesting article on using graphic novels in the classroom. Graphic novels are a different type of interactive media and students are provided with a visual aid so when they’re struggling to understand the story, they can use the visuals to figure out what is happening.

This semester I also took EDP 256, Psychology of the Exceptional Learner. In this class, we focused on apps that could be used as assistive technology for students. The majority of the apps my group discovered had to do with voice recognition software.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Favorite Classes at Miami

I can’t just pick one favorite class, since I’ve liked a fair majority of the classes that I have taken, but I still have liked some more than others.

So far, my favorites have been EDT 190 (Introduction to the Teaching Profession), ENG 141 (Life & Thought In American Literature), EDT 246A (Foundations of Language and Literacy), and JRN 101 (Introduction to Journalism).

Part of the reason why I liked EDT 190  was because as part of that class, I was able to do service learning. I was in a 5th grade classroom and the teacher I was paired with, had me take students to the library and I would work one on one with the students on math and science.

While I’m not one for math and science, this was still a good experience for me, as it reaffirmed that I had chosen the right major. I took this class during second semester of my freshman year and I switched my major in the middle of first semester. Being in the 5th grade classroom made me sure that I made the right decision to switch majors.

In addition, during EDT 190, I was given the opportunity to do a lot of self-reflection on my work and why I want to be a teacher. We also had to do a group project where we taught the class a chapter from our textbook.

Picture I took while writing a paper for my ENG 141 class.
In ENG 141, which I also took the second semester of my freshman year, we looked at American literature from the colonial period through 1865. We covered some of my favorite pieces of American literature during this class and we also read a lot of poetry, which is something I don’t mind reading and analyzing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and I always had fun writing the papers (I know, who has fun writing papers?). This class pushed me to think more and analyze literature in a deeper way than I had before.

I took EDT 246A this past semester. For this class, I learned more about how to teach and it was a great experience since there were only 10 of us in the class, so we really got to share our ideas with each other and learn from one another.

It was in this class that I had my first experiences writing lesson plans, which is now something that I know I enjoy doing.

As for my JRN 101 class, my professor only assigned us two main articles over the course of the semester, but he would also have us go out and interview complete strangers on campus about random topics, for example, their favorite song.

For the first article assignment, I wrote an article about a ride along I did with the Miami University Police Department. Going on the ride along alone was an interesting experience, but it was fun to actually be able to write about what I saw.

In general, I’ve had fairly good experiences with classes at Miami, and I’m especially looking forward to taking a Shakespeare class this coming semester.