Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bored of Education

So it's the final few weeks of the semester, and I find myself procrastinating more and more. Often by getting on Youtube and watching different videos. This week I was watching a lot of spoken word poetry and found this little gem about education. I think it's a great video that talks about a lot of the issues with education today! Check it out:)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Guided Learning

This week in class we had to teach a lesson we had created on our own. This was the first time I had ever created my own lesson plan and taught it. Overall, I think that I did fairly well. I used Popplet while I taught. This was very effective for me, because I was able to use it like an outline. While watching my other classmates teach I noticed they did several things that worked will. One was a quiz at the end. I had originally planned to do a quiz at the end on Kahoot!, but I couldn't successfully log in to my account, so I ended up just winging that portion of my lesson and just asking questions instead. That is one of things that I plan to change for Guided Learning 2.0. I would like to figure out what went wrong with my Kahoot! account as well. Technology worked into my lesson very well since I used Popplet to present my lesson.

While watching the video I had a total face palm sort of moment. One other thing I plan to improve on my next lesson is I apparently need to learn my left and right. I was so embarrassed to see that as I was teaching the different chambers of the heart I totally screwed up my left and right. I am not really sure how I messed that one up, but I'll be sure to get it right next time.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Common Core

So I found this pretty awesome video that I decided to show ya'll this week. The common core in this video and how it pertains to teaching might not be just what you all are expecting:)  Hope you enjoy it! I know I sure did.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Final Stretch

We're finally here. The last month of classes before the summer. I am so excited. I have a lot going on though and that can be overwhelmingly. I have tests and final projects to finish up in these final weeks. As well as lots of other social things that I am stoked for. Tonight I get to go to see the Christian comedian Tim Hawkins. Then next weekend I am leaving to go the Olympic Wrestling Trials and I can not wait!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring Break

This week is the first week back from vacation. It's been crazy getting back into the schedule of doing homework and going to classes as well as work. It's amazing how just one week can ruin a person's schedule. Over break I went to my old high school to complete a technology survey for Teac 259. When I returned to my high school I had a great experience. I was a little skeptical returning to those halls. I haven't been back in that school in years. I got to meet with one of my favorite teachers, as well as the principal, and I also got to observe another teacher's class. Later on in the week I got an email from my old teacher that she had teaching materials she wanted to give me for my future classroom. It was awesome! I have a bag full of movies and lab books to use in the future. I also learned about a really cool program called the World Food Prize that  I encourage everyone to go research. It is a great opportunity for students, so hopefully that sparks your curiousity enough to research more!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Today in class we were shown three different types of technology. First we used littlebits. They were these interesting little electronic pieces you could hook together to make different things. They were described to us as Legos with a battery. Next, we used a leap motion which is a lot like an educational video game. It has a sensor that reads your hand motion instead of using an actual mouse.  Lastly, we looked at Makey Makeys,  which are wires that connect with your computer and any object you want to be a keyboard key. I think the one that I would most likely incorporate into the classroom is the Leap motion. It had a lot of cool science uses that I think would be a fun study tool for students, as well as a possible alternative to labs if budgeting and time doesn't allow. I would be weary of how to grade the students usage of the leap motion however. My group struggled with getting the leap motion to do what we wanted to it, so I think it would be something a used for extra credit, or study time and not core points in my grade book. I think I would maybe incorporate the other two technologies in my classroom in an optional way. I think they would be nice to have set up in stations for if students are done with their work, or even as extra credit optional projects as well. I think there are a lot of possibilities on how to connect these technologies into a biology classroom!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Old School Teaching

Being in college I am exposed to many different teaching styles. Each professor brings different styles into their lectures. Since I have become an education major I have found myself picking up on bad teaching techniques as well as good ones. Currently I am taking chemistry. The class has a very traditional lecture. My professor is very old school in every sense of the word. He uses PowerPoint, but writes most of his notes out on the white board for us to copy down. I have found that I actually learn so much  more form him when he does this. He'll write out problems and walk us through how to solve them, instead of just lecturing off the PowerPoint he has. I think this is a very effective way of teaching.  When I come to class I have to actually actively pay attention and copy down notes as opposed to just downloading his notes later from blackboard.  Even though this professor has a very traditional style of teaching he still incorporates technology. Each week we have assignments that are due online. We also get points from participating in clicker questions. I like the way he teaches and runs the class. It is a good teaching model. I think that when I have my own classroom I will probably be incorporating technology in similar ways while still keeping it old school and simple.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Maker March

This month is Maker March in class. This means that our class is focused on new technology and new ideas. This week in class we were assigned to create something that would be helpful to education. My group decided that since we are science majors with one social science major we should obviously focus on a science related creation. We had issues coming up with an idea at first. We started out by determining if we wanted to make an app or some physical type of tool. We quickly realized none of us had the skill set to make an app. So then we started talking about what we could make. We came up with the wonderful idea of board games. We had issues determining how we wanted to pursue a science board game. At first our board game was just going to be a psychology related one, then it expanded and kept expanding. Finally we nailed down that it would be a series of board games. One for each subject within the science field. We thought this would make it more marketable to schools. Then we determined we wanted the boards to be a candyland style. Lastly, we talked about question types and rules. Ideally the questions written for the board game will follow the Core standards for science education.  If I were assigned to create something individually instead of as a group, I think I would still take the board game route for my creation. I really struggle with understanding technology so creating an app would be hard for me. Also as discussed in previous blog posts I like the idea of bringing games to the classroom. I think it makes learning fun and interactive for the students.
Finals Week - Spoken Word by Stefan Vandenkooy from Daniel Robinson on Vimeo.
This week I wanted to share this video. I think it has a really good message. It says a lot about the values of our current society, as well as teaching. In class we have been talking a lot about teaching for understanding. I think this video calls us out as college students for doing the very thing we want to avoid our students doing. Instead of just memorizing to get a grade, to pass a class, to get a degree we should be absorbing everything. Our education now is what is going to prepare us for the hard decisions and situations we face in the classroom. Another key message I love about this video is it hits home talking about the self centered society we live in. As teachers our jobs our to help others. I know personally if I were going to school for a job that would make me rich, I wouldn't have chosen teaching. I chose teaching because I want to impact others. I want to make a different in each of my students lives. I want to invest in students the way  my coach and teachers invested in me. Even though it's not finals week, I constantly find myself being too busy to invest in others. I should be taking time to be pouring into my friends lives and getting to hear about their struggles. I think that maybe taking time to get experience and knowledge of the way other people live and invest in them would help prepare me to be in a classroom. Every individual in a classroom brings in their own story and influences. Being able to relate and understand students and their life situations will make me a better teacher. Investing in people now when I am busy will help me be able to invest in my students later when I have five thousand papers to grade and lesson planning to do.

TOW- Kahoot!

The tech of the week is Kahoot! It is an online quiz/survey/discussion generator. I am not a huge fan of this site. I would rather just create a quiz on paper. I personally take tests better on paper than on the computer. So as a teacher most of my tests will probably be given this way. I could maybe see using Kahoot! as a fun assignment for students to make their own quizzes over material I have taught them. I tried Kahoot out and made a quiz over information about myself that I have put in my blog.
See how well you know me!
Kahoot! Quiz

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunny Day Sweeping the Clouds Away!

So I'm sure everyone who lives in Nebraska has noticed the beautiful weather that we have been having lately. This weekend I had a blast with a friend going down to Pioneers Park and blowing bubbles and just exploring. It was so much fun to just relax and act like a kid without a care in the world. This past week as been a relief to me homework and studying wise. I didn't have any tests this past week and there are none this coming week. So that is a very very beautiful thing! As I have been enjoying the nature I've been thinking about how to break away from traditional classroom settings. I keep thinking about how as I biology teacher I really hope I find ways to get my students outside during some class times. I think that a change of scenery is a wonderful thing for students. I know for me when I am trying to learn something I sometimes just need to get up and change the room I am in, the newness helps refresh my brain Also taking students outside to actually explore nature helps apply different things they may have been learning in class. In teaching and technology we have talked a lot about the idea of teaching for understanding. I am really excited about having my own classroom and trying out different ideas!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Teaching?

This semester has been one of those draining semesters that is starting to make me burnt out on being a science major. I've found myself completely bogged down with homework and studying. I've just been crazy stressed out, and then I start to wonder if teaching science is meant for me. These thoughts pop into my head as a struggle to understand my current chemistry homework assignments. So I've been thinking why did I choose Biology education as my major? Now I am going to refresh my own memory as to why I am passionate about teaching science, as well as enlighten ya'all on the journey that has led me to this major. When I started school  I was pre-med with the end goal of being an occupational therapist. I've always had a knack for science, especially biology and anatomy. When I was a freshman in college I felt very uneasy about my major. I just knew that occupational therapy wasn't for me. I then applied to work at Timberlake Ranch Camps. My first summer at camp turned into a life changer. I was a cabin leader that summer and spent my entire summer hanging out with awesome kids of all ages. This job helped me come to the realization I love to teach and have a passion for youth! Before taking this job at camp my interactions with youth had mainly been young kids at my local church. When I worked at camp I got to work with middle school and high schoolers as well. I absolutely loved working with that age group. I began thinking that maybe teaching is a career choice I should consider. I picked up a few teaching classes my sophomore year which helped me confirm what I already knew, and that was that I am meant to teach.  I returned to camp the following summer as the first aider. Which is so much fun! I get to combine my passions all together. I love children, Jesus, medicine and teaching. This job allowed me to interact with kids more on a science side of things. The thing about campers is they get really paranoid about everything when they are away from their parents. So I spent a lot of my summer calming campers down and explaining to them that they are okay and why the cut they got on their big toe actually won't kill them. As I continue on in my career at Timberlake Ranch Camps God continues to show me that teaching is something that I am called to do with my life.


Alright, So this week our tech of the week is Evernote. I can see how it could be super nifty in the classroom. Having students use this to turn in notes they've taken in class would save paper and things I would have to take home to grade. It also would be an easy way for a teacher to share information or notes with students. The thing that I don't like about it is I was taking notes over chem and to me it's a lot easier to write out formulas and equations by hand then trying to make it work on a computer. I also know that I am a lot less likely to be distracted if I bring a notebook and pencil to take notes with as opposed to a laptop.  You can take a look for yourself at a few notes I took! The notes I took are pretty brief. I was just reviewing information and I omitted equations from my notes because I wasn't sure how to enter all of that into the computer.
 Chem 109 Notes

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Gaming in the Classroom

This week we talked about the idea of games being brought to the classroom. Do games aid in learning? I LOVED games as a study tool and still do now that I am in college. I absolutely despise studying. I have the world's shortest attention span and I can get easily distracted. Studying all together just makes me super cranky, and then no one wants to be around me.
The idea of studying just stresses me out like to a crazy degree. Right now as I am writing this blog post I am putting of studying for a chem test tonight. Games however, trick myself into studying. I love playing online games or even taking online quizzes to test my knowledge. Why? Because I see the progress. I need that. It's kind of like my love for cleaning. I clean when I am stressed. Why? Because once I finish cleaning something I can see my progress and I just feel super accomplished. When I am just staring at a book trying to absorb information and study literally nothing gets done. I'm a junior in college and I still have no idea what I am doing when I try to study something. I just stare blankly at pages and notes hoping something syncs in. 
If I have something online that I can quiz myself over or interact with I am super productive. I don't get discouraged like I am just wasting time. This is because I can see my progress and I get feedback which shows me I actually grasped the information I was trying to learn. Games I think have their place in education. When I become a teacher someday I plan on using games as a resource for my students. It won't be something we take class time to play, but it'll be up as a study tool. I may even offer it as some form of extra credit to do outside of the classroom. I understand games aren't for every learner out there, and they also shouldn't be the only form of studying a student does, but why not take a tool that may benefit some students and make it available to them? 


This week's tech of the week is Pinterest. On Pinterest you can save links, upload photos or videos, and save others photos and videos onto a certain board. Later you can go back through your "pins" and look at the different ideas that you saved. It can be useful to find lesson plans and new ways of teaching. I have had Pinterest for a while and have two boards that are related to Secondary Biology Education. One board is a bunch of science facts and info. The other board is different ideas that other teachers have used in their classrooms. Here are my boards links! Check them out!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Science Major

As you all may have already gathered, I am studying to be a high school biology teacher. I changed my major several times throughout my first two years of college, and now I am currently trying to play catch up to finish college as soon as possible. Because of this I get to take three science classes a semester. It keeps me crazy busy. Right now I am currently procrastinating studying for my second chem test of the semester. chem is not my thing on any level. There is a reason that I am studying to get an endorsement in biology and not chem. One thing I do while I'm procrastinating from all the homework I have to do is look at lame science jokes. So I am just going to leave a few here for ya'll.

The Teaching Channel

My tech of the week this upcoming week is the Teaching Channel. It is this really cool website where teachers post videos of what they are doing in their classroom. It's really neat to look into other classrooms from all around the nation and see what they are doing. It's rad how a whole network of teachers is working and collaborating ideas through technology. Here are two real neat videos I found and enjoyed.
Making Science Relevant with Current Events
Students Create their own Biology Lab

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mobile Blogging

In class this Thursday, we did an activity called mobile blogging. We were to update and blog about our trip to the one button studio in the library on campus. We were to do this in a google document. I found the assignment to be very challenging. One of the reasons is that I spent almost the entire time trying to get access to google docs. I got locked out of my google account and couldn't contribute to the document until I found a way to log in. Once I did that I was able to contribute a picture to the document. We arrived at the library to learn how to use the one button studio. In the studio we spent a lot of time waiting for Brad to get the system to work. Once he got it working it was a really neat idea. I liked how simple it was as well as how convenient it was to make a video. I am not sure that it is something I will be using this semester to make my video journals, but it is nice to know it's there if I need to.  When we had finished the entire mobile blogging activity our group had added pictures and just short sentences about the experience to our google doc. Check it out:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ToW Popplet

This weeks tech of the week is Popplet. Popplet was kind of interesting to use. It was also very simple to figure out how to work. Pretty soon I had created my first popplet. What is popplet? It's this cool website where you can organize information into rad little graphic organizers. You can add pictures or whatever you want into each bubble. I messed around and made a short popplet giving information about myself. I could see how this could be a great site to use in the classroom. It would be a fun assignment to have kids create their own popplets over information I've taught in class! Here's my popplet! Check it out:)

Saturday, January 30, 2016


These first few classes have gotten me thinking a lot more about the use of technology in the classroom. Until now, I have been of the mind set that technology isn't all that necessary in the classroom. This class has been showing me that there are beneficial ways of incorporating it into lesson plans. Although today I had an interesting thought. I was thinking back to when I was in high school and how my teachers incorporated technology in the classroom. As a student I always dreaded assignments that required me to use a new technology. One of the main reasons was because I struggled with making it work, and I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of my peers. My anxiety about the technology distracted me from what I was supposed to be learning. Looking back I know that I probably wasn't the only student that felt this way. As educators I think we should also be in tune with our students capabilities. I plan on using technology in my classroom, but I don't want it to ever be a stumbling block in the way of my students learning. I hope that when I am a teacher I will be able to discern how much technology is too much. In this class I continue to learn new technologies though that make me super excited to use in the classroom. Last week our tech of the week was Flipboard. When I was in high school I had a science teacher that required us to find an article that involved real life usage of the information we were learning in each chapter. We would then have to write a summary. It was a great way for us to earn points as well as apply information we had learned. Flipboard is the coolest app, that allows you to pick an interest and it will pull articles globally that relate to a topic. I love the idea of having an assignment similar to the ones my science teacher assigned, and then allowing my students to use their phones as a tool  to find articles
 I also look forward to being able to share youtube videos like this one with my students to help them learn a topic.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tech of the Week

This week our technology of the week is Flipboard. When I first downloaded this app I assumed I would delete it after this class and never use it again. However, this app is actually really cool. I can select my interests and it brings up news articles on those subjects. I don't watch the news very often, so I don't keep up with what is happening in the world as much as I would like. I think this app could be super helpful and an easy way to get news!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Week Two
I finished my Vine experience over the last week. It wasn't really difficult to complete a vine, but it was surprisingly time consuming to make a six second video. We also were asked to tweet over the past week. I have had Twitter for quite a few years now so that was nothing new for me. In class we were assigned groups that share the same subject area majors that we do. We started making an info-graphic on state, national, and technology standards in education.  I think looking at the standards and picking them apart is very interesting and is something I've never looked at before. Putting it into an info-graphic seems to be a little intimidating and challenging to me because I am not tech savvy on any level. In class we also watched a cool video that challenged us to think about how education is being taught. One of my classmates shared that "Technology isn't always learning." A former teacher of his had tweeted him that earlier in the week. I found that to be an awesome thought. Lots of time in high school I can remember the focus being on using our new laptops or this new technology or whatever it may be. Often times though those technologies we as students found ways to be off task with them. I think as a future teacher this is something I'll have to remember when I start trying to incorporate technology into my classroom.
 Roz brought up an interesting idea in class. She mentioned the idea of technology natives and stated how my generation is part of the technology natives, but technology has changed enough that now we are immigrants just like the generations before. This cycle she suggests will always continue. Which brings me to this meme that is most likely the future of my classroom.
 My closing thought is over the past week I have become more aware of technology in general. I also have started thinking about using it in my own classroom. One thing to know about me is I am always on Pinterest, and as I've been surfing Pinterwst I keep finding more and more amazing science apps for teachers. It's gotten me very excited about this class. At some point I will have to select a tech of the week to learn and I will probably use one of the apps I have found on Pinterest so more to come......

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Introduction Blog
 I am Melissa Olson and a junior at UNL. My major is Secondary Education with an endorsement in Biology. I am currently taking Teac 259 and learning about different technologies. This class may prove to be a challenge for me because I am not very good with technology. Some facts about me are; I am from Emmetsburg, Iowa. I love science, (hence the endorsement in Biology). In class today we talked a little bit about standards and affordances that new technology provides us. When we were leaving we were asked to grab paper off the white board and write in our blogs about our technology. I grabbed white out. White out is a pretty rad invention.
 If I don't want to write in pencil it's all good I can use pen and if I screw up it's fine I just white it out. Before white out if you made a mistake on a page in pen you had to just scribble it out. That looks messy. The advantages and problems white out solves are called it's affordances. There was a standard that was set that professional writing does not have scribble marks or incorrectly spelled works throughout it. White out was the solution.   This week we were also asked to make a vine, which I have never done before. So to be continued...
Some students even get creative with their white out it would appear!