Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journal 6

Journal 6

Spencer, J. T. (2011, Sept 19). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

The author of this article is John Spencer, who is a 6th grade ELL teacher.  He will be piloting a classroom with a blended one-to-one approach of Chromebooks, Kindle Fires and iPod touches.  This article was about reasons for not assigning homework to students.  Spencer has not assigned homework in the last 4 years.  He lists 10 reasons for not assigning homework, as well as 5 suggestions instead of homework.

Five more alternatives to homework:

1.     Plant and maintain a garden.
2.     Follow a recipe.
3.     Start a recycling project.
4.     Explore the local library.
5.     Research health benefits of favorite physical activities.     

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Journal 4

Journal 4: Join the Flock & Enhance Your Twitter Experience

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock. Learning & leading with technology , 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from

In this article, the author discusses how using Twitter can enhance one’s PLN (Professional Learning Network).  A PLN is a community of learners, who share the same interests, and who may or may not even know one another.  The author broke down the process into several steps, which is helpful for someone who doesn’t know much about using Twitter.  After setting up a Twitter account, the most important part is “following” and being “followed.”  That simply means reading and looking into what others post, and commenting, or posting your own ideas.  The author also listed a few people to start following.  Several benefits of using Twitter include finding links to interesting blog posts and new tools to use in the classroom. 

Q1: Do I see myself using Twitter to enhance my own PLN?

A1: Before learning about Twitter in this course, and reading this particular article, the only thing I knew about Twitter was that is was a way for celebrities like Kim Kardashian to connect to fans.  I vowed to never be lured into Twitter – Facebook was quite enough for me.  However, I have now learned that Twitter has many benefits to education.  I really like the idea of being able to connect with people around the world who share my passions and interests.  It doesn’t even seem too difficult to find groups with whom I would connect.  I think once I become more familiar with Twitter, I will start to use it in order to get new teaching ideas, and see what others have to share.  

McClintock, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning & leading with technology, 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from

This article was also about the benefits of using Twitter to build PLNs.  The author has personally used Twitter to expose her students to learning experiences from around the world.  She offers advice on using Twitter to those who “still don’t see the point” of using it.  For example, she suggests using a Twitter organizer such as TweetDeck or HootSuite.  These tools help organize the Twitter stream into columns, making it easier to differentiate between topics and groups.  One part of the article that was interesting to me was the Twitter terminology or “twerminology.” It’s funny how many new words were invented to explain the different aspects of Twitter.

Q1: Would I be able to convince my colleagues to use Twitter for education?

A1: Although I would definitely be willing to share what I know, it all would depend on the individual.  I can think right off the bat which ones would not even understand what I was talking about, and if they did they would not give it a second thought.  I can also think of a few that would be very willing and eager to give it a shot.  I believe that prior experiences and exposure with technology come into play here. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3

Journal 3: NETS-T  2 & 3

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out:flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning & leading with technology 39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

     This article discusses a recent innovation in education: Flipped Classrooms.  Basically, in a Flipped Classroom students watch the teacher’s lessons at home and do their homework at school.  The flipped classroom was pioneered recently by science teachers at Woodland Park High School in Colorado.
     The article gives a snapshot of a learning experience in a flipped classroom.  The teacher works as more of a facilitator than a lecturer.  Students are allowed to work at their own pace, and in their own style.  For example, students may work individually, in groups, or may get further instruction from the teacher if needed.  If the student understands the concept, he may move forward at his own pace.      
     One of the reasons for the need to flip classrooms came from a lack of funding.  For example, the Byron School District in Minnesota did not have money to buy new textbooks.  The math teachers came up with the idea of creating their own curriculum.  They created video lessons to go along with the curriculum. 
     It was challenging at first, since the teachers needed to create their video lessons from scratch.  However, once they were up and running, they began to note success in student learning.  The teachers began collecting data and the outcomes of the flipped classroom.  Other departments and grade levels started creating their own versions of a flipped classroom.  Some teachers have found that taking away the lecture portion of the class has allowed them more time to create projects and other activities that they wouldn’t have had the time for.     

Q1:  Would I have liked attending a Flipped Classroom in high school? 

A1:   After reading this article, I think I definitely would have enjoyed taking part in a flipped classroom.  For one thing, if I had trouble understanding a concept, I could’ve gone back to re-watch a video lesson.  If I did understand, I could’ve moved on at my own pace.  I like the idea of being able to work in groups, or individually. 

Q2:   Will flipped classrooms eventually take over traditional classrooms?

A2:    I doubt it.  I don’t think there is enough money in school districts to provide the technology for flipped classrooms.  Also, not every student might have access to a computer at home.  I also think very few teachers out there will be willing to change their teaching styles. 

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool

NETS 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership


Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool                                                                              April Ghionzoli

Reflection results for NETS-T 2: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

3. I develop and use digital tools and resources to effectively differentiate content, process, and product for students in order to meet their individual learning needs and preferences.

     I selected the Reflection results for NETS-T 2: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  Under this category, I chose number 3; this subcategory states that “I develop and use digital tools and resources to effectively differentiate content, process, and product for students in order to meet their individual needs and preferences.  One of the resources available for this category was a book titled Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning.  This particular book discusses how to use digital content and tools to design and deliver a curriculum that will accommodate widely varying learner needs.
     I teach students with special needs.  There is a substantial range of abilities among my students.  One of my greatest challenges as their teacher is to differentiate instruction and materials that will allow them to be successful learners.  One of the chapters highlighted an idea that intrigued me: “Learners cannot be reduced to simple categories such as ‘disabled’ or ‘bright.’”  It goes on to discuss the three interconnected networks among which the students differ: the recognition network, strategic network, and affective network.  I loved the statement that students show “shades of strength and weakness that make each of them unique.”  That single phrase could be part of a mission statement for my classroom. 
     After exploring the key ideas of each chapter, along with the many resources available, I am now very interested in how I can implement Universal Design for Learning into my classroom.  I think this book is an excellent tool to help me get started on incorporating technology into my curriculum that will effectively meet the individual needs of my students.     

Monday, July 9, 2012

Journal 1 -- 100 things that make me happy...

1. My husband
2. My dog
3. Spending time with my family
4. Swimming
5. DVR
6. Baby animals
7. Pizza
8. Beach smell
9. San Diego weather
10. Hanging out with girlfriends
11. Red wine
12. A weekend without chores
13. Sleeping in late
14. My job
15. Dancing at Tequila Sunset
16. Good hair days
17. Laughing til it hurts
18. Looking at old pictures
19. A nice, clean house
20. Exercising
21. Del Mar Fair
22. Riding the train
23. Grandma's eggplant
24. Remembering my Dad
25. Reading a good book
26. Playing soccer
27. When my students get excited about school
28. Graduating with a Master's degree
29. Surviving my thesis
30. Seeing fireflies in my backyard
31. The first day of summer vacation
32. The first day of school
33. Fridays
34. Pedicures
35. Ice Cream
36. Eternity cologne
37. Making new friends
28. Feeling confident
29. Finding shoes that fit
30. Robert putting gas in my car
31. Sad movies
32. Sushi
33. Date night
34. Perfectly sweet watermelon
35. Hot bath
36. Listening to Dance Hall Crashers
37. Reminiscing about high school
38. Callie's house
39. Chocolate covered strawberries
40. Hot fudge sundae
41. Slurpees
42. Co-workers
43. Drinking coffee on the patio on a cool morning
44. Not needing to wear a watch on the weekend
45. Smelly markers
46. Watching football on Sunday
47. Judge Judy
48. Teaching students how to do something new
49. Babies
50. Playing with my nieces and nephews
51. Disneyland
52. Elsa and Callie
53. Cold fronts in Brownsville
54. Recylcing
55. Newcastle on draft
56. The smell of breakfast restaurants
57. Going bowling
58. Cuddling
59. Roller Coasters
60. Feather pillows
61. Spring Break
62. Going to the beach
63. Raspas on a hot day
64. Fishing at Poway Lake
65. Cocojitos
66. Being organized
67. Hiking
68. Lena and Cruz
69. The smell of cutting the lawn
70. My wedding day
71. French manicures
72. Planning parties
73. McDonalds french fries
74. Getting my hair washed at the salon
75. Massages
76. Fabric softner sheets
77. My mom
78. Seeing cows and horses grazing on the side of the road
79. San Atonio Spurs games
80. Watermelon Margaritas from On the Border
81. Shopping at WalMart
82. Playing Wii Dancing
83. Not getting stuck at red lights
84. Princess parking
85. Being able to return something without a receipt
86. Getting an A
87. Camping at Dos Picos
88. My Grandparents
89. Slip and Slide
90. Trampolines
91. Fireworks finale
92. Pink and purple sunsets
93. Family get-togethers
94. Rubios fish tacos
95. Chai Tea Lattes
96. Air conditioning on a hot day
97. Roasting marshmallows
98. Buttered popcorn at the movies
99. Yummy Costco samples
100. Comfortable, yet flattering, jeans