All Module Reflections

Module 1 Reflection


            The readings in the textbook hit home when “up in the clouds” goals were discussed.  The discipline, the wide range of mathematical foundation knowledge, and the ever-looming New York State Regents brings a classroom quickly back to reality with the necessity to make sure students pass exams so they can graduate.  With the integration of technology into my classroom a new level of excitement has been introduced; technology has allowed me to differentiate learning quicker than ever before and has made the organization of my lessons, planning, and grading paperless.  I still have a long way to go and an enormous amount to learn; I feel that I am just at the beginning stages of integrating technology.   I sense that this class will expedite the process.


            The professional development classes that I have taken in the past were on specific topics such as Educational Philosophy or Motivating Students.  I believe these curriculums need to be updated.  The majority of classes that educators take all deal with enriching the educational experiences of our students.  In accordance, these classes need to incorporate the readings in this module; the integration of technology has a direct and positive correlation on student achievement.


            This first module opened up my eyes as to what is going on in education in the country and even in the world.  Often we, as teachers, sit all day in our classrooms, have some meetings in the building, and read the local newspapers.  It was extremely interesting to me to see that the schools in this country, according, to the readings in this module, are forging ahead.  Administrators and teachers want to make the integration of technology happen; although we all want it to have happened yesterday we are cognitive of the fact that time, education, preparation and support are necessary prerequisites.


 Reflections on Links and Websites


Teachers use distinctive teaching methods:


            This link provides information regarding a response system that allows the educator to get immediate feedback on students’ knowledge and comprehension of the classroom lesson.  This product is sold through Hyper-Interactive Teaching Technology.  This service sounded perfect for my alternative math classrooms.  It would be so helpful to get a quick gage on how my students understand various topics.  The downside was learning a new system and developing questions to take advantage of the system’s capabilities.


            After reviewing the website, it triggered my memory to a system that I had previously seen that was similar to the Classroom Response System (CRS).  It was called Senteo; it was developed to be used with Notebook software.  I now have researched the product and it has been updated and improved with a new name called Smart Response.  This is a product that can be integrated into my classroom quicker then CSR because the foundation software of Notebook is presently being used.


Teacher Preparation

Professional Development


The need for adequate time for learning, preparation, and practicing along with the other variables that fall under the professional development umbrella is essential for the success of teachers.   Educators are often overwhelmed with new content curriculum that must be included in our lessons which is further compounded by the learning curve that is inevitable when we want to integrate technology into our classroom.  Although perhaps slowly, the faculty in my building are reaping the rewards of using technology.


My administration is recognizing the need to have learning academies to avoid frustration when teachers are learning new software, attempting to create websites, and creating an interactive online environment in the classroom.  The website as well as the videos presented in the above links give additional information and a forum where the quest for innovation can continue.








            Before taking this course, I had never heard of the NETS acronyms.  It is ever important to recognize and promote the use of technology.  Probably not a minute goes by in a day when students are not viewing, using, or applying information supplied by a myriad of technologic resources.  I think it is important for teachers to have a frame of reference to continue moving us throughout the digital age.  NETS-T for me promotes a model for my growth and a vision to work towards in much of the same way that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) guides me through the best practices of mathematics.  Dominating the NCTM website, and overlapping with NETS, are ways to use technology to enhance the teaching of Math at all levels.



Experiences Using Technology


            Three years ago the director of our department, in order to jumpstart the use of technology at several high schools within Nassau BOCES, gave all of the teachers their own personal MAC.  What an incentive that was!  We all couldn’t wait to play, discover and incorporate what we learned into our classrooms.  In my classes, Barrons Regents Review Online was implemented immediately followed by the introduction of various canned software packages that could be applied with a short learning curve.  My high school uses a MAC cart and it has been working out wonderfully.  I just wheel it into my classroom, plug it in, and we are good to go.


            After reviewing the readings and links in this Module, I can include in my classroom parts of the lessons found in the link “forms” included in Proper Technology Integration.  The Best Practices of Technology Integration in Mathematics included three relevant lessons for me: Transformations Tessellations, and Technology for my Geometry class and Purchasing a Cell Phone with a System of Equations and How Much Does that Car Cost for my Integrated Algebra class.


Module 2 Reflection


            I cannot imagine facilitating any lesson without the use of the Internet.  The Smart Board is always on in my classroom and a myriad of websites are usually displayed at some point during the forty-minute period. Students also have access to four computers in the classroom and interactive learning is taking place utilizing selected “canned” mathematical software on the Web. 


            Access to social networking sites and email is limited.  Filtering software is used to prevent students from entering inappropriate sites.  I agree with this wholeheartedly as I do not want to have to police the computers as my lesson is going on. 


            The topic of cyber ethics is usually reviewed at the beginning of the year when the rules of the classroom are set.  Students in the past understand the consequences of downloading copyrighted materials including software, videos, and music.  Plagiarism is also discussed at length.  The problem that I see most often is that students do not see anything wrong in giving each other their passwords.  Their friends also very easily figure out the passwords that they choose.  Privacy about students’ personal information is consistently evaluated.


            The use of the Internet has made the use of multiple intelligences virtually painless for the educator.  Although it does take time to evaluate different Web sites, the information is at the teacher’s fingertips, it is in one place, and it is instantly accessible to the student.  How have I recognized my reliance on the Internet?  When the Internet is down in my school, I have to make alternate plans and frequently there is a “mad dash” to the copy machine.


Reflection of Web Sites;

Web site evaluation techniques


Link/Website 1 - Relationship Between Technology, Classroom Management, and Learning Theory


            I am constantly looking for ways to make my Trigonometry class come alive through technology as opposed to practicing problem after problem for practice on the NYS Regents.  Sometimes when reading these links and reviewing the websites, an idea can be sparked.  Although the information is often geared at the lower level grades or nonmathematical classes where I sometimes feel that creativity is a natural occurrence, the readings still inspire me to try to enhance my lessons by the use of technology. The virtual viewing of all of the roller coasters in the world to demonstrate the sinusoidal curve was an idea that came to mind.  Often when technology is introduced, some of the tasks associated with classroom management seem to take care of themselves.  Interest is sparked for the visual learner by seeing the roller coaster, for the auditory learner by hearing the loud sounds of the roller coaster, and for the kinesthetic learner by relating or actually physically imitating the movement of the roller coaster. 


Link/Website 2 – Teaching Techniques


                        In high school mathematic classes, many topics such as factoring trinomials for example, do not lend themselves to the creativity that I would want to bring into the classroom.  The curriculum is mandated by the state and there are high stake tests that are given at the end of the year.  Direct teaching followed by the worksheet technique is often used to get the best results in the shortest time possible.  Since doing the readings for the class, I have employed the working in pairs or small groups as an additional motivator.


Link/Website 3 – Yahoo, BING, and Google


            Search engines have given today’s classroom new dimensions.  They are also an invaluable source for teachers.  When I visited these three links, I began searching for additional resources to use for my lessons.  Although as mentioned above in the link to Teaching Techniques, I often use direct teaching followed by the worksheet technique, various math sites can instantly teach the lesson in a different way for students who are struggling; in addition the sites provide more practice and allows those students to work interactively thereby seeing instantaneously if their answers are correct or providing guidance to solve a particular problem.


Module 3 Reflection

Personal Goals


Name: Alana Heyligers                        Subject: Math


1.     Content Knowledge

Before this year, I have not taught the courses College Prep or Consumer Math.  I have also not taught Integrated Algebra as a five day a week course in preparation for the Regents Exam.  Since August, I have been familiarizing myself through online resources, textbooks, and other faculty members on how to most successfully implement these courses. In order to be seen as a leader, the content of my courses must be thoroughly familiar to me.


2.     Preparation

Leadership always requires preparation.  I have aligned the College Prep course directly with the Nassau Community College Placement Exam since the majority of my students will be attending college there.  Therefore the class has included foundational mathematical concepts such as percentages, fractions, and decimals.  The majority of the class has focused on algebraic principles including rational expressions, exponents, number theory, and linear equations and inequalities. 


My objective in Consumer Math is to include topics that allow the students to use their basic Math skills and apply them to real life situations.  In accordance, I have prepared math lessons on buying a car, budgeting money, investing in savings bonds, paying taxes, and calculating simple and compound interest.


My Integrated Algebra class is directly aligned with the NY State Regents.  All practice problems, reviews, and test questions are regents’ questions.  The class must move at a quicker pace than other classes since students are required to pass the Integrated Algebra Regents in order to earn their high school diploma.  Therefore, I have prepared lessons for the year based on 12 units from the NYSED standards.


3.     Instructional Delivery

My goal is to teach my lessons using a variety of instructional methods along with keeping in mind the multiple intelligences of my students.  There are usually at least three activities going on in the classroom since I have had to become accustomed to the fact that for various reasons my at risk students cannot learn everyday.  I am giving instructions verbally and visually at the blackboard.  For students who require a different option, explanation is always provided on the Smart Board.  The third option is for students to use the computer to learn interactively using available software and websites.  Castle Learning is now an option for every topic that I teach.  Additional goals are to master the technology of Moodle and Mathrightnow and to integrate these options as part of my lessons.


4.     Classroom Management

A well devised, interesting, organized, and exciting lesson that includes the benefits of technology is the best classroom management tool.  Although, even I admit, that it is hard to make certain topics, i.e. factoring trinomials, relevant and stimulating.  It is my goal to learn that there are certain “gravity” issues that must be adhered to when educating my at risk population.  All students are not going to perform 100% of the time and any type of argument that I might engage in is going to be a lose-lose situation.  The encouragement, however, is always there.


5.     Student Development

Besides facilitating the learning of the individual mathematics curriculums, in order to be a leader, it is equally important to try to add to my students’ growth at a personal level.  My goal in this area is to incorporate everyday in my classroom a known routine.  I want students to know exactly what is expected of them and what they need to do to succeed.  My objective is to have a classroom where there are no surprises and the onus is on the student to follow the procedures and guidelines that they are familiar with.  The students are always aware of what is necessary to be done in order to be successful and have the technological tools to achieve this success. 


6.     Student Assessment

Most of the assessments done in Math, either in college or at the high school level in the form of Regents, are still based on traditional testing methods.  In my regents’ classes and my college preparation classes, I have had to adhere to this method of testing in order to parallel what will be required of my students.  In my Consumer Math class, which I am developing this year, I have introduced different types of assessments such as presentations, website navigation and reporting, and choice of individual projects.  My goal in this area is to extend this type of assessment to my other classes as well.


7.     Collaboration

Since this is the first year that I have taught College Preparation and Consumer Math, I have collaborated with the other Math teacher at my school.  My goal in this area is to use technology and collaborate with other teachers across the country and as a longer-range goal: the world. 


8.     Reflective and Responsive Practice

As a teacher of the collectively called at risk student that we have at my school, it has been difficult for events that occur during the day not to remain with me long after the day is complete.  It has also been tough not to take things personally.  However, by reflecting and coming up with new and hopefully improved ways of dealing with a myriad of circumstances that occur during every period, my classroom for most students can be looked upon as a positive learning environment.


9.     Professional Conduct

In order to grow professionally, I am enrolled in this course.   This class will assist me in my objective of keeping my students motivated and interested through the increased use of technology and allow me to attempt to run my classes with bell-to-bell instruction.


I always treat my students with respect and try to maintain an environment of fairness while incorporating the challenges that certain students have whether it is in the academic or emotional arena.  My goal is to give praise when deserved and constructive criticism when necessary, the critique is always directed at the work and not at the person.  Clear communication with my students and a healthy interpersonal relationship will aid me in being seen as a leader, without sacrificing authority; these are additional goals that will help to make my classroom as engaging as possible with the obvious constraints of an alternative school.


Web Site Reflection


Link 1 – The Neglected “R”: The Need for a Writing Revolution


Even as a Math teacher, I see the lack of writing skills in my students.  It is probably most apparent in my Geometry class when students are writing proofs and proper sentence structure is required.  Now, like never before, this country has the true capacity to improve the writing skills of students.  One way, at our disposal, is through the use of technological resources.  With the stress of a challenging mathematical curriculum, writing has never been included in any of my lessons.  An idea for incorporating writing immediately into my classroom is to have assignments for extra credit.  In collaboration with other teachers, students can be given access to software that will allow them to spend more time on writing which will benefit them in all classes.


Link 2 – Create A Graph


What a fun an easy way to learn and produce graphs quickly!  This can be implemented tomorrow in my classroom.  The tutorial given is easy to use and will be incorporated into my Statistics Unit.  The CHANCES option can be used as an interactive introduction to the Probability Unit in Integrated Algebra.  The DARE TO COMPARE and the Math Teaser in the GRAB BAG offer great activities to use before a holiday vacation.  These activities represent a fun way to learn math facts.  I am always searching for this type of learning experience.


Link 3 – Chain Stories


Although this link directly takes you to a lesson plan that allows ESL students to practice their writing skills while learning how to use email, the site has many lessons that are useful in my math classroom.  On further investigation, there are lesson plans for all academic subjects including many that are enhanced by the use of technology.  I immediately found one for at risk students that involves FOIL and one that identifies two Internet resources to use to solve Simultaneous Equations Using Elimination. 


Module 4 Reflection


            As I read “Toward Genuine Accountability”, I believed that my thoughts might have been a contributor to the chapter.  In New York State, the three years of Math Regents in order to get an Advanced Regents Diploma does affect the creativity that is present in my classroom. These are high stake tests at the end of the year, which dominates my curriculum.


            The curriculum is challenging and the integration of technology in these classrooms usually comes in the form of tutorial software.  Students use this software to get another approach, besides from mine, in helping them understand the material.  Although questions often include high level thinking, it is hard to find relevance to many topics; for example, factoring trinomials, performing mathematical operations on polynomials, trigonometry of the right triangle, radicals, and complex numbers to name a few.  The list can go on and on.


            Frequently I hear the question, as I am sure many other math teachers do, when am I going to ever use this in life? It is hard to explain to a high school teenager that math gives you the skills to work out problems that require a logical sequence in life.   Sometimes, I tell my students what I believe is that in general math improves one’s concentration skills.  This is a hard sell.  As the readings emphasize, changes need to be made in the state assessment system so teaching to learn and apply replace teaching to the test.


            Success with technology, rubrics, and authentic assessment has come mainly in my non-regents classes.  The readings in this module have given me new ideas to use in these classes.  Putting students work on a CD-ROM in order to create a portfolio would be perfect for my class.  The difference for me, as opposed to Ms. Daniels multi-age special education class, is that I would instruct my students how to create these electronic portfolios on their own instead of me doing it for them.


            It is an exciting and dynamic time for education.  Many states are looking into changing the assessment for students so we really teach them important skills.  Even if my class does not remember all the math skills that they have learned, I am confident that they will remember how to use the technology that was associated with learning the particular skills.


Website 1 – Benefits to Project Based Learning


I have found project based learning to be difficult to incorporate into my high school math classroom.  How do I create a project out of factoring trinomials or solving complex fractional equations?  After completing the readings in this module, I do see the benefits of them and I am already exploring some ideas as to how that can be an effective instructional model.  Often a student tells me that they know the material, but cannot perform well on tests.  Using this type of instruction will give me students an alternative method to show what they know.


Website 2 - Rubrics


As I have been a teacher for only seven years, I first saw a rubric when my son brought it home from his third grade class.  I thought it was wonderful.  Not only was any subjectivity eliminated from grading but also there was a clear understanding of what was expected.  Naturally my son’s rubric could be called unsophisticated because after all it was third grade but he could read that rubric and know exactly what to do.   I am often searching for ways to use rubrics in my high school mathematics classrooms.  I have been able to introduce them in my non-regents classes.  It is a new process for my students since they had not had much experience with rubrics in a math class.


Website 3 – Portfolios


Although it is usually atypical to think of a portfolio being used in a math class, I have incorporated it into my classroom.  It is not in the traditional way in which we think of portfolios but rather as an organizational tool for my students.  When a unit is finished, students needed to complete a sum it up sheet or review sheet to study for their test.  Although I get complaints as to why I did not make up a review sheet, I believe that this method is better for retention and studying of the material.  The students pick out several problems from each lesson they have learned in the unit.  They need to write a brief explanation on how to do the problems.  These summaries and problems are included in their portfolios.  During quarterly exams, midterms, finals, and regents, their assignment is to go through their portfolios and complete the problems.  If they do not remember how to do their problems, the summaries that they themselves have written should serve as guides.


Module 5 Reflection Part A


Informal Reflection on Module


            As technology is improving second by second, I think that additional information needs to be added to this module.  In the inception of PowerPoint in 1987 and its subsequent version that follows, it was state of the art.  PowerPoint major limitation, and why many educators have replaced it by the technological tools mentioned below, is that PowerPoint is not interactive.  It is a multimedia tool that can link to interactive websites, which in turn can be interactive, but the software itself cannot recognize input from its users.


            Educators who are lucky enough to have the technology resources in their classrooms such as Smartboard, E-beam, and Promethean have many advantages.  These are interactive whiteboards with software included.  The Smartboard, for example, that allows the students to interact with virtually anything that is on the board whether it be plain writing as on a chalkboard, a website, a video, or a document, presentation, or slide created with Notebook software.


            The good news is that multimedia presentations created by using PowerPoint can take on new dimensions when used in conjunction with the above-mentioned interactive whiteboards.  Even better news is that the learning curve from PowerPoint to Notebook software, which I am familiar with, is minimal.  Both software packages utilize slides and text boxes to write information.  The impact on learning in the classroom, as far as my experience goes, is astronomical.


            Watch a classroom come alive when the educator transforms their blackboard with white chalk lesson to a multimedia lesson with color, animation, graphics and a utube video!


Module 5 Reflection Part B


I hope that you, the reader, can easily see as described in the reflections on the module and websites above how much fun I am actually having in this class.  Literally, my creative juices seem to be flowing!  Math teachers are usually stereotyped as left-brain thinkers because of the logical and sequential attribute associated with the left-brain.  I am more willing to try and take risks with technology in order to enhance my lessons.  For example, I am working on replacing some of my typical boring “do nows” with introductory videos on the topic, flip camera interviews in which a student explains a problem, and graphics with sounds to “wake up” the class.  However, this all takes time.  I remember when I wanted to learn Notebook software and I told myself that I was going to sit down and “play” for an hour.  The next thing I knew was that it was three in the morning.  Often, the desire to integrate technology into the classroom takes on a life of its own.     


Reflection of Links/Websites


Link/Website 1 – Templates


It has been a long time since I have used PowerPoint in my math classroom.  Since I have gotten a Smartboard, I have focused on using Notebook software with links to websites appropriate for the particular course that I am teaching.  I have missed some of the wonderful features and intend to use it again.  The template option has been updated and it is a great resource to just make my lessons more visually pleasing.  In seconds, I can create a stimulating, soothing, or “wow” mood in my classroom.


Link/Website 2 – Sound


A lot of time in my math classes that involve taking a regent exam at the end of the year is devoted to practicing problems independently on a worksheet.  The room is usually quiet.  Students have asked me if I can play music.  This has been a question that I am still thinking about.  I have looked at the Websites associated with the Sound Link.  I think I have been enticed to produce a twenty-minute musical inclusion in my class.  Of course, I will require 100% agreement from all of my students in a particular class.  This discussion will be on an individual basis.  I like this method because I am in charge of creating the music. 


Link/Website 3 – Photography


My school has recently purchased flip camera and are encouraging the teachers to use them in their classroom.  I have been reluctant but this class has given me the impetus.  I am allowed to borrow a flip camera, take it home with me, or even take it on vacation with me.  What will I use it for?  What immediately comes to mind is to use it to record “math in action”.  And what is happening now in New York (It is February when this writing has taken place for Module 5) and around the country is that it is storming.  Well, lets show the snow and calculate how fast the snow is falling from the sky.  And when it melts (We all cannot wait!), lets calculate the rate at which it dissipates.


Module 6 Reflection


            In the extensive readings for this module, it is evident that exciting and amazing events and lessons are going on in today’s classroom.   Teachers are integrating technology into their lessons to give students virtual access to knowledge that would be impossible without the Internet. 


            I believe, as educators, that we all want to make our lessons as exciting as possible.  What teacher wouldn’t want to bring NASA into their classroom?  All schoolteachers want to teach beyond the four walls of their classrooms and expand the horizon of all of their students.  What stops many of us is the perceived enormity of the task.  We are overwhelmed with state exams, paperwork, discipline problems, writing new curriculum for courses, and working with never before such a diverse group of students.  What is the antidote for this quandary?


            I was asked on a professional development day to work with different groups of teachers to show them the benefits of using SmartBoard coupled with Notebook software.  Our administration budgeted a huge sum of money to install SmartBoards in almost every classroom in our school.  What the administration saw is that teachers were using the SmartBoards as traditional projectors.  Those were some mighty expensive projectors!  I wanted to learn how to use the SmartBoard and not because my administrators wanted me to.  I needed help in my high school math classroom in working with my at risk student population.


            I put an enormous amount of time in learning Notebook software and it is now beginning to pay off big time.  Yes, it was time consuming.  Yes, it was frustrating.   Yes, it was nerve racking that I would appear “stupid” in front of my students.  Now, I cannot live without it.  As a learning tool, it is great.  As a classroom management tool, it is even better.


            How did I tell my group of teachers to begin to use the SmartBoard with Notebook software in their classroom?  I only had an hour and a half and did not want to give them an overview of all of the wonderful features that they would forget.  I started them off with one activity that they could use the next day in the classroom. 


            When I read the readings in Edutopia for this model, I also got that overwhelming feeling.  But then I started to dissect.  What could I start with? What was important to me? What could help me in the same way that SmartBoard and Notebook software did?  In the chapter A Dozen Promising Practices That Work, I wanted to practice team teaching.  I have recently felt the isolation that was described in the reading.  Since it is the middle of the year, I cannot implement team teaching formally on the schedule.  But I have coordinated it with another math teacher for one period a day.  I am more experienced with SmartBoard and she, at least to me, is a pro at using Moodle where assignments can be generated for students.  We have decided to collaborate our lessons together every Monday (Period 2) to start off with and we will see what happens from there.


Link 1 - PowerPoint Game Templates


        Ten years ago when I was getting my Masters in Education, I remember using the PowerPoint Millionaire game.  However, it was then on a floppy disc.  How far we have come!  The graphics and animation are superior.  We can now select what music to add to the PowerPoint presentation and when to add it.  Within this link, I found the Website, “Inside Mathematics”.  There are public lessons, which show educators teaching high-level math topics such as Quadratic Functions.  Students would be able to use their laptops to view another approach to the lesson besides from my own.  It is also fun to show another teacher and classroom to my students; it is almost as if my students have company for the day.


Link 2 – Sum Sense Multiplication


        This game is great for having students enforce their multiplication skills.  Although the courses that I teach are more advanced and this application would not be directly applicable, the concept of the game can be transferred.  I love the idea of implementing a timer so many students get a chance and there is a competitive nature to the game, which also is a great motivator for many of my students.  One topic that immediately comes to mind to use in is in my Geometry class; the topic is proofs.  The statements could be listed and the students would have to match them with the corresponding reasons.  They would be on the clock and have a minute to complete the exercise.


Link 3 – Sequence


I viewed this link because I thought I could use some of the content in applying a step-by-step procedure or following a sequence to solve certain mathematical problems.  Different methods to sequence a problem were just part of what I saw.  The real value to me was a link to the website  The website literally has hundreds and hundreds of math practice sheets.  It also has puzzles and games to use with your students that you can create based on the topic that you are teaching.


Module 7 Reflection


            At the professional development meetings held by my school, there has been much attention paid to the featured topic of social and emotional learning in the textbook readings.  I have seen this the results of social and emotional learning first hand and it is first and foremost when it comes to learning.  My students come into class with a myriad of struggles and we as educators cannot ignore these issues if we want academic success as a goal.  Schools today must address a child’s emotional needs.


            I agree with the readings that just as you have to practice your math skills everyday, a student needs constant reinforcement to deal with emotional difficulties.  Our school conducts exercises and has group meetings to help the students deal with anger issues and reduce stress.  We were lucky enough to receive grants, which enabled us to get a guitar teacher, and yoga instructor, which have had positive effects on those students who have taken advantage of these extra courses.


            When students have some degree of emotional intelligence, inquiry-based learning has the most potential to be successful.  I believe that the majority of teachers want to view themselves as facilitators to the learning process and thereby allow the students to take control of their own learning.  The use of technology can smooth the progress of this objective.  With the use of technology many events can be happening in the classroom at the same time.  The teacher is no longer the only dispenser of facts and information.  With the use of inquiry based learning in my classroom, my job is to prepare the classroom environment with the necessary technology, learning tools and resources so students are free to explore on their own the topics at hand.


Link/Website 1 – Charting the Effects of Earthquakes on Buildings


            When I first clicked on this website I was surprised to see the resources associated with Microsoft Education.  There are many Math Lessons that are applicable to my classroom such as “Graphing related linear inequalities”, “Understanding money and current currency exchange”, and “Create and analyze rectangular patterns” to name a few.  There are also Teacher Guides that include free tools for the classroom, a guide to technology for students with special needs, and a mathematics tool application that extends from basic math to pre-calculus.


Link/Website 2 – Google Docs Spreadsheets


            Google has so many resources available to aid me in the education process and this link has presented five more free assets: Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, and Forms.  Although I would use Word because it is available to me, the Documents from Google are a good alternative for a student that does not have access to word processing software.  The Spreadsheet choice is an option to use instead of Excel.   Presentations is a good resource for students to use if they do not have PowerPoint.   I was very impressed with the capability and extensiveness of this option.  In addition, I can easily implement the Drawings and Forms into my Consumer Math Class and Business Math Class as charts, design diagrams, and flow charts are often used.


Link/Website 3 - Spreadsheet Resources


            This module has many resources to use in my math classroom and I have just made a folder for it on my desktop.  Although the module readings states (and I agree with) that the benefits of spreadsheet programs go beyond math or accounting, it is a natural fit for my classes as noted.  The topic in my Integrated Algebra class this week will be on Statistics.  In the first lesson, we are going to work on scatter plots.  I have changed my lesson to incorporate the lesson given in this link, which creates a scatter plot for the duration of the Old Faithful geyser eruptions.  I believe that the pictures will be captivating for my students.  In subsequent lessons, the blood pressure model in the calculation of mean, median, and mode with standard deviation will also be interesting as students can take a reading on their own blood pressure and see how it compares to the rest of the class as they draw their histograms.


Module 8 Reflection


            It was very inspiring to read the stories of how parental involvement benefited not only the student but the parent and the community as well.  Since I deal with at risk students, the administrators and the faculty try at every turn to engage the parents in their child’s education.  We have parent support groups, guest speakers, and psychologist and social workers at their disposal.  Although we have had some success, the school as a whole still struggles in getting parents involved. Some of the reasons are no time because of work commitments, no transportation, substance abuse problems of their own, and the “too much on my plate” syndrome.   Although we often result in phone calls, I believe that Skype and Twitter might be successful alternatives for some.


            In terms of what the module had to offer for my edification (as I mentioned in a previous module), I have created a temporary electronic grade book using Excel.  After reading about electronic grade books in this module, however, I am determined to research “canned” software products that offer additional options.  My school currently uses e-school, which generates progress reports and report cards electronically.


            I love the idea of virtual field trip and I have reviewed this link (as shown above).  Today the professional development catalog was sent to me.  Featured in the catalog was the following course:



INSTRUCTOR: Kathleen Ambrose

 PLACE: Online

 DATES: April 5, 2011– May 18, 2011

 COST: $155.00 for subscribers; $180.00 for non-subscribers

Take your class to far-off destinations without leaving your school. Learn how to create dynamic lessons using virtual journeys on the Internet.


            I do not think that I am going to take the course because I believe that this course has given me the tools needed to begin creating my own virtual field trip.


Review of Links


Link1/Website – Using Skype in the Classroom


            Although I Skype with my own children while they are away at college, I never thought (until now) to Skype in my classroom.  As I further investigated Skype in the classroom, I found that there is a website that is already set up that enables me to connect with other teachers and share teaching resources.  The software also allows me to create a Skype library so I can have easy access to what has worked for me in the past.  Another great idea is to use Skype for parent teacher conferences when a parent or guardian cannot physically come to the school.


Link 2/Website - 6 Examples of Using Twitter in the Classroom


            What I have found most useful about Twitter is that students “want to do it”.  When students have an innate incentive to use a tool, I try to capitalize on it.  The sheer fact that students are communicating with each other about a math topic is reason enough to incorporate it into my teaching.  Sometimes, I will tweet a math problem, which I will award students with five extra points on their next math test if they try to solve the problem.  The limit of 140 characters is a positive motivator since it will not take a long time (as it is impossible) to have a lengthy response.


Link 3/Website – Virtual Field Trips


            This is something that I would definitely like to do with my classroom.  In fact as I am writing this reflection on March 9th, I am going to attempt to set up a virtual field trip on March 14th in honor of Pi day.  There are actually some “corny” jokes about Pi on the Internet and I am going to use the flip camera and record one of my students telling the jokes as an introduction to the trip.  I have also located some interesting (at least to me) Pi Facts with questions, which students can attempt to answer after the trip is completed.  As I have begun researching my trip, I have found that a virtual Pi trip already exists on the Internet.  Although it is not usable in its entirety, there are certain portions that I will include.


Module 9 Reflection


            I do not think that anyone will argue with the statement that parent involvement in his or her child’s education is a win-win situation.  However, although the benefit is seen to the parent the involvement is not automatic.  Teachers and administrators must foster the connection.  This is especially true with the at risk population that I work with.


            Many of my students are disenfranchised with the traditional school setting.  They are placed in an alternative school to have a fresh start, be in a smaller learning community, have increased access to counseling, and to develop personal relationships with teachers, administrators, and other faculty members.  It is these positive relationships, which will allow the student to view school in a more positive light.


            My school works hard in bringing the parents or legal guardians into the equation.  We sponsor support groups, parent intervention conferences when students are having trouble academically and socially, (parent conferences are not just the typical twice a year).  Guest speakers and lecturers come to discuss and bring to the forefront pertinent issues such as cyber bullying, substance abuse issues, and “what next after high school”.


            Naturally as the readings allude to, we always can do more.  The use of technology can help.  Teacher developed websites, blogs, and tweets can bring the parent virtually into the classroom.  The typical answer of “nothing” to the question “What did you do in school today?” can be eliminated.  The parent becomes an integral part of the classroom experience by being able to post to a blog or directly e-mail the teacher whenever they see fit to do so.  The use of Skype can also create a more personal connection between the teacher and the parent.


            In terms of my personal experiences with computer viruses, when I used a PC four years ago I would constantly get pop-ups and SPAM e-mails.  When my department gave each teacher his or her own laptop, these annoyances became nonexistent.  I have become very attached to the MAC and have replaced my PC at home with a MAC.


Module 9 - Reflection Part B


            There is probably not a day or I can say maybe even an hour that goes by that I am not searching the Internet for an answer to a question, a resource to use in my classroom, a way to do something better, games to enhance and motivate the learning experience of my students, etc.  The list can go on and on.  Therefore, the section in the Scavenger Hunt on improving my Internet searching skills is the one that will certainly be utilized the most.  My students will also benefit from improving their searching skills and using the NETS acronym will allow them to remember how.


            After doing some extensive research on laws in New York State regarding Internet filtering software, I concluded the following:  New York Education Law 260(12) requires public libraries  (public meaning federally funded) to establish and implement an internet filtering policy that blocks certain internet sites.  Public Schools as part of the NYS Education Law – Section 814 allows for schools to make their own decision to promote the proper and safe use of the Internet.   The commissioner is given the task of providing guidance and technical assistance.


            My school uses Internet filtering and I agree with this decision.  I believe that educators, at least in the school environment, are responsible for protecting students from inappropriate and objectionable sites.  It is also necessary to protect our students from email and chat room programs.  Unfortunately, some of the high school students in my school have figured out how to bypass the Internet filters and we are now working on algorithms to correct this issue.


            The blog “How To Get A School Grant” is a great resource to start you on your way to receiving a grant for your school.  The blog is written by the educator Don Peek.  The URL is  It is also regularly updated with new grants that can be applied for.  The URL also leads you to a website which gives tips for getting school grants.  They describe different categories of grants and have different posts, archives, tags, tweets, and blogs that provide you with an endless amount of information.


            Also awarded in various grants is technology funding for a school.  The URL leads you to a website which lists numerous grants, that are mostly donated by businesses (as opposed to government sources), to provide funding for technologic enhancements to schools. The story of the website is very interesting as it chronicles David Vernier’s start as a student teacher through his finding of Vernier Software and Technology.  Although the website sells various products for educators, it also gives extensive detail in how to find other ways for schools to finance the purchase of these products.


Review of Links


Link/Website1- Digital Divide


            The digital divide reminds me of the same unfortunate situation that affects preschoolers from low-income families and underserved neighborhoods.  All children may watch Sesame Street together but the underprivileged children do not regularly have access to a preschool education.  Mandatory pre-K in a number of communities within several states is beginning to change this unfortunate circumstance.  I was pleased to read about all of the various programs, projects, and organizations that are not only making access to technology a reality but are working with youngsters to put that technology to new and exciting uses. 


Link/Website 2 – PTA


            The Parent Teacher Association does so many positive things for schools and for school districts with only moderate recognition.  The PTA raises money for the benefit of students as well as involving the community in school related activities.  With the help of the PTA in my school, I organized a Math Problem Solving Marathon similar to a Dance Marathon where students earned points for the number of problems solved correctly. Students helped to create the marathon using Castle Learning software.  The PTA purchased three IPods, which was the prize for the top winners.   The students also had sponsors with the remaining money being donated to MADD and Children’s Heart Disease.  (The particular charities were voted on by the students.)  This event would not have been possible without the PTA.

Link 3/Website – Grants


            Before this year I used to think of grant writing as some cumbersome writing task with no results.  I was completely wrong.  When grants are written correctly, it is a simple task and I have learned that grants are often “granted”.  I have written two grants and they have both been approved.  The grants that I have written were both very different.  One was for a Yoga instructor.   The yoga instructor was asked for so that the students could practice relaxation techniques to deal with aggression and stress.


            The other grant was to purchase Math games.  The only negative about the purchase of Math games is that the games had to be bought at a certain store within a certain time frame.  If the store did not have the item, you have to keep going back to that particular store because you are under time constraints.