Wellness (sample blog post)

1) Which aspect of the star is easiest for you to meet?

I feel that I most easily meet the physical aspect of the wellness star. As an athlete, I am always moving around and find great enjoyment out of it. 

2) How well do you meet all 5?

I definitely need some work at meeting all 5. I have some soul searching to do on the spiritual aspect, and could do better with managing my time on the intellectual aspect. 

3) Which aspect do you feel is the one you need to work on the most? 

Like I previously said, I think that the spiritual aspect is the one I need to work on the most. I don’t really know what I believe in, but am in no rush to find out. 

4) Why do you feel that it is important to try and meet all 5 aspects of the wellness star?

It is important to meet all 5 aspects because it will let you be a well rounded person. Being able to be proficient in all areas should let you be health and happy. 


Game-Based-Learning Voicethred

Voice Thread

Game based Learning is a fairly new concept in education. GBL is typically used as a culminating activity to a unit to help the students internalize the information. Several examples of different ways to include GBL in the classroom are included in the voicethread. As the students play the games, they become more motivated to participate by receiving feedback from the game. If they are doing well, they are probably winning or receiving a lot of points. If they are doing poorly, they can see what they need to do better on. GBL is a great resource for any teacher to use.  

ToonDoo for you!

ToonDoo is a website designed to help people make comics/cartoons. There are hundreds of in-depth options that can be used, such as characters, landscapes, emotions, and more. While it is not specifically designed for education, it could easily fit into the classroom. Any subject could benefit from using this website. For example, an English class could be assigned to create a comic about what the ending of a book or short story they are reading is. Everyone would create their hypothesis and then share with the class, the class could then vote and choose which one they think will actually take place, and then read the ending. Another example could be that students could use this site to learn the difference between cartoons and graphic novels in an English class. It is a great way to promote self expression through a way some students have never seen before. I would recommend this website for use with students K-8th grade, mostly because everything is animated. High school students might have a tough time buying into it because it looks like it is for kids. Although, it the teacher pitched it the right way, older students could enjoy it.

I created a ToonBook for use in a Health Class during a wellness unit for middle school, probably 6th grade. During the unit, there is a big emphasis on the wellness star, which includes 5 dimensions. This could be an example of what a student could create during the unit.

ToonDoo: Wellness Star

Here is my screencast on how to use ToonDoo.

ToonDoo Screencast: Health Class

ToonDoo aligns with MD Health Standard 1.C.1.a: “Define and give examples of the components of personal well-being, identified as spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional/mental, social, and environmental.”

While Toondoo.com is not designed specifically for education, there is a sub site called toondoospaces.com, which is designed for educators. You have to pay to use this site, but everything is private and can be contained in your specific classroom. The prices are fairly low, making it a possibility for teachers.

Educator Blogs

Classroom blogs provide a great way to get students involved across the school or just in a classroom. They let other classes see what they are doing and can provide ideas and inspiration to the readers. Educator blogs allow for the teachers to get more personal and more involved in their blog

1. Kevin’s Meandering Mind

The first teacher blog that I looked at was very interesting. The author is very humorous which makes reading his entries easy. He includes a mix of gifs, videos, pictures and more. From what I am inferring about his posts, Kevin is an English teacher. Recently in his classes, he has his students make podcasts about the National Day of Writing. The students created peace posters, and then created the podcasts, which Kevin then turned into soundcloud bits and posted on the blog. Great idea! The posters are part of a Lion’s Club project that the students are creating in art class. This means that 2 different subjects are working together, very cool!

It is obvious that Kevin is very involved in the writing and literacy world because he is frequently posting about conferences and professional development workshops. In a recent workshop, Kevin talks about what Literacy means and looks like. He does a great job with the information, and is able to effectively link literacy to technology. Blogging is a great to way to do that, and it seems like a lot of teachers are realizing that. He also briefly mentions that struggles that long time teachers are having with inquiry based projects. If a teacher has been around for several years, they will more thatn likely be comfortable with what they have been doing all along, thus making it more difficult to accept a brand new method.

2. Primary Tech

The next teacher blog is from a woman in Australia who is a teacher and makes an effort to incorporate technology into her classroom whenever possible. She goes very in-depth into how she uses her blog and how she uses blogging in her classroom. She mentioned in her latest post that the journey took about 6 years before it truly became a functioning part of her class. She links blogging to literacy, a thought that I had not considered before. Each week, her students have time to read certain posts on their class blog and post on their own individual blog. A lot of the teachers posts are reflective and talk about things that have worked and have not worked, which was very refreshing to read.

A really great part of her blog is the Tech Tools for Teachers tab. The post includes a link to a website with a ton of great resources for teachers to use. Another useful tab is the Internet Safety one. There are links to posters that educators can use about internet safety, there are also links to safety tips for students, parents, and teachers. One of the best features about these blogs are when teachers share their resources, like what this teacher does. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel, and by providing links to tech tools for other teachers to use, this teacher is preventing people from having to do that.

3. Upside Down Education

Amanda Dykes, the author of the blog, presents some really unique views on education through her blog. In her latest post, A Pain in My Assessment, she describes some of the struggles that she is having with a mandatory grading scale that her district has put into place. Besides that she is having to deal with extreme apathy from her students, which is making everything worse. What she is writing comes from the heart and is very easy and refreshing to read. Personally, I feel like it is refreshing to read about challenges that other people are having, instead on always reading about this go perfectly.

As I have mentioned before, I think in a discussion board post but also maybe on here, I think that blogging could be used in a P.E. setting during a weight training class. Towards the end of the class, students could be given the option to pick their own workouts, and talk about them in the blog. They could be required to talk about the muscles used, why they chose the order that they did, how they felt after the workout, and even what their diet is for that day. At the end of the course, part of the final could be a reflective blog post talking about the class and if they saw improvements to themselves in any way. It could be as simple as saying they can now do 10 bicep curls with a 15 pound weight, or maybe they gained a little muscle and can now bench press their body weight 10 times.

Creating an educator blog for myself would also be an option. It seems like a great place to talk about challenges, ways they were fixed, and a good place to post reflections on lessons as well as new ideas. The great thing about teaching is that everyone who is teaching has a common goal, to better their students. Because of that, there is a camaraderie among teachers in which they share lesson plans and ideas about things they are doing in their classrooms that are working. As a hopeful new teacher to be someday, I have a lot of new ideas that I want to carry into the gymnasium.

Classroom Blogs

1. Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog

3rd Grade classroom Blog, winner of the 2011 and 2012 Best Class Blog award from Edublog Awards.

I chose to start out by looking at an elementary school blog. Having never used blogs before, it was very interesting to see what people can do with them. The teacher successfully uses the blog for a variety of purposes, including: getting her students involved with blogging and appropriate internet activity and creating a digital footprint. Since the kids are elementary school aged, they need parental involvement. The teacher does a great job of including information on the the blog that the parents can benefit from. There is even a picture of all the parents sitting at their students desks at back to school night. This blog has even gotten international attention with bloggers from Australia commenting on posts and leaving videos for the students. Mrs. Yollis, the teacher who’s blog it is, set up this blog back in 2008 with the intention of posting assignments, however, it has developed into a lot more than that.

A really great part of the blog is the Education Blogging page which includes a ton of resources for teachers on how to incorporate blogging in their classrooms. There are videos, documents, sample blog posts and more. This blog is a real wealth of information.

2. Fabulous 5S

Middle School Blog, nominated for 2012 Best Class Blog Award by EduBlogs

At first glance, the visuals on this blog were not as eye catching as some of the others that I have looked at. However, what it lacks in looks, it makes up for with content. There are a lot of interactive media posts, including videos and soundcloud files of the local high school band performing. The blog does a really good job of breaking up the entries into content on the sidebar, having just about every subject included. The blog also does a really good job of including student materials. There is a lengthy post from a student saying what he learned throughout the year, as well as a video post from a girl doing a project on Just Dance 4. There is definitely a strong support from everyone at the school, which helps keep everyone involved.

3. The Avery Bunch

Mr. Avery has done an amazing job with this blog. One of the strongest aspects of it is how it connects all the other classes as well. One project in particular has students writing across the subjects. Each class writes a part of a story, then sends it to the next class who adds more to it. What a great idea! Students have created hand drawn illustrations which have been added to the blog as well for the story.

Recently, Mr. Avery took his class on an awesome field trip to this place called 5 wits. 5 Wits is a cooperative adventure that requires problem solving to find your way out . This trip sounds awesome and a great way to build a community within the classroom.

Using a classroom/school blog similar to the ones mentioned above would be a great resource to teachers. I like the idea of the have one blog for the school, and different places where each class can have their own blog. This let’s students see what other classes are doing around the school. It can even work to get them excited about going into the next grade, knowing that they can go on the 5 Wits field trip for example. The P.E. section of the blog could include posts about ways to stay healthy when it gets cold outside, healthy foods to snack on, new sports that are being introduced in class, and more! I think that the P.E. department could have a lot to offer for the blogs that could be beneficial to students and teachers alike!

First blog post ever!

Here is my blog! I have never had a blog before, so this should be a great experience. Also, it took my 4 days to figure out how to add the creative commons… Actually, till I saw that Mike said to look on youtube, thanks Mike!

Today in my practicum at Francis Scott Key High School, my mentor teacher and I were brainstorming about ways to add more technology to her Weight Training class. Well it just so happens that I am in this class, so I told her about the blog and a few ideas with that. I am looking forward to learning about more technology that is available to us, and different ways to incorporate it into a Physical Education setting.