Friday, April 27, 2012

The Middle JAAR's Final PBL

We salute to our veterans! They are the brave who fight for everyone but who will fight for them? As the Middle JAAR's final PBL project we would like to bring people's attentions towards homeless veterans. Some American military veterans are experiencing many hardships since returning home from their tours of duty. Many are without jobs, struggling to find food, and are homeless. Our group’s goal is to inform everyone of the challenges our heroes are facing day-to-day.  So our Final Project Based Learning Project we were introducing our students to a real world problem and allow them to see differences anyone can do. 
So our Essential Question: How can you make a difference in a homeless veterans life? 
Our Lesson Question: Why should we make a difference in a homeless veterans life?
Our Learning Activity: Our learning activity is based on a real life problem, homelessness, and not just any homeless person but a veteran living out on the street. We want to help our students understand the importance of helping out in different way in their community. We want to help formulate opinions and responses to issues by helping them understand the influence they can make on a person or event. Each student has a right and responsibility as a citizen while understanding the importance of volunteering to achieve public goals in the American Society. The learning goal is to spark ideas of how to help homeless veterans and why it is important to give aid and assistance as an individual. Many students do not understand what it would be like in someones else's shoes until they are confronted with the seriousness and realness of many people's reality.
So the answer to raise awareness for these veterans was to introduce our students to the free picture editing online website called Using this website our students would choose a relief program already set up to help homeless veterans and create a poster supporting their chosen program. 
Our Lesson Plan along with resources and explanations can be found within this Google Document. HERE 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's Blabb the World News

One thing most people know about me is I like to talk. At work sometimes I am too much of a social butterfly and talk too much but I call that good customer service. Anywho my friends and I from The Middle JAAR have created a BLABB using is a free website that allows you to upload a photo, and create a mouth on the photo to talk through. It's simply, free and easy. We were encouraged to Blabb from Team Gelastic, So the Middle JAAR created a newscast based off current events we collected.
Here is our Blabb to the World!
 I would most definitely use Blabberize in my future classroom, I could see this as a funny way to introduce directions or encourage a group project. It is so easy to use, I'll let my students use Blabberize as a fun way to Blabb to the Classroom!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE webinars

This last weekend I was able to listen to two webinars from Classroom 2.0 LIVE. These webinars were hosted by Steve Hargadon. Within these webinars I was able to have a look into a seminar online. That's what a webinar is after all, these sessions were an hour-long and the hosts were real people who would be chatting with you online. There was a sign in and join sessions within the web session, the listeners were not only able to listen but interact with the speaker. With the tech. gadgets like back channel chat and the starburst clicker I was able to see the interactive part first hand. There were so many technology and online gadgets used throughout the webinars. Here are my guesses: Perhaps a program like Jing was used to record their session, so viewers like me could listen in on a later date. There was also talk of back channel chat where listeners could type there responses to the speaker. I am familuar with a back channel chat from my first semester of ED Tech.&Design. Also a poll taken of the listeners and their feedback was recorded by use of the gadget "starburst" no not the sweet tangy candy but a device to record responses from the crowd. When I went to the Education Conference last year I went to a session where each individual was given a star burst which resembles a remote control which is wireless connected to the computer system to record responses to questions and compile the data on screen. Very CooL!
The webinar I listened to was called; Screen cast and Chris was the speaker. During the original Live session Chris was in Thailand or London one of those cities/countries any who he was performing a live Skype session with the rest of the viewers. Just another example of technology advances.
Whenever I think of Skype and all the advances "We" have made, it blows my mind. In 1962 the television show The Jetson's made 50 years ago predicted in the future we have tv screens pop up and we would be able to talk to someone else who is far away or within the same city. Now I am just waiting for the flying cars and the teleportation devices. You know I take that back, I would settle for self driving cars, so I could sleep and relax the 5 hour drive home to my friends in Rockford IL.  Technology has come a long way since I was in school, the microphones used in classrooms so each student can hear instructions clearly and the disuse and re-create of the Over Head projector into Elmo Smart boards. The clicker and starburst programs that allow teachers to view all the students' participation monitored by the computer signals. That way the student's number will be recorded so the teacher will know which student they need to watch over next time. All advances I've witnessed since my time in school.
With these webinars, teachers, adults and students have been able to stay up to date on all the programs available for classroom use. Here are some online programs and websites I have learned about just this year alone:
Google SketchUp 
These are just the Start and I am sure I will continue to learn about more interesting technology gadgets as I like to refer to them. These gadgets are growing and giving us more opportunities to do more Learning and Creating. If the creators of The Jetsons got Skype right 50 years later I can only wait in anticipation for the creations and creativity we will have in the 50 years, I hope it's a Flying Car! ;) 

(Extra Credit!)


Friday, April 20, 2012

Leaps and Bounds on a Playground

Memories on a playground, something every child should have but what if you unable to play on a playground? There are many children with disabilities who are unable of playing on playgrounds mostly due to the playground equipment not being accessible. So to accommodate all children, my friends and I created some awesome playgrounds using a new program: Google Sketch Up. Google Sketch Up is an easy way to create 3D models of just about anything. We were able to create our own accessible playground equipment for our playground. I decided to create a "Magical Playground" using Cinderella Castle combined with King Arthur's Court to create a medieval playground.  The draw bridge is wide enough to roll wheel chairs through, the ground is made of the soft foam solid enough to run and play and wheel and roll. Both castles have ramps and stairs on on each side with large platforms at the end of the ramps and stairs. Slides and secret passageways for children to play happily in fantasy.

If you would like to play around with Google Sketch Up, it is free but
I'd recommend you watch the video and get to know all the functions.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rachel meets Glogster

Today in Classroom Computer Applications; Working On It'
 The main goal of the overall lesson was being aware words matter. Kindness is free and if you are willing give kind words, you do affect others. After I read over the RWLD's for this lesson, I read about how words matter and that people take others words to heart and it can change their whole mood. I went on Facebook after reading the RWLD's and my friend Larissa wrote on her FB that someone told her she has a nice smile. Whoever said that to her, made her happy. So happy that her entire mood changed and so shared her happiness on Facebook. (True Story) So I was able to see the effects of words and how they can affect others.
So the group then introduced me to  I have never heard of Glogger but since using it. I love it! It is so easy to use and fun to create. is a website that allows you to be creative and make posters online. You can create a mash up of pictures, music and videos for any occasion. Glogster is free and easy to use. Teachers and students can use Glogster in the classroom or for school projects or even for fun. I could see myself using Glogster so much in the classroom but I could also see myself using this for holidays and birthdays. You are able to create anything for any purpose.

This is my first creation on Glogster. I tried to make a Happy Fun, Brighten up your Day kind of Glogster

Splash a little Color in your Life! 

A Lost Falcon

"Far far above the clouds against the setting sun. A falcon flies all alone soaring in the wind, riding the silent wind, the falcon flies alone reaching up with his wings into the empty sky.What is it within my heart no one can ever know, a lonely falcon within the empty sky." 
Sadness and Tears fill my heart, Sunday April 15, 2012: a fifteen year old boy died. Carson Vandeventer was a freshman at Valley Southwoods High School. Even though I only met him a few times, when we did talk to me he was someone to remember. When we talked he would look you straight in the eyes and actually talk to you, you know form a conversation and when you are the newest boyfriend of my little sister that to me said something. Although things did not work out between Carson and my sister, I still know those two were very close friends. His death leaves her and his family with a piece of their world as empty as the sky. Carson Fly High! You are missed and your presence within our lives is being felt even now within me. Since I have received the news, my heart aches for you; you were too young to have left so suddenly. There is this song originally from (Studio Ghibli but Disney owns the rights within the U.S.) the movie Tales of the Earthsea; Teru's Song these words came into my head since the news of your death. Some of them are above in first sentences. Carson you were like a young falcon who has just learned to fly, you were just getting ready to explore those skies and the rest of the world. Now your friends and family search the shies for you. Carson, my heart cries for you as well as your family. Knowing my sister is in so much pain, her tears as well as mine are all for you. I know you are watching over everyone now from the skies in Heaven. You are missed but you will never be forgotten;
Rest in Peace Carson Venderventer <3

Sadness and tears fill my heart
when you're young the world seems
so big but without someone like you      
it is still missing something. We are sad
to think you left. My thoughts and prayers
are with you and your family Carson Vandeventer

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rachel Listens/Creates a Podcast

Transition from 8th into High School is something every teenager has to go through but fortunately we have taken it upon ourselves to give knowledge and advise to those nervous 8th graders. For our CCA class

The Middle JAAR's podcast answers fears and questions 8th graders have before they transition into 9th grade. Our goal is to help 8th graders become better prepared for the transition to high school. Being a freshman can be a bit intimidating so we have interviewed real high school students who share with us some stories about their times in high school. These high school students shared some "things they wish they knew before"and they give some good advise on how to get involved and make friends.

Plus we bust a few myth involving high school, unfortunately it is nothing like in the movies or on TV.

Our podcast is filled with tons of good information with almost everything incoming freshman need to survive high school. Making friends, getting involved, study tips and myths about scary seniors and mean teachers. Our podcast is educational as well as entertaining. We decided to do the theme of the podcast as a newscast report. We made our podcast on the computer program Garageband which is available on the Mac computer systems. We then uploaded the finished podcast on If you would like to check our page at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lincoln Elementry

I went to Lincoln Elementary School today, I was able to observe a 1st grade classroom and watch students practice math interactively. Interactively, it is kinda funny how much that word has changed over the years. Since my time as a kinder-gardener I had these computer games that would say right on the front cover"computer interactive" which is completely different than what I saw today. Today these 1st graders were learning math interactively using a smart board. From my observation, there was one student who was the leader this class period, he would fill in blank marks which were the starting point for other students to figure out the answers. Each student had a worksheet that matched with the computer slideshow so each student could follow along. There also must have been a rotation order among the students because without any direction from the teacher, a student would go up to solve the problem in front of the class. This was a perfect example of Children Learning Interactively and Independently. There was a teacher present that would suggest or give advise when needed but this process seemed routine and easy for the 1st grade class.

After I observed the kinder garden class, we headed upstairs to the junior high, 6th grade classroom. This classroom was creating bridges or houses using wooden popsicle sticks. The students had to create a rough sketch of their product, then using lots of glue and popsicle sticks to create their structure. The students must also keep a running tally of the number of popsicle sticks.    

Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Falls is in my opinion very well structured as well as well organized. This school is equipped with many different types of technology. I was able to see this school's library with a Promethium Smart Board. I really liked the school's Library, look to the left is a picture. I really liked the half circle reading structure. I can just picture "story time" with a Teacher or Librarian with children scattered about the circle. It seems like so much Fun!

Our class was able to talk to the school's librarian assistant and technology head. She explained how the different classes use the Promethium Smart Board and some of the other technologies and when they are introduced to collected technologies. We learned that Google Documents accounts are introduced in the 3rd grade. I was just introduced to Google Docs just this year at school. Google Docs are a great tool for collaborative learning, and learning these things earlier may help when they have to do group projects.
The new computer programs implemented into classrooms are quite interesting not just for kids but for teachers. Programs and websites like Today I was introduced to Blabberize, to blab is to talk so in this program students are allowed to add audio to pictures and videos. The newest gadget being used in classroom is called the Memo Pad; a pad that is wireless and connected to computer screens. That way the teacher can move freely throughout the classroom and still interact on the smart board.  I was able to witness a Memo Pad in action when I went to the ITEC: Technology Education Connection Conference. The session I went to was given by two Waterloo Teachers who showed us by using the Memo Pad. They showed us how easy it was to include audio and video recording into the classroom. Simple exercises like recording directions for the lessons and such. There were many interesting technologies being used in classrooms today, I just can't wait until I become a teacher and learn about more programs that will be produced so our students can learn interactively.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Using Project Based Learning

The Middle JAAR has been brewing up another wonderful idea and applying our wonderful ideas to PBL. Project Based Learning  is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject in the context of complex and realistic problems. The goals of PBL are to help the students develop effective problem solving skills, self learning, collaboration skills and intrinsic motivation. For collaboration skills students work in groups. Working in groups students can identify roles and assess what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to a solution to the assigned problem. As the teacher we merely come up with the question and our students will develop the answer.As teachers we merely encourage their creativity and stretch their understanding.
 We asked our students these
Essential Questions: Our community playgrounds need to be remodeled, if you were to select one from the community, which one would it be and what would you do to accomplish the remodeling? 

Our Project Based Learning Assignment is laid out here 
Breaking Ground for a Play Ground 

After completing this PBL assignment, I can see how interesting PBL can be within the classroom. However it is a lot of work that goes into planning and assessing the project for the students. However I think the experience is worth it to the students.   

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Price Labs School Observations

Last semester I learned about 1-1 school districts that has a computer for every student in a classroom. I always wondered how that would actually work out, I mean I have learned how it effects learning for the students and how it also effects the teaching strategies of the teachers. Global Learning and Global Communication would be intertwined certainly within the classroom. The way the student can search and discover information quicker and more efficiently not to mention communication with other students in the United States or within the World. However, monitoring could always be rather hard. Sometimes I feel even throughout college Students are not able to freely bring laptops to class. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact this class I am in now encourages me to search the web for answers CCA is awesome! Anyway I was able to see for the first time on Tuesday an actual 1-1 physic's classroom at Price Labs School.
This was pretty cool to observe, I was able to see how the actual process is used and applied within this classroom of seniors. They were all on their own laptops and linked to the same computer program where each student seemed to have their own specific task. One student had all the hypothesis's on estimation for the ramp. While another student would create a graph compiled by all the data collected and read off by another student. I think being able to see this type of atmosphere first hand was beneficial to me so I can see it up close. The students showed us their presentations they created for solar powered cars and how they used their computers to record and present their projects. These students also showed us a quick look into Project Based Learning, which is where Teachers present a broad question and their students will answer and create their answer in a public manner. The students of Price Labs created solar powered engines as their answer to their question.     

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Global Learning on Education

Global Learning goes hand in hand with Global Communication. Technology has made communication from what it was less than 50 years ago. Technology has not just improved our communication but our education as well. How we choose to to teach has changed as well and one new method of teaching is called Global Learning. Global Learning is basically using all the new technologies possible within the classroom. I think the simplest explanation can be identified from the title, Global means world-wide, Learning which means an act or experience where one gains knowledge. So using this method of teaching can increase understanding of a variety of different cultures and people. When I was in elementary school, we had pen pals and that was a way my teacher introduced us to the world. By writing letters my class was meeting new people, improving our writing skills and we were learning about life in different countries. Back then it was simple to send paper mail across the world, but Now it is even easier. With the new technologies available like e-mail, global chat rooms, cell phones and Skype.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Middle JAAR uses Collabrative Tools

The Middle JAAR is the newest group I have joined recently. It is a collection of my classmates from CCA, we are known as the Middle JAAR because we each hope to teach in the middle school levels like junior high school. Just so everyone knows what's going on in the my UNI classroom life. Our group is awesome!
The Middle JAAR
 Members of the Middle JAAR are
Jenna Devens
Adam Hinrichsen
Amber Epperson
Rachel Bergez
Our first project we all had to complete together, is Collaborative Group Projects but we were not allowed to communicate to one another face to face. We decided to use the Social Network of FaceBook to communicate with each other. This being our first project together we were all introduced to this a few new ways to incorporate technology in group projects. Not only using FaceBook more than a social tool but a communication tool used for more than fun. We also used Google Forms as a way to create the survey and a new program called Jing. Jing is this awesome program that is free and easy to use. Jing allows you to snap a picture or capture a video of any document or presentations on your computer. It also allows you to record your voice, so you can explain in your own words about a slideshow, survey or video with your own commentary. Using these new computer- based technologies we created a survey about Colors and Moods. I think we got this idea from unique Adam's name plate. It's an awesome concept because if your think about our associations with Colors and Moods. Colors shades can be universal or cultural, for example Yellow could mean Happiness, Blue is Sad and so on. There are so many different Color Meanings, I suppose people create their own, so using this thought we created a survey to find out if our moods reflected our color choices for deciding our wardrobe choices. Overall it was a new experience for me, I never could have believed how hard no face to face communication was and through it all we did it!I am really excited and I look forward to getting to know the people in my group better. I was surprised at well we were able to complete this project without talking to each other, so I am eager to get to know everyone in person.

If you are interested in finding out about more about Color and Moods,
Meaning of Colors
Mood Ring Color Chart 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CCA Classroom Expectations

This semester I am taking Classroom Computer Applications with Mr. Z. I have had a previous class with Mr. Z and I will be anxiously awaiting some really cool projects my class will be discussing. But before we cane get to those really fun and cool projects this semester. We have to do two things; first we have to introduce and get to know one another in class. Second we have to lay down some framework for classroom rules and expectations. Not just for Me being a student but for Mr. Z the teacher.  
We must Learn, Play and Grow Together! 

Well, we already have the first thing out of the way, each member in class made really cool and interesting presentations about themselves. Some people made really awesome video's, some created colorful slideshows, while others brought in objects of clothing or articles from their everyday life and shared them with the class. I felt that through these presentations, I was given an opportunity to get a jump start to learn, play and grow with these new classmates this semester. 

The second part is laying down a framework for Our classroom. The expectations given to me are simply to every student eager to a typical class but this is no typical classroom. Therefore the expectations are familiar but different. Expectations for a student like Me are similar to expectations I have for a Teacher like Mr. Z.
I will be expected to come to every class on time and weekly. If I can ever not make it to class, I will let the Teacher know ahead of time. I would also expect the Teacher to be there and if there is a reason they can not make it, an email that class is canceled would be greatly appreciated. And Mr. Z if there is a day when you don't feel well, Momenti! Just feel free to cancel class! =) I will also complete every class assignment within the desired time frame. So I would also expect to have those assignments graded within a desired time frame.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rachel Creates

So guess what?! For my education tech. class I had to make a digital story. The whole project was totally awesome! I loved it, I might be a little bias but everyone should check it out. Making this video has opened my creativity and I made another video, So far I am on a roll. Anyway like an hour ago I was able to witness the incredible. My friend Riley, who is also in Ed Tech turned in her video and reflection with a time stamp of 9:59:53 with 7 seconds to spare she submitted her video and I was able to witness it. I told her I would blog about it because I was so impressed the way she kept her cool, in a way I admired her staying calm, I could never do that.
So like I was saying, the digital story was awesome, there are 5 steps in creating a digital story. The first one, coming up with a script. That wasn't too hard, I enjoy creating stories. In my video; Life Under the Sea. There is a Sorcerer who casts a spell on three friends so they can see what it would be like to live under the sea. The second step was creating a story board. I was able to plan and create colorful drawn images and put them into a sequence of frames. The third step, Creating the video, I took still images aka pictures, video clips and audio recording to create this video.Which brings me to the fourth step, Editing and developing the video, I used the program We Video which is a movie editing software the allows users to edit and share their videos with anyone and everyone by the use of "the Cloud". This was my first time, creating a video so naturally I wanted to look amazing! I had like 5-6 versions made but I finally uploaded the video easily to YouTube which was the fifth and final step.
This video was due as an assignment which got docked points for little things like pictures and time but overall I am a proud producer and director of this video. So you will probably be seeing more of my videos in the future!

So here is another video; I recently created with some of my Jennie House Roomies!
Our Dorm was having a music video competition and my Friends and I thought "Why Not?!"
For the past couple of weeks there have been two songs that have been circling around our hallway. Now I thought it was just a Hagemann thing but last week I found some girls from my CCA class playing these songs. One Direction's That's What Makes you Beautiful" and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"
I'm sure you have heard of them if not I suggest you do, well No Worries you will hear them in our video!
Oh yeah, Did I forget to mention this video was the winning video....Woot to the Jennie Ladies!
I dedicate this post to my UNI girls; Molly Wallie, Emily Dotts, Julia and Brittany.
This What We Do When We are Bored....