Deep Thoughts by Margueritte Daniel
August Rodin - The Thinker

Reflection on Using a Wiki

Using wikis was at first very frustrating, but it became something that I could not stop adding to and changing as I began to understand how to edit and create. I think that designing and creating a wiki is much easier than creating a web site. This wiki has everything I would want to include on a web site if I were to design one. I think that wikis are a wonderful digital tool for students to collaborate on projects and discover and learn together as they add links and information. With my experience, I had other classmates actually add to my Web-Based Resources page and suggest other videos I may want to use on my This Day in History Page. I think that wikis are beneficial to both students and teachers because all of the information and links are on one page. If a teachers wanted students to visit several web-sites, it would be beneficial for the links to be posted on a wiki. That way students would not have to write down the long web addresses. They could simply visit the wiki and click on each website. I think I would use wikis to post homework assignments as well. This would be a good central place to find all information related to your class. Wikis can enhance the classroom problem solving process because students can delve into resources pages and learn at their own pace. I watched the video Everything WikiSpaces and thought it would be wonderful for students to create an e-portfolio page so that students can save any project they do here. I would have loved to have "stored" all of my projects and papers I did throughout school in one central location. Too bad I didn't know about wikis then!

Reflections on Annotated Bibliography
I think it is very helpful to use a wiki as a collaborative bookmarking tool to create an annotated bibliography. It is effective because sometimes teachers simply do not have enough time to review, analyze, and explore all websites. As a teacher, I am always open to new ideas and if a teacher has found a site helpful for a certain subject, I would love to know about it. It is also helpful to not just have a list of good websites. On my website browser I have created lots of favorites. I have also written down good websites with a simple subject on what the website is covering. Creating an annotated bibliography was helpful because it gives teachers the opportunity to really write what the website is about. It's also beneficial to know how a teacher would use this site. Compiling a collaborative resource list allows teachers to share ideas about when to use the site and exactly how to integrate the site into the curriculum. It is also helpful to know the strengths and weaknesses of a website. This forces us to not only find what is good about a certain website, but also what is not so good. Knowing the weaknesses of a website can allow room for improvement. Teachers may find another website that covers the same topic, but does not have the weakness of the other site.

The following websites are technology resources which I contributed to the annotated bibliography:

1. My absolute favorite site is:
Free Rice
This site has two goals: improving your English vocabulary and ending world hunger by providing rice to hungry people. For every vocabulary word you answer correctly, Free Rice will donate 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. You have the option to keep track of your vocabulary level and how much rice you've donated. The default game is a vocabulary drill which asks you to mach a word with the closest synonym. The game starts out at the middle school level, but you soon find yourself learning new vocabulary. If you miss a word, it will be repeated several times so that you have a chance to learn it. You can also click "change subjects." The other subjects include famous paintings, chemistry symbols, geography, French, German, Italian, Spanish, pre-algebra, and multiplication. I think this would be a great activity for students to do throughout the year and each student keep track of how much rice they have donated and add up the totals to see how much rice the class as a whole donated. The students could compete as a class and something could be given to the class that donates the most rice. I created an account so that the website keeps up with how much rice I have donated as an individual. I have also created a group, which currently has one other member (my mom). I created this group so that I could see how the site calculates and keeps up with the group's information. I think this would be wonderful for teachers to do as a year-long activity and at the end of the year let the students know how much rice we have donated. They could also use math to figure out how many meals we have provided. A strength of this games is the fact that it is easy to stop and start so you can play for as long (or as short of a time) as you like. And the only con I could come up with is the fact that this site is very addicting. I know this from my very short experience with it.

2. I also really liked this website:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Online Exhibition
This is an online version of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibitions on Rescue and Resistance, Anti-Semitism, Propaganda, Persecution, Camps, the Aftermath and more. My favorite section of this website was The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students. This section, which is organized by themes, includes texts, photographs, maps, and videos to provide an overview of the Holocaust. I would use this site when studying World War II and specifically the Holocaust. I might also use this site on Days of Remembrance which is April 7-14, 2013. The strengths of this website are the abundance of information on the Holocaust as well as all the pictures, maps, and letters of Holocaust victims. I think that this site does a great job with making the Holocaust come to life. The only weakness of this site is the fact that some students would not see this as fun because there are no games or quizzes.

3. Another website that I found is:
Muzzy Lane's Making History
Students play the role of decision maker in historical situations in order to see the relevance of these events in their daily lives and to develop better problem-solving skills. There are two games on this site relating to Social Studies: Making History II and Past Present

In Past Present the game allows students to see what it would be like to be transported back in time and see what it's like to live 100 years ago. In this simulation, students play the role of an immigrant textile mill worker in 1906. Students will strategize with other students to figure out what decisions Anna, the textile worker, will have to make. You learn that every decision you make comes with consequences. I would use this site when talking about the Industrial Revolution. A strength of this site is that it only takes a minute to create a game account and download and begin playing Past Present. A weakness of this site is that it takes four hours to finish the game.

In the Making History Series, students are given the power to take full control of any world nation, colony, region, city, or military force during the time of WWII. I like this game because it allows students to see history from a different perspective--from the role of a national leader with the power to choose your own path and alter the course of history.

Overall, I think that creating our annotated bibliography pushed us to really analyze many websites. Because of this assignment, I found many websites that I know that I would utilize in my classroom and many that I would recommend to teacher colleagues. I also found many websites that would be helpful for parents to use so that learning can be continued at home.

Reflection: Developing a Lesson using the NTeQ Lesson Plan

Write a 250- to 300-word reflection about your experience developing a lesson using the NTeQ lesson plan. Explain how using a format such as the NTeQ contributes to improved student learning experiences.

At first when I saw the NTeQ lesson plan format, I saw it as just another format. The NTeQ Lesson Plan format is specifically designed for student-centered learning. The student-centered approach focuses on the teacher being a guide and the students decide problems, collect information, and organize the information for the answer. Overall, I think this format is successful in implementing technology and having the teacher to create a student-centered lesson.

Not only does the NTeQ lesson plan format promote student-centered learning, it also promotes using technology in the classroom. Students use computers to type their assignments and collect data from the Internet for a report. Students learn how to take information and create spreadsheets, graphs, charts, and PowerPoint presentations. Teachers act more as a facilitator so the students are more active in the learning process.

One of the most important component in the NTeQ lesson plan is the problem. What problem will your students be solving? After you determine a problem, you now determine how students will use technology to solve the problem. One thing that stood out in my mind is the fact that you should plan the activities during the computer use and then plan the activities before computer use. I like thinking about it in this order because planning before computer use activities needs to be in preparation for their computer work.

My first lesson did not cover the computer use before, during, and after in much detail. For this lesson, I made sure I went into more detail of what the students would be doing before the computer use. This lesson was about the children of the Holocaust, so before the computer use I really wanted students to think about the meaning of childhood. I had the students choose three sentences from a list that they thought best described childhood. I think that doing this before the students read biographies of children from the Holocaust will really make them think of how Jewish children got robbed of their childhood. My point in doing this is to make history relevant to my students.