#Photojournalism Project for World Geography

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**This is a cross post from my school blog.**

Geography is everywhere. As we move further along in the semester, you will begin to see geography in your daily activities. It’s time to start capturing those activities….

How will you do that, you ask? You will take a weekly photo and write a reflection blog post on how it relates to World Geography. We have all ready talked about a number of things like the 5 themes of Geography, maps, different parts of the physical earth, etc. As we move through the rest of the class, it’s important that you start to see the geography all around you. We will be talking about population and migration or the movement of people, as well as, culture, political geography, industrialization and development, agriculture/food, rural and urban land use. You will have plenty of opportunities to see geography.

So what are you going to do?

  1. Take a few photos a week that remind you of something about Geography
  2. Select one you want to write about.
  3. Create a blog post with the photo and the answers to the following questions.
    What is happening in the picture? Give us the context. Why did you take this photo?
    How is it related to geography?
    Which of the 5 themes of Geography does this photo connect with and how?
  4. Be sure to tag/label the post with the following #WG_SVH_PJP
  5. Publish your blog!

Take a look at some of the student blogs #WG_SVH_PJP is the hashtag for the posts!

When are they blog posts due?

Weekly on Wednesdays starting Wednesday, February 23 – We will write the first two blog posts in class for bell work. Want to see an example I created? Here is another.

How will you be graded?
15 points per weekly blog post.

Title and Tag: 3 points
Students need to create an appropriate title for each blog post and have the label/tag #WG_SVH_PJP

Overview: What is happening in the picture? Give us the context. Why did you take this photo?
A one paragraph summary of the photo. Summary paragraph: Be sure to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where and why in your paragraph.

0 points
Connection does not fit the photo or is only listed.
Section not answered.

2 points
Overview paragraph does not answer who, what, when, where or why. Or is not a paragraph just a couple sentences.
Minimal sentence structure or spelling errors.

4 points
Overview is a paragraph answering a few of the who, what, when, where and why.
Minimal errors.

6 points
Overview is an in depth paragraph answering who, what, when, where, and why.
Proper sentence structure and no spelling errors.

Parts that Connect: How is it related to geography?
Which of the 5 themes of Geography does this photo connect with and how?
Student makes connections from the photo to one of the 5 themes of geography or something we have studied in class. The connection is clearly explained. At least 1 paragraph.

0 Points
Connection does not fit the photo or is only listed.
Section not answered.

2 points
Connection is listed but not explained and loosely fits with the photo.

4 points
Connections paragraph connects this article to one of the 5 themes of geography AND content we have studied in class but does not give examples or explain the connection. (Does not answer how it connects.) Shows a good correlation to between the connection and the photo.

6 Points
Connections paragraph clearly connects this article to one of the 5 themes of geography AND content we have studied in class by giving examples and explaining the connection. (How does it connect?) Shows a strong correlation to between the connection and the photo.

What are some tips and tricks to help you out?
Take More Than One Photo
Be sure to take more than one photo. The photo you intended to be the one for the blog post may not be the one that gives you the words you need to reflect. Take a few of different images of things going on throughout the week and select the photo when you are writing the post.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Don’t wait to take your photo until Tuesday with the post being due on Wednesday. Let this be a thoughtful process.

Blogger app (Android)
Place the blogger app on your phone and log in using your school login. This will allow you to take photos and upload them to a post from your phone. You can then write the post on your phone and publish or save it to draft and finish it on your computer

BlogTouch FREE version (iOS)
Blogger is suddenly missing from the iOS app store. This will at least help you get photos from your phone to a post.
iOS users can also create a folder in Google Drive called Blog Photos and upload them to the Google Drive folder to add to your blog later.

Survival or Love?

Day 1 is in the books. I did it. I survived… no, LOVED every minute of my first day back in the classroom after 10 years of working in educational technology. I am exhausted. My day was 12 hours of preparing, sharing, smiling, learning, teaching, and building relationships. Wow. What a day!

Like most teachers and students, the night before school starts is not very restful. I woke up an hour before my alarm clock thinking about this and that. Do I have enough planned? What will the students really be like? Will they like me AND respect me? Will I be the teacher I know I can be? Since I was up I decided to go in to work that much earlier. The normal things that could happen did happen. I realized I forgot to copy a sheet for the students. Running to the copier before anyone got there… it didn’t matter it was down. I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “eh, we will figure it out.” The students started arriving to my room at 8:00am even though they didn’t need to be there until 8:40am. I have freshman and they were nervous so I talked to each of them as they came in to the room. The day started and it felt as if I never left the classroom, I was calm. I smiled. We learned about one another. I know I am not “supposed to smile until December” but I’ve never been able to follow that rule. The day flew by. I made a couple mistakes throughout the day but I will correct them tomorrow. After school, I managed to prep just about everything for the next two days. I arrived at 7am and left at 6:15pm. I am exhausted but invigorated in the same respect.

As I reflected on my day, I thought about when I entered in to my last semester at USC-Aiken to do my internship. I wondered if I still had my portfolio from the semester. I did. I found my final assignment a letter to the next interns. The letter was long and the last two paragraphs summed up that experience and what I believe this new experience will be.

My very first planning guide and letter to the next semester of interns.

My very first planning guide and letter to the next semester of interns.

I have made the connection, metacognition. Not only have the students learned to apply their knowledge, I have learned how to give the students the tools to find and use the knowledge. During this semester, I have found that my true calling is to be a teacher. Leaving this internship will fill me with a vast range of emotions. I will be happy because I will finally be graduating. Sad because I have learned to love the kids and won’t be seeing their faces everyday. Excitement and anticipation because next year I will hopefully have my own classroom, and finally, respect for everyone and anyone who truly knows s/he is born to be a teacher.

If you asked me what I have learned this semester? My answer would be… I can’t breathe without these kids. I wish you the best to succeed this semester and no matter how bad it sounds now you will make it through and hopefully find your niche.” (1998)

Here is too a great year. If the feeling I had today is any indication of what is yet to come, I can’t wait.

Traffic Lights – Ticket out of the door

In preparation for going back to the classroom I watched a lot of teacher preparation videos on The Teaching Channel. As I watched, The Spotlight Method: End of Lesson Assessment I love the idea of getting students to tell me where they are with their understanding of the lesson. The idea is there are 3 circles like a street light and the students fill out a sticky note completing the following statement: Today, I learned…(green circle) Today, I considered…(yellow circle) or Today, my learning stopped because… (red circle).

I made my signs today. I will laminate and hang tomorrow! They are about 11″ round so many kids can add sticky notes per class.

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If you want to watch the video from The Teaching Channel, here you go! The Spotlight Method

I have keys

IMG_2519So this happened today. I picked up the key to my new classroom. Walking in I felt this sense of belonging and excitement to make it mine. It will be interesting to see what I can do to this traditional looking classroom.

My mind is reeling of grant ideas on how to update the seating in this classroom. As you can see the desks are attached to the chairs. It doesn’t assist with the ease of  movement but I have seen ways teachers make it work.

The first thing that is going are the rows of desks. I will most likely group them in 4s to start. The teacher who left the room did leave a couple interesting tables in the room that I think I can DIY for a standing table and a collaboration space.

What is my vision? 

Unlimited. I want to see a space that will meet the needs of all of my students based on how they feel when they walk in the room. I envision a few standing desks/tables with a few chairs/stools; a couple lower tables with chairs; a few individual student desks; and maybe a campfire table with comfortable chairs around it. The room does have 5 whiteboards so I can build collaboration spaces around the boards. I would even LOVE to have a few FitDesks to allow movement even when students have to sit.

Can I make my vision come to fruition? 

I hope so. This is where you come in… If you have disposable cash to fund a project like this let’s talk. If you have funding sources or grants you know of PLEASE share. I am not afraid to ask/beg for funding.

This is the first steps in this journey. I hope you come along with me.

Happy Step Mother’s Day

I want to wish all of the Step Mothers a happy day today. When I met my husband and found out he had a daughter I thought ok this is fine. It will be great. What I learned is being a step mom is the hardest job in the world. How do I work through the “Who is this lady? Why is she hanging out with us? Who does she think she is? I don’t have to like her. I don’t have to listen to her. She’s not my mom.”? And this is what I dealt with through the communication skills of a 4 year old.

I never want to replace her mother. I only want to be a support and a rock for her. I want to teach her how to be independent, confident, to love herself and life.

Today, she is a couple weeks from 9 years old and we have come a long way in 5 years. We craft, bake, can, visit museums, go on adventures, watch movies, read books, and laugh together. She has a big heart and today she showed just how big her heart is. This morning I was greeted with a handmade duct tape purse, a pocket whiteboard, and a poem that made me cry.

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Let me share her words with you…

Cookies, cake, and chocolate

Are sweet

Kisses to you

Emazing friend

 

You, are a treat

On the menu of life

Living it well

Owesome parent

 

Lending a hand

Only you understand

Veins are filled with peace

Enter the love

Better than treasure

Everything is great

Sun shines on you

Together forever

Cookies,

Cake, and

Chocolate

Are Sweet
Her words for me – CAKE, YOLO, LOVE, BEST. I love her more than she will ever know.

 

 

Creativity.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this word. Where does it come from? What inspires us? How can you use it? What defines creativity? What do we learn in the process of creating?
cre·a·tiv·i·ty – krēāˈtivədē/ noun: creativity – the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. (Google)
This past week creativity has been all around me. First, my step daughter is at the age she is exploring things online, living and breathing Minecraft and just very creative in general. She and her dad have decided to do a podcast called Ella’s Entry. The first episode is possibly the cutest thing I have ever heard. I am not biased or anything but I think it is. The podcast came out of her dad listening to podcasts with her in the car and a curiosity of how podcasts are made and why people listen to them.
IMG_1839On Friday night, I was packaging some things I sold on ebay and when I finished I had this overwhelming urge to make something.  This year, I want to take my crafting to another level. I want to start creating rubber stamps and I have played around a little but I’m not a professional by any means. So I pulled out some sheets of rubber and started looking around on Pinterest to see what I could find about carving or something that would inspire me. I decided to carve a branch and a flower on a vine.
As I finished carving, I started looking at what the stamp looks when used with ink.
IMG_1841They were not bad but I could definitely see where I could improve. What struck me was as I looked at the inked images I began to think about what I learned in carving the stamps. I tried numerous blades. I moved the blades in different directions. I noticed imperfections in my stamps. The leaves weren’t completely smooth. I even cut parts out I wasn’t supposed to cut.
This is where my creativity really started to kick in. My imperfections did not deter me from continuing. They actually threw me in to a plan of action and excitement about my next steps to improve. Maybe they are not steps but more like guidelines.
  1. Any design is ok.
  2. The more I design and carve the better.
  3. Always draw the design bigger to allow for carving in smaller spaces on the rubber.
  4. Try carving ANYTHING. No theme needed.
I also set two goals:
  1. I want to be able to carve script
  2. I need to carve weekly

All of this came from being inspired to pick up the carving tools when I was sitting in the craft room.

Today, my family and I were walking downtown on a photo walk. It’s one of our “family things” since my step daughter has taken an interest in photography. I find when I am on the photo walks, I deliberately try to see things in a creative way. When we walk around we talk about different ways we can take a photo to show different things. Before we started doing this, I really didn’t think about how creativity wasn’t just something inside you. Creativity can be deliberate. Creativity can be about perspective and lenses (literal or figurative).

So what do you say to people who claim, they don’t have a creative bone in themselves? I think it is awareness and listening to your inner voice. It’s the learned ability to look at things differently. That takes practice. It’s the willingness to try something different.
What are you doing that is creative?

Portable sound booth for your classroom

As I begin thinking of things I want to do in my classroom next year, I turned towards audio and video. I want my class to be heavily intertwined with projects. One of the issues I repeatedly see in classrooms is poor sound quality on student videos. What could I do to help with narration or voice overs in student projects? I did a little research on this and I found a DIY $20 solution. I made my own sound booth from an 18 gallon tub, a twin size “egg crate” mattress pad, and spray adhesive.

PicMonkey Collage

 

Now that I have the booth made it’s time to test it. I have a SnowBall microphone for the booth. My students will have Chromebooks to record their audio. The great thing about the Chromebook is you can connect USB microphones and they work great. If you do not have external microphones to use, you could simply place the Chromebook in the booth to record using the default microphone.

There are a number of apps available to record and edit audio on the Chromebook. For this test I used AudioRecorder. It is a simple app to record and save audio as a wav file. This app also works offline. So here are the test audio files.

Without the sound booth

Using the sound booth

I believe there is just enough of a difference for the audio to sound clear and full. If you are interested in taking about 15 minutes to create a DIY sound booth for your classroom, here is the video tutorial I used to make mine.

The only thing I didn’t like the tutorial is I did not cut the hole in the bottom to set the microphone in. with the SnowBall mic there was enough stability that I didn’t feel I needed the hole.

So if you try this, I want to hear from you. Comment below with your experiences. Also, if you use Chromebooks, what apps are you using for audio recording and editing?