Category Archives: 5. Learning Environment


5.2 Managing Classroom Procedures through Transitions. To me, this standard reflects the importance of making sure that transition times are clearly displayed so that transition times move fluidly without loss of instruction time. For example, in the elementary grades, teachers often display a daily schedule on the wall or white board for students to refer to through out the day. In middle and high school classes where students may only be in a classroom for 1 period per day, teachers may post the schedule on the overhead projector and read the daily expectations aloud to the class. During my internship, my mentor teacher was in an accident and I became his full time substitute for four months. I had been co-teaching for a short period of time before I was completely on my own. I was teaching in an 18-21 transition classroom where students moved in and out of the classroom throughout the day, at varying times. As far as I could tell, there was not a set schedule for teaching curriculum. My mentor teacher is a seasoned teacher who is great at planning that days activities, the morning of. As a novice teacher, I need a clear expectations and a well planned out schedule.

About 3 weeks into my solo teaching, many of my students behaviors became undesirable. I found that some were having a hard time focusing, there was bullying within the classroom and some were throwing tantrums. I could not figure out what the trigger was to this new set of behaviors. I did some research and came across and article about classroom transitions for students with disabilities. According to Pierce, Spriggs, Gast, and Luscre (2013), students with Autism typically have difficulty following verbal directions alone due to their communicative deficits. Visual cues offer non-intrusive prompts for smooth transitions, often increasing activity engagement, decreasing aberrant behaviors. Research also supports visual activity schedule use with students with intellectual disabilities and with students with learning disabilities. This made perfect sense in relation to my problem. Our transitions from one activity to another were erratic and inconsistent. I instantly realized that I was not meeting my students unique needs. I decided to make a day by day, well planned out schedule. As we do not use a specific curriculum in our transition classroom, I made a list of all the topics that I felt were important for my students to learn in our vocational program. I paired up the topics and made a master schedule. The times were the same for each day, only the subject matter changed. To best support my visual learners, I then posted our schedule on our white board in large print. Each morning, before my students arrive, I change the subject matter to reflect the activities for that day.

After just one week, both myself and my classroom paraeducators noticed a vast improvement in our student’s behaviors. They not only appreciated the new schedule but they lived by it. If I went even one minute over a transition time, hands flew into the air. Even now, months later, they alert me to an upcoming transition. They take pride in following the schedule and keeping track of time. I also noticed that not only did the behaviors improve, but some of my students exhibited less anxiety. This realization made me understand the importance of a well planned out schedule and how inconsistency can truly hinder some students ability to learn. Through this experience I learned that I need to pay close attention to any changes in behavior because it may be the only way some students know how to communicate effectively. If a student’s behavior begins to noticeably change, it is my job as their teacher to investigate what might be causing the change. I am so thankful that I was able to problem solve an effective way to manage classroom behaviors. When my mentor teacher returned to work, he was so impressed with how smoothly our students moved from one activity to another, he decided to continue using my schedule.

Next year, I will be teaching 1st and 2nd grade extended resource room. As I now understand the importance smooth transitions and how they can positively effect a students ability to learn, I know it will be very important for me to develop ways to implement a schedule into my elementary classroom. I know that many of my future students will not be able to read so I am looking forward to developing methods of using pictorial visual aids to represent transition times. I am also looking forward to integrating telling time lessons into my lesson plans and correlating it with our displayed transition times.

Pierce, J. M., Spriggs, A. D., Gast, D. L., & Luscre, D. (2013). Effects of visual activity schedules on independent classroom transitions for students with autism. International Journal Of Disability, Development & Education, 60(3), 253-269. doi:10.1080/1034912X.2013.812191


EDCT 6431 – Creating a Virtual Portfolio

For my individual project, I developed a lesson plan for my 18-21 year old transition students. The purpose of this lesson is to teach my students to use different technologies as a means for creating interactive blog pages that document their internship experiences.

Final Project 1

Final Project 2

Final Project 3

Final Project 4

Final Project

ISTE Standard 6: Implementing iAgents into our Schools

ISTE Standard 6: Technology Operations and Concepts

Question: How can school districts utilize the technological knowledge of Digital Native Students?


In the article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Marc Prensky’s (2001) wrote that our students today are, for the majority, “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. This got me to thinking. As many educators are from the pre-digital age and may iAgent_Help_Desknot be as tech-savvy as our students, how can we utilize their technological knowledge to benefit our schools? In the article, School Districts to Use Kids to Help Troubleshoot Tech Issues, Dan Waters (2013) reports on a school district in Chicago that is utilizing its tech-savvy high school students by creating a group of high school students called iAgents. The iAgents were on hand, during the summer and the first week of school, to pass out and set up each of the student body’s iPads and Chromebooks for the coming school year. According to Water’s, the high schools had the iAgents manning a help desk in the library during students’ lunch periods to assist with any issues that would arise as well as the managing of online forums where kids could post questions about how to access class materials and lessons, among other topics.

These iAgents are such a great example of students demonstrating a sound understanding of technological concepts, systems and operations. What I like most about what this school is doing is that it is creating a place for tech-savvy kids to become creative, helpful and needed. I know that a lot of my students have a hard time finding a place to fit in within our high school. I think that if we had a program that offered students the ability to work with technology and use the skills that they excel at, our students would find a sense of pride and accomplishment that they may not have felt before. I love that this program creates peer interaction between students and encourages teamwork.

Prensky, Marc. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. Retrieved from

Waters, Dan. (2013). School districts to use kids to help troubleshoot tech issues. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from


ISTE Standard 5: Where can students turn when they are being Cyberbullied??

ISTE Standard 5: Digital Citizenship

Question: When advocating for positive digital citizenship, what safeguards can schools take to help protect their students from cyberbullying?


Technology gives student’s anonymity and with being anonymous comes bravery. The previous ISTE standards have helped me to realize that technology can give shy students a voice; that they become more brave and autonomous when communicating online. This can be such a great feature but at the same time, it can give people the feeling of superiority cyber-bullyingand authority. According to Common Sense Education (2015), ‘students learn that cruelty can escalate quickly online because people are often anonymous and posts spread quickly.’ Cyberbullying has been in the headlines a lot of late. School aged suicides are becoming more and more common. There were 2 suicides related to the school I work at, just last year. It is our job as educators to teach positive digital citizenship and to also make sure that students have somewhere to turn when they need help.

This article if full of great information that can benefit all school districts! It teaches schools how to set up a Google Voice account that allows students to call or text when they feel that they, or someone else, is being [cyber] bullied or is in danger. Hinduja (2015) wrote, ‘we strongly believe that every school should have a system in place that allows students who experience or observe bullying or cyberbullying (or any inappropriate behavior) to report it in as confidential a manner as possible. It seems obvious that we should be using mediums that youth already prefer. In addition, being able to broach the subject without being forced to reveal one’s identity or do it face-to-face may prove valuable in alerting faculty and staff to harmful student experiences, and help promote an informed response to bring positive change.’ Schools are encouraged to hang posters, send out flyers, and use their automated school wide messaging system to make sure students know the Google Voice phone number. It is also important to make sure that students know that they can call anonymously for any reason and at any time, day or night.

Turn down the dial on cyberbullying and online cruelty. Common Sense Education.  (2015).         Retrieved from          cyberbullying- and-online-cruelty-9-10

Hinduja, Sameer. (2015). Setting up a free bullying and cyberbullying reporting system with         Google voice. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from   


ISTE Standard 4: Let’s Make A Glog

ISTE Standard 4: Glogster

Students are able to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make decisions using digital tools and resources.Glogster

Question:  What online tools can teachers use to help students research, create and manage innovative project presentations?


In this article, Jamie Renton writes about and how students can use this website (and app!!) to analyze and organize information and then create interactive virtual project presentations. Renton highlights 3 main benefits to this program. Firstly, Glogster increases digital literacy by using technology tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding. Additionally, Glogster enables schools to meet and educational technology and content area standards for creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, and digital citizenship. Another benefit of Glogster is it gives diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge which facilitates problem solving and critical thinking skills. According to Kuo, Chen and Hwang (2014), research has proven that students’ high-order thinking ability, such as problem-solving, and critical thinking ability, could be effectively improved by means of searching for web-based resource. Glogster gives students the opportunity to compile the information that they have collected, organize it and present it.  This application is a great tool for creating interactive poster presentations on different research and interest topics. I like that students are able to collect data, images and videos and then pick and choose what information they add to their Glog. The downside of Glogster is it is not free and requires a yearly registration fee of approximately $95 per year.

Kuo, F. R., Chen, N. S., & Hwang, G. J. (2014). A creative thinking approach to enhancing the web-based problem solving performance of university students. Computers & Education, 72(c), 220–230

Glogster Coogle

ISTE Standard 3: Classroom in a Box

ISTE Standard 3: Classroom in a Box

Question: How can the use of a digital learning environment be used to create personalized, interactive and engaging learning?

Article: Samsung’s Classroom in a Box lets Schools Test Drive 1:1

I love the idea of incorporating technology into the classroom. My positive experience with the Google Classroom has helped me to become comfortable with the idea of integrating online classrooms into our traditional classroom. I have found that students are more open to contributing ideas to online discussions, use additional creativity to formulate and execute their ideas and projects, and show an excitement for online learning. According to Peter Cookson Jr., a principal researcher for Education Sector, ‘Technology for instruction, if done well, allows students to reach out to a much broader world. Students today are comfortable with turning on a computer for learning. It’s not novel or unusual for them. The challenge is to use the technology creatively to meet learning goals” (Wong, 2014). Cookson makes an excellent point. Students today are tech-savvy. They have iPhones and tablets that they bring to school each day. It only makes sense to utilize the technology they are already using to enhance their education. Wylie Wong wrote, “Admittedly, new technology helps meet Common Core State Standards and online standardized testing requirements. But educators say their ultimate goal is to prepare students for success by helping them develop modern skills” (Wong, 2014).

The new Classroom in a Box goes beyond the integrated idea of the Google classroom. In the ‘box’ are all of the components needed to convert classrooms into one-to-one learning environments. The package includes 30 devices — either Galaxy Tab 4 Education tablets or Chromebook 2 notebooks — along with professional development solutions, and subscriptions and licenses for curriculums. Samsung partnered with McGraw-Hill to bulk up on digital curriculum offerings. The textbook publisher will provide 30 one-year subscriptions to its Thrive digital curriculum, which covers Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and math for grades 3-8 (Smith, 2015). This is a great opportunity for teachers to try out the program for a year before their district makes a financial commitment. The idea behind this technology is to integrate online classrooms into the traditional classroom thus creating a personalized, interactive and engaging learning experience.

Smith, D. Frank. (2015). Samsung’s classroom in a box lets schools test-drive 1:1. EdTech Focus on K-23. Retrieved from

Wong, W. (2014). How technology enables blended learning. EdTech Focus on K-12. Retrieved from

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