Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Schoology is Learning With Rex Digital

I discovered Schoology when I was preparing for my workshop for the National Conference on Technology in Education. I used the e-learning platform in many ways namely: as workbook where participants can write their reflections and submit their output; as database of online sources for the workshop (this was my favorite feature of the platform because it's like curating -- which I think it is!); and as my visual aid. I didn't prepare a PPT presentation anymore. YAY!

Schoology is easy to use. The interface and its menu are navigable by digital migrants like me. Though I didn't get to use the assessment and grading feature of Schoology, this only goes to show how complete the e-learning platform is. While it does look like a very flexible virtual learning space for teachers and students, school who are deciding to acquire the platform need to look at the prerequisites of technology integration in teaching and learning. To name a few, these are tech support, by Rex Digital and in-school IT staff; curriculum and pedagogy that allows for a fluid application of the e-learning platform; and continuous teacher training program.


Get in touch with Ms. Enoy Ferriol: ellinor@rexdigital.net and/ or etferriol@rexpublishing.com.ph. Mobile No - 09178760806

Monday, September 25, 2017

Teacher on Center Stage: Teacher Mary Rose Lagunsad

Because it's Teacher's Month, the blog is featuring another teacher who goes beyond the call of duty. Teacher Mary Rose "Marose" Lagunsad is a grade school teacher in Bitik Elementary School in Valenzuela City. If she is not in the classroom, she trains colleagues and peers to become better teachers. She supports many literacy groups one of them is the Pinoy Reading Buddies. Read on and get to know Teacher Marose and her advocacy.

If I were not a teacher...

If I were not a teacher, I would be a journalist who writes about peace education, reading intervention and literacy advocacy, environmental concerns and relationships. 

What do you love most about teaching?
Over the years, I feel extremely fulfilled and grateful whenever my pupils’ potentials unfold before my eyes. Seeing how they journey toward their dreams year after year gives me that assurance that I made the right choice of vocation after all. What seemed to be impossible for a child at the beginning of the year becomes “I’m possible” come the last two quarters. If I could be there to guide them as they sparkle on their own and at their own pace would mean I am on the right track in my mission. 

Describe to the blog's readers the Picture Walk strategy in teaching and learning how to read.
Mam Rowena Jimenez, our Founder, Executive Director of Pinoy Reading Buddies (PRB), is  one of our beloved mentors has this to say about the PRB Picture Walk Component: "Picture Reading" or picture talk (instead of book talk) is being used naturally by emergent readers. As a component of the Pinoy Reading Buddies Program, the PRB Picture Walk is meant for older, struggling readers. 

It is more deliberate than the natural inclination to talk about the pictures. One main difference is we get our kids to pause and summarize what the story is about from the beginning -- to get them very familiar with the narrative structure: "What happened first? Then what came next? Then what happened?” and so on... until they retell verbally the whole story they conjured up simply by looking at the pictures. 

Young emergent readers simply talk about each picture --they may skip some--and they don’t worry about creating a complete story. Of course, it may be used by other teachers. We're just hoping that they see it the way we do --and use it the way we do - as part of the 4-component program called the PRB Reading Buddies program. 

Tell us something more about Pinoy Reading Buddies.
Pinoy Reading Buddies is student driven literacy intervention where learners collaborate to improve their thinking and decoding skills. It is a Non-Stock, Non-Profit Organization, founded by Rowena Jimenez, a Filipino teacher based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and a group of other Filipino immigrants and Americans whose mission is to help build a nation of engaged Filipino readers. 

PRB has partner schools in a number of cities, municipalities and provinces all over the country. These partner schools practice the PRB Method through the aid of teacher volunteers who have been trained on the Four Components of the program. These training workshops as well as boxes of donated gently used storybooks from PRB book drives in the US are provided free. 

For more information, please like the Pinoy Reading Buddies official facebook fan page and visit the PRB website at pinoyreadingbuddiesweb.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Teaching Information Literacy to Digital Natives

Thursday, September 21, 2017

NCTED 2017: Teaching Tech and Thinking Skills (1 of 2)

Congratulations to Woohoo Learning Lab for successfully staging the first National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTTED) last week amidst two typhoons. I missed day but made it to days 2 and 3 of the conference. I missed the research presentations and the panel on technology in education but, thanks to Schoology and the NCTED website and Facebook page, catching up on missed sessions was possible.

Being at the conference was a reunion of sorts with friends in the teaching and book industry and former colleagues from Xavier School. I met new friends too, teachers who registered in my session on Media in the Time of Social Media. Indeed, the experience was fun, nostalgic and life affirming.

So here now is my list of "take away" from the NCTED.

1. Using technology in education is equal to sound pedagogy.

2. Teachers are lifelong learners and must be given the support to grow in their context and environment.

3. Quoting Fr. Johnny Go, "A culture of what ifs is grown by a leadership of why not?"

4. Important terms: Assessment of learning. Review and selection. Evaluation. Curation. Collaboration. Empathy. Innovation. Critical Thinking. Creativity.

5. There exist a gap between the boomers, the gen Xers and the millennials. Of course. But, if possible, bridging programs or initiatives that fill in gaps need to be set up by the government and non-government organizations.

6. Question: Advances in technology cost a lot. What happens to the have-nots if they could not keep up or are not given access and opportunities to learn and use technology?

7. Content is king. Context is QUEEN (Insert: Ms. Universe wave).

8. Formative assessment is crucial to learning achievement and progress. Where technology plays a role in formative learning is applied in differentiation or differentiated instruction.

9. The effective use of technology in education involves a lot of time spent on discussions with peers, colleagues, school leaders and students - even parents. Talk. Talk. Talk. My take: LISTEN. Listen. Listen.

10. Learning in the age of the digital  natives require teachers to take on different roles: a sage on the stage; a guide on the side; an architect of learning environments. In the best interest of your students, when are you a sage, a guide and/or an architect of learning?

These are all for now. Part 2 to follow as I share the Teacher's Idea Box which participants in my workshop came up with.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Teaching Resources and Reader's Guide: See You In the Cosmos

See You in the Cosmos
Jack Cheng
Dial, 2017

In case you missed it, I wrote my review of See You in the Cosmos in the blog early this month. Two book bloggers also posted their responses and reactions to the book.  Teacher Cris' review has an "audio recording" using a Golden iPod and Philippine Board on Books for Young People President, Tarie Sabido's review includes a line up of cool activities for teachers and librarians. Needless to say, there are so many things to enjoy in this book besides, Alex's engaging thoughts about life, love and rocket science.

Here now are my recommended resources and guide for the avid reader, the teacher who will pick up the book for the class's reading list and the librarian who will discuss the book during the monthly book club.

It's not Rocket Science. But it is!

Build reading context about rockets and space shuttles. Alex's adventure begins the day he dreamed of launching a rocket into space. By joining an adult community of space and rocket science enthusiasts, Alex learned important lessons in building rockets, making mistakes and taking second chances. In The Chemistry of Rockets   a video explaining how rockets work, middle grade readers of the book can take a closer look at rocket science. Education.com has DIY activities on making rockets that are applicable for entries to Science Fairs. NASA has a timeline  of successful and disastrous space shuttle programs in the 20th century. Launching rockets into space isn't as cool as it seems to be when we see them on TV and in the movies.

Discussion question: What fueled Alex to launch a rocket into space?

Literary Link: Make a character chart or road map about Alex. 

Use a mind map or graphic organizer to map Alex's character before he launched the rocket, during the course of his journey and at the end of the road trip he had with seemingly nice adults. Infographic apps like easel.ly and My Poplet can also be used. Below are guide questions in making the map, graphic organizer or infographic.

Who was the Alex you met at the start of novel?

What ups and downs did he experience along the way? 

Who are the people Alex met that changed the way he looks the world? 

What events in his journey confused him and inspired him to demand and seek the truth from his elders and from life in general? 

How did he deal with his mother's condition? 

Describe Alex at the end of the novel? How different is this Alex from the start of the novel?

Extending Understanding of the Text

Ask yourself:

What trips or journeys have you experienced that changed the way you view life or affirmed that life is worth living for?

How did the journey changed your views and beliefs?

Does the change in view or of belief in life move you to do something? If yes, what is your course of action? If not, why?

Carl Sagan and Modern Day Explorations

Carl Sagan, the scientist and not Alex's dog, is a real life character that made a big influence in Alex's fascination in space, astronomy and rockets. Figuratively, Carl Sagan is the representation of Alex's philosophical nature and his penchant for documenting the journey towards understanding the truth. A philosopher and scientist, Carl Sagan inspired others to be curious, courageous, humble, open and to take risks.  These are characteristics we find in explorers and thinkers. These are the same qualities I find in Alex at every turn of the plot until the final chapters of the novel.

If anything, Jack Cheng, reminded me to continue pursuing dreams, silly or not, and to be like Alex or Carl Sagan who could wonder at the vastness of space and be in awe at the smallness of humanity against the backdrop of the greatness of the universe.

Just how relevant is Carl Sagan to modern science? The Smithsonian writes about him in 2014 and the legacy he left behind.  Even the title of the book has the word, Cosmos, a homage to Carl Sagan and his enlightening documentary show on TV back in the 70s and in the 80s.

Just how relevant is Carl Sagan to humanity?  Listen to his narration about humanity and space in the Pale Blue Dot, a recording made at NASA while the Golden Voyager beams itself from millions of light years away from where it was launched.

Discussion question: What modern day explorations are moving and shaking science and technology to new directions for humanity's progress and salvation?

Writing Activities:
1. Keep a journal where you record daily musings that may look or sound mundane. But, on closer inspection, these musings can grow into insights that reflect existential thoughts and ideas that span space and time. It may be a topic for a future essay in academic or personal purposes.

2. Blog about daily explorations with the self and the world around you. You will never know what you will discover just around the bend or in the recesses of your mind.

3. Take photos that interest you. It may be an object, an event a person you like. These may be jump off points for stories waiting to be told.

These are all for now. Until next book review, resources and guide.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

STARS in a Teachers' Workshop

As a writer of children's stories, I am always thrilled to know when teachers use my books for classroom teaching and in workshops with peers and colleagues. Teacher Marose Lagunsad sent me these photos late in August showing me how she rallied a group of teachers to read my early reading series, Start Right Reading Series Kindergarten Level, using it as a spring board for Picture Walk.

Picture Walk is a reading comprehension strategy that builds decoding skills, comprehension and literature appreciation among readers. When teachers are engaged in doing an activity that they can use in the classroom, it is likely that they will try it out in their classrooms too. Thank you, Teacher Marose for the support!

One of the books in the series, Zoo Bee Doo, tells the story of a girl who got lost in the zoo.

The Start Right Reading Series Kindergarten Level is a learning package for Kindergarten learners. It has 12 books, a teaching manual and parents' guide for classroom and home school instruction.

The Start Right Reading Series (Gagatiga and Solina-Wolf, Lampara Books 2014) is available at the booth of Lampara Books currently on sale at the 38th Manila International Book Fair, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

Friday, September 15, 2017

#milclicks: Illusions, Perceptions and Jinkee Pacquio

Photo taken on August 25, 2017 along Alabang, SLEX
Here is a MIL activity in my workshop during the National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTED) last September 13, 2017.

Using the 5 Critical Questions in Understanding Media Messages by Media Audit, participants analyze the media message of the billboard ad and synthesize their findings into a commentary. The five critical questions are:

1. Who created this message?
2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
3. How might different people understand this message differently?
4. Why is this message being sent?
5. What point of view is represented in, or omitted from, this message?

Group Activity 1 - What is wrong with this photo?

Photo: Jinkee Pacquio as Belo commercial billboard model

Inquiry Question: Why was a billboard used to relay the media message?

Use the 5 critical questions to understand the message of the billboard, its purpose, form and function. Write a one page commentary and post it on your Facebook Timeline.

Use #milclicks after your commentary.
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