Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Assignment

After going through Mr. McClung's blog and reading his personal information, I would have loved to have him as a teacher when I was younger. He tries his best to make his classroom and fun learning environment that focuses on team work. Mr. McClung is what I would define as a "modern teacher". He isn't afraid to venture out from the old fashioned ways of teaching. Instead, he tries to use a variety of teaching methods because he actually realizes that not all students can learn from "traditional teaching methods."

As most teachers do, Mr. McClung has rules and expectations for the students who come into his classroom. His three expectations are: energy and positivity, talk in class, and listen. He tells his students that it is important to come to class each day with energy because everything they do will require them to be upbeat and stay positive. He expects his students to talk in class because, like I stated earlier, he focuses on team work. Therefore, talking and communicating in class is important to accomplish their daily assignments. It is also important to listen. It is important to talk but at the same time, if no one is listening, talking is pointless. Needless to say, it is very important to listen, as well as talk and that is why Mr. McClung says that listening is probably one of his most important rules. Speaking of rules, Mr. McClung has five basic rules that he expects to be followed so that his classroom can be an enjoyable place for all students.
  1. Follow directions quickly!
  2. Raise your hand for permission to speak.
  3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.
  4. Make smart choices!
  5. Keep your dear teacher happy!
As a student, my reaction to these rules are "same old same old". These are the typical rules for most of the classrooms I have been in. As an aspiring teacher, my reaction to these rules are that they are essential to keeping a classroom under control and it also makes it fair so that every student is able to have a turn to speak if they wish.

The first thing listed underneath "Everyone Needs" is a day planner. Being organized is the first essential tool to being successful and using a planner is a great way to do just that. I did not start using a planner until I was in high school because no one every really pointed out ways to help be organized and boy do I wish they had! As soon as you are given an assignment, writing it in your day planner and writing the due date as well, helps you to keep up with all of your assignments without having to try to remember it all in your head. As most teachers do, Mr. McClung has penalities for turning in late homework. For each day that an assignment is late, Mr. McClung reduces your score by a letter grade. This seems fair to me. In comparison to Dr. Strange's late assignment penalities, I would say that the students of EDM310 have it easy. We do not actually receive grades so it is difficult to say exactly what our penalties are.

With his blog, Mr. McClung wants to accomplish keeping people informed and up-to-date on what goes on in his classes and with his schools cross country team. His blog features the use of educational video, useful links, and class assignments. I would say that he provides these things on his blog with the hope to show the benefits of using technology in the classroom and to encourage other teachers to use it as well. Also, it provides the parents and students with a source to see their class assignments. As an aspiring teacher, I am fortunate to have seen this blog. I plan on having a "class website" when I am a teacher and I will provide the essential information for the class. I will have the class syllabus with the supplies list and class rules. I will also provide a section that will allow parents to know what is currently happening in class and upcoming assignments and events. I think having a class website is a great way to allow parents to be involved and know whats going on.

One of Mr. McClung's useful links was a website called Scholastic Story Starters. This website is so great for children. This reminds me of one of the previous podcastes that we have watched, the one by Sir Ken Robinson, that talked about the importance of encouraging students to be imaginative. On this website you start by putting in your name and picking the age group of the student, starts with kindergarten and goes through sixth grade. After that, you "pull" the big lever that spins four categories. The first category gives you tells you what to write about, the second is an adjective, the third is the subject, and the fourth is a verb. For example, my spin gave me this: Write a wilderness adventure about a quiet and shy turkey who trains wild crocodiles. Then you pick the format of your story: a notebook page, a letter, a newspaper article, or a postcard; you also have an option to include a drawing. You then get a blank page to type your story on and then you can draw a picture to go along with it. After you finish your story, you can print it out. This is really encourages a student to use their imagination while also doing a writing assignment. It's a really great website.
The second useful link that I visited was This website is a site for teachers to set up their class to blog. It is for elementary and middle school teachers who want each of their students to have their own, personal blog. is a safe way for students to blog because the teacher has complete control over the students blogs and its a blogging community just for classrooms. I think both of these made Mr. McClung's "useful links" list because they both engage students in a learning environment that uses technology which in turn makes the experience enjoyable for modern students.

Mr. McClung lays out the rules for internet safety very clearly. He provides examples and gives details which ensures his students know exactly what he means. He instructs them to never provide personal information such as last name, address, phone number, personal email accounts, school name or location. He has provided the students with an email address for the class that he only has access to. He suggests using aliases or nick names instead of your real name and to not use your last name. Also, he tells the students to never respond to a threatening message and to always tell a parent or adult about any conversation that feels uncomfortable. These rules are great. I can't think of any that I would add or take away. These rules are made to keep the students safe and protect them from harmful messages.

I was assigned to comment on a post under the "Lessons Learned" category of Mr. McClung's blog. For the comments for kids assignment, I commented on his post titled, "Lessons Learned: Fat Cat Teachers," however, for this assignment, I have decided to comment on his post titled, "Lessons Three- The Lunch Crew." In this post, he talks about two of his "favorite Persian students" coming up with the idea to have Middle Eastern Friday. Middle Eastern Friday consisted of the two students bringing food that their mothers had made and Mr. McClung making and bringing humus. Can you say, "Yum!"? Well, word got around and more and more students started showing up at his door for lunch on a daily basis. So now, Mr. McClung and a bunch of his students eat lunch in his classroom and they tell stories and just hang out. Mr. McClung says that the best part of "the lunch crew" was that it gave him a chance to build a stronger relationship with his students outside of class time. This is really great. Having a more-than-class-time-relationship with his students allows them to look forward to coming to class to learn. It also allows them to feel comfortable with their teacher which means they will feel better about asking questions that they may have about class work.
The things that I see in Mr. McClungs blog that I would like to be able to do with my blog on blogger may actually be doable on blogger, I just don't know how to do them! I really like that Mr. McClung has categories for his posts because it makes his site seem more organized. Another thing that I like are the different tabs he has at the top on his page. Both of these things allow his visitors to travel through his "world" easier.

Mr. McClung makes his site useful to parents, teachers, and administrators by providing them with the information about his class that may be lost somewhere between the classroom and getting home. By this I mean the class syllabus, the class supplies list, the class rules, and the class assignments. He also provides them with progress being made in his class. As for the students of EDM310, his site is useful to us by sharing the ways his class uses and enjoys technology on a daily basis. Mr. McClung's blog is different than other blogs we have visited because he gives more details about what his students are doing and what technology they are using and the outcomes. It lets you know what does and doesn't work. I think these differences are because he is a more modern teacher who isn't afraid to incorporate a large variety of technology in his room. Another reason could be that maybe his school has more funding than some of the others we have seen. I have really enjoyed this assignment and really looking in depth at Mr. McClung's blog. He seems to be a really great teacher that is really passionate about his job. What an inspiration!

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