Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing
A student edits another student's paper
Everyone reading this post has probably had to deal with peer editing, whether you were the one doing the editing or the one having your work edited. But students sometimes find themselves unsure of where to start, or they might be afraid to offend their fellow students when they peer edit. Throughout middle and high school, I was never told how to properly peer edit, and sometimes, I would be apathetic or unhelpful when looking over the papers of other students. The video What is Peer Editing is a great video to show students who might need some ideas on how to do quality peer editing. This Peer Edit with Perfection Tutorial slideshow is also an excellent source for teaching students how to properly peer edit. Both the video and the slideshow emphasize three essential things for great peer editing skills: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. It's important to stay positive when peer editing, and complimenting the other student on what he or she did well is a perfect way to stay positive. When giving suggestions, again, remember to stay positive and give some specific ideas on how he or she can improve his or her writing. You can suggest they make changes to their sentence structure, organization, and word choice. When making corrections, check the student's writing for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure the writing contains no run-on sentences or incomplete sentences. Again, the most important part of it is to stay positive! The whole purpose of peer editing is to give constructive criticism in a positive manner, not to be a jerk!

The video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes is a cute and informative video made by 4th and 5th graders. The children act out ten examples of what NOT to do when peer editing. First, they give us an example of Picky Patty. Picky Patty points out a bunch of things that don't really have anything to do with the main point of the writing. For example, a Picky Patty will point out that there are too many uses of one word, like "and", and that your margins are 1 centimeter off. Basically, a Picky Patty doesn't give you any substantial advice. Second, there's Whatever William. A Whatever William is someone who is apathetic to the peer editing session and just shrugs off any advice his partner gives him. Third, there's Social Sammy. A Social Sammy will completely ignore his partner and use the time set aside for peer editing to try to talk to his friends and fellow classmates. Fourth, Jean the Generalizer is someone who doesn't give specific examples of where you can improve your writing. For instance, a Generalizing Jean would simply tell you that you have some words spelled wrong or that you have some grammatical errors throughout the paper but would fail to point them out specifically. Fifth, there's Mean Margaret. A Mean Margaret is someone who is very negative and may even use insults when conducting a peer review. Please, don't be a Mean Margaret! Sixth, we have Loud Larry, who is someone who simply doesn't know how to use an indoor voice when peer editing. A Loud Larry will fail at keeping the review more private. Seventh, there's Pushy Paula. A person like Pushy Paula will insist that you do things her way when you make corrections, and she won't really listen to you if you try to explain why you wrote something a certain way. Eighth on the list is Off-Task Oliver. Off-Task Oliver is someone who gets distracted from the peer review process and does other things instead of focusing on the peer review. Ninth, there's Speedy Sandy, who rushes through the peer review process without going into good detail of what you can fix. Lastly, there's Defensive Dave. A Defensive Dave is someone who takes another student's advice as a personal attack.

The moral of the story here is when you're giving a peer review, remember to remain positive! Treat your fellow student the same way you would want to be treated. As long as you stay focused, be specific, and give helpful suggestions, your peer editing skills will greatly improve!

Assistive Technologies

The Mountbatten Brailler
This video, created by The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, introduces an amazing piece of technology called the Mountbatten. It is a device that allows blind students to type out braille, and files can be transferred over to a computer or even from a computer to the Mountbatten. This would be extremely useful in my future classroom. Not only does it allow blind students to do their normal classwork, it also helps engage blind students in group activities, which increases social interaction and acceptance by their fellow classmates.

I didn't realize how much awesome technology existed to help sighted students. In Teaching Math to the Blind, Art Karshmer, a professor at The University of San Francisco, exhibits a device that helps blind students learn math. He explains that math is very difficult to teach to blind students, and that it's very important for them to learn math because it is "the mother of science" and the gateway to learning other sciences. The device has a grid-like structure and comes with little blocks with both braille and a visual number on the front, and the student can lay the blocks out on the grid and can work the math problem with it. As a future math teacher, I found this device to be astonishing! As Karshmer states in the video, it's already hard enough for sighted people to learn math, so just imagine how difficult it must be for blind students! I hope to have one of these devices in my future classroom so I can help any blind students I have reach their full potential.

Another device I didn't know could be so useful to blind people is the iPad. In the video iPad Usage for the Blind, we're shown what features the iPad has that are available for use by blind people. Each iPad comes with what is called VoiceOver, and it uses sounds and speech to help the blind person navigate the iPad. For instance, when the person holds his or her finger over a blank area of the screen, the iPad plays ticking or dinging noises, and when the person moves a finger over an app, the iPad tells the user which app he or she is hovering on. In order to access the app, the person just needs to double tap it. With the VoiceOver technology, a blind person can have books read to him or her with iBooks and even browse the internet. It's amazing technology that hasn't been majorly integrated into all schools yet, which is disappointing. The video Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad shows just how easy it is to learn how to use the VoiceOver program. As educators, we need to make sure no one is getting left out. If there's technology that makes learning easier and more fun, especially for students with disabilities, we need to implement them!

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

In the above video, Vicki Davis, a teacher in Georgia, shows us how she uses a virtual world to teach her students. Except she doesn't always do the teaching. What's beautiful is that she assigns her students to learn different things. Once that group of students has learned what they were assigned, they teach the rest of the class, including their teacher! She explains in the video that she had no idea how to terraform before her own students taught her how. Davis states that a lot of teacher think they have to know everything before they can teach it, which she says isn't the right attitude to have. We all learn new things every day, so it's impossible to know everything. Plus, how wonderful is it that our own students can teach us things we don't know how to do?

Davis also helped her students connect to other students and teachers all over the world with the Flat Classroom project. Students from all over the world collaborate and learn about the trends in technology. It really is amazing just how useful technology can be in the classroom. It can connect us with people all over the world, enabling us to not only form social links with those people, but we also get opportunities to learn about their cultures and their teaching methods. As a math teacher, I could have my students get in contact with other math students across the world and find out what methods their partners use to study and learn new material. For a struggling student, this could help him or her discover a new method of learning that they understand better!


  1. Thorough, thoughtful, well done! Nominated for Post of the Week!


  2. This is an excellent post. You did what you were asked in the instruction manual extremely well. You also have little or no grammatical errors. Good Job. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Dr. Strange! This really made my day!