<![CDATA[Ms. Renner - Blog]]>Mon, 07 Mar 2016 23:36:49 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Fun with Fermentation Final Reflection]]>Mon, 04 May 2015 22:06:04 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/fun-with-fermentation-final-reflection
In retrospect, I had some pretty high goals for my 20% project. I am glad I decided to learn how to ferment food because I love they way the food tastes and I'm happy to learn a skill that creates super healthy food. Unfortunately, I didn't ferment as many foods as I would have liked and I didn't get to interview Mike, but I did speak to my buddy Mike casually about tips while fermenting. Also, I ran into some unexpected speed bumps like trying to drill a hole in the lid of my mason jars, trying to find airlocks ( I had to go to a beer making store 30 min from my house twice because the first time I went they were closed), and trying to figure out how to weigh the vegetables down in the fermenting juices. 

I enjoyed using Scoop.it! to curate my research and found it convenient and easy to use. My only frustration was that my free trial ended and I was only able to curate one topic. 

Overall, it was a fun project and I definitely see myself continuing to ferment in the future. 

<![CDATA[App Slam]]>Mon, 04 May 2015 06:48:19 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/app-slamBelow is a screencast I made about the ShowMe app. This is cool app that I have used with my students. Check out what it can do!
<![CDATA[Fun with Fermentation Post #5]]>Sun, 03 May 2015 18:16:32 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/fun-with-fermentation-post-5Picture
Kimchi and fermentation weights

I ran into some problems. My vegetables from last time keep floating to the top and I am worried about mold so I had to do some more research. I learned that they sell, or you can DIY, ceramic fermentation weights. I read this girls fun blog, Northwest Edible Life, and she gave me the ideas to make my own weights out of pie weights and a synthetic mesh bad. So that is what I did. Now, my veggies sit comfortably and safely under liquid.

My second task this week was to make Kimchi. This was a little daunting for me because my expectations are high. I spend about 6 months in South Korea teaching English and learned to love their national dish, Kimchi. For my first try, I used these ingredients below from epicurious’ recipe:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • Water
  • 2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger root
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp
  • 1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Sesame oil (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

I couldn’t find any daikon radish at the store so I used the radish that was available. I also couldn’t find Korean chili powder, so I will have to go to an asian market next time for that. But none the less, I tried it and can’t wait to see how it tastes in a about a week!

I’ll keep you posted!

Korean Red Chili
Diakon Radish
<![CDATA[A New Culture of Learning Reflections: Chapter 7-9]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 21:47:03 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/a-new-culture-of-learning-reflections-chapter-7-9Picture
Chapter 7 - Knowing, Making, and Playing

Quote: “By participating in the making of meaning, we also learn how to judge and evaluate it, giving special sensitivity to the ways information can be shaped, positively as well as negatively.” (pg. 96)

Explanation: I connected with this quote because students learn by doing. From a math perspective, I am happy to see the change in education from what the teacher is doing to what the student is doing. If students can be apart of the making of the meaning, i.e. exploring mathematical concepts instead of being given a process, that is when deeper understanding takes place.

Question: Students participating in activities that require them to explore and be involved in making meaning can take them a wide range of the time depending on the student.  How do we accommodate a whole class and the various times it takes them to reach a learning goal? How do we urge students to persevere when they get stuck?

Connection: I think of the quote as students being inventors. If someone invents a gadget and sells it across the world and then someone else buys that gadget and has a problem with it. Who are they going to ask to help them solve the problem? The inventor of the gadget because they have the biggest breadth of knowledge about the gadget. Give students the opportunity to make meaning and they will be the best evaluators of that knowledge.

Aha: We should just teach math through physics labs. Then students will be discovering mathematics all day… but it may not be that easy.

Chapter 8 - Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out

Quote: “...Ito and her team constructed a typology of practices to describe the way young people participate with the new media: hanging out, messing around, and geeking out...we can being to see not only how each level of participation produces a richer sense of learning but also how the affordances of digital media environments come into play in the construction of various learning communities.” (pg. 100)

Explanation: This quote sums up the chapter about the different levels of participation kids have in the new media. The chapter explains what each level looks like and the benefits of learning at each level.

Question: Should we require that all of our students reach the “geeking out” typology of practice?

Connection: Of course, this chapter directly relates to our technology class this spring. The 52 or so students coming into the course were a variety of ages and were at a variety of levels of technological prowess and residency. In order to learn the most from the class, should it be a requirement that every student is “geeking out” in online chats, blogs, curating sites, social media, etc? Is this a requirement of every educator going into the next generation of teachers? It may be. If we are to teach our students to be active participants of the global community and responsible residents online, then we must ourselves.

Aha: I am a lifelong technology learner!

Chapter 9 - The New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change

Quote: “As we watch the world move to a state of near-constant change and flux, we believe that connecting play and imagination may be the single most important step in unleashing the new culture of learning.” (pg. 117-118).  

Explanation: This quote, again, reiterates how important play, imagination, and passion is at unleashing real learning and engagement.

Question: There are a lot of educational software out there, but will they ever be as popular as WOW?

Connection: The connection to World of Warcraft was very interesting in this chapter. I felt the whole book was leading up to the point when they revealed that World of Warcraft was the perfect learning environment. I agree that online games like WOW encourage collaboration, passion and support different skill sets, but how can we justify playing WOW in class? Or, when are they going to roll out a whole curriculum based on the gaming world? Will we reach non-gamers?

Aha: A high percentage of my current students, and colleagues, are gamers!

<![CDATA[A New Culture of Learning Reflection: Chapters 4-6]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 04:03:04 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/a-new-culture-of-learning-reflection-chapters-4-6Picture
Chapter 4 - Learning in the Collective

Quote: “In the [collective], the participants all stand on equal ground - no one is assigned to the traditional role of teacher or student. Instead, anyone who has particular knowledge of, or experience with, a given subject may take on the role of mentor at any time.” (pg. 51)

Explanation: I liked this quote because it is apparent that teachers no longer have all the answers in the classroom. Students are constantly using their phone to google answers and teach themselves things in a very informal way. The traditional teacher-student roles are changing. Now we are facilitators, helping kids learn on their own and contribute to a global community.

Question: How do we take what kids like to do with their phones outside of class, like hangout on social media,  and bring it into the classroom to aid learning?

Connection: This idea of learning in the collective can be tied to facebook, for me, and other social media sites. Personally, I learn a lot by perusing my feed and clicking on articles my friends post. This is an example of learning in the collective. Why can’t we create a collective that students can learn from in our subject matter?

Aha: Students learning through a collective learning community created in my class, and connecting to other classes across the nation...and even world!

Chapter 5 - The Personal with the Collective

Quote: “We don’t mean to suggest that every interaction with the new media creates a learning environment. Rather, we suggest that each collective has the potential to make learning fun and easy and to allow people to follow their desires and passions in productive and fruitful ways.” (pg. 72)

Explanation: Setting up some kind of learning collective for your class to be active participants of, no doubt, has a lot of benefits. Ideally, my future class will  have an interactive space to learn about math that would make learning fun.

Question: How do we create a collective in our subject matter, math, that makes learning fun and easy and creates desire in kids that “hate math”?

Connection: Guru looks like a great tool for students and teachers to create an interactive online community. I can’t wait to play around with it more and possibly use it in my future class.

Aha: The good news is that apps and tools that help create an educational online collective are being created and marketed left and right. It is finding the right tool for your teaching style and your students that might pose some difficulty.

Chapter 6 - We Know More Than We Can Say

Quote: “The new culture of learning nurtures collective indwelling. With access to the nearly endless supply of collectives today, learning that is driven by passion and play is poised to significantly alter and extend our ability to think, innovate, and discover in ways that have not previously been possible. Most of all, it may allow us to ask questions that have never before been imaginable.” (pg. 89)

Explanation: This quote is important because it reiterates the importance of creating learning communities around passions because that is what will nurture innovation with future generations.

Question: Is every student going to find they fit into a collective? What about the students that don’t like learning through online games and communities?

Connection: Learning in a collective is successful because it is tacit learning. It's learning by doing. If students can get in there and get their hands dirty in a collective, then deeper connections are made.

Aha:  Give students choice in assignments and you may be surprised on what they produce!

<![CDATA[A New Culture of Learning Reflection Chapters 1-3]]>Tue, 28 Apr 2015 02:12:19 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/a-new-culture-of-learning-reflection-chapters-1-3Picture
Chapter 1- Arc of Life Learning

Quote: “Play can be defined as the tension between the rules of the game and the freedom to act within those rules. But when play happens within a medium for learning - much like a culture in a petri dish- it creates a context in which information, ideas, and passions grow.” (pg. 18)

Explanation: I chose this quote because it represents the essence of the chapter which is learning through play. This chapter gives examples of how people in all stages of life play with things they are passionate about. As a teacher, we can use games with guidelines and rules to engage students.

Question: How can I incorporate games every day in math class? Will students get bored? I can hear it now….another game!? grumble grumble

Connection: This quote is directly related to out 20% project and the 20% time at Google. Through the project and our readings, it is evident that if a person is interested in the subject matter, then learning will take place. So, as teachers, this is our goal.

Aha: We can trick kids into learning by disguising content with games!

Chapter 2 - A Tale of Two Cultures

Quote: “Many traditional venues for teaching….have been predicted on what we would describe as a mechanistic approach: Learning is treated as a series of steps to be mastered, as if students were being taught how to operate a machine or even, in some cases, as if the students themselves were machines being programmed to accomplish tasks.” (pg. 35)

Explanation: This quote resonated with me because it points out the flaws of the traditional style of teaching. I think that most adults would agree that the students produced by the mechanistic approach to teaching is not the type of citizens we want leading our next generation. I think all would agree that we need innovators, critical thinkers, creators and adults that think outside the box.

Question: Why do so many adults and parents hold onto traditional styles of teaching although we all know our world looks much different than it did 200 years ago, and even 2 generations ago?

Connection: During this semester, we read about the origins of public education and why it was created. The reason public education was a mechanistic approach was because as a result of the industrial revolution, we needed factory workers. We needed a standard to hold people by that designated their competency and ability to work in the factory. Is that the same standard we want to hold students to today?

Aha: I think we can use this information about the mechanistic approach to teaching and factory workers to help parents see the drawbacks of traditional education and to open their minds to a different, more progressive, approach to their child’s education.

Chapter 3- Embracing Change

Quote: “Information technology has become a participatory medium, giving rise to an environment that is constantly being changed and reshaped by the participation itself.” (pg. 42)

Explanation: I liked this quote to sum up the chapter because the Internet is a powerful and amazing tool. We are lucky enough to be in an age where information is being updated and altered at an incredible rate. Our students are going to be the contributors to this global learning environment so we need to teach them to be responsible and positive participants that make a difference and add to the conversations online.

Question: Can you create a mini wikipedia-type platform in class? Maybe create a forum for students to contribute to their definition of content vocabulary?

Connection: All semester in our tech class we have been talking about being online residents. Although I consider myself a visitor, I am working towards having a stronger and more significant online presence. Can I still lead my students into residency?

Aha: Let’s all remember that the only constant in life is change!

<![CDATA[Twitter Chat on the Flipped Classroom!]]>Tue, 28 Apr 2015 01:25:29 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/twitter-chat-on-the-flipped-classroomChat 2: #Flipclass

April 27, 2015

Moderator: @guster4lovers

Topic: Homework in the flipped classroom
The flipped classroom is an interesting and exciting concept to bring to the classroom. As a new teacher, I would love suggestions on how to execute this in an effective way. So, I participated in a twitter chat about the flipped classroom. Below is a Storify highlighting the chat:
<![CDATA[Fun With Fermentation Post #4]]>Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:53:42 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/fun-with-fermentation-post-4Picture
Lemons and Red Onions

This week I am going to ferment one of my favorite accoutrements, pickled red onions. Through my research, I learned that a lot of people use “pickled” and “fermented” interchangeably. I have followed a recipe to make pickled red onions but, like I read, the onions end up being super acidic because of the vinegar and you have to add sugar to the pickling juice. With fermenting, it’s better for you and you get the same sweet and sour flavor from the onions. Here are the ingredients I used:

     2 medium red onions, sliced into ring
     1/2 – 1 TBSPs sea salt
     12 ounces filtered water
     Herbs of your choice, I used chives and rosemary

The other item I fermented this week was lemons! I learned that it is common in Morocco to do this.  I am super excited about this because it is something different and really healthy for you. All I did was wash the lemons thoroughly, cut the ends off and then quartered them, and then layered them in the mason jar, sprinkling ¼ cup of unrefined salt throughout. I packed them in tight so the lemons were not exposed to air at the top of the jar. The cool thing I learned about these lemons is that after they ferment for about 3 weeks, they are good to eat, rhine and all, for 1-2 years!

The recipe below incorporates Moroccan preserved lemons and it looks mighty tasty! I can’t wait to try it with my lemons.

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons recipe

Check out my curated websites and blogs I have been using to educate myself on fermentation HERE.

<![CDATA[My First Twitter Chat!]]>Tue, 14 Apr 2015 02:53:48 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/my-first-twitter-chatOn April 13th I participated in my first twitter chat! It was exciting to be apart of a live, virtual discussion! I learned a lot about other fellow educator's views on technology use in the classroom and how we can bridge the gap between education and technology. I didn't feel like I was a huge contributor to the discussion, but I was very excited when my comments would get retweeted and when others would answer my questions. Below you will see a slide show of what I felt were the highlights of the chat. I show each of the six questions followed by my responses and the tweets that resonated the most with me. Enjoy!

Chat 1: #Edtechchat

April 13, 2015


Topic: Bridging the gap between education and technology

<![CDATA[Instagram Project - The Story of Me!]]>Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:56:48 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/instagram-project-the-story-of-me
Topic: My multifaceted life!

This Instagram project was a great way to tell the story of me! I have always had a lot of interests, and as I was taking pictures over the last couple of weeks, I was trying to capture all of those interests so my storify could represent where I like to spend my time. I found it extremely difficult to one, remember to take pictures and two, decide what I wanted to take a picture of. I have always been pretty private when it comes to social media. I like using Facebook, but I have a hard time putting my thoughts, and even pictures, out there for my social network to look at. In a way, I feel like I’m bragging or being too showy. On the other hand, I really enjoy “stalking” my friends and social network and love when they posts thoughts and pictures, so maybe I should be less shy and post about myself too.

Why tell your story? With ever increasing busy lives, it’s important to tell your story in order to connect. Through social media, you have endless opportunities to connect with people you know in the “real world” as well as people you have never met face to face. These connections can help you on your journey with personal passions or professional goals. Putting yourself out there only gives opportunity for collaboration and support to reach goals.  My personal storify posted above is a way that I put all my interests out there so someone in my social network may discover that we share a common interest and therefore letting us connect and collaborate on another level.
<![CDATA[Fun with Fermentation Post #3]]>Mon, 13 Apr 2015 06:43:29 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/fun-with-fermentation-post-3
Sauerkraut Ingredients

I finally made it to the hardware store to get a new drill bit! I got a 11/16 bit and drilled my holes in the top of the metal mason jar lids. I was happy with the outcome.

My first try with this fermenting business was with sauerkraut. I followed by Sandor Ellix Katz. It was pretty simple. Here is a list of the the ingredients I used:

3/4 head of green cabbage
½ head of red cabbage
1 carrot shredded
6 cloves of garlic

First I sterilized all my equipment in boiling water to make sure I wouldn't poison myself. I then started chopping up all the ingredients, put them in a bowl and started squeezing them with both hands to release the juices. This took A LOT longer than I thought it would. My hands got really tired and my fingernails are purple from the cabbage. At first I thought I would have enough for 2 jars, but after I was squeezing for about 15 min straight, the volume reduced quite a bit. I was only able to pack half a jar! So, I cut some more cabbage and went at it again. I packed it hard into the jar in order to get a good layer of juices at the top of the jar to prevent mold from growing. Now, the waiting game. Ill wait 3 days and taste it to see if I want to keep fermenting or not. Below is a delicious recipe where I can put my homemade sauerkraut to use. 

Yummy Sauerkraut Recipe 
That's me in action!
<![CDATA[Fun/Frustration with Fermentation #2]]>Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:07:45 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/funfrustration-with-fermentation-2So, I hit a roadblock right off the bat. I got all my materials out to make my mason jar lids with an airlock. I naively assumed that it would be no problem to drill a hole in the top of the metal lid. I was wrong. I don’t have a proper drill bit nor clamps to hold the lid in place, so my drill ended up shredding a non-circular hole in the lid. This won’t work. I need a perfect hole so the grommet will fit snug without room for air to escape. So, its back to the hardware store to get a spade drill bit. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
<![CDATA[Using Instagram in the Classroom]]>Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:58:53 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/using-instagram-in-the-classroomPicture
In the following four articles, teachers have a found a way to incorporate the popular app, Instagram, into the classroom. I love reading about innovative ways to grip students and encourage participation. I believe that using programs and apps like Instagram is transforming instruction and is a necessary way to engage students. Check out the articles below.

Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement

Every time I sit down to do a lesson plan I think about engaging my students. My biggest challenge is trying to find an activity that allows them to learn the content as well as challenge them. I think rigorous tasks motivate students to try. I try to stay away from meaningless, repetitive math exercises. After reading the article about with kids say engage them, I thought I could commit to the following three ways. One is creating projects that relate to the real world, because it is so easy to do this in math and it is the only way they will grow to love math. Secondly, I will show that I love what I do and be enthusiastic. I think staying positive and loving math will only transfer to the kids and motivate them to see what I’m so excited about! Lastly, I will use more visuals. Doing math problems can be so boring and adding a visual will entice the students and spice things up a bit.

#InstagramELE challenge!

This type of challenge turns  students into active learners while participating in the lesson rather than just receiving knowledge. On a developmental level, being social is something high schoolers prioritize, so having activities that incorporate content into being social makes it more likely that students will be involved and interested in their own learning process. It lets kids be creative and choose how they want to learn (in this case spanish vocabulary) as well as see what others are doing. It is a way for kids to buy in to their education and to connect with the global community. I would love to do a project like this with my kids. 

Instagram Scavenger Hunt

I can see myself using this type of activity with my students. One challenge I think I would come across is assuming that all my students have an instagram account or that have devices that allow them to participate. What do you do if two students don't have smart phones and can’t participate. It is a great enriching activity, but if everyone can’t participate, do we still require them to do it? Also, if a couple students have never used instagram, then there needs to be time set aside in class to review expectations for the assignment, like hashtags and tagging people. I think I would like to make modifications on what they captions say and make sure students are writing something productive and thinking critically about the project and it is actually contributing to their learning, instead of being a superfluous assignment just because it is involving technology.

3 Ways Colleges Use Instagram

I think the three ways why Instagram is useful in college, ask questions, feed other social networks, encourage participation, are applicable in the classroom too. Pictures are appealing to users, in a social media world, because it conveys messages through images instead of words. You can use instagram in your classroom to get students to ask questions about new units of study, to post to other social networks you have set up in your class like twitter, and to encourage students to participate in creative ways.

After reading these articles it seems like Instagram is a pretty useful tool for student engagement, easy to use and free! Now, the trick is staying abreast the rapidly changing technological world and keeping up with our students’ technology interests. What is next? How can we use snap chat in the classroom?

<![CDATA[Reflection on life lessons through tinkering!]]>Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:42:16 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/reflection-on-life-lessons-through-tinkering Gever Tulley started tinkering school and it is exactly what it sounds like. Kids come to his school for 6 days and build whatever they want and learn through doing. There is no curriculum and no tests. There is just a bunch of stuff, dangerous tools and time, something Tulley says is in short supply in their over scheduled lives. He says that building is at the heart of the experience. After watching his TED talk, I was astounded at the things these kids were able to build! 

This video is a great reminder that kids learn best when they are engaged, they do themselves, and when they are given the choice as to how they will learn. I think it would be an extremely enriching experience for kids across the nation to go to a school like this every year for a week in order to cultivate their creativity and encourage them to learn through trying and failing. I think skills like building things is something that is missing from our education system and a program like this would, offered to all students, would be a great way to bring skill in math, science and art together in a way that is relevant to student's lives. I wonder what it would take to get a school like this in every district...

<![CDATA[Fun with Fermentation Post #1]]>Mon, 09 Mar 2015 21:32:05 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/fun-with-fermentation-post-1 Here we are! Kicking off my 20% project with my first post on fermentation. The goal of this post is to lay out all the ground work and write about some basics of fermentation to get me going. After some research, it looks like Sandor Katz, the author of "The Art of Fermentation", is the man when it comes to fermentation. Here is a short intro video that I will follow to make my first jar of fermented food for next time: sauerkraut. 

What is lacto-fermentation? This is the process of sugars and starches in vegetables turning into lactic acid by friendly lactic producing bacteria. 

Why ferment? Eating fermented foods is a great way to get probiotics into your gut. This good bacteria aids in healthy digestion which promotes optimum overall health! Also, there are more vitamins in fermented vegetables and the fermentation process makes it easier to digest them. 

What materials do I need and what is Whey? From my research, it looks like the materials I need to start my first fermentation is a big mason jar, an airlock, pink himalayan salt, cabbage, carrots, garlic, a knife and cutting board. Whey, pronounced "way"is the watery part of milk that remains after the formation of curds. Whey helps start fermentation in a variety of products. It is important to research and experiment with different types of whey because it can affect the taste of your fermented food. Fortunately, when fermenting vegetables, you do not have to add whey because the organisms you need are already present on the vegetables. 

What can go wrong? Sometimes, if your vegetables aren't submerged in liquid the whole time, then mold can grow on top of your veggies. If this happens, you can just scrape the mold off and add a little water and continue fermenting. 

Also, it's important to use clean and uncontaminated raw vegetables and to sterilize the vessel you will use to ferment. 

Here is some good guidelines I found that will help with my first sauerkraut attempt and storage:

"Proper temperature is important. According to USDA, at temperatures between 70-75 degrees F, kraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60-65 degrees F, fermentation may take five to six weeks. At temperatures lower than 60 degrees F, kraut may not ferment, and, above 75 degrees F, kraut may become soft." -taken from Foodsaftynews.com

Also from Foodsaftynews.com,  "Fermented food needs to reach a pH level of 4.6 or lower (which indicates it is acidic enough to be safe). Fermentation, if done properly, will bring food to the “safe” acid level.

Here is a tentative schedule for my 20% project:

Post 1: Research and project plan

Post 2: Make Sauerkraut and airlocks!

Post 3: Pickled Eggs, Green Beans, Radishes, Moroccan Lemons, Cucumbers
Interview with Mike

Post 4: Kombucha and Kefir!

Post 5: Hot Sauce and Kimchi!

Below, you can find my Scoop.it! website that curates all the web browsing I have been doing to gather information on fermentation:

Fermentation Information on Scoop.it!

<![CDATA[Final Reflection on Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap]]>Mon, 09 Mar 2015 04:07:55 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/final-reflection-on-tony-wagners-the-global-achievement-gapPicture

After reading about Tony Wagner's 7 essential survival skill for the 21st Century classroom, I have adapted his and threw in a couple of my own to create my 7 essential survival skills below: 

1. Problem Solving and Perseverance - Over stimulation and short attention spans make it hard for our teenagers to persevere through rigorous math problems. But perseverance is critical to problem solving and critical thinking! It is important to support yet push students through difficult tasks in order to promote authentic learning and to banish learned helplessness. Perseverance and problem solving skills are essential to innovation and these are the skills our current marketplace demands.  

2.  Accessing and Analyzing information - There is no doubt that we live in the information age! It's accessible, sometimes reliable, but definitely abundant. Students need to develop the skill of throughly researching a topic by effectively discerning sources, and then analyzing and synthesizing what they find into something useful. An example of how I would like to do more of this in my math class is by requiring students to use their phones, computers or ipads to collect their own data to use in math projects. 

3.  Developing Character- I feel this was the missing part of Wagner's seven survival skills. As kids develop into adults in high school, it is important to foster an environment that encourages respect and good citizenship. The thing that isn't changing in the workplace is that we all are still living and working together. The classroom is a place that should be modeled like a workplace and students should be expected to act appropriately and have respect for others in that environment. As teachers, we need to model and enforce this behavior as kids are transitioning into adult members of society. A good way to incorporate this into the classroom is to spend a day  developing a social contract for the class by discussing what appropriate, responsible and  respectful behavior looks like, and then holding students accountable for this behavior throughout the year. 

4.  Collaboration- Two heads are better than one, so the old adage goes. When we speak about rigor and problem solving, a great support for students is teaching them to effectively collaborate. Collaboration does not look like 4 students sitting together, filling out a worksheet while one person does the work and the others copy. It takes a lot of work to create a classroom environment where students feel safe to share their ideas and collaborate with other students. It is important, as an educator, to support collaboration by creating meaningful tasks, by modeling collaborations skills and by creating clear expectations for students. 

5. Fostering Creativity and the imagination- Apple's epic success and innovation came from the late Steve Job's tremendous ability to marry art with technology. He had a keen eye for aesthetics but geeked out with computers.  Encouraging children to expressive themselves artistically and imaginatively leads to that great American innovation that we pride ourselves on. Let's not lose sight of how important it is keep the imagination alive and encourage students to transfer their creativity into everything they do, just as Jobs did. 

6.  Effective Oral and Written Communication-  I want to make sure my students are prepared to enter a world and marketplace of hyper-communication through emails, chats, tweets, blogs, articles, etc. It is essential for students to be able to express themselves and their ideas with others in person or written via the hundreds of ways we communicate. 

7.  Creating identity and a Voice -
This skill is a combination of being able to form and support opinions and the ability to effectively express them. As our students move into adulthood, it is important to help them develop their own identity, opinions and their voice. Media is no longer a one way street and anyone can have a significant impact by reaching thousands, even millions, of people through the Internet. Fostering students growth into adulthood by helping them find there place in this world is an essential survival skill. 

<![CDATA[Are we preparing our students to get hired at Google?]]>Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:19:57 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/are-we-preparing-our-students-to-get-hired-at-googleGoogle is one of the most desired companies to work for, right? They are cool, innovative, and produce cutting edge technology. Their work environment is fun and innovation is celebrated and encouraged through 20% time. It is a dream job. So, what type of employee are they looking for? Well, not necessarily one with a college degree and GPAs don’t matter! The number one quality they are looking for in an employee is the ability to learn and process new information on the fly. They want leaders that will show initiative when necessary and then sit back and let others contribute when needed. They want people that will take ownership and pride in the work.  My favorite quote from the article is “Too many colleges, he added, ‘don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] an extended adolescence.’” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. College degrees are becoming watered down and just having a degree will not necessarily get you a job. Google is an example of a company that is realizing this.   To work at a company like Google, you need to be motivated and passionate about the work you are doing. You have to want to create and you have to know how to learn. So, as a teacher how can we cultivate students that are hireable? Motivation is key, but if students are not motivated in every subject do we need to require that they are well-rounded and excel in every subject? Can we let students follow the learning path they are passionate about? This is a big picture view on education but how can I start to create students that would be hired at Google in my personal math classroom? I definitely need to get rid of passive lectures and note taking and let the students have choice in what they are learning. I need to be a more creative teacher and have different activities that all teach the same standard but appeal to different student’s interests and learning styles. Let’s start making our classrooms look more like what the current workforce looks like!

Check out the article below:
How to Get a Job at Google ]]>
<![CDATA[Reflection: A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned ]]>Fri, 27 Feb 2015 03:42:41 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/reflection-a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learnedAfter reading the Wiggins' article, I can definitely relate the veteran teacher's experience to those of my students. My students are on a block schedule so they have 3 periods a day and each period is 2 hours long. I love the block schedule as a teacher because you never feel rushed, but I feel for my students by the end of the day. Passively sitting ALL day, 5 days a week is absolutely exhausting and by the end of the day their attention spans are short and they are sleepy! I find myself desperately trying to hold their attention while delivering information before they get lost to their phones or a side conversations with a classmate. Unfortunately, this makes me want to power through lectures without stopping or time to talk to partners because it is difficult to redirect their attention back to the lecture. I think a strategy that what would help this is more hands on activities, as described in the article. I need to work on giving content in 10 minute chunks and then creating engaging activities in groups that require them to talk to others and move around. Because my students have been in the traditional classroom for so long, they need some sort of motivation to put effort into classwork. In math class, they are used to receiving points for homework, quizzes, and tests. They aren't used to doing projects or presentations or anything else in class besides taking notes and practicing problems. I think they ARE capable of putting forth some good effort during class time, they just need something to grab them and get them into the awesome problems of life that math can solve. Additionally,  I would like to try and incorporate most of the things that the veteran teacher wished she would have done. For example, it would be awesome to have a nerf game in the classroom, more mandatory movement, and no sarcasm when students ask questions. This was a great perspective to read about as I start thinking about having my own classroom. 

Here is the article if you would like to check it out:
Grant Wiggins Article 
<![CDATA[Reflection: Wagner Book Chapters 5 and 6]]>Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:54:01 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/reflection-wagner-book-chapters-5-and-6Picture


“...the ways in which young people are different today as learners may be the most fundamental change we need to understand as we consider how to close the global achievement gap.” -Wagner

Wagner describes our students today as the Net Generation. They grew up digital and, as we know,  it is integrated in every aspect of their lives. Our students are different than generations before. Wagner states that they no longer can learn effectively through lectures and interacting with the text, they learn through discovery and through creating.  They want learning to be an active endeavor where they are interactive producers and not passive where they are isolated consumers of information. Some corporate leaders are concerned that the coming generations because they think they have poor work ethic, but what we need to understand is that they are motivated to work in different ways. Wagner talks about their continuous partial attention and their need to be busy, to be alive, to be connected and to be heard. In order to engage our students, I agree with Wagner when he says we need to catch up in the classroom with what kids can do outside of school. Think about how you search the Internet. You start researching one thing and that leads you to other links and new searches and the learning taking place and discovering information is interactive, and nonlinear. This is how we need to teach our students. In addition, the Net Generations has a different  relationship with authority. As teachers, we are transitioning from the ultimate authority into facilitators of learning. We need to model our thinking of discovery, support students to take control of their learning through discovery and encourage creativity. Because, in fact, this generation’s motivation for a career is one where they are happy, making a difference and creating, so let’s prepare our students for that.


Although all three of the schools described seem like awesome, progressive schools producing highly productive citizens, I feel like I would be happiest at High Tech High, location being one of reasons. I like that HTH doesn’t track their students by ability nor do they offer AP classes, yet almost all of their students go to college and many get into prestigious Universities. I don’t agree with tracking because it tells kids from a very young age what their path in life will be. I think tracking can stifle interests that have yet to surface in young teens.  After what I have been reading about AP classes and how heavily they teach to the test, I am not convinced that students who aim to take multiple AP classes are necessarily being prepared for the current marketplace. I like that HTH focuses on rigorous activities for students and envision students “...being in the company of a thoughtful, passionate, reflective adult who invites you into an adult conversation which is composed of the rigorous pursuit of inquiry.” (Wagner) The classes focus teaching students to be deeply critical of less content.  I like that students are held accountable and assessed through electronic portfolios displaying their best work, a substantial internship and a senior project before they graduate. I like that the school starts at 8:30, a more reasonable start time. I like that the bathrooms have murals and the students are constantly working hands on in classes and sometimes outside.  And finally, it sounds like the principal at HTH is supportive of continuous growth of teachers in their career. I had the opportunity to observe at HTH in San Marcos and as I was walking through the halls, it definitely felt like an inviting learning environment I think I would be happy working in.

<![CDATA[Reflection: Wagner book Chapters 3 and 4.]]>Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:04:39 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/reflection-wagner-book-chapters-3-and-4Picture

TESTING - Chapter 3

Tony Wagner's conversation surrounding testing raised some great questions for reflection after 10 years of No Child Left Behind. I agree that teaching to the test and requiring students to simply recall facts and formulas does not prepare our students to be successful in college and the current marketplace. Motivating students is particularly important when it comes to their performance on tasks, but how many students are motivated to try their hardest on a standardized test that don't count for their grade? Are we really getting authentic results of the learning that happens in classrooms across the nation? 
Do we necessarily need a uniform system to assess students? Also, if  we know these tests are bad for our education system, how are we going to hold students and teachers accountable and ensure authentic learning is, in fact, happening in the classroom?  Wagner argues that we have an effective and more meaningful accountability system, but we don't necessarily have the political will to implement them. As far as testing and assessing my students in my own classroom, I am going to try and steer away from multiple choice tests and assess my students with more rigorous mathematics problems and projects in order to engage my students and develop the critical thinking skills they need to be successful citizens. 

TEACHER ED - Chapter 4

Wagner takes a hard look at teacher training programs across the nation and concludes that most programs do not effectively prepare teachers for their career. Not only are teachers placed in a classroom without experience and the feedback they need, they start teaching and rarely get evaluated constructively. They essentially get isolated as a teacher and grow complacent with their teaching style. I feel that the co-teaching model at CSUSM is a more effective way to prepare teacher candidates for their first day of school. Having two semesters at two different schools, teaching and assisting in a variety of classes, and being observed and given feedback by university supervisors might be a system that Wagner would approve of. Of course, there are some skills that will only come from completely having your own classroom, but I feel that the rigor of the program at CSUSM adequately prepares us for our first year of teaching....although, we will see next year :) If I were to tweak the program in any way, I would have a little less focus on coursework and more focus on getting coaching through real life teaching experiences at our school sites and more lessons and teaching activities to have in our tool box. Not that this isn't a part of the program, but added focus on this aspect is what I would change. In addition, after reading chapter 4 and after being at two different school sites, I am realizing that the school you decide to teach at has a huge impact on your motivation and happiness as a teacher. It is important to choose a school and district that aligns with your teaching belief system and will give you support in the classroom, constructive feedback on teaching style, ongoing training, and be a culture where you think you can grow and be motivated.  

<![CDATA[My 20% Project: Learning How to Ferment Food]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 00:54:51 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/my-20-project-learning-how-to-ferment-foodPicturePicture from mommyrunfast.com
For my 20% project I am going to learn, by popular demand, to ferment food. I would like to learn how to ferment food because I have a garden and sometimes I have a surplus of veggies that need to be eaten right away. If I can learn to ferment them, then they will last longer. Also, fermented food is tasty and great for your health! I will learn how to ferment food by researching methods and recipes on the Internet. I have a couple friends that ferment food, so I will ask them for advice as well. The following are 10 authentic questions for inquiry:

1. Besides cabbage, what are other fermented foods I can make?
2. What are the health benefits to eating fermented food?
3. What equipment do I need to ferment food?
4. Is there a likely risk that I can poison myself if I do not use clean enough equipment during the fermentation process?
5. How long does fermentation take for a variety of foods?
6. What are the ingredients necessary for fermenting food and which recipe do I like the best?
7. Is the food I ferment good enough for others to eat?
8. How can the fermented food I make enhance my current diet? (i.e. what will it go well with?)
9. How long does fermented food keep before it spoils?
10. Is fermenting food a multi-step process and does it require advanced culinary skills?

A successful 20% project will entail a variety of tasty and edible fermented foods. Success would also be incorporating these fermented foods into my regular diet to benefit my health! I enjoy cooking, so there is an element of play and making in my project. There is also an opportunity of failure: disgusting food that I will never eat. Wish me luck!

<![CDATA[My Storify of Ch.1 and 2 of Tony Wagner's book: The Global Achievement Gap]]>Tue, 17 Feb 2015 04:41:10 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/my-storify-of-ch1-and-2-of-tony-wagners-book-the-global-achievement-gap ]]><![CDATA[Generation Me]]>Mon, 16 Feb 2015 22:44:16 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/generation-me
THESE ARE MY STUDENTS! I found this video on visionsofstudents.org, where I was led after watching "a few ideas..." video collage from my previous post.  "Generation Me" is very interesting and enlightening in regards to knowing my future students. They grew up thinking they are special .The majority of high schoolers believe that they will be more successful than their parents and that they will graduate college. So, there isn't a lack of motivation to be productive members of society, yet a lot of them don't and end up graduating AND they lack passion to pursue a meaningful career. What is happening between high school and college? Our students should be happier because they are growing up with more education, more technology, more communication, no drafts, more choices, etc., but depression amongst teens and young adults skyrockets. As an educator, it is important to be empathetic to the trials and tribulations that our students are going through. High schoolers are at such a vulnerable age where all that matters is protecting their self-esteem, yet they are still hopeful that they will be something in their lives. As role models for them during this time, teachers have to find a way to adapt to their world and encourage their dreams and passions and support their learning in a way that will foster productive and emotionally healthy adults. 
<![CDATA["a few ideas..." (Visions of students today)]]>Mon, 16 Feb 2015 21:32:09 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/a-few-ideas-visions-of-students-today
Michael Wesch put together a provocative video collage highlighting what college students are today. They learn to cook and play guitar on You Tube. Wesch quotes that they spend over half of their waking lives with media; they have spent an average of 5,000 hours reading, but 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching TV, email, Internet games and cell phones. He paints a dismal picture of classrooms as a place where students text during class, check their Facebook page, and guess at what the teacher wants them to say. He says most college students don't know what they want to do and that they are academically adrift. Wesch is pushing for change. He quotes students in the video saying that traditional education need to die. 

What does this mean for my future classroom? How am I going to convince kids that the mathematics we are doing in my class will benefit their future? It seems that I have to find a way to bring media into the classroom. I have to appeal to my students' interests and try to prepare them for a world that I am not familiar with. Can I call myself a teacher? You Tube is the teacher. We are apart of a new culture where everyone has a voice, everyone wants to share something, and we are all looking for the next video clip or tweet that will grab our attention for 4 seconds.  What do I have to offer my students? 

<![CDATA[20% Project Ideas... Please Comment!!]]>Sat, 14 Feb 2015 18:33:52 GMThttp://janinerenner.weebly.com/blog/20-project-ideas-please-commentCurrently, I am taking a class at CSUSM  titled "Secondary Education in the 21st Century" which focuses on technology use in the classroom. Twenty percent of my grade is a project based on Google's "20 percent time", which allows Google employees to take one day a week to work on side projects that surround their passions. I am getting ready to start my 20% project, which requires me to blog about the process of teaching myself one of these skills. Below are some ideas I have for my project. Please comment and let me know which one sounds like the best activity to pursue. 

1. The Rubik's Cube: I love puzzles and games, so I was thinking about teaching myself how to complete the Rubik's cube in under 4 minutes. I would have to practice a lot and teaching myself would be easy because there are plenty of tutorials and instructions online. At the end of the 5-6 weeks I will spend on this project, there will definitely be a risk of failure if I cannot complete the cube in under 4 minutes. 

2. Blind tasting wines: I have always loved wine and wine education. I have worked a lot with wine and I realize the more I learn about it, the more it seems there is to know. One skill I think is impressive is when sommeliers blind taste wines. For this project I would study 5 white varietals and 5 red varietals. At the end of the 5-6 weeks, I would be able to blind taste the 5 white and 5 red wines and identity the varietal and which region the wine is from. My reservations with this idea is the fact that I will be blogging about an alcoholic beverage and I'm pretty sure that is faux pas in the world of public education. Obviously, the element of failure in this project is if I can't correctly identify the wines after 5-6 weeks of studying. 

3. Planning my next dream vacation: Traveling is a huge passion of mine. I have been thinking about a particular adventure now for a while. It includes flying to China and staying for a couple weeks then hopping on the Trans Siberian Railway all the way to Moscow. After that I would transfer trains through Eastern Europe and all the way down to Spain, cross the Straight of Gibraltar and spend a few weeks in Morocco. My project would include a lot of research on the adventure to determine the major sights I would see, how much time I would need, where I would stay, and how much money I would need. There isn't a huge element of failure here. 

4.Learn how to ferment food: I am also passionate about food and gardening and I started to like fermented food when I taught English in South Korea because fermented food is a huge part of their cuisine.I like the way fermented food tastes and I know it is really good for a healthy gut. This project would include me learning about how to ferment food and ideally taking cabbage or other vegetables from my garden and fermenting them.  Learning about it would be easy to do on the Internet and I would consider myself not failing if I am successful at fermenting some food and I like the taste!

5. Create a painting to hang above my bed: I have never been too artistic, but I hear it is a healthy activity. This project would require me to buy a canvas big enough to put over my bed and to create a piece of art using oil paints (is that even how to say it? That is an example of how little I know about creating art). I would watch videos online to give me ideas and tips on painting techniques. Success with this project would be a completed painting that I like enough to hang in my room. ]]>