Coggle Mind-Maps

I used Coggle for the first time and loved it! Mind-mapping is one of my happy places. In fact, it might even be a requirement for all Theatre majors to enjoy mind-mapping. That’s how almost every one of our productions or projects began! I’ll try to share the Coggle I made for the book, “The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter” – a book which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend for all educators. I’m including the hyperlink up above because I don’t believe the image will have a high enough resolution to view all the words, and I’m a little too cheap to actually buy the fancier interface. If I keep using them in the future, when I’m not living on student loans to survive grad school, I may consider an upgrade from the free model.

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General Inquiry EDU 6150 Course Reflection

4.4 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure. This standard serves as a summation of The Art and Science of Teaching by Marzano. I also feel as though I personally gained the most comprehension on this standard throughout our General Inquiry class with Kirsten Koetje. It encompasses using pre-assessment of your students’ prior knowledge, deciding what the central focus of a unit should be, followed by learning targets, all in order to plan a lesson that is aligned with the the chosen assessment. There are recommended steps to follow in order to be sure you cover all of the necessary material in the amount of time allotted for the unit. Kirsten Koetje’s General Inquiry Class showed an example of structuring a unit in the form of a video slide presentation.
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After analyzing the standards and common core requirements for her imaginary health class, she came up with the central focus, or unit. It was entitled “The role of drugs and alcohol on society and the individual.” Following the central focus, there was an essential question posed, which could potentially serve as a hook to engage the students.

Beginning with the end in mind requires a teacher to examine the evidence they are hoping to produce in order to prove the learning that took place. In Kirsten’s example, the students were to give a presentation to the health department, citing evidence and explaining the need and benefit of their public service announcement.

Listing what the students need to know, and continually referring to it in order to cover all the material seemed to be an effective strategy. The most satisfying part of this standard is that it is systemized and organized, almost like completing a recreational puzzle! Just like students, teachers can be more effective when they know what is expected of them and have a structure by which to refer. Creating an outline for the multiple-week unit that identifies activities for each day provides that framework, while allowing room for flexibility when necessary.

My primary takeaway about designing coherent instruction from The Art and Science of Teaching is that self-reflection is essential. There are a multitude of design questions that a teacher must reflect upon prior to executing a successful unit. Some examples include what routine lesson components will be incorporated, planning for content-specific lesson segments, and plans for action that must be taken on the spot. If significant energy is spent planning a lesson, there is more opportunity to anticipate students’ misconceptions and focus predominantly on learning as opposed to management. Post reflection would also deem highly beneficial for future planning.

Koetje, Kirsten (2015). Situating lessons within a unit (Example: Health unit on drugs and alcohol) [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from

Marzano, Robert J. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).







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I just completed a short online course on Computational Thinking. Through it, I learned that the building blocks of CT include Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Abstraction and Algorithm Design. We take for granted how often these strategies are used in various areas of learning. In order to process new information, we regularly break down data into smaller parts (decomposition); we observe patterns in data and make predictions based on those trends (pattern recognition); we summarize the general principles that create these patters (abstraction); and lastly we create clear instructions in order to solve problems (algorithm design).

During one of the exercises that was exploring algorithms, there was an activity called an Ngram Viewer. Through it, one is able to graph the popularity of certain words over the course of time and cultures. The first word that popped into my head to try was YOLO, which is honestly just a silly buzz word being used today (it stands for “you only live once”). I was shocked to see such an exciting graph pop up and learned that it isn’t just a new word coined by Drake; though he claims rights to the word and all the merchandise that comes with it. There is a history of the word dating back to the early 1800s, and after learning this fact, I promptly got lost down a google-search-rabbit-hole! As a future theatre teacher, I was excited about incorporating the Ngram Viewer to research the history and influence of Shakespeare’s language (for example) on contemporary culture.

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Field Experience Journal 1

While reading the first chapter of Critical Issues, entitled Learning and Understanding, I came across this quote: “Acceptance of polar opposites in oneself – provided that one doesn’t act on the bad impulses – can contribute to inner harmony.” In context, the book is describing energy cycles that contribute to learning and how we must strike a balance within ourselves philosophically in order to function at our highest potential.

Honoring the importance of balance in ones’ opinions, dogma, or perspective seems to be the most important takeaway I’m receiving while reading the book, Taking Sides. No matter which chapter we dive into, I find myself agreeing with both sides of the specific argument and relating to the pros and cons presented. I believe that the insight to be gained is that we are to approach issues such as school governance, or academic standards with an open mind. Initially, I felt very much opposed to National Standards and the reputation that entails. I ought to mention that this was an uneducated bias on my part, having yet to work within the school system, but simply reacting off of hearsay and assumptions. Upon further investigation, I come to acknowledge the beneficial aspects of national standards, such as national consistency and fluidity between states in order to provide a smooth transition for children who are transitory.

I am really enjoying reading Critical Issues, in particular, as I feel like it offers a unique perspective on topics that are truly important and ought to be addressed within our school systems. In the chapter entitled, “Making a Living,” the author argues that the best teachers build upon students’ interests and do not attempt to subject them to the same mold. Arguably, the most important lesson to teach students is how to become a continual life learner and to live “the examined life.” Success looks different for different students. Motivation works differently for different students. Being understanding of those differences, not only regarding controversial systematic issues in education, but also on the micro-level when it comes to students as individuals with varying needs, will foster the most influential teachers.




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Coding 101

This was my first crack at coding! My husband is in school right now as well and in a Computer Science class at the UW. He asked me if I was using Java or some other fancy program and then we had a good laugh when my computer screen made a “Boing” noise after an Angry Bird attacked something or other. We’re obviously on different planes. However, despite the elementary nature of these games, I still found myself stuck at certain levels where I had to really think about what I was doing.

I’ve attempted some rudimentary beginnings in photoshop and illustrator over the past years and have never quite grasped its basic layout. After doing this, I actually feel more prepared to look at some programs like that and understand some basics, such as how layers work. The lego-like building blocks really simplified the idea of coding in an easily digestible unit. The final video about ones’  digital footprint was quite charming and worth sharing in this very plugged-in world of ours, so on that note, enjoy!

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Introduction to Teaching Coursework Reflection

Intro Cousework Reflection







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Characteristics of an Effective Teacher

Being knowledgable and passionate about your subject(s) is of the utmost importance to be an excellent educator. How can we expect to incite wonder and curiosity about a subject unless we genuinely model that excitement ourselves? No matter what the subject, my interest would be sparked if my teacher displayed enthusiasm about it. Those who truly love what they teach will have the stamina to bring that wonder to the classroom year after year, resulting in the most lasting impact over the longterm.

Possessing a high degree of social competence would be the next essential characteristic. Social competence, in part, reflects having an ability to take another’s perspective concerning a situation, learn from past experiences, and apply that learning to the changes in social interactions. Active listening, patience, sensitivity and a keen ability to discern other’s unspoken intention would all be valuable assets to the educator.

The final characteristic that I believe ought to be a natural disposition of an effective educator is that of leadership. This would encompass motivational abilities, for themselves and their students, and the talent of directing a crowd. I define leaders as energetic, creative, dynamic, and magnetic. There is a great need for stamina in order to educate others, because it is a task that requires much of oneself, with, at times, little in return. A teacher needs to know how to refill their own cup in order to continue pouring out onto their student body.


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