Tuesday, October 9, 2012

53302_Harrett_BlogWk8 A Little Early Start

Greetings friends,

I know I am getting a little early start on the week but I did want to go ahead and get a jump start on finishing up this eighth and final week.  This has to have been one of my all time favorite educational experiences.  It was a short and sweet term filled with loads of information, lots of informative assignments, never short on conversation and fellowship, and a sure bet to spark one's curiosity.  Dr. Cristine Goldberg is a Web 2.0 technology genius.  She knows exactly what can go wrong and how to prevent it ahead of time.  For that, I am very thankful.  I like to say that she has taken all of these sites for a test drive and now we can claim ownership.  All joking aside, it's been a wonderful start to my graduate school experience.

This week we will focus on developing our own idea toolkit.  This toolkit, if well thought out, and developed over time will prove to be beneficial to us as educators in a number of critical situations.  Having a continual focus on visual literacy I know that our students will benefit as well.  She developed sets of pictures that peaked our interest, stirred our curiosity, and made us laugh.  One thing I picked up from her sharing is that we should never leave home without our teaching credentials and our digital camera.  You just never know when an opportunity will present itself for you to begin to develop visual literacy sets.

We continued discussion on the brain and much valuable discussion came from that.  It is actually senseless not to incorporate all that we have learned in this area into our lesson plans and into our teaching.  Our students can benefit from this, we can certainly receive huge benefits and rewards from this knowledge, and our families will certainly share some of the benefit as well.

Once again, we're doing blog reviews, so I hope that I've characterized my blog in a way that is pleasing to every reader and made it visually appealing for all.  On a more personal note, today I got the privilege of taking my 16 year old to get his driver's permit and boy he wants to drive everywhere literally in one afternoon.  I need a break! I'm just joking.  He's been a real trooper and I believe that he's going to be a great driver, just like his big sister.  This is the culmination of all of those things that we do to nurture our kids.  It all starts to work towards their independence and our letting go.  He's my last one at home so I'm cherishing every moment of this.  Now, that's a very happy child, wouldn't you agree?

Have an awesome week.  Pictures to come soon.

Peace and blessings, Belinda Harrett
All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

53302_Harrett_BlogWk7: An Anniversary, Sweet 16, Fall Break, and a Little School Work

Greetings Friends,

Happy Fall! The weather is reaching an awesome pinnacle.  I'm reminded of that special ceremony 22 years ago on this day when I married the most wonderful man in the world.  And then 6 years later to the day, he gave me one an absolutely adorable blessing in my perfect 16 year old son, who is celebrating his birthday today.  This week begins my Fall Break but it will be filled with much work as a substitute teacher filling in for those getting an early start on their weekend.  The week will end with me traveling to spend time with my beautiful daughter in Tennessee to spend her Fall Break, college style, with her.  I'm going to need a vacation when I get back.

Sadly I report that this week's theme and activities hit home with me.  The brain is an area receiving much attention these days and with good reason.  There's something going on.  Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other brain related diseases seemed so rare or almost completely unheard of when I was a child.  They all seem so commonplace now.  The push to understand and combat these diseases is very much a reality for me.  I lost my father-in-law recently to Parkinson's Disease and Dimentia.  I also lost an aunt to Dimentia.  My father was also diagnosed recently with Parkinson's and he is fading fast.  If you think it's not important to me, think again.  I must aggressively pursue information on a regular basis to help my husband who has a propensity to develop the disease as well as my children begin now finding ways to preserve their brains.  My daughter danced the ballet for 11 years and I know that there were huge cognitive benefits with her participation in the arts.  My son danced the ballet for awhile as well and I know there were cognitive benefits for him as well.   The connection between the arts and cognition are critical for us to understand.  The need to parlay this information and use of the techniques are also very important for our students.  The need to push these learning tools over into our curriculums will have huge benefits for cognition, memory, motivation, temperament, attention, and things like reading acquisition and sequence learning.

This week at UC we explored many websites that take on an area that is new to me "social bookmarking".  I have found it to be incredibly useful for many applications but none more than personally for myself in my own classes.  The PBS site "Cyberspace" is a wonderful tool for the classroom especially for exceptional children.  The sites are carefully designed to meet the needs of the 21st Century classroom but more importantly for the 21st Century workforce.  Combining these two elements are important in the individual classroom in many ways.  It once again, affords teachers everywhere the opportunity to move back to creativity in the classroom over the "teach to the test" method of learning.  This is exciting.  I know that each and every one of us can embrace some of the technological changes coming about in Web 2.0 technologies and the implications in the classroom.

Finally, we seem to be rounding out our early Fall semester.  For me, I will be complete my first two graduate level classes.  As a student who comes from a family with no advanced education it is very rewarding for me to personally reach this pinnacle.  This semester has seemed to go by at warped speed but it has been very influential in my ability to consume and collect information that I can use directly in the classroom.  For that, I am very excited.   I wish everyone much success in the rest of the term.

Now you see why I do what I do! These two beautiful gifts from God.  God Bless You.  Catholics everywhere, the Year of Faith has now officially begun ~ embrace it.  Ooops, sorry, but one last minute addition ~ my piclit ~ so excited ~ I am actually creative. I love it.


Peace and blessings, Belinda Harrett

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Those Dominicans and Their Preaching

Hello everyone,

I hope that everyone is having a great week. I am so sorry that I am a little late posting this week. I was called in for the entire week to fill in for a gym teacher whose mother has taken a turn for the worse. She is not expected back any time soon. Please pray for them as they go through this most difficult time and please pray for the students of this inner city school as they make the adjustment to their long-time p.e. teacher being called away. This is very difficult for young children.

St. Dominic was a preacher at heart. His preaching was purely passionate. Dominic devoted himself to a passionate life of teaching and preaching out of a pure love for God. I love the way that even though he knew how it was necessary to overcome some of the most egregious heresies of his time he demonstrated time and again that the best approach to overcome the enemies of the faith was to solve the problems with a steadfast devotion to prayer, contemplation, and humility. In his preaching his focus was the dignity of human life. He was humbled and insisted that Dominican Friars were unrelentless in their pursuit of humility and their entire trust and confidence in God as the answer to evil. Preaching is an artform that takes much preparation, self-denial, and strict obedience in the spreading of God's Word. As he died, he encouraged his followers to hold true to humility. Their spirituality is largely apostolic.

One of the things that struck me as interesting about both the Dominicans and the Franciscans was their devout vow of poverty. Their mission had them completely devoted and focused on the ministry of preaching. According to Aumann, Bishop Fulk of Toulouse issued a document in which he declared: "We, Fulk ... institute Brother Dominic and his associates as preachers in our diocese ... They propose to travel on foot and to preach the word of the Gospel in evangelical poverty as religious." (127) I cannot imagine how poignant their preaching must have been given this devotion. I'm thinking now of our recent diocesan wide census where parishioners volunteered to go door to door. I wonder if our message would've been more powerful to those in our neighborhoods if we had traveled barefoot, devoting ourselves to a defined observance of poverty. I tell you if someone showed up at my door and said they were from the neighborhood Catholic church and was conducting a census of the religious traveling barefoot with a visible vow to poverty I would take them in and I would convert just on the face of their humbleness.

St. Dominic is an excellent example of how we need to rid ourselves of our personal self-efficacy and devote ourselves to the whole spirit of God. We need to let Him work in us the way that Dominic allowed Him to work in him. We can begin to appreciate what Dominic has left the Church in his contributions to sacred doctrine as a preacher and teacher.

Have an awesome week.

Peace and blessings, Belinda Harrett

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Hello friends and acquaintances,

Let me tell you about webquests!  Why there is so much information out there about web-quests that it will boggle the mind of the most techno-savvy beast.  Most of it, however, is only a virtual dead-end street.  Most web-quests appear to be the product of a college technology class assignment and are a virtual afterthought when it comes to being adequately prepared to stimulate and engage an actual audience.  I mean, take this WebQuest, for instance.


You will find there one of the most disgusting WebQuests ever designed or an attempt at designing.  I hope that this student did not receive a passing grade.

Now, on the flip side take a look at this WebQuest where you will find one of the absolute best WebQuests out there.  This person has carefully extracted information and made this right there for the reader.  It is so engaging and purposefully lays everything out in solid details.  They even put arrows in pointing to the sidebar where you can go to the next tab.  In genius.


Finally, I hope you will take some time to journey with me on my WebQuest as I take 11th grade students on a journey of decision making about careers, a wonderful automotive company, and their investment in the future.  This is a WebQuest designed to force the student to produce results that will challenge them and keep them engaged throughout the entire process.  I have supplied all of the needed sits right within the WebQuest to keep them from surfing the web and keep them squarely focused on the assignment.  Please honor me with your feedback.


There is so much information out on the web.  Please be very careful to make sure that you are attaching URLs and sites that will not leave students at a complete dead end.  Too much time is wasted and unproductive if we cannot produce a product that will lead our students in a successful direction.  One of the biggest challenges I faced this week was with where to start.  What a great assignment?  I loved doing this assignment.  I am hooked and now I will be developing webquests for all occasions and everything basically.  I was unable to have a questgarden 30 day free account.  I'm not sure why but I'm going to guess it is because I am using a MacBook in an Apple environment and it's not compatible.

I enjoyed reading my classmates' discussion posts this week and seeing what intrigues them.  We have such a creative group of virtual learners.  The remainder of the 21st Century is in good hands.   On a personal note, I dressed my baby doll boy for yet another homecoming dance, this one at his school.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  

I hope you enjoyed my week as much as I did.  May God bless you and hold you firmly in the palm of His hand.  Peace and blessings.

Miss Bee 

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Monday, September 24, 2012



My mind has been obsessively occupied this week with the special children at the inner city elementary school where I substitute teach.  Outside of my own children there is nothing on Earth that brings me that much pure joy.  It's impossible not to want to hug em all with the biggest most genuine squeeze possible.  It's oh so refreshing knowing that their time with me today may be the only peaceful time they'll have.  It's likewise so poignant knowing that I may just be the only adult to sit down in a non-threatening way to enjoy a wholesome meal with them just talking about random things.  The teachers all said to me "You ate lunch with the kids?", to which I replied "is there anything else?".

These kids are what pushes me to learn everything I can to help them achieve realistic goals for themselves.  To that extent this week was very technologically enlightening.  Most school districts today have acceptable use policies in place for students and staff.  I believe it is incredibly important to establish a framework in these policies giving boundaries without trapping students and staff in creativity.  I have found that students quickly learned how to develop proxies that allow them to circumvent the policies.  I almost believe it may be an impossible task to create a totally inclusive policy.  I do believe that staff members would be wise to embrace the technological creativity of students and assign them to a task force for developing policies that make the most of the technology available to students.  We have begun to do this at our local high school where we have a "tech on" and "tech off" policy.  When the signs are posted in classrooms students may engage their cellphones, etc. only for academic purposes.  Every morning, in an attempt to get the students to unwind and get ready for class we have an ACT practice question where the students can text in their answers.  We follow the progress with a poll and students can earn something from the bookstore depending on their results.  Once the "tech off" sign goes up, all technology must be put away.  Headphones in all colors have become the latest must have accessory.  Most students aren't listening to them but just want them to adorn their outfit and to be stylish in a non-threatening way.

Our lessons on online communication tools was very enlightening.  I am enjoying the blogging process so much.  Even more interested in online communication has been my husband and I jointly.  We have now developed an avid interest in Glogging.  We surveyed a website at www.glogster.com.  Wow! We were overwhelmed.  We immediately began playing around and now we are insanely hooked.  I have recently become so enthralled in new technological adventures that I just may not have time for anything else.  The glogging website allows one to go beyond the threshold of artistic creativity and allows you to create a poster of your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and/or expressions.  That is truly freedom of speech.  I cannot wait to use this to express what I am learning as I engage with exceptional children teaching them abstract concepts such as sacramental preparation, grace, and the Holy Spirit.  It will be very interesting for me to put together a poster image of those feelings.

The topic of visual literacy loomed large this week.  Visual literacy is a wonderful tool.  I can find so many practical uses for presenting things to students using visual images.  This can be very tricky with upper middle and high school students.  It is very important that you incorporate projects and images that fit the lesson plan or you may lose students.   There are so many practical uses for visual technology with students.  This is a must do.

The week has finally culminated in my blog.  I want to share with you how I spent my weekend.  I was able to deliver my 19 year old daughter her third brand new car.  She is so spoiled.  I love doing it though.  She's a great kid and she deserves it.  Funny thing is that I was able to help her program her touch screen computer radio system.  It has a speech to text and text to speech feature.  What I learned over the past couple of weeks sure came in handy.  Here are pictures for you to peek at.

I am so glad that you were a part of my week this week too.  Have an awesome week.

Peace and blessings,  Miss Bee

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Greetings and salutation,

It's not every day that the old phrase "a day late and a dollar short" comes to fruition.  Today was one of those days.  To start week four by ending week four has been authentically bittersweet for me.  I got held over at work today and then came home to a hoard of responsibilities.  I finished up my final technology explorations only to find that I was about 20 minutes late in submitting 3 of them.  Well I guess sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.  The bear got me.  Good news is .... I got double the salary I was expecting today.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  I'll take what I have and peacefully walk away.

One of my favorite topics was on agenda in class this week ~ the development and use of power point presentations.  There was a time when I literally stunk at this process.  Over time I have developed a level of confidence that has be tweaking my presentations to meet the needs of my peers and my students alike.  It is not an easy process.  So many things must be considered to form a good power point presentation.  Colors and font sizes must be created for a general audience with specific nuances in mind.  Not everyone sees color, shapes, and sizes in the same context.  We must be sensitive to the needs of our audience.  Some pictures and clip art may be perfect for the situation but may leave a bad taste in the mouth of your spectators.  We must carefully choose images that express our meaning without being overly offensive.  It is so important to take the needs of our audience in consideration while adhering to freedom of expression through creative outlets such as in power point presentations.

We took a diversion this week with a review and discussion of www.ted.com.  Wow wow wow.  What can I say?  This has to be one of the most innovative projects going right now.  When I initially looked at this website I did so with the actual assignment in literal context.  I was so impressed with Ken Robinson's creativity video that it lead me to watching other Ken Robinson videos.  I am officially a Ken Robinson fan.  He has the most insightful ideas regarding education.  This website is an awesome collaboration of individuals aimed at making a difference in the world through technology and sharing of ideas.  It helps that they offer a very lucrative prize to a yearly winner.  I have committed with my own account and I am also a contributor and I cannot wait to get started with the process.

Our technology explorations this week led us to some very interesting sites.  One that intrigued me most was www.voicethread.com and www.voicethread4education.wikispaces.com.  I continue to be astonished by the talent and production of new software ideas that keep showing up on the internet.  This is by far a wonderful addition.  This is a software program that is a web-based community network building specifically for k-12 students and educators.  It allows students to work collaboratively by getting to know peers as if they were in a face to face environment.   I think this is definitely something we should consider for our class.

I tell you I just don't understand how our week four can start on Monday 9/17/12 and all of our assignments for the week are due at 9:00 pm that very night when the week doesn't officially end until 9/23/12.  I guess that I'll just never understand.  I am so glad you have chosen to join in on my conversation this week and I hope you will tune in again.  Angels all around you in your travels and peace be in your soul.  On a more upbeat note, I got another chance to be mommy this week and dress my baby boy for the homecoming dance.  I love doing that.  And my baby girl fired an 85 in her college golf tournament today.  Life moves on.  I just had to share.  Until we meet again virtually,

peace and blessings, Miss Bee

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Friday, September 7, 2012



I come to you today with much news.  We had a jam-packed week of instruction.  I bring you my views on Bloom's "Technology" Taxonomy.  We have made it completely and succinctly into the 21st Century when we are adapting Bloom's Taxonomy to reflect those skills that are squarely the focus of 21st Century educators.  It is an important move I might add.  In order to make our classrooms more inclusive, narrow our achievement gaps, and provide students with highly qualified teachers we must have a keen eye focused widely on technology and the uses of technology that improve learning for all students.  I believe the new taxonomy will greater assist us in determining when, where, and how to best help students, especially exceptional students.  Finally, we have a tool to apply the principles of learning and teaching to a wider span of students.  The revised taxonomy, despite my not knowing, was revised in the 1990s.  The lower category to the more narrow tip of the Bloom's taxonomy pyramid begin with "remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating" which replaces the 1956 version beginning with "knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluating".  The transition is very interesting in the way that it reflects relevance to 21st Century work and to ISTE Standards.  Students in the remembering level would be best to work with mind maps or concept mapping software to allow them to brainstorm and idea sparking creative juices.  The most important function of Bloom's Taxonomy is that "what educators want students to know is encompassed in statements of educational objectives can be arranged in a hierarchy from less to more complex".  (Huitt, 2009)  It is likewise important to note that Bloom's Taxonomy categorizes based on intellectual objectives.

 In the school where I substitute teach I was asked to work with our art department on creating a post card to send out to parents announcing our Open House.  The document that I created is attached.  When I first created the document I felt it was bland and lacked any appeal. I did not initially design the postcard for universal appeal.  It really only appealed to my students.  I failed to include the interests of students who participate in extracurricular activities.  On second glance I feel that it is much more sensitive to the needs and desires of a broader range of students and parents. 
Holmes High School Open House - Revised Post Card

We were introduced this week in our technology explorations to a website developed and maintained by the Georgia Department of Education through the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology.  Through a grant, this project has gone well above the call of duty in regard to the way they have exhaustively investigated the issue of Assistive Technology Devices and Services.  No stone was left unturned.  They have literally broken apart the IDEA legislation and applied it to every eligible individual in need of these services and educated those who may or may not be in need of these services.  Given the ongoing nature of this legislation and the push for technological advances in 21st Century learning it just makes sense that this type of assistance be made available.  The website is so professional.  The scope of the information is informative and exhaustive.  The material is presented in a fashion that is succinct and determined.  It is meant to make change right where change is most needed.  Thank you Dr. Goldberg for sharing this wonderful measure with us.

Two other academic areas we covered were the multiple uses of word processing and desk top publishing in the academic environment.  I felt comfortably right at home with some of the practical uses I've already demonstrated with both.  Every year I make a packet of papers with my students' names all around the corner using Desktop Publishing making personal stationary for the students breaking the welcome barrier and giving them some level of independence and responsibility requiring them to use their personal stationary for uses in communicating with me and others in our capacity.  This has been well received.  I try to keep the stationary in the school colors integrating a symbol of the school mascot such as a paw print in between their names circling the border of their stationary.  It has been well received and many have copied this idea.  I cannot function in my personal life without word processing and desk top publishing.  These are my two technology must-haves.

On a more personal level Dr. Goldberg, my professor, made a courageous dedication to attend class on Monday (not one but two classes) despite the fact that her son suffered an injury that caused him to lose the tips of several of his fingers.  She was virtually visibly worried about her son and her grandchild(ren) during class but maintained her composure and integrity in continuing the class.  I applaud her and I don't know how she did it.  The conversations this week were very good.  There was a lot of dialogue about the various uses for technology services we have been investigating over the past couple of weeks.  God speed healing with your son Dr. Goldberg.  Thank you for your dedication to our class.

I pray you have an absolutely blessed week filled with laughter!  Until we meet again in the virtual classroom

peace and blessings, Miss Bee

Huitt, W. (2009).  Bloom et al.'s taxonomy of the cognitive domain.  Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.  Retrieved (4 Sept 2012) from http://www.edpsychinteractive.com/topics/cogsys/bloom.html.

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Greetings friends,

I hope that Isaac was kind to your piece of land this week.  We needed the rain but Isaac failed to deliver much to us in Kentucky. We wait. For my family and friends in Louisiana ~ I've been on pins and needles waiting to hear the stories of devastation and destruction yet once again. I am praying that the cleanup is not tangled up in a tangle of bureaucracy this time around.

Wow! This has been a jam-packed week filled with technological tensions.  There was much work to get done.  Finally I saw the end of the tunnel and may actually be able to sit back and enjoy a burger and fries for the final holiday of summer with family and friends. I'm excited about the prospect.

Our week began with the introduction of spreadsheets and databases.  Although I've had technical training in both it has been years.  Yikes.  I was behind the curve ball in what I thought I knew causing me to procrastinate way too much.  Spreadsheets have a lot of wonderful uses and applications in the classroom that make them a very practical solution for educators everywhere.  One website I found interesting was: http://www.ehow.com/info_7915579_nteq-traditional-classroom-differences.html.  It was so easy to read and understand and offered basic ideas most any teacher can use.  I can use spreadsheets to track attendance, keep track of grades, to conduct classroom and student inventories, and to track student's work and progress among other things.  Spreadsheets offer me the flexibility to compute large amounts of data, formulate complicated calculations that are time consuming and track data with charts and graphs.  I was surprised to find the versatility in using spreadsheets for problem solving strategies.  Students can use the computer to research, organize, information and generate and present solutions to problems.  This allows students the chance to ditch the passive role of just sitting and taking notes as the teacher wastes time at a chalkboard and replace it with interactively engage in the process.  I have not used spreadsheets in my role as an educator in the past.  I have never used spreadsheets with students to enhance learning but plan to so in the future.  Databases allow me a lot of flexibility in keeping track of student information, parent information, and other records that I want to keep confidential and have at my fingertips.  They are especially useful when I want to get the same information to all students.  Databases make it easy for me to track information alphabetically and by any other sort category that I so choose.

Among other things we covered this technologically filled week were the benefits of desktop publishing which is one of my all time favorite software tools.  I use Microsoft Publisher for almost everything.  The other thing we learned was how useful word processing software packages can be for teachers and students.  Word processing makes it easy to produce a letter, a report, book reports, poems, etc.  Much of the formatting is already done for you which students love.

Our week ended with us learning about the multiple uses of Wikis.  I remember Wikis being such a foreign concept only a few years ago in one of my online college classes.  Today, in contrast, they are so common place and with good reason.  They have a multitude of uses and have benefits that outweigh the cumbersome task of creating an entire web page or website.  I love their flexibility and ease of use.  I also like their versatility with options to upload videos, photos, charts, etc.  I will be putting Wikis to use in my classroom for sure.

I would be remiss not to take note of the websites that we visited for technology exploration.  A tool that is still Greek to me is the idea of concept mapping.  I am going to have to dedicate some time in my schedule probably with the help of my 15 year old to get more acquainted with the overall idea so that I can find more practical uses for the software.  There are so many free mapping programs out there.  I was amazed at the quality, flexibility, design, and overall details in the those programs.  The one I liked best was the www.thinkbuzan.com website which offered three dimensional mapping.  I cannot wait to learn more about this concept.  Finally, the one thing that I will take away from my evaluations are the wonderful video building programs that feature student's work.  This has to be one of the absolutely best tools available for educators.

I hope that you have enjoyed my quick trip through week two of my masters class in technology.  See me about specific details and to learn more about each of the projects mentioned in my blog.  Let's chat.

Have an awesome day.  Peace and blessings,

Miss Bee

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Watch this YouTube video my friends and tell me what you think about it.  My non-teaching friends.  Have you considered these things? I wonder. What are the answers?

With love, Miss Bee

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Dr. Maria Montessori ~ Happy Birthday

Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society. - Maria Montessori, Education for a New World

Dr. Maria Montessori was an education genius! Today is her birthday.  Celebrate with a montessori teacher!
A little about Dr. Montessori:

She believed that children should have an education that:
  •  prepared the most natural and life-supporting environments for a child
  • observes the child living freely in this environment
  • is continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his or her greatest potential physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • "follow the child"
 She lived a life of virtuous responsibility from 1870-1952.  She would have been 142 today!

Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.

Stay safe, avoid the rain where ever you are. Keep your chin up looking to the stars! It's gonna be a good day.  Peace,

Miss Bee 

All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



     It was so nice to have an introduction to the synchronous discussion at the beginning of the week.  We got the opportunity to tool around in Elluminate Live and each of us had the opportunity to perform a mic check.  This proved to be an excellent chance to work the bugs out and to settle some nerves and first user jitters.

     The readings this week were very informative giving us a general overview of National Educational Technology Standards that will prove beneficial to all of us as we embark on our new assignments.  These standards remind me of the ultimate purpose of our online training and that rests squarely in the success of my students.  I found it very interesting to learn the various ways that individuals from all walks of life view technology.  I also was enlightened to learn who believes they are literate technologically speaking and who isn't.  The goal I believe is to familiarize ourselves with all of the technological advances that exists in the educational realm where we teach.  For instance, if I teach elementary special education some of the technological advances useful to a high school career development teacher are not going to be as beneficial to me.  It is also very important to be aware of the educational technology initiatives happening currently in my school, our district, and in my state education department.  I can open myself up to research and training opportunities through professional development in webinars, podcasts, WIKIs, web sites, and blogs just to name a few.

     This week my eyes were opened wide to the vast array of ebooks.  As I began to search I realized just how expansive this technological market really is.  Given our illiterate population and the need for kids everywhere to get their hands on books of all types I was a little disappointed that this is not a free source.  I do understand the compelling and over-riding business need as well.  In my own family I find that our preschoolers and toddlers who need enrichment and could benefit from ebooks like this because they fall between the cracks of public education qualification for preschool and the vast expense of private preschool.  It also seems to be quite expensive for the Ebook program we viewed at www.tumblebooks.com and tikatok.com.  I do realize that public libraries everywhere are getting on the ebooks scene but many, including our local library, has an inventory that is not very expansive in scope and choice.

     I like the concept of technological explorations as a classroom component offered in our online course.  Otherwise, I do not feel that I would look at the resources nearly as indpeth as is required by our assignment.  Thank you for that opportunity.  With respect to technology explorations, my hat goes off to Mr. Langhorst's American History classroom website and his podcasts.  They shed new light on my idea of a podcast.  Once I had a chance to view, the creative juices started flowing.  It is an attractive proposition that I will surely pursue for my own teaching opportunities.  I will also be considering podcasts for my not-for profit endeavor.  I can already see many uses for this technological tool.  Immediately I will create a welcome podcast for my parents and students in my PSR class for students with special needs.  I hope I don't have any challenges!! In the event that I do, I will consult others in my class and my instructor to see if there are steps I have missed and if there is anything more I can do to resolve any technological issues. 

    I had created a blog many years ago and that's exactly where it stopped, at it's inception.  How horrible? I really should've realized how beneficial blogs are.  Not only are they beneficial to my readers, I hope but they are very therapeutic to me, a release, in a sense.  I was so eager to share my blog with my friends and family right away.  I can use everything I learned this week immediately in all of my classroom experiences.  I believe one of the greatest educational technology tools we have is word of mouth in sharing one anothers' technological resources.  That can only serve to strengthen us.  When we are strengthened, only then can our students build academic and technological muscle.

     Enjoy your week.  Be safe my friends and loved ones in Louisiana (home for me) in the path of that nasty and ugly Isaac.  We are praying for your safety.

     Until we meet again, my peace and blessings to you.  Miss Bee

 All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It All Starts Here ~ We All Need a Philosophy to be Philosophical About Something

As I begin my endeavor to obtain dual Master Degrees in Teaching (Special Education) and Theology I want to digress a little. The current state of our educational system is that it is a great system founded on solid principles deluded by illusions of grandeur.  We've lost sight of what's important. I reflect back on the theory of education employed by John Dewey. Dewey wanted, and so do I an educational system that is allows our students autonomy with time to explore, learn, and solve. The focus of students in the classroom should be on community and society as a whole. How can what we do in the classroom make where we live a better place? That is my goal to discover. The university is my playground.  Let me begin my blog with my philosophy on education:

The purpose of education is to teach, train, and nurture children to want to become enlightened adults.  It is my desire to invigorate the minds of young people through motivation by building on achieved success, accepting children where they are, and pushing them past their potential.  I intend to create and implement strategies that are adequate for meeting the needs of the community of the 21st century.  My desire is to work in an urban public school setting where my mission aligns with the school district's mission.  It takes a special person to work with children whose needs are immediate and serious.  Children need to know and understand the trust between student and teacher.  I understand that there is no one answer to all of educations' problems.  I also realize that meeting students where they are is critical in maintaining an educational equilibrium.  Children expect adults to provide them with guidelines for appropriate classroom behavior and to enforce fair, impartial, and equitable distribution of those guidelines.  It is my responsibility to demonstrate ethics that mirror the expectations of the students I teach.  I must be diligent in keeping myself trained on the latest developments in educating the whole child.  I intend to solve problems with persistence, patience, and understanding.  I am a part of the community solution.

If you know a child who is being educated, you decide if they've been trained.  Measure they willingness to be involved in their community and if they had fun in school.  Then you'll know they learned.


All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. John Steinbeck