Into My Classroom

Fourth Year Biology Teacher Sharing My Musings With The World

Archive for January 2011

Activity 5 – The “Eyes of the Blog”

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Since the title of this blog is “Into My Classroom”, I decided to visually take you inside of my classroom.  I created my video using animoto.  Animoto is an easy to use site where you can upload photos and create videos.  With the free account, you can create videos that are up to 30 seconds long.  There are also upgraded and pro accounts with more features.

So take a peek into my world…

Edit:  I am about to get very frustrated and need your help!!!  I have encountered the same problem with embedding my Voki.  When I insert the link, instead of the video appearing, a link appears – even though the actual video shows up while I am editing the post.

Until I figure all this out, you can see the video that I made by clicking this link.

Create your own video slideshow at

Here is another view, using the slideshow format in wordpress.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Written by Ashley Erin

January 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Activity Four – Meet the Blog’s Brain!

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In activity four of the advanced challenge, we were to create avatars for our blog.  Avatars are simply pictorial representations of yourself.  This representation will follow you online, particularly when you decide to leave a comment on another blog.  Avatars could be cartoonish or an actual picture of yourself.  Below is the avatar I created using Voki. (Sorry the image won’t come up!  You can click on this link and the avatar will appear.)

If you click on the play button, you will actually hear my voice!  Can you hear the southern accent???

I chose the look of my avatar to resemble how I actually look.  In regards to actual pictures or cartoon avatars, I prefer actual pictures.   I feel that by adding a picture of yourself, you are opening yourself up to your readers or online community.  People will feel closer to you by actually seeing you.

On another note, I love how having a cartoon as an avatar allows your readers to see a different side of you and allows you to be creative in your online presence.

In regards to students, I would definitely prefer the cartoon avatar because of safety concerns.  I think it would be really nice to see what avatars my students would choose.  I haven’t used avatars with my students as of yet, but if I decide to really use my class blog next year, then I will definitely do so.

Written by Ashley Erin

January 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Making the Paperless Classroom a Reality

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I read a lot about technology that teachers are using in the classroom in order to have a “paperless classroom”, but truth be told, oftentimes when I read these posts I think that it cannot happen for me.  Earlier this week I read an effective post from the TeachPaperless blog “Example of a Paperless Final Exam“.  In this post, the author simply gives an example of what a paperless exam looks like in her classroom.  This is an effective post because the headline is interesting and makes the reader want to continue.  The post also motivates through example.  Anyone could say how to create a paperless exam, but to post one’s own adds a new level of dimension to the post.  I feel like I’m not at the stage yet for paperless exams, but this post did prompt me to begin thinking about paperless homework assignments.

Our school has adopted Gaggle as an email client for our students.  Gaggle is a safe platform where students can participate in forums, complete and turn in homework, store documents, and more.  Unfortunately I feel that many of the teachers in the district are not using it because there really has not been any training on it.

I would love to fully implement Gaggle into my classroom next year.  To help me plan and test it out, I will ask 10 of my students to volunteer to participate in completing homework online using Gaggle.  This will not add to their current homework, simply replace it.  At this point, I’m not quite sure of everything that Gaggle is capable of, but I should have fun trying to find out!

Written by Ashley Erin

January 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Technology

Tagged with ,

10 Questions…

with 6 comments

source (ganesha.isis)

source (ganesha.isis)

1. Why did you create this blog?

This blog originated as a method to reflect on each work day.  The plan was to spend 10 – 15 minutes immediately at the end of each day to reflect on teaching practices and methods.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case.  Once I discovered that my school blocked wordpress (recently), it discouraged me.  Although I do realize now that I could have emailed the post of typed it in evernote to post later.

2. When did you start blogging?

I started blogging about personal finance in 2008 and about beauty/makeup in 2009.  My personal finance blog is very active to this day, with regular posts.  I started this blog in the summer of 2010.

3. What is your most exciting moment as a teacher?

I would have to say that everyday is exciting, which is part of the reason why I love being a teacher.  If I had to choose one moment, I would say that it would be conducting a soil lab with my AP Environmental Science students.  It was so fun and I felt like I went through a time warp and was 10 years old again.

4. Where does your future lie?

My future is very uncertain right now.  There is so much that I want to do!!!  I have considered several things, such as: obtaining my PhD in Education, getting my Master’s in Microbiology, attending Pharmacy school, being an instructional facilitator, attending law school focusing on education policy, and teaching until retire!  I feel that my possibilities are endless and until I can narrow my passion, I will continue to teach and have fun!

5. What is your source of inspiration for teaching?

The most obvious one to me right now is Kim Foglia (  Kim was an AP Biology teacher that recently passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Not only is her website amazing, but she would offer lots of valuable advice on the AP listserv.  She was very knowledgeable in her content area and I only hope that I can reach the level of creativity and expertise that she displayed.

Another source of inspiration would be the former literacy coach at my school, Ms. Johnson.  Ms. Johnson is a very eloquent speaker and I aspire to reach that level one day.

6. What do you hope to achieve with this blog?

With this blog, I hope to strengthen my writing skills, build my PLN, and reflect on my daily practice so that I may become a better educator.

7. If you could write a letter to yourself during your first year teaching, what would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself that it is much better to use disruptions and behavior to your advantage as opposed to letting them stress you out.  For example, don’t go crazy if the students won’t be quiet.  Instead, incorporate group work and monitor the students working collaboratively.

8. What is one goal that you have for this school year?

To leave work at a reasonable time!!!  For me this would be 5 pm.  I have stayed until 6:30 -7 pm for far too long!

9. What do you not like about being a teacher?


10. What do you love most about being a teacher?

Seeing the growth in my students, being able to micro-manage, being accountable for the education of our youth, seeing how excited students get when they learn or get something right

my post in a wordle

Written by Ashley Erin

January 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Refiections

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