Final Jumpstart Reflection – Task 8

Although the JumpStart class didn’t go quite as planned for me (I had some personal issues prevent me from finishing in July), I feel it was wildly successful for me.  I was able to dive into technology I had never learned before and re-learn and re-use things I have already been exposed to.  I loved that it was individual in nature, but we had the larger group to connect with when needed.  Any problem or glitch I had that I couldn’t figure out, others helped me instantly – what a great experience!

My favorite module was probably the screencasting module (Module 7).  I think I’d like to utilize this a lot, and it was so easy!  At first it was intimidating which is probably why I got stuck on it for a few weeks, but when I set aside time to sit down and hammer it out, I was pleasantly surprised by how quick, easy, and painless it was!  Even listening to my own voice wasn’t as bad as I thought!

Setting up the WordPress blog was the most challenging module because I’ve never done anything like it before.  However, I’m very excited I learned and I think it went really well.  I’ve been thinking about blogging and what kinds of blogs I’d like to have ever since!  There were definitely glitches, but I think it’s a complex tool and that will always be the case.

Two tools I’m going to utilize in my teaching are screencasting and mindmapping.  I’ve experimented ever so slightly with both in the past, but now that I have them down and know exactly how simple and useful they can be in my classes, I know I’m going to implement both this year.  Especially in my American Lit and English Composition courses that I teach for dual credit.

Tools I’m most interested in learning about in the future include the Ted-Ed and Ted Talks in general – I’m fascinated by them and never have used them in my class yet – and photo editing.  I run the yearbook, so tools that help with that will be incredibly useful in my journalism classes and in the yearbook.  I’d love to have my students use TedTalks as resources for a paper they write in my Comp classes.

Three measurable goals for me:

  1. By the end of the school year, have screencasts of all my American Literature notes.
  2. By Christmas break have my Comp students complete 8 mindmaps using an online tool and share them with digitally.
  3. By Christmas break, create a final project for my Advanced English class having them show me what they learned this semester using a digital tool of some form – like Thinglink or a WordPress site.


Finally, the most important take-away from this class is that with just a little time to explore and a little inclination, I can do almost any tech-y thing!  I knew I was pretty tech savvy, but only in areas I felt comfortable in.  This course pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I honestly didn’t have to spend too much time on anything. It made me realize that I can learn new tools throughout the school year and implement them successfully because I’m a pretty quick study when it comes to tech.  I feel more confident trying new tools this year because I can do it, and if something goes wrong, it’s easy to try again!





Screencasting and Mindmapping – Task 7

This task was something I’ve been wanting to learn how to do for quite a while!  It was much easier using my Chromebook than it was when I first tried it with my laptop years ago.  Our Chromebooks had the “Screencastify” extension already loaded.  I was able to quickly learn how to use that, how to connect it to my Google Drive to store my videos, and how to create the videos.  I decided to use the mindmapping tool I used earlier because I know I want my students to utilize this in their Comp course for a unit I teach each year.  My video wound up being 5 minutes – maybe too long?  I might need to redo these in shorter videos because I didn’t yet show how to title and share their mindmaps.  I’d love to do some class flipping next year, so this will be my go-to for that.  I hate sharing powerpoints for notes in class.  I’d love to run through the powerpoints on a video and have them take their notes as homework.   It was easy to do, and I’d love to have my students create their own screencasts as well since they have Chromebooks as well.  I will definitely be creating videos for all the tech sites my students will utilize and put them in a quick spot for student access.  Then I don’t have to spend days showing them these at the start of the year!





Module 6 – Mind Map for Character Mapping

For this tech practice, I decided to utilize the mind-mapping tool with a very specific unit I teach in mind.  In my college composition course that I teach, for their literary analysis essay, we utilize the Keirsey Temperament Theory.  David Keirsey developed 16 personality types somewhat based on Myers-Briggs 16 types.  My students read various pieces of short fiction and try to “type out” the characters using Keirsey’s text Please Understand Me II.   They then read Hamlet, and write a long essay typing out the characters and the impact their personality has on the conflict of the play.  This is one of my favorite units to teach and my students love learning about it too.  It really focuses on critical thinking skills.  While they first learn about the various types of characters, I have them create character clusters to type out the character.  We’ve tried some online mind-mapping tools before, but none were very effective.  I thought this tool was VERY easy to learn and functions exactly as I would like.  They put the character’s name and type in the center bubble, bubbles outside of that include personality traits from Keirsey’s text, and outside each of those quotes or examples from the story of how the character fits that type.  Honestly, I was able to build my map in five minutes – the hardest part was going back to  old notes to review what to put in each bubble. I’m excited to use digital mapping next year, because it will be better for my students who are particular about how the map looks – rather than having a messy piece of paper.  I think it will also be quicker.  The only issues I see is if they can all work together on the map, since they do this in groups, and if there is an easy way to share their maps with me for grading purposes.  I could also see this working as a prewriting method for student papers since we discuss cluster diagramming.


Click here to see my quick sample mindmap analyzing Sammy from A&P by John Updike.


Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 7.14.10 AM

Module 5 – Social Media (Twitter)

For this task, I decided to work on utilizing Twitter more fully.  I’ve had it for a few years now, mainly to follow the AD at our school to get scores during games.  I’ve never tweeted anything, and I rarely check it. Social media comes pretty naturally to me, but I’ve never seen much of a point to Twitter.  I’ve used Facebook since 2003, Instagram for several years, our neighborhood Next Door social media site, and I even have developed a deep love for the new bookish social media app called Litsy this summer.  Twitter, however, has always overwhelmed me.  There’s too much information, too fast.  I feel like I need to catch up on all of it, but that’s impossible at the rate people tweet.  Twitter and Snapchat are the two social media forums my students use the most however.  I think it’s important I work to understand their appeal to my students, and learn how I can use sites like this in the classroom or even to just expand my own horizons a bit!  I’m the yearbook adviser and journalism teacher, and we started a yearbook twitter account last year, that I hope to utilize more often in the coming year.  I think we will be able to reach more people about ordering deadlines, etc.  I’m not sure how else to use it at school because it is blocked, but potentially I could see using it in my college courses I teach and having students research trending topics for some debates or other activities to make it more relevant to the students.   Evidence of my first experience actually USING Twitter, rather than just having it installed on my phone:

Harlem Renaissance – SlideShare

SlideShare is an amazing tool for educators.  I don’t do a lot of powerpoints, but I do tend to start most units with basic notes and so I use about 4-6 powerpoints per class, per semester.  I absolutely despise creating these.  I often find some online anyway, and this tool is a great one to find credible, focused presentations to use.   I’ll be using this a lot in my American Literature and Advanced English classes for sure.  Potentially in my English Composition courses as well.


Harlem Renaissance Poetry by
Michael Del Muro, English Teacher at Bishop Amat High School


Harlem Renaissance – Vimeo

Vimeo is a tool for short videos.   My students will be able to use this to both create videos and to find videos to help with presentations, projects, etc.  It seems to be a “safer” YouTube because I didn’t notice ads on any of the videos I watched, but I’m sure it’s not necessarily any safer because it is the internet, after all.

I hate recreating the wheel.  I love these tools because they allow me to find great videos/presentations like this one on the Harlem Renaissance without having to totally start from scratch.  I like this tool because I COULD create my own as well if I prefer.

The Harlem Renaissance from Angela Drew on Vimeo.


Harlem Ren. – ThingLink

Teaching the many components of various literary movements such as the Harlem Renaissance will be easy with a ThingLink like this.  ThingLink is an interactive image where students can click on various aspects to help them dig deeper and learn more.  Videos, images, text, etc. will display to further their knowledge on the topic.  Students will be able to learn about the literature, music, art, etc., interact with it, and see how it all was connected.  I’d also love for my students to create ThinkLinks as a final project.  Specifically, in my journalism class, where my students have a student-run news site.  They could use photos they take of other students, and create a ThingLink photo/article/video set!


Literary Movement: The Harlem Renaissance by Toya Norwood