Friday, February 26, 2016

Week #6 Find 5 Friday

1- Considering practitioner wisdom, philosophical and theoretical framing of global engagement and global citizenship, and connections to the fields of global and community development, four global service-learning practitioner-scholars discussed how the specific values and disruption of global service-learning undermine calls to“Help your Own Country”. They considered how this particular pedagogy and partnership practice at once disrupts national identities and engages the possibility of deep connection with anyone, everywhere. To watch the discussion please visit  

2- "As teacher-educators we need to embrace practitioner (action) research of our own classroom practice. Such research serves to improve our practice, inform the teaching profession, and serve as modeling for future teachers to become practitioner researchers in support of their efforts to meet the learning needs of the students with whom they work as well as have a voice in policy decisions that impact their professional lives." A scholarly article written by Kimberly Hill Camplell. To read more, please visit

3- On "Digital Is", I found a great article to read about a teacher and her experience in the Tar River Writing Project Connected Learning MOOC, and how she implemented what she practiced in her classroom. For more, please go to 

4- A great short video to watch that I am going to share with my students to encourage them to help me implement Connected Learning in classroom, and to let them understand that they have the responsibility, like me, to be connected learners.

5- I strongly recommend this film"Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Academics" to watch. The film introduces the story of connected learning, the results of a six-year research effort supported by the MacArthur Foundation into how learning, education, and schooling could be re-imagined for a networked world.
the Tar River Writing Project Connected Learning  MOOC - See more at:
the Tar River Writing Project Connected Learning  MOOC - See more at:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Twenty Questions

Ten Questions about myself:
1- How can I maximize the advantages of taking the ED Master at Arcadia?
2- Should I go for PhD after this program?
3- Am I prepared enough to teach blended or online courses if I have the opportunity to do it?
4- How can I help the university I work at to expand the Arabic program?
5- My students always complain that 3 hours a week are not enough for a critical language like  Arabic, how can I convince the university to change it to 5 credit hours?
6-  Should I attend more education conferences?
7- Should I push myself to use the online quizzes which I don't like?
8- What is my weakness in the classroom?
9- What is my strength in the classroom?
10- What can I do to improve myself?

Ten Questions about the education world:
1- What are the new devices to be used in the classroom in ten years?
2- Can technology play the role of the teacher in the future?
3- How can education play the role of peace maker in the world?
4- Technology is very important in education these days. What is the fate of the old fashioned teachers?
5- Is there any way to make conferences for free or at least for a nominal price to encourage teachers to attend and expand their knowledge and experience? Schools don't always cover the cost.
6- In universities, part timers don't get any benefits. Why doesn't the government help them to promote a feeling of security?
7- Children don't choose to be rich or poor. Why don't the rich districts help the poor districts in order for our American students to be equal or semi-equal in education?
8-  Are devices, such as tablets, going to be used instead of books in the future? 
9-  Why do public schools not teach the second language during earlier years? Earlier is better!!
10- How can we encourage our students to communicate with other students from other schools, districts, states, and countries?

When we talk about equity and equality in connected learning, this should include all students attending public schools in the USA. It doesn't matter if they are rich, poor, black, white, immigrants, or native Americans.

Rich or poor is my concern. It is not the child's mistake if he or she was born poor. Also, kids who were born rich didn't help in their parents becoming rich. How can we make them both equal in education? In my opinion, the government and rich districts should help the poor districts. The school tax is not enough to offer students the opportunities to get good education if the area is poor. It doesn't seem wrong to encourage the rich districts, the rich students and their parents to donate some money to buy the poor districts some computers, help to improve their library, or  buy new equipment in the gym, ...etc.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Love Teaching

Even as a child, being a teacher my dream, and my dream came true. Teaching for me is not just a job to make ends meet, it is my number one hobby. Days that I do not teach, I feel I am missing something.

Even though my focus is not on teaching children, I still teach some kids privately. I love their laughs when I explain an idea in a funny way to make them get it, or play a game to practice what they learned. I love their ability to learn a critical language like Arabic often faster than adults are able. I love it when they make sure to show me what they learned to make me happy, and when they share  their stories with me.

Teaching university level students is my focus. My students make my day when I see them learning something new about the Arabic language, culture, and traditions every time we meet. I love it when I read their reflections and opinions on topics we discuss in the classroom through their essays. I love it when they teach me something new I am not aware of. The best time we spend together when we are practicing and demonstrating skills in a trip outside campus. The most I LOVE LOVE LOVE is when they annoy me with their text messages at 9:00 or 10:00 pm to ask me a question in the language or share with me what they found.

 I enjoy most teaching the continuing education students. These students are learning not because of any requirements nor to obtain credits. They are learning just because they enjoy learning and because they want to expand their knowledge. They are all professionals in their jobs. Meeting for a lesson is the most relaxing time for both of us.  Most of the time our relationships turn into family friends who enjoy learning from each others and sharing two different cultures in a very civilized manner.

I am not sure if I will be mentally able to retired one day in my life. I feel that teaching for me is like water for fish. Fish can't live without water, and I can't live without teaching.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week # 5 Find 5 Friday

1- I would like to add my voice to Christina's to thank "Lost History: Mathematics in the Muslim World". In addition to his writing, I am going to recommend a book  about the many important and far-reaching contributions to the development of our shared scientific knowledge and technologies have created by Muslims, "1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World", ISBN 978-0-9552426-1-8. Also, "1001 Inventions and The Library of Secretes" is a very interesting short movie to watch

2-  The "Journal of Effective Teaching" is an online journal devoted to teaching excellence. One of its articles was about the four aces of  effective teaching: outcomes, clarity, Engagement, and Enthusiasm. Please read more at

3- As a member of ACTFL, I get their weekly newsletters. Some interesting research I did for this week says that OECD offers four recommendations for teacher professionalism. Please see the following.   

4- "The Effect of the Love and Logic Program on Student Motivation" is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the  Master of Science in Education degree by Courtney V. Coffin. It is a great piece of work to read.

5- We educators must use diverse teaching strategies with all students. A great article to read on "The Culture/ Learning Style Connection" below

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Creativity and Learning

As a university level Arabic language instructor, there is no a real space to let my students play in the classroom. The most we play in the classroom is having  competitions in vocabulary or  grammar for singular and plural, or asking them to act out a play they read. Instead of playing in the classroom, my students keep connected to the Arab world by doing their research to prepare their presentations on what they are learning. I let them explore the Arab world and culture outside the classroom. I plan field trips for them to eat in Arabic restaurants, go to Arabic concerts, and visit Arabic exhibits when they are available through acceptable distance in Pennsylvania  or the other close states.

Reading the article All I Really Need to Know(About Creative Thinking) Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten reminded me of my youngest daughter Laila and her time spent at Lansdale Montessori School for her pre-K and KG years.The Montessori method of teaching is based on the freedom of the child to explore and learn, mostly, through self-direction. Maria Montessori (the founder of the Montessori method) stressed the importance of learning through the senses and incorporated them into the materials. Laila's classrooms were full of sensorial and practical life activity materials. The role of Montessori teachers is to inspire, demonstrate, and facilitate, but not to lecture. If you would like to learn more about Montessori and their activities, please visit their website at  
 Image result for the pink tower montessoriMontessori Sensorial Activities for Toddlers - Soft & Hard Basket

Friday, February 12, 2016

Week # 4 Find 5 Friday

1- I would like to start by thanking Lacy Kleckner for her find 9 Friday. All the links she offered us were great to read or watch and very informative.
2- A good short YouTube video to watch about connected learning and its relation to playing. It informs us that when kids play, it is an opportunity to learn, explore, and experience the world.

3- Another good YouTube video to watch Learning Through Play. The video shows us that the new culture of learning in the 21st century is fun. The gamification has entered the world of education. the combination of Education and gaming encourage students to clasp learning and exercises the mind in ways that may not be available in a traditional classroom setting.

4- Five Reasons to Use Games in the Classroom is an interesting blog post by Rebekah Stathakis. Rebekah is a Spanish teacher. She provides many great ideas to use in classroom to make learning fun and effective.

5-  Please check out the link below for learning games to experiment in the classroom.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Equity and Connected Learning

There are well-known facts about the connections between family income and school experience, as well as the inequality associated with informal learning. Upper class families have the ability to spend much more money than low-income families on enrichment activities. The same is true about the inequitable national system of schooling.

Justin Reich found out in his research that educational technology builders produce work and put it on in the internet hoping that students benefit from it either directly or through facilitators. Unfortunately, the work is shared from the builders through the internet into schools and homes in high income neighborhoods much more than low-income neighborhoods for technological, curricular, pedagogical reasons.

There is an association between family income and children's academic achievement. The academic achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is growing for the last five decades. The free technology tools and resources are closing those gaps in learning opportunities between wealthy and poor students in an inequitable society.

As a personal experience, I teach in two different universities. The student body of one of them made up by a majority of well-off students, while the other one is majority  middle class students. By using the free internet and technology tools in both of the schools, I really don't see a big difference in their academic levels.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Week #3 Find 5 Friday

1- Happi's story about her jewelry making is interesting. It is great that she wants to expose her students to as much as possible, and encourages them to face challenges. I despise the expression "I can't"  and always tell my students to steer clear of that phrase.

2- I had to sign up for Tumblr to be able to read Khalilah's blog. Her post Interest as a Young Student is a great example on how we should encourage and mentor our students to lead a successful life.

3- The following is an informative webinar about social-emotional literacies and digital citizenship. I found this series very useful for my research.

4- I signed up for Education Week news. I recommend you do it too.

5- I enjoyed watching Rocks! Thorns! Glass!. You are welcome to watch it as well.