Video Game Post 5: Supplemental Learning Activities

As Gee argued for the importance of video games as “action-and-goal-directed preparations for, and simulations of, embodied experience,” I believe that Paint-a-Long with supplemental learning activities can lead to a meaningful learning experience. A great way to apply this video game to incorporate elements and concepts in both Gee’s and Squire’s work would be to use Paint-a-Long in conjunction with a read-aloud. The teacher could start the learning experience with a read-aloud on the carpet. Following the read-aloud, the teacher would engage students in a discussion about the topic and concepts of the book. Following this, the students would be tasked with using the free drawing choice on Paint-a-Long to illustrate one of the scenes from the read aloud. This would demonstrate student understanding of the topic while creating a deeper connection between the student and the topic through digital video games. Another great way to extend this video game into the classroom would be to ask the students to use the free drawing section to draw a picture and then on paper to write about what the picture is illustrating. The teacher could offer the students a particular prompt and encourage students to use their creativity and imagination through Paint-a-Long to bring their story to life. Both of these implementations would be a way to enhance literacy skills and knowledge with digital video games.

Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.


Video Game Post 4: Analysis

While Paint-a-Long is a great resource in the classroom as I have previously mentioned in Video Gaming Blog Post #2, I do think the game lacks a few critical components. While Paint-a-Long is age appropriate for a 1st grade classroom, it has limited ability to reach students and develop further learning. Examples of limitations are the lack of manipulation and distributed knowledge. As Paint-a-Long is not action based, there is not an opportunity for students to engage in a space that is unfamiliar to them. Due to the creativity and artistic nature of Paint-a-Long, there is not an opportunity for players to engage in well-ordered problems that would lead to critical thinking and problem solving skills. Gee’s Principles suggest that meaning is made through actions, goals and experiences. In addition, it is claimed that digital games for 21st-century learning environments that further develop learning are: interaction in the social and material world, and participation in distributed social organizations (Squire 22). The simplicity of Paint-a-Long does not allow the opportunity for players to participate in problem solving, or self-organizing learning communities. With Paint-a-Long lacking several aspects of real-world digital games such as community building, and simulation, the app is a great resource when a teacher implements it in the classroom correctly. I think Paint-a-Long can lead to more purposeful and hands-on learning experiences for students, but it needs to be paired with other instructional strategies and activities for holistic learning of students. 

Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.

Squire, K. (2006). From content to context: Videogames as designed experience. Educational researcher, 35(8), 19–29.

Video Game Post 3: Gee’s Principles

PBS Peg + Cat allows for students to have an element of freedom and choice of experience relating to Gee’s Principle of Co-design. Players of Peg + Cat have the opportunity to choose which type of drawing they want to do, whether that be drawing shapes, characters or free drawing. Players especially have the element of co-design when they are in the free drawing section of the game as good learning requires players to feel like active agents and not just passive recipients (pg. 30). Players are given a blank pad and have unlimited opportunity to express themselves and their creativity. This element of co-design and its ability for players to have freedom of choice when playing is similar to Gee’s principle of identity. Gee argues that deep-learning requires an extended commitment where players take on a new identity they value and then become heavily invested (pg. 32). Through Peg + Cat, players have the opportunity to become an artist. The video game provides directions and instructions to guide the artist while encouraging the artist to make their own picture as well. Peg + Cat allows a unique opportunity to develop the identity of an artist that encourages children to be creative and express themselves.

Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.

Video Game Post 2: Implementation In The Classroom

There are many ways that Paint-a-Long can be implemented in the classroom to engage students and further their learning. For example, when learning about shapes and how to form them, the shape option and character option are great ways for students to practice forming their shapes. To learn the basics, students can first choose the shapes option and follow the steps to forming each shape. Once students are comfortable with each shape, a great way to encourage them to develop a deep understanding of the shapes is to manipulate the shapes by forming characters, in the “build a character section.” This helps students understand how their learning of shapes can be incorporated into daily activities such as drawing. Another great way to implement this into the classroom is for Paint-a-Long to be an option during “flex time.”  Sometimes in my classroom my cooperating teacher gives students 10-15 minutes of flex time where they are given several options to choose from. I think Paint-a-Long would be a great option for students as it is student-friendly as well as a safe website for students. My teacher is always looking for websites that students find fun and engaging, and I think Paint-a-Long would be a great resource for a 1st grade classroom.

Video Gaming Post 1: Paint-a-Long

I chose PBS Kid’s Paint-a-Long as my educational game to learn. This game is age appropriate for my Pre-Student Teaching placement classroom. The game incorporates characters Peg + Cat from the PBS show. I found this website and game to be very user friendly. Peg narrates instructions throughout playing the game, which is a great tool when it comes to my first graders who can not read yet. When opening the game, you are prompted to choose what you want to paint: shapes, characters, or free draw. I first chose shapes and Peg provided the instructions on how to properly draw a given shape. For example, Peg guided me through the amount of sides that create a triangle and demonstrated on the left side of the page, one side at a time. 

(Screenshot as I play on PBS Kids, Peg + Cat, 9/15)

Before beginning to play, I assumed this would be a fairly simple task for me. Initially though, I struggled to form a triangle with straight sides due to being unfamiliar with using the mousepad as a paint brush.

(Screenshot as I play on PBS Kids, Peg + Cat, 9/15)

Peg provides feedback after drawing the shape which is a great way for the player to be encouraged throughout playing. After trying a few different shapes, I began to feel confident using the mousepad, and I began to form shapes more accurately, as pictured below. I challenged myself to create the best shape I could, and found myself trying several times until I was satisfied with my work. Although I am over the target age for the game, I was engaged and found myself having fun while practicing my shapes on the game!

(Screenshot as I play on PBS Kids, Peg + Cat)

After successfully drawing each shape, I chose to draw a character. Peg shared how to manipulate shapes I had just practiced to form characters from the show. This expanded my own knowledge and gave me a new experience of an alternative way to draw animals. I was thankful for the step-by-step process that enabled me to not be overwhelmed by the task of drawing an animal. The app did not require a perfect shape to move on to the next step, which was helpful to me as I am not a perfect artist, especially when it comes to digital art and a keypad. During the last step, the game prompted me to freely draw the final details, such as the facial expressions of the animal which was a fun way to end the task. I was deeply challenged and engaged during this task as I wanted to draw the best animal I possibly could and found myself doing multiple redos until I was satisfied with my work.

(Screenshot as I play on PBS Kids, Peg + Cat)
(Screenshot as I play on PBS Kids, Peg + Cat)

BlogPost 1: Introductions

Personal Information:

  1. Mary, she/her
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. I currently serve as the Academic Development Director for my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. I also have a work study position with the Music Department and cantor 9:00pm mass with the church choir. Outside of campus, I am a Paraprofessional Substitute at Mayfield City School District and North Allegheny School District. Over the summer I was the Lead Infant Teacher at Kiddie Academy Day Care in Pittsburgh. This semester I will be pre-student teaching at Gates Mills Elementary in a 1st grade classroom as well as subbing as a paraprofessional. I love to stay active, whether going for walks and runs, working out at the gym, or taking a group fitness class. I love to craft and am usually brainstorming my next crochet or Cricut project.

Learning Styles:

4. I am a visual and hands-on learner. For example, I would understand the layout of a room better when looking at a map/design then just being told where things are. I prefer to take hand-written notes in class, as it helps me remember information faster and more accurately than when I just listen. To feel comfortable taking risks, I think I need to be giving the freedom to be creative while not feeling pressured by grade-depending expectations. For example, I love the opportunity to take an assignment to another level without the pressure of having it effect my grade because it is a bit different. I think I also need to be challenged to dig deeper and given the tools and guidelines in how to do so.


5. Link to essay:

Burnham, K. (2020). Five Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies. Northeastern University Graduate Program5, 31.

I am passionate about culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This article is a great starting point that demonstrates the importance of culturally responsive teaching, outlines 5 strategies to implement in the classroom, and highlights the importance of culturally responsive teaching for the future. I often think teachers are overwhelmed when they hear the term “culturally responsive teaching” but elements as simple as building meaningful relationships with your students can make a difference. When a teacher has relationships with his or her students, they are able to better understand how to teach them, as well as what their interests and learning styles are. These factors can all help a teacher better make culturally responsive decisions in the classroom.


6. Do you recommend students to create a teacher site or blog where they post their experiences and lesson plans? I know some teachers have done this when applying for teaching positions and used it as a type or portfolio and I was wondering what your opinion was.

Brown and the Foundations of Educational Equality

Brown v Board of Education in 1954 was the starting point of educational reform that is still impacting law and policy today. The concept of desegregation, a promise in the Supreme Court ruling, is a movement still today that provides conceptual and political foundations for education law and policy reform.This article shed light that this type of reform from school finance litigation to legislation focusing on testing and charter schools is drawn from the principles of educational equality in the Supreme Court. This was a really important start in the article that allowed me to get into the right mindset for this reading as previously, I had never seen all of these events and movements as being connected. This article allows me to see the fight in so many different ways that are all related towards the progress of the same goal over the past sixty-five years. As a future teacher this reading was a critical component for me; learning and reflecting on educational equality that has tied together the other reading pieces from this class. This reading allowed for time of reflection as the timeline of events and progress to enable the readers to expand their perspective and realize the need for improvement. The reading continues to address the principles of equality from the Supreme Court such as voting rights, prisoners’ rights, and employees’ rights, showing how crucial Brown v Board of Education was to society as a whole.

The reading shows the true importance of the Brown v Board of Education case as it shapes the civil rights movement and future of the United States. The article then addresses the issue that although the Court made this ruling, that the concept of equality and how to achieve left many questions. The article portrays that the concept of desegregation in the Supreme Court ruling was an empty promise, clearly showing that the author believes in desegregation and shows the failure of fulfilling the court ruling. The reading develops by presenting the timeline of events that showcases the progress and struggles of the civil rights movement.

Chapter one starts with identifying events leading up to Brown and draws the reform efforts on educational equality to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Although I have learned about these events separately in class, I had never truly learned the correlation, causing me to realize the true power of words and change seeing the relationship between these events. The “separate but equal” decision in Plessy v. Ferguson allowed discrimmination like the Jim Crow law that plagued our country, especially the South. The development of previous courses depicted the pressure of change in society and shows how crucial Brown v. Board of Education was in the process of forming educational laws and policies. May 17, 1954 when the Supreme Court declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconsitiutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendement, racial segregation in public schools was required under law in seventeen states. This expanded my perspective that allowed me to see the truth and reflect on the past racism in our country.

I chose an article titled, “Fulfilling the Promise of Brown v. Board: From School and Housing Policies to the Courts,” published by the News and Features from the National Education and Association. Published May 10, 2019 the article quotes “Sixty-five years ago, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling promised integrated and equitable schools.” On May 10, 2019, housing officials collaborated with educators to integrate neighborhoods as a means to achieving school integration, displaying that progress is still being made to achieve this promise stated in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. I chose this current event to connect it to that overall theme of the reading that although society has made advancements, there is still much room for improvement. Throughout the reading it demonstrates the struggle of fulfilling Brown v. Board, and this current connection displays steps made just one year ago to still fulfill this goal ruled sixty-five years ago. The current connection article is very similar to the reading in ways of developing a background and timeline of events from Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education to the civil rights movements, and legislation including Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Fair Housing act of 1968.

One shocking element of this article was the identification of how there are more than two dozen executive and judicial nominees of the Trump administration that have declined to endorse the unanimous decision made by the Supreme Court. Reading about the fight for equality resulted in me being very upset that there are people potentially in the executive and judicial branches that do not support this basic human right. Civil rights groups from across the nation have urged the Senate to reject President Trump’s judicial nominees who refuse to voice support for the Supreme Court Ruling. The president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights was quoted saying, “Those nominees who cannot bring themselves to affirm a case as vital to the fabric of our democracy and legal order as Brown do not deserve a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.” The current connection ends with a call for community investment and education advocacy, a concept both the reading and article value as a means to integrate schools. During the break out room discussions I challenged my peers to think about their own communities and schools to see if they had demographically diverse schools. I think the most impactful part of our discussion was hearing everyone’s perspectives on President Trump’s executive and judicial nominees that did not support Brown. This allowed us all, as future teachers, to think about how we can play a role in making sure that our leaders are ones who have the best intentions of equality of education reaching every child.

“But that’s just good teaching” Learning Experience Learning Community 2

Ladson-Billings reading on culturally relevant pedagogy allows me to invest my thoughts of how to empower students through many different aspects of current day teaching. The article engaged in research of teachers of African American students who are pushing norms of curriculum to find a better suit for their students. Reflects “just good teaching” that challenges teaching elements that are not seen in the classroom yet are clear examples of creative ways to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogies. The article has clear examples of where culturally relevant teaching can greatly impact students for the better. One of the overarching themes is that instead of inserting culture into education, educators should insert education into culture. Over 15 years of research, anthropologists have concluded that students are more likely to experience academic success if their home language is incorporated into the classroom. There was the concept of micro and macro level consideration which I had not previously been exposed to or seen in that lighting. The macro outlook would be that micro-ethnographic studies failed to recognize the macro social context in which the student failure takes place while micro is focusing heavily on educational experiences in the classroom. The article showed how culturally relevant teaching in action has been a three year study of teachers of African-American students. Some of the key qualities which were listed as philosophical and ideological views were that the teachers enjoyed teaching, chose their career knowing the environment, had positive thoughts about the students succeeding, focused on developing an individual interaction with each student, and that teachers are in turn learning from their students everyday. Culturally relevant teachers challenge curriculum guidelines. The phase knowledge is continuously re-created, recycled, and shared by both students and teachers should how the teachers use the curriculum framework to teach culturally relevant. The article then has a call for action as there should be more research done on culturally relevant teaching, especially for school districts that might not be reaching the highest standards. One big takeaway from the article that inspired me was how important it is that teachers bring their own unique perspectives and personal investments.

My learning community decided to not only highlight the aspects of the article, but to create a discussion-like dynamic that allowed the examples to be tangible to our peers. I really liked how my LC was able to take the article that was already filled with examples and share and elaborate that within the classroom because I think that is a pivotal element to learning the best way to teach students, a concept very imporant as future teachers. My group decided to use google slides and created a presentation at 

The aspects I was really able to focus on and analyze were academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness of culturally relevant pedagogy. Through the reading I was able to look at prime examples of cultural teaching that can develop such benefits in schooling. During the learning experience I was able to share the inspiring stories of culturally relevant teachers and their work in the classroom. Starting with academic success, I talked about the difference when teachers attend to the students’ academic needs where the students are the ones who will truly choose academic excellence for themselves. The second concept was cultural competence, where I share a prime example of a classroom that struggled with poetry and the teacher tied it to the music that students loved to listen to. The students were able to present their favorite songs and the teacher turned the lyrics into a lesson. Another example was the students learning how to code-switch and improving use of both languages when a teacher had the students write in their home language and English. The last concept I focused on was critical consciousness where students are taught to develop skills that critique the cultural norms, values, and institutions that produce and maintain social inequities. I think this is such a critical aspect of the education our classroom has revolved around, allowing students to be equipped with the tools to be active members in society.

To end our learning experience, we decided to do the wraparound activity. In breakout rooms we asked our groups to finish the following sentences; Culturally Relevant Teaching is, or Teachers who implement cultural relevance are. This activity not only allowed us as teachers to see that our lesson impacted our peers, but also that as future teachers we were able to form our opinions which are framed around the knowledge of culture relevant teaching.

The Banking Concept of Education Current Connections

What most stuck out to me during the reading and learning experience was how much a teacher’s style can effect how the content is conceptualized. I have always felt drawn to teachers that whom I thought used the “problem-posing method.” Because of this, I wanted to find an article that talks about the pros and cons of the banking education concept because I understand that teachers still adopt that teaching style. Originally I found an article written by Margaret Mercado in September of 2018 that was used for essay research purposes. Through this research analysis analytical essay I was directed to the article written by Gabrielle Micheletti. Together these articles shifted my point of view and expanded my perspective. Instead of being discouraged like I was on Tuesday during the learning experience, I felt challenged to be creative and go the extra mile. My discouragement came from the terms such as “depositors” and “collectors,” two terms that I do not have to be associated with learning as a future teacher. Often times during the learning experience, I related problem-posing method as the superior one. Through reading these articles I began to understand that the true teaching style I saw worked effectively for me, was the combination of both banking education and problem-posing.

I believe that banking education has a bad connotation that comes from a misunderstanding that teachers should just deposit the content material to the students who are receptors. I think that instead of viewing it in a bad connotation, you should look into the bases that these comments are essential to the fundamentals of education. No matter what style of education adopts, the content needs to be taught, whether it is directly relevant or not. This is when I had the discussion question that asked how they felt as future teachers to teach to the test. I loved hearing everyones perspectives and noticed the common theme being that teachers must be creative to find how to make the content that is necessary for students to succeed relevant to their lives. I think once we began the discussion it was easy to see how both components of banking education and problem-posing method are necessary for learning and are beneficial for the students.

The article prompted me to ask if my peers thought that students being “just a number” was a myth or not when attending large universities, high schools or programs. Many of the students said that they believe it is very hard for students to be seen as individuals in larger universities. Dr. Shutkin’s mentioned that the students may have to work very hard to be noticed by a professor. I agree along with Dr. Skutkin that this supports the belief that teachers should deposit information to the receptors, or students.

Unlike the reading, I believe that teachers who are creative and passionate do not make reality motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable but constantly changing and interactive where students can determine their future by their actions and intentions. I think one big understanding is that teachers are forcing information on students yet this information is necessary for students to succeed and to further their education. I think that where there can be changes made is in the emphasis of testing, which focuses teachers potientially “teach to the test” resulting in restricted teacher’s lessons.

Through my research of the two articles, the emphasis on true comprehension was placed on two-way communication, where the students learn from the teachers and also the teachers learn from the students. One of the discussion questions I asked was “is this a fixable problem” when reading that not all information may be easily correlated directly to relevancy of life.

After reading the article about re- envisioning banking concept of education, I was prompted to class the class how they would pursue moving forward in structuring their teaching style. I thought it was interesting how each of my classmates started their conversations with what is the best for the students and how this can be achieved by constantly changing curriculum. By adapting lesson plans, teachers are able to see what is best fit for their classrooms. I think this is super reassuring to see that the future teachers come from a love of learning, where an emphasis on teaching can create a one-way street where the teachers do not have an open mind towards learning from students. In the reading it is stated, “problem-posing education affirms men as beings in the process of becoming” I think that this quote embodies the importance of education as a process. No individual is expected to be fully matured through education, yet given the tools to succeed in society and the future. Education must be able to adapt to aid society and its students that are constantly changing.

Learning Experience #2

Before reading this article, I had very limited knowledge about what queer theory was. If you had asked me, I would have stumbled out an answer about how gay and lesbian rights. When asked about queer theory in the education system I would have quickly stated that its a theory about gay and lesbain rights to education without discrimination.  Just within the introduction of the assigned reading I felt my knowledge greatly expanding. Just short of total embarrassment of my own prior knowledge, I dived into the article eager. The article starts by addressing the connotation of the word “queer” and how new concepts applied in the school setting can be the road to liberatory and positive influnces. Queer theory challenges societal assumptions about relationships, idientity, gender, and sexual orientation. Queer theory offers educators the opportunity to create a classroom that is inclusive of diveristy and socially just, something I think all educaotrs should be striving for when creating a safe learning environment. The article is divided into four sections: homophobia and sexism, gender coders limiting opportunities, concepts of language and discourse, and explaining several of the key ideas in Queer Theory that are incorporated by educators in schooling today.

The first section argues that the issue of bullying has been formed into focusing on isolate acts of teasing or violence instead of focusing on the form of policing and enforcing the norms of society. Educators must equip themselves with adequate information to stay involved and support their students in whatever way necessary.

The second section focused on the invisible force of masculinity and femininity shaping the minds in early childhood. Hegemony is when the groups in power are able to maintain structures that benefit them through gaining the consent of subordinate groups; this is examplied in the purchasing of gender-”appropriate” toys. At first this surprised me because when I think of gender limiting students’ opportunities I often resort to job inequalities and not parent influence. Madeline Arnot focused on the element that gender categories are taught in schools. When issues are brought up in schools it is crucial for educators to be aware of the role that gender codes may play and to avoid projecting these norms on unique situations.

The third section focused on how ignoring homophobia actually encourages intolerance. The discourse of viewing homosexuality as an illness was created through psychological research, religion, and political and financial privileges of heterosexual structures. Extracurricular functions have begun to be subverted such as the alternative proms organized by gay-straight alliances and community youth groups. Heterosexiam and homophobia are linked to cultural gendar boundaries. By ignoring the roots of heterosexism in school curriculum, schools are providing single-story narratives that not every individual can identify with or feel represented.

The fourth section talked about the role queer theory can play in tranforming schools to meet the necessity measures of society. Kumashiro pushes educators to find new methods to destabilize traditional ways of learning and offers different tools.

The article challenged me as an individual to understand what role I can play in not only advocating for queer theory, but in every day societal interactions. As a leader on campus, it is my responsibility to continually educate myself to better service the ever growing community.

LC 2 created a google docs: that highlighted the key sections and concepts from the reading. We supported the main topics with information that helps future educators not only understand their role, but help them make educated decisions one day.

My LC decided to incorporate a workshop into the lesson to enable the classroom to have a chance to self quiz themselves and create an open conversation. My discussion with you Dr. Shutkin, I was encouraged to look into the importance of students having a community. These clubs are formed as the individuals refuse to be victimized because their truth differs from someone else’s truth. The root of the idea of the workshop stemmed from my want to educate the class. It is so critical as future educators to give kids the knowledge to succeed in society. After much research, I decided to create a slide focusing on the 4 step process to break the stigma, the negative connotation associated with individuals following their truth. The four steps to break the stigma, don’t let the slurs slide, create and protect safe spaces, raise up the voices of LGBTQIA+ neighbors and to advocate for legal chances. I then came across the quiz our LC presented to the class. Finally, I attached a few key quotes and ideas from the resources provided on ED253 School and Society page. I chose to highlight ideas that I felt like connecting the reading to the rest of society.