Educational Technology: Helping Students Decide Whether News is Credible

I am required to write up a weekly blog for one of the courses in my Masters program and thus I figured might as well also share it here. It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve graduated undergrad, yippe!

I cannot give a great recap of everything that has happened, but I moved home, visited Spain for my first time, worked at camp in Colorado for the 4th summer in a row, began student teaching, picked running back up, got a fitbit, and lived a whole lot!

I am presently in Spain for my second time visiting my future in-laws. Through the luxury of the internet, I am simultaneously participating in 12 credit hours of graduate courses while intermittently traveling around Spain with my fiance.

And now, the reason while I am writing today, my weekly blog post:

I was in pursuit of information on the value of Webquests in the classroom, but simply could not find an article that fit the bill for my blog post this week. Hopefully, through some research, I will discover the findings in which I am hoping for. This week, by mere accident I stumbled on an article that actually made me very excited.

In light of our world of social media, we have been provided avenues to discover a wealth of information, especially information that is “trending.” While social media and the Internet have provided people this constant stream of information both nationally and internationally, this information is not always reliable. According to Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor (2016), educational technology company, Newsela has announced its commitment to helping schools produce “media literate students.”

A new mission, of an educational technology company, that I was already fond of for it’s digital leveled reading resources, is now on a mission to assist students in deciphering between news that is fake and news that is real. This source provides students and teachers with primary sources that are presented in five different reading levels.

Following the election season, fake news became a hot topic. Social media enables this fake news to live and thrive. Each share of these fake articles perpetuates the cycle of misinformation. Gorman (2016) suggests that “Fake news became so widely circulated, in fact, that it’s estimated fake news stories out-circulated real news in the final months of the election.”

This coupled with recent research from Standford University (2016), which suggests that “many students are unaware of basic conventions for indicating verified digital information.” As an educator this is alarming. There were 8,000 students from the United States interviewed, most of whom have been raised in this digital world, and yet many of them are unable to verify if a source is credible or not. Not only is this an important life skill, but in the classroom, an important research skill.

In order to address this in Newsela’s commitment to end misinformation, the company has partnered with the American Press Institute.  They have developed six questions in which young readers must always ask themselves when they come across news.

These questions and more have been culminated into a Media Literacy Toolkit to help teachers foster discussions about this matter in their classroom. This helps teachers encourage their students to seek the truth just as much as journalists must do so. They begin to work with concepts like distinguishing fact and opinion.

Ideally, this partnership could give students the skills to address fake news as well as become increasingly more active in their reading. I see this benefiting students in more ways than one. They become more informed in the classroom as well as in their personal life. In addition, they gain skills in reading primary sources. In my experience, this is an area where students of all levels tend to struggle.

This news excites me and I cannot wait to integrate it into my own classroom!

To view articles referenced in this blog post, please follow the hyperlinks in the content of the post.

Is fake news a problem in your classroom, what about your personal life? Post about your experiences in the comments.


The Mondays..

This article popped up on my newsfeed on Facebook, as I follow Runner’s World fairly closely. I have been having a rough day with headaches and I guess you could say a heavy case of the “Mondays.” I know I am going to go home from work and go run, but I am just so tired. My original plan was to hit the treadmill immediately after word…but I have been feeling like the treadmill has become more of a “dread-mill.” I just hate it.

It’s an awful attitude, I know, and I am really trying to work past it (see my post about learning to love it..). Anyways, my plan then changed to go home, get over this headache, and run within an hour no matter how I feel.

That’s the plan I am sticking with, and though its cold outside…anyway beats the “dread-mill.” Unless of course the alternative is not running or running somewhere unsafe!

Anyways, back to the article, it really motivated me. The three quotes the individual mentioned hit me hard, in fact, they motivated me. This post is brief, but I had to share these to someone else feeling a case of the “Mondays.”

What are your favorite motivational quotes?

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

“Live with a relentless pursuit of better.”

“If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it.”

To read more, check out this article on Runner’s World and let me know what  you think. What motivates you on days that you just feel blah??

How Running Changed Me: Bill Zdon – Runner’s


Learning to “love” the Treadmill.

Why is the word love in quotes you ask? Because I could never love the treadmill, this is more of a learning to “tolerate” the treadmill post.

I have begun half marathon training as I have now mentioned about half a million times. As a whole I am an outside runner. I love to be outside rain or shine and I love to get lost in the world around me (figuratively speaking here, getting lost for real is actually quite terrifying…and actually happens far too often, but that’s a post for another day). As I run, I like to see that the world around me is changing, there is always something new to look at, and I feel like I have more control. It helps me clear my mind and reminds me of why it is that I run.

Though the great outdoors is preferred and I love hitting the pavement, sometimes, I just have to hit the tread (cool treadmill slang, funny? yeah, didn’t think so). Between being a full time student (18 credit hours), a part time worker (20 hours), having homework, dogs to look after, several extracurricular activities, blah, blah, blah, in short I’M BUSY. It’s most definitely a balancing act. Sometimes my runs don’t happen until it’s dark out and I prefer not to run at night here because it’s just taking unnecessary risks. Between the bumpy sidewalks, lack of street lights, and being in a college town, night runs kind of scare me.

In addition, I am currently training with two other ladies and a friend who just tags along for the workout. Some days we train independently, but I firmly believe 2-3 workouts together a week will greatly improve our collective training. Due to our differing ability levels we usually do these runs on treadmills. It stinks…no..

It kills me.

I am sort of afraid of treadmills so I start my speed gradually, but then I hate seeing my average mile pace suffer so I restart my workout to restart the pace. Most the treadmills are broken in some form or another at my Student Recreation Center and thus sometimes the only way to get it to turn on is to essentially commit to one pace for the entire run. That’s not all bad, but there is no way to vary it nor the incline on some of the machines. It sucks. I usually commit to a speed slightly more challenging than my comfortable pace. I can hold it just fine for most the workout, but the last 5-10 minutes of the workout become very uncomfortable. I see benefits to this as it is helpful for pace training, but it still isn’t exactly pleasant.

Then if that isn’t enough, due to the fact that my feet have an issue with supination, I just feel like I run funny and then I over-think it and then its just another thing that makes me dislike treadmill running. Also I am only 5 foot 1 and treadmills just aren’t designed for shorties like me. I get a weird gait and stride going. I feel like I can’t have proper form with my arms because the bars are right there and thus I hold them up higher in a very uncomfortable fashion. When I attempt to have “normal” form I always pull the emergency cord out and my workout just stops. UGH. But, optimism is the key so enough complaining.


How have I learned to “love” (tolerate) the treadmill..

1. Have a good – upbeat playlist of music to listen to.

2. Visualize your goal and focus on it.

3. Use a towel to cover up the time and mileage so you don’t continually stare (a watched pot never boils theory..).

4.  Relax. This is a huge one, I always get all uptight and then my run suffers.

5. Change up the incline and pace.

6. Start your workout at a slower pace and work out. Vary the speed throughout.

7. Interval work, interval work, interval work. It really helps the time fly by.

8. Think positively before and during the workout. If you dread it all day then believe it or not, you will psych yourself out and your workout will suffer.

9. Make small goals. Like “okay 5 more minutes then I get a minute walk and water break,” usually, I end up making it through the 5 minutes and extend the goal. Most of the time I never take the walk break, but breaking the run up into intervals really helps it seem less daunting.

10. Have friends with you. Knowing the person on the treadmill next to you is enough motivation usually to push through. Even better, talk to them. The workout will fly by and you may learn something about them that you had no known before! Not to mention, you’re probably helping them push through their workout as well.


Are you an indoor or outdoor runner? Do you love the treadmill, the indoor track, the outdoor track, road running, or hitting the trails? Comment below and let me know what type of runner you are!


**Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, registered dietitian, physical trainer/therapist or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my stories and experiences with running, fitness, and life. When it comes to your health and fitness, do your research and consult a health career professional.**

Training Plan – 13.1

Disclaimer,  I’m in the car on my way back to the KC side of Missouri after a short visit with my parents in STL this weekend so the quality of this post may lack. Typing on a smartphone isn’t ideal but I am trying to post more regularly so here goes!

As I alluded to in my previous post, I am training for a half marathon, my second one! Today marks the beginning of my third week of training and I’m already feeling much better during my workouts. I’ve actually felt so good that I will be modifying this plan to become a little more advanced.

I am training with two other ladies who do not have the background in running that I do and thus I designed the plan with them in mind. I adapted this plan from the one provided on Pop Sugar fitness. There are two cross training days, but I have been running on one of them and running on one of my strength training days.

In high school and my first year of college I was always a 5-6 day a week runner. I was just scared that too much too quick would injure me. Now that I’m getting my fitness back,  I realize I have goals to accomplish with my half marathon and thus I am going to take things up a notch.

I am really enjoying running again. I hate that I let myself get out of it. I am definitely a more pleasant person when I am running. My energy levels have increased and my boyfriend has even commented how my moods are much more stable! We all know a happy girlfriend makes for a happy boyfriend!  I would like to go further into detail as to what strength training and cross training I’m doing, but it’s not too exciting yet. I’m still feeling out what intensity I can handle and playing with how to spice things up. Since I cannot handle staring at my phone in the car any longer (I get motion sick very easily) I’m going to wrap this up!

More details to come, new running shows en route to me, new running clothes to be purchased, and a new training plan to be shared!

Happy running!

* Disclaimer: I’m not a personal trainer or a physical therapist. I take no responsibility for pulled muscles, sprained legs, or ligament tears. Exercise at your own risk. Always consult a doctor before entering a fitness program.*

Back at it!

Decided it’s about time I dust off the ol’ blog (trying to be funny here…). Just because I have not been blogging often (try since September) it does not mean I have given up on fitness. I have however been slacking.

I spent my summer in Colorado as a camp counselor and was running every morning, hiking every afternoon, doing yoga a few times a week, hiked a mountain, and even core workouts with my campers in the evenings. Towards the end of my summer, I stepped wrong while running and kind of reactivated a back injury of mine.

I kept running through it because running in the mountains on those chilly mornings is invigorating. It continued to worsen. But I have never been one to listen to my body until it shuts me down. So I kept hearing it, but ignoring the issue. I ran, moved bunk beds, was on my feet all day, did lots of jumping around, you name it. My back just kept feeling worse and worse.

Finally, I got back on my plane to Missouri. It was on the plane ride that the pain was excruciating. That evening I went to the restroom in the middle of the night. When I went to pick up my little 20lb dog who followed me out of my room, my back went out. I couldn’t stand back up. I sat there, silently screaming as not to wake anyone. I eventually got back on my feet and hobbled into bed (probably a bad decision). No position felt right. I was uncomfortable all night.

Of course, just three days later I was going to travel across the state and move back into my apartment. I was useless for lifting. My boyfriend had to carry everything in and place it where I wanted it. That proved frustrating as well due to my OCD. It was a hassle and a huge hit to my fitness enthusiast ego.

At that point, I thought getting into the pool would do the trick for me. I spent about three weeks consistently swimming, but life got hectic so my workouts were limited to bike rides and elliptical workouts. Then, I got the bright idea of training for a half marathon in just 6 short weeks. I was going to train with my boyfriend and we were (keyword, were) going to run this half marathon on our 6th anniversary.

Well, low and behold, I strained my quad about 1.5 weeks into training. It was awful. I had to take two weeks off and at that point I was just so done with the whole process. I hit the gym about twice a week for pathetic cardio workouts and would do a circuit or tabata video here and there. All the while, my anxiety was through the roof and I was just allover a difficult person to live with.

It’s like I cannot function properly without regimented exercise. I began to lose weight (which I am not complaining about) due to my anxiety. The anxiety was all due in part to not having my release, exercise.

It just so happened, the week of me and my boyfriend’s 6th anniversary (this is covering quite a span of time…) I saw an opportunity to run a 5k on campus for free. On a whim, I decided I would run it. Worst case scenario I would walk most of it. There was nothing to lose. So the morning of our anniversary, we bundle up, me to run, he to cheer me on, and head out to my campus.

The race was nothing special, but it got me excited. It began and I started out with a light run. I felt good so I decided to pick it up. It did not take long and I was in first place. I came up on my first mile in 7:45 (a mistake the would later hit me). It was near the end of my 2nd mile I had to stop running because of a freight train. As I stood there hopping around for two minutes, not another person was in site. Just as the train finished passing by the second place person had almost caught me.

I sprinted off (another mistake) and tried my best to keep my lead. The person caught me, he was a pleasure to talk to and without him I would fallen back much further because at that point I had hit the wall, As we approached the finish, I tried to start my kick but I had nothing left to kick. The guy who caught me sped off, but stopped short of the finish line. He tells me “you earned this, I would not have caught you had the train not stopped you.” That gesture made me day.

The 5k I ran on November 15th, 2015.

After this 5k (that I ran with next to zero training) I still was not doing much of anything. I wanted to, but it was hard to get out there. I reached out to some friends, asking if they would be interested in running a half marathon with me. To my surprise they seemed excited about the opportunity. I found us a training plan, a race, and now here I am two weeks into the training and feeling like I can conquer the world.

Getting back to it definitely comes with aches and pains!

It hasn’t been easy, but I am elated to be back in the routine again! Check back soon. My next post will get into the training and how I am feeling.

I will also share my training plan and the race I decided on!

Base before Pace

So I was sick for a while, blah, blah, blah. I was told not to run for 2 months blah, blah, blah. I was heartbroken. I usually run 6 days a week. I got depressed. I felt useless. Then I got lazy. So two months passed…and then another month and I still was not exercising consistently. I was having ups and downs and was riding an emotional rollercoaster with my self-confidence. Every day was THE day…and then it wasn’t. As I grew soft, I grew sad.


A little throwback to my freshman (HS) year track and cross country.

For about a month now I have been far more active than the past three. I have been walking all over campus, walking to stores, walking my dog, and playing with my dog. Though all that is great, it’s a start, but it’s not enough. I am not a pleasant person when I miss my workout. Unfortunately for my boyfriend, I was going onto my 4th month of being unpleasant.

I don’t even like to be around myself when I haven’t worked out so it was TIME FOR CHANGE. Time to get moving, sweat, and be sore! I have made an effort the past two weeks to really get my butt out there. I have been on the Stairmaster, the elliptical, the bike, and my favorite, running.

About a month ago, I made a horrible mistake. I went running with my GPS watch and could not, absolutely could not; stop staring at my darn pace. Each step I grew disheartened. I was working hard, but my pace was SO SLOW. I felt like I was running fast, but the numbers said otherwise. After growing accustomed to seeing 7:30 pace as a comfortable pace, seeing that pace turn into 9:00 per mile really brought me down.

Yesterday was lovely. I ran with my dog for about 10 minutes, swung by my apartment, dropped him off and continued on. I ran to the track, did some stairs, and then continued running. I did this little loop that adds up to about 4 miles. It was perfect weather and I felt amazing. The best part was, I left the GPS watch back home and just stuck with my stopwatch.

Base before pace.

Before I can start beating myself up for my pace, I need to form a solid base. Of course pace still matters, but its relative. If I am doing a speed workout or tempo run, I just need to run fast. Sure, sounds simple. If I am running comfortably and want to integrate speed, I just need to pick it up for a specified interval of time.

Until I have developed a solid base, until I have grown stronger, watching my GPS watch like a hawk will not be any benefit to me. Beating myself up mentally is perhaps the worst thing to do. I always like to think, when running, my mind gives out before my legs.  If I am forcing all this negativity into my head, my running will suffer. I ran 7 years without a GPS watch; I can certainly run a month without one.

For now, I am working on a base. I would like to do 5 days of running and 1 day of cross training. Of course my distances will vary and veer towards to lower side, but that’s okay! I have to remind myself, it’s okay to be out of shape. It’s okay that I cannot run 8-10 mile runs on the weekend for now

I will get there, it’s only a matter of time, but filling my life and my workouts with negatively will not help.

I fully intend to run a marathon by the end of the year and I have to start somewhere. So, there it is, build a base, then focus on pace. Now is the time to be stronger, faster, and better than ever. The mental strength is just as crucial as the physical. It’s a hard lesson and will have to fight those voices as they creep in, but I can do it.

As I run up that steep hill, as I do my speed work, as I get up early, I will fight those voices!


Poll time! Opinions wanted!

imageHello lovelies! Anyone else have a case of the Mondays? Right now I should be working on a research paper, studying for an exam, working out, and cleaning my apartment, but instead I have created my first poll! Yay…err..uhm..yeah!

In an effort to increase my followers, change my blog up, change my routine up, and post more often, I want to hear from you! Any of you. Whether you’re a runner, a boxer, a yogi, a cyclists, a heavy weight get the point! I need to hear from you so I can get better at this whole blogging thing. So, there you go, a poll! Whatever wins will be the subject of my next post.

If no one votes, then you’ll get to hear about my belly button lint. Just kidding. That’s gross. Just vote!

Happy Fitness!

Oh and stay tuned, I will soon be doing my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Eeeek! Now vote!