EDU 623: Development using ADDIE…Disaster or Success?

Hodell (2011) asserts that “The development phase of ISD is the link that connects the design process with the implementation of a project” (p. 59). The development phase is simply what I like to think of as the meat and potatoes of the entire project. This consists of the assessments, the materials you need for the lessons/session to be successful, and most importantly the schedule.

For my Family and Consumer Sciences 8th Grade Knife Safety and Skills training session, there are three main objectives that have to be met. The objectives are as follows:

  1. By the end of this training session, all 8th Grade Family and Consumer Sciences students will be able to identify the different types of knives and their uses using various worksheets and videos given a working computer or iPad with access to the Internet.
  2. By the end of this training session, all 8th Grade Family and Consumer Sciences students will be able to read, understand, and recall the safety procedures regarding knife handling using various worksheets and videos given a working computer or iPad with access to the Internet.
  3. By the end of this training session, all 8th Grade Family and Consumer Sciences students will be able to implement the various knife cuts on vegetables and other foods given a proper kitchen workspace and proper kitchen tools.

Students will only be able to meet these objectives with a strict schedule in place. The schedule is as follows:


Motivation/Preview task


EQ:  How can people benefit from learning the proper knife grips?


Main objective: Students will be able to identify the various knife grips, the different types of knives and their anatomy. Students will also be able to understand and recall the proper knife safety guidelines.



Students will complete a knife safety pre-assessment. Once students are completed with the pre-assessment, they will discuss their answers as a class. After that is done, students will then take out their notebooks and will view the “Knife Safety” PowToon presentation. When students are finished with the PowToon presentation, students will then learn the anatomy of the knife and the different types of knife grips.


Assessment: Class participation


Homework: Study the anatomy of the knife and the various knife grips.



EQ How can people benefit from learning the proper knife grips?



Main objective: Students will be able to identify the various knife grips, the different types of knives and their anatomy. Students will also be able to understand and recall the proper knife safety guidelines. Students will also be able to view and demonstrate the large dice, medium dice, and small dice.



The teacher will first conduct a quick review on knife grips, the different types of knives, the anatomy of the knife, and knife safety. After the review, students will view “Cuts of Vegetables” ( and will view the section on dicing. After students view the video, they will be divided into groups where they will practice their large dice, medium dice, and small dice.




Class participation, knife cuts rubric



Day 3


EQ: How can people benefit from learning the proper knife grips?


Main objective: Students will be able to identify the various knife grips, the different types of knives and their anatomy. Students will also be able to understand and recall the proper knife safety guidelines. Students will also be able to view and demonstrate the large dice, medium dice, small dice, and the julienne and batonnet.


Activity: Students will review the knife grips, the different knives, and the dice cuts. Students will then view the “Cuts of Vegetables” ( and will view the Julienne and Batonnet section of the video. After students view the video, they will be divided into groups where they will practice their large dice, medium dice, small dice, julienne, and batonnet.


Assessment: Class participation, knife cuts rubric


Homework: Study the various knives, knife cuts, and knife grips for a quiz next class.



Day 4


EQ: How can people benefit from learning the proper knife grips?



Main objective: Students will be able to review the various knife grips and cuts. Students will also be able to demonstrate their knowledge of knife cuts using the Nintendo Wii Game, “Cooking Mama”.


Activity: Students will be given a review sheet where they will need to identify the different knife grips, knives, and knife cuts. When students are completed with that activity, they will be divided into groups to play the Nintendo Wii Game, “Cooking Mama”.


Assessment: Quiz, Class participation (including group work)



Day 5

Meta-cognition and Reflection


EQ: How can people benefit from learning the proper knife grips?


Main objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of knives by creating a chicken stir-fry.


Activity: Using their new knowledge from the past lessons, students will be divided into kitchen groups to create a chicken stir-fry


Assessment: Chicken Stir-Fry Rubric




Some of the items that need to be created for this training session are the knife grip visual aides, the PowToon presentation, the Chicken Stir-Fry Rubric, and the quiz review sheet. Gardner (2012) writes, “The creation of the materials is often done by more than one individual. In some organizations, instructional developers or programmers take the content created in the design phase and develop the materials. In other organizations, the instructional designer develops the materials” (para. 2). In this instance, I would be the only one developing the materials because there are no other teachers/educators with a training session like the one I am developing.

One of the potential road blocks that I foresee is deadlines. Although my schedule is very in-depth and everything is set-up accordingly, I can never be 100% certain that the schedule is going to stay that way because of issues that come up with different programs or presentations that require us to cancel class and postpone the lessons.

Another potential road block that I foresee is with cost. This training session becomes costly when students do the hands-on portion of the session. The hands-on portion consists of cutting vegetables, with the final summative assessment being the creation of a chicken stir-fry dish. As we all know, groceries are expensive, especially produce and poultry. There is really no way I can get around these costs because I can only purchase groceries from one store where my purchase order exists.

The video below has helped me understand what really needs to occur in the development phase using the ADDIE model. Overall, I have a lot of work to do in order to make this training session successful.


Gardner, J. (2012, February 10). ADDIE process-Development phase [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Jclarkgardner (2011). The addie development phase [Video file] Retrieved from



EDU 625: Educational Games successful for learning?

Games in the classroom, huh? Seriously? Education is not what it used to be so open your eyes and get ready because gamification is changing the way students think and learn!

Apostol, Zaharescu, and Alexe (2013) define gamification as, “using the mechanics of games to make learning more engaging” (p. 67). The NMC Horizon Report (2013) stated that, “educational gameplay has proven to increase soft skills in learners, such as critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork” (p. 21). Furthermore, Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, and Gee (2004) assert:

Classroom work rarely has an impact outside of the classroom; its only real audience is the teacher. Game players, in contrast, develop reputations in online communities, cultivate audiences as writers through discussion forums, and occasionally even take up careers as professional gamers, traders of online commodities, or game modders and designers. The virtual worlds of games are poweful, in other words, because playing games means developing a set of effective social practices (p. 5).

I am a big advocate for incorporating “games” into my learning activities with my students. I have been very successful implementing various games/simulations in my classroom. Some of the games that I have used in my classroom are Jeoparady like activities,, vocabulary scavenger hunts, and have even recreated the entire game of “Sorry”.

From incorporating these games into my instruction, I have been extremely successful in teaching my students key concepts, vocabulary, and overall ideas about the world. Although we never want to rely on test results, I have found that scores are much higher in my classroom when I use these tools over not using them.

In a way, I like to think that I redesigned the vocabulary activity as a “game”. Rather than just having my students copy down vocabulary and study it, I put the words and definitions on flash cards (this was for a careers unit). I then created a corresponding worksheet that was the base of the scavenger hunt. The worksheet had clues, definitions, and/or vocabulary words. The way I ran the activity so the kids did not go crazy around the building and so they were supervised but still had free roam of what they were doing was I set up flash cards in the room and had every group work only in the room. Once everybody was done in the room, then we went out into the hallway. There were two clues that were nowhere near the classroom- one was at the gym and one was in the main office. I, of course, made sure that the PE teacher, the secretaries, and my principal and vice-principal were well aware of what was going on so they did not think that my students and I were being reckless. We have a strict set of school rules regarding behavior in the hallway and I told my students before we even began, if they got out of control and showed me that they could not be mature enough to handle this activity, I would stop it completely or they as a team would be disqualified.

I found this strategy to be most effective in my classroom because students were absorbing the information. There was no prize at the end other than a good grade. My students were fully engaged and motivated and that is why I love incorporting games in my classroom. I have not used Sorry yet in my middle school classroom, but I used it in my Culinary classes when I was teaching high school and that was SO rewarding. It took me FOREVER because I had to recreate the cards and the rules but when my students played it… I can’t even explain the feeling of how great it was.

Here is a picture of what I created with the SORRY! Game!



In this week’s unit, I learned that there is more to games and gamification then just Jeopardy, Sorry, and other games. I must admit though, I am super excited for my Eggspert to come in ().

This week I explored the program Inklewriter ( Inklewriter is all about interactive storytelling which I love. With this program, you are able to create your own stories, however, the way the story ends is a result of what the reader chooses. These options definitely bring creativity to the surface for the reader and in a way, tests the reader’s imagination. In a way, I compare Inklewriter to life, filled with choices and the choices we make we must take responsibility for.

I created a very basic story that I can potentially use for my 6th Grade Money Management unit. This is a great activity for students to use to create their own stories, testing their knowledge in whatever unit of mine that I would like them to use. Read my story here…

If you take anything away from this post, I ask that you please watch this lengthy but FANTASTIC Google Tech Talk on Gamification. It gives great insight to what we are missing and what we really need in our classrooms.

EDU 625: HOW can we EXPECT our students to change, if we are not willing to? The Power of Presentations

How many times have you been in a presentation at school or at work and you have found yourself looking just like the kids in the picture?

I’d venture to guess at one point in time, we have all felt and looked this way during a presentation. But why? Why do we end up getting like this? Is the material boring? Is the presenter/teacher just running off facts that we really don’t care about? What is missing from the presentation equation?

One of the main issues that educators face today is creating more engaging lessons to get students to understand, comprehend, and be successful. Arends (2009) writes, “Some educators have argued that teachers devote too much time to talking, and over the years, considerable effort has gone into creating models aimed at decreasing the amount of teacher talk and making instruction more student-centered” (p. 260).

As I stated in last week’s blog, one of my philosophies of teaching is, “If I’m bored teaching it, you’re (my students) going to be bored learning it.” The same thing goes for presentations. There are times where I feel like I might talk too much and then there are times where I do not think I talk enough. Prior to this unit, my view on presentations was that presentations were the meat and potatoes of any major unit with lots of vocabulary and concepts that needed to be learned. However, my philosophy has completely changed on what a presentation really is.

One of the main ideas that is part of my philosophy when teaching in general and when using presentations is ENTHUSIASM. Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. Arends (2009) writes, “Many teachers, particularly those in secondary schools and colleges, argue that the key to effective presentation is for the presenter to use techniques and strategies borrowed from the performing arts” (p. 281). I feel that in general, no matter what grade you are teaching, you need to put on a show for your students in order to grab their attention and maintain that attention. It is important to remember, however, that too much enthusiasm can be detrimental to the learning process because if you are too enthusiastic, students will be too focused on the fact that you are probably freaking them out, rather than learning and mastering the objectives.

What are your thoughts? Is there ever too much enthusiasm in a classroom, especially when giving a presentation?

I think there is a similarity between passion and enthusiasm. When I use a presentation as a learning activity for my students, if it is a super dry and boring presentation, I exude passion and enthusiasm. I get my students involved in the content, asking them questions about what they think, their experiences, etcetera. I also provide my students with real-life examples that they can apply to their current situations.

For example, my first year teaching middle school, I was teaching my 7th Grade students about cross-contamination and the reasons why it’s so important for us to be aware of cross-contamination. The objectives were met, I dismissed the class, and we all went on. A week later I went up to the cafeteria to pick up my 2nd grade students that I had to take out to recess and 3 of my 7th Grade students came running up to me in a panic. “MISS GURGA! MISS GURGA! YOU HAVE to say something to the cafeteria ladies! They used the same spoon for the carrots that they used for the other food! You need to talk to them about cross contamination! We’re not eating that!” Some people might say I created little Food Safety monsters, some people might say I was creating trouble, but ultimately, I was doing what I love to do and get paid to do….educate children. The presentation that I admit was dry and boring, came to life for my students because of my teaching strategies that I used that got them involved and got them thinking.

This week’s learning challenge proved to be difficult but very rewarding. The objective of the learning challenge was to create a presentation- based learning activity using one of our new resources while creating something that was more engaging. I can create a PowerPoint presentation with my eyes closed so at the beginning I was excited but nervous to see what I could come up with. For my learning challenge, I chose to use the site PowToon. I took a 6th Grade PowerPoint Presentation that I normally do with my 6th Graders and re-created it using PowToon and I am VERY happy with the results and am excited to use it in my class in the Fall. Thanks to my classmates, they informed me that I can increase the length in between transitions (now I just have to figure it out). Watch the 7 Facts About Kitchen Hazards HERE:

Overall, presentations can be more creative and more interactive than we are making them out to be. Are we going to continue to using our old ways of presenting or are we going to step up to the plate and make our presentations more engaging for our students?

Watch this video below and think about this question- How can we expect our students to change if we are not willing to? Now make your decision.


Arends, R. I. (2009). Learning to Teach. (8th ed.). London: Mcgraw-Hill Higher Education.

Osakabeavers04. (2013). Presentation tips for teachers (Never give a boring lecture again) TEDxOsaka [Video file]. Retrieved from


EDU 623: Design in the Middle of ADDIE- Keeping it together

What is the purpose of design and why is it really all that important? If you follow the model it should all just come together, right? NO! No matter what model you use, at the end of it all, there should be a flow and everything should make sense. 

Hodell (2011) asserts:

In ADDIE, the design phase is central to project success and the chief design goal of learner mastery. The design phase of the ADDIE ISD model is the most important element of the process. It is the central coordination and decision point within instructional design (p. 57).

Although I understand that before you can even design anything, you need to analyze the situation, however, I think of the Analysis and Design phase in the same light. Based on my readings from this week, I agree with Hodell that the design phase is at the center of the ISD diagram.   One of the things that makes design so important over all the other stages of the ADDIE model is the fact that without design, the entire project, course, training session, whatever the purpose, is a waste. One of the main key “players” in Instructional Design is M. David Merrill. Merrill states, “you can’t just chop things up and expect them to make sense” (Carman, 2005, p.4). If that is the case, then how does one design properly and effectively?

Hodell (2011) states, “The design plan serves as the anchor for the entire instructional design process” (p. 105). From reading all of Chapter 10 in Hodell (2011), I now realize that the design plan is the key to mastering the design element of the ADDIE model because it keeps the instructional designer organized and on-task. Also, it is important that when designing, the designer should think about and incorporate various instructional design theories that make sense and work together with each other. I strongly believe that the design becomes that much stronger when all aspects are thought about and incorporated properly. 

Unit 3 Design

Above you will find my personal view of how the ADDIE model operates. Below, you will find a diagram of the ADDIE model that I think is very similar to my views on how the ADDIE model operates with Design at the center.


Carman, J.M. (2005). Blended learning design: Five key ingredients. 1-10. Retrieved from

Discovering Delta. (2013). Addie model figure. Retrieved from

Lee, J. (2010). Design of blended training for transfer into the workplace. [Article]. British Journal of Educational Technology41 (2), 181-198.

doi: 10-1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00909.x

EDU 625: Salmonella, Botulism, E-Coli…can get you very sick and make you CRY!!

I bet you’re sitting there right now saying, “Seriously, Gianna? Who cares. I know how to not get sick from my food. It’s not that hard and it’s not that serious.”

As much as I would love to agree that it is not that serious, it really is. 

At my school in the morning, my principal and I —->IMG_3202 have this joke that I am Queen of Food Safety. Around the holidays I would forward important emails to my colleagues that I would get from The Partnership for Food Safety about how to deal with leftovers, etc. Would they read it? Who knows. As long as I did my part and spread the word about Food Safety, I did my Public Service Announcement duty for the day and I could sleep better at night knowing that I was educating others in my building. 

When it comes to my students, I drill it into their heads…TDZ, CSCC. Temperature Danger Zone. Clean. Separate. Cook. Chill. Both the Temperature Danger Zone and Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill are so important to preventing Foodborne Illnesses from growing and spreading. 

Let me park it right here for a second. I said “…drill it into their heads”. I am not the teacher who has the kids sit there and literally just gives them facts that they have to understand and memorize. NO WAY! Talk about Boresville, USA! One of my teaching philosophies is this: if I’m bored teaching it, you’re going to be bored learning it!

How do I teach these things then? Watch the video below to see one way I teach these important issues regarding Foodborne Illnesses…

Now let me guess- you’re saying, “Okay, that’s great and all but I can’t do that in my classroom. How do I get kids to enjoy their learning, their research, and keep them engaged?”

Barrett and Woods (2012) assert, “To maintain student interest in science and help them retain information they learn in the classroom, it is important to engage students in critical-thinking activities, particularly early in their major curriculum” (p. 316). Although Barrett and Woods (2012) refer to science, I strongly believe that it is important for all students in all content areas to be engaged in critical-thinking activities where they are completely involved. There are some educators who believe that the greatest critical-thinking activity they can assign their students is a research project, which in a way can be true if planned properly. One of the main issues with a research project, however, is how to plan the research project so students are using the correct information. How do the students know what they should consider as factual information? I mean, come on, isn’t everything that’s on Google true?! No, seriously. Sarcasm aside, it is a serious issue that faces many educators when planning activities, especially research projects. From Unit 3 of EDU 625, one of the main issues that I see about the use of information or data that comes from sources such as those explored this week, is that sometimes the information can be biased or altered. In a way, the entire idea of gathering and analyzing data and information from the global community of the Internet, makes me think of a what I teach my students when discussing consumerism, “Let the Buyer Beware”. In relation to the Internet, I say, “Let the Researcher/Surveyor Beware”. 

It is important that as educators we make the right choices when selecting resources for our students to use. One of the things that I have found to be successful when having my students research or look up things on the internet, creating a WebQuest is EXTREMELY beneficial. The WebQuest gives the students freedom to research the topic, however, they are only able to use specific teacher picked resources which helps them narrow down options that come up and keeps them and the computer safe from add-ons and viruses that might try to intrude the system. 

Overall, it is our job as educators to support the learning needs of our students by engaging them in activities that promote 21st Century Skills and will get them ready for their future education. Below you will find 2 things- first, a video for kids that gives a brief overview about how to research a topic on the Internet. Second, you will find my lesson plan that I have created to teach a lesson on Foodborne Illnesses. The lesson is run like a CSI case with students using the website to text pictures and clues into the classroom SMARTboard. If you have any questions regarding the lesson plan or would like more information, feel free to contact me using the comment form!

Unit 3 Learning Challenge


Barrett, B.S. & Woods, J.E. (2012). Using the amazing atmosphere to foster student learning and interest in meteorology. American Meteorological Society, 315-323. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00020.1




EDU 625: Surveys and the GREAT Social Media Letdown

What is a survey anyways? What is the purpose? Are the results really that helpful? 

Regarding surveys, Littvay, Popa, and Fazekas (2013) identify that, “researchers’ inability to obtain data from a sampled individual is a constant threat to data quality in all of the social sciences” (p. 569).

One of the main issues that I believe alters the ability to use information or data from sources such as surveys is actually based on the survey itself. Sometimes surveys are not constructed properly and what will happen is that the person taking the survey might not understand the question or give up and not take the questions seriously. However, another one of the issues that is currently facing institutions that conduct surveys is the debate of web-based surveys or paper-based surveys. From my own experience at one of my schools that I teach at, it is difficult for parents to take the parent feedback survey because it is online. A lot of the parents do not have computers at home so if they do not come to the Open Houses or report card nights, where they take the surveys. On the opposite side, however, if you send a paper survey home, there is no guarantee that they will come back.

In order to ensure that the information I collect or use from my community is credible, I need to make sure that my questions are generalized and not too in depth, unless that is not my objective. If the questions are too much to handle for my survey takers, my data is not going to be as accurate as it could be due to the fact that I run the risk of having the “I just wanted to get through all these questions” variable.

Now, the current issue lies- how do I help my learners understand how to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate data from their community? I think that first, it is important to understand the community that you are working with and asking questions to. Once you have a better and more in-depth understanding of the community that you are involved with, then you can create a better survey and will be able to control the illegitimate data.

From my own survey that I created regarding Mobile Phone Use, I only had 9 responses. I posted my survey to Facebook and Twitter and I think that there was just not an interest in having to take a survey. I know for me personally when I was approached to take an online survey via Facebook, I didn’t do it because I really just didn’t want to be bothered. I think the same thing happened with my attempt. At the same time, 9 is better than 0, right?! My survey was all multiple choice questions, minus the last 2 questions that was a Yes or No answer and then had a box that had to be filled in regarding “Why” they believed that there is or is not value in mobile phone use in the classroom. From my results, I only had 2 people say NO that mobile phones are not useful in the classroom, with one reason being, “The teachers have Smartboards. The kids don’t need to use their phones.” That comment made me laugh because think about it…..there are some teachers who still do not even have a Smartboard so nice assumption for that person who wrote it. 

I have not created a survey since 2011, and that was a paper survey with many more participants than the one I had just conducted. Social Media definitely let me down this time. I thought I could rely on Facebook and Twitter to get some more survey results but I didn’t get the bite I wanted. 

I found this video and found it helpful. It definitely made me a little more optimistic! Watch this video for a brief overview about how to create a successful survey and increase participation rates! 


Littvay, L., Popa, S., & Fazekas, Z. (2013). Validity of survey response propensity indicators: A behavior genetics approach. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell), 94(2), 569-589. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00938.x