About Me


My name is Kristin Volk and I am a senior and an Educational Studies major.  I started attending the University of La Verne in spring of 2016.  About a year ago I decided to go back to school after graduating from Cal State University, Fullerton with a degree in Business Administration.

Before attending Cal State Fullerton, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I applied to school expecting to be a math teacher, but during my experience at Fullerton I changed my mind.   I knew I did not want to teach math, but I was not sure what I wanted to do anymore –I should have trusted my original instincts.  I decided to become a business major where I eventually graduated and found a full-time position.

Two years later, I came to the realization that my original instincts are correct, I really should be a teacher.  Long story short, the company I was working for and my job was not making me happy.  It was difficult to see myself working in the “business world”;  that’s when  I decided to quit my job, attend University of La Verne, and work towards getting my credential to teach elementary school.

I decided to attend La Verne because I had heard so many wonderful things about their education department.  My mom, who attended La Verne many years ago, gave La Verne rave reviews.  The small class sizes (especially compared to a large state school I previously attended) and atmosphere make me feel comfortable.

As mentioned earlier, my mom, who attended University of La Verne is a major influence in my life.  She has shown me that anyone can persevere even in the least-likely circumstances, and that no matter what we should look at the world positively.  Because of her, I am aware that people come from all walks of life and I aim to become an educator that teaches students to be kind and open-minded just like she is.

When I am not going to school or working I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  Also, one of my favorite activities is to travel; I have been fortunate enough to travel and visit new and exciting places.  Above, is a picture when I visited Monte Carlo, Monaco , during a summer study abroad program.


Informational Text – Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction

Macaulay, D. (1973) Cathedral: The story of its construction. New York, NY: Houghton  Mifflin Company

Part Two

Based off of the title of this book, I assumed that this text would give us information about how a cathedral was constructed.  Although I was right in my predictions, I thought that this book was quite interesting.  To be honest, during the first 10 pages of the book, I was struggling to read it; however, as I continued the book was very interesting because it described just how a cathedral in Europe (particularly France) may have been built in the 1200s.

I have never read a book like this, but I thought that the illustrations were very in-depth, and for me the illustrations brought the book more to life than the book.  In my opinion, this book’s illustrations make the book interesting, and without them it would be entirely too hard for me to read.

When reading this book to students, I think that I would first preface the book as an informational text (which is what it is) and ask them to pay attention to the details and the workmanship that the people who built this cathedral put into making it so wonderful.  By prefacing this book in that way, I think students can appreciate how difficult it was to create such a magnificent piece of architecture.

Part Three

My opinion of this book (as I mentioned earlier) is that the illustrations make the description of this book much more appealing.  This book mainly describes how a cathedral was built over 800 years ago, and many students may not have even seen a building that old in their lives, yet.  To be able to explain the craftwork and determination to create this church is something I think is the most important aspect of this book.

Part Four  (7th Grade)

Discussion Questions:

Know: What do you know about building large buildings?

Think: What do you think would be the most difficult thing about building such a large building in more than 800 years ago?  Economically, contextually, religiously?

Want to know: What did you learn in this book that made you want to research something further?

Lesson Objective: After reading Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction, students will build their own Gothic style cathedral using only three types of material/mixed media.

For this activity, students will be given the creative license to build a scale model cathedral of their own, using only three types of material.  Students can use virtually any material (but they must use three types, no more, and no less).  Once the student creates their own replica of a cathedral they will write their step-by-step method of how they created their replica.








Graphic Novel: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Part One

Tan, S. (2006). The arrival. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton.

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction

Suggested Grade: 6-12

Part Two

By looking at the cover and reading some background information about the book that this would be very detailed because it took nearly five (5) years to complete.  This book’s illustrative details were amazing because it was like scenes from a movie.  I thought that the illustrations brought really great insight into how an immigrant might feel when they visit a new country for the first time.  Because of this, I believe that this book is not meant for younger readers because they might not grasp the complete concept of this book.

Although I have never been an immigrant, I have traveled to countries where I do not know the language, and things just seemed so different to me than compared to home.  I can only imagine that emigrating to live in a new country must feel even more confusing.  The issues raised in this book portray issues that many others may have felt when being in a place they’ve never experienced before.  When reading this book I think that some prompts you could use when reviewing this book with children is to imagine themselves in a place they’ve never been before or to write about a place they’ve never been before and how confusing it may be, and how it made them feel.

Part Three

Although I have never been a big fan of graphic novels, I will say that this book was one of my favorites because of the illustrations and how they were drawn more realistic, and the color of the illustrations as well.  I thought that the plot, theme and style depicted what seemed like a silent movie, portraying how immigrants may have felt.  I think that because there were no words written in the book it can give the reader a sense of pride flipping through the pages and discovering themselves what the story is telling.

Part Four

Objective: After reviewing The Arrival, students will write dialogue for a scene of their choice with correct punctuation, grammar, structure, and using descriptive details.

Audience- Students

Behavior- will write dialogue for a scene of their choice

Condition- after reviewing The Arrival

Degree- with correct punctuation, grammar, structure, and using descriptive details.


What do you think the main character is feeling during his emigration?

Can you think of a specific time where you felt “out of place”? Maybe you didn’t recognize the languages or buildings you were looking at.

How did that experience make you feel?


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

Activity: Students will choose a scene from the book and write a narrative including dialogue for for that particular scene.  They are to put themselves in the book writer’s “shoes” and write a scene from the book themselves.


Activities – http://dw-wp.com/2010/09/guest-post-teaching-shaun-tans-the-arrival-in-a-secondary-school-english-class/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/58054282671099853/

Writing Projects – http://www.nwp.org.uk/using-shaun-tans-the-arrival.html

Activities – https://medinger.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/in-the-classroom-thoughts-on-teaching-the-arrival/

Website – http://www.shauntan.net/books/the-arrival.html





Multicultural/Global Literature – Inside Out and Back Again

Part One: Bibliographic Information

Lai, T. (2011) Inside out and back again. New York, NY: HarperCollins

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade: 4-8

Part Two: Response to the Book

Predictions – Before I read this book I looked through some small summaries online, which sparked intrigue.  I knew that this book was about a young girl who leaves her war-stricken country of Vietnam, and travels to the United States with her brothers, but what I did not expect was how powerful this book was to me.

Craft – The book is written in free-verse poems, rather than a typical novel.  Making this book very easy to read, because once you’re hooked you start flipping through the pages.

Personal Connections – For me, this book was hard to relate to on the main character’s scale, because the trials and tribulations her family has faced during such a difficult time in history.  Although I have never been an immigrant, I did have extreme sympathy for Ha because I could see myself as a future educator having to deal with situations where children are mistreated or bullied for being “different”.  There were even parts of the story that nearly made me cry because of the pain she felt when others were teasing her for not knowing English (although she was bound and determined to learn), or for her clothes, or for her hair.

Issues Raised – As I mentioned above, the thought of having to comfort a child who is being teased by others is heartbreaking.  Although as a future teacher I can try to help those children and try to recognize bullying as quickly as possible, I feel that sometimes the comfort an adult brings to the situation only makes it a little better, because children (like some adults) crave the acceptance from their peers. Being an advocate for people who come to your country and who are from other countries is extremely important to note in this book – giving them opportunities to thrive is what is most important.

Prompts – Some prompts I may ask children when reading this book is to think of a time they felt sympathy for someone, or when they helped someone who was “different” from them, and how they thought that made the other person feel. Additionally, I might prompt my students to think about a time they met someone who was from another country, and what challenges they may face (like Ha).

Part Three: Critique

This book has been by far one of the best children’s books I have ever read.  The plot is so relatable to many children and their families are immigrants.  From the struggles of learning a new language, to learning the cultural “norms”, transitioning from living in a country that is very different from where you were born can be difficult.  There is so much meaning enveloped in this book that describes how Ha (the main character) feels when she is in Saigon compared to how she feels now that she is living in Alabama.  For instance, the main character has a positive outlook at school (she is confident and outgoing), but when she moves to Alabama, she finds herself questioning everything she does.  The title, to me, means that she is going “full circle” from being timid and shy at her new school in Alabama, to regaining the strength and confidence she once had while in Saigon.

Part Four: Lesson Sketch

Grade – 7

Objective – After reading Inside Out and Back Again students will write a free-verse poem describing a time they felt different from another person using clear/coherent grammar and spelling.

Discussion Questions – Based on the little that we know about when this story took place, why do you think Ha had such a difficult time during her first few months in Alabama?  If you were Ha, how would you feel about leaving Saigon? Is there a time in your life that you felt like you were different from others?  How were you treated?  How did you overcome that treatment?

Standards – CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Activity – Students will write a free verse poem about a time they felt different from others, describing how they felt, and how they overcame that feeling.

Sources –

Lesson Activities: https://eslliteraturelessonplans.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/inside-out-and-back-again-reading-guide.pdf

Free Verse Poem Rules (hint: there are NO rules): http://www.powerpoetry.org/actions/5-tips-writing-free-verse-poem

Examples of Free Verse Poems: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-free-verse-poems.html


Wow! I think I made it…

299Throughout this course it has been interesting and enlightening to be able to visit new and exciting concepts within the virtual world.  During my course in this class I have been able to utilize different technological tools that enabled me to reflect on my learnings.

First, the blogs have been an interesting way to not only show some of the new things that I have learned, but also I’ve learned fellow classmates as well.  Before this class I have never made a blog on a website such as WordPress; this assignment has given me some knowledge about how to set up a simple web page and how easy it can be.  Additionally, the book club has given me more practice on using google docs, prior to this class I had used google docs a few time, but this assignment has given me a little more in-depth learning about how to use google docs with bookmarks, etc.

The Cool Tool Duel gave me insight on all the great tools that teachers can use.  I enjoyed learning about many of these tools, and I am excited to use them as a teacher in the future.   Screen casing was a completely new idea for me, I had never screen casted before and it was definitely a challenge for me at first.  Although it is a simple process, it is difficult to make the presentation clear and concise without practicing.  With the ability to screen cast, I was able to add videos to my new YouTube channel and explore more videos to get ideas in the future.

My favorite project was developing our own portfolios, I enjoyed being able to create a simple and new web page that I can see myself using in the future.  I feel a program like Digication is easy for anyone to use, although I would prefer to use a program such as WordPress because it gives you more options to be creative, I though the simplicity of Digication was easy and straight forward to the novice technology users.

Crystal Ball Blog

Wiki pages and Wikispaces

Wiki pages can be such a helpful tool with classrooms and in “real life”.  Any one can create a page and it is so simple, and many times they are free.  They are easy to learn and easy to use, just like a WordPress blog or social media account, you can post anything, at any time with instantaneous feedback.  Anyone in the world can view them, and anyone can make changes to them.

One wiki-type website in particular, Wikispaces Classroom is a free online tool for teachers and students to collaborate with each other on projects, homework assignments, etc.  Wikispaces can be private (where only invited members can edit) or they can be public for the whole world to see.  Wikispaces Classroom is a great way to get students working online and helps them understand how to create pages, and collaborate through technology.

Some major pitfalls are one in the same with the advantages… anyone can edit a wiki page.  If a wiki page is not “run” correctly, it can be tainted by anyone on the internet, unless there have been placed regulations on the page on who can edit it.  One great example of a Wikis page is Wikipedia… Anyone can add to Wikipedia (which is why it is not always the best idea to rely on gaining all your information from the website).  Although, most intentions on these sites are good, there is no way to manage a wiki page, without the possibility of someone “messing it up” or adding incorrect information.

Wiki pages have been around for many years, and I do not see it leaving any time soon.  I predict that with more accessability to technology around the world within the next 10 years, Wikispaceswill become even bigger.  More information on these sites will only benefit the technology community (assuming people use the pages as they are meant to be used).




Source: Wikipedia

Prior to reading about copyright in class I had little to no knowledge about the laws.  The little knowledge I had was limited to knowing that the “Happy Birthday to You” song could not be sang at restaurants (hence why they sang their own songs to customers).  I was aware that some laws seemed confusing, and of course I understood that creators of pieces of art, movies, books, pictures, etc all have a right to their “masterpieces”.   Also, I understood that reproducing or copying orignal work to the public was illegal, but I was not clear on the rules that teachers have because they are using it for learning purposes.  The laws in regarding to time was always a little confusing to me as well, the dates and the amount of years that copyright is available to the creator was never clear to me, until I read the Copyright FAQs page.


**Sidenote: I recently found out that the “Happy Birthday to You” song has finally been released to the public domain after many years of lawyer battles. (Looks like we’ll be hearing the song  everywhere.)**

I was really interested in reading the Copyright Frequently Asked Questions.  When I read

Happy Birthday
Source: Flickr

this page, I was interested to find that copyright is automatically provided to authors of “original works of authorship”.    Currently, the law says that we cannot create new works based upon the original works, which can be a little gray area with the new technology we have today (see the next paragraph).  Also, I was unaware that you are not allowed to perform or display the work publicly (like a play) without the consent of the creator.

I see copyright law affecting teachers if the laws do not change.  We need to update our laws to adjust to the changing technological times.  The TED video talks about how children of this generation are not just bystanders in the world of creation, they are creators themselves.  They are making new things, as well as remodeling old pieces as well.  Our laws need to adjust to not only protect the original works, but also to protect the rights to people’s creativity.

Note: Featured image Source: Cyber Law Centre 



Social Media in the Classroom


What reasons have supported your use of social media?

I support the use of social media in the classroom as long as it contributes to the productivity of students.  Social media is everywhere! You hear it on the news, the tv shows you watch, on the radio and even in every-day conversations.  It does not look like social media is going away anytime soon so why not use it to you and your student’s and their parent’s advantage?

Not only can teachers get involved with students on social media, parents can get cellular-1352613_1920involved as well.  Creating custom classroom Facebook sites as well as school sites can help parents get involved with their children’s school.  These pages are easy to access through an app in your phone.  Alerts can be made and messages can be sent.

Parents can get involved in a number of ways, for example, parents are able to share information with eachother, get to know other parents and know parents of their children’s friends while in school.  Setting up a carpool, or even meeting people for the PTA.

With the vast amount of ways social media can benefit teachers, children, parents and schools is endless.


What impact do you believe

social media has (or will have) on education? On culture?

Social media can be used as a viable news source not from just your family and friends about how the party went last weekend, but important cultural and global information can be shared instantaneously.  It is important to keep in mind that social media is a place where people express their personal thoughts, feelings and emotions.  With that said, this can create a great learning experience for students who may not understand that with woman-1222804_1920.jpghard-hitting events comes people whose lives are affected by it.

Just like anything found on the internet, it is important to keep in mind that we have to look at information from social media not as a complete news souce, but a buffer to help reiterate information that has already been given to them.

Social media has become a great tool in keeping people connected in the “real world” why would teachers want to exclude their students from learning about experiences others have, in the many different perspectives.


Click here for Clay Chirky’s Ted discussion on Social Media.