New Jersey v. T.L.O. and the 4th Amendment in School

If high school students (and all students for that matter)  feel that they can leave illegal items such as drugs or alcohol in their cars, purses, lockers, or bags and not get caught due to the protection of the 4th amendment, think again. The 4th amendment states that no search or seizure can take place without the use of a warrant or probable cause. For more information concerning the 4th amendment and probable cause, check out Cornell University Law School’s interpretation.  Under the ruling of Supreme Court Case New Jersey v. T.L.O. schools are not required to use probable cause to conduct searches and seizures if their causes are justified to protect school safety.

New Jersey v. T.L.O arose when two female high school students attending Piscataway Township High School got caught smoking in the women’s bathroom. When sent to assistant principal Choplick’s office, one girl plead guilty  to smoking in the bathroom, was given a disciplinary consequence, and was returned to class. The other student, who is referred to as T.L.O. because minor’s names are kept private in court, denied the claim that she was smoking in the bathroom. Even though she was caught by a staff member and smelled like cigarette smoke, she denied the statement. Assistant principal Choplick ordered T.L.O . to hand over her purse so that he could search and remove the cigarettes believed to be located within her purse.

Upon searching, the assistant principal found cigarettes, a small amount of marijuana, paraphernalia, and a list of students who owed her money for the distribution of marijuana. When given disciplinary action and charged with possession and intent to distribute of an illegal substance, T.L.O. fought the charges on the grounds of protection from the 4th amendment. For an audio feed of the background to the court case, follow this link.

When Reaching the Supreme Court, the final decision was made in 1985 on a 6-3 vote against T.L.O and in favor of New Jersey. The court stated that Assistant Principal Choplick had probable cause to search T.L.O.”s purse on the grounds of probable cause. The court decision also stated that schools have the right to search students without probable cause on the grounds that the search can be justified. Although this is a contradicting stance, the court’s decision emphasizes the duty of states to promote and maintain safe schools.

The result of New Jersey v. T.L.O. is that schools conduct searches like locker clean outs and order search dogs to come into schools without warning. These dogs are trained to detect illegal substances, alcohol, and dangerous weapons as well. This also means that anything on school property can be searched such as cars, purses and bags can be searched without probable cause as well. New Jersey v. T.L.O. is an example of the different between rights as an adult, and rights as a minor.


“Children’s rights.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, n.d. Web. 7 May 2014. <;.

“New Jersey v. T.L.O..” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, n.d. Web. 7 May 2014. <;.

469 U.S. 325 New Jersey v. T.L.O. (No. 83-712) Argued: March 28, 1984 Decided: January 15, 1985




Digital Health

Although digital health may be overlooked within our society, it is a vital part to our education system. Digital health promotes critical thinking skills based off the collection of personalized data which is geared towards an individual to set and meet their own personal goals. In other words, digital health specific to the realm of education allows students to build this basic skill of gathering information, analyzing the information, and then taking action based on the analysis of the . This is a vital skill needed for academics as well as in the real world and digital health is a fantastic way to promote and develop this skill.

Link to My Voicethread



Jigsaw Method: Teachers, do you ever get frustrated of assigning students into groups to perform a jigsaw activity but feel that the overall lesson will have little impact on student progress? Fear no more, because with GooruLearning, group assignments can become more interesting where education meets the digital world. Here’s the example, I am teaching the Fall of Rome to 6th graders. We are currently talking about the emperors who follow Julius Caesar which are Emperors Augustus, Hadrian, Trajan, and Nero. Rather than teach each emperor on one day (because our middle school classes are only an hour long, not including the amount of time it takes for students to return from their lockers and the halls), because that would take too long, the simple teaching strategy to use is the jigsaw method. The jigsaw method is where students are broken up into small groups and are individually given a detail of an overall assignment. Then, after each individual has mastered his/her detail, they reconvene back together and discuss their assigned details and together, they complete the overall lesson. In this case, each student would be assigned an emperor, research about that emperor and then would come back to the group where all of the students talk about their emperor. Sounds easy right? Well it can be at first, but after awhile the jigsaw activity loses its strength and becomes busy work in the eyes of the student. Enter Goorulearning. 

Goorulearning is a collaborative educational tool used by teachers to assign videos, pictures, and texts to students online, where students can access these individual videos, pictures, text, etc. from their computer. Goorulearning can be used by students as well because all accounts are free and can be used by anyone on Goorulearning. So, I combined the Jigsaw Method and Goorulearning and created this lesson.

Lesson Plan: Rather than have students read one piece of text using the jigsaw method and then completing a chart, I decided to use Goorulearning as a digital tool to create a digital jigsaw activity. Here’s the plan, students will be broken up into groups of four where each student is assigned an emperor.  Using a media center day for the computers, students will research about their assigned emperor and find resources to use to demonstrate and teach the class about their assigned emperor. Once the students have gathered enough resources for their assigned emperor, they create a list and send that list to the teacher stating their emperor and assigned group number. Within Goorulearning, the teacher adds  said student’s researched resources and creates a class name under Goorulearning which will contain all four emperors and their researched resources within each.  

See Example here.

Simply Open the Link. Select the “Study Now” Box at the top right of the page. It will ask for a class code. Copy and paste the class code here: DYWJHTW     

Assessment: Each link is an example of the types of resources students can use within their jigsaw activity. Not only does this promote and polish research skills, Goorulearning provides differentiated learning. Upon completion of this activity, students should have a completed Emperors Chart which is described in the narration at the beginning of each lesson, and complete a follow up reflection for their research. This activity promotes digital learning as well as group learning and cooperation. 




ISTE 2, 3, and 5

MSDE 6th Grade Standard 5. Topic B. Indicators b, and c

MSDE 6th Grade Standard 6. Topic A. Indicators a, b and c


Library Blogs: Can Blogging Be Used in School Libraries?

Stated within the educator blog, blogging is an excellent tool for sharing, discussing, and incorporating different ideas and tactics in the realm of education. Certainly some ideas and themes can be observed within blogs, and then implemented within schools. Where the Educator Blog was targeted for the use of teachers, the Library Blog targets both the purpose and benefit of school libraries/media centers to use blogs as well as student use of blogging during scheduled library/media center time. The following blogs were rated as the top Library Blogs by “Teaching Certification and Education Online Guide.”

First blog review:

This blog has been created to identify and discuss why libraries may incorporate the use of blogging. Although the general theme is why the library is no longer just a place for books, the blog examines and discusses how the growing field of technology is changing school libraries. For instance, one post titled “Why We Weed: Book Deselection in Libraries” examines why modern libraries are “weeding” through their collection of books and removing them from the shelves. Although this is shocking at first, the post actually examines the positives of “weeding” by stating that this process is very important. Weeding removes books from the library that are damaged, not in use, contains incorrect or outdated information, take inventory of books, and to promote the use of online and non-print materials. 

Mr. Library Dude blogs about related topics to media specialist as well as technological discussions, but he is also personal within his blogging by describing his personal experiences and current events. In one of his blogs where he discusses a new job he has been given, he describes the new skills he is discovering, learning and practicing which demonstrates a sense of reflection within the blog. Personally, I found that learning from both scholarly materials as well as personal reflection go hand in hand within my overall learning process because I can relate the textbook filled with uncommon word usage and relate it to everyday language and life.

I found that this blog is targeted for a younger crowd containing humor and use of common, slang language. This is excellent for secondary education because it advertises to students as well as individuals working within library systems. This blog would be an excellent example for students and teachers if a blog creating assignment was ever established because it offers a lot of information as well as contains clear and straight forward ideas and information.

Second Blog Review:

Like the Mr. Library Dude blog stated above, the Mighty Librarian Blog is also created to target a younger crowd judging by the coloring and layout of the blog. However, unlike Mr. Library Dude, it appears that this blog’s theme is more broad and vast compared to Mr. Library Dude’s blog which is specified to technology within the library. This blog would fit in well within the Educator Blog I posted, where ideas about teaching and activities used within the library are discussed and presented. Where Mr. Library Dude’s blog is targeted for both student and teachers, it appears that Mighty Librarian is targeted more for media specialists. This blog would work well to present to media specialists at a convention or meeting, generating ideas concerning the media center itself.

One post within this blog that I found interesting was related to social media usage by students and teachers during the school day is banned within the district mighty librarian works in. She argues that this ban on social media implies that, “there is no value to you professionally.” Mighty Librarian feels that social media could be used for professional work for both teachers and students and believes the ban places the wrong image and values on he students. Although this is a debatable idea for most school districts ban social media within their schools, it does bring up a question of concern regarding schools attempting to use technology for educational reasons. She feels that social media teaches students about their digital footprint, can be used for teachers as a professional development tool, and demonstrates how the 21st century learner can use social media as a tool.  This post was very interesting to read and brought up a valid argument concerning technology within schools.

Third Blog Review:

I found that this blog, created by Ms. Courtney Lewis from Pennsylvania  is a more traditional outlook of libraries in regards to books rather than media center where most technology is found within most public schools. Although this blog may seem to aim at the idea of media centers being the hub of technology use within schools, I found this blog to be important because it encourages students to engage in “old school” reading.

The latest post by Ms. Lewis addresses the new trend in young female readers regarding modern day romance. With books out like “Fifty Shades of Grey” there is a high demand and pressure for young female students to engage in themselves in romantic novels that tend to be more open about sexual activity than previous romantic novels. The post titled, “New Adults: It’s Not Just the Sexy Times” identifies that although this trend of romantic novels may seem provocative, the center themes within these novels are not just about sex. Rather, they are about young individuals experiencing new life choices that they have had to make where parental guides is not involved. Simply put, the novels are about independence. I feel that this post attracts readers of the blog with its catchy title, yet describes this growing trend of romantic novels as normal and appropriate for young female readers aged 18 to 24.

This idea of female independence  is also demonstrated in another post by Ms. Lewis regarding a a book her colleague found to be cliche concerning a young female who “finds herself” and falls in love with a “bad boy.” The post again targets a specific romantic book and makes a simple review on the book and how it actually is healthy for young females to go through this phase within her life.  

Connection of Blogs:

All three of these blogs offer different ideas and concerns within school media centers. The first two blogs address more of the technological aspect of media centers versus the third blog discussing the more traditional aspect of media centers in regards to book reviews. These blogs have their positive aspects of opening the door to discussion within different fields which serves the purpose of blogs. What is nice for exploring bloggers is that there is a variety of blogs out there to fit their personal interests.




Educator Blogs. Benefits and Reasons Why Blogging Can Be a Teacher’s Best Friend

Blogging in the world of teaching is an excellent tool you gather ideas and share them with fellow colleagues and county educators. The following blogs are examples of teacher blogs. By analyzing other teacher blogs, educators can broad their horizons to perfect the art of teaching.

First Blog Review: Lisa Nielson’s Blog

This is Lisa Nielsen’s blog. She has discovered the positive contributions blogging can give to fellow educators as well as discuss and inform parents and students of current issues and other related education topics. Her blog is a personal, down to earth blog that takes pride on sharing ideas to better the education for the future. The blog contains links to “the hottest posts” as well as contains links and ideas concerning current topics and trends within education such as technology within schools. Lisa’s latest post titled: Inspiring story of social media giving @CarlysVoice a #StuVoice relates to autism and how a young lady (Carly)  has used social media to feel excepted within her society from a social point of view as well as the simple ability to communicate with others. By blogging Carly’s story, Lisa is demonstrating the positive impact social media can have on our students in regards to increasing social acceptance and motivation. There is also a short video by Carly that gives a more personal side to the story.

On the other hand, one of Lisa’s later post addresses a serious issue of social media involving individuals who scam others for money. In her post Don’t be fooled on Facebook, Lisa mentions a story of how she met a person who was trying to scam her for money on Facebook by pretending to be her cousin and inform her that she won some contest where the prize was a lot money. Lisa discovered that this individual was not her cousin and in fact was an impostor. The rest of the post is Lisa asking an open ended question of whether or not students are ready for social media in regards to identifying and dismissing these kind of scams and dangers of social media. Looking back at my Library Blog Post and examining the blog by the Mighty Little Libraria  where she stated that she doesn’t understand why school districts have banned the use of social media within schools, scams and impostors on the internet in regards to social media may be one of the reasons for the ban. However, Lisa brings up a valid point to why this issue within social media should be taught within schools since social media is a drastically growing trend within the 21st century.


Second Blog Review: Mr. Needleman, Integrating Technology in Elementary Schools

When examining blogs, it is important to obtain the ability to identify blogs that will benefit from discussion and interaction versus the blogs that are simply used for boring information containing little to no interaction and discussion. Based on the Social Cognitive Theory within education, interaction and discussion with one another through social conversation is a major aspect to how we as individuals learn about the world around us. With that being said, I personally am new to the world of blogging and for that I have a lot to learn about identifying the great blogs from the ordinary blogs. When I first reviewed Mr. Needleman’s blog, I thought it was a decent blog based on the aspect that it was specific in its topic of discussion. As I investigated more, I found the blog to be nothing more than a maze of links and direction for other information and in regards to discussion, the blog is choppy and inconsistent. His latest blog was posted in November of 2013 which was almost half a year ago.  With inconsistency within a blog makes for tough social interaction and ability to gather information.

I will say that on the positive side for this blog, the topic or theme of the blog is narrowed down to technology within elementary schools which allows for specific knowledge to be gained from the blog, rather than just a hub for random bar stool conversations. For example, one of the applications or programs for some districts within education is the Notability application which is used for classroom observations and demonstration of student progress. This blog titled, “Using Notability for Classroom Observation” is a great post for demonstrating how to use the application for teachers who are having trouble or difficulty with the application. With pictures and step by step directions, the post does provide some easy assistance for those who are having trouble with the application.

Third Blog Review: Funshine: Common Core and More for Exceptional Kids

Finally there is the Funshine blog, a blog designed for special education. This blog shares the best of both worlds compared to Mr. Needleman’s blog and Mrs. Nielson’s blog. It contains a vast amount of links and activities promoting discussion and the spreading of ideas. Also, it contains a narrowed down topic and theme of special education which like Mr. Needleman’s blog, attracts a specific topic, narrowing down discussion to one central theme. This would be an excellent blog to use in regards to learning and sharing ideas in regards to special education and use these ideas at a team, county, etc. meeting. Ms. Angala is the creator of the Funshine blog and she is a newly blogger herself. Like me, she is realizing the significance blogging can have in regards to learning through social discussions and sharing of ideas where she recently posted about her new obsession with pinterest. Even though her pinterest is separate from her blog, they both work cooperatively by sharing ideas and thoughts concerning special education as well as technology. Ms. Angala comments and posts regularly on her pinterest account as well as the Funshine blog which allows or instant feedback. Also, from a teacher standpoint, her blogs and pinterest posts have teacher recommended activities and lesson plan ideas for special education.

Conclusion: Blogging is an excellent tool for teachers because the art of teaching contains a vast amount of styles and techniques which work well for some classes and not so well for others. Like teachers do during the lunch or planning break, it allows for the spread of ideas and teaching techniques in regards to specific areas like technology and special education, as well as overall education topics. Blogging can also be used as a resource archive where teachers can maintain a blog, which can act as an active archive to demonstrate teacher growth and development.