My Avatar

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tool #8

1. I did not know that the netbooks had projector connection ports to where we could quickly connect them to the classroom projector and display their screens for discussion, presentation, etc. I also didn't realize that we could insert a SD photo card into the front. I learned how to create an icon on the home screen of the ipad for commonly used websites, and its appearance as an app makes it more efficient for everyone to find and navigate.

2. I will have two classroom technicians (one for netbooks and one for ipads), and I plan on having students rotate through these roles similar to other classroom jobs; however, I will keep the same technicians for a few weeks in a row, thus rotating through those jobs more slowly, since they require more training/explanation. I also have general guidelines regarding the handling, storing and moving of the devices. The devices will remain in the cart overnight on a daily basis, so we can ensure that they are fully charged for the start of each day and receive any necessary district/software updates. I ask students on the netbooks to raise their hands (or signal with colored card) with any questions, for I do not wish for them to carry the computers around to their peers or myself in order to receive assistance. It seems like if we come to them, it lessens the chance for any accidental collisions/droppings.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tool #7

a. Content Objective: TLW connect, compare and contrast their own life experiences, languages, daily activities, customs and cultures with those of other cultures and communities. TLW also reflect on texts that they have self-selected to read by sharing a brief book review, so others can use their reviews as a resource in locating texts that interest them. 

b. We plan to implement it throughout the year, beginning in September, as an ongoing collaboration. We think that it might lead to other projects, too, such as a pen pal project.

c. We plan on using these tools: Blogger (for interactive book review conversations where students can comment on and ask questions about texts that interest them after reading the review) and a different blog page where students can write/create (maybe using Stupeflix or another photo/video tool) descriptions of their daily lives to learn about different cultures and customs. We might also use Wallwisher as a place for these conversations as well.

d. Brief description of project: A teacher from another SBISD school will ask her students to participate in this project with us, and her students are from a different community and language background than my class. We are hoping that through written conversations about their lives, students will connect with and learn about people their age from different backgrounds. We hope to see every student value one another's differing funds of knowledge and cultural wealth. Additionally, students will converse through writing, asking questions and responding to one another about books that they read.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tool #6 - cont.

I loved creating a wall on! It was really friendly to use, and I will definitely use it in my classroom next year. It reminds me of an interactive bulletin board; I never seem to have enough wall/bulletin board space to do all of the things that we think of using them for throughout the year. 

Instead of donating a bulletin board to posing the question of the day, where I post a free-response question (whether it's regarding a topic we're about to explore and see what students already know about it, a get-to-know one another question, a math question to quickly see where everyone is and how to best meet each child, etc.) and students respond by tacking up their responses on sticky notes or pre-cut slips of paper, I could have them interact on Wallwisher at a literacy or math station. 

I also really like how much easier and accessible their peers' responses will be to read for them. Before, they always had to walk over to the bulletin board and try to read one another's handwriting. I think that they would enjoy typing their responses and viewing them on a computer/ipad screen even more. IN addition, I can imagine my students formulating terrific, relevant questions to pose on walls as well, and I could maybe make that a weekly classroom job. My only concern is that there seems to be a limit on how many characters you type into your response, so it limits how much each student can write. We might need to have class discussions about them sometimes in order to give them the opportunity to elaborate,

Tool #6

I can see students asking their peers survey questions through Poll Everywhere in order to collect organized data in each content area (what is your favorite genre? which hero in our social studies discussions have you admired the most? what is your favorite kind of animal?). Students can then record and use their data for various purposes (paper graphs, graphs on the computer, research goal, etc.). I can see myself using it in order to get quick feedback on lessons, activities, student thinking, formative assessments, project ideas and more; it's nice that you can have multiple choice style or free response answers.

How do you get home from school?

Start this poll to enable voting

Day Care0
After-School Program0

Tool #5 - cont.

Through Stupeflix Video, I uploaded photos from a recent trip to New York's Central Park. While teaching second grade, we explored maps and how to give someone directions using terms like the compass directions. I created a huge, walkable Central Park map on butcher paper, using symbols of the real-life things in the park and labeling each symbol in the map key. My students loved to give each other directions to walk from one place to another, such as the Central Park Zoo to Strawberry Field's Imagine mosaic. I showed them the pictures that I had of these places from my trip. Afterwards, they seemed to enjoy it that much more, and they could more easily visualize how something can look in real life compared to how it's translated onto a flat map surface.

Stupeflix allowed me to organize some of my pictures that I used into a scrapbook video, and I could more easily show them the maps, etc. through the projected image on the active board. My students could use Stupeflix in creating video projects with their photos that they take on the classroom ipads, ones that they scan in from home or find from online research. They could also take pictures of their final products, or even their writing (or other projects) in each stage of the process, and create a video portfolio of their learning. I could also see students making a similar Stupeflix video of places that they know of in their community as they make maps of their community, homes, school, etc. (places in their lives that are meaningful to them).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tool #5

I have used Prezi as an instructional tool during writing workshop, and I definitely see how teachers can use it as a presentation tool, in addition to Glogster and power point, across all content areas. Similar to a power point presentation, Prezi allows you to zoom in on pictures, words, links, videos, etc. that you embed in your workspace, and it promotes creativity. 
In Austin, my fourth grade students chose to either use Prezi or Glogster in presenting their "I am from" poems that we worked on in writing workshop. They enjoyed exploring all of their features and could really personalize their writing through both tools. We decided to have a sharing day at the conclusion of the unit in the cafeteria, so their parents, families and peers across the grade could take a gallery walk and view each student's final product. It was similar to a science fair; each class took turns using the available laptops that we set up on the tables in order to pull up their work online and play it for each visitor that walked by to see. We rotated through every class, and it was terrific to witness students discussing everyone's individual strengths, creativity and ideas as they went through the gallery walk.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tool #4

In May, Google Docs was especially helpful and easy to use during a team meeting, as we were co-creating a quad. d lesson. It was really nice to be able to share our ideas and temporarily type our own contributions into the lesson plan. Then, we could read through everyone's pieces, view it as a whole and edit as needed. It felt a great deal more efficient than using attachments through email or asking one team member to type everything.
The form tool will be fantastic for student reflections on readings, projects, etc., and I love how they can have a conversation through writing by commenting on one another's pieces. I would be interested in seeing if we could use Google tools like these to write pen-pals at other schools and in other SBISD communities, too. They could share letters/emails, in addition to photos from their school experiences to build on their words. 
I am also excited for students to blog their responses to readings (and build on one another's thinking), think through ideas for writing (to where other students could help them brainstorm), share questions/wonderings they might have to where other students and I could respond quickly, publish their writing (if they wish to share with their parents, too) and create interactive "posters" of their small-group discussions, rather than on anchor charts (for other groups to view and comment on). The fact that all of these tools are offered through Google Apps will help us stay organized and constantly build resourceful portfolios.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tool #3 - continued

1. I found Discovery Education helpful because they provide grade levels, descriptions, appropriate sources and length of clips that build well on class discussions and activities. Teachertube and youtube also had a variety of options for certain curricular topics, but it took me a lot longer to sort through which were appropriate, efficient and purposeful.

2. (Cont.) Animal Adaptations

3. I learned the labels/names associated with elements of copyright that I have encountered before. For instance, I knew that the media that we create on our own, such as personal photographs of nature, are not under someone else's copyright, but I did not realize that they are called homegrown media. I'm excited to share and use this terminology with students. Also, it's interesting how media will pass into public domain after their copyright protection period expires, and now I am wondering who/what determines the length of time before it passes into the public domain (I am guessing the original creator does upon publishing, but I'm not sure). Wesley Fryer's explanation of the importance of attribution reminded me to always give specific citing/reference to all media types that we use as resources.

Tool #3

This video gives good illustrations of how the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon, as well as the constant rotating of the Earth and moon, cause us to see different moon phases. I used a similar video in the past before we had an introductory class discussion on the moon, and I think that it could be followed with the small-group experiment using flashlights and different size spheres.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tool #2

I am excited to begin building my PLN! My past experiences with creating, reading and commenting on blogs involved a smaller community of educators. After exploring and commenting on others' blogs, such as Children's Books for ELL Instruction, I can see how much more beneficial blogging is when you interact with educators not only across the district, but also around the world. It's amazing to see how many resources are available through these blogs!
The ten pieces of commenting advice proved helpful, and I especially liked the suggestion of asking open-ended questions that would purposefully invite people to comment. I had the opportunity to blog with the people in my cohort in college, and we used our blogs as interactive writing workshop journals. We really enjoyed seeing how interactive our posts and comments became once several people were commenting on each others' comments, and I can definitely visualize my students getting excited to converse through writing in that way. It felt good to share my thoughts with someone that I would not be able to discuss ideas with in person.
I plan on visiting the Children's Books for ELL Instruction and Science for All blogs in the future. The books blog looks like a good resource for finding books that would expand students', particularly ELLs, vocabulary while exploring themes and forming connections. I like how she includes descriptions of each book. The Science for All blog has interesting posts and videos embedded. I can see my students and I having conversations centered on some of his posts, such as the paper towel shake and fold video when we discuss reducing/recycling/reusing.

Tool #1

While setting up the blog, I did not encounter any challenges. Each set of instructions were thorough, and the campus librarian was very helpful.