Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tool #6 Web Tools for Class Discussion

I'm well aware that this tool is to help me with classroom discussion, but in case anyone is reading let me tell you I LOVE SKYPE! It's a great tool to keep up with friends and family. It has changed the way I get to watch family members literally GROW up.

My principal even allowed me to skype into a faculty meeting when I had my OWN child was sick. I was able to be a good mom and still DO MY JOB! Seriously, I LOVE SKYPE.

Skype- I'm excited to get our new devices and have the ability to use SKYPE in the classroom. This technology can be used to check in on our friends who have moved across the world and see how life in third grade is in China, Japan and other fun places!
We could also skype with third graders across Texas to review concepts in Social Studies or even have a book discussion. Nothing is more exciting than seeing the person you are visiting with. This face to face communication PLUS technology will promote student involvement.

COVERITLIVE- I want to like this site, but I'm not so sure. This site enables you to set up on online private chat room so that students can share thoughts and ideas on the topic designated by teachers. The thing I'm not in love with is that you can't preview your chat before it goes live. I'm sure in the moment this would motivate kids to discuss. We've got to get our keyboarding skills together before they can communicate well enough to keep up with a live chat. I think that I would like to use Today's Meet. There's no need to sign up for an account. We've practiced Today's Meet in faculty meetings. My only worry with third graders is that there's no way to moderate comments, so lessons will need to be given on appropriate comments and how to leave comments that contribute to discussions rather than distract from discussions.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tool #5 Web 2.0

Karen J. also introduced me to Stupeflix Video. It reminds me of Animoto, but seems a bit easier. I've always had trouble with kids working Animoto... either it is down, log in is difficult, or appropriate music issues. I would love to have the kids make an end of year scrapbook video, just like I did, but I can see education opportunities too.

For Language Arts:
Wouldn't it be fun to have kids create a virtual scrapbook that the character in their book might own?
Social Studies:
We study people who inspired the STORY OF AMERICA the 4th 9 weeks in third grade. It would be fun to see how kids could make a quick video about the scientist, pioneers or explorers who we study.
Wouldn't it be fun to make a video of real world geometry or examples of multiplication?
We study the order of the planets in third grade. You could make a cute review to share and study by in this app.
I also checked out Slide Rocket. The virtual tour was interesting. It seems like a really fancy powerpoint that you can use with all kinds of virtual media and tracking components. I can see where it would help businesses, but I'm trying to think through avenues to use it in the classroom. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I'll try to come back and share if any ideas come to me!
A reading group of mine is working to create a glogster right now and share with us what they learned about Dr. Seuss. I'll attach it here as soon as they are ready for it to be published.

Tool #4 The Cloud

1. I teach third grade Language Arts and Social Studies. I partner with Mrs. Skrivanek who teaches math and science. I love partner teaching. There are so many perks to being able to focus on curriculum and dig deep rather than skim across multiple content areas. With partner teaching there are many things to think about. One major issue is helping families keep up with what' s going on in both classes. We have create a blog which we use to help keep everyone up to date. One page on our blog that has worked beautifully thanks to Google Doc is our PLANNER PAGE. Angela and I created a good spreadsheet which we share and update weekly with our content area. Check it out! One of the best parts is that once we edit it in Google Docs, it is automatically changed and updated on our blog. THANKS GOOGLE!
2. Creating a form was super easy, and check out the backgrounds you can use?! Right now I have my kids record their reading homework on a blog. I think it would be interesting to try a google form instead, just a thought. I'm going to keep thinking... and have a few friends try it out. I'd like to see more once I see how information that is submitted is then reported to me through the app.
3. I've had my students use google docs this year to publish their writing. It has been very helpful since they are able to access their work from any computer and even share it with me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tool #3 Videos

I love using videos in my classroom. Discovery Education is one of the best teacher tools I have! There are so many videos on a variety of topics and the search engine helps you narrow down your choices to find the one that is JUST RIGHT!

Below, you can see a few of the videos that I have used in my lessons.
I'm digging on this PURIFY website. Here's a video of one of my students and his Dr. Seuss shtick! N-joy!!

I understand that copyright and fair use are serious business. I'm still not sure I grasp it's complexity, but simply...
don't use it all....
only use it for instruction...
use it in places where passcodes and firewalls are in place...

Karen J. came and spent some time with me first semester. She showed me dropbox and I thought it was the COOLEST thing. I'm excited to use it for our upcoming planet research. Won't it be easier for my 44 students to each find two pictures to share in the box rather than looking for 8 on their own?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tool #2 PLN

I visited a few of the sites noted on SBISD 11 tools for the 21st century.

Below are the sites I visited and what I noted....
  • http://classblogmeister.com- This teacher's blog is very similar to what I have been using in my classroom. She seems much more confident to use pictures and video than I have. I often worry about kid's privacy.
  • http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/- This site has ROCKED my world and totally influenced my classroom. Thanks to Beth, teachers everywhere can benefit from her great teaching strategies and ideas. She's so wonderful, that SCHOLASTIC now employs her to write for them and share ideas. I think her ideas can be tweaked to work for a variety of grade levels and subject areas.. but grades 1-5 would benefit most from her work. I went to read the third grade blogs from Valley Oaks Elementary. They did a nice job last semester thinking through the use of a blog and have interested me in pinterest.
I also activated my Google Reader account and subscribed to the following websites:
  • www.ihategreenbeans.com- This site is not at all teacher related except that the voice that this young woman uses to talk about reality TV is HILARIOUS! Mostly, she blogs about my favorite tv trash, THE BACHELOR. I hope you will enjoy her antics and wit as much as I do. Happy Reading.
  • http://booksforellkids.blogspot.com/- SBISD 11 tools page noted this website as well. I decided instead of writing about it above, I would include it in this section. It is a nice resource for books to use with all students, but especially ELLs. I have added it to my list of subscriptions so I can keep up with her new additions to the bookshelf.
  • Last year, my teaching partner and I used edublog for our class blog. While I understand why the district wants us to use blogger, I feel like the edublogger community was much more organized and easier to reference when trying to find how to get a blog started and what to include. One teacher that did a great job was...http://weblogs.pbspaces.com/mrskolbert/.
I already have a delicious account. At first, I found it very helpful for keeping track of my bookmarks. However, these days with "the cloud" and my apple devices, keeping up with bookmarks isn't an issue for me anymore.

I find it easier to comment on blogs when questions are posted or if I have experience with the technology that is being referenced in the blog. Sharing my comments wasn't an issue. I realize the world could read my thoughts, but the probability of that is slim in this forum.

Tool #1 Voki

Finding the Voki website and creating a character was fairly easy. My biggest challenge was finding the right thing for her to wear. I'm not sure she reads my text correctly, but for my first attempt, I'm not too worried. One teacher shared the idea of having kids create historical or storybook characters to teach other kids about ideas. That's an interesting idea.