Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tool #11

A tool that I really like is Wordle.  I think it is simple and a great tool to get my students started using our new technology.  Every week the students focus on certain spelling patterns. During Literacy Work Stations my students will make a Wordle a spelling pattern that will include their weekly spelling words but also other words they already know or can find that follow the same pattern.  Since Wordle requires making a product to show others it will keep them accountable.

I am very excited to incorporate our new technology into our daily learning.  Now that I have learned about a bunch of great resources, it will make this a lot easier.  I want my students to have learning experiences using hands on activities, so our Netbooks and iTouches will be put to great use.  I know that I will need to make sure there are clear boundaries and everyone is held accountable for their learning. 

This program has caused us to learn about resources we can use with our students and to begin to prepare how to introduce, launch and maintain a classroom filled with technology.  I have had to sift through ideas and resources and think about what is best for my classroom.  
This is just the beginning!

Tool #10

Luckily our wonderful librarian, Miss Lee, met with my 2nd graders last week to discuss Digital Citizenship. It is important for my students to understand that they should not communicate with people they do not know on the internet through email, messages, etc. just like they shouldn't talk to a stranger that approaches them on the street. Also, they need to know what to do (tell a teacher/parent/adult) if they find something that is inappropriate and/or something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Lastly, it is important for them to know to not share any personal information with anyone on the internet. My students viewed the Digital Citizenship video on Brain Pop Jr. and then discussed as a class while making a list of things they should and shouldn't do while participating in the digital community. I plan on sharing the idea of digital citizenship with my parents through our class blog. It is very important for them to know how to monitor and teach their children how to use the internet at home since they may not have content restrictions like we have in place in SBISD.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tool #9

I am very excited to incorporate our new technology into our everyday learning.  I think that it is important to tie the technology to the objective so there is a clear expectation of what is to be learned and/or practiced.
We should definitely hold students accountable (having students write a response, take a screen shot, etc.) while using technology during stations to ensure that their time is being used appropriately and that learning is taking place.  It can be very tempting for a student to venture off and find another app or activity to do instead of what is asked of them.  So, I can foresee there will be times when students might try to take advantage of the opportunity to use an iTouch and not do the activity they were supposed to do.  They need to know that the technology will be used differently than they are probably accustomed to- "work" not "play," even though we can definitely have fun while learning!  Many of my students talk about how they have an iTouch, iPhone, and/or iPad (whether it is really theirs or a family members) at home.  These devices are often used for entertainment but also can be used to expand our learning.  It can even be used in quick ways, like finding out a definition of a word or to check spellling.  Today I was asked where Clute, Texas is located.  Well since I had never heard of this city and I do not have a map, what did I do?  Got out my iPhone and did a quick Google map search (FYI Clute is way south of Houston near Freeport).  Technology allowed me to learn something new quickly and efficiently.   So, my students can learn and also apply their learning by using technology in a variety of ways.

I visited a few of the websites and I really like Mangahigh. My students have gone this website recently while going to the computer lab, but it can easily be used as a math work station.  They already have an account by using their SBISD username and password so I can track their activity on the website.  Also, I like Storyladder. This could be used during literacy and math work stations since it offers games in multiple subject areas.  To hold everyone accountable I would have the students write down the game/activity they did and what skills they needed to use.  They could have a technology log or journal to record their activities.
This database for apps is wonderful!  There are many apps that I plan on using in my classroom, but I did notice Counting Coins. In the 3rd Nine Weeks we learn to count a collection of coins up to a dollar.  This would be a great work station to practice this skill.  Also, MathTapper: ClockMaster would be great to continue practicing telling time.  Free Word Warp would be a great app to use to practice making words in a Word Work Station.  They are given 6 letters and they try to make as many words as they can in a certain amount of time.  Mad Libs could be a work station where they students practice using parts of speech.  For all of these apps they could record their activities in their technology log or journal that I mentioned above.  They would have to be given time at the end of their work station time to do this.  Many of the apps are timed. If it is timed, they wouldn't be able to stop and write down words they make or math facts they solve as they go.  

In addition to visiting a variety of apps, my students can also use the iTouch to create short videos to show their learning.  We will be doing a couple "Inquiry Groups" during the second half of the year. In the 3rd Nine Weeks, students will collaborate in groups to learn about a certain insects's life cycle, habitat, diet, etc.  They will then share their findings with the class and we will compare their life cycles.  In the 4th Nine Weeks students will also research and learn about a bird from a different habitat around the world.  After research/gathering information they can create a short video to teach the class about their animal.  Another way to use the iTouches would be record their voices while practicing their Reader's Theater during Literacy Work Stations.  They will be able to hear the way they read and know if they need to use more expression and read in longer phrases.  I can give them feedback but when they get to hear themselves helps A LOT!

Tool #8

My class will be receiving Netbooks and iTouches. I learned that the Netbooks have a webcam which will be great to use for creating videos, Skype and taking pictures. I also learned that it has a projector connection port so that it can be connected to a projector to show what is on the computer. I am very familiar with iTouches since I have had an iPhone for a few years. My students will absolutely love having the new technology in the classroom. The classroom management suggestions were great. Luckily, my students have gotten the opportunity to "play" with and learn about each type of technology we will be receiving in the library. I definitely think it is important for us to take the time and make a list of guidelines and expectations when using the technology. We will also review how to use each type and what to do if there is an issue. I will be incorporating them during Literacy and Math Work Stations, so it will be important for me to go over procedural information about getting and putting away the Netbooks and iTouches during these times.

Tool #7

I found a great project on iEarn. It is called the Teddy Bear Project which is an international teddy bear exchange. I love the idea!  
This would connect to my class perfectly, since it is similar to our Flat Stanley project but this time it would be a whole class effort. Each student recently mailed their Flat Stanley to a friend or relative. One of our Flat Stanley's traveled as far as Japan! We will soon receive letters back from the participants.  

For the Teddy Bear Project, my class would purchase a teddy bear (or other stuffed animal) and we would make it represent Texas. We just might need to get a longhorn stuffed animal (Hook 'Em!). Then, we would mail the stuffed animal to another class located in another country. The objective would for students to apply their knowledge of letter writing by writing letters (sent through a class email) to describe their interactions with the other class' teddy bear. They also would get to learn about/understand another culture as they see and read about our stuffed animals weekly interactions at its new school. We would utilize digital photographs which can be taken easily with a camera, iphone or ipod touch and then send through email along with the weekly letter. We could even create a blog specifically for the project for the other class to view. Also, we could use tools like Animoto to show our photos. Before the project would begin there would be a informational letter sent home to parents along with a permission slip to participate. I have registered and am waiting for account approval through iEarn before the project can be scheduled and created.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tool #6

I went to   I made a sample poll asking "What is your favorite animal?"  My students can definitely use this when collecting data to make graphs in math.  This would be a fun and exciting way to get everyone involved. They can create a poll to poll the class and even their parents (we can embed it in our class blog).  After they have obtained their data from Poll Everywhere they can make pictographs and/or bar graphs to show their findings. 

I also went to
This would get the class involved in content questions for all subject areas.  I can ask questions and my students can answer.  They can also ask questions and make comments.  This would get everyone talking about what they are learning!

Tool #5

I went on and wrote a story using artwork provided by an artist.  Student would love writing stories and sharing them with others.  We have been working on writing stories that have a beginning, middle and end and using details to connect ideas.  You can create a teach account and manage your class.  It is safe because the account is private.  Student names are not shown and you can choose how to share stories.  I can then embed the stories on our class blog.  Check out my story about my 6 month old black lab named Nellie!

I also went to  This can be used a variety of ways.  Students use it to do things like write their spelling words or write as many words they can find that follow the spelling pattern.  They also can write nouns, verbs, adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
I created a sample using my student's names.
Wordle: Names

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tool #4

My team can benefit from using Google Docs. We can create, share, then edit the document without having to attach it to Eduphoria or a seperate email. We definitely could have benefited from Google Docs when constructiong our year long road map. Students can create powerpoints and other documents and then share with their group members to edit and revise. Also, I think it will be neat to use Google Video, so my students can upload their created videos, like how to solve a word problem!

Tool #3

I have found that Discovery Education is the most useful.  There is an abundance of great videos that you can use.  Also, you can search for full videos or segments.  Magic School Bus and Life videos are two of the many great types of videos available to stream in your class.  Youtube brings up a lot of homemade videos, so it is not as easy to search for appropriate videos to use in the classroom.  One great feature is you can easily create a video with your class and upload it to Youtube.  We utilized this last year while our ducklings were hatching.  Students were able to relive the experience from home and show their parents on our class blog.

This video shows great pictures of stages of the life cycles of a variety of animals.

 This is a great video explaining "What is a bird?" found on Discovery Education. I cannot embed this video without downloading it so it is hot linked.

Copyright and fair use allows teachers and students to use images, videos, etc. if they are using a secure location (not for all of the public to view) for the content.  This is new to me and great to know.

I downloaded Dropbox and found that it is a great program to hold all your files, pictures and videos.  Now my files (pictures, lesson plans, etc) on my home computer and work computer can be in one place.  I no longer have to email them to myself! :)  You can log on to dropbox from another computer and you can share pictures, videos and files with other people.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tool #2: Building Community in the Online Environment

One of my college professors always told us that teaching is about "beg, borrowing and stealing"!  What do we do with our teammates and other teacher friends...oh yes we say things like, "Do you have...", "Can I borrow...", "Oh, wow that's a great idea.  I want to do that!"  Well the blogging world has enabled teachers from around the world to share ideas and let us get a peak inside their classrooms.  I LOVE reading teacher blogs and seeing new and creative ideas.  Teaching is getting a makeover!

I enjoy using Google Reader as it makes following my favorite blogs easier.  I get to see their updates in one places instead of going to my long (and disorganized I must admit) list of bookmarks.  Diigo sounds intriguing as well.  Also, commenting on other blogs is a great way to connect with each other and let others know if you need to beg, borrow, or "steal" from them.  I like visiting blogs like The Inspired Apple, The Grade Two Zoo, and Simply 2nd Resources.  Of course good ole is always a growing obsession and helps spread the word of fantastic ideas.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bloggity Blog Experience

I have found this blogging experience easy so far.  I have been blogging for the past year and a half.  So, creating the blog and my fun voki avatar has been quick and painless.