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.