Friday, July 23, 2010

11 Tools Reflection

1. I really enjoyed the generators and mashups. I think it would be fun for students to create a poem and use these to illustrate and add a little to the poem. I am so excited about having the iTouches in my classroom. I know that I will have students using different apps for fun interactive learning. There is always an app for everything which will be perfect for differentiation with the iTouches. I would love to incorporate Skype into a lesson. Students could Skype with other students at the same school or maybe we could work with a different school to have "pen pals."

2. I know that the way students learn has change and therefore the way we go about teaching must also change. I have always tried to incorporate technology whenever I can. For example, one year my class went on a nature walk after a unit of plants and insects and instead of going and taking notes in a journal, I had each pair of students take a digital camera that I checked out from the library and take pictures of things that they found interesting on our walk. Once we got back to the classroom, we had a lesson on how to use powerpoint and then students had a work station where they worked with a partner to create a powerpoint. I feel like they enjoyed this and were excited to present their projects to the class. I will make a conscious effort to incorporate technology whenever I can.

3. This program was very beneficial to me. It introduced me to a lot of things that I had no idea were out there. I like Google Docs and will definitely use this in the future. My team has already decided we will use Google Docs to create our newsletters. I cannot think of anything unexpected that happened throughout this program.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tool #11 - Digital Citizenship

The concept of digital citizenship will never change, but as technology increases and more is available to us each and every year it can become quite complex. I read in a recent survey that teens and young adults spend more time during the week on the internet than watching TV. I believe this 100%. As a teacher, I am so excited to have the opportunity to use technology in my classroom and have students interact with it. However, before we incorporate technology into our lessons, we must first work with students and explain the expectations when using the different technologies in the classroom. I think the keyword here is "before." I compare this to riding a bike. Whenever we first start out, our parents made sure we were safe by having training wheels and running along beside us. Our parents also made sure we knew where the brakes were and how to steer. Once we got the hang of it, we were on our own and our parents could stand back and watch and come to our aid when we needed them...maybe to fix a flat tire or put the chain of the bike on. We must explain the basic steps of digital citizenship before introducing it in our classrooms. Then, the students will be able to navigate on their own and come back to us when they need help for the bigger things.

Students need to know that just like there are not so very nice people in the world, there are also not so very nice people on the Internet. Students need to know how to realize when there might be a problem. Discussing ways to sort through this if encountered with one or ways to avoid this should be taught. Maybe pose a problem that could happen and then think aloud on how you could solve it while getting ideas from students. The best tool is modeling and monitoring the kids and making sure they feel comfortable with the technology they are using.

I've been searching "digital citizenship" on various sites trying to read more about it. I found this 4 minute video on youtube and thought it said a lot without saying one word... This video pretty much sums up how children learn these days.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tool #10 - iPads, iTouches, and iPhones OH MY!

I bought my first iPhone in February and honestly do not know how I managed without it. I do everything on my iPhone. I check/send email, keep important dates on my calendar, listen to music while working out, pay bills, take pictures, post those pictures to social sites...the list could go on and on. I love my iPhone and I am so happy I am going to be able to incorporate the use of an iTouch into my classroom. Teachers are always coming up with new ways to teach in order to keep things interesting and fun. I think that the iTouch is definitely the answer. Students will want to use these and they will have fun doing it.

I am slightly addicted to downloading apps. The ones I use most for my own personal use it Fandango for movie times and tickets and also Words with Friends. I used to joke that I wanted to incorporate the Words with Friends app into my curriculum, and I just might be able to do it! If you can think of it, there is an app for it!

I've looked through a lot of the apps that were listed. Some of the ones I liked were:

1. Math Drills Lite - In second grade it is so important for kids to have these facts down so they become automatic. This is a fun, interactive way instead of the boring flash cards.

2. Read Me Stories - This is great for younger kids. It has new talking picture books everyday and teaches children new words, how to say them, and new concepts.

3. Google Earth - I've just found that kids (and myself) love this! It's really neat.

4. Sudoku - The game everyone knows, but a techy version. :-)

5. Hangman - This could be a workstation to work on spelling words of the week. It could be individualized or pairs.

Tool #9 - Jing and Skype

The first thing that popped into my head after learning about Skype is how neat it could be to turn the ordinary "pen pal" into a "skype pal". I taught in Plano for two years and have made two really great friends there that I taught with. It would be neat to pair students up to have Skype pals. Students could come up with some fun questions about what is going on it each other classrooms and then report back to their class after talking with their Skype pal. Jing could be helpful if explaining certain activities like a science experiment or a school play. Students could add the visuals to their conversations. I have used Skype before when my cousin lived in San Diego.

Tool #8

This tool was super easy for me since I use video clips to enhance my lessons. I think it is important to incorporate these into learning as much as we can. I think the students get a lot from these especially those visual learners! The only difficult thing for me with this tool was picking out video streaming. There is so much to choose from and we cover so much in second grade it was hard to decide. I've narrowed my search down to the water cycle and different insects and their environments like bees for example. I think my favorites to use are clips from The Magic School Bus. Kids love it and you can take the actual clips straight from the movie that you need so you do not have to spend the whole 20+ minutes watching the full video. I'm looking forward to using these clips and others on my ActivBoard in my classroom.

I found this and thought it was too funny not to share. Ladies and Gentlemen...The Water Cylce Rap!

Here is Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive:

I guess I like MSB so much because it explains scientific concepts to children in primary grades in a way they can understand. The fun little things the characters say also help them stay focused and really gain something from the video clip and/or videos.

Tool #7 - Digital Storytelling

I think digital storytelling is really neat. It will definitely catch the attention of learners since we all know how "techy" they are today. I am a second grade teacher and I think it would be fun to turn a student's published work from Writer's Workshop into a digital story. Students could create tell their story by incorporating animations of their own and music into the digital story. I feel that this may be a slightly difficult task for second graders since they would have to locate resources, synthesize information and pull from many other areas to add images and music. However, I think it could be done with a well-planned out strategy involving mini lessons working up to the grand finale of creating a digital story of their own. I have created a digital story of some favorite memories. It was a little difficult for me because I do not have access to my own computer and all of the pictures I have on it. I a familiar with iMovie on the Mac. I had to film myself teaching a lesson to a kinder classroom during my student teaching and then critique myself. I used the iMovie in order to do this so I did have a little experience. You can just imagine how much of the "iMovie knowledge" one can lose in 3 years. :-) I hope to add to it once I have access to my computer and pictures again. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tool #6 - Wikis

Well, you learn something new everyday. I've used a wiki numerous times and didn't even know I was using one. I look up things quite a bit on Wikipedia! Anything from different vacation spots around the world to learning more about the Sookie Stackhouse book series. It's the place I like to go. I never thought about using wikis in my classroom maybe because I didn't know what they were...until now. :-)

I like the idea of having an online portfolio for my second graders to post their work throughout the school year for their parents to see online. I feel like this may be a challenge, but the earlier children are exposed to all of this wonderful technology the better. I feel like this will add another layer of that all important parent involvement and contact.

I can see where this would be beneficial to team planning. We could come up with lessons and ideas and meet to discuss all of them in further detail. I like the wiki idea, but I also like meeting with people face-to-face. I work better that way, but that's just me.

I also saw an idea for a wiki that I could use in my personal life. I am also trying to collect recipes from my mother, grandmothers and friends. Creating a wiki that holds all of my recipes sounds like a great idea!

Tool #5

First let me say that the silent videos didn't work so well with the way that I learn. I would definitely rather hear it than just look at a screen. I already had a yahoo account from an old email address that I had so I used Delicious. I'm hoping I will find more use for this later on, but so far this is my least favorite tool. I can see where this will come in handy when bookmarks become overwhelming. I can also tell that if my team decided to create a library full of websites to share, this could be beneficial to all of us.

I found a couple of websites that I really liked.

For this one I used tags such as animals, people and places, culture, photos and videos.

I also loved:

I tagged this one with comprehension, non-fiction texts, interactive learning

I am always trying new recipes so I added this one to my list of bookmarks:
I love food so it is necessary to add a bookmark with some recipes.

I tagged it as food network

Tool 6 here I come!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tool #4 - Google Docs

Talk about minimizing clutter in an inbox! I am the type of person that likes to have a minimal amount of things to look at when completing a project. With the help of Google docs, this can now be achieved. I know that one of my team members has already created a newsletter and has invited all of the members of our team to contribute input to it. I love the idea of being able to see everyone's input on one project and the thought of not having a ton of emails sent to one person and the next for a simple project is an organized person's dream.

I plan to go back to school to work toward my master's degree and I can definitely see where Google docs can come in handy when writing essays and communicating about different objectives learned in class. In my classroom, students will be able to complete class assignments and type them and I will be able to look at them from home. So convenient! Students will also be able to access their works from home to complete or show their families.

I actually used Google docs to create an invite to a Fourth of July celebration that I am planning in Austin. I am having people R.S.V.P. using the tool. They are also informing me if they will need a ticket to an outdoor concert we are attending on July 3. This is so fun!

Google reader is really neat. I added a couple of friends of mine to the blogs that I follow and of course I have the four blogs I am already following for the 11 Tools Assignment. I like this because it is definitely a challenge to keep up with the blogs that you have read and the ones that you still need to get to. On a side note, I also added

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tool #3 - Generators and Mashups = LOVE.

I have spent literally two whole afternoons looking through all of these fun gadgets! I've decided that I probably should move on to the next tool so a post for tool 3 was a must. To begin, I love love love (Did I mention love?) the word mosaic. It's so simple, but I really like it. The first thing that popped into my head was how fun this would be for children to create word webs. I took it upon myself to create a word mosaic about summer. I can see myself using this tool for classroom presentations to grab the attention of my little ones and then incorporating it into a lesson to allow them to have a go at it. Some of these tools could be a little advanced for second graders, but I feel the more exposure when they are younger, the better! I can definitely see myself using these for personal use too! I think the picture mosaic is way cute and I've made two with friends and one with family. A new holiday card in the works?....Who knows! :-) Here are my creations...

My Summer Word Mosaic:
ImageChef Word Mosaic -

My Picture with Friends Mosaic:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Personal Learning Networks - Tool #2

As a novice teacher, I think building a PLN is a great idea. This will enable me to reach out to people that share the same interests as I do. I am always up for learning new ways and methods that will help me become a better teacher. By creating a PLN I expand my "mentors" exponentially. I have learned throughout my education that I learn best when I am fully interested in a subject. This is exactly what a PLN is all about. Centering our worlds around something we are passionate about and want to learn more about. I think PLN are a fabulous opportunity for children to learn to become self starters in their learning and progress their education in fields they find intriguing. It is our job to model this for them.

There were a couple of comment points that rang a bell with me. The first one is that we need to make our comments meaningful and not be a passive blog reader. The next time I read something that truly resonates with me I will leave a comment, maybe even ask a question or two since I am full of them. I also liked the point that we as teachers need to know the importance of teaching children how to comment. If PLN are the way the world is going these days, why wouldn't we teach children how to interact and learn in this manner? Afterall, that is the reason we (teachers) are here. And last, but certainly not least, remembering the power of words. I think this is extremely important. It is sometimes hard to distinguish emotion through a comment, a text, or an e-mail. So, being able to express my opinion on a subject in a manner that does not cause a misunderstanding is key.

The blogs that I will be looking at throughout this journey are:
1. Jello's 11 Tools
2. Cool Cat Teacher Blog
3. 11 Tools Professional Development
4. Mrs. Manchester's Blogspot
5. My Life is Teaching

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blogging 101 - Tool #1

Wow! Who knew blogging could be so fun and simple? I have minimal experience with blogs. I have used them in the past to stay connected with friends to see what is going on in their world since I am not always able to see them and their families on a regular basis. I'm thinking now might be my chance to be on the other side of a blog and allow some insight into my thinking. How fun! :-)

Blogging can be easily incorporated into any classroom. A blog could be used for posting homework assignments or a spelling list for the week. I could also see a blog being helpful with parent/teacher communication by posting pictures of activities my little second graders will be working on this upcoming school year or helpful "Love and Logic" tips that I have included in newsletters in the past. Blogs could also be used as a discussion forum for a book study or a place to post websites for students in order for them to brush up on skills needed to master objectives in any grade level.

The only section I had difficulty in was creating my AVATAR. At first, I thought I was going a little crazy, but it turns out the site was having some "technological difficulties." My AVATAR is M.I.A. at the moment.