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.