Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tool 11!!!

I don't know that my vision for my classroom has changed!  But, I am really looking forward to having the tools within my classroom that will allow me to utilize more freely the technology that I love to make available to my students.  I feel like I still need to put thought into how I will check out/in the devices on a day to day basis and I need to start thinking about stations in my day to day planning - yea!  I am looking forward to allowing the kids to try new tools for project outcomes, like Stupeflix.  I also plan to continue to utilize programs that we are already using, such as Blogger, Wiki Spaces and Google docs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tool 10

Ideas that I think are important that I plan to teach/already teach are:

  1. That they cannot automatically trust what they read on the web.
  2. Be picky about what sources you trust.
  3. Find support for what you read.
  4. How to find good sources.
  5. How to use the internet safely.
One resource that I plan to use for internet safety is:

Noel and I have discussed using the Cyberethics site, which has several examples of situations kids may come across on the internet. It will be a good way to discuss how to handle different situations that may occur.

At the beginning of the year we will have a class discussion on what digital citizenship looks like and create a list of characteristics to hang in the classroom. A copy would then be sent home to parents either electronically or on paper.

Tool 9

Matching the objective to the activity helps one to focus when planning on what the goal is and to make sure it does not turn into "fluff" or a lesson without a purpose.  Having a known objective also helps the students know what our expectations for them during the day is.

Holding students responsible for the stations will give them a sense of ownership in the materials and also help encourage good habits in taking care of equipment.  It also saves us from having to do everything!  

Mangahigh will be a great site to use a station, and it is a site that our kids are already using, enjoy, and that they benefit from! Students may play games on current or review topics. 

Thinkfinity has a planet size comparison interactive which will be useful while we are discussing characteristics of different planets. Students will be better able to visualize the size difference in planets.

The Motion Math app seems like it will be helpful to use as a way for kids to practice estimating fractions, something with which students tend to struggle. 

Science Lab app will be useful for students to study vocabulary. It has pictures along with definitions which will benefit all students but especially the ELL kids who tend to struggle more with vocabulary.

Students may be held accountable for the station work in several ways; keeping a track sheet of games played and vocab quizzes are a couple of examples.  It is vital that they are held accountable for their work at stations or they begin to think that it is only for fun and not a learning experience as well.  It is wonderful when we can have fun AND learn, but sometimes when it is just a game or just for fun, they don't feel like they need to take it as seriously.  When they have a purpose (objective and some accountability) they tend to take it more seriously.

Tool 8

Karen recently added a great resource to the SBISD Tech Tools site that is really cool...http://www.schrockguide.net/bloomin-apps.html and there is another site, also by Kathy Schrock that is also useful.  It is  http://www.schrockguide.net/ipads-in-the-classroom.html, that has a whole list of ideas for using the iPad in the classroom along with tips for classroom management. I think it will be a great resource to use.

Noel and I  plan on creating a space in the classroom for the storage of the iPads and netbooks. Each student will be assigned a device and be required to sign it in and out. We will also expect the iPad screens to be wiped before each student returns it to the storage area. Dropbox and Google docs both provide easy ways to access and share documents.

Tool 7

Noel and I will be joining another project that is already in the works.  It is called The Global Sun Temperature Project.  The purpose is to join students from around the world to determine what affect geographic location has on the daily temperature and hours of daily sunlight.  

We will implement this project during our Earth and Space unit.  Students will record the daily temperature, sunrise, and sunset times for Houston, along with out latitude and longitude.  This info will be entered on the project wiki page that is already formed.  They will then look at the information given by other students from around the world and state any relationships they have formed about location and number of sunlight hours and daily average temperatures.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tool 6 - Wikis

I think Wikis can be a great addition to the class room.  It is a great place for the kids to collaborate and share their own ideas on topics being taught in class.  We have a student assistant right now who is great at explaining math steps to his peers; he would be a wonderful person to work on a class wiki to share his knowledge with his class mates.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tool 5

Some of the kids in my class recently made a Stupeflix video for a science project we were working on, so I decided to try this for one of my Tool #5 requirements.  These videos are fun and easy to make.  I just uploaded some pictures I had on my computer, but I know it's also easy to use ones you find online.  Add music, set your times and you are done!  Biggest limitation is the under 60 seconds requirement to keep it free. Plus, I'm not seeing how I could embed this, but I know we did in December...  a little more research is obviously required!  Ok, I found it, whew!  See video below.

Here's a link to my classroom blog...

The FlyBer Blog

Tool 4

I will admit that just a year or so ago I was very hesitant to embrace Google Docs.  I was happy to use the  Microsoft Suite on my computer and saw no real need or purpose to try anything new.  What a difference a year can make, now I find myself a little (or a lot!) annoyed when people use email to do things that better tools exist for, like sign up sheets for parties. I now use Google Docs on a regular basis, and so do my students.  We've used documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings all quite recently in class and to communicate with my colleagues.  I've used forms a few times, but need to remember that it is really easy to use to create and to embed!

Tool 3

I love Creative Commons, http://search.creativecommons.org/, what an incredible tool!

Here is a video I could use in my public speaking class:

And a picture found using Creative Commons' search feature (url is located above).

Portrait of Augustin Louis Cauchy (1789-1857): Mathematician, Physicist, and Astonomer.  (Image from the Smithsonian Institution)

Tool 2

I've just completed the requirements for Tool #2.  I like Google Reader and have subscribed to a number of blogs that I would love to find time to keep up with; maybe this will help.  One of my favorite places to go to read about education is The New York Times.  I've included the link below, it always has a lot of great information and ideas.  Sometimes I love what they have to say and sometimes it's really upsetting!  Good stuff that gets you thinking either way.

New York Times Education News

I am still up in the air on how I feel about posting comments online.  It's a little strange to put yourself out there in a world where what you post is all others will know about you.  In conversations with your colleagues, you have plenty of other experiences and interactions for them to form their opinions about you - posting comments is a bit more of a one shot deal.  It is important to take the time to think about what you want to say and the best way to say it!  Hmmmmm, my mother would tell me I should do that before I speak, too!

Tool 1

This is my first post on my new blog, and my first post of 2012.  I created an avatar on Voki and added it, very, very easy.  The kids could spend forever playing with their avatars!  This is not my first blog, and I haven't run into any issues with the creation/editing process yet, fingers crossed!