Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tool #11

I really have a lot that I'm excited about.  Two that I am going to start at the beginning of the year is Padlet and Edmodo.  I really like Padlet because there are many writing assignments that can be done on that.  An activity that I thought of is before we start a new unit, have them write what they think about that subject, such as poetry.  I found a good video that I could post that I hope would excite them, and then have them comment after they watched the video.  They could then post poems that they liked as we work through the unit or post original poems to share with everyone.  Another tool I will set up right away is Edmodo.  I would like to set up different activities on that for them to complete throughout the week to reinforce what they are learning in class. One more that I really liked was Story Creator.  That is a great one to use.  I think students would get excited about writing when they can actually see their writing in print.

My vision really has changed for my classroom.  I see better now how technology can be used to enhance.  I think the focus has to be on creating great readers and writers, but I see how technology can be used to generate excitement for them to want to do this.  I hope to use technology to generate that excitement for them to want to read and write better.  I'm hoping that my students will see that by reading and writing better, they will be able to use technology more.    
I will be trying to create technology objectives now along with my other objectives.  I will look for ways to incorporate it in useful ways.

I think the most unexpected outcome was how much I enjoyed it.  I was really dreading this because I am not very good beyond basic technology.  Going through this has encouraged me that I can do it and that there are many ways that it can be useful in the classroom to enhance learning.  I was very excited when I learned something, so hopefully I can share that excitement with my students and we can continue to learn together.  I'm very glad for this experience.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tool #10

As I was reading about digital citizenship, one thing I think is very important to teach is to not believe everything you read. As I've worked with students, I've seen how they think because it on the internet it is true.  Students need to understand that they should evaluate and analyze the source and also confirm what they read with several sources.  This is true of anything in print and I don't think it's being taught as much as it should be.  

Tied into this would be to teach how to access credible sources.  Students should be taught to go to reliable data bases and taught how to access those data bases.

Of course, one important thing to teach at all times is safety on the internet.  Many times students don't understand the internet can be a dangerous place to be as well as a good tool.

I liked Brain Pop from the Ed Tech website because it had many different topics for digital citizenship like online sources, safety, copyrights, etc.  Almost all of the things I would like to teach were there.  

Teaching digital citizenship should be an ongoing process that takes place all year.  I would definitely start the first week of school by showing Brainpop on etiquette and safety.  I would use each of the other ones as we had lessons that used technology, using whatever fit with that lesson.  Brief reviews all throughout the year would reinforce all the information presented.

One way to share the idea of digital citizenship is on the syllabus that is sent home at the beginning of the year and ask for a parent and student signature.  I would probably include something on my blog also.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tool #9

It is important to tie technology to the objective so that there is a clear purpose for using it.  Becoming a technology based classroom doesn't just mean that you have the ipads and other things out and the students are playing on them.  They should be used to enhance the learning.  There are many different programs that can be used to do this.  When you have a clearly stated objective for the technology that ties into the lesson, then the student is accomplishing more and benefiting from the use of technology.

Students should be held accountable for the learning that is going on in stations, otherwise it can become a play session and the objective is not reached.  Many students just want to "play" on the technology.  They don't understand it is a tool, so holding students accountable for the learning will help minimize that mindset.

I visited Learning Games for Kids and loved it.  There are so many different language arts activities that can be used.  In fact, one of them is being done in my class on paper.  I could set up a station where the student could do the activity on the ipad, write the answers down, and show that they did the work, holding them accountable.  Also open-ended sentences could be created that would reinforce whatever activity is being used.  Another site I visited was Thinkfinity which had some higher level activities such as writing and interacting with literature.  Most of the games on Learning Games would be for reinforcement. The second sight has more comprehension and higher level activities.  These could be used in a station as a springboard for group discussions and a short answer response could serve as accountability.

Two apps that I would like to use are Poetry Creator and Simple Minds x - mind mapping.  The Poetry Creator could be a station for individuals to work on writing poetry and the accountability would be the creation of a poem or the work that was produced that day.  Simple Minds is a brainstorming app that would be good for individuals or a small group to learn how to brainstorm and the list that is produced would provide accountability.

Ipads/Ipods can also be used for research purposes and a station could be set up for individuals or small groups to work on for papers that are being produced in class.  Google docs or Padlet could be used to post notes that they find on their research.  What they post would serve as accountability.  I would require a certain amount to be posted to ensure that work is being done.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tool #8

 After watching the videos on the different devices, I have learned several things.  One thing I did not know was that you can connect the projector to the a netbook so that the student's work can be shared with the class.  Being able to project on a big screen would allow for group work with editing, or responding.  Many different things could be done with this.  

I also learned that there is a web clip that can be put on the ipod or ipad to create a short cut to an often visited page and can be added to the home page.  I was also given information on where to find apps that have been approved by the district.  This is helpful because I have looked for apps and haven't found very many good ones.  

Classroom device management needs to be clearly defined. A list of rules for handling the devices and using them needs to be discussed and clearly posted.  I use classroom managers, so I would have a couple of technology managers who I can trust to take care of the equipment be responsible for distributing and collecting.  Of course, as the teacher, I would be monitoring to make sure that the content is appropriate.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tool #7

I was actually about to do this and just learned today that it is called flat classroom, so this worked out well.  I'm collaborating with a science teacher on a research project.  

Content objective: 
 Science - research on a given subject and write      
about findings.
Writing - use research done in science to create a research paper with citations.

Time frame to implement:
Immediately - May 8, 2013

Tools Used:
Noodletools linked to Google Docs

Description of Project:
Students will research a disease and take notes to create a research paper.  They will use Noodletools to create citations and Google Docs to write.  I will work with students in my class on Google Docs to help with writing portion of paper with the science teacher.

Tool #4

I created a document in Google Docs and shared it with my co-teacher.  This would be beneficial as a co-teacher because sometimes it is hard to find time to plan and create documents.  This would allow us to create documents and edit and frees up our time together to do other planning.  We can also share power point presentations or other videos that we find with several people.  

I also created a form which was a survey for the first day of school and shared it.  By sharing, other teammates can edit and look at the forms and use them.  

I like the idea of Google Docs for writing.  I am going to use Google docs with another teacher for research purposes.  We can work together on one project without having to actually be together as we are in two different subject areas.

Tool #6 - continuing...

I created an edmodo account and signed up my classes.  I really like this one.  This is a great tool to use for quizzes, polling, and many other things.  I haven't used it very much this year, but again I would like to incorporate it more next year.  I plan to spend some time this summer experimenting so I can do better at implementing some of these tools.  The only difficulty I see is that so many students don't have computers.  I know they can use the school ones, but it is more difficult.

Tool #6

Below I created a wall on Padlet.  I really like that site.  I could use it as an interactive wall for students to watch videos, like the one on poetry and then comment on it.  There are so many ways to use this.  I would like to set this up at the beginning of the year next year.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tool #5

I love wordle.  I am actually using this right now in my classes.  We have been creating a heartmap in preparation for writing a memoir.  The students have created a list of things that are important to them and we created a wordle to put on one side of the heart and then they will illustrate the other side.  I plan to start the year out with this next year and they can use the heartmap all year as a place to generate ideas for writing. I did create one, but it does not save once you leave the site, so the link is just to the site.
Tool #5

This is an awesome tool to use for creative writing.  Students can create a story with pictures and then publish it. I will use this next year in my reading class to help students with their writing and to get them excited about writing.  I think if they see their own story in print with pictures, it will help them want to write and get better.  I started a book to experiment and to show them how to do it.  I plan on creating a class account so they can work on it from other places.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tool #3

I visited several streaming sites.  I was not able to get on Teacher Tube, which I would have really liked to check out.  You Tube has more resources than I realized and I embedded 2 videos to use with Language Arts.  I will try to use my blog more next year and do this.  

I learned that copyright laws pretty much last forever now instead of the 14 years they used to last.  Fortunately, the Fair Use laws help teachers by granting them access to different works as long as a specific lesson is being taught using the material and it doesn't have a commercial impact.

I also created a dropbox and saved some files to it.  I need to find out if it's meant just for pictures or other types of files too.  It would be a shortcut in the classroom to find information or store student files with things they are working on in class for quick access.

These are songs using similes and metaphors.
This is about verbs.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tool #2

After visiting several blogs, I think participating in an online community can be a great resource.  I saw some great ideas for teaching English, using technology and working in special ed.  The experience can be overwhelming also.  There is so much out there and it is time consuming to try and find just the right blog with the information that you are looking for.  I guess it just takes time to build up a list that is beneficial.  I will definitely be visiting some of the blogs that I came across.  It was interesting to read some of the comments, but most of the time it seems as if they are just commenting on how they feel about the blog which doesn't really interest me.  I personally did not like commenting that much.  If I felt like I had something spectacular to share that would help someone than I would comment, otherwise I don't feel it's necessary for me to make a comment, except to compliment the blogger if I really liked what they had done.  I feel more comfortable sharing face to face.  I will visit the blog again.  It had a lot of resources for special ed teachers.