Friday, March 23, 2012

Post #11 Reflection

  1. I had the most fun with Xtranormal while creating a water cycle movie.  My kids are excited to make their own movie about their planet research. I am hoping to get this started in the near future. Finding time is the biggest hurdle.  
  2. The learning in my classroom is now so much more active than before. With new ipads and additional computers for more access to the mind boggling number of websites and applications, active participation is quite easy. But with all of the technology comes new classroom management issues and lots of structure. I am less fearful of the Web 2.0 world and know if I need any encouragement, my students will help me along.
  3. Unexpected surprises? Not really. I can see the endless possibilities for 21st century learning and the excitement that the students will feel. What frustrated me the most was the difficulty we had logging on to computers in order to carry out planned projects. When you spend all your class time trying to get a cow full of computers to access the internet instead of helping students, time is not being used efficiently. Hopefully the district will successfully address the problem. All in all, I learned a ton of new skills and information and confirmed the realization that it is just the tip of the iceberg!  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Post #10 Good Digital Citizenship

With the exposure to tools, APPS, devices, and internet access comes the daunting task of teaching our students how to operate in the digital world safely, friendly, and ethically. Francie has done a wonderful job making sure our students are well aware of their responsibility as good digital citizens. It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to reiterate, as often as possible, the what's and why's of rules of the cyber road. What a student considers "no big deal" or harmless and playful can open the door to many problems. In my attempt to incorporate Wallwisher in my class, I discovered that I did not sufficiently discuss proper posting etiquette before introducing the discussion topic. Lesson learned! I will set clearer objectives to what should and should not be posted so social comments and fraudulent names will not appear. Do not assume they all know what is right or wrong! Interactive websites that require registration and class lists make me nervous when they ask for full names of students. I will not give that out and hope students will not, either. Periodic review of safety is essential. We will revisit the entertaining BrainPop series as a refresher in the near future. Parents are a great advocate for the same digital responsibility. Including references to videos or sites that help foster discussion at home can be included in class newsletters and blogs. It is always helpful to have parents on board to support teacher efforts.

Post #9 Incorporating Classroom Devices

1. Linking our technology to content objectives is essential! (Make activities congruent with objectives)We have no time to waste during the day as we tackle the heavy load of curricula we are required to cover. 
2. Holding students accountable is also a must. Often times they get lost in the entertainment and forget that there is a purpose to their use of all technology. For those applications that render a final product, accountability is fairly easy, though cooperation and participation in the effort need also be added to the grading rubric. When no product is made, teachers need to have a written piece that demonstrates learning and understanding. Whether this is a journal reflection or a written application, students must know that they are being held accountable for their time spent on these devices.
3.  I found several new links to interactive sites that I plan to add to my current repertoire. I loved TutPup but was not able to register. Perhaps because it was the weekend and it is only available for registration during the week. I will keep trying until I am successful. I like the global scope as kids compete against students from other countries. I tried Mengahigh earlier in the year, but found it too advanced for third grade. At the beginning of the year I paid for a subscription to Learning Games. It is very easy to navigate as it is organized by grade level and skills. I tried to register for but was put off by their request for students' full names. I will try with only first names and see what happens. I am awaiting an email from Ten Marks to confirm my registration. I think the kids will enjoy all of these. TESiboard has the ability to print the results of an activity. Great accountability opportunity! In August, I compiled a list of interactive sites for parents to access as a way for their kids to practice math facts. Some of the suggestions came from the students themselves.
4. I actually visited the blogs of other HCE math teachers to see what APPS they recommended. That cut down on my surfing time considerably. I liked Mad Math, Coin Genius, and Fraction Factory. For accountability, students can take a screen shot of their results and email it to me or leave it in Photos for me to check. Then I can delete it to leave room for others.
5. I hope to experiment with a technology menu this year when our new devices finally arrive. It will be a work in progress as I become more familiar with the different tools and experience how the students react and  work cooperatively (I hope) together. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Post #8 Taking a Look at the Tools

There was a lot of information given in this section that will be helpful once the new Dell Netbooks hit the classroom. I did not know we would have to synchronize our iPads. Taking a screen shot is going to come in handy. I am excited to have a webcam! That will be lots of fun. I liked the intro video and will probably show it to my classes as a refresher to me and good info for the kids.

I think the management of the devices will be fairly easy. The suggestion for technology managers is great. They can be responsible for preparing them for the day and putting them away in the afternoon. Most of the kids in my class would be very responsible!

Post #7 Reaching Outside the Classroom

Well, here is my baby step.  I am not exactly flattening the walls of my classroom, more like knocking on the adjoining wall. Having two separate classes makes this fairly easy. I will see both classes in my room and will be able to oversee the process and progress. The content objective is to better understand the water cycle by creating a collaborative project with the Google Docs presentation program. The small groups in both classes will be assigned a stage of the water cycle. They will be required to explain and illustrate their stage with pictures and text, giving multiple examples of each stage ie. accumulation, clouds, precipitation, etc. One product will be compiled for a final project. Here is an example of the tool format. I would like to collaborate with another class outside of the US to gather and interpret data on some kind of science experiment. Maybe a little later.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Post #6 Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion

Wallwisher has endless possibilities. I created a wall on which students will post their conservation efforts at home. The link will appear in Monday's Rozzell/Martin newsletter and we will see who responds.On the first day, one child posted inappropriately. He posted and signed someone else's name and posted a personal hello to a friend. I talked to him and signed his planner so his parents would know. Go figure. Other than that, kids posted great comments and I replied to them quickly. I like this tool!

I used Edmodo in late September. I was not really impressed, but the year was young and I was not too familiar with the program or my students. I think I will give it another try and see how it goes. I can assign kids to comment on lessons or labs and poll the class about their opinion on various subjects.It definitely will promote communication and thought.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Post #5 Creating Products with Web 2.0 Tools

Trading cards can be used for any content area. Students can use pictures and text to convey knowledge. This could be a set of planet cards with pertinent information on each one. Or create a variety of scientist biographies as studied throughout the year. The text does not always space as expected and the program lacks a preview that is editable. But I like the concept.

Xtranormal is a very fun tool for giving voice to students. It is easy to create and manipulate and for the most part gives the product you expect. I wish the camera was easier to manipulate and also would love to see the ability to insert a graphic or photograph to help with explanations and examples. I think the kids would love this, as they would vokis. I made a movie about the water cycle to present to my class, but my account does not allow me to publish and there is no obvious way to upgrade and give me that ability, so I will have to finish this a little later. I'm back. I remade my movie for the class to see. I registered and will publish here. I read that it will cost me, but we will see. Free! Yea! I want my class to make movies during their study of planets. I hope to find a human/alien character mix that the kids can use to impart their knowledge of the planet of their choice.

Water Cycle Theif
by: macrozzell

I also tried another movie making site called GoAnimate. It was very limited unless you upgrade. I did not want to try in case it would cost me. Even the Educator version had a price. Though, it was easy to use. Trial Run by Mac R

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Post #4 Lifeline

I really like the idea of Google Docs and the ability to collaborate with teachers and students. This could greatly cut down on scheduling meetings to work face to face. The Google Doc form would be a great way to survey parent information and opinions on topics relevant to class activities and procedures.I created a form invitation with a cute design and sent it to my old team. Some got a plain document and others got the fancy one. Don't know why the difference.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Post #3 Embedding Videos

YouTube and TeacherTube are common "go to" sites these days. SchoolTube was interesting but video and audio quality was not always good. For them all, you have to search and preview everything! United Streaming is tried and true and after a while, you figure out the tricks to having content available without the kinks. To have a search engine for videos like should be a huge time saver.  Embedding them is not too difficult. Regarding copyright and fair use, my attorney daughter has repeatedly advised me that as long as I keep the media within my classroom or school community ( secure locations) and not out in the public, I am good to go. Tool 3 concurs. I think I will still go to Google Images as my first attempt at finding content pictures, but and are on my list to try again. Google Images user right filter is good to know about. I had to subscribe to Dropbox for a district committee and love its organization and accessibility features. I created a new folder just for my use and might finally be able to get rid of the 10+ USB drives I have from years past. I am curious as to how fast the allotted storage will be used and how easy it will be to acquire additional space.

Post #2 Building a PLN

At first I visited the blogs of close teammates and friends just to see their posting personalities and admire some of the clever and creative designs. This is all very new to me and I find it somewhat time consuming. I do know, however, it will only get easier and faster the more I use it. I then ventured to the blogs of HCE teachers who also teach Math and Science to see what they have found to be of interest and helpful in their classrooms. That was a big help in pointing me in the direction I wanted to go. Thanks ladies! I am likely to be more of a blog "eavesdropper" for a while as I get comfortable with sharing with strangers. I do not like the idea of public following and will keep it private for right now. As in everything, etiquette goes a long way. Asking leading questions and inviting comments is just good teaching (and conversation). I see my oh so tiny microcosm expanding with my PLN.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Post #1 Create a Blog and Embed a Voki Avitar

Wow! That was way easier than I expected. Francie, you did a great job bringing it to the lowest common denominator for all of us, especially the novices in the group. Your organization and handouts show you are really a good teacher. I love the Voki characters. I think the kids would have a lot of fun with this in any content area. My "fear factor" has just been greatly reduced. YEA!