Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tool 11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

The favorite tools in my toolbox are: Google Docs, Dropbox, Voki, Edmodo, and epals. I'm planning on working on a reading project with a class in another country (similar to last year) using epals and Edmoto (thanks for the suggestion Karen J.).

My vision for my class has been transformed somewhat. Students can demonstrate their learning of a skill or strategy by what they produce on the computer screen. They will be able to receive immediate feedback. I will still be able to help them learn, but so will their collaborators. Students will be able to work at different stations at the same time.

An unexpected outcome for me was the realization of all the resources that are available through SBISD - such as Atomic Learning, Ed. Tech, etc. They will be very helpful as I continue to add more tools to my toolbox to help plan for my 21st Century students.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tool 10: Digital Citizenship

Three things that I think students should understand about being a good digital citizen are: 1) Understanding what it means to be a good digital citizen and why it is important, 2) Understanding that it is an ongoing process, and 3) Understanding that they will be held accountable for their actions ( posts, blogs, e-mails, etc.), as well as their understanding of my expectations of them.

I will share Wes Fryer's blog, Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Presentation. I think he does a nice job of addressing the subject.

I plan to teach my students about digital citizenship by having them blog and post after I have taught them about it. I will make any corrections and suggestions as needed.

I plan to keep parents informed by posting this information on my blog, as well as a letter home. I will also discuss this information with them at our Report Card Pickup night.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tool 9; Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices

I think it's important to tie technology to the objective so that the students learn the appropriate skill being taught. It's important that the students understand the purpose behind each lesson.

I think that students should be held accountable for each station so they will feel empowered about learning the skill being taught. This will also help each student have more autonomy (and pride) when they review the product they have created.

Two interactive websites I would like to try are: Thinkfinity and Studyladder. Each site has multiple activities students could work on. I would require each student to blog about what they learned  about that day.

Two sites that I would like students to use on the iPad are Free Books - 23, 469 and Play Time Theater. 
For accountability, I would also have students blog about the book they were reading in Free Books - plot, character analysis, setting, etc. For Play Time Theater, the students' creation would be the accountability piece.

In regards to the iPad, I think I could produce my own podcasts, so that if students are having difficulty reading a story on their own, they could later listen to mine. I think that would be very beneficial.



Friday, July 13, 2012

Tool 8: Taking a Look at the Tools!

I learned that the netbooks and the iPads are both very versatile tools and can be used in many different ways. They can both be used individually or in group settings. They will help differentiate learning in my class (since most of my students are at very different reading levels).
I plan to manage the tools as follows: clear written policies, procedures, and instructions, daily written lesson plan with clear expectations within a prescribed time limit, rotating weekly managers to be responsible for equipment.

Tool 7 - Going Global

I finished up last year completing an online project with a high school class in Freiburg, Germany. We worked through ePals.com (which worked through their e-mail system). I'll plan a similar project for the upcoming fall semester. In conjunction with reading the novel, Breathing Underwater, students shared their experiences in the following areas of their lives: dating practices in each respective country, the use of alcohol and drugs, weekend activities, and family activities. Students communicated with each other individually and through groups that each instructor set up. The project went well, my students enjoyed making new friends half way across the world. They were amazed by the similarities they had with the other students. In addition to the ePals e-mail system, I am going to also try another tool, such as Skype or Voicethread to speed up the communication process. ePals tended to be on the slow side, but was also a good exercise practicing writing skills.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tool # 6, Promoting Discussion Using Web Tools

http://www.wallwisher.com/
This should be a good tool to use for brainstorming while promoting discussion from my students. We can use it while discussing novels, short stories, characters, settings, and many other kinds of details. It should be a good site to engage everyone. It could also be used as an anchor chart.

http://www.todaysmeet.com/
This should also be a good site to get everyone engaged. I could see using it to have discussions about plot, characters, making predictions, etc. While promoting discussion, everyone would be able to participate in an enjoyable manner.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tool # 5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

The first tool I worked with was one of the Word Cloud Generators, http://www.abcya.com/. This will help my students develop their vocabulary as well as identifying the main ideas and supporting details. I worked with the novel, Sarah, Plain and Tall. I tried embedding it in this blog, but ran into technical problems. Please check back.

The second tool I worked with was Storyboard, http://www.storyboard.com/. This tool will help my students develop their reading and writing skills, as well as understand the literary elements in each story. I also ran into technical difficulties embedding this product into my blog. Please check back.

I'm looking forward to using both of these tools with my students. I'll model some examples of each, and then let my students turn on their creative juices!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tool # 4, Google Apps.

Google apps. should help expedite communication within our department. I think we can have less meetings while conducting our business through document sharing.
Google apps. should also help in the classroom in three main areas - communication, collaboration, and creation. Students will be able to work in class, as well as outside of class. The entire class can work on one document, or groups can work on separate documents. Students will be able to work together without actually being together. A paperless classroom will be a big advantage.
I'm especially excited about using the collaboration tools. I think they will help the students learn from each other while encouraging individual creativity.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tool # 3 - Adding Video

For this tool, I found Teacher Tube and blinkx most helpful. I think it is important to understand what the copyright and fair use laws entail, and to teach and model the important points to our students. Students also need to learn about plagiarism and how to cite their sources in our evolving digital environment. Dropbox seems to be a great organizational tool. I'm looking forward to using it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tool # 2 - Personal Learning Network

I'm looking forward to building my PLN as well as participating in others. Last year my students enjoyed using Read, Write & Gold 10 and working on a global project through epals.com. I feel somewhat reticent about sharing my thoughts publicly, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I have enjoyed getting immediate feedback from teammates when interacting with them, whether discussing successes and/or challenges. I'm going to add Diigo to my network this school year. I like the idea of bookmarking and annotating with my students, as well as the simple setup.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Setting Up Blog

With a little help, it was pretty easy to set up this blog. I'm looking forward to using it next year. Mr. Fiedler