Thursday, July 19, 2012

11Tools, #11: Self Assessing and Reflection

I love using wikispace and blogs, but this is not new. A new appreciation for Diigo and Glogster have resulted from this latest escapade with technology. It is overwhelming almost to the point of a mental shutdown, but this upcoming year there will be more of providing not just the instruction and group practice, with maybe some students getting hands-on work with a 21st century tool, but with all students working collaboratively within the classroom and independently to communicate in a global community. Beyond that, critical analysis of online text and thoughtful appropriate response using digital citizenship is also a student objective before June 2013. First, however, I want to see students using the ipad and itouch apps to become more savvy, responsible and self-confident.
This coming year should involve increasing parent awareness of the increased role of technology in the classroom before the signed consent form is turned in. There is also a necessity to carefully evaluate each student early in the year to determine who is ready to assume responsibility for themselves and the devices before using the internet. Immediate modelling of the class blog, wikispace, Glogster and Diigo, along with group creation of products should occur. Starting workstations probably with math activities will allow me to actively monitor the groups in the following areas: digital citizenship, use of devices, appropriate selection of websites and use of learning strategies that reinforce success with an academic skill. I am really giving some thought to parent "visitation"during workstations, specifically during guided reading groups when it is more difficult to monitor student activity in small groups.

The repeated summer projects resemble scaffolding learning. While I have had Google, Glogster and Diigo accounts (and others that are merely acquaintances) for a year or so now, I am just getting around to figuring out possibilities for using them with second grade students. But, the good news is that for some students the online experiences will be an eyeopening and for others they will be a point for take-off into the clouds, or shall I say icloud?

11 Tools, Tool #10: Digital Citizenship to ipad and ipod. Also, are a few of the sites that might be noted via icons or shortcuts on the ipad desktop. The following are second grade topics identified by the Texas School Safety Center: Personal Safety. Students should be introduced to the non-standard nature of the texts on the internet, not just proper etiquette and being safe, although the latter two are extremely important. I think Easy Tech will help with this, as well as class discussions, community circle conversations and role modeling. However, I think teachers are going to have to get VERY creative with their time in planning and instruction.

Three things I want to teach second graders: cyber bullying, appropriate website selections, and personal safety on the internet. To the parents I want to explain the importance of their child using the internet, and using it appropriately and safely. In addition, it is important that parents fully understand that they have a role in helping their child learn about internet personal safety and good choices as to where the child goes when online. This could be accomplished by adding the internet to the agenda of the September Open House event.

11 Tools, Tool #9: Incorporating Tools in Classrooms

This posting begins with an acknowledgement of the importance for integrating technology into the classroom. Undoubtedly, the internet advances at an astonishing rate, with the potential of being a tool for good or for evil. Creating and using the internet as a tool for sharing and storing valuable and true information can only take place if educators are among the groups out there trying to develop the internet as an important positive learning tool for academic purposes. The act of using these websites in the classroom provides children with the opportunities for enhance learning of content, as well as good and appropriate use of the internet. 
Part of a student's learning requires demonstration of published work meeting the requirements set forth in the assignment given by the teacher as set by the state government's curricula objectives for each academic area of study. The student ought show competency in use of technology tools, as well as creative and informed expression of the academic content.This is accomplished through exposure to online tools and high standards in using those tools.
     There are many websites posted on the 11 Tools training website that are free. Suffice it to say that I will in the very near future (my personal addition to the 11 Tools training)the classroom ipad and either through Dropbox or a photo taken of the website by the ipad place on the ipad screen easy links of fun websites for my students to access. I just know there will be students who can with little instruction manipulate themselves through the website. Once procedures are understood by students, written down in hard copy into journals, practiced in a fishbowl setting and incorporated into two workstations, one for the ipad and one for the itouch, I feel that students could use websites for practicing skills in math, language arts and ESL workstations.
     I found on a Spring Branch ISD link where to get some apps for the ipad and itouch that will be in my classroom the 2012-2013 school year. There are several good sites for geography, math practice and language arts that I will install onto the devices for my students. As I mentioned in an earlier post, and see as apps that can be loaded on the i-devices, I anticipate using Dropbox with my students and am pleased to find an easy way for my students to access the links. In the small-step-approach I plan to use with my second grade bilingual students I hope to significantly utilize the Glogster EDU Premium Multilicense that is/was available through the district in a limited capacity. By November I would like to have my students familiar enough with Glogster as a classroom tool for creating a response to literature or a USA state poster so that at least a small group, if not individual students, can create their own online visual and written responses to learning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

11 Tools, Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

I learned two cool tips for using the itouch: taking a picture of the screen and and creating a direct link on the itouch so students can easily access that site on the internet. These two features will no doubt be used so that students save time when viewing a video. Screen pictures, saved in Dropbox, become instructional tools for me for explaining how to use tools on a website. That same feature becomes a student tool for taking a picture (giving credit to the picture creator) and using it in a classroom project. Creating a project for the life cycle of an insect with complete vs incomplete metamorphosis will look completely different. So could a report on Texas or another great state, or an American hero.

Classroom management ideas are available here and have learned to bring links to my blog so I can easily access them later on. The two links above are probably going to be keeper reference spots. It seems logical to have classroom techies that can help spread troubleshooting know how to other students. Some students are quick to catch on and can responsibly assist others less concerned with being tech savvy. A stationing area for charging and safekeeping are an absolute, as well as guidelines getting the tools from charging station to work stations. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

This is a pivotal place to be, as in making us "go outside and play.... Remember to play nice and don't don't come home with your clothes torn." Where am I going to take my students out to? What are we going to do? How will we do it? When will we do it?

   Content objective -- I have joined and requested to participate in a fairy/folk tale cyber dictionary project. Here is the website: Here is the objective: Given a story with magical creatures, TLW recreate the story using key vocabulary highlighted and defined in a separate entry.
   When you plan to implement -- I would like to introduce this when we are studying initial sounds, narratives, or main idea and important details somewhere in this next school year.
   What tool(s) you plan to use -- A book with magical creatures has yet to be decided upon. I would like to use Storybird to recreate the book, then share it with the Barnstable project in whatever format can be posted on that website. In addition, the following website for additional resources might be consulted:
   A brief description of the project -- The plan is to read a fairy tale or folk tale with a magical creature, then the class compose a modern-day version of the story by first creating a dictionary of important vocabulary that must be defined separately in highlighted form and then used within the story, also in highlighted form. The storyboard will be created within Storybird and shared there, later to be given to students as independent work on KidPix or Kidspiration (really?) through creation of a student-illustrated page containing text of one page of the story, later compiled into one story. In addition, other teachers will be invited to see the students' work through other websites, such as wikispace or a Blogspot.

Friday, July 6, 2012

11 Tools, Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Communicate

Here is a blogspot I created to encourage participants of the upcoming Recipe-For-Success and Seed-to-Plate after school program we hope to start in the fall. I anticipate lots of interaction throughout the year. This could be for the participants in the after school program as well as the classroom teachers and students. I am so excited! I hope the students are too!

I have been working with Diigo for at least three hours now and I still have barely scratched the surface. Suffice it to say that I have applied for an educator account so that I can create accounts for my students to use throughout the year for science and social studies projects, along with reading poetry and narratives that could be part of a unit of study. I am still learning about Diigo and following, being followed. I like being about to capture useful websites and highlighting important information. Previously, for bird studies I would gather information, adding my annotations, using ActivInspire. I would then print out the pages for students to use. It was so much easier than going from computer to computer finding different websites for each student. That sounds so archaic now. I'm not sure how to post or embed anything here to reflect what is to come, hopefully.

I hope to be able to Skype once in a while with other classrooms or experts in a field as a means to enrich my students learning.

Monday, July 2, 2012

11 Tools, Tool #5, Produce with Web 2.0

While I have tagged several sites that I would like to introduce to my students, I would like to encourage them to try Glogster and Storybird for some of their unit projects that must be done in science and social studies each nine weeks. The children can share their work on a wikipage on our wikispace account or hopefully onto a class blog. There is a lot of potential for guiding them into using internet, sequencing work and behavior, being creative, using academic content, and considering work for other audiences.

I don't doubt that many children could do a much better job of creating a  poster relating to an academic area of study. I like Glogster for it's basic idea and ease. As with other sites (it goes without saying), I think students should approach a poster project on Glogster with the prior knowledge of what the objective is and of what opportunities are available at the website. I can easily see my second graders either individually (preferable) or in with a partner create a poster related to economic concerns, civic responsibility, or posters related to good health and gardening.

I used Storybird to create the following story. Students will absolutely love this site. It's easy to imagine the creativity derived from the great illustrations from the website and the ideas the children will come up with. Mimi, Teach Me About My Food by linsleyi on Storybird

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

11 Tools, Tool #4: Google Apps

Google Apps has a lot of potential beyond what we're currently doing. Google Docs can be used for communication between teachers, teachers and students, and students with other students. Tests can be created, students can place writing pieces here that are intended to go to the "publishing" stage, questionnaires and surveys, as well as group projects that students can work on together. Blogs may be readily incorporated into the classroom. Google Reader would give students easier access to the websites they visit regularly. Perhaps some of the websites will allow students to connect directly to their account in the websites found in Reader? Older students can use Google Sites to create internet sites. Students have greater control over finding sites they can use to access photographs, videos, and BrainPop. Students, in general, are more in control of navigating the web through discovery rather than having continual teacher assistance. I am excited about after-school children blogging about the garden and nutrition program that is starting up in the fall. In the regular classroom, I look forward to students having their accounts accessible and learning the Internet "layout of the Google Apps land". Some students are just wired to be tech-savvy and they will be the ones to be able to navigate different sites and use them independently. This gives teachers additional time to work with other students, as well as peer tutoring on how to be more fluent with the internet. Incorporating academic learning projects into the mix will be motivating, more interesting, and require more skills used simultaneously. I would like to see students also using email to communicate and online test taking.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

11 Tools Tool #3: Online Video

Of all the online video sites available to teachers I love most Discovery Education, which has provided video and video segments for my students in so many academic areas. I have also used YouTube and some of the traditional news services to show current events, the Japan tsunami being one in particular that significantly affected student understanding of geography, natural disasters and their impact of human life. For this lesson I explored TeacherTube, but I will have to visit the site another day because I could not get much to work there. I did, however, find several interesting videos for students and teachers on SchoolTube. Here is an example of a video benefiting students on what to consider before leaving a digital footprint.

The presentation of video categories and uploading procedures in SchoolTube is user friendly. Attaching a video to the blog was easy enough. The only problem with linking the video to ActivInspire is one that is common with other sites with links to flipcharts, that is the uncertainly of which web browser the video will open up in. No new surprises in copyright and fair use. There is no exaggeration in saying that it can be time consuming to note the source of the photograph or video being borrowed. It is time well spent, I agree. I love Flickr Creative Commons! I would like to have this quote here for future reference. From 21st Century Learning, 11Toolssbisd blogspot, "To download YouTube videos to your computer, use KeepVid or saveyoutube. Then, use Tube Chop or" I created a Dropbox account on my laptop and installed the app on my smartphone. Assuming one can easily add netbooks, ipads, etc. to the account, it makes teacher work more convenient. What comes to mind is how it is different or better from a wikispace in a teacher's point of view when considering getting pictures or files into student hands.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

11 Tools...Tool #2: Creating a PLN

 I have opened up my Google Reader to see where I left off from before. Several feeds have been deleted and new ones are in the process of being added. I'm still looking around on how to share some feeds for organic gardening because two other teachers and I are learning the Seed to Plate requirements in order to start a program at Woodview. I like Google Reader because it is convenient to move from place to place in search of the information I have stored or requested. It's like another brain...I wonder about the synaptic paths I am creating in my own brain that help me to recall where I am going on the internet and why I am going there. Then, remembering what to get and how it has to be used in the physical space. I'm Little Red Riding Hood trekking through the woods in hopes the Big Bad Wolf doesn't sabotage my trip.

Meanwhile, I left comments at the ELL literature blog and at Technology Integration In Education. I am still fairly unsophisticated at the whole aspect of making communication convenient for me because it's usually hindsight teaching me what's important and why it's important. It then becomes which site is more important because of the number of reasons WHY it's important. That is the problem derailing the learning process. oh well... I'll wait to see if one of my comments warrants a reply from the blog authors. That's a whole new twist to what's important. Ha! Talk about short term relationships, acquaintances, two ships passing in the night...long term relationships are yet to happen.

I just submitted a subscription request with, acceptance granted. So much to do, so little time. I feel like the Mad Hatter. This is a network I will follow, along with, but that's a newsletter I get at my email account. Hmm.

Here are my thoughts on building an education network through a PLN: it's really, really vast with a lot of advertising, and quick changes and technological advancements. It's hard to know the audience you're interacting with and sometimes difficult to evaluate the value of the information being consumed. Responding appropriately requires not only careful consideration of what is written, but also internet etiquette when responding. 

11 Tools...Tool #1: The Blog

I am familiar with Voki, but have not yet had children use it in the classroom. Perhaps next year will be THE year for having students create one, if for no other reason, just to have it on their wikispace page. But, truly this will give students some idea of what is out in cyberspace and how to manipulate tools. Also, the practice alone will make students more internet savvy. I wish there had been more time for this last year. With a change in district five-year goals this might be much more doable because there is now less emphasis on standardized academic performance and more on being college-bound. And what kid wouldn't want a Voki tool in their tech toolkit.