June 8, 2012

Tool #11

While all students will be required to research a bird in science, students could choose from a variety of tools to present their information.  Instead of all students writing a report, students could use a word cloud as notes for an oral presentation, create a set of Bug Huge Lab trading cards about the bird, or create a Glog.  These were a few of the tools I used during 11 Tools that I really liked.

The biggest transformation in my thinking is that my students need more choice in the classroom.  In previous years, students completed projects using technology, but all of the finished products were the same.  This was a great way to teach the kids how to use a tool, but they were not given the tool as a choice for later projects.  My vision is for students to have choice in how they present their learning.  In addition to adding choice to accommodate 21st century learners, I  want to make students more reflective about technology.  Students need guidance on effective ways to use technology and be good digital citizens.  Just because students know how to use a device, website, or software does not mean that is the best way to present their information or that they know how to use it in a responsible way.  Students need to be taught to evaluate the effectiveness of a tool before deciding to use it for a project.

There really were not any unexpected outcomes.  I learned more about technology and how to use it more effectively in my classroom.  I have more ideas on classroom technology use.

Tool #10

I want to make sure that my students understand these things about being good digital citizens:
  1. Not to give out personal information
  2. To keep their SBISD ID/password a secret
  3. To check with a teacher or parent before going to a website, creating an account online, or downloading an app (even if it is a free app)
I plan to use the Cybersmart THINK rule to help kids with basic rules of being online, such as getting permission to be on a website, keeping passwords secret, and protecting personal information.  This site also has videos, called Hector's World, which are divided into three topics, keeping personal information safe, cyberbullying, and computer security. Each topic has several videos.  I plan to discuss the THINK rule and  watch the videos with the students before students are allowed to use devices.  Students will discuss how these rules apply in their own lives, both at school and at home.  I plan to email links to the THINK rule and videos for parents to use to discuss digital citizenship at home.  Curriculum Night would also be a good time to discuss digital citizenship with parents.

June 7, 2012

Tool #9

It is important to tie the technology to the objective so that the technology has a clear purpose.  It isn't just something thrown in for the sake of adding technology.  Students must be held accountable so that they responsibly use technology.  They need to know that their progress is being checked so that they don't play on the technology without a purpose. 

I liked Thinkfinity and Learning Games for Kids.  Since there are so many games on these sites (which can be a little overwhelming), students could write a review of the games that are played for accountability.  The review could have the title of the game, the category or how to find the game on the site, and a few sentences about the game for peers.  These student reviews can be sorted by objective, so students can find an appropriate game during stations.  Several of the activities have things that can be printed, so students need to know the expectations of printer use.

In math stations, students can independently play math games to review math objectives.  I installed these math game apps for math stations:
  • Math Adventures - Number Find Lite:  This is a great app for students to understand the patterns on a 100 chart.  Students could write their stats - their score, time, and number missed - for accountability.
  • Aliens Kids Math HD Free Lite:  This reviews math facts and has pictures for the math problems.  There is only one level in the free version, but the problems are different even when playing the level again.  Students can graph their scores for accountability.

I can also see using the iPads as a camera for students to find real world examples of a concept being studied.  Students could work in a small group to find real world examples of geometric shapes.  Students could also use the video camera to film book reviews or demonstrations of regrouping.  The pictures or video product hold the students accountable.  

Tool #8

Things I learned:
1. I learned that I am supposed to download all apps and content to my laptop and then sync the iPads in my classroom.
2. I learned how to name and sync the iPad.  I now have one named iPad with a few apps on it.
3. Since I'm not completing 11 Tools on campus, I have no idea if my devices are already set up to connect to the SBISD wireless network.  The video with directions on how to set up the SBISD wireless network will be important in August.

I plan to set a technology rotation schedule as part of literacy and math stations.  This will allow all students equal access to the devices in our classroom.  I think having "technology experts" is a great idea that will allow students to solve technology issues themselves.

Tool #7

Objective: TLW analyze nonfiction text features by finding examples and determining the author's purpose for using the text feature.

Implementation: This project will be implemented in the fall semester.

Tools: Diigo, Google Docs, Skype, Wallwisher

Project Plan: Students will access websites through Diigo and will use the Diigolet tools to highlight nonfiction text features and add a sticky note to explain the reason the author used the highlighted text feature.  Diigo will also be used for students to visit other groups' projects.  Students will plan and collaborate with group members using Google Docs and Skype. Wallwisher will be used at the end of the project as a refection to discuss information learned, the effectiveness of the technology used, and the effectiveness of the collaboration.

Collaboration: Almost every grade teaches or reviews nonfiction text features, so this project could be done with a classroom within the grade or across grade levels.  This is a project that could also be done with book buddies.

Tool #6

I used Poll Everywhere to create several polls.  A question is created and responses can be open-ended or multiple choice.  Here are some examples that I created: 

Polls can be answered by text message or online.  I would use online voting in my classroom rather than the text message option.  The site to vote could be put on a class Diigo account to make it easy for students to vote.  This type of poll has more options available than Activotes, because polls can be open-ended and because voting can be done throughout the day or week.  Polls could be used to discuss character traits, determine main idea or discuss story elements.  The poll could have a part of the story arc and students could respond with the part of the story that fits the given arc component.  Students can participate anonymously, which may help some students feel more comfortable participating.  Participation may also be increased because students have more think time, especially if the poll is done over a week.  When poll results are discussed, students may be defending the answer they gave or a peer's answer since it is anonymous.  Students may also participate more when discussing reasons for an answer if they know their opinion is the same as some of their peers.  Polls are online, so parents could be also invited to participate.  (Polls can even be emailed to parents.)

I used Wall Wisher to create a wall.  This wall could be emailed to the emails of the students' parents or the address could given out at Meet the Teacher to get students excited about the new school year.  Students do not need an account to post to the wall. 

Because the "sticky notes" can be moved, this would be a great way to make a story arc. Students could add events from the story throughout the week. The wall could be put on the Activ Board and students could arrange the story parts and discuss the shape of the story arc.  Students could answer a question on the wall or write supports for a claim.  In science, students could list examples of a given state of matter or a natural resource.  In social studies, students could write or find examples online of services.  Wall Wisher gives students more think time if the results are reviewed after several days or several times over a unit of study, which increases participation.  Students could work in pairs to create a note, which may help students who are reluctant to participate.  Participation may also increase because the sticky notes can be text or a link to an online image, audio clip, or video.  The wall provides students the opportunity to use websites to express ideas or use an image to explain an idea.  This option would be beneficial to ESL students and students who have difficulty explaining an idea.  It would also increase participation because students enjoy sharing information that they find online.

Tool #5

I used Make Beliefs Comix.  I created a comic about Amelia Earhart, which could be used in social studies when we study famous Americans:
I think the comic style would be great in lessons because it is a fun way to present a small amount of information and would get the students' attention.  It could be used at the beginning of a lesson as a quick introduction or at the end of the lesson to review important facts.  As a review, students could explain the reason for the dialogue or discuss events that would follow the last panel.  Although I think this is a good tool for teachers, it would be difficult for second grade students to use independently.  The constraints of the style may be more than students can handle.  There is a limit to the number of panels and the space available in each panel.  The text space is also limited by the size of speech or thought bubble.  If too much text it typed, part of the text disappears.  There was some trial and error in choosing bubble size.  Projects cannot be saved and they must be completed in one sitting, which could be difficult for students given the time needed for this tool.

I used ABC Ya! Word Clouds for Kids to make a word cloud.  My cloud uses words from the Frostwood Creed and our Life Skills.  This  cloud could be used to review school expectations.  This is an easy tool for students to use.  The only disadvantage is that there is no spell check in the tool.  I can see many uses for this tool.  In reading, students could create a word cloud about a character from a book.  In science, students could show information about a bird they researched and use the cloud as a cover page for the bird reports.  Making a cloud from researched information would help students determine which words were the most important, especially because this tool limits the cloud to 24 words.  Clouds could also be made to show characteristics of a habitat or an animal.  In social studies, students could create a cloud about a hero, event, or unit.  Clouds could be made with key vocabulary from a unit, such as economics, and students could discuss each word in the cloud as a review.

June 6, 2012

Tool #4

I had my students use Google Docs this year to create documents.  I loved that it automatically saved and that students could not save it in the wrong place.  It made saving and accessing documents so much easier for the students.  Plus, I wasn't spending time trying to recover files or find things incorrectly saved.

However, my students used Google Docs in the same way that they would have used Microsoft Word because I did not have them use any of the "share" features.  I didn't know how to use the features that would enable them to collaborate or edit a peer's work.  Students could use Google Docs to collaborate and revise instead of just as a publishing tool.  Using Google docs with teammate would eliminate the problem of figuring out which file is the correct file out of several copies of the same file with different updates on each.

I liked the form in Google Docs.  I think making a form would be a good way for students to do responses to texts, especially because there is a wide variety of formats for the responses to the questions.

Tool #3

I show videos from Discovery Education for science, math and social studies.  There are many great videos that help the students understand the concepts being taught in these subjects.  It is easy to search and narrow the search by grade level and media type.  The most helpful thing on Discovery Education is that the videos have teacher guides and black line maters.

This video from Discovery Education can be used in our economics unit.  It is about service workers and also reviews wants and needs. 

This video is also from Discovery Education.  It is about the water cycle.  Students laughed at the animation at the beginning of the video, but they liked the video.

Copyright is ownership of material and work.  Copyright only lasts for a certain amount of time, so older material may not be covered by the copyright law and may be part of public domain.  Material that is in the public domain can be used by anyone.  However, fair use says that material can be used if only a small amount is used and it is used in a criticism or parody.  Work can also be used if it is transformed, re-purposed, or something is added.  Copyright is difficult for students to understand.  I don't fully understand copyright laws, so I can't really effectively teach copyright to my students.  Students often don't understand why they can't just Google something and use whatever they find.  It is important to teach them to use Flickr or Picasa instead of Google. 

Dropbox would be useful to give students one place to get files, media, or pictures for projects.  These files could be shared among classmates and accessed from anywhere.

Tool #2

I visited the blogs of several colleagues today.  It was interesting to read about the progress that everyone is making.  It also made me feel a little behind in this process to see how many tools were completed by others.

I think building and participating in a PLN is a great way to get ideas.  Commenting on the 11 Tools blogs of colleagues is a little difficult because we are all early in this process and our posts are very similar since we are answering the same set of questions.  On blogs outside 11 Tools, there is more opportunity to comment and more of a discussion.  These blogs also have a much bigger audience, so even a small percentage of people who comment can lead to a large number of comments.  At times, the comments are repetitive because people comment on the post without reading the comments of others.  Asking open-ended questions is a great way to get comments on your blog.  However, most people want to leave a short comment and questions that require too much work on the part of the reader/commenter will probably not get many comments.  Controversial issues get a lot of comments, but these comments can get out of control and can become more of an attack on other people who left comments.  Controversial issues probably will not be anything that I would post about on a professional blog.

It doesn't bother me to comment or share my thoughts publicly.  It is different than sharing with a teammate because there is no immediate feedback.  It can also be difficult to determine the "tone of voice" unless you know the person well.

A blog I plan to visit in the future is http://readingyear.blogspot.com/.  This site has book reviews of professional books, kids books, and ideas for lessons and student projects.  One helpful thing about the blog is that information referenced from previous posts are linked to those posts.