Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekly Sound Project

Each week my students will be finding words with the sound for that week. Above is the SmartBoard portion of the project we completed in small groups throughout the week. For many, it was a good experience in handwriting (and alignment as the card/board moved). The students were in heterogeneous groups so they could help each other identify/hear words with the short a sound. Students each had to have their own word - no repeats! After a few days of practice, they sounded out their word and wrote it on the SmartBoard and then today we created the attached video. The lighting isn't great, but we truly only had about 10 minutes to do our best! There was a line on the floor, but they all wanted to be right next to the camera, but can you blame them? All so new and exciting.

We'll definitely have some editing thoughts for next week! We used to create the video. The best parts about this site is that it's easy and the sound comes through great. The hard part is there is no editing!

It will be awesome to watch how much they grow and change in the weeks to come.

SOT---Support our Teammates

One of my teammates is so excited by our efforts she has begun her own blog. Check it out and encourage our teachers to become more reflective and in-touch with the "real world" (even the though the "real world" has gone virtual -- perhaps I will blog about his intriguing)

Check out Nadja's Blog:

by the way I am very upset that I cannot get twitter to post my messages...from anywhere. I'm beginning to have withdrawal symptoms...this may require an intervention:
"Hello, my name is Tonia, I am a tweet-aholic"

Embedded HTML! Finally!

Ok, for some this may not be a huge deal, but for me the most challenging aspect of learning all of our technology tools has been embedding htmls. Of course now that I have done it on my own, it is quite easy.

Right now we are working on our IB unit called "I'm in Charge". We took a few photos today of students "doing what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it!" I have been very impressed with the reaction of students - they sure don't want to miss out on what comes next!

Check out our slideshow!

Create Your Own

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Google Reader Publish to Share

Regina Stewart recently mentioned that she was looking for some good math blogs. Several comments mentioned blogs or websites that were relevant. This got me thinking: if a student was interested in a topic how do we best feed that student's interest? How do we use modern technology to do this?

I decided to create a published webpage of blog entries using Google Reader and method Will Richardson teaches and John Albright has blogged about. Google Reader allows you to "share" any entry in the Reader bin. Once the blog entry or other content is "shared" a static webpage is create with the content. The content can then be viewed like a webpage. A button for this shared content can also be placed on your website, blog, or wiki.

Here is an example using math blog content. The person publishing the content through Google Reader (me in this case) reads through the blog readers and then decides which entries are worth sharing (and presses the share button). Those shareable are automatically published to the shared website. This could be really useful for a principal or department chair to quickly and easily share relevant and previewed content with colleagues. It could also be a cool way for teachers to create shared content for students.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Global Learners Identity Final Comments

Please checkout the four images here and vote for the layout you like best. In the comments portion let us know what color color scheme you like best. This the last opportunity for input before the final logo is unveiled, so make sure you have your input.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

First day, First grade, First Smart Board.

Yesterday I introduced the Smart Board to my class. They really enjoyed aligning the Smart Board! They got a lot of practice too because they kept bumping either the board or the LCD projector stand. I started teaching a few students how to set up the laptop, projector and Smart Board right from the start with the goal of having them be able to do everything for me in the future. I'll report later in the year on how that turns out. We did a quick lesson involving tic tac toe and transitional words. So far so good. Check out the details on my blog:

I also was turned onto a blog on Smart Boards by an educator named James Hollis that is full of resources. Be sure to check it out:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Making the leap

I have come across an issue that seems so obvious yet I hadn't thought of it. I was walking my students around my website and blog today and telling them all of the grandiose ideas of connecting with other schools and publishing reflections that can be commented on by hundreds of people. I was trying to give them the big picture and impress how great this opportunity is. Some were really doubtful and some were impressed. But the more vocal ones wanted me to surf over to or check out their my space page. It dawned on me that they are technology natives, but they have (mostly) only ever used that technology for recreational things. How do we make that leap from recreational to academic and professional? It didn't dawn on me that this is an issue that I think needs to be addressed. How do we shift their thinking?
I would like to also find some math classes that are blogging because I believe the more examples of posts they can read, the faster they can jump in. If you know of any good ones, please let me know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Global Learners Indentity Taking Shape

Check out the next level of drafts below. Which version do you prefer? What colors would you like to see integrated? What changes would make this represent our brand? Do you think we should integrate the Adams 14 name somewhere in the logo?

Please reply to the poll on the right panel.

Click the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


For our first day of class I have put together a video playlist from youtube to go develope a discussion with my classes about Respect, Achievement, and Responsibility. These are three things we try to focus on at ACHS. Check out the videos, i'll let you guys know how it turned out in class.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Finally a class blog

ok ok no more football updates on this page, summer is over and it's time to focus, stay on task, and be productive. Check out this page for my actual class blog,Gee-Im-A-Tree any comments or feedback is appreciated, I plan on using this as an extra credit, 1st day HW. Let's see if we I can get the students to comment, feel free to share some summer stories too! Oh and check out the pic on the bottom, I thinks it's kinda cool how it shows how math subjects grow from others. good luck as we start the year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Flickr Words

So Tonia added to the technology wiki and it looks great. It appears she too used SmartRecorder to capture how to use Flickr words in your website. Hope you go check it out. Plus she did way better editing it and the sound quality is awesome.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Google Calendar

So I've added to the technology wiki. I used SmartRecorder and MovieMaker to create a 4min video on how to embed your google calendar into your Contribute webpage. There is some audio but it's terrible and choppy (something with the SmartRecorder, I've got Dave looking into it). The wiki can be found at You can find the specific page at or simply view the video at here I hope you all get to join the wiki, add and use it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

First day jitters

Okay I'm back. I'm writing a blog from my classroom for the very first time. Its really exciting to be back. I feel like I've been preparing for my students for three months. Aren't they lucky? I'm really overwhelmed though! Two days of putting my room together and last minute planning. I can't wait to see how awesome my room will look and how the technology tools will integrate to create a classroom full of thinking, wondering, reflecting...and learning!

My room is busting at the seams with technology! I have 8 desktop computers, 12 laptops in a cart I will share, my smartboard, my projector and all of the ideas I have crammed into my head about helping my students experience the world!

Watch out world Tonia Johnson's classes are coming on-line, learing is in progress...don't get in our way!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Alternate Photo Sharing Site

With this site you can add videos, photos, songs, movies...all of these can be done for instant loading.

I haven't played with the whole thing yet, but looks pretty awesome! Post your thoughts!

Teaching others what we're doing

Alright so we have the problem of learning, sharing and using all of the technology that's been presented to us over the past few months. Everyone is becoming an expert in different things. I thought creating a wiki to share our experiences would be the best way to share. If you have something to add gr8, if not you can look and learn, share with friends or anything else. Here's the link of the wiki Hope you all think it's a good idea and participate.

Global Learners Indentity

A friend of mine has been working up some sketches for possible ways to get our identity across (as a group of cutting edge educators). He has put together some rough sketches of letters and different images. This includes everything and is rough (his words). He wanted to make sure we had a chance to see everything he has worked on so far. Once we develop an identity/logo we will use that for our websites and communication media (business cards).

Checkout the images below and let me know what you think. What parts work? What parts need to be added? What image/concept/identity needs to come across more clearly? What parts just don't get the idea of global classrooms across?

Thanks in advance of your comments. (click the picture to zoom)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting started with blogging and wiki's

On Monday, August 13, at 10:30am I'm going to begin a chatcast using Skype with a first grade teacher from Canada. Kathy Cassidy is going to answer some getting started questions about blogs, wiki's and technology in the classroom. Kathy teaches first grade Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. Comment if your interested and I'll make sure your invited!

Kathy's Blog

Kathy's Website
Hi All - Some of us are planning to meet on at 10:00 in the Board Room at the Ad Building on Tuesday, August 14. We plan to fiddle with the SmartBoard and maybe the webcam too. Join us if you would like.

Summer work

This is a cross post between global learners and the achs math technology blog at
I wanted to share some of the things that I worked on over the summer. One of the most universal things I wanted was practice with google docs where I typed in the question prompts of the Bloom's taxonomy. The document is published at My intention is to be able to print, cut, shuffle, or display in my room and have the students use these and try to progress up this chart (or down depending on your orientation.) Let me know if this it is helpful to have this typed and if it is helpful in the classroom.

I have also worked on my website (which has my voki), my blog for my classes the blog for the math department to communicate the use of this technology and the achs new teacher wiki at
I have also spent some obscene amount of hours on my new favorite site,, which is like myspace for moms. After playing with it for a while, I feel like I get it! Ah Hah! The web 2.0 and social networking! It is smaller than myspace so I can get my head around it and quickly got addicted. So, I like to think those hours were/are well spent in being able to relate to my students.

Learning to Play the Guitar (Darren Kuropatwa)

The first hour of Darren Kuropatwa's presentation at Adams 14 on August 9, 2007. The audio in the first few minutes is low, but should be audible. It gets better as the video goes on. Darren did an outstanding job of weaving 21st Century tools into a discussion of pedagogy (or Best Practices). More footage will be uploaded shortly.

If the video player does not activate use this link:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Using a video iPod in the classroom

I forgot that I was supposed to do this post earlier this summer. The only ways that I can think to use the iPod are recording tests so that disabled readers could have the test individually read to them which would allow them to work at their own pace and also allow them to remain in the classroom. Lessons could be recorded and put on the iPod for students who were absent. I'm assuming that work done on the smartboard could also be saved and downloaded to the iPod. What about power point presentations? When I put the question to people on a science listserve I also got the idea of virtual fieldtrips. I'll go back and read previous posts to see what other ideas there were.

Metacognition for me!

Metacognition is something I've been trying to employ with my students for the past two years. I was excited to hear Darren talk about it today. It really hit a "aha" for me! I've been using my blog sparingly, having students comment on current events or other happenings. It was amazing to see Darren use them for students to summarize and create their own learning experiences. I definitely feel like I'm doing my job well when I can step back and give students control of their own learning. (And I'm a lot less tired when the bell rings). I would like to try to use the approach he has been using with his students with my students. This seems like it would fit into every theory, strategy and pedagogy that I've learned in grad school for my ELL students. This would be cognitively demanding! -- and make sure that content is comprehensible!!

On another note, I have resolved to keep my own blog on my experiences and aha moments ... because I deserve to learn to! It would be great to have a record of that learning (just like my students will have at the end of the term)

So, please check out my new blog and aid in my learning!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ms. Schwichtenberg's Website

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know that my website is officially up and running. I'm very excited for everyone to see it and use it as you see fit! If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to consider them.
The website has 2 pages for students to access during literacy centers - these include access to I.B. unit information, videos, games, and podcasts. Parents also have access to curriculum, standards, calendars and activities to do at home with their children.

Check it out at

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Summers almost gone!

Hi everyone just wanted to check in and say hello to the group. It's almost time for us to get back to it. Im excited about what we can all accomplish together this year. I will unfortunately miss the next training so I want to wish good luck to everyone with the school year. For an update on our football team check out this link.

Alsup Fourth Grade Wiki

I have created a wiki for the fourth grade to engage in online collaboration around the creation of our IB units. This seems like a perfect way for us to continue to develop these units and have our information in one place with the ability to pull it up any time. This summer I have worked on developing two units specifically: I Am Seeing Stars, a study of the Solar System and, A Timeline Study of History, a study of historical people of Colorado. I have done these on my own without consulting anyone... hardly a collaborative effort. But, I am hoping that this space will encourage everyone who has taught these units, or anyone else for that matter, to go in and add information, great ideas, resources and inspiration.

Go to Mr. Lewis' World Learners blog for a link and more information.

Design as a 21st Century Skill

On Friday August 3rd Daniel Pink was the keynote at the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. If you are not familiar with Daniel Pink, he is a former Gore speech writer that has taken up writing business books. His most recent book, A Whole New Mind, argues that left-brained skills such as analysis that were favored in the 20th Century are no longer sufficient to be successful in the expanding global economy. Jobs that include automation (or routine) can easily be outsourced for cost savings. The jobs of the future will require a worked that has left-brained analytic skills and right-brained skills like: design, symphony, empathy, play, story, and meaning.

Photo Credit

During the keynote address CASE had several live "bloggers" posted at the front of the room and members of the audience were also invited to join the discussion. If you read the discussion you will see that folks are responding to Daniel Pink, interacting with each other, and asking questions...all live. CASE actually convinced Mr. Pink to stop halfway through the talk and respond to the discussion on the "blog". This was an exciting moment of interactivity. I applaud Dan Maas (CASE President and Littleton PS IT Director) for setting this up, Daniel Pink for taking the risk, and everyone who participated live. I look forward to the day when people from outside the room are joining the people in the discussion. Truly, the power of this new social web resides in global connectivity and communication.

If you review the transcript you will find reference to Adams County School District 14 building a new high school. The comment asks whether our high school will be better designed than a Starbucks. I assume the comment was not intended to be insulting or even tongue in cheek. In fact, in Pink's talk he emphasized the importance of design and implored us to ensure that our schools of the future are better designed than a Starbucks. In the context of school design does form follow function? If so, what is the function of a 21st Century American high school?

How should schools and curriculum change to accommodate these new right-brain skills?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Experience With Class Blog and Learning Grids

This summer I taught a 5 week pre-college Anatomy Course, I decided to utilize the learning grids on excel, similar to what Kelly Star with schoolkit had shared with us. The overall quality of learning and student engagement was great. Due to constraints 0ne student was not able to complete the assignment on the computer and was allowed to do a paper/pencil version. It was only as this student turned in the assignment that he said "so basically this was just a vocabulary activity". None of the other students figured out that this learning activity was just a way for me to expose them to the essential vocabulary. To me this illustrated that if the learning is fun, engaging and something out of the ordinary the students are likely to learn without even realizing they are learning.
The second type of technology I used was a Blog, I was able to post lecture notes, helpful websites and finally required studnets to place their ppwerpoint presentations to the Blog. Each student was also required to comment on at least one other presentation. Overall it was easy to manage and even though it was a very short durration, generated some good discussion. I think I will use both of these technologies this year.