Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I was also pleased with how quickly the students adapted to having the live blog in the classroom, reading it and commenting on it, and even stopping the conversation when they wanted to address a point that had been made on the screen. They adapted really well and have made it a part of the classroom culture already, so I definitely think it's here to stay, at least for this class. I've also begun thinking of ways to collaborate within the building on this... live blogging represents some real possibility for cross-classroom and even cross-curricular conversations. A real plus is that it's really amazingly easy to use, and it doesn't require anything beyond a laptop and projector, so incorporating non-Global Learners will be a really easy thing to do. Let the walls continue to melt away! :)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
At any rate, there is a transcript of the class discussion and a podcast (Dec. 17), so anyone can listen in that wants to. I'm actually thinking of making that a regular part of the class now. It was a way cool way to dissolve the classroom walls, and I want to do it again. Dave is going to let me use a projector tomorrow as well, so that way the students can not only see the question posted, but they will also be able to follow along with the live blogging discussion.
Actually, since we didn't get to finish our conversation, we plan to continue it tomorrow. I will happily post up the link to it here and anyone who wants to join us on Coveritlive is welcome to do so. The class conversation will run from 8:45 until 9:15 or so. Come join us!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
We had about 65 fourth graders answer the following questions via blog, Twitter and WizIq:
"Regarding the connection, we generally recommend a connection with minimum bandwidth 512kbps for a good experience in a 2-way video session and around 256kbps for a 2-way audio session.. Each individual sees screens/ videos based on their bandwidth and only if they are active [speaking/ broadcasting/ writing] are others affected.
The Annotation feature works if you transfer audio control [even in free version] to the participants."
I was pleased that all four fourth grade classes participated, but logistically it was tough to have that many people in one room. They were in groups of about 10 and it was a little tough to have all students feel like they could just "act natural" and just interact in the WizIq session. Last year I did this in groups of 7 and it was much easier. I talked too much during the session, I would much rather have them lead the conversation. Is this too much to expect from fourth graders? We are going to try another "Summit" - type of activity in the spring around a different IB unit. That will be a good opportunity to tweak some things. Students were unaware that there were any technical problems and were generally excited to share their knowledge with the world.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Last year at this time I barely even knew what a smartboard was. This weekend I created 2 smartboard lessons of my own! The first one was on singular and possessive nouns. It was nothing special, but at least I figured out how to create a lesson. The second one though is quite fancy! OK--maybe not fancy but I am very proud. It is on money. Kate and Lisa, if you would like to use it, let me know. I am happy to share. My class thinks I am a real genious because I made my own. We won't tell them otherwise.....
Sunday, December 7, 2008
IB MYP 9th grade science students visited the freerice website this week to be reminded that we can make a difference in solving the world's hunger problem. My 90+ students each spent 15 minutes interacting with the programs on www.freerice.com and had donated 289900 grains of rice which is enough rice to feed 14.5 people for a day. The top scores were: pd 2 - Sandi (4200), Kyle (4060), Stephanie (3960); pd 3 - Angel (6300), Gio (6000),Nick (5600); pd 4 Francisco (5200), David (4840), Augustina (4760); and pd 5 - Samantha (4920), Sydney (4440) and Juan (4200). Blog activity can be accessed here.
According to the website:
FreeRice is a sister site of Poverty.com. Our partners are the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the United Nations World Food Program.
FreeRice has two goals:
1. Provide education to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.
This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.
Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.
Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you.
From wikipedia: this is a website where users play a various educational multiple-choice games in order to raise money to fight world hunger.
The games include chemistry (basic and intermediate), multiplication tables, English vocabulary (the game the site began with), English grammar, basic foreign language vocabulary for English speakers (French, German, Italian, and Spanish), geography (world capitals and country identification), and art.
Currently, for every question answered correctly, twenty grains of rice are donated to impoverished areas of the world. It is considered an extremely remarkable event, with many schools having classes use the site for extended periods of time.
Thanks for your time and attention. Thanks to Teri Dahn, librarian at ACHS, for showing me this site! This activity supports the IB MYP criterion "One World".
Friday, December 5, 2008
I think I found mine! Just before Thanksgiving students began learning about celebrations around the world. To begin the unit students completed a research project about a holiday. In pairs, students chose a holiday and asked three open-ended questions about their holiday. After they had their questions, students set out to find answers via a guided trip through the internet. After they found acceptable answers to their questions, pairs were ready to learn how to create a photostory. Our 4th grade blogging buddies volunteered to help the first graders find pictures and create their videos.
You can listen and view the videos on our Let's Celebrate page on our website. Students will soon have their meteorologist reports on our Weather page.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Lesson Overview/Objective (Original) - Students will collaboratively create a pictograph with another class as an introduction to Data and Graphs. Small groups (11) from each class would complete a pictograph representing the number of letters in their names. Using Dabbleboard, students would write their name, then the other class would move the name to the correct vertical position on the pictograph. This continued alternately for 10 students to put their information on the collaborative whiteboard.
*ALL students were excited about being on camera.
*Students were initially engaged as they saw each other through the web camera.
*Students from both classes received an introduction to graphing.
*Students collaborated within their own classroom as well as through the web.
*Everyone wanted to have their 15 seconds of fame!
*Explaining to 5, 6, and 7 year olds about the internet delay.
Ideas for Improvement
*Use smaller groups (maybe eight from each class).
*Give students more opportunity to be on camera.
We're excited to try our next project and we're thinking about using Dabbleboard or Twiddla. Using the online whiteboards are a challenge for both of us, but we think they offer a great resource to capitalize on the abilities of our students.
I just started my favorite math unit to teach all year- money. 2nd graders need to understand and model use of coins up to $1.00. For one of my math centers I run Ms. Ibarra’s store where students identify the price for items and the coins they will need to buy them. I also run a coin behavior incentive system where the students earn (paper) coins for behavior throughout the day to put in their piggy banks. At the end of the month the students use their coins to buy real items at the store I set up the day before winter break.
I have been doing this with paper coins but I was wondering if there is a way I could incorporate technology into this process? Ideas? Maybe an Excel sheet where they enter and add their daily earned coins?
With my coin unit, I found a sweet counting song video on TeacherTube. However, when I play it half of the video is covered with a white square. I tried to download it and the file isn’t Windows Media supported so I couldn’t play it. Anyone else had this problem or know any solutions?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Turnitin (also known as Turnitin.com) is an Internet-based plagiarism-detection service created by iParadigms, LLC. Institutions (typically universities and high schools) buy licenses to submit essays to the Turnitin website, which checks the document for plagiarism.
Students may be required by schools to submit essays to Turnitin, as a deterrent to plagiarism. This has been a source of criticism, with some students refusing to do so in the belief that requiring it constitutes a presumption of guilt. Additionally, critics have alleged that use of the software violates educational privacy and intellectual property laws.
Parent company iParadigms, LLC, also offers a similar plagiarism detection service for newspaper editors and book publishers called iThenticate, and run the informational website Plagiarism.org. Other services marketed under the Turnitin brand are aimed at the educators' market, such as grade marking and peer review services.
Checkout the User Guide and ACHS website...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hi all Here is a neat tool to download streaming videos that might not normally be downloadable (unless using camtasia or other screen capture programs). Instead of embedding a link to a youtube.com video etc, try this. Its free and works well. Doug
Here is a video showing you how easy it is to use...
And a blog post with more info...
Also worth checking out is real player 11 which can download videos too. Click here for more info.
PS the blog http://tipsandtricks-vista.blogspot.com referenced above is worth rss...ing
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Hi all. Christine Mac (ACHS math) and I (ACHS science) have decided to create a collaborative blog between students in her 11/12th math grade classes and my higher math ability 9th grade science students. Today 60+ of her students wrote a short introductory statement while 10 of mine did also.
Our goals will to be:
1. create an electronic dialogue where students of similar math abilities may help each other explore math applications in real life.
2. pair up students from both classes to assist in solving homework / content type problems.
3. allow the teachers to gain skill and experience in other web 2.0 tools applicable to this project such as voicethread, wizIQ, video podcasting etc.
Although we just started this, we are excited about the opportunity to work together and to engage our students with collaborative interactions. The blog is / will be located at http://macmathclass.blogspot.com/ and we encourage you to check back every few weeks as it develops and as we gain experience in utilizing this approach between our classes.
On behalf of Christine and myself, thanks for your time and attention.
Hope everyone is getting ready to enjoy their break.
It's interesting; incorporating technology into the classroom has become such an integral part of my planning over the past year. I often find myself experimenting with older and proven methods by adding a technological "tweak" to my thinking.
To get my students to move, I have created a series of "Flash-Driven Gallery Walks." I break the students into smaller groups (around 5) and I assign them a specific topic as governed by the district standards. I'll use 7th Grade Language Arts:
(3.f) Use complex punctuation (e.g., commas, colons, semicolons, quotation marks, hyphens, end marks) with greater precision
I make sure that each group has a computer and will then assign the group a specific advanced punctuation mark with a few basic guidelines as to what they should include (exemplars, definitions, clarification, different uses). The groups have time to use the internet and their books for research and find examples as to how exactly their specified mark is used. They create a quick PowerPoint Presentation on their assigned punctuation mark. Once they are finished, we begin a group rotation from computer to computer. Each group has several minutes to watch each presentation and then move on to the next. They take a "scavenger sheet" and fill out the information as they go. I look over the sheets and ask each student to provide their own examples of each mark. I collect these and check for comprehension.
I have frequently let students who are already proficient in the assignment stay on their computer and lead the presentations themselves as the rest of the class rotates. Great opportunity for student-to-student teaching opps.
This is a versatile plan that could be incorporated and adjusted to suit your needs.
I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving; get lots of rest and enjoy your loved ones.
Monday, November 24, 2008
So my students will go to my blog today and tomorrow, where I have posted the lesson plans, instructions, slides to view, and reminders. My students also know that they can get in touch with me through our gaggle.net email accounts. This gives me confidence while I'm away that the lessons are still being carried out. The students have been empowered because I have given the lesson plans to THEM, and not just the substitute teacher. I hope this will help students to take more ownership for the work they create. Check out my blog if you are curious about what they are doing. Thanks!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
About a month ago, Wesley and I tried to have a web conference with our students using WIZIQ. Being the (non)technology expert that I am, it wouldn't surprise you that we weren't completely successful. Surprisingly, our students were very a patient and captured audience. Wesley and I wanted to give it another shot and have been planning at another go. Wesley wrote about our attempt in our shared blog and our technology gurus came to the rescue.
Last Wednesday Dave Tarwater joined Wesley and I after school to fine tune our WIZIQ skills with a couple practice sessions. Here are some things that I learned that I thought might be helpful for you as well.
When webconferencing on WIZIQ:
*use Internet Explorer instead of Mozilla Firefox
*close all other applications to ensure best quality picture and speed
*connect your webcam before starting your session
*make sure to have searched for and installed all webcam updates before your session
*you can embed YouTube videos into your conference!!! (only YouTube)
*WIZIQ records your webconference session (audio and visual) and stores it for you to watch and/or use again (for up to 3 months I believe)
*and lastly, don't leave your soda in front of the projector fan! It gets warm and yucky :(
Wesley and I will be giving our webconferencing another shot the first week of December and I'm sure it will work magnificent this time! Thanks Dave!
- to describe ways in which science is applied and used
- to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of the application of science
- to discuss the ethical and moral issues arising from the application of science
- to discuss how the study and practice of science is subject to cultural influences
- to understand how the various science disciplines interact and how science in general relates to other disciplines
- to treat science as a cooperative activity
The "read to feed" program supports the heifer.org program by having students read selected books and obtain sponsorship of (at a minimum) a penny a page read. The money collected will go to the heifer international organization which will purchase livestock and/or plants to create a sustainable economy at the family / village economic level.
"The"Heifer International is a nonprofit charitable organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas, dedicated to relieving global hunger and poverty. It provides gifts of livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially-disadvantaged families around the world.
Today the organization gives gifts of cattle, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, honeybees, pigs, llamas, water buffalo, camels, alpacas, yaks, horses, chicks, ducks, goats, geese, fish, other regionally
appropriate livestock, as well as tree seedlings. As of 2006, these animals and plants have been distributed in more than 125 countries around the globe. Each gift perpetuates Heifer's interest in agroecology and sustainability.
Heifer International is mainly funded by alternative giving: Donors may purchase "shares" of a gift or pay for an entire animal. Heifer International's listed price includes the purchase price of the animal itself, as well as the cost of its veterinary care and transport to the village. The recipient family's training in animal husbandry, sustainable agriculture techniques and business practices are also rolled into the listed price.
Today, rather than shipping animals overseas, the organization purchases them in the country they are destined for. This puts money into the local economy, reduces transportation costs and promotes better health for the animals because they are already accustomed to the local climate, food and diseases.
Heifer International works to ensure that the gift of each animal will eventually help an entire community to become self-sustaining. Animals such as goats, water buffalo and camels are "seven M" animals: they provide meat, milk, muscle, manure, money, materials and motivation. Once its immediate needs have been met, a family is free to sell any excess at market. Heifer International provides a breeding animal along with the gift animal so that it can produce offspring. Participating families are required to "pass on the gift", that is: they must give at least one of the female offspring to a neighbor who has undergone Heifer's training. In time, that neighbor will pass along one of the offspring of its animal, and so on."
On behalf of my students, I am soliciting your support in the "read to feed" program. If you are interested in sponsoring one (or more) of my students for a minimum of a penny a page read, please email me at email@example.com for details.
Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.
(and remember that there are more than a billion people who will be without…)
PS Previous student blog activity can be viewed here
Diigo educator accounts
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Leadership Summit is a chance for fourth graders to reflect on what it means to be a leader. They will be reflecting on these four questions:
- What qualities to leaders have?
- What problems exist in my school or community that could be solved if I were a leader?
- What obstacles stand in my way that prevent me from being a leader?
- What goals can I set for myself to get past these obstacles?
We will present the answers to these questions on December 5th in three ways. First, we will publish them on the room24 blog. The questions will be posted and students will be commenting. You can comment too. Second, we will Tweet them (follow room24). What is Twitter? It is a way for students to respond online through 140 character "micro-blogs". We will also invite anyone to join us in a live conversation via WiziQ where participants can address these questions themselves, thinking about themselves when they were young, giving advice to Room24 or sharing a story of a great student leader. Sign up for this free session here.
We look forward to sharing all that we have learned. --Jeff
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Now, I still have many great ideas- but all of them are quickly followed by "When??" When will I be able to take time out of my already paced curriculum to create and use these technology projects?
YES, I understand that technology is supplementary to the learning in the classroom, but what if we could make it more of the core? What if I could create more engaging, constructivist-based learning using more technology and less mandated curriculum? Would that be less appropriate for my students? Would I spend my eternity in an extremely warm location?
... I suppose I will soon find out.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Most of you likely know this, but I was trying to figure out a way to get a podcast on my Google Site. The easiest way I've found is just to convert it into an MP3 and attach the file at the bottom of the page you want the MP3 to appear on.
Any different ways?
I've had the opportunity to serve dual roles as a global learner and a STAR teacher. One of the focuses (besides, of course, technology) is vocabulary instruction and building background. I've used the SmartBOARD now consistently for giving my first time vocabulary instruction a "kick," and since this is one of the focuses of the recently implemented district strategies plan, I figured I would attempt to serve as a liaison between the two programs and talk a little bit about what I do.
We had Jane E. Nelson-MacColl present on the "Cornerstones of Good Vocabulary Instruction." Here are a few tips that she shares...
- Vocabulary instruction MUST be intentional and systematic
- Choose vocabulary words thoughtfully
- Teach students a process for learning new words
- Provide students with a system of keeping track of the words they've learned
- Collect evidence to indicate what students have learned
- Model higher-level vocabulary on a daily basis
From a technological standpoint...generally, I deal with about ten formal vocabulary words a week. A break these into several five minute mini-lessons throughout the week and create PowerPoint presentations that start with the word itself, usually in WORD ART format. I then show a series of pictures or videos without the definition. Each new picture reinforces the older one and allows students to place in context to figure out what they mean. I then give them a few formal definitions and we lead discussion, build examples, etc.
What vocabulary ideas do you have and use? How do you incorporate technology into the mix?
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts and sharing them with STAR teachers.
First grade students are amazing! At least 15 students successfully completed the previously discussed KidSpiration Project. (They were donut makers and had to make enough donuts to feed their customers. Then they rolled two number cubes to find out how many actual customers they had. Finally, using subtraction students figured out how many donuts they had for the next day!)
Positives: student collaboration, critical thinking, motor skills, and a mountain of other skills applied by students.
Challenge(not a lot): The template boxes changed or moved, saving to a central drive (working with tech. services on this.)
The positives far out weigh the negatives. It was a great experience for everyone and we'll be coming up with more!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I walked into first block on Monday -- 7:15 AM.
"Everyone take out your cell phones or go sit by someone who has one"
Odd glances went across the room as they TIMIDLY pulled out their devices that were previously banned!
"Tell me what you know about the Design Cycle"
I had them post their thoughts by texting them to the specified address.
It was a great success! I had students who are typically quiet respond to the question. While I only had three responses. They really enjoyed it!
I can see that if they had a couple of more times to practice more people would have been more successful, they would have been quicker and I believe they would start responding to one another!
They were really engaged .... I can see this as a great opportunity for secondary teachers!
A recent assignment in my 9th grade science class is as follows:
In terms of our ongoing dialogue about poverty and as part of the "through" for today, your assignment is to complete an 11 sentence paragraph 'template" and then write out the 11 sentence paragraph and publish it as a comment to this post.
Consider this quote to guide you:
"Think about it: Every educated person is not rich, but almost every education person has a job and a way out of poverty. So education is a fundamental solution to poverty.
-- Governor Kathleen Blanco "
Your prompt is "Why is education important?
Below are some excerpts from the students comments. The complete post / comment section can found here. Some are a bit rough in terms of literacy but all are heart-felt.
Sometimes we (I) don't think that our students are aware of or appreciative of their educational opportunities.
But they do & are!
Education is important because it's the best long- term solution to poverty.
Without an education the whole world would be in trouble and have a hard life. Education is what keeps the world going because we use our knowledge and education.
When kids are not attending school the are not getting there education correctly.In some places kids dont get the chance at an education or even to attend school
Sometimes people focus more on educating the boys that the girls.
Education is consideed a vaccine for hiv/aids. If people don't know what these deseases are they can't avoid it.
Education i important because if you dont have an education you wont get anywhare in life. You wont have a good job and you will have no money
If every single person in the world had an education we woulden't have to worry about world huinger. Education is also the key to world hunger because with education we can use it and camoe up with a solution.
With education we can make a difference in this world.
Education is important because it help you get a career that will pay you enough to support a family…
I think the education is important, because some people or girls don't get a chance to go to school. About 113 million kids can't go to school…
…education is good so that you can teach others your knowledge. It is good for others to know so that we keep it going
Education is important because kids are the future and they need to be educated…
Education is also important because it helps get rid of the boundary of boys vs girls. Both genders are the futures of the world, but without education, especailly to girls, it'll make one gender look weaker to the other, when they're nearly the same…
Education is important because its the best way to earn money, get into college, and get a good job. If you have a really good education you can get good money
Families that are deep in poverty often find it difficult to send their children to school.
Education is very important all around the world because it can give you three things that everyone wants,respect, knowlege,and a life with no darfur in it
education is important because it can take you further not only persmnal but wisely, the more you educate your self the better person you'll be and by that you can help others arround you too
Education also helps people get equal rights.
Why is education important? Education is key to economic advancement. Having the basic skill of literacy contributes to helping reduce poverty
Education is important because it helps kids get through life when they are older.
Education is important because it helps you be aware of what happens in daily life
Education is important because you can learn necessities, improve literacy, and even improve health. Education helps one learn
Education improves health. By going to school one recieves nutrients otherwise not obtained.
If the majority of the world is educated then there will be more minds working together to solve problems on Earth
every year a kid goes to school it increases their salery by 10 percent. indeed education is very important to every person.
Education is important a lot everywhere because it helps you learn, survive and teaches you to survive.
Not to mention, more of our youth needs health to have knowledge. Education is important because it helps get you through life and also to make it easier.
Knowledge is power! The more you know about diseases, the more likely you are of preventing them. Getting an education will benefit you into being healthy and not making bad choices.
People who are adapt to their enviroment know what is wrong and what they can do, so if they are educated, they can help.
Education is important because we can all better our health and other features that can aid us in becoming all that we can be.
The UN says that every one in the world has the right to an education. Over 1 billion adults in developing countries lack the basic skill of literacy. Education is important because it could help create more jobs and improve the economy in a developing country.
Education is so important because you could communicate with the world by reading and you could be someone on the world or even change the world.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack
Grand Theft Auto Double Pack
Gears of War
Madden NFL 07
Ninja Gaiden II
Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario Kart
Street Fighter II
Star Fox 64
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
WWF WrestleMania 2000
Resident Evil 4
Star Fox Adventures
Mario Party 6
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Game Boy Advance
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Frogger's Adventures: Temple of the Frog
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
Mario Kart DS
English Training: Have Fun Improving Your Skills!
High School Musical: Makin' the Cut!
Tomb Raider II
Metal Gear Solid
Crash Team Racing
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Ratchet & Clank
God of War
SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs
Tony Hawk Underground
Resident Evil 4
Dance Dance Revolution Extreme
Resistance: Fall of Man
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
World of Warcraft
Railroad Tycoon II
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
This was my first collaborative Global Learners project with Kathy Hughes who teaches fourth grade at Central. We kept it relatively simple for our first project. We decided to focus on reading and student blogging.
My students were really excited about blogging! They loved using the laptops, reading book reviews, reading comments, and leaving comments for each other. They also learned a lot about blog etiquette. Students wrote interesting, thoughtful comments to each other and responded well to comments left for them. It was a good project to start with, not being too complex, and incorporating reading and writing skills. It took longer than we planned and because the third graders were not able to leave comments for the fourth graders until the blog was adjusted and it took students a long time when using the computers for the first time for a project like this.
Throughout the rest of this school year students will be completing more book reviews to be posted online. The classes can continue to read each other’s book reviews and leave each other comments. Please visit our blogs and leave us comments, or visit with your students! We'd love to get more comments about our book reviews!
Alsup Third Grade Book Groups
Central Elementary Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Please check out my blog and comment on the post about diversity, our nation, and the elections. We need as many points of view and perspectives as possible in order to facilitate a meaningful discussion for our unit. The post is titled "United We Stand..." Thanks!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I struggled in the beginning of our regrouping with what to teach these students so that they would not become bored. Here is a project we're working on:
I have made a kidspiration template which allows students to create their own word problems. The file begins with students creating enough muffins for the day (15). Then they roll two number cubes to find their customers. Finally, they figure out how many muffins they have left over. They work through green, yellow and red boxes to fill in the missing word problem pieces. Ultimately, they will work on changing every aspect of their "real life" word problem!
I have spoken with tech services to get permission (and a file) to upload my template to a server so my students can access it on all computers. As soon as we work through the projects, I will post the results. We had a technical glitch last week, so this week I'm hoping students can complete at least one problem in groups of two! Sorry about the picture (The green box doesn't show and yellow is the mustard color). I'm happy to forward the template to anyone interested.
By the way, Twitter is so great for finding these kinds of tools. I am following about 90 people on my personal account, mostly educators, so there are lots opportunities to hear what people are doing in their classrooms. And, since twitter is only 140 characters, people are much more likely to share ideas they might not otherwise blog about. I think I get more ideas from Twitter than just about any other resource.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I have been making films with my students for over three years. Last year, six films were submitted to the film fest (check them out on my class website). I've developed a process to use with the students that connects making films with the writing process and draws on their love of film and their background knowledge. I have the students learn how to use Photo Story 3 for windows and Windows Movie Maker. We use the Smart board to make a film with each of the programs before students are given the freedom to plan and make their own films.
1. I enjoy making films as much as my students do (or more)
2. Film making is easy for students to learn how to do (even third graders)
3. I always have students make a plan for their film first (they don't like that part very much)
4. I'd like to focus more on digital storytelling (versus film making)
5. I'd like to know how other teachers are using digital film making and storytelling with their students (I need more ideas)
6. Sometimes I have technical difficulties (like taping over parts of a student's film before it has been downloaded...oops!)
7. I haven't started making films with my students yet this year (so there is a small tear in my heart slowly growing larger)
How have you used digital film making with your students? Who is making films for the film fest this year? I'd love to hear your ideas!
Monday, October 27, 2008
I admit that sometimes I use the Smartboard as a glorified overhead. But, as Sara mentioned, I also use some of the activities in Notebook. Notebook 10 has a folder called Lesson Activity Toolkit 1.0. (I think it is also downloadable from the website.) In it there are some great activities and tools (go figure.) The interactivity is already set up, we, as teachers, just have to "edit" and put in our words or sentences or pictures or customize it to our content. Lots of potential. Too often, however, I think of great ideas or lessons to put together and simply don't have time to create them. I would love to have some time off just dedicated to creating Smartboard lessons that relate directly to our math and reading programs. (Maybe if the teaching thing doesn't work out...)
Collaborating with Sara has been great and I do hope we establish an online place to share actitivities and lessons we have created as well as the reading fluency exemplars and other exemplars we have digitally documented (as we discussed in the last skype conversation.)
One of the few other tools that I regularly use is Diigo. In searching for Smartboard lessons, I have collected many sites about Web 2.0 and Smartboards as well as looked at the lists of other Diigo users.
Has anyone tried this with writing and responding to literature? Any tips or suggestions? I'll let you know how it goes!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
My students love the Smartboard and never get bored of it. Thanks to Lisa Kellogg,
I am now using new activities with my class AND they follow the GLETS! One activity that I use is called Vortex. I used it this week when I taught proper nouns. The students loved it, and learned what a proper noun was! Another activity I do is very similar to Hangman. I use this with our High Frequency Words. Students are responsible for recognizing and spelling these HFW. This is a great activity because it really helps with spelling. I have students stop and pair/share each time we get a letter. Students are working together to recognize the HFW and spell it.
Both of these activities are fun and hit a GLET. Thanks Lisa!
One thing I would change is to have the students have another window open so that when it is not their turn to type (or if they are not helping someone type) they will not have too much down time. This could be a little tricky, as I don't want it to interfere with the discussions and collaboration, but I'm thinking something that is easy to start and stop would work just fine.
If you haven't already tried it, I would recommend giving google docs a try!
This is the second year that I have taught this unit and used digital storytelling as the culminating project. Some thoughts:
- Last year I had movies, using Moviemaker, as a choice and I found it to be too hard for me to manage so I just didn't make it an option this year. Any suggestions for integrating Moviemaker? It is so difficult to manage multiple groups using two (or more) different pieces of software.
- I found last year's movies to be a little "thin" on information so I really tried to organize myself better to make expectations clearer. This group's is better, but there are some groups that clearly worked harder than others.
- I would still like to make the process more streamlined so that projects could be completed quicker. They took about 3 weeks to finish, which seems too long to me. Is it possible for them to do this faster, and still produce quality products? Do I move on to my next unit earlier and do the filmmaking process at a different time in my day, like writing?
- This is the first time I did a Film Fest and invited teachers and parents. I really enjoyed it and I think that it really put students on the spot (in a good way). They focused better and seemed very proud of the work they had done. Next time, I would like students to run the entire Film Fest on their own, but this time around I didn't feel like I had enough time to prepare them, and this group of students requires more "coaching" (shall we say...) to stay on task.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Today I was asked this by a fellow teacher and my quick response was “OK. Up and down. Good start I think…”
So how is it going? Well as my students learn so do I.
Here are a few thoughts of what is working for me now and perhaps for the future. Some of this is obvious but perhaps some is not.
Post to a blog and then have students comment to the post. This self-organizes the blog and I think keeps it less cluttered. Also allows for students to compare comments when they are placed below each other and is a separate list from all the posts.
With 9th graders, keep comment moderation ALWAYS on except when using library time to blog . This cuts down on the inappropriate comments and language creeping in at all times. However, having comment moderation off during blogging time allows students the opportunity to “see” their post for immediate reinforcement. When done, review all posts, delete the inappropriate posts and then turn comment moderation back on.
With upper level students, assigning a prompt with a writing structure (ex 11 sentence paragraph) generates a higher quality / more thoughtful response. I’l be using the 11 sentence paragraph with the 9th graders soon but it will probably require two sessions for each blog assignment, one for the writing and one for the blog (write-rewrite).
I believe that beginning 9th grade bloggers should be encouraged to post thoughts or comments without being constrained by punctuation, spelling, grammar etc. However, I also recognize the power of blogging as a literacy tool and will be focusing on student created literate blog posts / comments as we move through this year. A blogging rubric will be implemented with the 9th graders soon.
Blogger requires a google account such as gmail and doesn’t recognize our adams14schools.org or adams14.org email accounts. With 9th graders this is a problem (ie hard to remember more than one email user account /password) so commenting anonymously but signing it with first name and initial is a good work-around.
Cutting and pasting from word to blogger often creates html errors. However, cutting and pasting to gmail and then re-cutting and pasting to blogger appears to take care of formatting errors etc.
Follow up with your comment(s) to their comments and then follow up in class so the blog becomes a tie-in to other classroom activities. This creates a “flow” and allows the blog to be more than an activity used from time to time.
Cultivate other readers and (hopefully) posters. Having a wider audience than classmates reinforces the idea that their world view should be larger than C-town.
So, how is it going?
OK, I guess. Still learning. Doug
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Computing with RNA
Devices that self-assemble from biological molecules could represent the future of drug delivery.
By Duncan Graham-Rowe
That opens up the possibility of computing devices that can respond to specific conditions within the cell, he says. For example, it may be possible to develop drug delivery systems that target cancer cells from within by sensing genes used to regulate cell growth and death.
The input sensors are made from aptamers, RNA molecules that behave a bit like antibodies, binding tightly to specific targets. Similarly, the output components, or actuators, are made of ribozymes, complex RNA molecules that have catalytic properties similar to those of enzymes. These two components are joined by yet another RNA molecule that serves as a transmitter, which is activated when a sensor molecule recognizes an input chemical and, in turn, triggers an actuator molecule.
By combining the RNA components in certain ways, the researchers showed that they can get them to behave like different types of logic gates--circuit elements common to any computer. For example, an AND gate produces an output only when its inputs detect the presence of both drugs, while a NOR gate produces an output only when neither drug is detected."
Saturday, October 11, 2008
With that in mind, I've added a page to my website for Spanish language elementary web resources (https://sites.google.com/a/adams14schools.org/mrfisher/resources). The resources presented on my webpage are intended for students, parents, and teachers of students who speak Spanish. Teachers are constantly searching for quality web resources for their Spanish speaking students and parents frequently ask me for web resources they can access at home to further their children’s learning. The purpose is to consolidate on one page some of the best Spanish language web resources for primary age students. I'd like to solicit your feedback on additional web resources available in Spanish that I could add to this.
Gorski, P. C. (2003). : The Challenge of Defining “Multicultural Education”. EdChange Multicultural Pavilion. Retrieved October 11, 2008 from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/initial.html
Crossposted at http://mrfishergloballearner.blogspot.com/
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is on October 17th. IB PYP and MYP around the world are looking at this as a global issue and a classroom lesson to be taught.
Sometimes stepping back from a narrow focus allows you to see the whole picture more clearly.
In my science classes my 9th grade students are learning about the periodic table of elements and how atoms combine to form compounds.
However, my MYP students are beginning to consider how science can be used to better the human condition and to solve some of the global issues facing us in the 21st C. Accordingly, we are looking at poverty and hunger.
We gathered background information and made some suggestions as to solutions. We will follow this up with informal discussions in class as well as another global learner / internet / blog assignment later.
Global issues will be a central theme as I teach these students over the next two years.
Please check their comments to my post located at http://09chemistry.blogspot.com/ You will also find links to IBO which will direct you to PYP and MYP / TOK suggested lesson plans and activities.
My students are still becoming comfortable posting comments to blogs etc. Over time we will work on our posts as “literacy writing assignments” and will incorporate the 11 sentence paragraph format (and others).
These strategies will improve our students communication skills as global learners!
Thanks for your time and consideration. Doug
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Specifically we are using base blocks to represent place value. This address the Grade Level Essential Target of 1.2C: c) Uses objects to show meanings of = ,<, >, from 0 to 100. e) Uses multiple models to develop initial understanding of place value of ones and tens (base ten blocks, abacus, computer, manips). This is a great place to differentiate because while all first graders need to represent up to 100, many of my students can use blocks to show numbers in the thousands. (Please note this website is available in Spanish as well) What I like about the base blocks virtual manipulatives is that they are easy to move around, you get immediate corrective feedback from the number counter, and it is a fast way to demonstrate mastery of a difficult concept.
Here is a short video of my class doing some base block exercises. In the first two segments I am filming but for most of the class work my students film everything and do all the documenting with the digital cameras. Each week I assign a class photographer who take all the pictures and videos. They are filming the third segment. As you can see, it is a bit shaky (Note to self "Get tripod"). Mildly reminiscent of the Blair Witch Project.