Monday, November 30, 2009
This year I have taken a new approach with my students. With all the changes we have in our district (education in general) I had to choose the best and most usable technology tools for my class. Thus, I have chosen the SmartBoard. I have been creating weekly Notebook's with 45 pages each! Every page has it's objective and I'd say about 75% of the pages are interactive - some of them are just reminders to me on what we're working on next.
Our class blog has taken a step back. We tried to start strong, but it has not been a priority. Last week students completed their meteorologist forecasts. They are posted on our class website for all to have a listen. Upon completion of their forecasts, I think next year I may branch out and work on a voicethread. Who knows, by then there may be another new and exciting tech. tool!
Both my team members and I have already posted about our joint project. I had not yet made a blog for my class this year, so first I had to quickly put one together. Now I can share that address and you can check out our VoiceThread. As Melissa and Michelle have posted, our next steps are to have our students comment on each others pictures and write doubles addition sentences.
I'm enjoying reading what all of you have been up to.
The interactive portions of these flipcharts were well received by the students and served as great practice for the students as they learned the names of the bones. I would also like to report that my NEP (non-English speaking child) has learned not only the common names for the bones in our body, but most scientific names also.
This was truly a successful learning experience for us all!
We began our project by selecting teams using a "Selector Tool" spinner that is created by Kagan. The spinner we chose is on the computer and allows us to choose the number of participants and then have it randomly select teams. After teams were created, the students had to research their topic or area in the San Luis Valley. Our students accessed information via internet search engines, e-mailed information to other team members and collaboratively created murals based upon the information that they had obtained.
During the process, students took turns videotaping others as they used technology to complete their projects. (I will link some of these videos as soon as I figure it out. I will work hard to have them linked prior to or during the upcoming weekend. I will also link pictures of some of their completed murals.)
We continue to use the Promethean board on a daily basis and I look forward to having my accu-votes installed so we are able to access data on students. I utilized flipcharts on a daily basis to teach my entire skeletal system unit. We used aspects of these flipcharts as work stations and the interaction and enthusiam of the students created an extremely positive learning environment.
I am excited about furthing my personal experiences and my students learning experiences in the upcoming semester.
Reflection ocean ecosystems lesson
I have been teaching this lesson in some way for four years. This however was the first time I did it using web cams to view the ocean ecosystems. Our last I.B. unit was on oceans and part of that requires the students to study the different ecosystems. I found a website http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/efc/cam_menu.aspx that has different web cams set up to view the exhibits at the aquarium. This was a fantastic way for the students to view the ecosystems. This was their first time to experience a web cam and they loved it. For so many students who have never been to the ocean it made an impact. It really was a simple lesson to set up and thankfully no glitches! I will definitely use this again next year. I just hope the aquarium has a few more ecosystem web cams set up. I closed the lesson by letting students share what they observed and any wonderings their observations led to. We also completed a Venn diagram on the Smart Board. Even though, students are well versed in Venn diagrams the use of the Smart Board upped the interest. So, I guess I can give my self a pat on the back for this one! ha!
Creating a classblogmeister blog was not real difficult but figuring out how to add students was where I had my biggest difficulty. Once I figured that out things went rather smoothly. My biggest challenge with my students is the ESL part. I have an enormous number of ESL's so creating a usable problem was time consuming. However, we got the job done.
My students have been learning a whole lot about how blogs work and how they can be used in a great number of ways. We have slowly been looking at my partners student problems they have posted for us to solve. I have had issues with different kinds of sites being blocked by our school but hopefully we will get them resolved. Emily's glogs still can't been seen but Laurie's students problems are viewable. My students can't post yet to her students problems but that is being looked into also.
We created a time line for our project and was glad it was not set in stone. It has been modified several times due to the problem we have encountered. I think my students have learned a lot about the use of technology and the quirks it sometimes has. They have learned to be much more patient will dealing with issues.
My blog is available for anybody to view. My students are waiting for anybody to respond to their post. You can follow this link: http://www.classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=287454 to go directly to my blog. Please drop by and let us know what you think. Once there you can check out my student problems by clicking on their problems title on the left hand side of the page. Feel free to leave them a post as to how you like their problem. Make sure you read the information at the top of my blog before you post a comment since I reserve the right to view and make changes to your post before it becomes public.
Good Luck on the rest of the semester. It gets tough from now until Winter (Christmas) Break.
I collaborated with Melissa Garcia and Lisa Kellogg to create a lesson that incorporated technology, was collaborative and included a digital product (a math lesson from the Marilyn Burn's Library that we adapted). As a new Global Learner, it was a huge stretch for me and I was beginning to see it as impossible! So many steps yet it was all connected and meaningful. On top of that, my Teacher Candidate was solo teaching! It was all worth it working in a team. Through many conversations and much support from my team, I did so many new things that I hadn't ever imagined.
Our lesson objectives were that students would use pictures to demonstrate and verbally explain addition and subtraction of whole numbers (doubles) by writing number sentences describing a monster's characteristics. We started the lesson by using the book My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck, illustrated by Mark Buehner. I scanned the book into a PowerPoint presentation to be used with my SMARTBoard. Wow was that hard to do. I used the Snagit program (http://www.snagit.com/) to capture the images. I had never heard of it but it is free and amazingly easy! Using the Power Point was far more interactive and engaging than a typical read aloud! Each student then created their own. Exemplar pictures and number sentences were placed on the class blog
(http://mrswaheedroom28.blogspot.com/) with Voice Threads.
Before this lesson, I had never created a Power Point, scanned an image, or created a digit product with students much less a Voice Thread. Even sending the completed file was hard. Luckily I used http://www.yousendit.com/, also free which allowed me to send such a large file another thing I had never heard of! The thing I was most amazed with was the level of engagement from my students and has remained such. They love posting comments on the blog and I was amazed at how quickly they have learned; yet how slow and painful it was for me. Seeing the other second grade classroom's work created a long lasting connection and a community of learners! My class will never be the same, me either! I have so many tools to use now and a team to go to when things get rough.
What went well:
My students really enjoyed creating their math problems and their glogsters. They are enjoying solving others problems and are practicing their math problem solving skills while they use web 2.0 applications.
What didn't go well:
The timeline we set up of course didn't happen perfectly (of course!). We needed to allow more time to get the project completed. Also, Jim's class couldn't access my classes problems because they can't see the glogsters embedded on our blog. I need to go back and post them again in a way that he has access to them. I will focus on doing that this week! My theory is that his school district blocks glogster (which is too bad). Perhaps we can get it unblocked? As of now, no one has solved my students problems. I hope that Jim's class will have access soon and be willing/able to solve our problems and that Laurie's students will do the same!
I am looking forward to completing another project with Laurie and Jim this year and I think we will be able to continue to work well together! I know my students are benefiting!
We decided to take on a project that demonstrates how our students are becoming more international. As part of this growth the students need to know how to be risk-takers, communicators, have empathy, be enthusiastic, etc (watch the video for a complete list). This video shows the students showing that action and then saying what it means to be that.
It turned out to be very cute. The students collaborated well and are proud of their work. It was also a great way for the students to review and practice all the attitudes and learner profiles. Mrs. Berry and I feel that way too. The project was time consuming, simply because a lot of it was completed in pairs. Overall this, was a fun way to promote I.B.
Mrs. Berry and I also collaborated well. I am so glad she is my mentor!
Brianna and Kelly
When students viewed the finished product they were suprised to find out that our classroom had some things in common and pointed out the things that were different.
Come check out our blog to view their hard work for the project. http://www.mslopezroom114.blogspot.com/
I did have trouble uploading photos and tried many different things, I send the photos to Kelly in an email and she was going to upload them for me. After meeting with fellow Global Learners from my own school, I was told that maybe flickr from Yahoo would work because this allows you to upload images, resize them and embed them as a url and it worked.
It has been an interesting journey to complete this collaborative project. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU goes out to Kelly for being such a patient and understanding mentor...I know it hasn't been easy! Our Global Learners support group has also been a big help with projects and sharing new findings.
I am excited to get started on the second half of the expectations.
After reading the book, each student created a drawing of their own “Monster Mama” and their “Monster Me.” After each student completed his/her drawing, I had the students take a picture of the illustration. It was great to see the students helping each other as they used the digital camera.
Once the students took pictures of their illustrations, we recorded their voice overviews on Audacity. I had originally planned to add the students’ voices into a VoiceThread but had previously experienced problems embedding the VoiceThread into Class Blogmeister. Instead of VoiceThread, I decided to create Podcasts of the students’ voices and add each voice overview individually as a podcast. In trying to complete this project, I discovered www.podbean.com. Through this site I was able to upload the files I had saved as mp3s and get a URL to post in our class blog.
Lisa, Michelle, and I have all added the finished illustrations and voice descriptions to our blogs. The next step is for each class to visit each blog to create more doubles equations about the “Monster Mama” and “Monster Me” illustrations.
Through this lesson I have learned many new things. I have learned how much more interactive a lesson can become with the use of technology. I have done this lesson before and this time the students really seemed to understand and define what a double is. I also found that I was able to incorporate writing because I had the students write down what they would like to say before recording on Audacity.
Overall this lesson went really well. I appreciated the opportunity to work with Michelle and Lisa on this lesson. They were both very supportive when it came to problem solving and sharing ideas about the lesson. I look forward to collaborating again in the future.
You can visit our classroom blogs to check out our "Monster Mama" and "Monster Me" project at http://www.classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=285494
This lesson can be found in The Marilyn Burns Classroom Math Library book.
Check it out!
I think so far everything is going well. I am finding it difficult to keep up with some of the Global Learner things and also stay on pace with what the district feels I should be doing. I think both expectations were reasonable though, so I'm making due.
Recently, my students collaborated with other science students from the high school and middle school on the ibtoktidbits.blogspot.com blog. My students integrated blog-reponses into a lesson where they used laptops and the internet to research and create electronic products to show what they learned. The blog gave students a chance to share their own opinions and read what their peers said as well.
A few observations - one, it was difficult to get the students to truly collaborate with the other students, very few of my students actually responded to or engaged the students who had already commented. I think a CoverItLive session might be better in the future for this kind of thing (and based on my own experience contributing to Mayville's CiL sessions).
Also, while the amount of incidences were lower than I expected - I've learned that being able to moderate comments is key. A couple of my students decided they were going to post under names like "Mike Rotch", and others that were even less appropriate - making comments that were obscene. Luckily it was only 2-3 kids out of 145 - so not bad, I was also able to figure out who did it an deal with them - but I could see it getting much worse depending on the group of students. You can read all of the appropriate (and hopefully none that are not appropriate) comments at http://ibtoktidbits.blogspot.com.
Overall, I do think that the semester has gone well for me as a Global Learner using technology in my classroom. For sure I've done 10x more with technology this year than last year. My highlight would still be using "clickers" - something I do almost every day now as a warm-up or in-class response tool. (Read my original post abotu clickers here: http://principianteglobal.blogspot.com/2009/09/first-time-using-clickers-as-teacher.html)
Next semester, my goal is to streamline my grading and classroom procedures a bit better - hopefully through more use of technology! Follow all of my reflections at http://www.howatscience.net
Sunday, November 29, 2009
This is one of those classroom experiences where you wish you would have done it months ago! My class had a fantastic time and were buzzing with excitement to meet the challenge and offer one in return. Their curiosity was peaked as we discussed that Sarah's class were 3rd graders not far from Rose Hill, and that we could interact with their class using the blog and internet.
While this class is normally engaged in learning, the project offered an opportunity to go a step further to really motivate them as well. Every student demonstrated full engagement and motivation to meet the challenge and offer one in return the entire period. I look forward to building on these challenges, and continuing to offer new ways with 21st Century Learning to build thier higher level thinking skills, problem solving, and practical uses of skills we are learning in the classroom. To see our results to Sarah's challenge, please visit our class blog:
One lesson that I used the board for was a measurement lesson where students had to compare the length of various lines. Also, they had to measure and weigh each other and record their findings. They really enjoyed this process of using the tape measures and scales.
During the measurement lesson they genuinely understood the concepts of measurement because the lesson was delivered using the Promeathean Board. It is colorful and interactive which keeps students' attention.
We are definately excited about using the board!!
I also use the board to have students view and help update our class blog.
Jeri, Jen L, and I started a collaborative blog back in August when we were all together at the training and have used it sparsely throughout the first half of the school year. I think it has been a success for what we've done with it, but it has much more potential for the future. It is an open line of communication between classrooms, a window into each of our classes, and a record of the work and growth our students have accomplished throughout the year. I think for the rest of the year I want to use it more for these purposes.
When we started the blog, we set out these expectations, but perhaps not clearly and explicitly enough for us to really follow through with it. So now as I reflect on the collaborative potential of a blog between classes, I think of the ways I want to utilize it. We posted a video on it at the beginning of the school year as a way for all of our classes to comment and connect around the same ideas, and that was a big success. It was also good practice for all of our students to get on the blog and get comfortable with the technology that was new to most of them.
I admit that I feel the need to have to get creative when I decide to include blogging in a lesson, because I can't allow it to take away from the integrity of the lesson. It would be a whole lot easier if students came with this knowledge of blogging already in place, but, haha, that's why we're here! So we spent a lot of time working on setting up these routines and standards at the beginning of the year, and now I think the students in my classroom are comfortable logging into the blog and doing their thing with little assistance from me.
The collaborative piece is a bit more challenging, mostly because our 3 classes (3rd grade from A14, 5th grade from A14, and 5th grade from Center) have to find more general things to work on together rather than on specifics, because we're constantly trying to stay within the confines of the curriculum. There's no time to stray away from curriculum, so creating really good collaborative blogging opportunities that ENHANCE our learning can be a challenge. I am always reminding myself that we don't use technology because it's "cool" and "fun." We use technology to engage our students in meaningful ways. The technology should never take away from the lesson.
So we will have to spend some time thinking about ways to integrate this collaborative project into our respective curriculums in ways that are meaningful and engaging to our students. It can be difficult, but not impossible. What successes and struggles are others having with collaborative blogs?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Jennifer Lindberg and I had our students work on a collaborative math project. My students wrote a graphing problem for Jennifer's class.
In return, Jennifer's class wrote one for us:
My class had a wonderful time during the entire process. They were SO engaged when we posted our math challenge on my blog, and equally engaged in solving the one from Jen's class. They really loved the idea of working with other 3rd graders (outside of our building) by using the Internet.
From a teacher perspective, this was a very fun and convenient way to connect with other learners using technology. It did not take much time outside of the classroom and provided my students with a learning activity that required higher level thinking, included multiple intelligences, and allowed them to apply the skills that had just acquired.
Jennifer and I plan to keep connecting our students in this method. It was a simple yet effective collaborative project! To see our results of Jennifer's challenge, click on the following link:
Friday, November 27, 2009
How do we know what we know?
This is the basis for the IB program and is the unanswerable question. My friend Todd Mayville teaches TOK successfully at the high school and I have "borrowed" the theme for looking into real-time situations where science and society clash! My students have blogged about various themes including:
the scale of chemistry
ethics of stem cell research
what is a scientific theory
understanding the human tragedy of cancer
when medical research goes wrong
Still trying to fit in more blogging time and be compliant with the daily pacing guides / T4S strategies..... Am still working on that... ;)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
This is where I added in an extra piece. Using word, I had each student type his or her name and then choose a font and color. I used ScreenHunter to capture their names, one at a time. In VoiceThread, I can set up multiple identities to use when making comments. I created a new identity for each child by typing in their name and then selecting the picture from my computer with their name. (Obviously, you could use head shots, or drawn pictures, or others.) When I uploaded the audio file that matched each student's monster drawing, I switched from my identity to the one of that student and then commented by uploading the audio file from that student.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Who's up for joining me in this show?
Date: Sat., November 23 2009
Time: 9:00am Pacific/10:00am Mountain/11:00am Central/12:00pm Eastern
Location: http://tinyurl.com/cr20live (Links to the meeting room and other time zones can be found at http://live.classroom20.com/.)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In the past month, 2nd grade has been working on story problems. I taught the kids the clue words, we worked on visualizing the story problem, and we talked about how we subtract if we know the total and how we add if we are looking for the total. As you all probably know, story problems can be difficult for students. I know they were for me at that age! I decided to "ease" my students into story problems. I created two smart board lessons that had pictures to go with the story problems. I felt this was a good visual for students as they were learning the clue words. For example, if I had an addition story problem about bees, (3 + 4 ) I had a group of 3 bees and then 4 bees. This really helped my visual learners make the connection, and also helped some students get an idea of what visualizing is. For a subtraction problem I had about ducks in a pond, students were able to actually move the ducks out of the pond.
Overall, I think this was successful. Students seem to really understand the concept of visualizing, which in turn helped them to successfully solve story problems.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Have you ever wondered where wood comes from? I know my students have. So... we introduced our new wood and paper unit awhile back. To begin to get our brains thinking about wood, the first thing that we did was explored wood samples. Some of us made towers and some of us made words!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I recently came across this article about social networking, specifically Twitter, at Purdue University. (This one, too.) Seems that their IT people have developed their own social networking program called "Hotseat." The students in the classes are able to send out questions, comments, and so forth via this program, and from what I can tell, it also posts to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
This has some very interesting possibilities within the classroom. I would likely use Edmodo for my classes since it is more secure and controlled, and it would take a good bit of training and reinforcement, but I can see where this might work. As I am delivering the lesson, students could post their comments and questions on the Edmodo account, which would be displayed on a separate screen. The students could then answer each other's questions, posting links and whatnot related to the class discussion.
Of course, this would take some training and practice, particularly with my younger students since the temptation for "What up?" and other non-related and therefore inappropriate messages might be too great. Perhaps if/when I roll this out, I would start with my TOK class, then moving down to the sophomores, either not using it with the freshmen or waiting until perhaps fourth quarter to introduced them to it.
Which brings me to my struggle this year. With the new district policy around pacing, I am supposed to be pretty much doing the same thing as the other classes in the building (aside from TOK, which is unique to IB). At least at first glance, this precludes the use of blogs and other technology in the classroom which is a huge disservice to my students. As Will Richardson has observed, those who aren't publishing (online) aren't a part of the conversation. We saw the use and power of technology in the last federal election cycle and in the protests over the election in Iran; if our students do not know how to utilize those and other 21st century tools, they will not be able to be active citizens in their own democracy. While this may sound like hyperbole, it isn't. It's simple fact. I'm seriously worried.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thanks to the technology Gods for putting out stuff like this. I could never show this in slow motion in my room.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
We, Doug Abshire (ACHS), Kristen Edwards (ACMS) and Emily Klein (KMS) recently made a presentation to the Adams 14 Education Foundation requesting vernier science data-collection equipment for elementary, middle and high school science classrooms.
From the vernier website
"Whether you're looking for cutting-edge technology to enliven and support your labs in chemistry, physics, physical science, math or biology, there's a Vernier solution appropriate for every grade level."
We are excited to announce today that we will receive significant funding from the Adams 14 Education Foundation which will allow us to promote digital science data collection, another 21st Century tool for students!
We want to thank the members of the Foundation directed by Tony Uva for their support of science education in ACSD14.
According to the Foundation:
"While the Foundation operates independently of Adams County School District 14, we share a vision of enhancing education for all students. Our foundation funds programs and services not normally funded by the District’s operating budget.
Because of the efforts of the Adams 14 Education Foundation, Adams 14 students are experiencing the joy of learning, the satisfaction and heightened self-confidence achieved by mastering reading, and the promise and pursuit of a better life through education"
"It goes without saying that all of us in Adams 14 share a love for education. But more than that, we possess the desire to help talented and motivated young people realize their dreams. Our role at the Adams 14 Education Foundation is one of helping to nurture and develop the creativity, skill and genius residing within each of our students."
THANKS! Adams 14 Education Foundation! YOU ROCK!
PS... Please refer to a previous post by Emily Klein with a link to her class data collection "hot hands" activity and collaborative blogging / sharing of data.
PPS... Thanks to Dave Tarwater and Joe Miller for their support of 21st C tools in the classroom.
Since I am the GT Liaison for KMS, I decided that it would be really cool to have all of our GT students at KMS communicate with each other. So, I did my favorite thing of late - created a blog.
I only met with the first group of GT learners today - I will meet with the other 22 next Thursday. Please ask them lots of great questions! They are responsible for answering them.
Yesterday, I created and co-led a twenty-minute PD session for my school on (drum roll, please) the care of laptop carts, because we had just purchased a brand new one for our school (yay, tech budget!). I stole...er...adapted a PowerPoint presentation to fit the needs of our staff.
I started the session by having teachers "examine" the cart for any safety issues or concerns (I left the doors open, pulled out trays, and had hidden a few computers). They caught on quickly, which led us into a discussion about the importance of setting routines and procedures surrounding the use of technology.
As I explained the need of keeping the cart plugged in and charging, I bent down and grabbed the retractable power cord and spoke briefly about how the cord stopper worked to adjust cord length so that it wouldn't whip back under the cart. I was trying to emphasize a point and began to apologize for the basic information, when I noticed that some people were looking at me in outright amazement. Many had never known how the retractable cord had worked.
While this scenario might seem outrageous, there is no fault or blame here. These teachers had simply never been trained to deal with the basics of a laptop cart. For me, this was great validation as to why we, as teachers, should take nothing for granted. Be explicit, model desired outcomes, and, for the love of all that is holy, teach people how to deal with a retractable power cord. Just because you know it, doesn't mean everyone does, and while it might seem basic to some, it could be awesome to others (a great reminder for the classroom, too!). We need to support and lift each other up, not condemn for what we believe to be weakness or inability.
Needless to say, I didn't get to the PowerPoint presentation.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This project extremely time consuming, but next year we can add to it! AND it's worth it! I highly recommend you all consider creating Smartboard Storytown lessons for your grade level! Let me know if you want to see a lesson, or if you teach kindergarten, I'd be happy to email them to you!
Have a great day!
I am excited about our Kindergarten blog, my students are excited as well.
Please feel free to take a look at our blog:
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
After having successfully created a blog, my students are unable to access. I have decided to use a different site and recreate. I am beginning to feel very inadequate in technology. (ha, ha).
I have students with siblings in other classrooms where blogs are working efficiently and they are excited about being able to use ours. I have heard only good comments about the blogs and am hoping to have mine accessible by the end of the week.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The cool thing is that the students really like using them. We took a paper-and-pencil assessment and used the clickers to submit answers at their own pace - now every time a test is coming up I am inundated with questions about if we will use clickers. Unfortunately our district common assessments have to be done with pencil and scantron (or online, but realistically we don't have near enough computers for that). Obviously short-answer responses are important as well and clickers are limited to multiple-choice style tests.
I'm hoping to find a way to incorporate some collaboration with other classes, even if they are just other biology classes. We don't have a lot of room to deviate from our pacing, so it makes cross-content or cross-school/grade collaboration difficult.
I would like to do a little more with technology now, hopefully with the same student response as the clickers. Thinking about doing an electronic project or webquest for our current unit, but again - it would have to fit in with our common pacing.
I post more frequently on my professional blog, check it out at www.howatscience.net