Thursday, March 31, 2011
This past week (between CSAP and spring break), my fifth graders have had the opportunity to make a sight word video for younger students to use at home and over the summer! They are already used to using Windows Movie Maker thanks to our wonderful Aimee Stork... so this was not too difficult to plan. We are filming things on the document camera. The kids made all of their props (flashcards and backgrounds) and even wrote sentences with visuals for each list of ten sight words. They are really excited about it and can't wait to have their younger brothers and sisters use it. We only got through 350 sight words and we aren't finished with the final product yet. Maybe sometime soon we will have the opportunity to add to it. This was really a cool opportunity for the kids to show off their creativity and computer skills... and a wonderful break from the ordinary!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Here is an opportunity for you to learn more about Thinkfinity.org:
There are slots available in the courses that start April 1. May 1, and June 1.
The 3-week online course provides an overview of Thinkfinity.org and instruction on locating Thinkfinity’s online educational resources and integrating them effectively into instructional activities to support student learning. After completion of this online course, educators will have developed their own original Thinkfinity Integration Plan and be empowered to use Thinkfinity resources in their classroom to enhance student learning.
There is a $50 registration fee and participants will be awarded 30 CDE credits upon successful completion of the course or have the option of registering for 2 graduate credits from Adams State College.
Classes start the first of each month with our next class starting in January and we will offer classes each month in 2011.
Individuals can register for the month they want to take the course at: http://www.coloradothinkfinity.org/register-for-courses.html
Group registrations from districts are also available.
Testimonials from past participants:
"Up until now I have never experienced so many resources in one place. The National Content Partners\' sites truly give Thinkfinity the strength to have a content rich library."
"Thinkfinity is a treasure trove of education resources for parents, teachers, and students"
"The reputable Content Partners is the aspect that drew me in and validated the reliability and professionalism of Thinkfinity."
"I see Thinkfinity as an educational travel agency for learning. What a great way to view the journey of learning."
"Bottom line, Thinkfinity is a resource that I can personally use to increase my ability to teach."
Friday, March 18, 2011
This week in writing we have been focusing on dialogue. Students have been identifying dialogue in stories and including it in their writing!
Earlier this week we read the story, Goldilocks and The Three Bears. My kindergartners drew pictures from the story and wrote their favorite dialogue from the story. For example, they drew a picture of Papa Bear and wrote, "Someone has been sitting in my chair."
On Friday we made a class book and brainstormed dialogue for each character! Check it out!
ArtisanCam Picture Book Maker is a fun and free tool that you can use to create your very own children's book. My children were studying dialogue in writing and we used our prior knowledge of quotation marks, exclamation marks and letter formation to correctly publish our own book. We titled our book, "Vanilla the Gorilla." It's a story about a gorilla who travels to China in search of Ramen Noodles! Click on the following link to read our story and let us know what you think! http://www.artisancam.org.uk/flashapps/picturebookmaker/captures/stf/index.php?incomingNum=4868
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The students were put into partners to research debate topics I assigned them to, they created a rubric to grade each other and themselves on for the debate, then debated while being filmed. They were then able to watch the film in order to grade themselves. They LOVED the project!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Hey Busy Teachers!
How many of you have posted Donors Choose grants? I've got a couple posted right now and a couple more under review that should be posted soon, and they are SO EASY to do. If you've never heard of it, Donors Choose is a site where you, the teacher, go online shopping for things you need for your class (it can literally be for anything) write a few paragraphs about your class and why they need these things, then submit your proposal. Once it is reveiwed, donors can come in and look at your proposal, then donate money to your cause! Ive done 2 in the past and both were fully funded within a few weeks. The key is to make them public so more people see them. Link them to your Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, etc and you'll have no problem funding your proposals either. Check out my proposal here for ideas or just to donate to a good cause! Thanks!
Friday, March 11, 2011
According to the website:
I think that this looks good and I would like to hear from you if you use this.
I am going to try to incorporate it into HS science. We shall see ...
The first is a downloadable interactive from edumedia sciences: It is a free simulation that you can download. You can also drag it into a notebook file (it is a flash object). They make you install a program called ebox to download it, but you can also just run it from the website. It is a pretty good little interactive to describe how and earthquake leads to a tsunami
The other resource is a free brainpop (my all-time favorite educational website) video on tsunamis found here. They usually make current event videos free so this will be a good way to help students understand how the earthquake in Japan caused so much damage.
Hopefully these will help you if you have the chance to teach about this event.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
At our writing PD on Monday, March 7, many lucky teachers received a copy of Nancy Fetzer's Writing Connections, which is a fantastic resource for any K-5 writing teacher. I just wanted to send out a reminder that much of her book can be found online at her website, www.nancyfetzer.com. Here you can access training videos, PDFs, and other freebies that can help you with your writing instruction.
Once we finished our initial email and our second one to learn how to attach a file I pretty much let the students correspond on their own. I didn't correct for spelling or punctuation but encouraged them to communicate independently. Some of them managed to log on from home and showed their families. Some surprises were the trouble with capital letters and all caps, misspelling of target email addresses, and hitting send multiple times. Overall it was a blast! I wasn't sure the students could log on and send emails by themselves but they did remarkably well!
The lesson is posted here.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
My fifth grade students have started their new IB unit entitled"I am a Poet, and I Didn't Even Know it!" I was trying to think how I could integrate poetry and technology in a fun way, and then I remembered Wordle! Kelly Berry had introduced this to us in our staff development,but I didn't know exactly how to integrate it successfully so that it would be meaningful and rigorous. In this IB unit, the children are required to create a poem or song. This can be written by the students and then they can create their wordle using their ideas,print and share with the class. It can be used with any poem or song, but I think having a concept, and then brainstorming words on that topic would be the best, as the words as scattered in a wordle.
I am thinking about using wordle in other ways. For example, the children can use their weekly robust vocabulary and brainstorm synonyms and antonyms and create a wordle for each word. These can then be passed to other students and they can pick out,point to, or circle the synonyms of that word.
I also thought this would be a great tool for our NEP students to practice sight words, or vocabulary. It can also be used at the end of a core story, where the children can come up with themes, important key words, or concepts learned from the story.
I believe I will use it first for my Poetry unit. I am pretty sure the children are going to enjoy this activity as it requires some thought and creativity! Plus, they're just cool!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Attention 5th grade teachers!
Colleen Urlik and I have been collaborating on a Storytown project that promises to be very useful, dynamic and interactive... and best of all, it fits with our 90 minute literacy block quite nicely! We're putting together a Smartboard Notebook doc that we can all use in conjunction with teaching storytown every day. It's kind of like the PPTs that some of us use, but it's much more engaging and interactive. It's in its draft stages now, but it will be finished by the time we unroll Theme 6 in April. We'll make sure to post it so everyone has access to it. If you have suggestions or general feedback, please let one of us know :)
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
On another note, I found the "whack a mole" game for the SMARTboard online and it is a great engagement activity for my younger kids when it comes to sight words and such! What is more fun than throwing a koosh ball at moles on the SMARTboard?? Apparently, not much!