Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tool # 11

Wow, I can't believe I am almost finished with the 11 tools, the only thing I have left to do is take the self assessment quiz.

There were several tools that I liked from this assignment.  They included Thinkfinity, comix, word cloud generators, web cam, google docs and epals.  I mentioned this assignment in one of my earlier posts---On Thinkfinity I would look up the Gettysburg Address and have the students analyze the primary source, they could also create a comic about the Gettysburg Address and possibly have a student read and act out the Gettysburg Address on the web cam.

I have come to the conclusion that I will need to incorporate more technology in my lessons.  I will also try to do more group work in stations.  I know that I cannot possibly attempt everything that I have learned through this project but I will have to take baby steps.  Each year I feel that I am getting a bit more comfortable with technology.

I am totally amazed at the wealth of information that is available to teachers!  I had no idea there were so many different tools out there.  The problem for me will be trying to find the time to look through these sites at length and find what will work for me in my classroom.  Teachers have so many responsibilities already I just don't know how I will be able to add too much more to my plate.  This project itself has been very time consuming!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tool # 10

1.  There are several things that I would like my students to understand about being a good digital citizen.  First of all, we all need to realize that becoming a good digital citizen is a process.  Practice makes perfect!  It will take time for students to grasp all the ins and outs of digital citizenship.  Second, students must realize that they are only permitted to go to specific sites, they just can't surf the net aimlessly, they are only allowed to view and research age appropriate materials.  Lastly, and this is extremely important, students must understand that they have to keep their personal info private, they must think before they write something for all the world to see.  I will remind them to remember the golden rule:  "treat others the way you want to be treated" when using technology.

2.  I will use Brain Pop videos and the Cyber (smart) teens videos to help instruct my students about appropriate use of technology.  I also found on the "Digital Citizenship-Using Technology Appropriately" site a family contract for digital citizenship.  Included was a Kids' pledge and a Parents Pledge.

3.  I will "teach" digital citizenship to my students by showing the videos mentioned above and using the kids' pledge.  I think it is also important to lead by  example.  Like I mentioned before this is a learning process not only for the students but also for the teachers.  I will be learning and modeling the correct digital behavior right along with the students.

4.  Digital citizenship should be discussed at Back to School night.  Information could be put in the SOMS newsletter and available on the SOMS website.  Information could also be provided at Report Card Pick Up.  I would also like to use the Parents Pledge that I mentioned earlier.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tool # 9

1.  I believe that it is important to tie technology to the objective because it will definitely keep students interested.  They absolutely love using technology in the classroom. And if they are interested then hopefully they will be able to achieve the desired learning outcome and master the objective.

2.  Students should be held accountable for their actions in the group/stations, otherwise they might tend to be off task and play around with the technology and not work on the assigned task.  A "finished product" from each station will help each group "tow the line".  If they have already had experience in working in groups in the classroom then working in the stations should get easier each time.

3.  I visited the LEARNING GAMES site.  This seemed a bit elementary for 8th graders but it could still be used.  I think it would be very beneficial to ESL students and my co teach students.  I looked at the word o rama game.  Students could use this to review vocabulary.  There was also a section on reviewing famous people in history with review questions.  Students could take the quiz and scores could be recorded.

I really liked the THINKFINITY site.  I went to an activity on the Gettysburg Address where students had to analyze it (primary source).  It showed the actual document in Lincoln's handwriting with different phrases highlighted.  The students could record their interpretations of the highlighted material in a google document or on a blog.  I also looked at a site about the Star Spangled Banner.  This would be a great station activity when we study the War of 1812 and learn about the writing of our national anthem.  There were several student activities at the site.  I think it would be great to have students use the web cam to record their thoughts and "share your story" and record what the flag means to them, why should we respect the flag, etc....

4.  I found three apps from  the iPAD that could be used in my classroom.  The first is AMERICAN PRESIDENTS.  This could be used at a station where students review information about a specific President.  There are pictures, biographies, fun facts and lots more about each President.  Students could create a google document or a spreadsheet with important info about the President.  I also liked COMIC TOUCH LIFE where the students could create a cartoon about their President.  This would be a separate station. Another app was IDEA SKETCH where students draw diagrams or create flow charts.  I think students could create a timeline or diagram showing important events in the life of their President.  The end product of these stations (the document, spreadsheet, comic, timeline) would be the accountability factor.  I also liked NAME THAT STATE where the students are shown the shape of a state and have to pick the correct one.  This would be great when we learn the names and locations of all 50 states at the beginning of the year.  I have something similar that I did on the Activeboard last year.

5.  Students could use the iPad to find out what the weather is like in different places that we study.  They could also use it to find history songs on you tube. (Star Spangled Banner, Erie Canal, Dixie, Battle Cry of Freedom).  It also might be a good idea to possibly allow students to use the technology (netbooks, Ipad) as a reward.  I would need to think on that and figure out how it might work, possibly discuss with other teachers.

Okay on to tool #10.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tool # 8

I believe that I will enjoy using the Dell 2120 Netbooks.  They are similar to our laptops.  The interesting feature about the Netbook is the webcam capability.   Students can take still photos and record videos.  I also learned that there are a few differences between the netbook and our laptops.  The number locks and cap locks are located at the top right.  The volume and control keys are located at the top left above the keyboard.  I think after a bit of practice I can get the hang of it.  The only problem is that I prefer to use a mouse and not a touch pad.

I have played around a bit with the IPad this summer.  I have created an Itunes account.  I attended the help session with Karen Justl.  I have also learned that the IPad must be synched with the teacher laptop.  I think I will like the Netbook better.

There will need to be very strict guidelines established in the classrooms concerning the use of technology.  First, I must make sure that students and parents have signed the policy statement from the SBISD student handbook.  Since I will probably use the netbooks as part of a group assignment (in stations) the expectations will be reviewed before the assignment can begin.  I like the idea of having a student designated as the "go to" person for each class period to set up the netbooks when they will be used and also be responsible for making sure they are put up after use.  I definitely like the idea of a student "tech expert".  Unfortunately, I am not too computer literate and I will need some assistance. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tool # 7

 I think I will change to blue today----.  I see possibilities for tool # 7.  I have always wanted to do an interdisciplinary unit on the Civil War and it seems that this is the place to do it!  I think this might be able to be accomplished this year since we are on teams.  Many years ago (I won't say how many) several teachers at SOMS did an interdisciplinary unit on the Civil War.  The language arts classes read the book ACROSS FIVE APRILS, and the unit was designed around the book.  The choir teachers also got involved by learning a Civil War song from the North and one from the South.  The possibilities are endless here....This might be something that I could "connect with" with other social studies teachers I know in the district.  Here is a rough outline of what I have in mind:  I think for starters I would focus on just one battle, let's say the Battle of Gettysburg.

A)  OBJECTIVE:  The students will understand the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg.
B)  IMPLEMENTATION:  During the month of April when social studies classes are studying the Civil War and after language arts classes have read the book, SOLDIER'S HEART.
C)  PROCESS:  Students could write about their reflections after reading the novel.  This could be done in a google document.  The students could create a google spreadsheet showing casualties of the battle for each side. (killed, missing, wounded)  Perhaps they could find Civil War images to include on their documents.
D)  DESCRIPTION:  After reading the novel and learning about the Battle in  history class, the students should be able to understand the importance of the Battle.  I found two schools on ePALS who would be possible candidates to communicate with.  One is an 8th grade class in New Jersey that studies the same curriculum that we do.  The second school is a school that is actually located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  I think the students might be interested in learning how these students feel about living in such a famous town.

Is this too grand of a plan, should it be simplified, comments?

Tool # 6


What I just posted above was created in a google document titled "Confusion reigns". I copied the info fro the document to my blog, I hope that is what I was supposed to do. I think I could use the google docs application (documents) for writing assignments in my classroom. I know my co teacher used it last year and also several other language arts teachers. I will probably have to ask one of them for guidance.


This is a link to the wallwisher that I created. So far, I haven't posted any notes on it, but I am trying to take baby steps. I think this would be a fun way to post classroom announcements, such as test dates, assignment due dates, etc. It could also be a place to post information such as birthdays, awards, etc....okay, on to tool # 7.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tool # 5

I created a cartoon from on the Gettysburg Address.  It was actually fun and I think the kids would enjoy this activity a lot.  I have included the link to my cartoon in case you want to view it.

I also used ABCya to create this word cloud on the three branches of government. I think my students would enjoy this activity also and it would be a great way to review key vocabulary.  Okay, on to tool #6.