Sunday, May 1, 2011

Podcasting in the Classroom

Podcasting is yet another tool that can be wonderfully useful in the classroom. Of the many roles it can play, I believe that students being able to plan, collaborate and record their own podcast is the most useful. Instead of finding one episode that I would use, I discovered a teacher whose classroom who posted podcasts from multiple students. These podcasts consist of the students reading poetry with expression. The students selected poems, illustrated them, and recorded them as podcasts. I selected these podcasts mostly because they could be included in a poetry unit. I would play a different poem for my class each day and begin a discussion on its meaning and poetic elements. Also, since I'm in the literacy specialist program, fluency is one of the main goals of reading. These students reading their chosen poems with expression is a great way to work on fluency. At the end of the poetry unit, I would have my students do a similar project. I would first have them select a poem, practice reading it fluently, and record it as a podcast. Once they got the hang of it, I would have them compose their own and record it with illustrations. This idea could be adapted for older students as well!
Poetry Podcast

Monday, April 25, 2011

Collaboration is Everything

I was truly impressed by the features offered by the ePals site. As I was browsing I found most interesting the “connect to classrooms” link that contains forums for teachers to collaborate. I found it amazing how easy it seemed to send messages to teachers all over the world, using the translation feature. It seems like so many people are eager to connect globally. I also noticed many teachers hoping to connect their classrooms using Skype. I think this is such a wonderful idea; we need to take advantage of this amazing technology.

One way I would definitely use this site is to connect to a classroom in another part of the world. When I was in school, we had pen pals arranged and it was an awesome experience, and I think interacting with other students internationally would be even better. In the future, I would choose a “hot topic” for my class to focus on – something like saving the environment that effects the whole world. I would hope to use ePals to find another classroom that my students could physically write letters to. I would arrange a Skype meeting as a conclusion to the project.

The possibilities are endless with site. I am even more excited to have my own classroom of students to share this unique opportunity with.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bookr: Another way to Extend Literacy Skills

Since I aim to teach elementary age students and am working on my Master's in the Literacy Specialist program, I think a great way to use Bookr would be to have students create a story in one of two ways.

Students could go through the writing process to create their own story. To publish their finished product, they could use Bookr to type each page and choose an accompanying picture. This would provide motivation to get to the point of publishing.

Another activity that would be interesting would be to create a Bookr with different photos and have the students add text. This would require them to be creative in thinking of ideas, but maintain a storyline at the same time.

The latter idea is what I had in mind when creating this object. This would be one (very simple) way to introduce students to the idea of creating text given photos. I titled this Bookr "Our Year" and included chronological pictures that imply the beginning of the school year through the end. I would have students create text that would highlight everything they've done this year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creative Commons Liscensing: The Many Ways to Share

Random wildflower by *Micky Attribution License

Creative Commons Liscensing allows photographers to indicate what types of uses to allow. All types of creative commons liscensing ensure creators receive credit for their work, allow creators to retain copyright while giving others the opportunity to use their work, and work internationally, lasting as long as applicable copyright lasts. When using Flickr, it's important to understand the different types of liscenses so users can determine which suits their needs.

One type of creative commons liscense is the Attribution Liscense. This means that others can use, distribute, modify and copy work (even commercially) as long as credit is given for original work and derivitive works that have been created. Attribution-Noncommercial Liscense allows people to use works under the same conditions as the Attribution Liscense, but commercial use is not allowed.

Attribution No-Derivs Liscense gives users the right to use, distribute, and copy only exact copies of the original work. Credit must be given and no changes can be made.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs is the most restrictive of the main liscenses. Users can download work to share, but commercial use is not allowed, no changes can be made, and credit must be given.

Attributions-ShareAlike Liscense lets others change and build upon work (even commercially) as long as they give credit and liscense their modified creations under the same terms. Any derivitives of the original work will have the same liscense. Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike Liscense is the same, but commercial use is not allowed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tweet Tweet Tweet

Being new to the world of blogging, my knowledge of Twitter was quite limited up to this point (besides hearing my teenaged sister's phone buzz every five seconds as she Tweets with all her friends). I was under the impression that it was simply another means of "updating your status", similar to Facebook. I am impressed to discover that Twitter is so much more. The number of educators who share their knowledge through this means can provide excellent professional development. Twitter can be used to share music, videos, documents, create business cards, and so much more. In the classroom, there is a plethora of ways to incorporate Twitter. Among my favorites are answering homework or opinion questions, tweeting as characters from a novel, creating short stories, keeping parents informed, taking polls, playing word games, following experts of the area currently being studied, internet scavenger hunts, and discussing current events. Once again, this is a tool that many of our students use regularly and are familiar with so why not make it educational?

31 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom
Tweet Ideas: 13 Things to do on Twitter besides Tweet

Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Throughout my browsing of many educational blogs, there are two types of posts and information I personally find most interesting. I enjoy reading about new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, because after learning about the many tools available during this course, it's valuable to read ways teachers are actually putting them to use. I also always find it useful to read about other teaching ideas or techniques that may or may not use technology. As a teacher it's nice to keep an ongoing "list" (an actual one or mental) of ideas to use in the future. The blog I chose to comment on discussed an idea for a review game that I have seen before, but with variations. This activity can be used with any subject and almost any grade level. I like this post because it's great to have a variety of games and activities to use when it comes time to review!
This game involves a set of "I have" "Who has" cards. One student begins saying, for example, "I have triangle. Who has a shape with four equilateral sides?" The student with the "square" card would then continue the same way. A variation can be done where students each have a card and they must wander around the classroom looking for the classmate that will complete the statement. When this person is found, the students trade cards and the game continues.

Check out the post I commented on!

My comment offered an additional idea to use with this activity. I suggested having students create the cards themselves for additional review. I was glad to see someone respond to my comment! I feel like an official blogger.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Transforming Education through Social Networking

Technology Integration in Education is a group I found to be a wonderful resource to promote technology in the classroom, particularly in the field of mathematics. This was just one of many useful social networks I came upon. It contains forums, links to many other useful and informative groups, resources to internet tools, news, videos, events, and so much more. I could spend hours reading the many ideas for putting internet tools to use in the classroom, as well as collaborating with educators around the world.
Besides the collaboration aspect, some of the benefits of this site are that it is updated constantly, and contains endless ideas and content. I am very excited to explore this group further and put some of my new knowledge and skills to use!