Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shine On Harvest Moon

So, I guess the Harvest Moon has more power than seeing two rainbows in one day. When you have testing and a different schedule it puts the kids in a tizzy-add a full moon and they go over the edge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

OK, so I thought I would find Slideshare a better place to start because I have used Marvel before. Thinking that Slideshare would be a great place to find presentations already made on some of the topics we discuss in social studies or for students to create presentations. Didn't go the way I thought it would.

Many of the slideshares didn't have audio-or if they did, I didn't hear it. Other than posting a Powerpoint or Keynote to the web I didn't get much out of it. Probably need to play with it more in order for it to make sense to me.

Then went to Marvel. I had not used Middle Search before so I tried that. Found some great articles from Scholastic on the Middle East and saved them to my folder. That was cool. I am assuming there must be a way I can share that folder with my students...at the very least I know I can take the articles and put them on my web page, in a shared google document, or in a blog to comment on.

So, did find some good stuff to use in class. Still wishing for those days of summer when we had more time and energy to think about how to put this all to good use!

Can we pause school and just have class again for a few days...

Remember all that excitement and energy we had when the class started? I need to redevelop that. I wish we had a few days with no students and could just concentrate on technology. That would help me with actually incorporating all those ideas in to lessons.

My goal is to start a blog right after NECAPS. I really think it will be a useful tool for student review, feedback, and communicating with each other. The first time I want to use it as an end of class or homework assignment, having the students review the main points of the day. I think I will use just one blog though, not an individual one for each student, so I can check them faster.

Voice threads will be great for student projects. I like the fact that they can post separately and together. No more days when a group is suppose to present but someone is absent. They seem easier to use than the visual podcasts we've tried in the past. Will need to experiment with them to see if they are "user friendly" when making one.

To be honest, the Igoogle page has been overlooked since I made it. Just don't seem to find the time to peruse it on a regular basis. My students have sent me gmails so I can begin to send them work that way. I missed the Wiki class and need to learn about those before I decide to go with a wiki, google page, or stick with my Weebly.

Again, I am missing those good old summer days where creative energy flowed through the room and there was not that long list of things to do weighing me down. One step at a time....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News I Can Use

I already have one web page, but the google one does seem easy to work. Will have to see if I move everything over. I might so I can incorporate more into it. Today was a difficult day to concentrate though, I was the "bad" student who just could not focus.

Good info though!

Plugging through

Today I had all my students send me their google emails. We even discussed separating their "school" emails from their personal ones. My goal is to begin using gmail to share information and assignments.

By next week I hope to have a blog started that I can use with different classes as a way to summarize, review, and discuss. We shall see. All the technology seems wonderful....then I remember I have two sets of quizzes to correct in my bag, homework to read over/correct, and need to have a handout for open house tomorrow night. Sometimes I think it is just "easier in the moment" to do things the old fashioned way. Will keep working on that....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The ideas are still forming-just more slowly

Using voice threads is intriguing. I can see group projects, small group discussion from around the room, differentiation, maybe even a sub plan sent to the kids....
My concern now is that the year has begun and all of a sudden the days seem shorter. I am going to use these new technologies, may only concentrate on two or three this year. Isn't it better to use less and know them well-or should I try to use more of them and be willing to flounder through?

Having time in class to work with different types of technology continues to be helpful. Thanks for letting us do that.
OK, so I would be lying if I said I was ready for today. So much to do...so many technology things I want to do but waiting for laptops to be distributed-I find it difficult to jump between being really "techy" and still living in the "old" world.

I got a lot out of the first four days of the class-I was energized and full of new, great ideas. No pressure, Steve and Connie, but I hope that continues today. I am determined to make this class change how I teach-no matter what.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Heading into Day 4

I wrote too much in my response on Steve and Connie's blog, so since Henry likes brevity....ditto to my response.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Delicious Feedback

OK, first I have to say that I know that my 8th graders will not be able to hear me say "Delicious" without giggling for the first few times. It is just the way they are. However, it was cool to use. The best part was after I saved one site I clicked on the "number" of users, then on one user. From that one person I found about eight other sites that I bookmarked. That saved a lot of time and effort-and we all know it is about saving time!

I think Delicious will be a useful tool for modeling to students how we are all learners. They will enjoy being able to find sites for different topics and sharing them. That, too, will save me time in future years.

Trying to post link (OK to ignore)

Fun things to do in Maine

Hopes for Day 3

Last night I played with my igoogle page on my own and I think I was somewhat successful. I was actually proud of myself. While I was gone yesterday my husband did his own reading up on RSS feeds and started one (I think he just couldn't stand the idea that I might teach him something techy....). So this class is not just impacting me.

Today I hope to figure out how Wikis work and see how I might use them in class. After the reading in the book I am thinking I like the blog part better for day to day work, but that Wikis would be good for projects. Need more info on the program mentioned that keeps track of who has added/changed the wiki in order to help with tracking students.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 2 Update

So many ideas, so much new information-how do I make it all come together as a tool I can use in my classroom (especially with school starting so soon.....). As I stated before I think I would like students to use blogging as a summary/review/reflection tool of what is happening in class. This would help them/me figure out what parts they don't understand, make connections, and add new ideas. Having students create a Google Reader page may be a great "starter" for each class. They could do their current events reading then so we could discuss it, instead of delegating it to one day a week. Another idea that is floating around in my head is to combine jigsaw activities with blogging. A small group of students could have a topic to research and combine their information and thoughts on one page so that other students can read about the process and not just the final product.

One concern I have about entering into the world of blogging is that it may take more time than I am ready and able to commit to it; sort of like student journals. It takes a lot of time to respond in a meaningful way.

Like the RSS page, expect that it will save me lots of time.

Hopes for Day 2

The RSS Feed information was new to me and I am looking forward to learning more about that. I think it will be an efficient and effective tool both personally and professionally. I always like things that can save me time. I am thinking it could also be used for current events with my students in class.

Am trying to work out in my head how to implement blogging as a class review tool, try and combine technology, homework, and good teaching practice. Maybe it will be the job of students to do a daily write up of what we did in class each day-including important terms and concepts. Not sure I want to follow individual blogs of students, that seems like it could be time consuming, but maybe a response each day or three times a week.

As we discuss using blogs to inform about homework and keeping parents in the loop I worry that parents will be frustrated that there are so many different ways to try and stay involved. For example, if all teachers use Homeworknow then a parent can get all the info quickly. If each teacher uses a different method it allows parents to say it is too difficult or time consuming, getting them off the hook of involvement.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blogging Class

Hmmm, blogging. Still feeling about a 3 on a 1-10 scale. Knew blogging existed, have responded to blogs before, read a few examples of blogs in class, and have now created one. Do I really know what to do with a blog and how to utilize it yet-not really.

The blogs I read were varied in content, style, and types of responses. For example, one blog was written by Will Richardson and discusses whether stores should charge for plastic bags. The blog was short and to the point. Brought up an interesting point though-should we punish those who continue to be dependent on plastic bags by charging them a lot of money per bag or encourage the use of reusable bags by taking money off their bill. Kind of like education-which plan should we use; rewards or punishment.

Another blog I read was about why a high school math teacher did not believe in giving homework. It was like listening to my husband, who also teaches high school math and doesn't give homework. For the past two years I have done the same thing. However, the high school keeps saying that "if you do your homework you will pass" when they speak to my students. So, this year I am returning to giving homework. I did like one of the responses though. One teacher said they give homework but each assignment has three parts; practice, regular, and challenge. All students must do regular and one other part. Might have to try it.

Also read a 14 year old's blog on brevity over length in writing, about why Anne Davies uses blogs in her classes, and how educational structures will keep another Leonardo D'aVinci from happening (that was too depressing for a beautiful summer day, although fairly accurate).