Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tool # 11 - DONE!

Well, I blotched that final assessment but good - 77%,  My competitive soul is NOT HAPPY.  Oh well, such is life, shrug and move on.  Here's Stupefix Video Celebratory Video



1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.


  Some I already knew but I'm happy to have added Tikatok and MakeBeliefs Comix to my collection.  I'm glad I played around with Thinkfinity & Learning Games and will use some of the sites from the latter two with my PGP students this upcoming year.  I'll work with teachers helping them implement Tools with their classes so which tools we'll use will be somewhat up to them.  I do plan to model at least one of them per week in my library lesson so that the Tools will remain in my teacher's frontal lobes.





2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner? 


 Again, this doesn't really apply to library where all our technology is well marked with fingerprints and smudges.   This year we'll be in a transition school, so it will interesting how the teachers set up their classroom when we return to our newly constructed 21st century school.






3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? 
very proud of themselves. 


 I was surprised at how much of this I already knew (even though my assessment score does not reflect this!) and also by how many folks were proficient at e-mail and not much else.  I was utterly delighted that quite a few of the teachers  took this project and ran with it and created unbelievable blogs that went above and beyond the initial assignments. Some people  that weren't in the least bit teckie persevered and finished and are rightfully very proud of themselves. This year should be interesting!  I always enjoy any kind of on line learning and I'm glad I participated in the 11 Tools  I'm also very grateful that I've taught blogging to the students for the past 4 years.  That enabled me to come to the project with a through understanding of Blogger and how it works..  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tool #10 Digital Citizenship

I've taught Digital Citizenship for a couple of years now. Given what I've seen of some of the students Facebook posts I'd say I'm not always successful.  Even though 5th graders aren't supposed to have a Facebook Page, many of our students do.  10 year olds live in the moment and some of what they've posted is both poorly spelled and in very poor taste. 


1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being  good digital citizens.   I try to stress to the students that what they post on line isn't private in any sense of the word and I try to bring in real world examples.  Sadly, this isn't to difficult.  We try very hard to convince them them that "cutting and pasting" does not a paper make.  Lastly, we do our best to stamp out Cyber Bullying.    Given the recent posts about a Facebook page at one of our high schools I don't think we have a handle on this problem either. 
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.   I've used the iSafe program as a jumping off place for my lessons but it's a bit to negative, the internet is the Big Bad Wolf for my taste.  I took the information presented in the program and created Flipchart which I've used for the past couple of years. 

3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students The students and I both adore BrainPop and I've found their lessons to be both user friendly and through. BrainPop is incorporated in my FlipChart since the company is a partner with Promethean, who makes our ActivBoards. .

4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents. That's a tricky one, since many of our parents don't speak English and don't have easy access to a home computer.  They have cell phones with internet but that's not the same as a computer (or an iPad) with a keyboard.  It's a subject we really need to broach this upcoming school year, especially since Cyber Bullying is becoming all to common.  We no longer have a Family Technology Night, but we could address it during Science Night, which also includes a heath fair.  That's when we get out biggest turnout of parents.  Perhaps some of the 4th Graders could create Glogs to accompany the 5th grade Glogster projects. 

Tool # 9 - Incorporating the Teckie Toys

I like the term Teckie Toys better than ClassRoom Learning Devices.  The latter sounds so formal!


  • Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?  Simple, you need a destination before you begin - and that's your objective.  




  • Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?  The key to students with sticky fingers or students as vandals is "ownership".  Once the students come to think of the computers, iTouches, iPads et. al. as "theirs" as opposed to "the schools" they will take care of them and police each other.  At Housman the students have easy access to everything and we've (knock on wood) only had one problem with theft.  They students were so incensed when that occurred that they banded together and solved the crime for us.




  • Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?  Things are a bit different in the library where students (hopefully) come in with a project already assigned.  I did check out some of the links/  I've been meaning to play with Thinkfinity for ages.  Via it I found Comic Creator which is easy to use.  I was tres impressed till I finished and discovered that my only option was to either print my work or create another carton.  There doesn't appear to be any way to save it as a jpeg so that it can be posted to a blog.  Oh - just occurred to me that I can use the camera tool from the Activ Inspire software.  That's a bit clunky and the software isn't on the netbooks.  Given the cost of paper and toner we're trying to wean everyone away from printing everything.    I had fun with Fractured Fairy Tales, but once again the final results can only be printed.  This is a fun site to use with my PGP students!   Thinkfinity is an idea site to use with centers since many of the projects are short.   I also explored Learning Games and came across US State Learning Games.  It's a fabulous replacement for the Facts on File State pages.  Due to budget constraints we no longer have Facts on File and their state pages were something I always used to teach "mouse skills" and "point n' click" to our little ones. Unlike South of the Freeway schools our students are not placed in front of a keyboard at birth. Tomato Bounce is a kids version of Angry Birds and the Logic Games in Brain Games are another resource to use with my PGP kids.  Anything in Learning Games is a perfect match for an ActivBoard. 




  • List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like?   I used Google Earth on the iPads with my Book Club last year.  We read The Thief Lord, which is set in Venice and Google Earth helped us explore the canals. We've any number of games on the school iPads, some of which are not educational but are very popular during Family Library Night and Library Lunch Time.  Pimple Pop, which has no redeeming value at all is a favorite (it's so gross) as is Angry Birds lite. I must admit that I like Angry Birds too!




  • What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad?  Last year I loved using the iPads for research.  They are always logged in so the kids could zip right to the Library Resources Page and get started.  



  • Monday, July 11, 2011

    Tool #8 Using the Tools

    Since I was lucky enough to get my influx of technology (thank you SBISD voters)  in January of 2010 I already know how to manage and use my teckie gizmos.  I set up an iTunes account for the library which is NOT hooked to a credit card and we started downloading apps with a vengeance. Thanks to The Library Lunch Club students get to spend their lunch break in the library relaxing with the iPads.  Since that's not "prime learning time" I can be a bit more lenient about what they can and can't do than a classroom teacher. Oh heck, it's not a "bit more" - it's a LOT more lenient. Library lunch time is exploration time.''


    Given the amount of use the computers et.al get I quickly let the student manage them.  They are responsible for both getting and putting away the laptops.  I do hand out the iPads and the iTouches (which we check out).  I've had trouble convincing some teachers that they do need to stand guard duty at the iBook cabinet.





    I have two rules
    1. Respect the Equipment, the library and each other.
    2. No inappropriate sites.  My definition of "inappropriate" is - if looking at the site over your shoulder embarrasses you, then it's "inappropriate".


    Other than the occasional wise guy who tries to go to "sexygirls.com " the students are very good at adhering to the rules.  And best of all, they usually rat on the wise guy. Actually, the wise guys normally can't type or spell and their attempts to go to "sexigrils.com are all for naught!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Tool #7 Reaching Out To The World

    The first time I used / learned about Skype it reminded me of the EMG program that Spring Branch subscribed to back in the 1990s.  It really was early video conferencing - does anyone remember the "Bat Phones" we were supposed to use?  Someone it never quite came off as it was supposed to - mostly because we had to coordinate schedules.  That's hard to do in an elementary school where students tend to do unpredictable things like upchuck as they are headed out the door. 

    Lisa Branon, the Librarian at Frostwood experimented with Skype last year.  Her students reaped the benefits as they enjoyed some author Skyped visits.  I see from reading the blog entry that there's a web site of Skype friendly authors.

    Last year a couple of students talked me into doing a book club - we kept it small and meet every 6 days or so.  All of us really enjoyed it -and since the students will be in 5th grade next year I suspect we'll keep it up.  II'll start by letting them explore this site and select an author who is willing to Skype.  None of the names jumped out at me, but it will be fun to discover a "new to us" author.  

    It will keep my first school Skype experience small and I'll have the pleasure of working with students who are articulate and adore technology.   

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    Tikatok & Bookr

    I like Tikatok, but I'd like it more if I could figure out how to enbed my book - My Summer With the 11 Tools rather than link it.

    Oh, I think I just figured it out!  Seems you have to pay a $1 so that Tikatok knows you are an adult.  Yeah me!



    Bookr is easier to us but Tikatok has way more options and is much more flexible. Bookr is a good jumping off site since it does have so many limitations. Students can't change the fonts or the text color so they focus on content rather than appearance.  I think I'd start students with Bookr because it's easier and then the students who finish the Bookr.  Instant differentiation!

    Sunday, July 03, 2011

    Tool # 6 Web 2.0 in the Classrooms

    I've been using Blogs for about 4 or 5 years now via Housman's After School Programs.  I thought students might be more interested in writing if they didn't have to struggle with pencil and paper.  Some of the students proved to be amazing writers and others were more interested in finding widgets rather than putting fingers to keyboard.  Originally I let them chose a topic of their choice but after the umpteenth post about Justin Bieber and WWF I was forced to impose a bit more structure.  I found I had to specify how many sentences qualified as a post.  Oddly I found myself doing the very same thing for teachers when they tackled the 11 Tools.  


    Here's a link to one of my favorite student blogs - the author is going into the 5th grade and he's been blogging for 2 years.  As you can tell he loves making Animotos.  I have 102 student blogs on my Housman Blogger account. 


    The library's also had a delicious account since I first did the 23 Things.  It's proved to be invaluable since elementary age children can't type long URLs.  Diigo wasn't around back then but it appears to be superior and I've migrated the Housman bookmarks to Diigo while we decide which one we want to keep updated. 



    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Tool 5 - Web. 2.0 Products - ABCya! & Comic Strips

    I've used Wordle for a couple of years now - it produces delightful results with minimal efforts.
    This time I tried ABCya! which is even easier!   One of my favorite singers wrote this and I always find myself humming the chorus during boring meetings.


    I also played around with Comix Strip Maker - very easy and lots of fun!  Many, many uses - explaining math procedures, in lieu of the traditional book reports, discussing the scientific process or as a lesson to reinforce punctuation.   I used the camera tool on my ActivBoard to "photograph" my strip, then I copied it, open PowerPoint and pasted it into a slide.  That converted the strip to a png. and I was able to save it to my desktop and upload it to my blog.


    MixBook too - MixBook creates digital scrapbooks.  It's very involved and gives almost to many choices.  Great fun for adults, but sometimes to many choices overwhelms kids.  They spend so many time looking at all their options that they forgo content for the sake of appearance.  Glogster has an overload of choices too. We've somewhat been able to corral the creative child by specificing that their Glog must look historical or scienceticic.  Even a 10 year understands that Hello Kitty was not present at the Battle of the Alamo.

    Tool 3 - Embedding Videos

    Videos are easy to embed -or link.  Sometimes you opt for one, and sometimes the other. I perfer to embed since it's easier for your blog followers to view it.  It also adds visual interest to the blog.   If there are firewall and "Net Nanny "issues a link it best, otherwise there will be this big blank space in the middle of your blog.  Below are examples of Linking and Embedding.

    Much to my amazement I've become a Lady Gaga fan.  Granted, I am I old enough to be mother - she is younger than my daughters but I do enjoy her music.  It makes me get up and move.  Moving is good. 

    The woman excells at  using Social Media and I think her commerical for Google Chrome is a masterpiece.