Servin Up Some

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tool #11 - Self Assessing and Reflecting

I really enjoy using Blogger a lot. I plan on using it quite often to ask open-ended questions for students to reply to in multiple subject areas. Students will be able to reply anonymously, which will lead to further discussion. One question might be to talk about his/her biggest concern going into fifth grade. Google Apps will also be used frequently for similar reasons, but student names will be used.

To make changes to my classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner, I plan on having students consistently go to stations to work on projects and to collaborate with others online.

My biggest surprise was the clarity I got out of this regarding the ability to use stations to foster 21st Century learning. I believe this will be the first step toward Transformative teaching.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tool #10 - Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

Learners need to know how to operate safely, friendly and ethically in the digital world. Our job as educators is to help develop the skills necessary for our students to become successful citizens in the world. As a fifth grade teacher, my focus for teaching digital citizenship is not as extensive as secondary educators. A few of the primary points I will cover with students and the corresponding strategies to help them avoid these pitfalls are:

1. Students copy material off the Internet for class projects without giving credit to the author. To address this inappropriate use, discussing student perceptions of ethical/unethical technology use and discussing fair use and copyright laws is needed.

2. Students violate school acceptable use policies (AUPs) because they view them as unfair. To counteract this, teachers should provide students with information about appropriate and inappropriate use of technology in school. Engaging students about the differences between rights in school and outside school when using technology will also be addressed.

3. Students use handhelds or instant messaging (IM) to send nonclass-related messages back and forth in class. Teachers should use case studies or scenarios to illustrate appropriate and inappropriate ways of using technology. They should also model appropriate uses of technology in and out of the classroom.

Parents need to play an active role in their child's use of technology. Educators can help by offering a few campus sessions highlighting important points for being a good digital citizen. After discussing the key features, parents and their child/children will be asked to sign a pledge as evidence of their faith in following through on good practices. One such contract can be seen by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

Technology is a prevalent part in today's society. From cell phones, gaming devices, computer systems in cars, to multitudes of various computer systems, technology is here to stay and changing its face daily. It has become a consuming and engaging facet of everyday life and it's up to our future, our students, to continue this trend.

As educators, our responsibilities need to expand to include the growing use of technology in the real world. Managing the implementation and use of technology is key to the success of technology integration into the curriculum. Part of this means holding students accountable for the stations. This includes following the instructions set forth for station responsibilities and for the assigned task.

LearningGames for Kids is a great site where you can learn anything from typing to math and even making music - All by playing fun games of course. With each category neatly labeled, it is easy to find what you want and spend hours having fun learning. Thinkfinity is also a desirable site for use with students. Not only does it have activities in all subject areas, sorted by grade level, it also provides detailed lesson plans for implementing the activities. This is useful more for interactive whiteboard lessons, but can be modified for student stations.

I found Grammar Prep and MathBoard are useful apps for the iPod Touch/iPad that can be used in the classroom. Grammar Prep includes apps for subject and verb agreement, practicing sentence fragments, run-on sentences, comma splices, and the use of commas, pronouns, and modifiers. MathBoard includes square roots, cubes, and squares as well as more basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Multiple-choice problems make the game a good way to study for standardized tests, and many of the wrong answer choices are answers that are common mistakes.

To hold students accountable for their station work, an end-product should be given to the teacher. An easy end-product would be to write the math problems a student had to solve, write the words they had to define, or the subject-verb agreement words they had to decide upon. Turning in this abbreviated portion of the activity will show that the student spent time looking at the activity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

As of right now, I know that I'll have iPod Touches and iPads in my co-teach classroom. I hope the students eventually also get to use 2120 netbooks. I'm very interested in adding to the collaborative piece that is available through such tools as Blogger and Edmodo, and being able to vodcast through the netbook will do this. It will be even more enhanced due to the webcam feature.

Beyond what I mentioned above, proper and efficient management of the devices is imperative. I plan on using them in Centers as much as possible. One example is to add some math apps to the iPod Touch and letting students who finish early use the iPod Touch to play Mathletics, Basic Math, Math Quizzer and other math games. Students can compete against each other for high scores. Another app is Voice memo. This could be used for collaborative story building during L/A. Get a pupil to record the first line of a story, pass it to the next pupil to listen to and add to, continue with each pupil adding a part until the story is complete.

To monitor appropriate use of the devices will require careful preparation and presentation of guidelines by the adult in charge. Acceptance by all students, through the Technology agreement, is mandatory.

Tool #7: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

Online collaboration gives individuals the opportunity to share information across classrooms, cities, states, or countries. Well designed projects can target specific objectives and produce outcomes that all involved parties are sure to learn from. One of the greatest values I see in using this tool is that people are able to learn how others outside their environment experience everyday or educational issues. It truly expands their world beyond the classroom and neighborhood. With this in mind, I propose the following:

Students will write about, photograph, and discuss their daily lives, both on ordinary days and on special occasions. This will be implemented the beginning of the second nine weeks and continue to the middle of the third nine weeks. We will use both iEarn and Class2Class to deliver our project. These sites appear to address specific curriculum areas more than some of the others.

Students may document aspects of a typical day (like visiting the market or going to school) or they may document special days (like vacations, birthdays, celebrations, or holidays.) Students document their routines on the scheduled day, such as morning chores, breakfast, getting to school, school routines, after-school activities, community life, evening activities at home, etc. Then, students post and discuss their work in one of the forums.

I hope to get involvement from many classrooms from around the world. If no hits are received by mid-November, we will search for target audiences (listed on several of these sites) and ask for participation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion in and out of the Classroom

There are many web tools that enable classroom discussions through anonymous input. In addition to discussion prompts, polls can be taken, questions can be asked, homework can be assigned and easily accessed provided the user has access to the Internet. I chose to preview Google Apps because this tool is being aggressively promoted by SBISD. Click here to see the prompt for the Google Doc I created.

Based on the summary on the 11 Tools webpage, I also was very interested in previewing Edmodo. Part of the description states, Edmodo provides a real-time platform to exchange ideas, share content and access homework and more! Students are given classroom code so no student account creation required. I searched and searched for the classroom code, but could not find one. Consistently I saw that, Students will then register and use the teacher’s code to join that class. Once the student has created an account, all they have to do is click "Join" and enter the 6-digit code that I provide and they are able to access, and reply to, whatever I have assigned. Unfortunately, I cannot find an embed code or a specific link to my assignment for you to use from this blog. However, if you join for free, you can use the code, wjg9s9, to access my assignment. Registration only takes a minute.

What I've created is simple, but through more researching, I hope to create more vivid and exciting assignments. Care to share any creative projects?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tool #5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 Tools are valuable assets that could be incorporated by any teacher in any classroom for any content area. Some are easier to learn than others and some projects can be started immediately while others require registration and/or downloading. Most of the provided tools (Go Animate, Make Beliefs Comix, Glogster, Xtranormal, Prezi)require creative thinking and writing. The writing process should be incorporated in all classes during the school year.

I've formerly created items in many of the listed tools so I chose Stupeflix and Prezi. Stupeflix doesn't have much value in the classroom unless you pay for the upgraded version. The free version only shows one minute of video, which isn't much time for a thorough presentation. Given more time, the designer and presenter of the video could develop a speech to go with the montage.

Prezi allows for text to accompany images or video. This has a little more to offer the user and is easy to learn and use.

Check out my Stupeflix and Prezi and tell me what you think.