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Monday, February 20, 2012

Check it out:

Hey Guys!

So, I have neglected this blog because I have been working on my personal/professional webpage I am in the process of building up the content but would LOVE for you all to take a peak at what has been going on. We are in FULL swing in 216 with some project based learning on the Harlem Renaissance and it is going GREAT! The kids are super engaged and they are producing some awesome stuff. High expectations = awesome stuff :). You can check out the student work samples on the Harlem Renaissance here!

I'm making moves towards a flipped classroom next year. The flipped classroom and Project Based Learning supports the Common Core and truley prepares our children for college and career :).

I would love feedback on the website!!!!! Also, let me know if the embedded files show up in the portfolio!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ookaboo: Free Pictures of (almost) Everything On Earth!

One of the main things that I hear from my work buddies (and I agree 100%) is that our students have a VERY difficult time making connections because of their limited schema. Well, I happen to believe that technology is the GREATEST way to build up that schema. While I tend to be pretty good at anticipating that "missing knowledge," there are times when I'm blown away by the blank stares I get when I say something that I THINK my kids know. For example, we were talking about ice hockey on a lake or pond (because we were reading a story about a boy who fell through the ice) and my kids could NOT grasp it. Well, I pulled up this nifty site, searched a keyword and BAM! I had a image for my kids to "think" from and build up those connections and understanding. The BEST part about ookaboo is that the images are school/kiddo friendly. There is no risk of pulling up some borderline BAD pictures when you use a search engine. I tried putting in keywords such as breasts and other male and female anatomy images and only came up with images that you would find in a health or science text book. 

The website says: "Find Free Stock Photos With Unprecedented Precision." I must say that it works preeetyyy well! 

Check it out and integrate your ookaboo images in your SMART board templates, Animoto video's and Inspiration maps

Edmodo: Social Networking for Teachers and Students

Hi Gang!

I constantly get the question, "Mrs. Paich, do you have Facebook." Well, the answer is "yes, but you will NEVER find me!" Granted there is nothing on my Facebook that is questionable BUT I really don't want them in every aspect of my life. They are with me 8 hrs a day, why do they need to spend time with me OUTSIDE of the school day? 

Well, the constant questioning of "do you have Facebook?" has got me thinking. 

My special education students want to use Facebook and there definitely is an opening for engagement in Mark's multi-billion dollar creation.    

So, what to do? 

In comes! A workshop just reminded me of the service that I discovered a while back. So, just like Inspiration, I'm planning to dust of this service and create a profile for me and have my students create a profile. Although, I have to make sure this fits into my district policy. 

Edmodo is a hybrid Social Media site AND a micor-blogging platform that allows for parent, student and teacher collaboration. Parents can even access with their own unique group code to see student assignments, due dates, grades, and direct messages between the teacher and student. Edmodo is strictly used for use in education. 

Edmodo has great opportunities for:

  •  Polling students (eliminating the need for those expensive clickers)
  • Project Based Learning- !!!!!!!!!!! UBD !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Student Collaboration
  • Online Assignment Pad
  • Posting resources for assignments/notices/notes etc. 
  • Discussions
  • View and Response 

How will you use Edmodo in the classroom?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 .... Stepping Past PowerPoint?

Hey gang!

I SHOULD be grading but a brake is definitely in order. Today, I used with my class. Now I have yet another web 2.0 obsession. The level of engagement by my students was spot on (although I heard my name called entirely too many times). 

Animoto is a service that allows students to "create stunning video's" with any level of computer and literacy skills. Animoto is an alternative to PowerPoint that limit's a person's ability to clutter the slide with lots of text. It forces the producer to carefully craft the text as it limits the number of characters per slide (think twitter). Additionally, the free account (I LOVE FREE) limits the video to 30 seconds and prevents that darling student that likes to go on and on from going on and on! Besides, our kids (and me the teacher) are a product of the MTV era and want information QUICK!

Student Samples

Sample from one of my kiddo's today :)

And another :).

Obviously, has it's place just like anything because of it's limitations. I wouldn't want to over use it or use it as a culminating activity for a month long research project.

I thought perhaps taking a peek at my lesson plan (FYI not in my district's format) will help you to understand my lesson :).

I just logged into my animoto to pull today's samples and saw that TWO students created video clips just for fun :) Yay! Learning is FUN! 

Lesson Plan

Using the web 2.0 service, students will be able to create an 8 slide video with pictures, sound and text with a rubric score of 3 (or higher) on the animoto rubric.

Instructional Procedure

Mini-Lesson (In classroom)- teacher will model creating a video and students will observe and take notes
                Questions to ask:
·         Why use images to convey a message?
·         Why use text to convey a message?
·         How do we evaluate images?
·         What kind of words do we use when writing our text?
·         What is the purpose of creating a book review?

Independent Work (In computer room)- students will create a video based on the assignment and rubric found on the bottom of: 

Work Samples: student work samples will be uploaded to this link tonight J

Follow up question: How can I transfer the skills of creating an animoto video to creating a powerpoint or poster?

Next Lesson on Animoto.comStudents will create a animoto video based on the Essential Question:
·         Why did parents from the Midwest during the early 1900’s want to adopt children?  

Note: In planning this lesson, I started off with wanting to jump right into the EQ based on our read aloud and UBD on Inferencing/Eve Bunting. However, in my experience with introducing technology to my class is that I need to give them an opportunity to test it out and play with the features though a lighter objective. Otherwise, the EQ is lost because the kids want to see how “cool” it is. This way encourages critical thinking and does not overwhelm the students.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inspiration: Brainstorming with my Kiddo's

Wayyyyyyyy back in my first year, I used this software called "Inspiration" with my class. It was perfect to use with my MD students to organize their ideas for writing. Somewhere along the way I forgot about using the software (funny how that happens).

Anyways, during my winter class I was reminded about how awesome the program was and I was forced to play around with it for a homework assignment.

I was once again hooked and I began brainstorming ideas on how to use Inspiration in my classroom.

Isn't it pretty? Anyways, I used it with my kiddos as a means to brainstorm for persuasive writing and they are HOOKED. At first, I allowed the kids to "play" I put them in groups and I cut them loose. Some used the software that was installed on the computer and others used the web client (software is randomly installed on my school computers). Either way, it worked great! 

(Student "Learning" Sample)

Then, I used the software to pre-write their persuasive writing essay. 

And then, I discovered that you can export the file to word and it will print both the visual diagram AND a traditional outline. Let's just say I am OFFICIALLY in love. Hopefully my printers will start working and I can stop running around my room with my thumb drive trying to get everything printed! 

Like I said earlier, I had brainstormed other ways of using inspiration in my classroom. I thought I'd share and see if anyone else has tried any of these ideas. 
  • Compare and Contrast/Double Bubble Map
  • Building Background Knowledge/Word Bank
  • Building Test Reviews
  • Classification/Taxonomy's

Have you ever used inspiration in your classroom? How have you used it? Look for future posts on inspiration. I can't wait to expand our Inspiration portfolio! 

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