Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our Class wiki page

Check out our classroom wiki page. Each student will have a page to express themselves, ask questions and speak what is on their creative minds. Link

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thing #23 It was fun and I made it.

I will use the questions of the Library 2 Play site to share my feelings about this enjoyable program.

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I liked learning how to create video presentations even though they were my biggest challenge. I also enjoyed discovering a number of different search engines. Library Thing is a great way for me to catalog my books and find people with shared interests in my reading.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

I am always excited when I can learn to use new forms of technology I may have not been familiar with or did not even know they existed. I will use these programs to open students eyes to the importance of learning technology and for keeping the curriculum fresh and interesting for my students.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I was surprised about how many different types of search engines and blog programs existed. I also feel I can transition from using my Mac at home with my PC at work without losing the ability to put together complete and fulfilling projects.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I think this program is great but might be a little overwhelming for those less comfortable with technology. I am able to learn by toying around with programs which is encouraged by 23 things (ex. the sandbox). I think more step by step instructions might be useful to technologically hesitant individuals.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

I would definitely participate if time allowed it. I really enjoyed this program and I always want to learn more but it was time consuming and I would need a window of time to complete it. I liked that the program game us time to work on it at our own pace. I have two small children and sometimes I needed to work on this late at night when they were asleep.

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities.

The pressure of just one word. I would say - stimulating.

Thank you very much for this opportunity. I will be using this blog to connect with my students and their families as I see this as a place families can go to share their experiences about our classroom journey.

Thing #22

Teacher Lingo is an interesting site and provides more useful tools for elementary school teachers than educator ning. It has a search engine for lesson plans that lets you specify by subject, grade or specific term. I entered third grade and found a number of useful ideas in different plans. It also allows you to view elementary school teacher blogs for more helpful ideas/advice. I will definitely use this ning to supplement my plans and to find new ideas. It also has a message board if you want to ask the educational community a question.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thing #21

It was great to learn about audacity and photostory. I had practiced using photostory during the summer PBL program. The students really enjoyed putting together projects as did I. My first challenge was getting my photographs transferred from my Mac computer over to my PC. E-mailing them took too much space. So I used one of our other technology sources, Flickr CC, and downloaded my photographs. I then logged on to photostory and imported those photographs. I put them in order, added writing to each picture, voiced audio through my microphone and finalized the presentation. The volume can be heard through earphones on my PC but I would need external speakers to hear the presentation without them.

My biggest challenge which took quite some time was to transfer the photostory to my blog. I followed the steps listed on 23 things and for several attempts, the video would not link. Finally, after making sure I saved it as a wmv file and slowly taking each step, it worked. I liked the final product but that frustration level was the highest of all the 23 things technology I have used. I am glad it was during the summer while I was not in school so I could figure out the problem. The blog help link was not much help at all giving very generic and limited advice. The comments from the 23 things users were much more helpful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mrs. Burk Perimeter Rap

Mrs. Burk Perimeter Rap

Shared via AddThis

Thing #20

At the You Tube website, I did a search under the topic "third grade classroom management" and found several videos with great advice on how to organize my classroom and establish good classroom management.

At the Teacher Tube website, I did a search under 3rd grade math. I found a hilarious video rap song about perimeter and area by Mrs. Burk. I have embedded the video in a separate post.

I think Teacher Tube is a great way to get ideas when you have tried to present material in different ways but some students still do not comprehend it. A second or third opinion is always nice to have and these websites allow teachers videos with ideas from around the country and possibly beyond.

Thing #19

I explored many of the different Web 2.0 award winning websites and was pleased to find several of the sites we have already explored were award winners. Listed under the mapping applications, I liked the community walk program. It allowed me to find locations on the map, draw routes and edit the map for my use. It also allowed me to make my map public, limit access to those I choose or make it a private map. I would use this program to show students how to use maps (ex. locate Woodview Elementary School), how to edit them for their own use and have them compare today's maps with those from the past. The program also allows you to download your map to a web page or blog. Again, because it is a website, students with computers at home can practice using it which bridges the learning at school with the learning at home (unfortunately, not all students have computers at home and therefore they might need additional opportunities to use computers at school).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing #18

Open Office seems like an upgrade from Microsoft Office in that is easily compatible with different formats from different years and allows you to do things that are not as easy to do on Microsoft Office (ex. drawing). I like the fact that this program can be used by students at school or at home. The open-source license is a big plus.

Google docs also allows you to transfer many different types of documents. The share documents mode makes accessibility to others easy by having you create a list of users. This also prevents those who you do not want to view your product from doing so. I love that more than one person can make edits at the same time which can be critical when time is limited. Because this and Open Office are online they give users and advantage over Microsoft Office in that you do not have to e-mail a document to yourself to have access to it at home. I did not even think about the fact that online storage prevents loss of documents due to computer crashes. It is very easy to create a webpage link to your documents which is great if you want students to view your/their documents at school or at home.

I think these tools provide much greater capabilities than Microsoft Office. The one disadvantage I can see is that most people are more familiar with Microsoft Office since it has been in use for quite some time. Practice with Open Office and Google docs could offset this lack of experience with the programs.

Thing # 17

I am very excited about using rollyo to help my students with their research. It is a great tool for preventing "information overload" which results in less research being performed. I like the video about rollyo and used it to create my own searchroll. I wanted to create a search roll for plant life cycle. I started by creating my searchroll and adding websites I found useful lastyear such as brainpop and the elementary school encyclopedia found on SBISD's library resource page. Next, I explored other peoples' searchrolls and found a great video on the plant life cycle. I will add additional websites before the project and I love how it limits their research to those websites. I wish their were not ads listed in the results but I understand rollyo has to fund its site. I am still concerned about searches on this website because when I entered the word "plants" listings for "implants" also were listed.

Below is the link to my rollyo searchroll.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing #16

I have become a big fan of Wiki pages this summer. I was introduced to them during a summer school pilot program (PBL - Problem Based Learning) which introduces 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to a number of new technology resources (hardware and software). Our group of 11 students used the Wiki to communicate with each other, critique and edit each other's ideas and to show their projects. As I mentioned in the SBISD sandbox, I will definitely use a classroom Wiki page to allow students to give their views on academic subjects, to create an online newspaper similar to the hard copy school newspaper we created last year, and as a place for students to show their work.

After watching the PB Works video, I was reminded I can add new pages to the main page. My plan is to create a classroom page for everyone to share and have links to each student's individual page where they can show their work on a page entirely devoted to themselves. That way, they learn about collaborative efforts as well as having the ability to express their individuality. Insert plug ins are awesome and are very easy to do. I believe they will be extremely useful in displaying photo and video projects.

I am making a concerted effort to make comments after each thing. I am still hesitant due to a fear that I may inadvertently upset someone due to a misunderstanding. But I realize people like feedback as do I so I need to step out of the shadows and be heard (I am much better at this face to face but online it is a struggle for me).

Thing #15

The video made by the students at Kansas State University (the e-mail says ksu so I believe it is from that school) was very interesting and puts time management into perspective. It made me realize how little information I remember from my teachings in college. Most of my knowledge from that time period came from hands-on experience such as interviewing news-worthy subjects, reporting on radio and television, writing copy, editing tape, etc.

Web 2.0 Where will the next generation Web take libraries - what I really liked about this article is the following quote, "The first traces of Web 2.0 are already appearing. Consider the roaring success of sites that embody Web 2.0 principles of simplicity, rich interactivity, user participation, collective intelligence, self-service, novel and remixed content—Flickr, MySpace, FaceBook,, YouTube, LibraryThing—to name a few." It is all about students participation through the use of technology. Woodview has added a lot of new technological devices which will transition our library from a place to acquire new knowledge through books and periodicals to a place that has these things and is a technology center that allows students learning through rich interactivity, participation and many other ways that may have been limited or non-existent in the past. I think that it would be such a different experience if I went to college now. My third graders have so many growth opportunities through programs such as those found on 23 Things that there is no telling what the future holds.

I really liked what one of the students said in the video on Thing #15. The job/career I will have when I graduate from college does not even exist yet.

Away from the "icebergs" - I think the Just in Case collection point is right in that students need access to many different types of digitial collections. But with so many different types of learners, what may be a Just in Case to some students may be vital learning materials to others. However, since I work in the classroom, I am not familiar with what types of materials might be considered "just in case". I find them useful and I am not sure how many of our materials would fall under this category. The Reliance on user education is right on point in that technology materials should be easy to use with minimal or no training. Otherwise, some people may be reluctant to use them. I always think about others who are not as excited or intimidated by the new technology and wonder how can they be made to feel more comfortable using it. The "come to us" model of library service point touches on a pivotal issue, transitioning to the demands of the marketplace or in our case the classroom/library.

Into a new world of librarianship - shows the vital need for a constantly-changing, growing and fluid environment. In Librarian 2.0, it is important to acquire new technology, not for the sake of having it, but for its relevance in growth of the students, the faculty and the library itself. Librarian 2.0 will help transition the school environment from a lecture-centered environment to a learner centered environment where the students are responsible for their learning and the teacher/librarian acts as a facilitator.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing #14

I have been exploring with mixed feelings. It has a lot of information but I wished it was organized in a more "easy to manage" manner. It feels cluttered and overwhelming at times. I did a blog post search for school library learning 2.0. Without quotes, I had over 250 posts mostly dealing with school, library, learning or 2.0 in different parts of a post but not all together as one expression. When I did a tag search for school library learning 2.0, I found 28 tags, mostly by participants of the 23 things program. When I did a blog directory search for school library learning 2.0, I found 122 entries which mostly related to the 23 things program. The search engine makes it too complicated to differentiate between searching blog topics versus within blogs versus searching tags. I do not believe I would use this as much as I would use which is much simpler.

I am not surprised by the most popular searches. Unfortunately, in my opinion, our society has become a mirror of "reality television". Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and others are often listed, but I wish there were more popular searches for educational and newsworthy blogs.

Tagging is an effective way of finding previously located information. The key to sharing with others is to use tags they would logically associate with the blog you have tagged. Otherwise, it is time-consuming and causes frustration.

I did "claim" this blog on The claim is pending. I pasted my claim number as instructed in a separate post. Hopefully, this will result in more viewers and comments. I also added to my bookmarks. The widgets are interesting, but I am not sure if adding them would really save me time.

Technorati claim of this blog


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #13

I love the delicious website. It solves my problem when I find cool things on my home computer and rather then send them to my school e-mail address, I can now put them on the delicious website. I also think it will be great to see what my colleagues are bookmarking as social bookmarking can be an extremely effective way of finding new resources. The key will be for teachers to use effective tags to make such resources easy to locate by their peers. I can list each of my students on my network on and they can use the tags (ex. fractions, math, etc.) to work on things at home or at school. I think this would be an extremely effective tool when doing research projects like finding interesting information on plant life cycles or different types of animals.

I thought Furl and Digg were decent websites too, but they were not quite as expansive in possible uses by students as delicious was. Magnolia was not operable and is expected to be back up later this year. I do like the way Furl allows a user to highlight information and save it just in case it is not still on the internet at a later date. This is also a useful way to find information that may have been difficult to locate.

I tagged several math websites on that I used throughout the school year. I really like how the site lists the tags and how many times each tag is used. That will show me my tendencies/patterns of labeling websites and give me an easy way to create a system of managing my tags while conserving much needed time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thing #12

I think it is extremely important to remember that readers cannot hear the "tone" of you comments. As a well established "class clown", I have found that internet communication can lead to greater misunderstandings. I once inadvertently offended a friend of mine who totally misunderstood what I was saying. I take full responsibility for this and in the 15 years since, have made great efforts to be direct and sensitive with my comments.

In "How to comment like a king or queen", Cool Cat says "Criticize kindly". I agree with this 100 percent and would even say "Critique kindly" as I find the word criticize to be too harsh. Blogging is a microcosm of personal interaction and because of it's lack of face-to-face involvement, I think bloggers do not realize the sting of their comments. I am a very sensitive person and take things to heart to a fault. For example, Cool Cat used a Star Wars reference to identify negative comments. I personally did not like this as a Star Wars fan who has used my interest to bond with some of my students that share this interest. I even made a Star Wars comic in an earlier post.

In Drape's takes, he "critiques" a blogger for their failure to reply to comments. I think this kind of pressure does not take into account many things including busy schedules, different personality types, etc. I do like the fact that Drape did qualify his critique by mentioning the blogger may have personally e-mailed replies to comments or communicated in a different form (ex. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

I made comments on five different Library2Play blogs. It is interesting how truly unique each blog is as none of the five were similar and you could tell the personality of the blogger in each one.

For the two blogs of personal interest I commented on Tom Watson's great day at the British Open (golf). I find this public blogs tend to have too many offensive comments. These comments usually have obscenities with one letter replace to avoid detection.

I also commented on Pauline Jean's new album (she is a friend of mine - we were paralegals in a law firm). I am so proud of her efforts and she is a role model.

I found this "thing" interesting because it forced me to do something I am not totally comfortable with, comment on other's blogs. I do suffer from "am I worthy to comment" syndrome or as I like to call it "how dare I have an opinion". I am getting better but, I still suffer from reluctance to speak out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thing #11

Isn't technology amazing. Here is another great "thing" that I had no idea existed. I signed up, added a few of my book titles, joined the Star Wars and Agatha Christie groups on the site and placed the site on my google reader page. This would be great for my students for them to find books that interest them, share common experiences with similar readers and with their classmates (if I create a subgroup only for our classroom). I also think it provides them information on similar books to books they have already read and liked. I also think I can use this program to catalog the books in my classroom to give students an easy way to find out what is available based on their needs/interests. It also can be used as a tool to prepare them for what they want to check out of the school or public libraries. I think I will sign up to get books for free in exchange for a review of those pre-released books. It might help me try new authors and by reviewing them give me additional focus during my reading.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I used BigHugeLabs to create this

BigHugeLabs: Do fun stuff with your photos

Posted using ShareThis

Topic #10

Custom Baseball Jersey -

I made this on

Cool huh. I tried to make an animation of myself on my webface but unfortunately, that program is not compatible with my mac at home. I will try again when I am on my PC.

I made this Star Wars comic strip on

I would use these online image generators to have students present information on a subject (ex. historical figures) in an unusual and interesting way. For example, they could create a comic strip where animated figures (like Darth Vader above) provide educational information about curriculum-related subject matter. Darth Vader could talk about how he has visited all the planets and briefly describe each one. Students could use the Wordle feature to describe a subject matter (ex. things to remember when interviewing a subject for the school newspaper). When a teacher finds a useful way to use these image generators, they can post their experiences on a wiki page for the faculty to see and use as they see fit.

I tried writing a poem in the image chef word mosaic. The problem is the words appear randomly and therefore I find it to be a more effective tool for ideas moreso than thoughts in sentence/poetic form.

Topic #9

I find both Topix and Technorati easy to use and filled with a lot of useful condensed information. I have placed both on my Google reader page. Syndic8 is a little overwhelming and I am not a big fan of the page layout as it seems random and difficult to find information quickly. Edublogs award winners is useful for new ideas because their are so many differing viewpoints/perspectives and those blogs seem very well thought out. The Cool Cat Teacher blog is a little unusual in that it is philosophical in nature. The Circle of the Wise is an interesting and unusual perspective. I am trying to learn how to be a better listener (it is a work in progress, but I am improving I think), and I thought the Circle of the Wise article broke down the roles of different types of bloggers/people in groups very well. I have always spoken a lot, not so much to be an egotist, but due to my insecurities (especially as a child) and to validate my worth to the group. As I mentioned previously, I really think I will be able to add a lot more to my Google Reader once I ascertain my students' needs for the school year (I have used last year's group to start my Google Reader, but every student is different and comes with new knowledge and different needs for maximizing learning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trading Card

Here is my trading card. Double click on it to see it full-sized.

Thing #8

I like RSS and readers for their instantaneous information without clutter. I also like the feature that allows you to read the title and first few lines only for quick searches. In my school life this could be useful during a rocket launch, a serious weather situation, quick updates on news in SBISD, relevant news stories for subject matter being covered, etc. In my personal life, I can use it for sports scores, weather updates, etc. I find this program useful in allowing students to explore news/educational items with limited distractions and minimal chance of inappropriate material coming through.

My google page is public and can be found at Click on the link reader at the top to see my google reader page. I will categorize my links once I have more. Once the school year starts, the types of links I will add will become more evident.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thing #7

I have created a igoogle profile page at the following link:

It is an interesting link, but it took a little while to remove unwanted applications such as those inappropriate for children. I would be more likely to convey information to my students through this blog but might have them use Google for research if it is properly protected by Spring Branch to prevent them access to non-educational material.

Google Earth is great. I love the feature where you can look at a map from different times. I looked at a satellite view of Niceville, Florida, where I went to high school from 1994 to the present and the development was interesting to see. I can see this program as a great way for students to view Houston over time. I explored the Grand Canyon and the ocean and found that this program will be tremendous for our study of landforms, our studies of ocean life (the Cousteau ocean world provides great video) and the creation of historical timelines.

Thing #6

This has been the most interesting "thing" yet. I love exploring new application I have not had a lot of experience with. It was fun to look at photos of many different colors in Flickr color pickr (say that three times fast). I would love for students to use Mosaic Maker to create a Mosaic based on a Texas or other Social Studies theme (ex. pictures from a historical time period). I would also like students to use the mappr to take photos from flickr and incorporate them on some type of a map (ex. the United States or Texas). I would have to say my favorite application is Big Huge labs, which is really many different applications. I liked the mosaic maker as previously discussed, making puzzles, magazine covers, trading cards, movie posters, Warholizers (Andy Warhol) and mapmakers. I think it will be easy to use these applications in social studies and science and I think it will be an interesting challenge to use them in language arts and mathematics. Maybe when students are writing a story, they can attach a series of photographs and create a mosaic. Or maybe when they are doing math, they could use a mosaic of pictures to demonstrate fractions (ex. slices of pie, pizza, etc.). I just finished making a trading card and I think one of the first projects in August with my new class will be for each student to download a photo and make a trading card about his or her self to introduce themselves to their new classmates/teacher. UPDATE: The trading card I had created and inserted on my blog did not open the next day. I will have to check if that is a result of the program or something else. I still like the trading card feature and think it will be interesting for students to use during the first week of class as an introductory tool to each other as well as to the technology we will be using.

Thing #5

This is a picture of the scoreboard at my old high school. My 20th year reunion is coming this October and I was feeling nostalgic. This photograph is titled Final Score and was taken by a photographer known as I'll Never Grow Up. I selected it from the attribution license group of photographs. I like Flickr quite a bit and have used it with my class to select photographs for different animal projects they were working on. My greatest concern is that sometimes inappropriate material comes up under simple searches, although this happens less in Creative Commons, but can still take place. Hopefully, the district is setting parameters to prevent these type photographs from getting through but nothing is foolproof. I like the fact that I can create my own private group for the students to use to see educationally appropriate photographs that I may want them to look at for a number of different topics. I also think the tag feature will be useful when I want students to describe things in their own words.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thing #4

I have e-mailed Mr. Branom with my blog information and I am ready to continue the journey. I am looking forward to learning about the different technology applications available. I often find one of the most difficult things about technology is not knowing about great things that are available. During the summer school PBL I learned about things I was not aware of such as animoto, second life, whyville, etc.

Thing #3

Creating a blog was fun. I followed the simple steps provided in the tutorial and on blogger itself. I gave details about myself, downloaded a picture of my family and wrote an initial blog for my future students to read. I also have been thinking about the applications of this blog. I really think it will help students practice using technology at home to talk to each other as well as to me. I think parents/guardians will have a simple way to keep up with what is going on in our class as well as a forum to communicate with other parents and myself.

Thing #2

Lifelong learning is something I have strived for even before there was a term for it. I consider it akin to my preference to be good at many things rather than great at one thing and have be all-consuming. For me, habit #1 is the easiest because I analyze things with the final outcome in mind already. I play out every possible scenario to choose the course of action that will lead me to my objective with as little difficulty as possible. Habit #4 is the most difficult because I am my own worst critic. I can see the good in others much better than in myself and I always saw learning as a child and young adult as "Me against the world. The Rocky Balboa overcoming the odds perspective as I like to think of it."

Welcome to a new experience - Mr. Allen's 3rd Grade Blog

Welcome one and all to the creation of my blog. I will be using this to communicate with each of you and your families about the exciting things taking place in our classroom. Throughout the year, we will be learning new technologies that will help you with the classroom learning experience.