Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tool #11

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. I love the edmodo which gives me a communication device not only for my classroom, but with other SBISD teachers without invading their e-mails. I think Wallwisher will be a great way for my students to exchange ideas about the books they are reading. For example, I will assign my students the task of reviewing Bluebonnet books upon completion with the goal that every student reads enough Bluebonnet books to be eligible to vote on their favorite during the Bluebonnet breakfast. Storybird is a great tool for students (especially reluctant writers in that it gives them visual prompts to prevent "writer's block" or hesitancy to begin due to an inability to formulate ideas) and I found it one of the easiest programs to use. I will have students use it early in the year to create a book based on simple ideas. 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? The classroom environment will change as the Ipads will need a designated area with space. My classroom environment will focus less on students' desks and more on comfort zones whether that be at tables, cushions or wherever creative thinking is maximized for each student. The learning will shift from whole group centered to greater time spent in small groups and individual projects. Also, outside of the classroom can be greater utilized whether it is to take pictures, collaborate with other classrooms or just to allow learning outside where students may feel freer to express their ideas outside the confines of four walls. 3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I felt there were more useful tools for younger learners such as my third graders than when I completed 23 tools and 11.5 tools. I still feel disappointment that some of the programs are not available unless you pay for them, but I have reluctantly accepted that many are out to "make a buck". I wish the district could provide more of these services but it does look like based on comments during the tools instruction that such efforts are being made. I also hope that these tools will allow my students to communicate more with other students in the district, around the United States and around the world. I am thinking of having my students put together a project where they try to communicate with as many countries that are represented in the 2012 Summer Olympics as possible. I think this will be an engaging way to open their minds to discovering cultures and places around the world.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tool #10

Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens. First and foremost, the things you say online can hurt others' feelings just as if you said them to their face and it is worse because it can reach such a larger audience. Never write anything or create anything that you would not want a family member to read. Second, most of the people online have good intentions and want to help make the internet a better place. However, there are a few people who intend to cause harm whether that be through Cyberbullying, creating programs that can cause problems for computers and other technological resources or by exposing students to things that are not appropriate for children to see. Third, do not share personal information about yourself online. There is no reason for anyone else online to know your last name, where you live and other personal things about yourself. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally. Students have always enjoyed using Brainpop as they find the characters engaging. Brainpop has videos along with quizzes about online safety as well as cyberbullying that will be shown in the first week of school. I will also design lesson plans using the Common Sense website for insight as it covers many different aspects of digital citizenship. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students. I would compare how being a digital citizen is similar to being a member of the Woodview community. There are expectations of how students are to act, courses of action to be taken if they feel "bullied" and consequences if they cannot uphold the "No Place for Hate" standard that is expected of them in school. I also will model what is and what is not proper "digital citizenship" and have students model for their classmates as well. They will work in small groups to learn from each other efficient and respectful ways to use the technology. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents. I will incorporate language in my packet that I give to the parents at the beginning of the school year. I will discuss this in great detail at Meet the Teacher night at school. I will show them examples of digital citizenship for the classroom and make myself available to discuss just as I would for academic and behavioral issues.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tool #9

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective? In order for students to comprehend objectives, they must be active participants. Almost all students love the opportunity to demonstrate learning through technological means. Also, almost every career path involves at least some technology use. Most careers don't require people to take written tests in a room for achievement. Most careers involve use of writing skills on computers and now handheld devices or presentations via Skype or other programs. Successful members of the workforce use art, music, writing, photography and other forms of expression to create presentations. These forms are expanding on technology and continue to do so at a rapid rate every day. We do not know what technology will be relevant for our students when they begin their careers so they need to practice as many different skills to achieve objectives as possible. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers? Students should not see stations/centers as mere busy work or play time. They need to connect these centers with the objectives being taught and need to have the skills to demonstrate understanding of these objectives. Students that are held accountable using stations/centers are more engaged, ask better questions and collaborate better in small groups. 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? I really liked ThinkFinity which incorporated activities in all subjects. One activity provided students with an easy to use letter creator. It even differentiated between personal and business letters and explained aspects such as indenting paragraphs and greetings and salutations. These would be used to have students practice their letter writing skills and they could print their final product. There were also many other activities to improve reading, writing and social studies skills. Most of the activities have a product which can be printed to use as an accountability piece. I also enjoyed subtext, although it is designed for older students. It allows teachers and students to collaborate within digital books. Teachers can create quizes on the app as well as ask questions at different points in the book. Students can also ask questions, make observations and more. The teacher can see the progress of each student in the book which is helpful when trying to determine which students need additional support. The video also makes a good point that students that are reluctant to speak up in class may feel more liberated to do so on the app. Again, the biggest challenge would be to find grade-appropriate books to use this for. 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? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? Audiopal is a great source for allowing students to create voice messages to add to our different technology programs. It has been my experience that students provide significantly deeper detail orally when analyzing what they read as opposed to writing it down. Using this program they can listen to themselves and their classmates and understand what more responsive answers sound like. Then, they can use this to write more thorough responses to different texts. is a great tool for students responses to reading. A person will create a primary bubble (ex. Why do you think the main character made that choice?) and others can reply with a connecting bubble. This would also be a good individual tool for students to gather their thoughts on a subject (ex. What do you know about Harriet Tubman?). Dragon Dictation (which was mentioned in an earlier tool) will be a great source for students that verbalize well but have difficulty with spelling. It also allows them to put their thoughts down quicker so they don't lose track of their responses to reading. is a great tool for the artistically talented to demonstrate understanding of reading comprehension skills. It would also be a useful tool for certain aspects of social studies (ex. advertising). Playtime Theater will be a great way for students to use technology and creativity to form their own stories or to retell texts they read in class. What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station. The iPod Touch/iPad will be a useful tool in accessing the classroom Wikipage. It will also be useful in performing research using the SBISD website to access safe internet searches for students. It will allow students to create slideshows and video presentations. Students can communicate on Edmodo and other collaborative programs. I also plan to have students discuss ways they use technology at home, in the library on other places and will extend opportunities after thorough investigation to make sure such ways are safe for the class.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tool #8

After watching the videos/tutorials, list two to three things you learned about the device(s) that will be in your classroom this fall.

1. I learned that I pads can take pictures of screens which can be helpful when I am trying to demonstrate certain skills. Visual learners will benefit by being able to compare what is on the screen with what they have performed.

2. I learned that website locations can be saved on screen similar to apps which will be helpful with our classroom blog and wikipage. It will simply getting to frequently used webpages.

3. I learned the I pad camera is useful for videos and slideshows and saves pictures/videos to a file. It will increase students' abilities to take their own videos/slideshows for presentations and allow us to lessen the need to use other peoples' products from places such as Flickr Creative Commons. Creative Commons is useful but I feel a product is more genuine as is the learning experience the more a product is the creation of a student.

How do you plan to manage the device(s) in your classroom? Do you have ideas/suggestions that others may find useful?

In the first few weeks of school, we are going to spend time practicing the basics. Students need to practice logging on/logging off, picking up and putting away technology devices, sharing them with other students and using them responsibly. Students need to know that these uses are a privilege and not a right. I really liked the end of the tutorial where it talked about having people assigned to take out and put away the devices correctly. These responsibilities will help students grow.

I think it would be useful for any teacher to go to the easytech site on the SBISD webpage and look at the list of approved devices. I also think it is important to show kids how to use the devices and constantly remind them that it is inappropriate to go to websites that are not for young people.

I plan to keep a log of when students use these devices to increase accountability as well as to make sure all my students get fair opportunities to explore. I also plan to create small groups of heterogeneous and homogeneous skill sets depending on what the project is. Heterogeneous groups are useful when you need a students to mentor a struggling or reluctant technology learner. Homogeneous groups are best when you do not want one or two students "taking over" a project and having other students left out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tool #7

Objective: Students will follow, analyze and discuss the presidential election.

This project will go on throughout the year including students' thoughts on the key issues, debates, the election itself and reflection following the election on why a candidate emerged victorious and why other candidates were not elected.  Students will also discuss the electoral process: how it works, is it fair and potential alternatives.  Students will also debate how can children impact the process even though they are ineligible to vote due to age.  Students will use edmodo, Skype, VoiceThread, Wallwisher, Google Docs and more.  

I have posted a message on the SBISD edmodo page to find other classrooms in the district interested in collaborating with our classrooms.  I am also attempting to locate other classes in different states through teachers I know.  I will also post a project on, OneWorldClassrooms or iEarn to find partners for this project.

On a separate note, I am also interested in having students exchange ideas about the types of books they like to read and will use similar programs as listed above to do so.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tool #6 Part 2

Mr. Allen's edmodo page

Edmodo is a useful tool for sharing videos and conversations.  It is also a valuable place to obtain information about SBISD or share ideas with local teachers.  I like that students only need a code to use the program.  Students will be able to exchange ideas as well as ask questions to their classmates and teachers.  This will help hesitant students gain information about similar questions they may have had as well.

Skype has been an effective tool for communicating with people in other countries.  For the past two years, we have video conferenced with teachers in the country we chose for Multicultural Awareness Week (Israel and Australia).  Students really enjoyed asking questions about the similarities and differences of kids their age in different places/cultures.  I also plan to use this to find experts on subjects (ex. authors, scientists, etc.).

Voice Thread is an interesting way to present reports.  I would use this to students do a book report.  It would also be an interesting way to present a biography or a science project for which pictures bring it to life.

Tool #6

I have enjoyed using It is easy to use, has many different designs and posts everyone's comments on one page. I also like that you do not have to create different accounts for every student and that I must approve before a comment/picture is posted to make sure this program is used respectfully and creates a healthy learning environment. Here is the start of our classroom's first Wallwisher topic:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tool #5

This is a comic strip I made on which was easy to use and fun to do. I wish there was a way to save the comic strip in a file so students could create a portfolio but it is still a beneficial program for students to demonstrate learning of a concept through creation of a comic strip. I think this would be particularly useful to have characters talk about a famous person in social studies or even a concept such as cause and effect or inference. By the way, the YouTube tutorials that accompany the different websites/applications are tremendously helpful and make using these programs so simple. I was all set to create a book on Tikatok when I went to register and found this: Why can’t I join the Tikatok Educator Program? I can’t find the register link. The Tikatok Educator Program closed effective June 11, 2012. We are no longer accepting new educator or homeschool educator registrations. topWhat happened to my educator account? The Tikatok Educator Program closed effective June 11, 2012 All educator, homeschool and student accounts were deleted along with the books saved under these accounts. topWhat happened to my student’s accounts? closed its educator program effective June 11, 2012. All educator, homeschool and student accounts were deleted along with the books that may have been saved as part of these accounts. I guess I will try a different application as Tikatok has become less educator friendly. When one door closes another opens: Storybird does have a teacher classroom account. I will try it out and report my findings. I am pumped once again. Storybird is awesome, easy to use and will be great for reluctant writers that need a prompt to inspire them. This is an easy way for students to write a short story and the artwork is cool and varies greatly. There is something for everyone. It also allows students to read other stories including their classmates. Check out the story I wrote: All aboard the Dream Machine. on Storybird

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tool #4

I created the document below on Google documents and sent it to my third grade team as well as my principal. I plan to use it to get to know more about my students in the first few weeks of school. Expectations of the third grade school year from a student perspective Hello everyone. As you work on these questions, please remember that there are no right or wrong answers. This is how you feel and each person’s feelings should be respected. It is okay to feel differently than other people, in fact, it is what makes you special, but please respect your classmates, your teachers and the Woodview community. Your responses will better help us make your learning experience enjoyable as well as productive and fulfilling. What did you do this summer? How do you think you can use what you did this summer in school? What do you hope to learn during the third grade school year? Did you know that students like to learn in different ways. For example, some like to use music or art to show what they know. Others like to write poems or short stories. Still others like to use computers to create projects that demonstrate understanding. How do you like to learn? You can choose more than one answer and you do not have to use the choices above. By understanding how you like to learn, we can tailor lesson plans to keep you interested. What type of activities do you like to do for fun? Do you play sports, sing in the choir, visit the library or some other activity? What would you like to do at recess when we use the field? What rules/behaviors do you think are important for us to be successful in the classroom? What rules/behaviors do you think are important for us to be successful while walking in line? What rules/behaviors do you think are important for us in the cafeteria? What rules/behaviors do you think are important for us during recess? Sometimes, students get to be involved with independent projects. Examples of this include book club, computer time, using i touches in the library and many more. What types of projects would you like to do? Are you interested in having your own webpage to share your thoughts with each other on the computer? What would you do if we had a class webpage? Why do you think it is important for you to share what you learn at school with your family at home? How can your family help you? Is there something you are really good at that you would like to teach the class? I have sent a Google form to my third grade teammaters that can be found at the following link: Briefly discuss how you can use the tools in Google Apps with your team or department. How can you incorporate Google Apps as a tool in your classroom? Which tools are you excited about using with students? I love the Google forms as I like to create assessments with different types of questions (I don't like to use only multiple choice, choose from a list or essay questions) a combination of different questions is preferable. I also think the Google drawing will be effective for my students that may better express themselves through art rather than the written word. After exploring the public templates in Google docs, I think Google is going to be a more effective method for my students to create the school newspaper as opposed to using word. Having one document and giving access to the students allows me to see each version but does not cause confusion with different documents "floating" around.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tool #3

Visit several of the video hosting/streaming sites mentioned above. Share with your readers which sites you found most useful for your content and why. I have been a fan of Teacher Tube because I feel the videos are more relevant to educational purposes and are less likely to contain spam or inappropriate material. I am more likely to find curriculum material and have been successful in finding engaging videos across the curriculum. Discovery Education has been a useful video site for years especially when students are researching science or social studies projects. For example, students have frequently found useful information about animals and planets when researching those topics. They also used the site to determine why Pluto was no longer a planet (this bugged them to no end and I loved watching them debate why it should or should not be a planet). Using any of the video resources mentioned above, find and select two videos that may be useful resources in your classroom. Here are two videos I will use in the classroom. The first one, from Discovery Education, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie is great for demonstrating repeated cause and effect actions.

The second video, from Brainpop discusses strategies for good reading skills. The characters are entertaining to the students and a quiz is available for students to take after the video concludes:

Articulate what you learned about copyright and fair use. What was new to you?

I learned that certain criteria allow for copyrighted items to be used.  I also confirmed that attribution is essential for fair use of works when permitted by the creator.  I learned that copyright lasts past a person's life time and passes on to their family.

Create a Dropbox account and add some files to it  How could you use this tool in your classroom?

Since Dropbox can be used on any computer/i touch/i pad, it is a great tool for research projects for my students.  Students can go to designated websites or photo sharing sites to create technology projects, research ideas and demonstrate understanding of the curriculum.  It allows teachers to give students freedom to explore while protecting them from spyware and inappropriate material which is always a concern for me.

If you Give a Mouse Video

Brainpop Video

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tool #2

I really enjoy reading and commenting on other blogs. I always find at least some useful information and often times a critical component to improve my own teaching skills. I was taught very early in my teaching career by my mentor to take a little of each teacher you interact with and shape it into your own style. Participating in a PLN is vital to add things that may never have come into your mind otherwise. Points that stood out to me from commenting was the common theme of motivating students. Tara presented an excellent video by a student presenting to teachers in Dallas. This student was eloquent charismatic and had the teachers in the palm of his hand. His future teachers have a big responsibility to foster his excellent public speaking skills as well as his heart. We also have this moral responsibility to do this for each and every student and to block out any distraction in our own professional as well as personal lives. I am open to sharing my thoughts but I am protective of my thoughts against the "Darth Bloggers" of the world as mentioned in this tool. I take criticism very harshly often to the point that it will bring me down and I need to put this aside and keep going like I do in the classroom. It is different to share thoughts on blogs as opposed to with teammates because the tone is easier to read in person. Also, you have a closer professional relationship most of the time with your teammates and a common interest in bettering students' lives. Responding to blogs requires tact and writing in a way that prevents misunderstanding or undue/harsh criticism. I always think back when I wrote an e-mail to a friend in college which they totally took in a way I did not mean and how that made them feel. I have tried to choose my wording carefully in the 20+ years since that experience. A blog I plan to use in the future is called Free Technology for Teachers. I want students to have access to as many tools as possible but cannot afford nor do I expect the school/district to pay for applications for the computers/I touch's. This blog presented several different applications which I found useful and I am sure will continue to do so.