Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tool #11:

Though I was honestly not excited about the 11Tools tasks, I can say that I have learned a ton!  All of the links and applications I used as a part of this project have provided me to tools that I will honestly use in my classroom.  It was a great opportunity to have my eyes opened to all the educational benefits of the Internet, and I now have several ideas for great centers to use during my math and science classes.  I love that the format of this project is a blog, because I know that now I can't lose all the great links that I saved and used as a part of the tool tasks.

Learning about all of these various websites and games has completely transformed my teaching mind.  There are so many possibilities for use by early finishers as well as struggling students, and that will allow the learning to never take a break.  I will be able to address the various needs of all of my students, and will not feel as stretched thin as I usually do throughout the day.  
Tool #10:

Digital citizenship in this digital world is vital for students to learn as early as possible.  I would definitely begin teaching my fourth graders about this by using the BrainPop video.  They are very familiar with BrainPop, and I know it always grabs their attention.  From there, we will have a serious discussion about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, based on their experiences and the tools at their fingertips.  This is also something that should be addressed with parents during Back to School Night and/or during conferences if we have any concerns.  Ideally, parents would use these same restrictions/guidelines at home to continue the safe use of the Internet.  Three of the things I would want to address ASAP with my students are:
*There is no such thing as words or emails being truly DELETED from the Internet, and they can always be tied back to you.
*No one has to be honest about their name, age, occupation, etc. on the Internet, so it is important to trust no one you don't already know face to face on the web
*The technology that SBISD provides our classrooms are for school purposes only and should not be mistreated.  There will be severe consequences for any misuse.
Tool #9:

Incorporating technology into the concepts within the classroom in invaluable.  As we all know, this is a technology-based world, and our students at BHE have grown up with technology at their fingertips in many different forms.  However, for the most part, teaching is very similar as it was when our parents were growing up.  Teaching has to evolve with our society.

Furthermore, while using technology in centers it is vital to hold students accountable.  Although most students are very familiar with working with technology, they aren't as used to using it in school where expectations for learning and behavior are high.  We, as teachers, must hold students accountable and teach them at this young age how to appropriately use technology in the classroom for specific tasks. looks like an awesome math game based website!  I love that they make the concepts and games in a comic book style which would be highly engaging for fourth grade students.  It appears that they have games for many, many math concepts, and the online scoring/data pages would be incredibly valuable and time-saving.  I can't wait to get my students onto it!

TES iboard is an awesome website!  I explored the adding of fractions with mixed denominators activity:

It is such a fun, cutting-edge way to explore finding least common denominators and add fractions, but teaching would definitely need to take place first.

Both of these activities include some sort of data driven assessment at the end of the activities.  I feel that if the students knew there were such tools for teachers to use to assess the learning/focused working that took place, students would feel more inclined to follow directions :)

Two apps that I found are : 2DOKU and ABA Flashcards-Earth Science 
These are both great opportunities for centers, and would require a type of assessment tool to ensure focused student learning.  Procedures for using these tools will need to be outlined and practiced regularly, and student definitely need to know the high expectations I would have for use of these tools.
Tool #8:

iPads and iPods in the classroom... who would've thoughts?!  There are so many potential uses for these two types of devices in our class, especially teaching math and science!  I can't wait to get started using them as teaching tools, and can see so many different possibilities.  From the camera tool (could be great to take pictures of scientific concepts such as weathering and erosion), to all the different math apps that are out there...the possibilities are endless!

Perhaps a little less exciting-but still incredibly useful- I was glad to learn that BHE also has netbooks.  We used these quite frequently for testing in Fairfax County, and they are such a nice, small alternative to the larger laptops, such as the teacher laptops.  These are great, kid-sized computers that are less expensive but still have all the basic bells and whistles as other computers.  I know we will get a ton of use out of them this year.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tool #7:

As I mentioned in Tool #6, I think Skype has unprecedented capabilities in the classroom.  The lesson idea that I intend to try to implement with one of my 5th grade team members in Virginia involves looking at the differences between the seasons in Virginia and Texas.  Knowing the curriculum of these two grade levels in both states, I can see how it could easily be tied in to both.  I love the idea of creating a list of scientific inquiry questions for identifying and observing when the seasons start to change, how it looks, how it feels, how it smells, etc.  After recording observations and taking photographs to share with the other class, we could then Skype and talk face to face about all of our findings.  If weather and technology permitted, we could perhaps even take our conversations outdoors !
Tool #6:

Skype is such a wonderful tool!  In the classroom, this could be an amazing outlet to connect with other areas of the country and/or world.  A great idea for the classroom could be to have pen pals with another school (possible one of my past schools) and then skype to talk about a math or science concept, and how their environment has changed the way they view a certain concept.  For example, when learning about the four seasons, it would be fun to talk to my old school in Virginia about how different fall and winter are, and then we could discuss the way Virginia and Texas's geographical location have an impact on their seasons.

Wallwisher is also super fun!  I created a Wallwisher for rounding through the millions.  This could be a fun, quick assessment for teachers to use with students who have access to a computer, if the teacher decides to use the site for homework.  Regardless, this could be a fun way to assess within the classroom.  I love how you are able to see one another's posts and thinking!  Here is the link to my Wallwisher:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tool #5:

The first tool I played around with was Storybird and I absolutely love it!  It is such a fun, cute, and easy website!  I chose to create a few math story problems and attached some fun pictures to go along with them.  I think the kids would love this as much as I do!

Mrs. Jewett's Math Word Problems by kbrew24 on StorybirdThe second online tool I used was Prezi.  This process was not as easy at Storybird, but I think the final product (if done correctly) is a lot cooler.  I love how interactive the presentation mode is.  I had a hard time with some of it.  For instance, I wanted to edit my descriptions of the seasons, but couldn't figure out how.  I understood the gist of it though, and think this could be a wonderful end-of-unit assessment piece for kids to use.  I couldn't figure out how to embed my product, so the link is attached below.
Tool 4:

Google Docs and Google Apps are a wonderful way to share ideas, assignments, and other documents with your team.  The way that each person can so easily tweak the documents and have the others be able to see those changes is highly valuable.  There are clearly many times when teachers have to meet and discuss students, events, and plan face to face, so it is very nice to have a forum where other planning and collaboration can take place over the web, and maybe even in the comfort of our own homes :)

Tool #3:

This is a cute and fun way to look at the water cycle!  I found this video on YouTube and think it is catchy enough to show students when teaching about this cycle.

This is another fun video I found on YouTube which would be a great introduction to the fundamentals of fractions.  I also really like this video for my ESL students because it provides such a good visual and auditory representation for the vocabulary. 

The copyright laws and exceptions made in some cases for teachers was very interesting to me, and I look forward to using that to my advantage in the future!  The dropbox account would also be a great tool to use with students, and provides such a great opportunity to automatically have your photos, documents, and videos anywhere you need them.  No longer can you leave anything behind!
Tool #2:

I really enjoyed looking around at different teachers' blogs.  It is amazing to look at the different ideas that they have, and to see how easy it is to see it in action through the use of posted photos and videos of their classrooms.  Specifically, I really enjoyed the blog "Learning and Laptops":  It was neat to see how this teacher used the technology in his classroom and create a seamless transition between his content area and technology.  It makes me want to work harder to establish this connection in my classroom.  I intend to look up more elementary science and math blogs to see any other ideas on how to do this in my classroom.

I think the PLN is a great tool for all teachers.  Teachers have always been know to be "stealers" of others' ideas to use in their own classrooms, and this is just another way to do that on a much broader scale.  Thus, I really enjoyed commenting on others' blogs.  Although it isn't as easy as talking and sharing ideas in a verbal conversation with teammates, this is a great way to search and find a wider variety of ideas and answers to potentially specific questions.  It didn't bother me at all to share my ideas publically, and I am sure that the anonymity had something to do with that :). 
Tool #1: I am really looking forward to discovering all that blogging can add to my teaching!  I have always enjoyed reading blogs ranging from cooking to shopping, and I think it is a great opportunity to share what's going on in my classroom at BHE.