Monday, March 12, 2012

Tool 11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

1. My favorite tool is any of the word cloud generators, such as Wordle and ABCya. These are great tools to use to get students thinking about the significance of certain blocks of texts.
2. I now better understand the role that technology can play in my classroom. I am not as scared as I was to attempt to implement technology into my classroom. In regards to changes that I will need to make to my classroom, I will have to do a much better job of talking to my students about the responsibility that comes with using technology. Most of my students know much more about technology than I do; however, they do not stop to think about the implications that their online actions can have on them. As an educator, it is my job to teach them about this. 
3. No, there were not any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised me. 

Tool 10: Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

1. I would want to make sure that my students understand that being a good digital citizen is just like being a good citizen; they must be honest, they must realize that responsibility comes with freedom, and they must treat others as they would like to be treated.

2. I plan to use the chart of resources by grade level and content on the SBISD Ed Tech website. I would make my students view a site in each category and have them answer questions about each site.

3. I would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students by showing them the video on the 11 tools website and engaging them in a class discussion about what digital citizenship is and what I expect from them.

4. I plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with my students' parents by composing a letter to send home with students that parents must read, sign, and return. This could also be a short topic of discussion at Back to School Night.

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

  1. It is important to tie the technology to the objective because students need to understand that there is a purpose to the technology, and it is more than just "having fun."
  2. We should hold students accountable for the stations/centers because they need to understand that an efficient technology based classroom requires that everyone works well together. The students must understand that just because they get to work on the iPad, doesn't mean that they get to talk and "goof off" for the entire period.
  3. Thinkfinity could be very useful in my classroom. There are various activities that students can complete, and once they are finished they can print out their results and show them to me. For example, one activity guides them through an exercise on analyzing metaphors in a poem. So, it would be very easy to hold them accountable. The SBISD Interactive Databases Page is also very useful because it allows me to search by grade level and subject area. There are many useful resources that I could easily implement in my classroom.
  4. One useful app is FreeBooks. Students would be able to download thousands of books, and I could hold them accountable by having them answer open-ended questions about the book. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? Bamboo Paper also seems like it could be a useful app in my classroom. It allows students to take notes in their own handwriting, which would be much easier and faster for some of my students. I could periodically check their progress and make sure they are getting the notes written down.
  5. I could see my students using the iPad to produce group presentations. It is so difficult to get into the computer lab at our school, so the iPads offer a good alternative to that. I could purchase a connector so that the students' presentations could be viewed on the ActivBoard.

Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

  1. I will have 5 iPads in my classroom. One benefit of having the iPads is that my students will be able to access the online version of our textbook. The online version has videos and PowerPoint presentations that make the stories in the textbook more interesting, and the students will now be able to watch the videos to enhance their interest in particular stories or authors. Also, I can have students record class notes on the iPads. There are various apps available that can help them do this. I can then link to the notes on my class website so that the students who are absent are able to view what they missed. 
  2. I plan to manage the iPads by creating a list of classroom rules for students to follow when using the iPads. We will discuss general technology guidelines. I plan to number each device, and students must sign in and out with me when they use a certain device. That way I have a detailed list as to which students were on certain devices at certain times. I will also designate certain students as "tech helpers" so that students do not always have to come to me when they have trouble.

Tool 7: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

1. I think it would be helpful to use Skype for a peer review/editing activity. Ideally, I would like to partner with an upper-level English classroom. I think this would be useful for both classrooms; my students would get useful feedback from students who are above-average writers, and the upper-level students would be working on their writing skills by providing feedback to my students. 

2. The objective for this lesson would be for students to analyze writing for purpose, structure, grammar, mechanics, etc. by using Skype to critique each other's work. I plan to implement this at the beginning of the year when we are working on Personal Narratives. The upper-level students would be working on college essays, so I think the two forms of writing would pair well together. I plan to use my district-issued iPads to allow students to communicate with the upper-level students. Students would receive a copy of each other's papers in advance (either through e-mail, GoogleDocs, etc.) to read and review. They would have a set of questions to answer to guide their analysis of each other's paper. They would then share their responses via Skype so they can have a conversation with each other about what they found.

Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion In and Out of the Classroom

I created the above poll using Poll Everywhere. It could be used as a good icebreaker for a class discussion on the purpose of certain characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I created a classroom using Today's Meet. This would be an interesting way to continue our classroom discussions outside of the classroom. It would be especially useful for those students who do not like to speak up in front of the class. They may be more willing to share their views in the Today's Meet environment.

Tool #5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

I created the above word cloud using ABCya. The text comes from Ch. 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is about Jem's encounter with Mrs. Dubose. I could use this as a set for our class discussion of this chapter and ask the students why the words "Jem," "lady," and "courage" are emphasized. This would lead them to the message of this chapter, which is what a "real" lady is and what "real" courage is.

The above link is to a Glogster poster that is also based off of Ch. 9 from To Kill a Mockingbird. I included it as a link because the poster is big and takes up much of my blog space. I could use it as a warm up activity. I would show the Glogster poster on my ActivBoard and ask students to write a response to it. Then, we could use it as a springboard for our discussion of this chapter.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tool #4: Moving up to the Clouds

1. The document that I created in Google Docs was notes for writing open-ended responses for the STAAR test. I shared it with my English I Academic team. I am hoping that they will provide me with some feedback so that we can devise a solid formula for our students to follow when they take the STAAR test.

2. The form that I created in Google Docs was a questionnaire about STAAR preparation. I sent it to my English I Academic team. I am hopeful that I will gain some new teaching ideas from reading their responses.

3. Google Apps could be extremely useful with my English I Academic team. We all have additional commitments outside of school, so Google Apps would be an easy way for us to collaborate on lessons without having to meet face-to-face. As for using it in my classroom, I see it being very useful in the writing process. It would eliminate the massive amounts of paper that I have to take home everyday, and my revisions and suggestions would be instantly visible to my students. I would not have to waste five minutes in class passing back papers! I'm excited to try this with our next process paper. I also think it could make peer revision more fun for the students...they always think things are fun if they get to use a computer!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tool #3: Finding Online Video and Image Resources

1. After visiting several of the sites, I found Blinkx to be very helpful. It allowed me to search for videos on several sites, so it was a great time saver.

2. The above YouTube clip is the movie trailer for "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story." We are going to watch this video in my classroom as part of our non-fiction unit, so I thought it would be great to show this to the students to get them interested in his story.

The above video is an excerpt from one of Dr. Ben Carson's speeches. I think I may show this to my students after we've watched the movie. I will have them watch it and then analyze it for rhetorical devices, etc. I may also try to find a transcript of the speech so that they can easily refer back to the speech as they write and discuss.

3. In regards to copyright and fair use, I learned that it is always best to err on the side of caution...give credit where credit is due!

4. I can see how Dropbox would be very useful in my classroom, especially once I receive my iPads. I can save documents to my Dropbox account, and they will be instantly accessible to students using the iPads. This will make group work a breeze! Groups of students can complete assignments and activities, save them to the Dropbox account, and then view and comments on each other's work.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tool #2: Personal Learning Networks

1. Share you thoughts about building and participating in an online community and participating in a PLN. What points stood out to you from the commenting advice? Were you able to apply any of the advice in your comments? How did you feel about sharing your thoughts publicly? Was it different than when you're sharing your successes/challenges with your teammate?

Building and participating in an online community can be a very valuable tool for educators. We are involved in a profession that requires us to create meaningful connections with our colleagues and students, and in the 21st century, that must involve the use of technology. I decided to visit and comment on five of my colleagues blogs. I made sure to adhere to the commenting advice, especially #9 - "reward" comments. I know that we are all extremely busy, and that makes 11 Tools seem like a burden sometimes. So, I tried to post encouraging comments, which was easy because I was so impressed with everyone's blogs! I had no idea that some of my colleagues were so technologically savvy. I now know who to turn to for help! At this point, I didn't mind sharing my thoughts publicly because they were mostly words of encouragement. The only thing different about it is the delay in a response. I would prefer to discuss successes/challenges with my teammates face-to-face because it is a faster exchange of ideas. 

2. Share the URL or name of a website or social network that you plan to visit in the future. What does that site have to offer?

In the future, I plan to visit Diigo. I am still learning about all that it has to offer, but I think it could be a valuable tool for me and my students to use when researching certain topics. It could help to ensure that students are only accessing information from reputable web pages. It could also be used as a way to teach annotating to my students.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tool #1: Write a brief post about your experience to date. Did you find the experience fairly easy? Did you face any challenges?

Creating the blog went more smoothly than I thought it would. I don't consider myself to be technologically advanced, so I was a bit worried that I would have problems getting everything set up. However, the directions were relatively easy to follow, so I did not have too many problems. The biggest challenge I faced was finding the time to get it done!