Wednesday, August 6, 2008
http://som.springbranchisd.com/faculty/lewise/default.htm - here is the official Edith Lewis 8th Grade webpage. It is years old and definitely needs a face lift. It is updated and added to all the time, but still could use an overhaul. I'll be adding the features we learned, and would welcome new ideas for making it more student motivating.
Monday, August 4, 2008
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? I am always searching for new things to bring into the classroom. While the content stays pretty much the same with each year - for the most part - how it is shared can change as our student's world changes. This can only help improve their understanding of the information and increase their desire to learn it.
Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? It was amazing to me just how much is available for teachers, librarians and students to use. The setup for most is easy and the modeled sites and links open doors that might need a little nudge otherwise.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I'm not sure there's much that shold be changed. The format was pretty straightforward and the concept is GREAT. I would suggest continuing to change and grow, updating activities as your research leads you to what will always be new and interesting tools.
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Without a doubt!! But not with a second job going on - it does require time and dedication to get the most out of it.
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? Highly motivating
Now go and comment on some of the other Players' blogs? You got it! Thanks for the great experience!!!!
I reviewed the Ning for Teachers and it reminded me of the old Marco Polo site used by many of us. The lesson tab is mostly where I see the similarities. I like this idea, but am quite certain at this late hour I am not fully considering the possibilities. I quickly scanned the lesson plans and am quite sure I could find useful, new things there as I begin to plan my instruction for another school year - will I remember I was ever here?? I got caught up on the teacher blog tab. It's addicting to click and read a stranger's thoughts and consider their perspective.
After 22 things, I was a bit frustrated with yet another "sign up - create a user - create a password" request. Not a big deal, really, just a thing I have about creating so many accounts on so many sites, and by the way, had I foreseen this I would definitely have continued with the same user and password for all. BUT I can fall back on GoogleTools, create a user name and password spreadsheet, and access that from any computer in the world if I forget how to get back into a site's resources. I'm not sure what I'll do to remember which sites I have access to, but that's another problem for another day.
Have I mentioned too many times that I have been working in Whitney for the summer, then took a quick trip to Oregon and have not been planted back in Houston since I left the first week of June?
The reason for this unimportant information - I was unable to load Photostory or do other functions that would fully explore this activity. I have Photostory on my school computer and have used it with success for creating and loading videos on my classroom webpage. Prior to learning of Photostory, I had used the old MovieMaker program with similar results. Each has it's own unique features not found in the other, so it would depend on the expected result and flexibility one was looking for when deciding which program to pursue. When I am back at a functioning, download-friendly computer, I will have to revisit this lesson and continue to play with the features available.
To complete this lesson, I pulled a handful of pictures from an old student that attending Spring Oaks. During an A&M travel program, he visited Spain and shared these and MANY more pictures. In a matter of minutes, the pictures were placed in a video, music and credits added and in the time it took to get a glass of water, the movie was ready to post on the blog. TOO easy and probably not worthy of credit for this lesson, but it really is that simple. Whether there are 10 or 50 pictures, whether you want one or two songs, and even if you want text clips or recorded voices added, it takes NO time at all other than the time needed for coming up with something creative.
At the end of each school year, we use this type of movie maker to create a video for out graduating 8th grade class. It shows pictures from their three year stay with us, complete with music and teacher goodbyes sure to cause a fear teary eyes in the audience.
Interesting views about the future of our libraries. The use of videos such as these can be powerful in the classroom. The informative, sharing aspect between peers is extremely helpful. There is also the ability to share with students things they would otherwise not experience in their learning environment. Whether it be a discussion or presentation, a visual, or a lab demo as modeled here....students' learning can be enhanced by watching first hand what is being talked about.
It goes without saying that the younger generation is a HUGE fan of the YouTube site. Bring that into your classroom and it can't help but create curiousity and interest in a student.
We use the spreadsheets to file daily reports and compare work completed. This allows us to plan our next day's assignments and not either repeat the other's work or move ahead before addressing a task necessary to complete before advancing. Important documents can be designed, reviewed and edited by us collectively. Another advantage is that work can be accessed from anywhere - no more flashdrives, forgetting where you saved something, leaving a CD on your desk at the office and needing access.....a document can be retrieved, worked with and printed from anywhere. GREAT convenience.
One of the troubleshooting clues mentioned needing firefox. I am using a school laptop, NOT the newer Dells that already have this browser, and was unable to load firefox.
I was able to create my account and started to isolate a search, and that's as far as I got. I'm as confused as..................................................................
As each activity passes, I keep saying "hey, I'm going to do that this year". Then with the next activity, the comment is "OK - maybe I'll use this new one and save the rest for the next semester." Here is my newest "I'm doing that next year!" Such a great way to involve the students in the classroom and allowing them the opportunity to participate from home should they have the availability. They will most certainly have the interest at the idea of being able to log in and add to a page they and their friends can view.
There is definitely a trend - a change - in the world of Internet in so many ways. Libraries as well are experiencing these changes. Past are the days when kids would go to card catalogs and copy numbers and letters from an index card in pursuit of information. The line to the computers to search might be long, but short lasting. With the click of a few keys, Johnny is on his way to the available books on Fossils and Dinosaurs. . . OR should he choose to skip the step of walking to the rows of dusty books, he clicks the same keys on a different screen and gets the answers he's looking for from an online source.
In the section "A new world in librarianship", the traits outlined to be important to a Librarian 2.0 are well noted. It will be important for a library to continue to provide services to those that relied on the old school methods, while keeping those users who are alive and well in the new technology world still engaged in the very existence of our traditional libraries. Change is a barrier for many, yet change is necessary for us to excel and grow in just about any field. Our previous library services could remain the same, refusing to change and modify their services, but the goal is to reach the user in the best way. The fact is, our current users have moved outside the card catalog and beyond the shelves of stacked books - our librarian needs to make that move as well in order to better serve those users.
The article that followed the required reading, titled "A Ripple Effect", was most interesting and very encouraging. The lengths to which this school went to in order to service the teachers and schools was commendable. It is clear our district is headed in that direction and as exciting consider what lies ahead for our students.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
There were other great search finds and so many routes to take to get to an interest one has.
As for tagging preferences, I think the del-icio-us will be my first tool of choice. No particular reason - I guess it just seemed a little easier and they all provide the same resource. Tagging will be an invaluable tool for upcoming projects and research used in the classroom. I guess I'm in the "almost back to school" mindset and have been addressing most of my remarks regarding school. These tools are great resources for one's everyday life as well.
In looking at the widgets on Technorati, I selected the top news for posting. I also "claimed" my blog - we'll see what that does.
View top news
As the game has been going on, it has been easy to make comments along the way. I would say I've met and passed the "5 comment requirement" here. It is surprising how interesting it is to read others' words and to want to share with a total stranger your thoughts about that they said. It's in doing this that I found the bookshelf widget.
http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/middle-school-math-science/2008/08/01/math-starters-projects-to-begin-the-year/ is a great blog for ideas and motivation.
http://today.ttu.edu/2008/07/this-one-really-is-rocket-science/ is another blog of interest. I didn't take too much time to check it out but will keep it as a reference.
http://www.librarything.com/home/elewis5103 - I've just picked a few books for now, but will add more titles as time goes on and share with friends. I would like to create a second profile for student/teacher use. I will post books relevant to our topics at the time, both fiction and non-fiction. This seems like a wonderful tool for a Language Arts teacher to use with her class - maybe even set up a profile for each class period so students can enter their personal reads and compare to those of their peers.
Friday, August 1, 2008
I like the idea of having a streamed topic that can be accessed, where updated information regarding one theme is posted. This could be very helpful in the classroom to stay updated with events pertaining to our instruction. Something as simple as selecting "volcanoes" or "hurricanes" could be a quick way to keep students updated on the world around them while consolidating a group of recent events to eliminate search time.
On our campus, there are opportunities to send groups of students to the library while the teacher remains in the classroom for continued instruction. Our library could have RSS feeds set up using ouur suggested topics, allowing students to do their research but not waste limited time doing so. I can see this helping students feel more comfortable with their research as well as they can feel more successful with little to no guidance necessary.
I definitely need to revisit this THING later and refine my created reader.