Friday, August 6, 2010


I'm giving some thought to a replacement for last year's missing webpage.

I've been working on a class blog this morning. It is VERY early in the developing stage, but at a quick glance I would LOVE any feedback.
Science Rocks 8th Grade
Design ideas are very welcome as well as the pros and cons of setting something like this up for the kids to access.

Happy Last Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Goodbye Summer 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thing 11.5: Evaluation

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
TOUGH question, as there were many great things. I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson on image generators and can foresee that being used the most this year. Wordle and Glogster are awesome, and I've already used Animoto several times. GREAT tools for this new school year.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I am always looking for new tools to use in the classroom. As our students change and their interests become more challenging, I am excited to learn about things that might get their attention and create some excitement for them to do what is otherwise considered "a boring classroom lesson". Library2Play 2 exceeded my expectations.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I would say all the new tools were my biggest surprises. Each year, we implement new and fun ways to work with students - last year our big focus was Gizmos, QUIA, and Brainpop. The year before that we focused on online testing and activities that replaced some of our paper/pencil tasks. Now this year we will work with a lot of fun, new things that I am sure will excite the students (see question one) and will make it more exciting for me to use when teaching.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Differently? . . . . I'm not sure I would change a thing. The format is about as user friendly as it gets. The concept, that of exposing us to an everchanging way of using technology, is very important and very helpful to teachers. What I look forward to is another summer of new and exciting lessons to replace those that the kids get bored with from year to year. You guys have done the hard work - you've found and compiled a quick resource for us to begin using from day one in August and keep using throughout the year.

So that is it - I made it and it's not 5 minutes before midnight on the final day before having to complete all the "things" (yes, I did that last time).

Thank you for a great journey and the inspiration to create new excitement for another year in the classroom.

Thing 11: Digital Citizenship

This is a very valuable lesson, not just for students, but for us as teachers and presenters to a middle school child. By the time students reach middle school, they are approaching the age where parents are allowing more freedoms in certain areas. Computers and Internet access are areas where parents feel comfortable giving more rights to their child and an area where they may not be aware of very important guidelines to teach their child.

One area that needs to be shared and reshared with our students is the sharing and receiving of personal information. They are so into facebook and my space, where they freely share facts, names, and identifiers about themselves or post pictures they should reconsider. There are ways to limit access to outsiders, and our students need to have that taught to them. They also need to be aware that less is sometimes better...don't give all the specific details about your life, yourself, your comings and goings. If there is someone reading your facebook as a friend, they already know all these things, AND there are ways to communicate privately on facebook with an individual if more personal information sharing is necessary.

Online commerce may not be as important for students in my class as that of a high school student. There are simple tools and tricks to teach - the visible lock, the hidden costs that get attached as you proceed through a series of "next" buttons to finalize an order, or the importance of not sharing crucial information (SS#, credit card data, etc) with a vendor that is not credible. More important, it will be crucial to help teach how to determine a credible vendor.

There are some legal issues students need to be aware of . . . pirating, hacking, stealing . . . those are terms they may not fully understand. I often find student work very obviously filled with information they have "cut and pasted" into a finished classroom product. While the students tries very hard to convince me they did not do this, the varying type fonts and sentence structures throughout a paper or simply the vocabulary used can easily identify work that is not truly that of the student. Students will sometimes proudly share how they acquired a "free" copy of everyone's favorite game that requires purchasing.

These are just a few areas of importance regarding a student's responsibility towards digital citizenship. The lessons should be ongoing throughout their education, being repeated often during a school year and being revisited as they move on to the next grade.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thing 10: Virtual Worlds / Second Life; Gaming

This was my first experience with a second life virtual world website. My name was "teacher spore" and that was the most amusing part of the game for me. I can see students really catching on to this, as they spend so much time on video and interactive games that seem like this. What I either didn't catch on to, or didn't allow my imagination to see, was how this could be used in a science classroom. I logged on to a few other bloggers' entries regarding this activity and saw where some came across parts of the game that would be inappropriate for our students. It's certainly something I will continue to play with and investigate, but at this point in the program I'd say I would have to pass on incorporating this into my classroom instruction.
(yes, that's Teacher Spore there on deck overlooking the Hudson River. I guess I can tell my students I went to New York this summer)

I'm open for ideas and would love to hear how this has been successfully used with students in core subjects. Off to the next activity!!!

Is it really almost over?????? Skyward training last week, Eduphoria this week, and three more Library2Play2 lessons then the countdown to Thanksgiving begins ;o)
(click the gig'em to join in)