Thursday, July 19, 2012

Edmodo...another great tool in my classroom!

When I was in 1st grade several years ago (about 4 years), I stumbled upon a great tool that I have absolutely loved! Edmodo is that tool and I have not looked back. Now that I am working with bilingual students (2nd-3rd), it has transformed my classroom into a 21st century hub. My students have  benefitted from the various tools and now apps that Edmodo has introduced this past year. The platform is very similar to Facebook's and allows students to work inside a safe and secure environment. This past year, my students created their first short video in GoAnimate within Edmodo as a practice video. The beauty of it was being able to facilitate their learning as they became in charge of creating their video without any help from me. Here is a snippet of a few of those videos. I gave the students the choice of creating their video in the language of their preference. So some may have chosen spanish. Take a look at Chelsea's end of the year party video. Hers is great!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to School Activities

As I get ready to start the school year, one activity using mobile devices comes to mind. I have one ipad in my classroom, 5 itouch's, and a cart full of about 24 mac lap tops that is shared among the teachers on my team. I am a 2nd-3rd grade bilingual looping teacher so my students this next coming year are the ones I had last year (about 17) if none have moved away. The first 2 weeks I will be focusing on their summer activities so I will have the students go on a QR code scavenger hunt asking them about 5 questions that pertain to summer fun. Here are the questions I will include in the scavenger hunt:
  • What is one book that you read this summer that you loved?
  • Share one movie that you saw that was AWESOME?
  • Tell me about a vacation you went on with your family?
  • What do you want to learn this year in 3rd grade?
  • Share your favorite summer time song?
I like to use as the QR code generator, print each one out, trim and glue each code on some colorful tag board and spread them out throughout the room. The students each have clipboards that they use when traveling through the room so they will be writing their responses on a half sheet of paper. I will then have them choose one question and record their response using Voicethread. I always try to extend an activity using various tools. This keeps the excitement going! Another idea would be for students to use one of my favorite apps on my ipad (Movie360) during my Daily 5 rotation and record each other answering as many questions as they would like. They love being curators and taking ownership of their learning! Here are a few pics where my students were on a scavenger hunt last year during our "ocean" unit!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blogging With Author Bryan Chick

This past year my class had the pleasure of skyping with author Bryan Chick. I discovered his "Secret Zoo" series through a connection on Edmodo. I began reading his books this past year to my class and my students fell in love with the books. These books stemmed various technology activities from Voicethreads, to creating QR codes for their favorite character to making a book trailer for his first book. He was so excited about the project that he featured the movie on his Secret Zoo Facebook page. The students were so excited and he became our most favorite author in the world!! The students and I began looking at various sites on how to make book trailers and stumbled across a gold mine of resources. One of our favorite sites was Book Trailers For All, where most of our ideas came from. I began introducing Animoto and how to upload photos, video, music, etc, to the students as we worked on various small projects through out the year. Students had practiced how to storyboard prior to this activity so I let the students choose which group they wanted to be in: photos, music, typing content, and looking for transitions. They worked in these groups for about 2 weeks and finally put it all together. Each day I would let them work in their group using lap tops. They were pretty savy by this time of year so they had no problems. Here is the finished product! This was a group effort to make one book trailer. My goal is for each student to make their own book trailer this next coming year! Here is the link.

Mimio...Another Favorite Tool We Love!

Most classrooms have a whiteboard installed in their classrooms. There are still many classrooms that do not have this type of board. Mimio is a tool that can be used in any classroom with a whiteboard. Here my students are learning about the 7 continents and their location on a map. We have one mimio per hallway and it is rotated between teachers to share as one in our library as well. Mimio has tons of lessons for teachers already created for every grade level and subject area. They have a wonderful community that teachers can sign up for to be able to see and share what other teachers have created. It is a great interactive tool where students are completely engaged!

Talking Heads Activity Using Mobile Devices

The "talking heads" activity was such a fun way for my students to explore the world of "animals talking". It was towards the end of the school year and one of our big units in 2nd grade is "oceans". We had just received a grant for 20 itouch's to be split among 4 teachers so my wheels started spinning as to how I was going to use these wonderful mobile devices in my classroom. I have a friend who teaches 7th grade Texas History at one of our middle schools who had her students create the very same type of activity in her Texas History class so I was immediately INSPIRED and wanted to do the same type of activity with my students. So I used my iphone to video the mouth of each one of my students talking about their favorite ocean animal. I took each video and uploaded it to imovie and the students had to draw their ocean animal as big as they could before we could use it over their picture. Here's just one example of that was magical to see their expressions! You can also upload the videos straight into YouTube if you have a 4 or 4s iphone generation. My videos are all stored there in my classroom videos folder.

QR Code Crazy!!

My students love to use QR Codes in the classroom in various ways. During our Texas social studies unit, my students used, a QR code reader, to create text QR codes for the Texas symbols. Here students are scanning all the QR codes each student created to read the text to match their picture. We use QR codes for scavenger hunts, as you see posted in the top picture, using our itouch (set of 5 from a grant my team wrote) or we can checkout one of the two itouch carts from the library. This activity can be done in the classroom using laptops or a computer lab setting as well. Students learned how to print various sizes of QR codes as I let them choose which size they wanted!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Degree of Connectedness

I remember when I first started using Twitter and how I was going to use this tool to help me connect with other has been life changing for my professional career as an educator. I ran across this article which shares the levels or degrees of connectedness one may ask of themselves and where they are professionally. I can honestly say that my professional career as an educator has been transformed by using twitter as a tool for sharing ideas, gathering data and tools that would help a 21st century educator become for proficient in utilizing these tools for their classroom. I have traveled through the 7 degrees of connectedness and I find myself toggling back and forth through all 7 depending on the nature of the assignment or the people that I happen to be working with on my campus. This graphic could be a great way to survey staff to get a feel for where teachers are technology wise and those who may have a little more connectedness. Here is the link to the article and a great blog to follow as well.