Saturday, November 16, 2013

YouTube Editor

I have been playing around with one of the new features in YouTube, the video editor tool and have fallen in love again! Last week, I read a series of books to get the fall season underway one of which was titled "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves" (I have the entire collection of books from this series) and had my students sequence the events in the story. One of my favorite apps to use for this type of activity is Popplet Lite. If you have one iPad in the classroom, the iPad could be passed around and have each student create a Popplet for the activity you are doing. I discovered another favorite app called "Draw Free" for iPad which is now my go to app for drawing pictures. The students each created their own Popplet sequencing the events in the story, took a screenshot of their Popplet and emailed it to me. I then uploaded each Popplet into YouTube slideshow editor and made a video of the student Popplets . The slideshow editor has music to choose from if you wish to add this extra component to your videos and you can customize the slideshow as well. I'm excited to learn about another cool feature in YouTube I had not been familiar with and share my student learning on a global level. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Explain This, Explain That, Explain Everything!!

I'm excited to finally be posting a few student samples of our big project using our favorite app "Explain Everything". This project started back in early October with the help of one of our district technology specialist Ann Witherspoon. The process took about two months working through all the logistics of how it was all going to come together. Pre-planning was necessary to be able to understand the workflow on our part. But what the students created and what they learned was AMAZING! This year, I transformed my classroom into a "virtual environment" that would foster this kind of learning. I have no desks and no chairs and lots of "learning spaces" throughout my classroom. This kind of environment fosters creativity that is essential in mobile device learning. It has allowed the students to have lots more freedom for collaboration and exploration in a safe and risk free environment. Our unit was dinosaurs so I began reading fiction and non fiction books on dinosaurs to begin building their vocabulary and background knowledge.

  • The students selected a dinosaur to research after books were read. 
  • Students then used the website Facts4Me to gather their research information. 
  • I created a google form of questions for students to answer that would later be used on their slides in Explain Everything. 
  • Ann uploaded the google form and the website links to my science loopers group in Edmodo.
  • The students toggled back and forth between the website/google form on their iPad to copy/paste their research
  • Ann then created  a google presentation of the dinosaur slides to share with the students in google drive. 
  • The slides were uploaded into Explain Everything from their google drive where the students began their annotations and recordings.
  • Project was uploaded to teachers Youtube channel directly from the app where parents can see their final product and give feedback to their child's work if subscribed to the channel.
Two months later the students have created their first "big" project using an amazing app that allows students to be creative in a virtual classroom. The students would love to hear any feedback you may have on their videos posted on my channel.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Third Language...26.2


My posts on my blog usually consist of the learning that's happening in my classroom or some new "app" we are excited about and want to share with the world! This post is more of a personal story, one that has some correlation to my profession. I am a 2nd-3rd grade bilingual teacher in Midlothian, Tx. The academic component of teaching a second language can be quite challenging and yet rewarding all at the same time. Its not the language my students hear at home but one that is universal and can be learned with discipline and practice. So about nine months ago, I met a group of people that would introduce me to my "new" language. I was introduced to a running group by a parent who's child was in my first grade classroom back in the day (thank you Celeste Clark ). Her daughter and sons are currently students on my campus. I began learning this new language of "running". It took discipline, commitment, more discipline, lots of time and the list goes on and on. Most of these traits are similar to my job and what I do from day to day. Commitment, discipline and time management are all part of my profession so this new language is a true correlation to my success as a runner.
     Like any new concept a teacher learns, running has quite a few of them as well. First there is the right type of running shoe and not just one but many. You must be fitted for the proper shoe. This determines how you run and what your feet are doing while you run. I know, I said the same thing..huh?? Then comes the proper clothing ( don't get me started). My apparel is quite colorful and extensive. Back to school shopping consisted of running skirts and new running shoes. Then you begin to ask questions or hear words like volume, which means how many miles a week one runs when you start increasing your distance. Then there's "the long run", that dreaded long run which boosts endurance and prepare your muscles for the challenges ahead. Here's a new term for me, LT (lactate threshold) or the point at which you start accumulating more lactic acid in your bloodstream that can be used as fuel. Of course tempo runs, intervals and repeats are ways to raise your LT. Hydration is key to your training and so is proper diet. Carbohydrates become your very best friend and you will learn to appreciate them very fast. Power foods like oranges, bananas and pretzels are your go to snacks. You can never have enough water as your body begins to crave it. How can this language have such rich vocabulary? Well, its the same in my classroom. The rich vocabulary that I need to teach my students in order for them to be successful is no different than the vocabulary I need to learn to be a better runner. But like anything new one tries, there will be setbacks. You begin to lose toenails, blisters appear, face breaks out around your mouth area, stretching is your new past time event when watching T.V. and that foam roller is your new best friend.  But let's not forget to mention the amount of food you eat when you run like this. It's a bit frightening and a little out of control. Its the same in my classroom when a strategies does not work or the students do not seem to grasp the concept. We practice again and again and that can be a little frustrating. But you never give up and keep trying new things. I have learned so much these past nine months and the language of running will forever stay with me!
     But ironically, when I began running nine months ago, my sister, who had been a runner for a couple of years, heard about my new language and family. I invited her to join our family and she did! She has been running with the club and has loved every minute of it! So here we are, nine months later, running our first full marathon in 1 week in Ft. Worth, Texas. I never imagined that this would have happened in such a short time but I'm thankful that it did. We will run side by side, give each other a hug and wish each other good luck. Talk and pray to our god when times get tough. We will think about our families both at home and at work. We will think about our students and our patients what more we can do for them. We will nourish our bodies along the way thanking god for this glorious opportunity. Our eyes focused straight ahead, listening to our breathing, singing our cadence in our head and checking our Garmins from time to time to be sure our pace is on track. We will give each other cues along the way, a thumbs up or down, a certain look, a nod to check how we are doing. These little gestures will keep us going and give us hope!
     So I dedicate this story to my family who I love dearly and for all the times I have been away and supported me through this kind of training (and there were many). To my WRC family, my coaches, new friends, who have taught me this "new language" of running and have inspired me in so many ways. Your friendships I honor and respect. To those who have been on this marathon journey or soon will be. Your support means the world to me! Lastly to my sister Dina Hernandez, who I love to the moon and back. Your support and love I hold dear to my heart! Love you to pieces. Our friends and family will be waiting for us at the finish line and we will look forward to that day! I heard a quote not to long ago about this kind of running so I would like to end my story with this quote and my favorite bible verse. "In the end a runner will run 20 miles of hope and 6 miles of reality when it all comes down to it". Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".