Monday, January 2, 2012

Tool #11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

1. Wow! This has been quite a ride. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and learning about so many tools that i an now implement in my classroom! I really liked Wall Wisher. This is an amazing way to communicate with parents, other teachers, other classes in our school, and even with the students in my class. I plan to use this, along with many other tools I discovered through 11 Tools.
2. I have most definitely changed my way of thinking about technology! It use to really intimidate me. Now I am focused on all of the new tools I have learned and can't wait to share them with my students! It also encourages me to continue my growth in technology.
3. I was really surprised with the amount and level of support/advice of other educators around the world! It is encouraging to know that others are in the same step of this technology learning process as I am, and that we are all desiring to learn to benefit our students. I know the best tool for a teacher is another teacher, and I believe we can help each other grow. I hope to start my own blog, and I definitely plan on continuing to follow some of the amazing blogs I found!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tool #10: Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

1. I completely agree with the statement on our school's 11 Tools website, "Our job as
educators is to help develop the skills necessary for our students to become
successful citizens in the world. Today, this job includes helping student
safely navigate an unfiltered digital world." We must protect the students, while giving them the tools to operate digital devices independently. I want them to understand the level of responsibility they must maintain while controlling these devices. They need to know the importance of being held accountable for what they are doing on the digital devices, and the purpose for which they are able to use them and how they can use these skills in their everyday lives, and for the rest of their lives. They also must understand that technology is constantly growing and changing and it is important to obtain the skills to be able to use our current devices.
2. I like the video "Internet Safety" on BrainPopJr. that my fellow Kinder teacher, Jenny Lewis, mentioned on her blog. I think it is an excellent clip that is easily understandble for Kinder kids.
3. I will teach the concept of digital citizenship to my students by my own actions first and foremost. I will also introduce each device and make sure they know how to use it.
4. I type a weekly newsletter to the parents of my students, and I think this would be a great way to communicate with them the idea of digital citizenship, as well as describing each digital device we use in our classroom.

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

1. Incorporating technology in our classrooms is imperative during this day and age. We are empowering our students to use the tools that our society has to offer. It is also important we tie this knowledge of technology into the core subjects we are teaching. I believe in order for a child to retain information, they must make a connection during the process. They need to know the purpose of why they are learning what they are learning and how they can use it in their everyday lives. We must rise to meet the individuals needs of each student.
2. We should always hold students accountable for the centers they are engaged in because this is a imperative part of the learning process. All "5 Selves" (as my professor MaryAnn Anderson taught me) must be being reached during centers; which includes their educational, social, emotional, creative, and physical selves. This promotes higher level thinking and actively engaged learners.
3. I was impressed with, which allows the student to hear a CVC word spoken, and they are to "stretch" out their sounds and then type the spelling (sounds to letter matching) of the word. This website has different levels of difficulties to reach all students. This incorporates letter sounds, letter recognition, spelling, technology, as well as fine motor skills. I also like the Math section of this site. It is definitely a site I want to introduce my students to and incorporate it in my classroom.
I also liked because it has a wide variety of interactive, educational, and fun games for the students to explore. There are numerous choices so the student can control what they are playing. I like how there are games for every subject.
4. There are so many apps listed on the data base! I had so much fun exploring them. Since I have several ESL students, I searched ESL/Language Arts apps and I was impressed by the variety and quantity of the choices. I especially liked the apps Dragon Dictation and Discovery Channel.
5. A great way to use the iTouches is to create a video of our classroom experiences. We could also construct an "ABC" book by taking pictures of various objects beginning with each letter of the alphabet. These are definitely things I want to do with my students. I would even like to post it on my blog to share with the rest of the school as well as their families.

Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

I am so excited that my students have the opportunity to use iTouches and Netbooks this year! I think it is wonderful to teach the newest technology starting in Kinder! After watching the tutorials, it was a refresher on how to download apps and sync them to all the iTouches using iTunes on my district laptop. My team was able to find hundreds of apps that were age and developmentally appropriate for Kinder. I was able to use these during our guided reading groups to introduce the new technology as well as letter recognition and many other imperative concepts learned in Kinder. Then, students in groups of 4 are able to take turns visiting me again and exploring the iTouches on their own. After the initial lessons, they pretty much took over and loved the devices. I used them primarily during workstations and made sure the apps purchased were all educational and related to the current Kinder curriculum. At the end of workstations, we have a whole group discussion or a "pair and share" about what they are successfully learning and applying with this technology.
The students are equally excited and eager about using the Netbooks. They can explore sites such as BrainPop, StarFall, as well as appropriate search engines on the web to research various topics. It is so fun to see them become successful at using today's technology while learning simultaneously.

Tool #7: Reaching Outside Your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

I think it is a great idea! I hope to be able to work with another class in my school. I think it would be tons of fun to have the kids get involved with other students in their school. I would like to focus on our Science Unit- Homes and Shelters for Living Things. We spend so much time on this unit at the beginning of the year.
(a) TLW create a class book explaining various types of shelters and what goes into building them. Students will build an understanding of various structures by researching in books, interviews with local contractors and construction workers, and exploring various websites.
(b) This would take place during the 1st Nine Weeks when the Homes and Shelters Unit takes place.
(c) We would use various blogs, Google Forms for interviews, Google/You Tube to gain information needed. This would also be a great time to use any parents from the class that might be able to offer information.
(d) I think it could be great! The class book would be about various shelters, how they are built, tools and materials needed,and the importance of them. This project could be integrated during Writing Workshop and the students could write and illustrate about things they've learned and share it with their peers outside of our classroom.

Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion in and out of the Classroom

The website Wall was very user friendly and easy to get started. I created an account and used a beautiful wallpaper to construct an interactive bulletin board to use for students, parents, and school. In Kinder we study the history and importance of Veteran's Day. The students bring in a star with their special Veteran labeled on it. I think I can use this wall for students and their families to post about their special Veteran. We can then view it together as a class, and each student can share what they have posted. I would like to learn how to upload pictures to this as well to make it even more engaging. I think the students learning about each other's loved ones and the sacrifices they made for our country will enable them to relate it to their own life and help them realize the liberties and blessings we have being American citizens. It is also an excellent tool to promote parent involvement with their interaction with Wall Wisher.
I also set up a Skype account and would love to use it through my Smart Board with my students. A colleague of mine, Molly Hansen, skyped with a U.S. veteran and the students were able to ask him questions about his service in the military. I think this is a wonderful idea and would be interested in doing something like this with my class. It is a great way to teach communication using our new technology, while integrating it with Social Studies (and any other subject for that matter).

Tool #5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

I learned a lot about this tool from my Kinder team. They showed me how to use Stupeflix Studio to create a movie. We can use these videos to introduce writing workshop. We always start by talking/writing/drawing things we love, so I made a video about my daughter and things we love to do together to share with my students. This was so easy to use! If you had a collection of images on a topic you were studying it would be easy for you to create your own movie about what you have learned as a class. After reading some of my fellow Kinder teacher's blogs, I will use some of their ideas using this tool in my classroom; i.e. TLW create this as a whole group first, but I also think it would be great to have our "Technology Buddies" come in and help the kids with the typing and picture selection.
I also tried Storybird next, which I learned about from Jenny Lewis' blog. This is an easy way for kids to start publishing. It is perfect for those students that have trouble generating ideas as well as those who spends too much time and even become frustrated with their illustrations. This is a great prompt for reluctant writers!