53 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2009 2:12 PM by Bonnie Feather

    Latest Learning?

    Bowerman@cox.net

      It's been a fabulous summer vacation for me and as I head back to school next week, I think about all of the wonderful new things I learned and want to bring back to my colleagues. Regardless if you have been working hard or just relaxing, please share some of the new things you have learned in the past few months.

       

      I'll start - I've used Photostory 3 a few times for personal use but had a chance to see it in action with students just recently. It is great to see students making decisions about which pictures should be included, the order of pictures, transitions, etc. to show off their science projects. There are so many great ways to use this with children that I can't wait to get started.

       

      OK - now your turn. What have you been working on or just learned about and can't wait to try with students?

        • Re: Latest Learning?
          abuan

          Hi I am studying more on the features of spreadsheet to make an interactive lesson in mathematics. I am exploring on the use of form tool on changing the values of variables as it appears in graph. I have read that it will be more interactive if we can include VBAs?/macro to make a spreadsheet more interactive. please help me tutorial resources on VBA. This week I will try to implement my spreadheet mini interactive lesson on graph

          • Re: Latest Learning?
            MrsSmoke

            I'm totally pumped about using Edmodo with the students this year.  Since I'm returning to the classroom it's exciting for me to actually use the tools I share with other teachers.  Edmodo is going to be a nice communication tool among my students and me.  I'm even thinking of giving the principal a login so he can comment on student posts and things.

             

            www.edmodo.com

             

            I'm also excited about putting together a couple of PBL units for Tom Sawyer and Johnny Tremain.  Running through the Project Based Approaches has my wheels turning again for new and exciting projects.

            • Re: Latest Learning?

              Margaret,

               

              Speaking of PhotoStory 3 and other digital slideshow software, I learned about Animoto (http://www.animoto.com) during as spring training and found it to also be a great tool for students to showcase photos, projects and classroom activities. I will be working with a group of science teachers during the next several months and will encourage them to use both PhotoStory 3 and Animoto to review lab experiments and hands on activities.

              • Re: Latest Learning?
                glen_w

                I have really enjoyed my summer vacation. One of my favorite experiences has been the variety of suggestions made by my Twitter friends. Together we shared ideas on how we could use various tools to enhance whatever core we are teaching. As I reflected on this, I decided to incorporate student choice into my lessons more this year. I will share tools with my students and when projects are designed, students may select their tool. I've included three Wordle images below that I created for my classes. The first is for my BIology class. The second is based on my 7th grade science core, and the final wordle is based on basic science principles. These wordles were created to encourage my students about the classes before they start next week. All are now posted on my classroom web site.

                  • Re: Latest Learning?
                    MrsSmoke

                    I really like the idea of creating a Wordle to introduce my classes/unit.  I think I might use it to introduce the Treasure Island unit I'll start the year with. 

                      • Re: Latest Learning?
                        glen_w

                        We'll see how these wordles go over with students as I go through the year. I've included these wordle examples on the "Disclosure Documents" I am sending home - and have posted them on the appropriate classroom web site.

                         

                        I'm really looking forward to the changes I'm trying to make.

                          • Re: Latest Learning?
                            holmesg

                            Glen, I have found that you have to be careful when using wordle.  I have on many occassions found profanity and sexual connotations appear on the intro page when creating a wordle.  Have you had this problem and how do you approach your students in dealing with profaninty by others in working with wordle?  Can you share your disclosure documents?

                              • Re: Latest Learning?
                                glen_w

                                Gail,

                                 

                                To answer your first question, I am also concerned about possible profanity my students may encounter. I guide students quickly into Wordle and have them click "create" as soon as we land on the main page. I've already introduced them to what Wordles look like so they do not need to look at examples on the page. I have seen students working on their own time to create a Wordle and they do NOT even seem to pause on the page but quickly click create and begin.

                                 

                                I'm happy to share my disclosure documents. This is my second year of posting them online. My district's server room had some problems last week and overheated. They shut down all the servers and have ordered replacement parts to fix the air conditioning. When they come back online, these documents will again be available from Mr. Westbroek's Science. Click on either 7th Grade Science or Biology above my photograph. From the 7th Grade Science click on the 7th Grade Handouts - from the Biology page click on the Biology Handouts.

                              • Re: Latest Learning?
                                sshott

                                So Glen - are you just asking the students to think about them? What is the purpose or goal you want for the kids? I teach a college class (it is AMAZING how many of them are technology deficient) and I would like to bring other things in to introduce to them - so this may be something I would like to investigate - but not sure exactly what I would do - anyone have suggestions??

                                  • Re: Latest Learning?
                                    glen_w

                                    Shell,

                                     

                                    I am asking students to think about their Essential Question throughout the term. At random times (e.g. at the end of a lab, quiz, or on a test) I ask students to respond to the Essential Question. (In other words they are to write how this lab relates to their Essential Question, or give their best answer about the Essential Question.)

                                     

                                    I was VERY pleased last week when over 80% of my 7th Grade students were capable of providing an appropriate response. Their answers were all based on things on what we learned about the structure of matter. I've got high hopes for the remainder of this semester.

                            • Re: Latest Learning?
                              glen_w

                              I decided to create an Essential Question for each class and use it throughout the entire year. I looked closely at my state core to determine what might be an appropriate question. I'm slightly nervous about how this will work out and so have my fingers crossed. I decided to have the questions posted in my classroom, on the class web page, and on all of my presentations, quizzes, tests, handouts, and anything else I can think of.

                               

                              I've included my questions below for feedback. PLEASE let me know how you think I can improve or expand these questions!

                               

                              Note the revision on the questions - based on feedback from students and other teachers. I'm not changing them again until at least next year .

                               

                              7th Grade Science: What would happen without structure?

                               

                              Biology: How are natural  phenoma  represented?

                                • Re: Latest Learning?

                                  Glen,

                                  Great essential questions! I thought about how every unit of study typically covered in those courses as well as other interdisciplinary topics could be brought to life through exploration of those questions. I also thought about how the essentials questions can help students build exemplars for year-long electronic portfolios. The students would build upon their understanding of those questions with each activity and unit and the artifacts would serve as evidence.

                                • Re: Latest Learning?

                                  This summer, while working on some new ideas for PD workshops, I discovered Webspiration. This is a free, online concept mapping tool from Inspiration. Right now it is free (and I hope it remains that way!). It allows for student collaboration and sharing. Check it out at http://www.mywebspiration.com/.

                                    • Re: Latest Learning?
                                      MrsSmoke

                                      I, too, love Webspiration.  It's a fantastic alterantive to the expensive Inspiration software, but I sure wish they would add the arrange button.  The power of collaboration with this tool makes it a high contender for one of the best tools on the web.  Thanks for sharing Nan.

                                      • Re: Latest Learning?

                                        Hi Nan,

                                        I have used Webspiration in trainings especially during Inspiration workshops and the teachers loved it. This is a great tool for parents to help their children with outlining and pre wrriting.

                                      • Re: Latest Learning?
                                        tdiener

                                         

                                        This summer I learned that not only does a “Tree Grow in Brooklyn”, but that delicious fruit is grown and harvested in New York City’s school. I had the good fortune to visit the New York Horticultural Society this summer to discuss their staff development program. http://www.hsny.org During the meeting they served a delicious assortment of fruits, all grown in school gardens (The peaches were the best I have eaten in years). The society has several school-based programs that promote “green schools”. These programs not only add natural beauty to city schools, they also provide rich STEM learning opportunities. We tend to forget that engineering’s origins are based in agriculture.  This year, the Society’s “Green Team” will help schools build vertical gardens. Most city schools are strapped for space, but a vertical garden can fit in any school and any classroom. I’m excited about working on this project during the new school year. So excited, that I plan to build a vertical garden in my own house. During this project the students will collect environmental data about their classroom. They’ll take light, temperature, and moisture samples, aggregate the data, select appropriate plants, build the garden support structure, then plant and nurture the garden. PBL at its best!

                                         

                                        Pictured below is NY Horticultural Society's own vertical garden. (For some reason the picture is not showing up on my screen so I have also attached it.)

                                         

                                        CIMG1364.JPG

                                        • Re: Latest Learning?
                                          vkajones

                                          My passion continues to be digital storytelling. A few years after I started teaching I had the opportunity to be part of the National Faculty where I went with a group of educators from all over the U.S .and we spent 2 weeks in Washington DC visiting and studying the history and stories behind the monuments and museums. We had the opportunity to talk to curators behind the scene before the museums opened. I learned about using artifacts to tell stories. Fast forward…I now love using digital artifacts to tell stories.

                                           

                                          The Center for Digital Storytelling http://www.storycenter.org/index1.html and  Cogdogroo are great digital storytelling resources. Cogdogroo showcases 50  Web 2.0 tools that can be used to tell digital stories. http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com

                                            • Re: Latest Learning?
                                              Bowerman@cox.net

                                              Vanessa,

                                               

                                              Using artifacts is an excellent way for students and teachers to make connections with what they are learning.I have been trying to save things from my own past to share with my students - my grandmother's Irish lace from the 20's, my mother's compact from the 40's with the lipstick compartment, and of course my baseball collection from the 60's.

                                               

                                              And I just have to add that I loved your Dear Michelle project and saw how much passion students had for writing from their hearts!

                                              • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                Vanessa

                                                You were the first person that I thought of when I saw this site....Storybird I know that you love the storytelling and this site allows you to create Storybirds which are are short, visual stories that you can share. I googled the site name and it looks like many teachers are using it in the classroom. How to use it in the classroom....

                                                 

                                                How to integrate Storybird into the classroom:http://storybird.com/Storybird is an excellent way to get your students enthusiastically writing.  The imaginative artwork will have your students creating stories in no time.  Storybird stories are meant to be collaborative.  Students can work together in teams to create stories.  This type of learning through play reminds me of the “lets pretend” stories that students create on the playground.  Students will feed off of each others ideas, creating more creative stories and learning together.  Storybird is also a fantastic place to create a classroom story, each student can contribute pages to the story.  The final product can be easily shared with families and friends in the online library.  Storybird can be used by teachers to make ’special’ stories for students.  They can include students as characters, emphasize classroom themes or curriculum, and be created for specific reading levels.  Encourage your students to create and share their stories on Storybird, open up your classroom computer for students to read stories their classmates have created.

                                              • Re: Latest Learning?
                                                shanmangin

                                                I am a trainer for Promethean.  They just redesigned their software - creating a new version called ActivInspire.  It is amazing! -- and much more user-friendly. I was certified on the new version over the summer, and have been teaching basic courses all during the month of August.  This fall, I hope to develop several make-and-take workshops in which teachers create flipcharts for specific content areas that are high need in our region (early childhood literacy, secondary science and math).  I've been having lots of fun building sample lessons - even though I don't teach students anymore.  I don't think I could go back to a classroom unless I had my own Promethean board!

                                                  • Re: Latest Learning?
                                                    glen_w

                                                    I, like Shannon, enjoy what can be done using the Promethean ActivBoard and the associated ActivInspire software. I've had the board in my classroom for two years now. This summer, my principal determined where to find funding and place ActivBoards in every Math classroom. He asked me to provide a one day training for the Math teachers so they would be more confident with their new boards. I planned the day's training to have a short "teaching moment" followed by time in the sandbox. Each teacher spent time doing the activity that was just taught. Everyone in the Math department was very excited about what they were learning and how they could use these boards in their classroom. Since the training, I've had several teachers "show and tell" lessons they've created for their classrooms. I'm excited they are using these boards interactively - students are coming up and participating instead of using the board as a glorified electronic white board.

                                                     

                                                    My experience in the classroom is that I use my ActivBoard on a regular basis. It is something I could not teach without. My students are very engaged each day and they love the opportunities to go up and take their turn doing work at the board. The ActivBoard has changed the way I teach - and I'm loving the change.

                                                     

                                                    I told my principal last week that I think it would be great to have more Interactive White Boards in our building. I also realize that I may be responsible for more trainings if we are able to get additional IWBs.

                                                  • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                    Photostory 3 is a great tool to use when making digital stories, podcasts, and presentations.  I have seen students working with Photostory and there projects are more creative and meaningful than when they create a PowerPoint. Another dynamic tool that I was just introduced to is Prezi.  http://www.prezi.com

                                                    It is a free presentation online tool that helps teachers and students create very animated projects that will engage the students in their activities and learning environments.

                                                    • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                      I am real interested in BrainHoney . It is a free LMS (Learning Management System). It tracks grades, differentiates instruction,  and monitors progress against state standards for classroom, blended, or online learning.The best part is it is free (at least for now). The vendor said at NECC that the import rate from BlackBoard is 90%. Some of our STs are testing it out (Nan Stephens, Sandy Swartz and Margaret Henderson) with one of our online courses. We will keep you updated!

                                                      By the way not only is it a cool site but just check out Sandy Swartz and I with the mascot. Did I mention that they were handing out bit of honey candies....

                                                      bee.jpg

                                                      • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                        I just saw this site: MyNoteIt It seems as though students can take and store their notes online, edit them with the help of classmates, look up words or terms they don’t understand and keep track of things they need to do.This would be a super cool tool to use in the library. I am hoping to investigate it further and include in my librarian initiaitve. Anyone used it before? Feedback?

                                                        • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                          The teachers who presented their unit plans last year included two new tools that I think are fun and offer a lot of potential. Glogster and Xtranormal.  Glogster is a place where students can create online posters for free.  They are flashy and can include video so they are very interactive. Xtranormal allows students to turn their text into a movie. Both applications are very cool, free and lots of fun!

                                                          • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                            I have beeen playing with xtimeline ever since I saw it used in the Discovery Streamathon a couple of days ago. xtimeline is a free web-based timeline. You can easily create and share timelines with pictures and videos. LUV the video part of it!

                                                            • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                              I just completed a workshop for teachers on the Web 2.0 tool, Stixy (which Susan Gauthier shared with us at our monthly TLTC meetings).  The teachers loved it and could see a variety of ways to use for their classroom as well as personal uses.  It is a great tool to manage notes, pictures, documents, and to do lists.  It can also be used to collaborate and share information with others.  We used it for another workshop to organize our website resources.  Another "FREE" tool to make our lives easier.

                                                              • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                                Just saw a great new tool to use in the classroom for creating and developing innovative projects and screencasts.  Check out: http://Classtools.net

                                                                This site provides free, customizable flash templates to embed into blogs, wikis and websites. There is no signup, no passwords, no charges.

                                                                  • Re: Latest Learning?
                                                                    Bowerman@cox.net

                                                                    I just looked at the Classtools site and am really impressed. For those of us who aren't permitted to sign up or register for sites that aren't approved through our district, this provides a great opportunity to use the tools with our students. Thanks for sharing this, Sandy!


                                                                    I see so many great uses for Web 2.0 tools and everyone has been great with sharing fabulous sites. I'm wondering what advice you have for those of us who are limited in our use of these tools. Are there strategies you have used to help your schools or districts make these available for student and teacher use?

                                                                      • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                                        I work with several districts and they all handle their technology approvals differently. Some of my districts are very strict and others will allow sites if the teacher can prove its value in education.

                                                                        • Re: Latest Learning?

                                                                          I encourage teachers to think out of the box on how they could use the tools to bring products into the classroom instead of creating them in the classroom. I do encourage the teachers to contact district tech coordinators on unblocking the education version of the sites ( animoto, glogster, big huge labs etc.). I tell them to submit a comparison of the education and the non-education version so they can see the difference.

                                                                        • Thanks, Sandy!
                                                                          Bonnie Feather

                                                                          That's a great site, Sandy!  I will share this with many others, and we will see how long it takes them to decide it should have a registration!

                                                                           

                                                                           

                                                                        • Re: Latest Learning?
                                                                          holmesg

                                                                          I use pageflakes to gather all my resources in one location for presentation purposes.  I can share a video, a slideshow, blog, upload documents etc. all on one page and share and or teach from them on one site.  Check it out . . . http://www.pageflakes.com/gail_holmes/

                                                                          • Re: Latest Learning?
                                                                            dgoodman_1958

                                                                            Wow, what great tools have been shared here!   I, too, love Animoto.  It's really easy to use and looks professional.  A tool my students love is VoiceThread.  They love to share their projects and new learnings through a VoiceThread.  They created tessellations, took pictures of them, uploaded and commented on them.  Another tool they like is Voki.  I had a group in a literature study.  They created a voki and gave their reflections of the book they read.

                                                                             

                                                                            It's so hard to keep up with al the many tools out there and the best ways to use them in education.  I'd love to see a database listing the tools and ways to use them in the classroom.

                                                                             

                                                                            Keep sharing, please.