Monday, August 22, 2011

Something to Think About

I just viewed this video - "The Machine is Us/ing Us" at the suggestion of a colleague.  I am amazed at the message and how it was presented.  If you have a few minutes, take a peak.  Once again I am learning that I still have alot to learn!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flat Classrooms,DIgiteen and Digital Citizenship

This morning I read a post from Vicki Davis - "Cool Cat" Teacher blog about flat classrooms and how 6th - 9th grade students in her school district participated in a program called "Digiteen".  It is a collaborative project with students from Qatar, Austria and other countries.  The students learned about Digital Citizenship, talked with students from around the globe, and then created the projects that are shown in the video clip below.  It is 15 min. long, but I was impressed with a couple of the projects, if you don't have the time, watch the slide show at the beginning.  You can sign up your students and be a part of this process at
I also highly recommend that you join the Cool Cat Blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Okay - I Love Brain Breaks!!

I have discovered a couple of great tools that You should add to your tool belts.  They are little booklets that give you some great ideas for getting the "Brain cells" in your students brains to grow!!!  Here are the books and I am showing you a couple of things that can be done in ANY classroom or Staff Development!!!

Check out these Breaks!

Don't Forget to slow down and take your break!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tool # 11 Post

I have completed my Web 11 tools learning and taken the 40 question assessment. Whew!  I have learned that I still have much to learn.  I am intrigued by this and am inspired to become a Web Tools in Education lifetime learner!  As teachers learn about these tools and then "Transform" the way they approach their planning and instruction, they will find out that they too are also learners in their own classroom.
I have really enjoyed posting in my blog, and can see the value of having a tool like this available for students to use in the transformative process of a classroom setting.  I also had fun with the Voki and Animoto tools, and have found out about other tools that are similar to these.  Something has got to happen in Spring Branch ISD, and the best way for things to happen is as Eric Jensen says - "For things to change, I must change".  If we keep using the same strategies and the students keep failing......Who's really the Slow Learner?(Eric Jensen-also!)
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of  this learning occasion.  I have learned that I can be a lifelong learner and that there is much to learn from others around me and out in the world.  I plan to continue finding opportunities for teachers to embed the technology pieces along with the knowledge skills that Texas has commissioned us to impart upon the precious minds that walk into our classrooms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tool # 10 Post

Digital Citizenship is evident if :
1) Students accept and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
2) Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
3) Students demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning and show leadership for digital citizenship.
I plan to familiarize myself with the chart and resources that SBISD has on the Ed Tech Website.  It is easy to follow.  I looked at the Cyber-bullying video on Digizen and think that this would be appropriate for MS and HS teachers to share with their students and then offer an opportunity for them to share anonymously on Wall Wisher or Poll Everywhere.
I ended up joining the Cool-Cat Blog as I was impressed with the web references that Vicki Davis shared on how teachers can model good digital citizenship strategies.  Students need the opportunity to learn how to search for quality, credible information sites and they need to practice this over and over and over again. As a classroom teacher, this can be a very important tool to pass on to students.

Tool # 9 Post

The whole idea of getting students engaged can be a challenge.  The question becomes how can we as teachers help ourselves help our students become excited about learning?  How can we work smarter and not work harder?  Technology is only the base for what can become something bigger than we or our students could have ever imagined - purposeful collaboration!
Learning to embed the technology tools into the objectives that are being taught is a good beginning.  Once teachers learn how to effectively use technology they can acquire student "Buy-In" by providing choices for accomplishing these objectives.
Having an iPod, iPad, or Netbooks Station can foster the learning that is going on in a classroom.  Envision having an App that allows the student to practice what is being learned in class until they can't get it wrong!  Students can brainstorm and collect information about a subject and then place what they have learned into a Google Doc, or onto Wall-Wisher.  The class can then organize their information, data, or thoughts and chunk this information into an interactive journal.  The possibilities are endless.
I explored the interactive activities on the Thinkfinity and PhET sites.  Both of these where easily organized by content for teachers and provided opportunities for students to practice what they have learned in class.

Tool # 8 Post

The iPad / iPod touch devices will be another way of putting technology into the hands of SBISD students.  In watching the training videos, I learned that the material such as music, videos, apps, etc. are 1st downloaded onto the computer, and then through iTunes these materials are synced onto the the classroom devices.  I also learned how to set up an iTunes acct through the district.
In having these devices, it is important to incorporate a set of procedures to be followed when these devices will be used.  I would recommend that the students write these down themselves and that a set of rules is posted in the area where the devices will be used.  Students could create and embed a notebook "Foldable" into their interactive journals with these rules - they can reference these rules while working, and the teacher has something to refer to if he/she notices that students are not following the rules.  Also, it is important to create a class job such as "Classroom Technician" - these students would be responsible for getting out, setting up and putting away devices each day.  They could also help report to the teacher any issues that may come up with the device, or aid in "trouble shooting" to keep all the devices in working order.
One suggestion for classroom setup when using the Netbooks would be to have the students set up in a semicircle with desks facing away from teacher, so that when the laptop is up, all screens are facing toward the teacher, and he/she will be able to see more than one screen at a time.