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.

Tool # 7 Post

As I read about the possibilities that this tool has to offer, I saw the potential for those teachers who implement this strategy to start simple by finding a campus buddy who would be willing to have their students communicate with your students. This could then grow to another campus within the district, to another district, city, state or nation.  I played around with Edmodo, and sent in a request for K. J. to send me the code so that I can join.  In the meantime, check out all the communities (PLN groups) at the bottom of the Edmodo page.  I clicked onto the Science Community and started seeing a wealth of info. from teachers sharing websites, to lessons, to video clips.  I have embedded this photosynthesis video that is very catchy, check it out.  The teacher said that this group has many other videos about Science topics too!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tool # 6 Post

In reading about the tools in this section, I came across the poll everywhere sight. It is very easy to set up a poll, you can join for free and students can incorporate technology when answering.  A poll can definitely be taken at the beginning or end of a lesson.  Teachers can check for understanding, collect opinions and generate classroom discussion as the students get to see their responses instantly.  This is a tool that teachers can keep handy and use at anytime during a lesson.  Give this a try and vote for the catastrophic event that you believe has the greatest impact on humans and their environment.  You can text a code to 37606 or go online to and submit your code choice.
Poll Everywhere

The second tool that I explored was the "Wallwisher" sight.  I have participated in one of these before, and it was fun to create and embed my own.  This would be great fun to use when collaborating with colleagues across the district, state, country and world.  I am going to follow the blog and see if I can learn more about how to use this tool.  I have created a set for use with a unit on Gravity.  This concept is very important all throughout MS Science and is a new TEK for 6th grade.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tool # 5 Post - part 2

The 2 tools that I used for this section was the Wordle sight and the Animoto sight.  I developed a set for Human Ocean Interactions (8th Grade Science TEK) by creating a wordle word cloud that used text from a websight on how humans interact with the Ocean environment.  Students could use the wordle I made to find words that relate to this topic and could then go and search for more text on credible websites and create their own wordles.  These could be inserted into the class blog.  This evening I ended my day by creating 2 Animoto short video clips. One clip was on my family vacation to Steamboat Springs a few years ago and the second one is showing pictures of the ocean envronment and how it can be affected by humans, both positively and negatively. I would like to explore how to make a longer video and how to add text, but I think that it will cost money to do this.  Is it possible to make a longer feature for free?  I will have to explore this on another day.  Enjoy my Animoto clips in the sections below.
Create your own video slideshow at

Create your own video slideshow at

Tool # 5 Post - part 1

Human Ocean Interaction Wordle

Tool # 4 Post

Going on to Google Docs was fairly easy. I sometimes tend to be afraid to click on things and try them, but this sight was pretty easy to set up and use. I created a Document that asked others to share Why Google Docs "Rock". I shared it with the DIS team and then also shared it with my sister who was sitting right next to me. She then jumped on and started collaborating with me and got to see what it looked like with more than one person on at the same time. (She had not ever seen that before,it was fun to show her) I also had 2 others Karen and Kathy get on and make contributions. Karen made a comment and I got to see how that works - very fun. I kept missing Karen, but if you set a time, you can get on and chat while working on the document - so cool.
Second thing was to create a Google Form, again this was easy, the video made it clear. Check out and join in on answering questions about Common Misconceptions in Earth Science. Your answers are importantFinally, Google Apps can be used in so many exciting ways. In my new role with the district this year, I can use the Docs as a way to communicate with Administrators, Teachers and Students on the campuses that I will be working at. Teachers sometimes do not have very much time during their day, by using a google doc, I can have a format set up where they can quickly comment and be on their way. If they are not able to attend a meeting, PD, or something like that, they can log on and we can chat while working on a document, presentation, lesson idea, etc. Check out my Doc-
Why Google Docs "Rock"

Tool # 3 Post

I have been embedding videos into my flip charts for several years.  I like to use You tube and  Discovery Ed the most for finding my videos.  I went into my personal folders in My Videos and found a video about stars that could be useful by MS Science Teachers and inserted this into my Blog Post today.  I am not sure how to embed code into a blog to download a video from a website, when I tried to do this and then looked at the preview, all I saw was the code and no video.  I will have to keep practicing with this.

Copyright and Fair Use is a little confusing.  I had to watch the You tube video several times to try and  clearly understand what students need to know about this topic.  Students need to be aware of the nature, purpose, amount and effect of the information they have found and how they will transform it into something of value and purpose.  The teacher needs to allow opportunities for students to explore how they can demonstrate learning and make sure that they have a purpose for what they are doing.  My only problem with this is that if teachers do not provide good thought provoking questions about a topic for students to answer, it will be very easy for students to put in alot of time on something that does not show they are learning.  For instance, I spent 4 1/2 hours trying to get through Tool # 3 today. YIKES!
The final thing for this tool post was to go to the Picasa Web Album.  This was very confusing and hard to figure out.  I tried to make an album, and attempted to share pictures with a colleague.  I need to have someone show me how better to use this APP, as for now I think it is much easier to do a google search for an image.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tool # 2 Post

Today I visited 5 blogs:
1) - I shared a video from this blog on an earlier post!
2) - I commented on this blog with Marcia about the "Geospatial Revolution" - Check out this cool website and learn more -

It can take alot of time to search and find places / people that you would like to build your online community with.  At first I found it a little overwhelming, but as I continued, it became interesting how one place led to another.  I have not found a particular PLN that I want to participate in because I have so many interests and I want to be selective, I will continue to search and hopefully will find some areas that I can plug into. 
I only posted one comment, it was not too in depth, but as I feel more comfortable I suppose that I will become more willing to share more of my thoughts.

I would like to share the URL of this online scrapbook class sight.
This is the teacher page and you can click on just about any of these teachers links and they have a blog that you can follow.  Too much to do today, but I plan to go back and check them out, I also would like to take some of their classes.  I am very interested in scrapbooking and journaling my thoughts as I feel this can be a huge legacy that I can leave for my children and their children.
Tomorrow I will meet with my sister (She is an elementary teacher in SBISD) and we are going to navigate through some more tools.

Tool # 1 Post

Setting up my Blog was fairly easy however, I had to work hard to delete a previous google account that I had created at another time, but had not been using.  It took some time, but I finally figured that out.  I loved making my Voki and putting it into my blog.  I have now become an expert, because I taught my 7th grade  niece how to make her Voki too!!  
Today as I was working through Tools # 1 & 2, I visited a PLN titled "The Fischbowl" and came across this video clip.  As I watched it, I was touched by the words that were spoken.  Last year I lost 3 friends & 1 family member to cancer in a period of 6 months. I felt so compelled to share this clip on my own blog, that I got my daughter to show me how to add it.  Please listen to the words spoken, there is someone who loves you, and the advice given is just what I need to tell the "16 year old me's" in my life.