Saturday, October 13, 2012

ending reflections

As this course comes to an end, I can't believe how fast it flew by!  When I look back at my blog posts, I am excited about the new applications I learned about and used.  I look forward to incorporating them into my classroom this year and beyond.  I enjoyed the process of creating the digital story, and although it was more challenging, I also liked the end result of the infographic.  I feel like I see them all over the place now!  I did a search on Pinterest for "infographic"and there is board after board after board of examples.  I even found an infographic of infographics!

I feel like the work we did on this assignment in particular will be most helpful as this visual presentation becomes even more commonplace.

I really enjoyed this class and interacting with my classmates!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

PBIS @ Bridgeway

 Like others have stated, I had a hard time getting started...deciding which tool to use, exactly what information to include, etc.  In the end, I used Piktochart.  It was a new tool for me and I liked how quick I was able to teach myself how to use it.  I chose to complete my infographic on my school's beginning journey into PBIS.  I am part of the coaching team and I thought this would be a nice visual to add to our school website.  We are in the VERY beginning stages of implementing PBIS in our school.  There are so many components to PBIS, so I decided to summarize where we are so far.  As we learn more and add other components, I would like to create more infographics to document our journey.  The team is getting ready to write lesson plans for two parts of our matrix.  I think when those plans are written, an infographic would be a new way to present the information to the staff.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to be a Bridgeway Bulldog

Here are my kiddos!!  This project was a lot of fun and my kids were excited to be a part of it.

And on another note...I finally have my new website up!!

The Digital Storytelling Process

The digital storytelling process brings the writing process into the 21st century.  It creates opportunities to incorporate more senses to get your message out.  Adding voice, music, and other sound...along with images and video clips can totally transform the written word.

My digital story will be about students at my school following our code of conduct to be a Bridgeway Bulldog.  I have been taking pictures and videos of my kids, as well as recording their voices for this project.  I've told them about the project and that I will put it up on our class website when it is finished.  They are really excited about it and can't wait to see and hear themselves in the final product.

Plagiarism in the Elementary Classroom

Teaching about plagiarism in the elementary classroom...whew!  What a big topic to tackle!!  As a 3rd grade teacher, I have brushed the surface by teaching my students basic citation and discussing why it is important to give credit to the author.  I have not tried to get too "deep" at this age because you can tell when you are going over their head and you see that "glazed" look.  

At the beginning of the school year, the librarian teaches a couple of lessons about copyright, plagiarism, and fair use.  Having seen these lessons with my 3rd graders, and now this year with my 1st graders, I wonder how much of it they actually understand.  She uses this You Tube video as a main part of her lesson-

but I really feel like the kids just think it is silly and really miss the message.  While the video is clever in how they were able to put together so many video clips form Disney movies, even I am distracted by the cuts and jumpiness to understand the full meaning.  

Giving credit to the source is an extremely important topic to teach students-especially in the information age we live in now.  I feel like the younger-and more basic-we teach this concept the better students will understand it in their middle, high school years-and beyond.  I found this article from that I feel does a nice job of explaining plagiarism in more basic terms.  It explains plagiarism as a form of stealing and cheating-concepts elementary age students would understand better.  The article poses this question-

  • "Would I know this if I hadn't read it on that website or in that book?" If the answer is no, list the source.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Classroom Website

I'll be honest...creating and maintaining a high-quality classroom website is HARD!  I find myself with the best intentions, but so many other responsibilities seem to get in the way.  At times, there is not even enough time in a school day to get everything done, so finding time to update and maintain a useful website is pretty far down the list.  I actually have 2 websites right now-the one that is "live" linked to my school's webpage and one that is sitting on the hard drive of my computer waiting for someone else to press the magic button that will replace my old one.

One of my obstacles is the preferred platform for creating websites in my district.   It is a web-based application that gives instant updates when you modify your site, but it is not intuitive or user friendly.  Here is a link to my current site...Believe me, I know it needs work  :).  Honestly, I have not done much at all to keep this site current.  Everything about the application is frustrating to use.

We also have access to iWeb on our district provided laptops.  I have created a website using this program that I feel would be a lot more useful and interesting to parents of my first graders.  I have useful links and blog posts ready to go.  I have photo albums and slideshows loaded with pictures of the learning we have been doing this year.  It will also be really easy to upload media like movies and podcasts.  This site is ready to go live.  The frustrating part is that the tech department in my district has been dragging their feet and giving me the run around as to when someone will actually link it up.  It is actually a site that I am proud of...and if it ever goes "live", I will post a link to it and would love any constructive criticism.

A class website has so much potential!  My goal is to make it a place that parents will bookmark and visit often.  I would use a newsletter-style blog to keep parents updated on our learning; useful links would be provided to help parents at home; digital learning and projects can be showcased.

**As I was searching the web on this topic, a came across an interesting article from the Kappa Delta Pi Record.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Literacy in a 1st Grade Classroom

I come from teaching 3rd grade for the last 14 years.  After having the first few weeks of teaching 1st grade under my belt, I have a different appreciation for what "literacy" means at this age.  They are bursting with new knowledge and accomplishments every day!  When I think about integrating literacy into a science or social studies lesson, pictures and other graphic representations are a must.  Many students at this stage of the school year are unable to read (and understand) text independently.  Science and social studies lessons are whole-group, and I use my Promethean Board to project scanned images of text to make the lesson more accessible to my students.  Students at this age love to draw pictures to show their understanding.  Fortunately, there is a lot of really great technology out there that can let students use clip art and other graphics to show their understanding.  Programs like Kidspiration and KidPix have browsable graphics collections that allow students to choose just the right image to show their understanding.  It is also very easy for them to add text to these images, so the teacher can either require a word, phrase, or multiple sentences to go with the picture. 

science activity using Kidspiration

social studies activity using KidPix

I love using these types of technologies because of their versatility in differentiating for your different types of learners.