Thursday, December 17, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
We had fun creating snow people, snowflakes and Hanukkah houses. Here are the links to the sites we used. Have fun.
(and send it into the snowstorm with a positive message).
Friday, November 20, 2009
Our K classes just finished their first Voicethread where they introduced themselves to their KinderKids partners. We used Pixie to draw self portraits and Voicethread to record our introductions.
Mrs. Yegelwel's class flew to Madrid, Spain using our imagination wings and google earth. Mrs. McAraw's class flew to Winnetka, California. Once there we "met" our KinderKids friends by listening to their Voicethreads and leaving comments.
Here is our Voicethread-
Friday, November 13, 2009
We've coined a new term- "one-click mitzvah." This refers to an easy way to use technology to give to others. There are many sites now set up to donate money based on a number of visits (or clicks) to the site.
All of our computers in the computer lab are set to "The Hunger Site" as the homepage. Students all know to "click to give" whenever they open the browser. Many of the students will take the extra time to click across the top navigation bar to go to all of the listed sites.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I wrote the following for an online PD class I am taking. The prompt was "unintentional learning." I thought it might be worth sharing here.
I am in a constant process of learning and changing. Most of my learning can be attributed to my online personal learning network. As I learn something new I bring it back to the classroom to my students. Many times this results in me having to tell them something that contradicts something I told them a week ago.
I feel that I am modeling for them the important processes I go through as a learner, and I believe that is more important than doing things a certain way. I remind students and myself that "learning is messy." I even hung a "Learning is Messy" sign on the wall, right across from my desk. When things sometimes start to feel out of control, it helps to remind myself that learning is not always neat, orderly and quiet.
As I find value in new processes, such as blogging, I feel compelled to share these with my students. I am sharing things almost as quickly as I am learning them myself. Activities like blogging are not fixed. There is hardly a right or wrong answer and it is difficult to anticipate students' needs, interests or possible problems that may arise.
I've come up with the analogy of surfing to describe some of my work with students this year. This is where I came up with the surfing analogy. I began a class blog with my 4th graders this year as part of a global blog pals communication project that was started by Kim Cofino, a teacher at the International School of Bangkok, Thailand. So many different things happened once we started blogging. There were times when the fourth graders would leave the lab after an active session of blogging activity and me running like crazy around the room, and as soon as they were gone I would sit down at my computer to try to learn more so that I could continue to help them do what they wanted to do.
It was exciting and motivating, but at times it felt out of control. I realized that student-directed learning can feel out of control, much like surfing. Sometimes you have the wave and you're up on top. Other times the wave is going too fast and you're just hoping to make it without crashing. And sometimes, you go down, under the water, and have to swim to the surface to catch your breath and start again. But you always go again, because it's exciting and worthwhile.
Image credit: Michael Dawes flickr photostream
Sunday, July 5, 2009
An important post. You clearly distinguish between vendors who truly want to make a difference and provide meaningful products and those just interested in a sale.
Kinda reminds of the divide we currently see in education between those really wanting to make a difference, recognizing there has to be a different/better way and those who just want to collect a check.
Who decides when it happens, where it happens, how it happens?
I guess this question has been around for as long as we have. All kinds of assessments and other ways of quantifying and qualifying learning have resulted. We, all of us, educators and non-educators alike, discuss and disagree. What matters?
We must have proof! Proof of learning, to me, is change. When we have learned something, there is some type of change--a change in behavior, a change in vocabulary, ability to articulate, other new abilities, a change in the way we do what we do, even a change in the questions we ask.
So, I thought I would share another story in hopes of clarifying my own views. I, for one, learn through writing and through words.
This is the tale of The Scrumptious Lunch-
Four years have passed since I traded in my California teaching credential for Florida certification. My Florida teaching certificate expires next June. I must provide proof of my professional development activities (and, of course, pay a fee) in order to reinstate the piece of paper. I am nothing if not a seeker of PD, but I made some mistakes along the way in terms of getting the required documentation.
Last summer, I authored an online course for teachers called Tackling Tough Text for Professional Learning Board. It was my first time using moodle and my first time, outside of a school project, creating an online course. I also facilitated the course twice. I figured that was worth a few credits in terms of my ongoing professional development. Teachers can get PD credit for teaching a college course. However, when I requested credit for this experience, I was flatly denied with the following explanation,
"Teachers don't learn from teaching."
I was floored by this offhand dismissal that any teacher knows is utter nonsense. I tried to argue my point via email, but was again flatly denied. It's in the realm of things in life that make no sense- bureaucracy rules, jumping through hoops. I know better than to spend too much time or energy getting upset.
Part 2: In order to get credit for the time spent learning at NECC, I submitted my request beforehand. Along with my written request I had to attach a description of sessions I would attend. I knew that I would be attending an all-day TIE event on Saturday and The Constructivist Celebration on Sunday, so I submitted write-ups describing those activities. The write-ups for each day included a one-hour "scrumptious lunch."
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. Should I be able to get credit for the lunch hour?
Time spent networking with my colleagues and discussing teaching is, in my humble opinion, valid learning time. The fact that I can enjoy a scrumptious lunch at the same time does not inhibit my learning in the slightest.
I will be submitting my request for PD hours to include lunch.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
•I am beginning to tire of the famous "conversation." Early in day I found myself sitting at a "session" (not sure if that is the correct word) of NECC Unplugged. The discussion was 21st Century Literacy, a concept in which I have high interest. One of the speakers talked a lot about "the conversation" and how it's not going anywhere, no one is making any changes. I left feeling somewhat discouraged by the generalizations made about teachers. "We" are doing this. "We" are not doing this.
I dislike the generalizing of teaching/education. I always have. "We" are all different and unique. You don't know me and don't know what I'm doing or not doing.
•I obviously have "issues." :) Just want to make sure I clarify that I have the utmost respect for all of the people who are speaking and presenting. I believe wholeheartedly that they speak with nothing but positive intent. It is just that I am finding maybe, at this point, listening to more of this type of talk is not the most productive use of my time.
•I have spent a great deal of time in the Tech4Learning booth listening to the incredible educators they have showing samples and strategies. I could certainly be called biased, as I am extremely humbled and honored to be one of those educators this year. You'll have to trust me, though. It's not bias. These are the kinds of presentations that leave me wanting to run back to the classroom (ok, well, run back as soon as summer break ends) and start playing/learning in fun ways with students.
Again, this is just where I am, personally, right now. I don't want to hear any more people who don't work directly with students telling me what I should do, how I should teach. I get it! I am enjoying hearing real teachers show and tell what they are doing to make learning student centered, engaging, higher-order thinking, meaningful, etc.
If you are a K-5 (or K-8) educator looking to see examples and strategies from people who are doing great things in schools, I recommend the Tech4Learning booth. Here is the schedule.
I saw Liz Allen's presentation "Research without Copying" yesterday and recommend it highly. She will be sharing it again today at 2:30 pm. I am also looking forward to hearing Dr. Henry Olds "Kids, Cameras, Computers, Creativity and Cognition" today at 4 pm.
Just to let you know, I don't work for Tech4Learning !!! Just sharing some of my thoughts. Putting the laptop away now so I can pay attention to Gary Stager!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Partner Skills Rubric
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
I'm a dinosaur, I admit it. I still believe that reading is and will always be a core value. No links, this is just an off-the-top-of-my-head post, but I know I've seen articles listing reasons why reading will not be an important skill in the future. All information will be accessible in non-written formats.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Actually, it's a true tale, not a fable. You can decide for yourself the moral of the story.