Learning Log- Flikr Slideshows

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angella0405’s photostream on Flickr.

In Frederick County, we teach the indicator, “LA.600.10.05 Evaluate the influence of culture, ethnicity, and historical era on the themes and issues of literary texts,” in sixth grade Language Arts.  Before my students are able to determine the influence of culture on a text, they have to first understand what “culture” means.

To introduce the concept or culture to my students I have always packed a backpack with tangible items that represent some of the cultures I am a part of . For example, my passport, to represent my love of travel. I “unpack” the backback and describe each of the cultures represented by the chosen objects. At the end of the demonstration, the students choose five cultures that they are a part of and visually depict them on a piece of construction paper. When they are finished, we tie them all together to create a “Culture Web” that shows the students how many cultures we all have in common.

The Flikr gallery I created is an alternative to actually bringing in the items that represent my cultures. I was thinking that if I shared this gallery with my students, perhaps they could all send pictures that respresent their cultures and we could create a new set to share with our class , as a slide show, instead of the web.

Kerpoof- Digital Animation Site

In sixth grade Language Arts, in Frederick County, students study figurative language.

LA.600.10.07f     figurative language and sensory language

As an introduction to simile and metaphor, I have the students complete “Visual Similes or Metaphors.” Each student comes up with a metaphor or simile they like, and then they are asked to visually represent the metaphor or simile. Upon completion, the students share their piece, and the class attempts to figure out the simile or metaphor being represented. Up until this point, the students have always created their learning products on paper. With the ease of Kerpoof, I think that my students will now be completing the project digitally.

I used Kerpoof to create the exemplar below.

Can you figure out the Metaphor I am visually representing?

Learning Log Flikr Galleries

2008 - September - Roadtrip USA 31786 Truck Grand Street FireFish market @ Chinatwon, NYC I HDRChinatwon, New York

Chinatown, a gallery on Flickr.

Wow! I was not familiar with Flickr before today. I am so excited to be able to use this new technology in my classrrom. The first thing I did on the site was to create a gallery for my upcoming mini unit on acceptance. In the unit, the students learn about Chinatowns and read Lawrence Yep’s Chinatown. I searched Flickr to find images that would get my students thinking about the physical lay outs of Chinatowns as well as their very different physical appearance from other parts of the cities they exist within. In the past I have just gone through Google Images and pulled up some of the better images and shared them one by one. Now I can just pull up my Flickr Gallery and show the pictures in a slideshow, complete with captions. This is going to make organizing my photographs and images so much easier. Yay!

Classroom Blogs: Show Offs!

Well after I played around on some awesome teacher blogs, I thought it might be fun to check out what some of my fellow teachers are doing to incorporate blogs into their classrooms. The first blog that came up during my searches was the Lutherville Ilab blog. Wow! This is an incredibly robust blog. The site is maintained by the school’s librarian and students. It is a magnet school-which I think helps to explain the incredible posts on the site. The goal of the blog is to keep parents, students and community members informed of all the awesome 2.0 tools being used in the school. Several projects are highlighted from a number of teacher’s classrooms as well as photos and video to accompany them. I was especially excited about the “Angry Birds” catapult projects that were highlighted on the blog. How engaging and fun!! Love it. This site would be a great place for elementary school teachers to get some creative ideas about how to incorporate technology into their lessons. Also this would be a great place for my fellow teachers to start getting ideas about how to use blogging in the classroom. There are a lot of creative posts.

Next, I stumbled across Mr.Lamshed’s class blog site. This is a blog about a class in the UK that is for BOYS ONLY.  I was immediately interested in the site due to the fact that it is an all boys class. Mr. Lamshed has done a wonderful job of documenting the entire school year, with photos video and text. There are links to the children’s individual blogs as well. I love the idea of allowing my students to share ideas and responses to the content we are learning by blogging. I think if I integrate blogging into my classroom next year, I will share this site as a model. ANother aspect of this blog that I liked, is the page dedicated to sharing information about new programs at the school. I think parents are always interested in their child’s education, some just don;t know the best way to get involved. I think this blog helps parents do just that. I look forward to having a lot of these same components on my page next year.

Not Your Mother’s Librarian!- Library Blogs

The first blog I signed up for was The Unquiet Librarian. I’ll admit, I am a sucker for good names and this blog got me interested souly on the name! What a site. This blog is maintained by a colorful school librarian in Canton, Georgia. She has 19 years of experience at the high school level, and loves integrating technology into her media center. One of my favorite posts was a video recording of Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, doing a live reading. The video was uploaded to the site through YouTube, which I thought was awesome. What a great way to have students access poetry, without having to actually get to the reading. The implications of this type of sharing is huge. When our school has our triennial author visit, our school’s media specialist could use a blog to upload interviews, Q and A sessions, and links to the author’s own website for our students. This would be a great way to generate buzz about the upcoming visit, encourage the members of our community to learn more about the author and to get a dialogue going. I would love to ask my students to get on the librarian’s blog and watch the author that we were expecting do a live reading. Another reason I thought this blog was so terrific is because it has a whole page dedicated to sharing professional development presentations and information. What a great way to “house” all the PD paper work, links, sources and information teachers receive in a year. I would love to see this done at our school.

Next, as I was looking for cool Library blogs, I came across The Merry Librarian. This blog is fun, light-hearted, and “anything but boring.”  One purpose of the blog is to give library employees a place to share the stories of the events that take place within their libraries. On the site there is an archive where the best of the best library stories are shared. I think this would be a fun place to share some of the stories that make middle school media centers such a unique place. While the blog is amusing and very funny, it also has a more serious professional side. Within the blog, there is a book club page. It is here that librarians from all over the country read new titles and review them on the site. The reviews are organized according to genre and age, so it’s easy to navigate. I can see submitting reviews of our state’s Black Eyed Susan novels to this site, when I have my own media center, or using the format on this blog as a template for book reviews on my school library website.  Also I think it wold be a great tool to direct students to via the media center website to investigate titles, and to comment on other librarian’s reviews of the texts. Another cool perk to this site is that you can buy the books that have been reviewed on the site, directly through the site’s book store. I would recommend this site to other media specialists in our county because I think it can offer some great examples of how to make a media center blog more engaging.

Finally, in my search of library blogs, I came to The Handheld Librarian. This blog is dedicated to compiling the latest information available on the use of technology in libraries. The blog has many links to articles from reliable sources. It’s funny because a lot of other classmates and I have been discussing the use of cell phones in classrooms to help bridge the technology gap many of see in our schools, and classrooms. One of the most recent blogs on the site was in response to the article from New York Times, “Apple Introduces Tools to (Someday) Supplant Print Textbook.” How timely? It seems that corporations, teachers and media specialists alike are interested in finding ways to make cell phones and educational tool. In the article, Apple introduces its plan to unveil a new application for its cellphones that will download college text books. I think this would be a great article to share with my colleagues and get a lively conversation going about Copyright, money and text-book companies. When I have my own media center I think this would be a valuable blog to continue to follow.  I’m interested in how technology is going to change the landscape of the traditional library as well as how it will change the role of the librarian, this blog seems to be a great resource for this type of information. One of the most alarming articles linked on the blog was titled, “Digital Underclass: What Happens When Libraries Die?” As a grad student looking to become a media specialist, this is a conversation I have had with several other colleagues. Are we getting a degree that is being made obsolete by technology? The article brought to light many of the fears we have had about the future of libraries. Good discussion point to say the least. One of the other features I liked about this site was its “BLOGROLL.” You can click on the tile of many other library blogs. Many of them were voted the top twenty-five blogs for librarians. It’s a quick resource  at your fingertips. The site is easy to navigate and clearly organized. Good stuff.

Educational Blogs: Not Just Classroom Anecdotes

Cool Cat Teacher is a blog that is run by a current full time teacher in Georgia. Her mission statement on her blog page is to help other educators reach a changing student body through engaging lessons that integrate technology and 2.0 tools. Many of her posts are links to cool websites for teachers to use in the classroom, that are fun and engaging. This would be a great site to continue following as many of the links she has attached to her blog entries are new and fun sites that I have not seen before. The ideas presented here could be used and shared with teachers across content.

Many of her blogs ask good questions of educators, and the rules we have in our classrooms. One of her blogs on student cell phone use was especially thought-provoking. As we struggle to provide technology to students in our classroom, why do we limit the technology many students already have at their finger tips? Good questions, ones that I would like to discuss with both teachers and students. i can see taking some of the posts from this blog and linking them to my Edmodo account. I could have my students read the blog on cell phone use in schools and then have them respond with their opinions on our Edmodo site.

Another teacher blog I found to be helpful was Teaching English Using Web2.0. This blog is run by a current  high school administrator in Noway. The blog is dedicated to introducing research about teaching with 2.0 tools, discussing the implications of new technology and bringing 2.0 tools into the classroom. The site has links to many resources including, websites, student blogs, and lesson plans. In one of the recent blogs, an article by Peter Senge from MIT is highlighted. The article discusses the need to change the focus of education from individual student intelligence, to the collective intelligence. According to the post, it is more important to teach students how to work collaboratively than it is to measure their individual intelligence, as the work force values employees ability to work together, more than their ability to work alone. This website would be a great tool for keeping abreast of the latest educational research, and newest 2.0 tools for the English classroom.

Finally, I spend a lot of time on Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom blog. I love that this blog shares so many of the teacher’s lesson plans in her archive section. Plus, this blog was visually interesting to look at. Many of the lessons that Mrs. Cassidy blogs about, are captured on her blog through the edition of videos. One of the parts I liked best about this blog, was the communication it fosters between the teacher, parents and community. She has a page on her blog that shares the internet sites the students in her class will visit throughout the year, and also gives websites that will help students build on the skills they are working on in class. This is a great example of how you can take a blog and link it to your school website or class website. Mrs. Cassidy is using her blog and website to communicate with other kindergarten students from across the globe. On her blog, you can see the children in her class creating a YouTube video to share information about themselves with other kindergarten students thousands of miles away.  What an awesome way to model Digital-Age Work and Learning standards. I think that other teachers could use a lot of the ideas that Mrs. Cassidy shares on her blog, and implement them in their own classes. Plus- it looks like Mrs. Cassidy would be a great resource for other teachers attempting to make technology meaningful at the elementary school level.

Ready, set, blog!

Here is my first attempt at blogging. Not sure that I have any blog worthy thoughts, but I’m going to give this a try.