Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tool #8

As a new teacher to Spring Branch ISD, I was beyond thrilled when I discovered all of the technology I would have available to me (and specifically in my classroom 24-7) in this district!  As a seasoned Mac user, I was especially excited to have iPads in my classroom and a COW full of iTouches also available to me.

Management of technology, especially iPads, is crucial.  I found that students were most productive with technology of the classroom when there was a schedule, rotation, centers activity, or awareness of when it would be an appropriate time to use the netbooks or iPads.  

Post #6

This is the first time I have been introduced to Wallwisher and I love it!  I think it is a great way to informally share thoughts - students might prefer to share their thoughts using this method rather than sharing their thoughts orally.  Wallwisher could be utilized to brainstorm various ideas students have (e.g. Topics to write about, etc).

A classroom blog created through Blogger would be a wonderful place to record all of the events and happenings in our third grade classroom.  Parents and students could access the blog to be informed of important information and events related to our class.  Students can even be a part of the process to create entries, upload pictures/videos, etc.

As discussed on earlier entries, I think Google Docs would be a beneficial and interactive tool to use in my classroom.

Tool #5

My Animoto

Meet Ms. Badrak:  Family, Friends, UT, Houston
I made this Animoto to quickly introduce myself to my students at the beginning of the year.  Students can create personal Animotos containing pictures and/or images as well as descriptions of their favorite people and things.  These videos will be presented to the class by each student.  This would be a great way to learn how to search and save images from the web as well as a wonderful way to build classroom community.  This can be done at the beginning of the year as a whole class (each student would have a personal Animoto) or done week by week in the form of a weekly Star Student (one student presents each week).

Wordle is a wonderful web resource!  It is fun way to introduce vocabulary or chunk important information/words for various subjects.  This Wordle introduces names of different types of landforms.

Tool #4

I think Google Docs is fabulous!  I appreciate the option to write, share, edit, and collaborate with others online.  This tool is great because it can be utilized at home or after school.  Conversations, lists, ideas, etc can be discussed using this App with my team mates or coworkers - it is basically like having a meeting!

Google Docs could be utilized in my classroom in various ways.  I am interested in incorporating it into my classroom in the form of student reflections related to specific subject routines in my classroom (Daily 5, etc).  This App would allow me to post a form that students could fill with their thoughts/reflections after an activity is completed.

Tool #3

I am going to utilize Dropbox in my classroom this year for online storage.  This site would be wonderful for my students to use for individual and group projects to store all of the wonderful information and resources they have discovered online.  There have been instances in which students have found great resources, but due to various reasons have lost the specific website/source and were not able to relocate it.  From a teacher perspective, I could use this space to organize resources related to specific units and topics of study.  Discovery Education is a resource that I regularly use in my classroom.  I am going to work on my search techniques within the website.  The vast amount of videos are sometimes overwhelming and I want to make sure my search is specific and narrow.  I typically use videos, or segments of videos, to introduce students to new vocabulary.

This video contains the lyrics to a song about the Water Cycle.  This song introduces the vocabulary associated with the Water Cycle in a catchy way.  I wish there were actual pictures of the water cycle to go along with the lyrics...

This video is another catchy song that will help students learn the State Capitols.  There is also a version of this video that is in slow motion! :) 

Copyright and fair use laws should be respected and researched.  It is important to know what we can legally have rights to as educators.    

Tool #2

I think being an active participant in an online community is highly beneficial!  I spend hours looking at fellow teacher blogs every week.  I gain such wonderful insights and relate my experiences with the ones that are described in various blogs.  I particularly like that some blogs are grade specific.

I have just recently started to comment on blogs.  When I first discovered the world of blogs, I was timid to do so, but have since learned that reflecting along with others is worth the "pain."  I compare commenting conversations to having a team meeting with my grade level...but with individuals that I don't necessarily know.  I am beginning to feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts with others.  I am continuing to learn how to make my comments meaningful and specific as I offer up examples, anecdotes, and/or resources that others can utilize.  I love when blogs have videos integrated in them - this is something I am going to work on this year!  I love videos because they provided specific examples of what is being discussed in a real scenario.

Two of my favorite blogs right now are http://www.seusstastic.blogspot.com and http://www.wereadweblogweteach.com.

These blogs have focused on a Daily 5 and Cafe book study since the beginning of July.  I am going to be undertaking Daily 5 in my literacy routines this year, so I have found that these studies and blogs are very resourceful as I start my journey.