I just discovered a fabulous new (t me) tool that I have already started using in preparation for next year. LiveBinders is a way to create an online binder. Much as you would clip things from a newspaper, cookbook, or magazine, you can clip webpages, photos, or files and put them into a digital binder. I have already started 2 binders: Reading and Class Projects. You can then share the url or embed the LiveBinder in your classroom website or blog. I have included my reading LiveBinder below for you to see.
Last month a coworker asked if I would be a guest presenter at her daughter’s school. Each child in this 3rd grade classroom had the opportunity to invite a guest. I accepted the invitation, met with her daughter and we planned a presentation of animoto and wordle. Two of my favorite tools.
We started with animoto. Due to CIPA I couldn’t allow this group of students to create their own animoto videos, so we decided to do a class video. I allowed my coworker’s daughter to choose the topic. She chose rain forests. I pulled up my schools.clipart.com account and typed rain forest into the search engine. The students then took turns selecting images from the hundreds available. I saved those images and we imported them into Animoto. The video was created while the students worked on their next project- Wordle.
Our next project was wordle. I have posted on wordle more than once. It is one of my favorite tools to use with students. They love using it, it is very simple and quick to explain, and they can customize to their hearts content. Since they were down to their last few days of school, I gave them the topic of summer. They creations they made were wonderful. For 30 minutes, you could have heard a pin drop.
This is the one thing I love about technology. Once the kids get into it, they become completely engaged. I would love to hear how you have used either (or both) of these tools in your classroom.
As the title says it, I’m “back in the saddle again.” Due to some budget cuts and increasing class sizes, our school needed to add a fourth 5th grade teacher and my tech position was cut, therefore, I am the new 5th grade teacher.
I’ve been asked countless times if I am excited or not. My truthful answer is that I’m getting there. When the possibility first came about a few months ago, I was very excited. As time went on and the possibility wavered back and forth, I became frustrated, and the excitement waned. About two weeks ago, I found out this was a definite move. The excitement is slowly returning.
Last week we did a big room shift with a total of 4 rooms being affected. I have been moving into my room and getting settled since Friday. I am working on where to put everything, how many tables I need, how to decorate, and all of those other fun decisions that come from moving into a new room.
One of the things I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to work with the students on tech projects. I have so many ideas of things to do. I will have to keep you all posted on all of the things we try.
One other very important thing to mention: We are out for summer 🙂
Today I am reposting about iGoogle. Many of you are probably very familiar with iGoogle but for those of you who are not, it is a wonderful tool. iGoogle is a customizable homepage. It allows you to have one page with many mini-pages, gadgets, widgets, and applications feeding into it. You can have your email, news, blog updates, weather, jokes of the day, and countless other apps delivered to one place. Here is a copy of my page:
As you can see, I have my gmail, weather, top news stories, and RSS feeds among other applications. I can rearrange, add or delete from these any time. I can also change my theme to fit my mood. Once you have added several apps, you can begin tabbing. I set mine up with categories- home, games, teaching. I have seen some set up with Now, Soon, Never or Politics, News, Blogs. You can have more than just three tabs, or you can just stick with the one homepage.
So, how do you sign up for iGoogle? Simple! Go to iGoogle. Click on “Get Started” and follow the prompts. Once your account is set up, experiment with different themes and adding “stuff”. Reset this page as your homepage so that you can see it each time you open your internet browser.
For those of you familiar with iGoogle, here is a tip that I just learned while at Google. You can share tabs with other people. You simply click on the delta on the tab you wish to share. It will give you the option to “share this tab”. When you click on that, a box will pop up with directions for sharing. You simply type in the email address, choose what you want to share, and add a message. The recipient will then be able to add your tab to their own iGoogle account.
How does this apply to the classroom? I have heard several teachers who are using various gadgets in the classroom. Those who teach kids under 13 (the age to have their own account) will use their teacher iGoogle to present information. Many have election tabs that include countdown timers, quotes from the candidates, videos of speeches, campaign trail maps, and much more. By using the tab sharing feature, teachers of older students can have a class each download the tab and it can become a classroom or virtual discussion topic.
For a couple of great tabs on the election go to Googlitics and click the links just under the picture on the home page.
Next week I will post on Google Reader. iGoogle and Google Reader are the 2 Google tools I use more than anything!
“Play in Their World, Learn in Ours” was the theme for our Site Technology Specialist training last week. We started off the 2 days event by rotating through stations equipped with Wiis, Xboxes, PS3s, various web sites and games popular with students. We had about 15 minutes per station. I was introduced to several new games including Guitar Hero, Rockband, and World of Warcraft. I experimented with Wii Tennis, Wii Bowling, Webkins World, and iPods. I had heard of all of these, but had spent little time learning what they were, let alond playing them. It was eye opening, and now my list of games to rent/buy has increased. It really did help me to know what kids are up to.
A lot of discussion on how to incorporate some of these game systems into our classrooms occurred during the training. Of course the debate on how much should we encourage the game systems, iPods, cell phones, etc occurred as well. I tried googling to find classrooms using the Wii, and found a few references, mostly to the same teacher. I also ran across the following video which I had to pass along.
I am so impressed by the ingenuity of this video, and hope that others out there will find and share simple, cheap ways to have technology in the classroom. So much money goes into technology in schools, and then it becomes outdated so quickly. There are obviously ways to do things in a cheaper way- open source software and google docs seems to be the most common. If you have heard of other ideas, please share them!