Tag Archives: school

Book Trailers

28 Mar

My 5th graders recently began making book trailers.  What is a book trailer you ask?  It is similar to a movie trailer- a short video that tries to get you to read a book.

We began this with group trailers.  I read The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor to my class.  They worked in small groups of 2-3 to create a book trailer using Photo Story.  Students found photographs at Schools Clipart for their projects.  They then either used the music maker within Photo Story or music from FreePlay Music for their trailer.  We looked at examples of other trailers such as the one here and here.  Talked about the role of images and music in the trailer, and learned how to give enough information to hook a person, but not so much that it became boring or gave away the ending.  I have posted below a couple of examples from our class.

We are in the middle of creating individual trailers now.  I will post an update once the students finish those.

This project was a lot of fun and the students really got into it- even those kids who are virtually non-readers.  They all enjoyed reading the books, because they were thinking about how to turn it into a trailer.  I am so proud of how they are turning out!

I plan to share any comments left with the student, so if you are as impressed with their work as I was, please leave a comment.

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It’s Delicious!

3 Sep

When our year first began nearly a month ago, I asked teachers at my school to complete a survey about their technology knowledge.  One of the questions asked about Web 2.0 tools.  I dare say out of a staff of over 60, only 3 seemed to have heard the term.  Today was our first inservice since our initial week of inservices, and I did a short presentation on Delicious.  It was our staff’s introduction to Web 2.0.  I heard mixed reviews of the session, as I knew I would.  Some were very excited about being able to share websites so easily, some were still intimidated by the fact we were using computers, but that’s ok, everyone has to start somewhere.

We are going to try to link up everyone in our building who has created an account.  It should make sharing resources much easier.  While I am excited about the fact that so many want to use Delicious, I am more excited that even people who are intimidated about jumping into using technology in education are willing to try it. 

I posted last week about my world being turned upside down at school.  I went from being the computer lab teacher to a true technology resource teacher with the addition of a new teacher and the change of space required to accommodate a new classroom.  This change was met (like most changes) with some resistance.  Teachers gave up a 45 minute lab time, which means a 45 minute plan time each week.  I hope that teachers soon see that this means that I can spend more time helping the teachers become more familiar and comfortable with using technology in the classroom.

So while, we didn’t land on the moon, I think Delicious became “one small step for teachers, one giant leap for our school community.”

If you are not on Delicious, I would encourage you to sign up.  If you are, add me to your network!  My name on Delicious is 259lcox.

Upside Down

25 Aug

My world was turned upside down today.  Our school is overcrowded and with 30+ in several rooms, we were able to get a new teacher in to help.  This required a room for that teacher.  Our building committee met last week to discuss options and the principal announced the solution today.  I will no longer be teaching in a computer lab but will help other teachers with integrating technology and with analyzing test data.

I am looking forward to this change.  I will miss the kids, but I really feel like this will be benefiting them more in the long run.  I will help facilitate technology projects in their classroom that directly relates to their curriculum.  The goal is for the teachers to feel more comfortable trying new things with some tech support and to then use technology more in their lessons.

The staff has mixed feelings.  They will be loosing 45 minutes of plan time, but will still have 270 minutes a week plus their 90 minute PD time.  Change is hard though, and our building had already had enough change before this.  We had a third of our staff leave, and had 26 new staff members join us in August.  Hopefully after the shock wears off, people will see that the kids will benefit.

First Day

14 Aug

Today was the first day back for students.  It is always so exciting to see them stream into the building, backpacks filled with a new year’s worth of supplies, a bright smile on their face, and ready for a new year of learning.  Students rushed in happy to see their friends and teachers.  We have a very high turnover rate at our building and I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces, it was thrilling to see new faces too of course!

This is my second year teaching K-5 in the computer lab, prior to that I taught 5th grade.  Today I was reminded how much those little kindergarteners grow bythe end of the year, which means I forgot where we started last year.  They don’t know how to walk in a line yet, don’t know how to sit still, and don’t know all of their letters and numbers.  They are very tired by the end of the day and many can’t stay awake during that last hour.  I must say a big “thank you” to all of the kindergarten teachers out there.  They truly do give the kids the foundation of their education.  I look forward to seeing how much this year’s group grows!

Like the kids, I too am looking forward to a great year of learning!  I learn just as much from them as they learn from me.  I am excited to share with them the things I learned at the Google Teacher Academy, as well as other workshops I attended over the summer.

I love working in a field where every year is truly a fresh start.  Every year we get to examine the good things from the past, and look forward to an exciting future filled with new opportunities.  We get to rework what failed before, improve what worked, and polished those lessons that seemed wonderful.  We have a brand new group of eager kids that are ready to learn and ready to discover everything they can.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful school year!

Wordless Wednesday

16 Jul

iPhones in class?

21 Jun

Abilene Christian University has done some research into using iphones in their curriculum. The video (way down below) shows what it might look like to have the iPhones fully integrated into university life. This fall all freshman attending the university will be receiving and iphone. This is the first university to undertake this sort of project. I applaud the fact that instead of trying to take technology out of student hands, they are coming up with innovative ways to make the technology useful in education.

So many times schools want to shut off what kids are using to the point that it takes away a teaching tool. Our district has a policy against iPods in middle and high schools. While I understand that some kids can and do abuse technology, by making such a drastic rule, teachers can’t put the iPods in their hands for a meaningful learning experience. I truly hope that soon, school and district administrators across the country will see that we should be taking what interests the kids and using that as a medium to help them learn. How different are these two scenarios:

Kid 1– Sits in the back of history class doddeling in a notebook, not paying attention to anything in the classroom.
Kid 2– Sits in the back of math class texting a friend, not paying attention to anything in the classroom.

Not much, neither kid is paying attention. Kid 2 would be suspended for using a cellphone in many schools. Kid 1 would be ignored or told to put it away. Would we take away his pencil and paper though? Doubtful, but I would be willing to bet that kid 2 no longer has his phone. Some may say well “he broke the rule of having a phone in class”. True, but the fundamental issue is that NEITHER child was learning!

A better response would be to realize that kid 1 is artistic and kid 2 is into tech and to craft assignments based on these interests that would engage them. Kids have a natural curiosity and I truly believe that 99% of children desire to learn and show that learning, but most of the time, we give too many restrictions and parameters and they give up because we don’t let them use the tools that best teach them or help them convey what they have learned.

Why not have kid 1 use his artistic abilities to recreate a scene from history, to create what propaganda might have looked like, or design a 3D representation of the battlefield? Why not have kid 2 create a tutorial video for posting on youtube about the current math assignment? In both scenarios, the students use what they know well to demonstrate what they don’t know so well, and both learn in the process. Isn’t that experience preparing them for the future more so than listening to a lecture and cranking out a worksheet?

Wordless Wednesday

11 Jun