Monday, July 19, 2010

11 TOOLS Reflection

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? My favorite tool was Digital Story Telling. I thought that this tool was very user friendly. I would love to have the kids create a story from the summer to share within the first few weeks of school. One of my other favorites was image generators, specifically word clouds. A word cloud could be created in the beginning of the year to verbalize their goals for the upcoming school year.

2. How have you transfomed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? I think a lot of my barriers relating to technology have been broken. I had a lot of fears when it came to using some of these tools in the classroom. Most of the fear was related to the unknown! The most fun part will be explaining to the kids that this is a experience that we will learn and grow in together!

TOOL #11

With great power comes great responsibility! Responsibility on the part of the teacher and that of the student. I have been worrying about the safety of the students since this adventure began. I guess you will have to use the age old theory of gradual release. I would NOT feel like I had done my job correctly unless I began educating with the resources in tool 11, which is odd because it is our last tool! Like other aspects of life, it is impossible to hover and protect as they begin to explore technology on their own. All we can do is try our best to prepare them!
My three top priorities for digital citizenship would be:
* Treat others with respect (through commenting and other interactions)
* Never give out personal information
* Do your best work (edit) before publishing to the world!!

Before I begin teaching about digital citizenship I would access the students' prior knowledge and hear out their ideas about citizenship. Many of the best practices we use for classroom citizenship would overlap to the virtual world! Then I would use: BrainPop; Cool Cat Teacher; and Digiteen Digital Citizenship.

TOOL #10

My kids will have access to iTouches in January. Each classroom will have 5 of them! I can't wait to share some awesome apps with my kiddos! Also, I have a feeling that my kids will be able to share some with me as well! Some of my favs are:
HearPlanet- a tour of famous places
USA FactBook Free- facts about the 50 states
Planets- info about the planets in our solar system
I envision using my iTouches and various apps in a number of ways. I would like to use them in math workstations, free play time, spelling practice, and research to name a few!
The fact that they are mobile allows the kids to not only move around the classroom, but also they could take them to other parts of the campus as well!


Skype and Jing! I don't have any experience with either of these applications! Skype seems to be a little more involved and need a few more bells and whistles. Jing seems like a more reasonable option for my classroom. I think Jing would be a great way for students to keep up with a pen pal class! It would also be a fun way for kids to learn about the world outside of their own world. I think it would be a great way to expose our students to other cultures. Virtual field trips would be an outstanding way to utilize Jing. And as always, I'm sure my kiddos would have a million other ways to use this tool!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Now this tool will REALLY be helpful! Videos are such a great way to capture our students' attention. And obviously videos help make subject matter come alive. I don't know how to "embed" the video, so I'm going to try a hyperlink instead. As with some other assignments from 11 tools, I have found it difficult to "produce on command". When I am actually in school mode using these tools will make more sense and I won't have to rack by brain to come up with relevant topics. first video is a song about photosynthesis. I found it through Blinkx and it is a YouTube video. I always find that the kids remember things better when put to music! I did encounter buffering problems and the video stopped OFTEN while I was trying to preview it. Also, my internet connection must be slow today because when I was searching the pages took a really long time to load. And I found it annoying to listen to the M&M commercial each time I previewed a video. Is there a way around it? Probably not though, because advertising is what makes it a free website, right? My second video is about bullying. I think videos are not only a great way to talk about academic subjects, but social subjects as well. I like this video because it helps the kids to identify with the emotions they may be feeling. Also, junior high kids made is, so it shows our elementary students that big kids are having some of the same problems. Then it shows them how to turn it around!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I really like this application! I did it on my Dell, because I don't have a Mac. I am about to celebrate my Wedding Anniversary with my hubby of two years, so I made a tribute to our special day. I can see the kids using digital story telling to recount their adventures of field trips, reader's theaters, field day, class parties and much more. The key would be having the pictures accessible to the kids. And again, modeling first and then working in small groups.

Monday, July 12, 2010


So Wikis seem to be a lot like Google Docs. I guess that the difference is that anyone on the web can view your wiki and only those invited can view google doc?

I like the idea of using Wikis for book reviews! My kids toyed with online book reviews through Scholastic last year, but this allows for more freedom!

I also think you could use a wiki as a fun way to solve a mystery or scavenger hunt, of sorts!


I decided to go with Delicious to manage my bookmarks. Two new websites that I found while searching Delicious are a math dictionary and Story Jumper. I used the tags math and literacy to find them.

I think that social bookmarking will be useful teacher to teacher as well as teacher to student and teacher to parent! I have struggled in the past with getting kids to the really cool website that I found for them. I think that this social bookmarking will get them to the correct website without having to write the address on the white board and then wait for the students to type it in! I haven't explored sharing bookmarks yet, but I'm sure it will be a great way to share with kids, fellow teachers and parents!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tool 4 google reader

I love this management tool! I need to spend more time searching for new blogs to follow! I think this is an awesome way to stay plugged in! I think it is a great way to check yourself and continue to grow in your profession! Google Reader helps to keep your blogs in front of you. You don't have the excuse that you forgot to check in for updates on your fav blogs. I am subscribing to; Johnson's Journey, Blogs a Blastin', Fairy Principal, How I Am Spending My Summer, Ms. Chidgey's 11 Tools, 11 Tools for the 21st Century, Cool Cat Teacher, and Teach Paperless! I can't wait to add more.
As for how to apply this to classroom settings, I think after creating a classroom blog together with your students you could search for blogs that aligned with current topics being discussed in the classroom. You could also allow the students to subscribe to blogs that they are interested in doing a research project about. I have thought about using a blog to do a pen pal adventure, but there is some about receiving an actual letter in the mail that is precious and I'm not sure I want to take that away from my students.
If you do a classroom blog and implement google reader, how do you maintain everyone's attention when creating it considering only one person could work on it at a time?

Tool 4 google docs

I love the idea of google docs, however I feel pressured to create and share a document on cue. I currently don't have any documents in mind that need to be collaboratively worked on. Once the school year begins I could see our principal using google docs on our weekly staff news letters or sign-up for book fair, letters going home to parents, or volunteer forms. I especially LOVE the idea of my inbox not being flooded with emails containing changes and updates! WAHOO!
As for using google docs for student use, I see this as more helpful for older kids. In order to use google docs, you must have an email address and most of my 3rd graders don't have email. It would be nice to use google docs for grade level newsletters, but again not all parents have email addresses. And at point you are creating a google doc for part of the population, but still creating a hard copy for the others. It seems like it might be more work considering we can't confirm that everyone who needs to be reached, could be.

Classroom Applications of Tool 3

I think that the applications listed in Tool 3 would be awesome ways to allow our students to express their creativity. They could re-live exciting adventures from the school year; field day, study trips, reader's theaters, school performances, the possibilities are endless. You could also do an image creater to "sell" a book that they recently read. FUN!! My question is, would we do a class log-in and password? Most of the image generators that I visited required registration. And, as for creating blogs, would we do a class blog or allow the students to create their own? I believe you have to have an email address to sign up on blogger, right? Not all students have email address, and some parents aren't ready for their 3rd graders to have one. Just some questions running through my brain...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bahama Shark Dive

Bahama Shark Dive

Ding Ding! Tool # 3 round 2

Ok, so I was so excited to use the applications in Tool 3 to share my awesome summer experiences with my students and fellow teachers. That excitement soon turned into annoyance yesterday. I am a bit of a perfectionist, shocker I know, so I became frustrated when I was trying to use an image generator to share pictures and video clips from my recent shark dive in the Bahamas. Thankfully yesterday is behind me and I'm giving it another shot today.
I am currently 'patiently' awaiting the email from Animoto announcing that my short film is ready to be viewed. I'm sure most people don't spend 2 hours creating a 30 second video, but I did! Allow me to explain my production woes! I do want to give a disclaimer that my lengthy video production debacle was by no means Animoto's fault. They outline a very SIMPLE three step process.
Step one: upload pictures. No problem. I carefully chose the best 12 pictures from our dive to include in my video. The pictures very quickly popped up on Animoto's website.
Step two: choose music. Here is where the wild goose chase began. You have two options; use their music or upload your own. The catch is that the upload has to be an MP3. Well, I have an iPod. Which I thought played MP3's. All of those songs are on my ITunes library, no problem, right? I get this idea in my head that I can't get out. I HAVE to have the Jaws theme song for my Shark Dive video. So I open up ITunes, go to the store, redeem my husband's (sorry Cameron) gift certificate and proceed to purchase JAWS! Then I go back to Animoto and browse for my song. This is where I finally figure out that the songs in ITunes ARE NOT MP3's. So, I use ITunes help to learn how to convert MPEGS to MP3's. I follow those instructions, thinking I have converted my JAWS song. I go back to Animoto and attempt once again to upload JAWS. Well, you guessed it. My song is still not an MP3. I venture back to ITunes and read the fine print on the instruction page for converting to MP3's only to learn that songs downloaded from the ITunes Store cannot be converted into MP3's. Great. Most people would wave their white flag and give in to using Animoto's song choices. But not me! I proceed to surf the web in search of an MP3 version of JAWS. My search first leads me to a free download of my JAWS song, but it is in the format of a ringtone. Not helpful. I am then lead to a free download of a video/DVD/music/etc converting software. Surely I don't download that, right? Oh no, I do. As the files are being poured into my computer's hard drive I am feeling increasing regret. I promise myself that I will only use the software once. JUST to convert my JAWS song. How much damage can really be done? Then I will uninstall all the files related to the conversion culprit. Bottom line, I panic and uninstall before I even try to convert JAWS. There goes another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I call my husband to, let's be honest, complain. He is busy at work, and I know that, but in an every-present attempt to keep his wife (that's me) happy, he magically makes an MP3 version of JAWS appear in my inbox. My hero! I scurry back to the Animoto website, and upload my precious song!
I'm ready for the next step. The final step, create! And that brings us to the beginning of today's post. I just checked and the video exists! It is awesome! Now I'm off to stick it on my blog. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Just spent like 30 minutes making dice on Big Huge Lab from my Bahamas pictures just to find out that you PRINT it!! I thought it was going on my blog. I quit...for today.

TOOL #2- Building Community

I LOVE the idea of being a part of a PLN! I mean who wouldn't? Who wouldn't want to grow and learn from other teachers!? It's like FREE professional development from the comfort of your couch!

I really like the idea of 'tagging' your comments for easy reference! This is helpful for the creater of the blog and the followers!

Do you have to be following a blog to comment on it?

I would like to follow Cool Cat Teacher, but I spent some time on her blog and only saw how to subscribe to her newsletter. The other blogs I have visited have a little 'follow' button to click. I couldn't find one on Vicki's...thoughts?

I also need to figure out how to access the 11 Tools Community of bloggers. As of now I follow/will comment on Chidgey's 11 Tools, Cooper's How I Spent My Summer, Snyder's Fairy Principal, Johnson's Journey, and Dunavin's Blogs a Blastin!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hey Karen! She (my avatar) is in the upper right hand corner of my blog! I can see her...I hope you can too! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So...TOOL 1

I guess I have a blog now! I'm a little anxious about how tough these 11 tools are going to be, but very excited to work through them! I can't wait to make them work in my classroom this fall! I heart my avatar!!