Thursday, October 11, 2012

Class Reflection

When I reflect on this class and what I liked about it I have to say that I liked the last 2 assignments better than anything.  I need things that help me to be a better teacher and the infographic and the movie were the things that I can really relate to my teaching.  I can make application with those things.  I needed ideas for new and innovative technologies to use with students that support literacy.  I think there should have been more doing and less talking about it.  I also think that the movie should have been less time and the infographic should have been more time.  It seems to me that there wasn't enough to help us to formulate ideas for those.  I had an idea but from what I read from others, there was a lot of struggle.  I spent the first few days of that assignment totally lost and frustrated and I know I had a good 30 hours working on it.  I didn't care for the format of the text that we had but I did the reading anyway.  I really need more application and less talking about what I read. 

I got some really good ideas from the other students in this class.  I did add some things to my delicious account to spend some more time on later.  I appreciate that.  I really like looking at the fruits of everyone's labor. Good luck to everyone in your ventures.  Maybe I'll "see" you in another class.   

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Infographic

This assignment was a challenge for me.  I had my data and I knew my audience but I struggled with how to put it together.  I needed it to be two-fold.  Information for students and teachers.  I hope I got the point across.  We'll see about that when I get responses from you.  I'm counting on that feedback before I share at my school.  I really do appreciate your responses and advice.

I used Glogster to create my infographic.  I had never used it so it was a challenge for me.  I surveyed my 3-5 students earlier in the school year and needed a way to share that information.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Photostory

Well, here it is.  I decided to go with something that I could use with my students.  We're doing student-led parent teacher conferences with our fifth graders for library, art, music and PE so this project will be a great addition to what they can show their parents.  It goes over the time about a a minute and thirty-six seconds but I didn't want to have to take out anything so I just went with it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Plagiarism and Copyright

In reality plagiarism is synonymous with copyright infringement. We live in a copy and paste world today and it can be very difficult for students to understand the concept of using others' information as if it were their own. 

I think the best way to teach students is to lead by example.  What comes to mind this instant is the lesson that 4th graders are learning in the computer lab right now, taught by a para-professional, about how to copy and paste.  They will be doing reports in class and need to have photos attached as part of their grade.  And they are learning to copy and paste them from the internet.  This  would be the perfect time to introduce students to copyright infringement and the importance of using sites that allow for copy and paste.  Unfortunately, this is totally overlooked.

To help curtail the events of plagiarism, I purchased the World Book Online this year for our students and it has a built in citation piece that will help students to identify their sources more accurately.  As digital literacy increases, so does the need to teach and prepare our students.  It is never to soon to teach paraphrasing and summarizing.  This can and should be done early on in elementary school and in fact, I believe this is addressed as part of the Common Core Standards.  Students in middle school are not sure what the difference is and to be really honest, sometimes I'm not sure that teachers do either. 

Students need a lot of examples and plenty of opportunities to practice. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Digital Storytelling so far....

So far my digital storytelling is going fine.  It's funny but the thing I found the most difficult was the graphic organizer.  I know that's supposed to be the beginning stage but I found myself wondering if I had enough.  I don't typically brainstorm using a tool like that.  I'm a note-maker.  It's easy to see however, that the process follows all the steps of process writing.
  1. Brainstorming/prewriting, which is where you decide on a topic, list where you can find information and think about who your audience will be.
  2. Putting research into your own words.  Create sentences and paragraphs and share with someone to get suggestions for revision.
  3. Revise taking into consideration what others have said about your writing.  Make it better by replacing or rearranging words and paragraphs.  Read it aloud to make sure it flows correctly
  4. Rewrite your draft with all correction and revisions in a clear concise manner.
  5. Publish your writing and ask for feedback.
I think #6 is one of the most important steps in the process and it's one that gets left out quite often.
     6.  Reflect on the process and identify what, if anything, you could have done differently and what you did
I was fortunate enough to go to a Big6 workshop and learn the tools and techniques.  What I learned from the training was that at any given time in the process you are able and encouraged to go backwards and reevaluate.  It is not meant to follow like a set of rules.  What you hope is that your students can learn the process to help create better and well reflected writing.  I used it with for a couple of years with my eighth graders and what tended to happen was that as the students began to feel comfortable with the process, much of it became inherent and not noticeable.  What it did do though, was bring about more well organized and well presented work.  For those of you in elementary, there is also the Super3.  Plan, Do, Review

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Producing Information #1

I am always looking for ways to include and incorporate technology into my lessons to make them more meaningful.  When we first got our netbooks in the spring, I needed to introduce them to my first graders.  We read the book "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds and then used Microsoft Paint to create a dot of our own.  This gave them some ownership of their own creation, created relationships with a story and allowed them to practice using the netbooks.

Also in the spring, my fifth graders worked on doing Voki Book Reviews.  After reading a book, they created a script for their book reviews and then created an avatar to speak the review for them.  They loved this project.  The script had to be written, peer edited and rewritten.  When they typed the the script in to create a voice for their Voki, they had to spell correctly and use correct punctuation for the avatar to speak correctly.  Basically, if you can't understand what your avatar is saying, you made some mistakes that need to be corrected.  This is the link to my library blog where you can see samples.  Students love looking at their own creations and watching others.  These actually led to a bunch of checkouts for the books they used.

My fourth grade students created Vodcast book reviews. They had the same basic requirements as the Voki book reviews but they video taped each other instead of using an avatar to tell about their story.  My library blog has an example of those as well.

My experience has told me that kids love to use technology to create and share information.  Students who typically hate writing, didn't make a fuss at all knowing what was in store for them with the Voki's.  And students who knew they would be videotaped took the extra time to make sure they were fluent with their retell.  These projects gave myself, my students and their teachers a whole new perspective of book reports.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Incorporating Literacy in the Content Area

Because I'm a Library Media Specialist I teach information skills.  I support classroom teachers and collaborate on many subjects.  I plan to teach this year using literature as my means of instruction.  I have all grade levels but for the purpose of this post I'll be talking about my third grade classes.  I will read aloud the story, "Blue House Dog," by Deborah Blumenthal.  As a Communication Arts piece I will let the children choose a digital picture of a dog and upload it to Voicethread.  Then each student will name their dog and write a story or something about their dog to share with the picture.  If writing is a challenge for some students, they could do a voice recording as an alternative to the writing.  To add some diversity to the assignment, students might also be asked to research and find common pets in other countries and tell where they are most common and include interesting facts about the animal.  To incorporate mathematics, I will have students use addition or multiplication to calculate dog ages in people years.  If these mathematical functions are too difficult for some students, they may use a calculator.  For science, we will learn how animals camouflage themselves when hiding from danger, like Bones in the story hid from the dog catcher.  Working in small groups, student will create a powerpoint slide of a specific camouflage animal and it's habitat. I will combine the slides and show the presentation to each third grade class.  I think a good Social Studies lesson would be to invite a speaker from the Humane Society to come and talk to the students about what they do to help the community and the animals in need. 

As with any assignment, I think students have to be clear about what the expectations are.  I usually use a rubric with assignments like the Voicethread and the powerpoint assignment.  If they are written appropriately, rubrics allow the students to choose the score they want to get for the assignment.  I'm also a fan of peer evaluations and I think it's important for students to learn to look at others work and to simulate ideas of what they consider good and not so good work, so I would probably let each student use the rubric to score fellow student's work.

As far as math teachers and science teachers and social studies teachers teaching literacy, I have to say that it's about time.  Who knows how to read math better than a math teacher and who knows better how to read science than a science teacher?  And the same goes for social studies.  I believe students have to know that what they are learning is important and knowing how it applies to all aspects of their lives can certainly help that cause.  We retain those things that we connect to other things, that connect to other things and so on.  And to speak for those teachers going out on limb, it wouldn't hurt any Communication Arts teacher to incorporate some math or science now and then.