Archive for March, 2009

Blogs – A Campus Update

I watch the news and they refer to their blogs and read reader’s comments on the air.  I listen to the radio and hear about the blogs available there and what listeners have to say about the goings on with the music.  The Entertainment industry is full of blogs, I was tracking down past American Idol participants and found many have blogs now to keep their fans informed.   Blogs have infiltrated our everyday lives, but still research suggests many people still don’t understand what blogs are.

So how are we reaching our students to get them informed?  I started thinking about all the teachers who are introducing blogging this year (or have been blogging for several years) on campus now.  I wanted to share those examples so maybe other people will get ideas on how blogs can be used in their classrooms.

Blogs at Ridgeview:

  1. Mrs. Hazen, 6th grade math, is using a blog as a web page to communicate with parents and students about class happenings as well as providing reteaching and more information about class topics.  http://ridgeviewms.org/hazen/
  2. Mrs. McLinden, TAG Math has been using blogs for several years to get her students talking about math.  She has 3 blogs, one for each subject.  At the end of the year she asks students to leave advice for the incoming group.  This is a great example of building relationships with students:
  3. 7th Grade Science teachers, Mrs. Dausses, Mrs. Stegall, Mrs. Mayen and Mrs. Prescott are using blogs to ask students to think about the science topics they are learning about in class as well as to give more information to extend learning.

What do the students get out of this?  They are learning how to interact in our ever changing world.  They are learning how to respond appropraitely on blogs and how to stay safe online by not sharing too much about themselves.  They are learning how to become part of the global conversation.

Want to learn more about blogging?

Check out these previous posts:

Blogs in Plain English:

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Cartoons – Make Your Own

I ran across http://www.befunky.com/ through my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and have been playing with the possibilities.   It requires no fees and no sign in or account to be created.  Of course the first place I start when playing with photos is my kids.

luke_in_ink

katherinecharcoal

The process of uploading pictures is very simple:

  1. Navigate to the picture and upload it.
  2. Crop or rotate the image as needed.
  3. Choose the effect you want (effects can be changed and modified with the onscreen menu).
  4. Save the new image to your computer.

But then I started thinking what else could be done?  How about cartoons?

Cartoons and Cartoon Strips

The students could take pictures of themselves in various expressions, poses, run the picture through the web page and turn the digital photo into a cartoon version.  Those pictures could then be inserted into a PowerPoint and captions added to make your own cartoon strips.  This would be a great activity to summarize an event being studies, or a book they are reading.  Maybe give them the pictures and have them write in their own captions.  Students could also take historical images and make them “cartoonized” to tell the story of the event.

When Printing – Choose to print the handout page with 6 slides per page.

cartoon-strip
(Sorry the text is very small in this image- but the story line is lacking a bit.  :) )

Cartoon Movies

I then took it another step by pulling the images into Photo Story 3.  Instead of a paper cartoon, why not a video?  Students would process their pictures and then bring them into PhotoStory 3 where they can add text, narration and music.  The images could be zoomed in or out in the movie and the still photographs have come to life.

flashvideo

Any other ideas for using http://www.befunky.com/ in the classroom?

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