Posts Tagged Language Arts

Twitter Tuesdays – September 13th

Resources and Ideas:  Contains many useful websites and tips for educators using technology.  Recent posts include google docs tips, September 11th resources, and 3-D tours of the solar system. http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

@IanBurley31  – Wow, what a great tech resource, of tech resources!! http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ #edtech #educhat #soudhs

Library of Congress –This is a list of 10 fun things you can do at their website including virtual tours, trivia games, podcasts, webcasts, photos , science mysteries,  and catch online e3xhibits.  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-fun-learning-library-congress-online/

@sheconsulting  10 Things U Can Do 4 Fun & Learning On The Library Of Congress Online http://zite.to/p1pPnM via @Zite RT @nmhs_principal #edu #edtech

StudyJams – these contain Math and Science concepts that students can explore with video, explanation slides and check for understanding opportunities.  These are from scholastic and are well done!   Some may be too basic, but many are appropriate for middle school.  http://studyjams.scholastic.com

@MsThomas79 Fractions: Here is the video from Scholastic’s Study Jams we viewed in class today and some inte… http://bit.ly/orieuN #edchat #edtech

Storybird – students can publish their writings or create books to explain a concept with Storybird.  This blog post explores ways two teachers have incorporated this tools into their teaching.  http://teachingwithsoul.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/new-teacher-boot-camp-fall-re-bootweek-3-using-storybird-ntchat/

@gret New Teacher Boot Camp Fall Re-Boot:Week 3 Using Storybird #ntchat by @teachingwthsoul http://j.mp/o9phbS #edchat

YouTube – “Last month, 16 teachers from across the country got together at Google’s Seattle office for the YouTube Teachers Studio — a sort of bootcamp to learn how to best use YouTube in the classroom.”  Contains 5 great videos that show what YouTube has to offer and why these types of videos are worth using.  http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/09/five-reasons-why-youtube-rocks-the-classroom/

@stem_high  5 reasons to use YouTube in the classroom 5 reasons to use YouTube in the classroom – http://sbne.ws/r/8Usy #edtech #edchat

Wikispaces – New tool – set up projects in your wiki – worth taking a second look at wikispaces for use with students!  http://blog.wikispaces.com/2011/08/projects-a-better-way-to-work-in-classroom-groups.html

@geraldaungst I discovered Projects in my wiki today and am psyched! http://bit.ly/pvvm01 Brilliant! Thank you @wikispaces!

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Idea #3 – Read a Children’s Book

Our third idea for using projectors and document cameras in the classroom is incorporating Children’s Picture Books into lessons.

The Technical Side:

Before Doc Cameras:  When reading a book to the class you had to stop and hold the picture up as you walked around the room, or panned the room for all to see.   Most of the meanings in the pictures were lost on the students who could not see the image well enough or long enough to derive meaning from it.

With Doc Cameras: When placing the book under the document camera the entire class can see the pictures as you read the story aloud.   Students can look for meaning in the illustrations and how that meaning matches, or does not match with the text.   With the zoom feature you can focus in on details of the pages they would have never seen before.

Why read picture books in middle school?

Research shows that reading aloud to students is an important way to build their vocabulary, reading and comprehension skills.

Here are some of the highlights of an article written in the Middle School Journal on why you should read picture books in middle school:

  • Provides students with an opportunity to read a variety of texts
  • Increases and enhances the reader’s personal connections with the subject matter
  • Picture books are now being written to address middle school needs and interests.
  • Many picture books can be interpreted on several levels.
  • Students are visually oriented and are accustomed to using visual images to assist in learning new concepts
  • Good activity for English Language Learners – it reduces the word load for students while keeping a high level of comprehension needed

Things to consider when choosing a Picture Book:

  • How enthusiastic are you about it?  The more you like the book and are excited about it, the better reception the students will give it.
  • What are your learning objectives?  Books should always be chosen to help meet those objectives.
  • What is the quality of the book?
    • Does it have rich information?
    • Does it meet high literary standards with it’s vocabulary and author’s style of writing?
    • Look for awards such as the Caldecott for indications of a good book.

A great place to start when choosing a picture book is your library! use the librarians expertise in helping select books that meet the needs of your classroom.

For more details on choosing books for each academic subject area see  A Middle School Teacher’s Guide for Selecting Picture Books – Middle School Journal.   Half way through the article they break it down for each academic area to choose books.    You can also search for “picture books in middle school (insert your subject here).”

Resources:

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Wallwisher in the Classroom

I started to title this blog post – A New Way to Brainstorm – but then I realized that Wall Wisher offers so much more than that.

Wallwisher is a free internet application that allows you to build a wall that then you or you and others can post notes on.   To build a wall you will need to log in with an email account but an email account is not needed to post notes on that wall.  Good news for those of us working with students under the age of 14.    Privacy levels can be set for each wall and posts can be moderated.

Once a wall is built there are a number of ways to distribute or share your wall.  Walls can be embedded into a webpage, blog or wiki.  You can link directly to the wall for users to go straight there.  It also provides an RSS feed so walls can be monitored through your RSS readers, such as iGoogle.

As I started looking for how others were using this tool I found the ideas fit into a few categories.  (This was easy to do as I took the ideas that were posted on the wall and started moving them around to create the groups!)

  • Brainstorming/ Idea Gathering
  • Homepages – a place to gather resources, post announcements, leave messages, provide homework help, etc.
  • Skill building – note-taking, vocabulary, sorting and summarization work wonderfully on this.
  • Portfolios of Student Work – either as a class or an individual.

I created a wall with all the ideas of classroom use I have found by searching the web and have embedded the wall below.  Please feel free to add to it!

Get Started:

The best way to learn to use this tool is to jump in and get started!

Go to my wallwisher sandbox and make your first post: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/RobinySandbox

Or go to: http://www.wallwisher.com – log in and build your first wall.

Please share your ideas for wallwisher or the walls you build!

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Avatars – Your Virtual Self

Creating avatars in education can help get the creative juices flowing and create safe images to post of the students online.    Here is a list of ideas for using avatars in classrooms:

  • Create book trailers with the avatars representing the characters
  • Teachers can put their avatar in their powerpoints to get the kids attention.
  • Create a new character and create a story about it. (Great for the Build Your Wild Self website)
  • Write instructions on how to create a character – swap descriptions to see if they can recreate it
  • recreate characters from the novel.  What do you picture that they look like.
  • All about Mii poems with picture of the avatar attached
  • Use the avatar to represent the student online.
  • Put the avatars in famous places and points in history.  Have student write about the place and or event from a first person point of view.

Here are three kid-safe resources for creating avatars:

Mii Avatars

If you are a Wii user you have created a Mii before, the avatar that represents you in playing the games.  There is online option to create Miis that can be saved as jpgs or png files. Export the avatar as a transparent png file and put yourself in famous places. by placing the Mii on top of a photograph.  I’ve used PowerPoint for this since you can group the two images and then save the group as a picture file.

Create your own Mii – http://www.myavatareditor.com/

Directions to create famous Miis:  http://www.miicharacters.com/

Lego Avatars:

Lego AvatarMini-Mizer

Allows users to create a Lego Avatar complete with accessories custom and backgrounds.  To save the creation you have to do a Print Screen and then paste into another application like PowerPoint to crop the image and save it as an image file.

http://www.reasonablyclever.com/mm2/mini2.swf

Become an Animal

Build Your Wild Self – Start off designing yourself as a human then you can add animal parts and set a background.  Final Products can be printed with information about the creature you created and a name for your creature.  Another option is to save a version as a desktop backgrounds.  You can right click on the print version and save the image as well as doing the print screen option as with the Lego character.

This was really my favorite one as the art work is beautiful and the ties into science are amazing.  One idea:  Have students create a creature for their habitat and explain how that creature lives.

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I’ll be adding to my avatar resources at: http://www.diigo.com/user/robiny/avatars

Any other ideas for using avatars in class?

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Olympic Lessons

The Winter Olympics are 10 days away.  Soon the TV airwaves will be full ofwinter sports, some of which we only get to see every 4 years.  So how can you incorporate this historic event into your classroom?  I’ve gone through several websites (listed at the bottom of this post) and grouped some ideas into different subject areas to get us started thinking about it.

History:

  • Research the history of the Olympics
  • Compare and contrast the ancient Olympics with the modern day ones
  • Research the customs of different teams at the Olympics or of the Host Country
  • Tie Black History month in with the Olympics by researching African American Athletes – such as Jesse Owen and Muhamed Ali
  • Character Education lessons

Science:

  • Explore the engineering of a sport and the equipment that is used in the sport.
  • Anatomy of an Athlete – what makes some people “super” athletes?  Scientists study the human body to understand how it works and how  athletes can be better
  • Weather – track the weather throughout the area.  What influences the weather in that region?  What about the weather in that area makes it ideal for the Winter Olympics to be held there?
  • Check out – http://www.lessonopoly.org/svef/?q=node/9086

Math:

  • Chart the results of the games
  • Use statistics from the games to work math problems.
  • Measurement – How far is it to travel to the games?  How much would it cost?

Language Arts:

  • Write biographies of Olympic Athletes (past and/or present)
  • Summarize the events of the game or the results of an event.
  • Research a sport and how it has developed over the years.
  • Cover an Olympic Event as a sports reporter

Art –

  • create posters to illustrate the history of the game.
  • Design icons for each event
  • Design a tickets to events to represent Canada and the sporting event.

Resources:

More resources will be added here as I find them.  Be sure to check this Diigo account as we get closer to the games for more ideas.

Diigo Account: http://www.diigo.com/user/robiny/olympics

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