Monday, August 4, 2008

Thing #23

Although several of the 23 Things frustrated me overall I am glad that I had the experience. I now at least have a working knowledge of what is available. I know I will use some of the 23 things like photostory and some of the other photo options. I'm still not a blogger or a blog reader by nature, but I will consider further uses of my blog.

The best thing about the program was that you could do it at your own pace. Some things I'd seen or used so they took me less time. The use of a blog was a great way to enter our insights and problems. It was interesting to see others comments.

I must say I'm glad I'm finished since I'm squeeking in at the last second! Thanks to all the coaches who put this program together. I hope that there will be other offerings in the future.

Thing #21

I really enjoy using photostory. This past school year I used it for the first time with my students. They loved it. They created a photostory of a famous Texan. Hearing their voice on the video was probably what they loved most. Later in the year I offered it as a presentation option and many groups chose to use it. This was the first time I had actually created a whole story myself. It was fun to do it. I'm not sure how often I will make photostories for my class since I'll be working on making flips for the new active boards. However, I will definitely teach my students how to use it. I think that it's a great presentation tool. Here's my photostory on the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The sound is a little low so you may need to turn up your speakers. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thing #22

Yes, I'm out of order! I decided to look at Nings first. I've used photostory and love it, but right now I can't think of anything to create a podcast on so I'm still thinking.

I like the idea of smaller social networks. I've never gotten into facebook or my space. My husband uses it to connect with his friends, but for whatever reason (perhaps I'm too old) I never got into it. Partly I think I didn't want to be connected to all those people. But creating a social network that's smaller sounds great. In my neighborhood we have a coffee group of women that meets once a month. Setting up a ning might be a great way to stay connected during the rest of the month. A few of the women have blogs so they could be there too.

In school we could have a class ning. I haven't decided if I want to do this or not. I'll be away on maternity leave for part of the year. Would this be a good way to stay connected or too much to leave someone else? I'm still pondering that. I also think that it might be useful for students to be able to connect with each other about homework and studying. Maybe even have book clubs this way. Endless possibilities.

I also subscribed to Teacher Lingo. I liked that it had blog offerings (and remember I don't read blogs) and lesson plans. This will be one more place to look for great ideas.

I've got to continue pondering the use of nings, but I will say I like the idea.

Thing #20

At the Arboretum we often use YouTube videos during class. So many people make videos of their expereinces with nature that it's easy for us to find what we need. A very interesting one we viewed this summer is Battle at Kruger. It's an amature video shot by a woman on safari. It's so amazing that National Geographic wanted it!

I also found some useful videos on TeacherTube. Since TeacherTube is accessible while in SBISD it's a great place to find videos for class. I like the shorter video clips that can be used to get students' attention and get them ready for a topic. Here are two videos I found about the relationship between the moon and the Earth. They include former astronauts talking about walking on the moon.

This video is a rap about long division. Many students struggle with the steps to long division, this could be a fun way to help them remember. It's a video of kids rapping and the only problem is sometimes they go too fast, but it's worth a look.

It's wonderful to have access to so many video options. We've used United Streaming for awhile, but sometimes you just need quick videos. TeacherTube and YouTube offer many short videos that may help enhance your lessons.

Thing #19

The list of 2.0 awards winners is a good place to start when looking for a reputable site for whatever you are doing. I searched a few sites, but didn't find many (other than the ones we have already played with) that would be useful to my classroom. However, I did register for .docstoc. I'm not sure how much I will use this resource, but it does offer some ideas. I searched for elementary writing and found some interesting documents on different types of writing.

For fun I also looked at Im cooked since I love to cook. What a fun site. It shows videos of people cooking their food. And if you join you can post your videos. It's the next food network star! I immediately thought of a friend of mine who is pretty well terrified of cooking. I've given her the easiest cookbooks in the world and still fear reigns. I'm sending this one on to her. Perhaps seeing a cook in action will help her.

Thing #18

I've actually used Google Documents. I didn't remember doing it but we used it when I was trying to work at home and then send something that was too big for the email. It was a great way to open documents on different computers. It's also great for sharing documents. It doesn't bog down the email system.

I tried downloading the Open Office, but it was taking way too long. Plus I've added so much extra stuff to my computer I wasn't that willing to keep adding.

Google Documents and from what I understand Open Office are just as easy to use as the Microsoft programs. The benefit to Google documents I think comes in the easy availablility on several computers and the ability to share documents. Open Office the major advantage is the cost. My computer came with all the programs so for me I have what I need.

I would think that many institutions would be looking to moving to Open Office. With the high cost of everything this would be one place to save.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thing #17

Wow, another site I actually find useful. That's two in a row.

It's true that when you send kids to research they often spend way too much time sifting through all the stuff they get. My fourth graders love to try to type in whatever they are looking for plus .com in the hopes that there will be a website. Or they go to and type in a long question. Using rollyo will make using a search ending more useful. When we do Texas History research for famous Texans and towns, rather than giving them a list of websites we can create a searchroll to be used by the entire fourth grade. I love it!

As a teacher I'll need to have the sites up front, but once I've got them how much more helpful to the students than yahoo or ask.

I created a searchroll for Texas history.

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Then I decided to search for the Fredonian Revolt just for fun.