Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I am addicted....

to the Smartboard, that is...I spent today making my very first Smartboard lessons. I am sure they would be considered basic but I am proud of them. I created them for a remedial pull-out reading class. After showing the Smartboard at our last faculty meeting, I have now become very busy making lessons for teachers. Some have asked me which is better, a Smartboard or a Mobi Interwrite tablet???? I like both, but I just can't decide. I can see the benefits of both.

I have also helped write a grant this round. The teacher wants a printer that will make posters. I came up with some pretty clever activities you could do with this printer:

1. Students can create customized motivational posters. Suddenly,
a picture of Abe Lincoln becomes a motivational poster for honesty.

2. Magazine covers can be designed for various story settings. When
studying colonial America, students invent a magazine for the times.

3. Students can reinvent an important instructional concept into a
pop art poster. A math theory of angles will jump off the page when
transformed by colors and design features.

4. When studying time periods, students can create mosaics using a
variety of media. Westward Expansion is illustrated by images of
the settlers, horses, and homesteads.

5. Story settings and historical events become movie posters. The Mayflower is “now showing” and features pilgrims, a cast, and a catchy scene summary.

6. Students can construct their own maps of towns, villages, and geographical features as they are covered in class. Students can invent their own islands and become cartographers, equipping their maps with the fundamentals of geography.

7. The class can create their own calendar. Each class can have their own month, researching important historical dates, holidays, and class events.

8. Students develop posters for vocabulary terms, concepts, and other instructional objectives. The students will create meaningful content and long-term mastery of material will occur.

There are a few sites that allow you to create posters (blockposters.com) but this printer makes professional grade posters. So, that was my day...I am getting excited about ESC12 this Thursday. I just hope I don't get too nervous. When I do, I talk really fast. On a personal note, it seems as if everyone is finally healthy. I just wish we would all sleep in our own beds. This weekend we get to start working on the new house so it should be exiciting.

Have a great week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Fun

This weekend we visited my brother-in-law and his wife and kids in Keller, TX. It was my nephew's birthday. We spent the weekend playing outside and grilling. It was very relaxing! Saturday night we visited Joe's Crab Shack. What I LOVED about this Joe's was the enormous playground outside. The wait was lengthy but bearable as the kids played on the playground. I love spending time with them. Their house is HUGE and the boys can all play together without destroying anything.

I am excited because my class sets of Flipcams and IPOD touches arrived. The next week I plan on figuring out how to load free apps for the teachers to use in their classrooms. I am also trying to stream some videos on the IPODs. I have my session at the education service center next week so I am begining to get a little nervous. Other than that, I am busy working on a break-out session for document cameras. Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awesome Lesson from Ferlazzo!

I think this is a great writing practice activity that can be geared toward TAKS....I got this from Larry Ferlazzo's blog.

Gather a range of interesting photos so that you have a different photo for each small group of 4-5 in your class. Remove and keep the captions for each, and mount each in the center of a large sheet of paper.

Put students in groups and tell them that they will be doing what’s called a “text on text” exercise. Their job will be to write comments in the space around the photo, leaving room for others’ writing as well.

Write the following four “response choices” on the board to remind students of the kinds of things they should be writing in response to the photo they receive. Tell them they may do any or all of the following:

Make a personal connection to the photo. (E.g., “Reminds me of when I visited the Empire State Building in third grade.”)

Write a question the photo brings to mind. (E.g., “Why can you see only the backs of people’s heads in this shot?”)

Write a detailed observation about the photo. (E.g., “The color red is everywhere–the sun, one person’s shoes, and the flowers and curtains in the background.”)

Make a guess as to what information the original caption of this photo imparted. (E.g., “This looks like the dedication of a memorial to someone who died.”)

Give the groups each a photo and 3- 5 minutes to write. When each group finishes, have them pass the large paper with their photo to another group, moving clockwise. When each group receives the new photo, they should add their comments to those already there. They can continue the work of adding personal connections, observations or questions, and/or can respond to previous writing as if in “conversation” with the notes left by previous students.

Continue this way until all the groups in the room have seen and commented on all the photos. (Make sure each photo is returned to the group that had it originally, as part of the fun of this exercise is reading the responses to the original comments.) Ask the class to discuss how their relationship to the photos and their understanding of what each “says” deepened as they wrote and responded to what others wrote. How true do they find the saying, “A picture paints 1,000 words?” Why?

Finally, read the captions you removed originally and have students guess which photo went with which caption.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fun with PhotoStory

I had a great idea for TAKS review - have the students write their TAKS narrative, then create a PhotoStory. The student selects images and music that fits their essay, then reads the essay in a voice over. I did this one using the prompt "Write an essay about a time you depended on someone."

TAKS Essay (scored a 4)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Alliance

I have joined an alliance with my Tweeps....I am not sure what that means but that guarantees that I will soon have an actual audience for my blog. I plan on still keeping it a mixture of personal and professional posts. I shall begin with the personal first...

This weekend, due to technical difficulties, we were not able to start working on our new house. Instead, we went shopping for a new bedroom set for the boys. We found the cutest camping lamp, pillows, and curtains. However, Target did not have the comforter. I ordered it online as soon as I came home. We are looking for our bedroom set next.

Ok, now for the professional...I finished my wiki for my upcoming session at Reg12. I think it turned out pretty good. I plan on keeping it updated so people can use it as a tool. I am busy writing grants and trying to get people excited about using technology in the classroom. My biggest success has been Animoto. The teachers really like using Animoto to introduce their topics. Another fun thing the teachers used was Voki. I could use some lesson suggestions for EInstruction's Interwrite Mobi (tablets) and GPS devices. Those two items are my personal grant requests for this semester.
Well, that is all for right now. I am off to pick up my kiddos....

Funny Video

My friend Debbie shared this video with me....I can't help but to post! Enjoy!

SafeShare.TV - The Safest Way To Share YouTube videos

SafeShare.TV - The Safest Way To Share YouTube videos

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sick and Tired

Ugh...we have all been so sick lately. It started with me...I am stubborn and refused to go to the doctor. Instead, I chose to remain sick for two weeks. I am FINALLY feeling better, but still very tired. J (my little guy) has a severe sinus infection and W has bronchitis. He has missed school two days this week due to fever. Both boys have not been sleeping well so, in return, mommy and daddy have not slept either.

On a positive note, it looks as if we will soon be moving into my grandparents house. The drawback: both of my grandparents smoked (Mamaw was up to 3 packs a day before she passed away) so we have some work to do. I am excited to move from a tiny 2 bedroom apartment to a spacious 4 bedroom 2bath. First, we plan on getting rid of all the furnishings, then painting, and hopefully adding some new light fixtures. My grandparents were big fans of the dark paneling and pink shag carpet....needless to say those things are first on my list of changes.

I feel bad for Mark lately (my hubby). He has been working so hard and has been so stressed. I try to help as much as I can but with everyone being sick, he has been keeping our ship afloat. I hope his load lightens soon.

Ok, that is all for now. I have to go make snacks for the big football game tonight. Go Texas!