Thursday, February 26, 2015

I heard it on the grapevine: 60 second presidental videos

This blog post is a great example of communication through the world of blogs.  I follow Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers blog, and he apparently follows Ken Halla's US history teachers blog.  Here's a bit of his post on a PBS project of U.S. Presidents in 60 seconds:

60 Second Lessons on the Presidents of the United States

Thanks to Ken Halla's US History Teachers Blog I recently learned about PBS Learning Media's new series of short videos about all of the Presidents of the United States. In the series there is one short (60-90 seconds) video about each president for a total of 44 videos. 

I (Joyce here again)  checked out George Washington - wow!  They packed a lot of information into 60 seconds!  If you have a YouTube account, I would suggest selecting to "subscribe" to the playlist because it makes it easier to find again. Here's the link to PBS Learning Media: 60 second presidents which lets you watch the videos without the YouTube junk. I'll post it on my content area resource symbaloo as well.
George Washington | 60-Second Presidents

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Doch and Fry sight word cards

Saw this website on sight words  in my blog trolling, sponsored by Georgia preschool assoc.  Basically the Fry and Dolch lists are featured.  What I liked were the very nice printables for cards with the sight words - options for full page, half or quarter page.  Each word in block letters with an arrow below to show directionality - really liked that reminder for tracking left to right. Has printable games as well, although pretty low tech and probably not a good use of student time other than indoor recess or an LA game day.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Protecting Student Privacy

We haven't talked about digital citizenship in a while, so here's a great post on Protecting Student Privacy.   Students create an avatar that represents that student but doesn't give out an image or other personal information.  There are multiple links to sites that can help students create avatars.  I haven't checked them out - if someone does, I'd love to hear which ones you liked.  (Pause...) OK, couldn't resist checking out Picassohead.  Here's my creation:

Google Docs - who knew you could do this?!

Many claim that Google is the evil empire out to rule the world (insert evil laugh), but I have to say that they do come up with a lot of cool stuff, and here's the latest google doc magic.  Note that this was culled from a blog that I follow - the original post is called Teacher's Visual Guide to on Giving Audio Feedback in Google Drive, and it contains all the details about how to set this add-on up.  Basically, once you have this set up, you are able to record an audio clip while you are in a google doc and link it to a specifically highlighted section of the text, much like you can link a comment to a point in the document.   The original intent seems to be for teachers to be able to leave audio feedback on a student document, but I have something else in mind:   I struggle in science class with how much written work to assign my most disabled writers - I want them to practice their word processing and writing skills, but I also want them to feel successful in science, learn the content, and complete their homework in a reasonable amount of time.  So what if I share a google doc with the assignment that they use some of their active reader strategies (retell, connect, picture, question, react) to respond to a science text,  but rather than write out their responses they record them? Almost like a think-aloud protocol.  Stay tuned - I just set it up for a student in Julie's class - I'll let you know how it goes.

What's New on your iPad

 Many of you use the lower school iPad account on your teacher ipads.  What you may not realize (unless you're Julie, who has my go-to iPad) is that I'm regularly adding apps to the account and you can download into your iPad if you wish.  I'm always on the lookout for iPad apps that are either recommended or are listed as free for the day (who doesn't love a bargain!).  You can access these apps by opening the app store icon, clicking on Purchased Apps  - on the toolbar at the bottom - and then selecting apps not on my iPad from the top of the screen.  Here are some recent ones that you might want to check out:
Lil' Red and the Lazy Coyote, which is an eBook parody of Little Red Riding Hood.
ABC Phonics rhyming words is more for the beginning reader - a game-like format where students match rhyming words.  I like it because it feels more in line with our analogy approach to reading that many of the beginning reader apps out there.
Mitzi's World is a beautiful app based on a book by the same name - it's I Spy meets Grandma Moses, with items to look for within folk art paintings.  Perhaps a good app to project onto the smartboard during an indoor recess?  Speaking of which, you might want to check out some of the other apps already loaded in the "health" block for more indoor recess ideas.
iPad Screenshot 1
And finally, Blogger - yes, there's an app for it!  I think you should be able to access my blog from your ipad with this app, although you can also go through symbaloo.
Do you have any favorite apps that I should be adding to the collection?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Free Technology for Teachers: Read & Write for iPad and Android - Text to Speech and More

For those of you who are fans of read&write for google, I just read a post on one of my favorite blogs, Free Technology for Teachers (what could be better than that!)  There's now an app that lets you access the Read&Write functions on your ipad google docs, and you can sign up as an educator to get free access to the premium features.  The link to their blog post is below:

Free Technology for Teachers: Read & Write for iPad and Android - Text to Speech and More

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Voicethread: War of 1812

Check out the Mattaliano class voicethread on the War of 1812.  Any thoughts on how it went, Julie?

Following someone's blog on Blogger

Here's something to try!  As a member of Blogger, you can start adding other blogs to your "reading list" and Blogger will do the work of listing the beginnings of new posts - you can decide from the intro whether you want to click on the link and read the full post.
How to:  When you open your Blogger account, you should get your "dashboard" and you will see something called Reading Lists, and below it a button called "add."  When you click on the button, they ask you for a URL, which is the address line of the blog.  Copy the URL from a blog, paste it into the spot, click follow, and voila!  you are following a blog.
Here are a couple suggestions for a blog to follow:
our very own librarian!  Notes from the Benchmark Library
blogs on mindfulness and critical thinking in education: TeachThought or   Modern Mindfulness
here's an interesting looking one on social studies and technology:  History Tech
or this one:  Teaching the Civil War with technology
You can also re-visit the 2014 award-winning classroom blogs  and choose one to follow. One that Trina commented on was Mrs. Moore's class blog

Monday, February 9, 2015

Interactive eBooks as iPad apps

Here's part 2 of my quest for interactive eBooks  - those that come in the form of iPad apps. (Part 1 - online books)   Many more options here!  There is a range from the very book-like - a few moving pictures with audio narration and music - to the more game-like, with lots of things to touch and do within the story.  Because these are paid apps, you need to purchase one app for each iPad you wish to load -  a bit of a logistical challenge, but not impossible.  Cost seems to range from about $1 to about $6,  I'd love to hear which story apps appeal to you for content and age appropriateness.  This would help me as I think about how to spend our app budget next year!
For younger students:
gary's place (actually this might already be loaded on the ls apps site)
fairy tale books from Noisy Crow, including Jack and the Beanstalk (hmm - maybe too game-like?
sos dinos in distress  also the Poppin Princess
frankin frog  (also parker penguin)  fiction/info mix

for older readers:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blogging How-to

Trina has kindly shared with me a great resource on blogging with students  that takes you step-by-step through the process of blogging.  It's put out by the edublog folks - edublog is an alternate to kidblog or blogger.  Although the examples mostly use edublog, the ideas are generally applicable to any blog platform.  

eBooks continued or Joyce's trip down the rabbit hole

Ok, so feeling a little like Alice jumping down the rabbit hole as I explore the genre of interactive eBooks/multimodal texts.  First, I will say that there seem to be two routes to take as one explores this genre - either the iPad apps path or the online cloud path.  I haven't found many texts in either location, but they are interesting and different!  Favorites so far from the online world:

Online:  The Wormworld Saga - described by its author as a "digital graphic novel" - gorgeous illustrations, text that a strong 3rd or 4th level reader could handle with occasional support.  The story is a hero quest reminiscent of the Chronicles of Narnia.  I was just going to read the first chapter, but now 6 chapters later, I am aghast to realize that the story is ongoing and I will have to wait for the author to finish chapter 7 and beyond!

Written in Bone - developed by the Smithsonian - a web comic based on a true story of anthropology students who discovered a skeleton at a colonial America dig. It's a little dryer and less visually appealing than Wormworld, but the historical/scientific connections made it worthwhile reading for me.  And you do get to be a forestic anthropologist like Dr. Temperance Brennan (for you Bones fans out there.)   Links are provided along the way to learn more about the facts behind the story.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Subscribing to comments

Some of you were wondering how to get an email notifying you of new comments.  If you check the "notify me" box when you write and post your comment- see the screenshot below - you should get emails on any future comments.

VoiceThread: bulb project

Sherry shared a little about her VoiceThread bulb project. I've embedded it below - I'm sure Sherry would be happy to get feedback as well as answer any questions!

Interactive and/or multimedia books

Were you as intrigued by Inanimate Alice as I was? I can see this style of...what should I call it?  eBook?  book video hybrid?  adolescent picture book?  Literary Experience?... becoming more and more popular.   And, perhaps, engaging to a population of reluctant readers.  I'm happy to do some of the leg work on collecting other pieces in this genre - I'd love your input on incorporating them into reading instruction about online genres.  And also any other examples you run across!
Update:  Found a blog that does nothing but review interactive ebooks!  Best interactive ebooks

And here's another blog post with a list of online graphic novels!  digital tools for teachers

Monday, February 2, 2015

Turtle Diary

I've been getting emails from Turtle Diary - they produce online learning games for language arts, math, and content areas.  The language arts games are short, skill-and-drill games related to phonics, vocabulary, and grammar,so nothing I would use for instruction,  but if you are looking for a 5-10 minute language arts bonus activity, these might be an option to check out.  Has anyone used these?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Poetry wall blog?

I am still thinking about how to create a bulletin board blog (a BBB?  Too cute?) and wondered about going in the direction of poetry.  (Perhaps on the brain at the moment since iReady assessments are coming back up.).  It would relieve the reading load and responses would naturally be shorter as well.  Who does what relative to poetry instruction already?  Any ideas for how to make this work?  Maybe seasonal poetry with "noticings" about the language or connections to own experiences.