Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Change is in the Air

I know that all of you have heard Desiree say that one of her primary goals is to change the way you teach. Yesterday, I was so gratified to hear - very publicly - that the change is happening, and is being recognized and appreciated.

I had the pleasure of attending the Educator for a Day luncheon. This once a year event brings members of the business world and community to our schools for a morning of observation and interaction. The morning concludes with a luncheon during which those participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences.

The very first gentleman spoke enthusiastically about visiting a science class using smart board technology to learn about angles of trajectory. He explained how he watched the "white board" discussion, and then how the teacher "erased the white board" and "immediately launched a YouTube video" that brought real world relevance to the discussion (Jake Brown's XGames skateboard crash for those interested). He talked about how engaged the kids were - whether they realized it or not - and how very excited and impressed he was with what he saw.

Other participants talked about teachers using hip-hop music to teach phonics and watching kindergartners on computers - and all talked about the innovative, creative teaching that they saw happening.

I don't know if any of the teachers in the examples that I heard are members of TILT - but I do know that all of you are a HUGE part of the innovation and integration that we see happening everywhere in the district, so please - take a moment today to pause, take a deep breath and give yourself a big pat on the back...then get back to innovating! I'm so proud of all of you!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Learning About Podcasts

Today I am working with our High School World Languages Teachers. We will be looking at ways to help students learn a foreign language. I thought you might be interested in looking at some of the resources we will be exploring.

Of course, I will talk about the #1 resource for accessing audio/video and podcasts - iTunes...

But some other resources you might not be familiar with are:

These are great tools to help teach and learn in a multimedia world.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kindle Kaos!

So, this is the Kindle! Not familiar with it? Well, neither was I until my husband Mike (who, by the way is the BEST!) and I were watching Oprah (case in point) and she introduced her favorite gadget - the Kindle! She explained the Kindle to be an electronic book reader. The CEO of Amazon evidently invented it. The idea behind it is you can download and store your books electronically. The price of a book to download is 1/2 or less of the retail price for the printed version. The Kindle uses the Sprint network so you can wirelessly shop and download to your heart's content. You can store books, audiobooks, bookmark pages, highlight lines of text, lookup words in a built-in dictionary...even store and listen to music while you read. Because I spend at least one paycheck a year on books, Mike turned to me and said, "I am getting you that for Christmas." Well, that was all it took for me...I was online and putting my credit card info in before Oprah could say, "buy one!" I have downloaded two books and a collection of music so far. Today I finished reading one of the books! It was so neat!

WAIT!!! Before you go online and spend $350...yep, $350 for this need to know the one downside. Montana and Alaska are the only two states that don't carry a strong enough Sprint network connection for the Kindle to work wirelessly. What does that mean? Well, I have to make my purchases from my computer and then connect my Kindle to my computer and transfer the books via a USB connection. Mike actually likes it this way: I can't just purchase to my heart's content with the convenient "one-click" buying. If you aren't familiar with one-click - take my advice...don't learn. Your wallet will thank you.

Now, for my stocking...I want a Kindle car charger, a Kindle attachable reading light, a cuter Kindle carry case, a Kindle gift-certificate.... or maybe just a gift-certificate to Amazon!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Studying Polar Bears in the Arctic

My students and I had a treat this week. We were able to participate in an international webcast that was broadcast from the Arctic. They thought it was so cool to see scientists live. The second day we watched, the scientists answered some of our questions that we sent to them via ichat (in the moment). They also acknowledged our school and said hello to my fourth graders. My fourth graders were stunned. I think that they did not know the meaning of, "LIVE". It was a fantasitic experience and I really hope that I can find another program like it. It was well worth it!! The blog that is written is also incredibly fascinating! Check it out!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Watching History

One last image - for those interested I'll be happy to share more in another forum. As we watched Obama speak I was amazed at the sea of cell phones recording history.

Thank you,

Sent from a blackberry wireless device.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We're in.

Watching people use their phones is amazing. Twitter, blogs, email, txt, info, finding friends in the crowd. I'm amazed the towers are keeping up.
Thank you,

Sent from a blackberry wireless device.

While we wait

The buildings around us are lit to celebrate the occasion. All around me people are obsessively checking their phones for the latest polls. Those who are tall use their video camera to pan the crowd and show the rest og us how far we have to go. The gates just opened!
Thank you,

Sent from a blackberry wireless device.

Waiting to see Obama

This is the "with tickets" line. I don't think I've ever been in a crowd of this size.
Thank you,

Sent from a blackberry wireless device.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What is a Voki?

Get a Voki now!

Over the last few weeks I have been introducing my Second Grade students to Vokis. The kids will say something like, "It's this really cool site where you can make something that talks and moves. It can be a person, cartoon, or an animal. You can dress it and change the way it looks and then embed it into your wiki or blog by copying the code that is created. The kids love it and I have fun too. It could be used for students to create something that can go online without readily identifying them. Activities could include students sharing their own ideas, being able to express themself, listen to for fluency, introducing vocabulary and the list for learning is endless.