Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Week 9 #23

Final comment:
What a great course and a whole lot of information! Although I couldn't possibly give it all the time that it deserves, I come away with lots of new knowledge about web 2.0 tools (in some cases just knowing what they are and how they work) and lots of ideas to get started with many of these tools.
I know that ravenabout is a blog that I will refer to time and time again. There are great links posted there, wonderful how-to's and lots of ideas from colleagues. Thank you for providing such a great site.
I loved the fact that everything was laid out for us, that we could choose what we looked at within a topic for example. For the most part, it was easy to do (not always - I couldn't always manipulate the new tools to do what I wanted them to do but that's just something I will have to spend more time on) and easy to follow and understand.
Time is always an issue with these things and I so wish I had more time...but that's the case with anything we do. A more rigid schedule may have helped me to stay on track and not leave it to the last minute to finish (certain things due on certain days, for example). More interaction between participants would have been great (again, a time thing)!
Thank you to the organizers and for this fantastic course and blog. I am now embarking on a new journey!

Implementation Plan

Students in Grade 4/5 will use a classroom blog to recommend a novel/chapter book that they have read to other students in the class.

The goals of this activity are:
1. recommendations for books from other students is a powerful way to get kids reading
2. students learn to express themselves (what do they like, dislike about a book)
3. practice using word documents
4. learn to form good questions
5. encourage writing (when answering questions)
6. introduction to a blog (with restrictions)

STANDARD C: A student should recognize that being an independent reader, listener, and viewer of material in print, non-print, and electronic formats will contribute to personal enjoyment and lifelong learning.

Benchmark 1: Read for pleasure and information
1. Shares with others the books in which they find pleasure
2. Explores a variety of genre
3. Explores a variety of reading materials

Students will choose a novel/chapter book of their reading ability and one in which they are interested in. Students will type a paragraph on word about their book (what is the book about, did you like it, why/why not, who was your favourite character and why, etc) and include a photo of the cover page.
Teacher-librarian will set up a blog through blogger and past the documents to the blog in the form of posts. Teacher will use comment moderations to control who may comment (only members of this blog, for example).
Students will read a number of posts and ask questions of their peers, as well as answer the questions about their own book (direction will be given to ensure all students have comments to respond to, as well as appropriate questions and abuse of the blog, etc).

Week 9 #21

I have found some podcasts that I am interested in and occasionally will download them. The great thing about podcasts is that I can listen to them when I am cooking for example (kill 2 birds with one stone). I didn't think at this point that I really wanted to get into making podcasts, but then when I was perusing some of the material and found the podcast tutorials, I thought that there come be some interesting uses for these. Making a podcast of the instructions for a classroom activity or lesson could be useful for our auditory learners who perhaps need instructions repeated (or if there were a serious of steps - referring back to the podcast to be able to complete them all) may be something I would try.

Textbook comments

I think one of the most important messages for me in the first chapter of the book was the author's point that in the "old way", information is delivered and tested and it is presentation driven. In the "new way", there is collaboration - information is shared, discussed, refined with others and understood deeply. Wow! When I truly reflect on these words, I can see the importance of tools such as web 2.0 and things like Google Docs which really I haven't to date seen how they would be used. I guess from here, I need to learn how to use them effectively. Now that I have had this course introducing me to the tools, I can now take this knowledge and learn to use it.

The issue of online safety is one that I deal with daily. At our school, we run an open computer lab in the library which can be used by any student in K-12 before and after school or at lunch time. Yikes! I feel sometimes that I am the computer police (did I do a Masters to become a computer police officer?) and so I am always in constant discussions with my colleagues and students about this topic.

As well, my colleagues in grade 4/5 and I are team teaching this year for research and library skills (so that what they learn is more pertinent to the classroom). We laugh when we tell the kids that our teachers never had to speak to us about cutting and pasting and copyright on computers (and how easy it is to do!). Many of them just don't know that what they're doing is wrong. The earlier we start teaching them about copyright and acceptable use, the better.

I got some good ideas from chapter 4 as to how teachers are using web 2.0 tools in the classroom. Some of the ones that I would like to try with my students are using wikis in literature circles, podcasts, as well as flickr for digital storytelling and imovie to demonstrate understanding of materials.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Week 9 #22

I had a look at the World Ebook site and then at Best Places to get free books and I have to say that I didn't find much on these websites that I really want to read. A lot of it seemed technical or old. I know the World Ebook site was offering a yearly membership for $8 or so, but after checking out the free books, I didn't want to part with my $8 if that too was going to be something I was not interested in.
I do like the ebooks that the Anchorage Public Library offers and they have many great up to date titles. I tell my students about them when I do talks about the public library.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Week 9 # 20

Tonight I looked at Teacher Tube and although I am somewhat familiar with You Tube, I had never looked at T.T. I liked it somewhat. It was easy to do searches and get lists of videos. Of course, the work came when I had to sift through them all and find what interests me or what is appropriate for my lessons. Again, putting in keywords could send me loads of videos and I don't have time to sit down and watch 4 minute videos looking for the right one.
In saying that, I think it is something I would definitely use with my classes as kids love videos - so even if it's something as simple as the one I watched with a teacher giving hints on reliable sources for research, sometimes it's just a lot more fun if they are watching someone else say it instead of me talking all the time. I will definitely spend some time looking for pertinent T.T. videos. It's great when someone shares a good one they have found - saves time for us all!

Week 8 # 19.1

I do use Digital Pipeline with many of the kids in my school already, but I did take this opportunity to investigate Novelist as I’ve never really looked at it, other that for cataloguing purposes. I like this site and would recommend it to students who were looking for books similar to the ones they had just finished reading. I also like the recommended reads section and the fact that it gives the kids lots of information such as reading level, subject, who it may interest, other similar books and a synopsis of the book. I will definitely add this to my library webpage and introduce it to the students in my classes.