Monday, September 24, 2012

Poll of Lone Star Books

What is your favorite Lone Star Book?
Rot and Ruin
The Emerald Atlas
The Fourth Stall

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tool #11

My favorite tools are in Google. I use blogger to help students learn how to create and post their work online. They are getting really familiar with what embed codes are and love having a digital portfolio of their work in my class. When we get our iPads in March, I cannot wait to try the apps Notability and Educreations Interactive Whiteboard as a new way to get students to share what they have learned in small groups.

My thinking has been in a constant state of transformation for many years now. After going through the ActivBoard trainings, T3 Grant trainings, attending the TCEA conferences, and now these 11 tools, each year I feel I get more and more proficient in understanding what changes need to be made in my classroom. This year I developed a goal of trying to go almost completely paperless, which has been quite a challenge. I plan to continue to grow and stay current on what is out there and feel fortunate to be one of the leaders in my school. I am the ActivEducator for my campus and have been lucky to get a lot of training from the district all the time. I am also very interested in breaking down the walls of my classroom to connect to other classrooms in our school and out in the world.

I was happy and surprised to learn that I am already doing a lot of the things I learned in this training, but also happy to learn even more!

Tool #7

1. Using TodaysMeet with another class in the school.
2. The objective would be to discuss a novel currently being read by both classrooms using academic language. Students would be given a set of sentence stems to use to discuss the book using TodaysMeet. After they have posted their comments, they could read the other students' comments and make respond to them. This could be implemented when we read Nothing But the Truth in the 5th six weeks.

Tool #10

1. Three things I would want to make sure my students understand about being good digital citizens are to be able to discern a good website from a bad one, being able to access credible sources using databases and advanced Google searches, knowing the importance of password security and what cyberbullying is.
2. BrainPop has several lessons tied to digital citizenship that I have used already with my students and will continue to use.
3. One example to teach digital citizenship to my students would be to show them how I do Google searches and use some of the advanced tools and also show them that there are a lot of bogus sites out there by having them go to one to see for themselves. I think the BrainPop videos and quizzes are also effective to use to talk more about digital citizenship.
4. I would like to share some of the blogs I read with parents so they can read more about digital citizenship. I especially liked and would share it with them on open house night and post on my classroom website as a place to begin. Our school has also hosted several parent nights to discuss things like Facebook and other digital citizenship issues.

Tool #9

1. Teachers should always start with the curriculum first, and then think about what technology tool, if any, would enhance a learning experience for kids. Otherwise, just like students, the teachers can get lost in the technology and loose site of what the leaning objectives are.
2. There should always be an accountability piece included in technology centers so that students can reflect on what they are learning and teachers can ascertain whether or not their students mastered the learning objective. Teachers cannot be everywhere at once to make sure students are on task in this type of learning environment, but will have time later to go back and check for understanding in all the groups.
3. Thinkfinity has a lesson called In the Courts, where there is a series of short video clips for kids to watch. At the end of each clip, is a question that students can answer. Students could answer these questions on a blog page, record themselves answering it using the built in cameras on their computers or iPads, or simply type up their answers in a Google document to share with their teacher.
The SBISD database has tons of stuff for Social Studies that I could use. There are lots of flipcharts already created that kids could use in a small group at the ActivBoards. Kids can record themselves using the record feature found in the tools on the Inspire software to answer questions.
4. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard could be used for example with kids after reading some text to share with pictures, voice recordings, and drawings a summary of what they read or a teacher could create a lesson for kids to look at in small groups.
Playtime Theater could be used to create a puppet show reenacting a certain event in a novel or in history.
5. Students could also use the iPad to watch a videoclip that the teacher has downloaded from Discovery Education and then record themselves discussing that video using the camera on the iPad. The teacher could provide guiding questions for them to discuss.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tool # 8

I have learned how to set up and sync my iPad from my computer and also how to use Dropbox to get content on to the iPad.

Classroom management of the devices is very important.  I have a lot of experience in this already because of the 16 Macbooks I have had in my classroom for the past two years.  I have used a sign-out sheet for the devices and also assigned certain devices to students.  I also have strict rules about eating and drinking near these devices and a procedure in place for how they will be taken out and put away each day.  I really like the idea of creating my groups of experts in the classroom to troubleshoot problems that will inevitably arise.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tools: #6

Here is a link to a VoiceThread I created: Boston Massacre
I can see how this could be a useful tool for discussing a political cartoon or other image in social studies.  I think students would be more engaged using this tool and be more careful in what they post as comments knowing that others will see it.

Here is a link to an Edmodo Account I experimented with.  Edmodo for Vergult
I have not actually used this for my classes this year, but would love to set up all the assignments for the next unit I teach in here to see how it goes.

I have used TodaysMeet several times over the past two years to have a discussion on a novel.  I also created a Flipchart presentation for using TodaysMeet for the Technology Blitz last summer.  I love this tool because it helps me evaluate what everyone contributes AND everyone must contribute.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#5: Web 2.0 Tools

This is a wordle of the Declaration of Independence.  It would be a great "hook" into a lesson about this famous document.  Students could use this to discuss what they think the document is really about by looking at the larger words which are the ones most repeated.
Wordle: Declaration of Independence
Go Animate is very fun and easy to use.  I created the one below: obama+interview by marianne.vergult

I will most likely use GoAnimate to have my students write a debate between the Loyalists and Patriots during our unit of study on the American Revolution.

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Tool #4: Moving Up To The Clouds

I have already used Google Apps extensively in my classroom.  All of my students have a blogspot where they post their digital products.  We have also used Google Docs to write and share and collaborate.  This is an amazing tool and has revolutionized how we do work in the classroom.  My favorite part is that kids can no longer lose their work and have access 24/7.  The collaboration possibilities are endless and being able to comment on their work online saves so much paper!  In their last writing assignment I was able to use the revision history to check on how much revision they did and also when they did it.

I recently developed a Passion Based Learning Project using Google Docs and when the entire school decided to use it, sharing the document was a snap!  I also learned how to import all the email addresses from Skyward so that I can quickly share documents with all of my students as well.

Tool #3: Online Video and Images

Discovery Education in an invaluable resource that I already use all the time in my classroom.  I have put video links into flipcharts and downloaded many videos to my computer.

Here are my two videos:

Copyright and Fair Use:  It is very important to know the laws on these issues and also to know where you can find resources that are available to use without violating the laws. I did not know that as long as students/teachers are publishing content to a secure location (walled garden, educational network or website that require passwords, etc.) they can pretty much do whatever they want – as far as creating products for instruction or to demonstrate learning.  The free online tool is very helpful and I will definitely tell my students about it.

I already have a Dropbox account, but have not used it much in my classroom because there are so many other places available to save/share work like in Google Docs.

Tool #2: PLNs

This is an amazing way to stay connected to other educators outside of your local area.  There is an enormous amount of information and lists of tools/apps to discover.  The advice on posting comments was rather obvious, but I liked the idea to teach my students how to post appropriate comments since many of them are rather clueless about how to do this correctly.  I have some fear about publicly sharing my thoughts on certain subjects and plan to share only what is not too controversial.  I like because it showed me some really cool iPad apps to use in the classroom.

Tool #1

I have used blogger and voki before in my class and at a summer tech camp.  All of my students this year have blogspots and avatars as well.  I love this technology and made a goal this year to have my students post their digital creations on their blogspots.  I  have had some success in doing this, but we often run out of time to post all of their work.  We have also run into glitches when it comes to posting documents from Google Docs, but that is another story for another day.