Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Wooden Nickel #2, Skype for Educators

This is the recording of the session on Skype for Educators that I presented at Infotech 2008, our local Educational Technology conference in Los Angeles, CA.

This was an introduction to Skype for teachers. I reviewed the basics for Skype and how to get started. I talked about the use of skype for collaboration with other educators. I also talked about the possibilities for connecting with other classrooms. We even did a demonstration with Matt Montagne and Pam Shoemaker, two educators in my network. In our call we talked about the EarthDay Webcastathon coming up on April 22nd.

All my presentation notes and links can be found at my presentation wiki: Skype for Educators.

Download The Wooden Nickel #2.

Infotech 2008 Student Showcase

We showcased the use of Voicethread in the classroom. We created on a voicethread on our Classroom blog about Earth Day 2008.

We had a hard time setting up. Our ibook (circa 2003) was not able to join wireless network. I was able to set up my teacher laptop toward the end of the day after my presentation on Skype for Educators and the elementary tech competition. My students had a great time explaining our voicethread and we met a second grade class that is very active with VoiceThread, Mrs. Ngai's Classroom

The Wooden Nickel #1, Getting Ready for InfoTech 2008

My second attempt at a regular podcast. I did a series of podcasts at my previous blog: The Coordinator's Office. I figured that now that I have a new blog, I should start a new podcast.

In this podcast I reflect on my current projects and getting ready to take a group of students to our educational technology conference. Download Wooden Nickel #1

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gradual Release Instruction

Cross Posted at In Practice Group Blog

I spent today in a Lesson Study. My school district has adopted this model for Professional Development. I am not exactly sure how it relates to Japanese Lesson Study. Most of our training has centered around curricular programs and how they are implemented. One of the ideas that we have experimented with in our school is Cognitive Planning. I still feel that I am at the initial stages of understanding the difference between this and just planning a lesson in a traditional format. The main difference that I see is that in the models proposed, there is a higher level of collaboration.

Today I was introduced to a new concept to me; Gradual Release Instruction. This seems to be the “missing link” in my development as a teacher. I have been able to implement curricular programs with fair success. Nevertheless, I have felt some frustration in engaging my students in the learning process. Working in a Title one school with a high English Learner population, there are certain things you cannot take for granted. I would normally expect my students to come prepared to school with a rich background and school readiness. I would expect them to have a natural disposition towards learning and school work. I quickly found out that this is not the case.

In teaching, I am constantly looking for ways to engage my students in learning and building their responsibility in this process. Right now we are learning how to blog to encourage reading and writing. We are using VoiceThreads to respond to our new learning. So, technology has a role to play. I think that the possibilities in connecting learning to engagement is increased when students are provided with the appropriate use of these tools. It empowers them to build on their own learning. It is even better when they are able connect with the global community to share their learning. I have to find a bridge between the analog world of teaching new concepts to a digital representation of the learning process. I go back to my classroom tomorrow morning with a different perspective. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and immerse myself in a new way of teaching.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Earth Day 2008

From: coordinatorsoffice, 2 minutes ago

This is our project for Infotech 2008 (Los Angeles Unified School District Educational Technology Conference) This is what we have learned about Earth Day. We even recorded our voice over the slides.

SlideShare Link

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Blogging in the Classroom

What does it take to have an effective classroom blog? Probably the most important thing is to get started. Last school year I started a classroom blog, room36. I was the main contributer to the blog. I would share what we were studying. I would occasionally write a post as a prompt for my students respond to. I shared pictures and the like. It was fine but something was missing.

During summer school I opened a new blog over at edublogs, thirdgradediscoveries. My basic format had not changed. I still had a classroom blog where the students would respond to teacher prompts. I continued the blog through the fall but it wasn't very successful. Then along come Class Blogmeister. I came here so that my students were able to blog themselves. I haven't made any efforts to get this blog off the ground until now. The New ThirdGradeDisoveries is just getting started.

This is our introductory post;
It's been a busy school year. It is time to get ready for 4th grade! So, what is Blogging? Blogging is a way to share our ideas on the internet. A Blogger is a writer with an audience. It's like my journal or diary. The only difference is that it isn't secret. Other bloggers can come to my blog and leave comments. I am really excited on the possibilities in the next few months. A category that I really like is "On my mind". I saw it on the mighty writers blog. You can see a link to their blog on the left hand side of our homepage. Either way, happy blogging.

I dusted the computers today. Gone are the excuses; "my computers are too old", "I don't have enough time" "my students aren't ready for independent writing". I have showed my students sample student blogs. We have even reviewed the procedure for logging into their blog. I created my initial assignment. I guess we are ready. Let the keyboard pecking begin!!!