Thing 19-YouTube and TeacherTube

I have been aware of YouTube in my own house for a couple of years now. My 2 teenagers love the site-I think they mostly look at music videos and postings. I do worry about the content–but try to keep an eye on their computers when they are online. My middle son sat with me as I did my own exploration this morning.I can certainly see that we need to be teaching our students to be wise consumers of this technology. They need to be able to think critically about everything they are seeing.

This was not my favorite task–there is so much information–some of it useful but so much of it is just silly, distasteful or even boring. Even with the search function, I got videos that were not related to what I needed. We did find some fun and very creative works. And there were some wonderful “how-to” videos.  I think part of my trouble is that in my current job, my students will not be using this kind of technology. I did enjoy looking at TeacherTube. We found some great videos, especially in history and social studies. In the blog post by Brenda Dyck she talks about the need to have a very clear idea of how a video will be used and what your teaching objectives are for that video. I think that is a key point in using this technology well.

I wanted to embed this “Harry Potter Puppet Pals” video because it is just fun! We love Harry!

Thing 16-LibraryThing

What a wonderful site!! Besides being with my family,I am probably happiest when I am reading. I like to read almost everything and usually have 2 books going at once. I played around on the site, listed a few of my books-it will take awhile to list them all! I checked out the Zeitgeist–you could spend hours there. A feature I really thought was neat is the LibraryThing authors. You can see their profiles and in some cases,you can see their reading lists. What fun to read the same book as a favorite author. I also liked the suggestions page and got a laugh out if the unsuggestions-especially their disclaimer. I also saw the note that you could access the page from your cell phone.That would be mighty handy for me-I am the one in the bookstore or library trying desperately to remember the name of an author……. I’m sending this site to all my book buddies!

Thing 15-Delicious!

I started out planning to do the “light” version of the task. I am behind and have a million things to do before school starts back in a couple of weeks. But before I knew it,I had tagged 17 sites on my  Delicious list. I had actually been wanting something like this-we keep so many good sites and excellent tools-I didn’t want to lose track of anything. I had added some to my Google Reader but I needed a good place to store the tools I think I will want to use and that I want my own children to explore and use this fall.

I also went ahead and added 2 subscriptions to my account. One for education and one for Auburn football! I liked the way you could add a subscription and then pick and choose how to narrow your search to get what you want. My Delicious list is at This account actually makes me feel more confident about Web 2.0–it’s a way to be organized and feel a little more in control.

Thing 7B-Google Reader

<!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { so-language: zxx } –>I have enjoyed my Google Reader–I don’t have as much time as I would like but I have found that I enjoy certain sites-some because they give me ideas or inspiration( I need inspiration as I study for the GACE 🙂 ) Some sites I enjoy just because they are fun to read. One blog that I enjoy for ideas for the future is called Talking Smartboards and Much More. Anne-Marie blogs about all kinds of resources and cool web sites that can be used with a smartboard. But many of the sites she blogs about can be used in other ways as well.Her posts are usually short and to the point. They always have a good overview of the site or tool she is blogging about. If you are looking for some technology ideas, check out her blog.

In one of her posts she writes about a website called Tag Galaxy. On this site you can type in a tag and a galaxy of planets will appear with related pictures found on Flickr. You can keep typing in tags to narrow your search-the galaxy continues to change and your “planet” created by the pictures continues to change as well. This is a really cool, fun way to display pictures. You could use them to start a classroom conversation or to begin a writing exercise. History and science teachers could use a galaxy to illustrate a time period or a scientific concept. Art teachers should love this site. I used musical tags and composers names to create a musical galaxy. Just one more interesting a fun place on the web!

Thing 14-web 2.0 tools

This was a very enjoyable task. My oldest son sat down with me as I was exploring and a few minutes later my middle son settled in with us too. When they joined me I was looking at, an online diagramming site. This site allows you to design flow charts, floor plans, technical and scientific diagrams. I wanted my oldest to be aware of this site-it looks like it could be useful for science or computer work. We then moved on to This is a site that allows you to make or use ready made flashcards. Users can also share cards and collaborate on study guides. There are also games to allow you to practice the material. We really liked this site-had a lot of fun with the games. (I even left the boys playing and went and put in some laundry!) This would be an excellent site for teachers to use with their classes or for students to use on their own. Individual students could make their own vocabulary lists or groups of students could divide a unit and make study guides together. We will be using this site at my house this fall.

We also played with Dumpr which allows you to create special effects on digital photos. There are some amazing effects–very fun. The boys messed around with this one for 45 minutes–if teenagers enjoy a site this much,it is worth checking out.

I wanted to mention a site that is not on the list, This is a site that allows you to make and share digital scrapbook pages. Photos can be brought in from Fickr and music can be added on each page. My rising 11th grader is using this site to make a digital scrapbook for his summer reading project. His teacher is having the students print their scrapbooks to bring to class. I hope she will also view them online to get the full effect. Seems like a step back to have them turn their digital project into print.

Thing 13-Online Conference

I enjoyed viewing the session entitled ” Film School for Video Podcasters” by Matthew Needeleman fromthe K12 Online Conference 2008.Mr.Needleman is a literacy coach and teacher of children in K, 1st and 2nd grade. This session caught my eye because some of his students are special education learners who are mainstreamed. This was an excellent and interesting video-it catches your interest immediately when it begins like an old time detective movie.

In this session Mr.Needleman gives teachers strategies to improve their video productions in their classrooms. He focuses on story boarding, lighting, and sound. Again I am amazed at what can be done in our classrooms using technology! If you are thinking about adding podcasts to your curriculm, this would be a good session to watch. Mr.Needleman’s blog, Creating Lifelong Learners is also an excellent resource. Mr.Needleman makes the point that by teaching video production from the “inside out” we can give students the skills they need to think critically about media messages they encounter every day. As writing improves reading comprehension, video production increases media literacy. Of course, there are opportunities for exercising those higher level thinking skills as students work out a story, construct a storyboard, decide on lighting, edit their work and on and on. An important point for me is that video production allows children with all learning modalities can be involved and share their strengths.

I continue to enjoy the online learning option. It is certainly more convenient and economical. While watching this video,I also enjoyed being able to go back and replay key points. I also like that I can go back and view videos at any time as the need arises.

I won’t be making videos in my current job but I am reminded again about the importance of using anything and everything to engage our students. I do wonder about all the time for all of these new things. As a teacher,it is overwhelming. I also wonder where the time comes from in a school day. Most of the teachers I know struggle with getting in everything that has to be covered before the standardized testing. I’m not sure where the time comes from for all of the extras.

Thing 12

  1. Here we go again………..before we read

BubbleShare: Share photosEasy  Photo Sharing “>

1. lol-psycat by Mindugus Lickus- hat by Tal Shafik

3.Blue bird by jerryoldenette1

4. books by Brina Head

5. Camaro by europe

6. Rabbit by Stewart Ho

7. Tennis ball by David H-W (extrajection)

8. alphabet by lynnftw

9. Home grown Noddy by koalie

10. top by Chris Campbell

11. Stop sign by svenwerk

12. mopping and Boss by zonepress

13. balloon pop by whisperwolf

This was hard to do but fun. It is initially very time consuming but I can see how it would get easier the more you do. I was frustrated that I couldn’t figure out how to change the order of the pictures once I had uploaded them to the album.

Thing 11

I spent a great deal of time today looking around Fickr. There is certainly a lot out there. It continues to amaze me how many people put their personal lives on the computer to share. I am surprised at the wedding pictures, birthday parties, baby pictures–all out there for strangers to see. I’m not making judgments about it being good or bad-it is some food for thought,I suppose.

I especially liked the section on the geotagged photos. I found some beautiful shots of my hometown-Montgomery,AL. It was fun to see it through other eyes(some very talented!). My dad worked at this Prattville Mill when he came home from Korea.

This photo was made by sunsurfr. It can be viewed at his site on Flickr.

Flickr can be really helpful in my teaching. So much of special ed.involves teacher made materials. For many children,especially those with learning differences, textbook and ready made teaching tools are too complex. I have often needed materials that focus more on a single concept, or that show a concept in different ways. Being able to find my own visuals will make the task of differentiating materials much easier and more efficient.  For my slide show, I decided to teach myself! I am studying to take the GACE soon and so I found pictures to help me remember the 5 basic types of phonemic awareness tasks.( And it worked-I can list them all!!)

Thing 10-Creative Commons

I was not aware at all of Creative Commons. I don’t remember ever seeing the CC before and we seldom use the computer in our classroom. But–Wow! I can certainly see myself using some of this material when I have my own classroom. I went and looked at the site OER Commons. It is amazing in the scope of what is available to use. There are lesson plans, worksheets, videos–anything you could want. And in whatever subject you could want. I am looking forward to browsing this site more thoroughly. I can see myself using this site to help with lessons where I am not as comfortable–like science!

I also went to the MIT free course site. I wish I had known about this site last year when my oldest was taking AP physics. This is an awesome resource for students and teachers alike. My son is going to send his former teacher a note with this link.