Thursday, August 12, 2010

August Days...

The middle of August has arrived and school will be back in session in a few short weeks. This summer, I have been able to clarify my action research problem statement, locate and read literature articles, and develop skills that will assist in my action research analysis, design, development and implementation. I have strengthened my relationships with team members and critical friends. I know that they will assist me with feedback and guidance in both of my cycles. Although I am apprehensive of my work load during the school year, I am also anxious to begin my research cycles. I am excited to be working with a new group of students and to continue my team teaching in 4th grade math. Each school year brings new challenges, but with those challenges come new learning and opportunities to make a difference in the learning my students acquire. I don’t know how I will accomplish all that I still have before me, but I know I will!

Monday, August 2, 2010

BP13 ETC Final Video

Here's the final video for ETC. It's a persuasive message about No Child Left Behind actually leaving students behind with a lack of real lifetime learning.

Friday, July 30, 2010

BP12 part 4

Here's a video of what I did in Google Docs presentation. I used screenr to make the video and then imported it to iMovie for editing and to add sound effects from iLife.

BP12 part 3

In learning about Google Docs/ presentations, I've continued to watch tutorials on as well as play around with the templates. On my previous blog posting for this, I had taken a template and was adding some drawing - changing the template material to what I was doing. With this blog, I show how I've changed the drawings in my presentation to include pictures I've taken in photo booth.

I think the Google Document presentations offer a lot of flexibility to both teachers and students. Teachers have a platform on which to share and create with others. Great for team building when schedules don't overlap. I have that very situation in my teaching position. I team teach, but don't have the same prep period as my partner. Getting together before or after school is not always possible, but a shared document bridges these problems and creates access for both of us when we are available.

When students are working on projects, individually or in groups, this would also be helpful for material to be available to all members, including the teacher. In this way, the teacher would be able to monitor the groups work and have access for grading as well.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BP12 Part 2

I've continued to play around with the google doc presentation templates. I've found one that is about presenting a story. So far, I've created two pages. Mine is very simplistic, but you get the idea. I think students would like this.

One Click Document Translation in Google Docs

Just wanted to forward this blog. Great to know for those of us who work with ELL students.

One Click Document Translation in Google Docs: "Google Docs has had a translation option for quite a while, but until now you had to copy and paste your text in order to create a new translated document. Yesterday, Google announced that in the new version of Google Docs you can now create a new translated document with just one click. To create a new translated copy of your document just select 'tools' then 'translate document.' Google Docs will then prompt you to select a language. Once you've specified a language a new translated document will appear in your list of Google Docs. Google Docs now supports translation for 53 languages.

Applications for Education
If you have students that live in homes in which English is not the primary language, the new Google Docs translation option could be very useful. Now when you need to send a letter home, you can easily print it out in multiple languages.


Video ANT - Discuss and Annotate Videos

I came across this blog and then saw I could forward it to my blog to share. I believe many teachers could use this!

Video ANT - Discuss and Annotate Videos: "Video ANT is a free tool developed by Brad Hosack at the University of Minnesota for the purpose of providing a platform on which students and teachers view and annotate videos. Video ANT plays your specified video and while watching you and your students can and marks along a timeline and write comments alongside the video. Annotations are archived and emailed to you when you've completed the annotation process. Video ANT works with YouTube videos as well as with some video files that you can upload to the site. Click here to watch a screencast created by Brad Hosack of Video ANT in action.

Thanks to Desert Diver on Twitter for sharing this great resource along with a sample of one of his annotated Video ANT videos.

Applications for Education
In the past I've used back-channels while my students are watching videos so that they can discuss the footage as they're seeing it. Annotating videos with Video ANT could take that process a step further by creating an archive that matches the various points in the footage.

Viddler also allows you to annotate videos, but the drawback to Viddler is that you're somewhat limited as to the length of comments you can write. Also Viddler may be blocked in some schools. Video ANT provides a clean, easy-to-use interface in which you and your students can annotate and discuss videos.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BP12 - Practical Experience - Google Doc/Presentations

This week, I've decided to delve into the various templates on google docs for presentations. So far, I've discovered that if you want to insert a photo, 2 MG is the maximum size. While scrolling through my iPhoto, it seem most of mine are larger. If that is a feature I want to use, I will need to get photos from the Internet, or set my camera differently. So, I went on to explore other presentation templates. The one I have a screen shot of is a google version of an ebook. Interesting. What I am finding is that there are lots of resources available right within igoogle.

I can see potential here! Many people, teachers included, become easily overwhelmed with the resources that are available on the Internet. Although there are many more engaging programs on the Internet for presentations, I think that the google docs would be a useful introduction to various forms of presentation, beyond written text and power point presentations. Some people feel more comfortable with an all-in-one solution, even if it is limited.

Check in, this week, as I continue my exploration. I have been watching video tutorials and am intrigued by how much google offers beyond being a search engine. The amazing thing is that this is all offered for free! With all of these choices, it’s hard to imagine the average person or teacher needing to purchase a program for document creation, sharing, and presenting. Google docs, offers everything from ebooks, photo albums, calendars, documents, blogs, maps videos and more.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Here's my one minute message about edistorm. It is a free application for brainstorming and organizing ideas. You can use the basic program for free, or upgrade to more encompassing programs based on your need. The "storms" can be used for personal use, or shared.

BP10 Jolee Rinick's Blog on Edistorm

Follow this
link to read my comments on Jolee's blog about the web 2.0 tool Edistorm.
Here is a screen shot of a storm I started that will help me with my AR project.

Friday, July 23, 2010

BP9 Jacqueline Jone's Blog on ToonDoo

Follow this link to view my comments on Jackie's blog about ToonDoo.

Here's my ToonDoo avitar

BP8 zooburst

Here's a new tool - zooburst. It's amazing, easy, and fun! With zooburst, you can create pop-up books. You can move the objects around on the page and even rotate the page and object to see them from any angle. Pop-up speeds can be modified, as well as size.

I think this would be very useful for reluctant writers. I might start by creating a book and then have students write a story to go along with it by asking how the items on the page relate to each other, what do they know about each item, what questions do the pictures suggest, etc. Students could also create their own books for a creative writing project. Reluctant writers might also use this tool to write stories for younger siblings and a way of writing to a welcoming audience outside their peer group, hence increasing confidence. It could also be used as a bridging activity to other reading or writing activities or as a way of presenting information for a book report.

Imagine starting a new school year by creating a book about the classroom students, their interests, or maybe what they did over the summer. You could also populate a book with things that they would be learning about in the coming school year and then have a classroom discussion about it. There are endless possibilities.

You do need to submit to the site to gain access, requiring an email. I did it once with a personal email and there was no response. I did a second time with my school email and had my access the next day. Part of this process is including why you want to use it. I specified my use with it as a special education teacher.

The embedded video is courtesy of the zooburst site for blog embedding purposes.

Here's a quick book I did that I would use to prompt discussion and writing ideas.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

BP6_Web20 tool_comment

Click on this link to read my comments on Andrea Shike's blog. Andrea Shike reviewed schoology.
Baby birds in my back yard waiting to learn to fly. Just like our children.

BP5_blog comment

Follow this link to read my comments on Jolee Rinick's blog. I just read about a great web 2.0 tool odosketch that she has discovered. I just did this drawing on it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My web 2.0 tool for this week is screenr, a free alternative to screenflow. It can't do as much, but hey, it's free! It can also publish your videos directly to twittr or youtube. I'm sure that I'll use it often. As school districts encounter tighter and tighter budget constraints, teachers will need to find more creative ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms and instruction. With additional pressures to differentiate, teachers need to find creative ways to reach all of the students in their classroom. Tools such as screenr may be very useful in accomplishing this task. I learned about screenr from one of the educational blogs I follow: Free Technology for Teachers . I've found that these blogs have led me to many tools that might otherwise have taken me a very long time to learn about. The blogs I've been following that have been the most useful are iLearntechnology and Free Technology for Teachers. Be sure to check them both out and let me know what you think!I'm looking forward to checking your blogs, finding new tools and information, and seeing if there are additional posts I should be following.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Drawn on my iTouch
Here are the questions I've answered for month 4. The questions and answers are posted both here and on my action research site.

What is your official problem statement?

My official action research question is: Will using music improve math skill acquisition and retention?

How did your research end up shaping this?

In scanning articles, I found opinions and research to refuse and support the efficacy of music increasing learning. My initial thought is that it will increase learning. After all, we all learned our ABCs that way and many of us still remember the order of the alphabet letters by singing the song. The tune stuck in our long-term memory. Some of my research actually began last year when I team taught a 4th grade math class. My co-teacher and I spontaneously came up with a hand game (like patty cake) to accompany a rhyme about estimating. The students loved it, and remembered it for the rest of the year. This experience started my thinking about music and learning.

What outcomes are you expecting?

I am expecting to find success in teaching students math rules and helpful hints using musical jingles. For each math unit, students are given a pretest and a posttest. I am expecting to see a larger increase in the percentage of correct answers compared to students in another 4th grade classroom that doesn’t use music as a teaching tool. I believe that if I can come up with catchy tunes, that are short, the students will more easily remember the words and thereby how to do problems, check their work and be more engaged in their learning.

How are your critical friends helping in this process?

My critical friends are helping me by questioning my action research statement, as it has been refined, helping me to bring it more into focus, from broad to specific. They are also helping with encouragement and ideas, from programs that will help me in creating tunes to various programs to deliver the final project (tune with words and possibly animation) or for students to create their own tunes with. My critical friends are composed of a variety of backgrounds, enabling each to offer feedback from a different perspective. One is a principal and previous music director, one a teacher of regular and special education, one a speech pathologist, and one who is very adept at computer technology.

How is this month’s course helped in shaping your ARP?

This month’s course, Emergent Technologies in a Collaborative Culture, is helping me locate web 2.0 tools, that will assist with my project, and utilize varies forms of organization, information searches, and collaboration. The blogs of classmates are helping me to discover new tools, as well as see the reviews they have formulated about some of them. There are still a few weeks left in this course that, I’m sure, will show me even more that can be done through collaboration with my classmates and colleagues.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Jazz Beat- a math jingle rhythm (click on the screen shot or the words to hear the beat)

This is a beat I created at aviary in ROC. I team teach a 4th grade math class and will be exploring using music jingles to help students remember rules and formulas and study tips. I would use this beat with the following words:

Write your problem,
Show your work.
Check your answer,
Does it work?

Last year, my co-teacher and I spontaneously created words for a hand game for estimating, and the students remembered! That success is what is propelling me towards Action Research in using music to increase engagement and learning.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


image from Creative Commons free photos


Here are 5 RSS feeds that I have explored and determined to be very useful to me as a teacher, in addition to being useful to my Action Research project.

1. iLearn Technology

This is one of the coolest blogs I have seen! Although there are occasional posts pertaining to events such as a TED program, each post is all about finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom. As I scrolled through the posts, each one had information, links, and images from websites that made them easy to understand. Each post thoroughly describes the site, web book, game, or program and how it can be successfully used in the classroom. I’ve already bookmarked many of them for groups of students I work with. This blog is a time saver in the valuable resources it so easily make available. With each site given, there is a link, a section that describes the site and another section describing how to integrate it into the classroom. There are also tips for how the sites can be utilized outside of the classroom by parents. You could consider the blog as somewhat of a resource list, complete with instructions for use and feedback. If you are a classroom teacher, be sure to check into this blog. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and I’m sure you’ll find sites that you will be able to utilize.

2. TechLearning

This site has a world of information, from best practice, blogs, contests, webinars, tips on grant writing and more. It also includes a free magazine subscription. There is a bit of advertising, but if you can get past that, you will find lots of ideas and tools to assist you in the classroom.

3. Synthesizing Education

These blog posts are all about education. I found the posts to be very interesting, and several of them made me pause to think about what goes on in my school and classroom. Many of the posts pertained to technology in the classroom.

4. Cool Cat Teacher Blog

I really like this blog because it is by a teacher. She has included access to her portfolio, website, free downloads that she has contributed, and more. I found this blog to be very inspirational for blogging from a teacher’s perspective.

5. Special Education Law Blog

Special education can be stressful because of the legal implications for teachers involved. Therefore, I was happy to find this blog. The posts are well written, relevant and interesting. There are also many links included, making site connections quick and easy.


These are my iGoggle screen shots:




Monday, June 28, 2010

Month 4

I've just started month 4 of my EMDTMS program. This month is a lot about collaboration, and I like that. I'm just starting this blog, so there isn't much here, but let's see where it will go!

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