Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Revisit to VoiceThread and Some Other Web2.0 Tools

I have a Google Alert for myself, which sounds quite egotistical, but it really serves me much more than it serves my ego. What it does is send me an email when my name is mentioned on the web. I also get emails when other Judi Wolf's names are mentioned.
Today, I got something written by Peggy George (a wonderful guru in this field who has been helpful to me for many years). It took me to this wiki from a WEB 2.0 Workshop that Peggy had conducted This is absolutely full of ideas and further links that just kept me engaged for way too long - but, while hooked on it, I gathered many new ideas and knowledge on the workings of some new tools. The sections on Voicethread. Remember to go to the K-12 portion of Voicethread and when you go to the "Buy" it will show you the free version, Ed.VoiceThread, which is practically Free - I think a one time $10.00 fee. Anyway, I digress......
Two excellent things I got from this Wiki, among many others was the VoiceThread done by someone named Sue, invited people from all over to add to it and to use the pen (shows up when you are recording) to show your location. I am hoping some of you will use this opportunity to practice using Voicethread by adding a comment on Sue's VoiceThread. Find it here. I also liked this very extensive list of ideas for using VoiceThread. It is from Ned's \Keeper Blog. It is called 36 Ways to Use VoiceThread.

Now, to review this posting as I know I have gone from one thing to another. Take a look at the Wiki from Peggy George

Look at and possibly add to Sue's VoiceThread

Check out Ned's 36 Uses For VoiceThread

I hope all of you are enjoying your Winter Break, which must seem to be speeding by. I wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Online Story Site

I hope that many of you are enjoying some well deserved rest and that checking in on my blog is one of the only "school-related" work that you are doing this week. Many of you, I realize will have put school on the "back burner" and will not check this blog until well after the holidays. However, when you do have a few moments, I would like you to take a look at this new website for online stories and much more. It is called Speakaboos and it is so darn cute that you will want to take some time to "play" and listen. There are plenty of stories to listen to, a free one to download, and others available ready to be put on an IPod for $.99. But this is so much more than just a "listen to" website. It is also a place where students and adults can record a story. What a wonderful way for a child to practice reading and to strive for fluency. What a wonderful place for adults to read stories to faraway grandchildren! Older students can read stories for their younger Reading Buddies.
I learned about Speakaboos and some of the ways to use it from one of my favorite blogs, I Learn Technology . This blog also points out that there are free story guides complete with themes to reinforce the story message and has comprehension questions. There are also printables that you can use with Speakaboos.
If you have little ones at home or visiting over the holidays, you will want to bring them along as you explore this site.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very, very Happy Holiday. However you might celebrate the holidays that come at this time of year, my hope for you is that it finds you surrounded with family and good friends. I will be bringing the sunshine so badly needed in snowy Seattle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Great, Free Teacher Tool

I know I had not blogged for awhile, as I hadn't really seen anything earth-shaking. So, today, two things came to my attention, thus the second blog of the day.

This is a simple teacher tool used to make word searches, crossword puzzles, and word scrambles, with pre-selected words around a theme, or from your own words. Although it looks very simple and nothing fancy, the printed worksheet resulting from a few clicks is a really nice looking worksheet. Some word searches I have seen in the past are printed out very small and not the best for the younger students. This looks very readable.

Check it out at The Lesson Corner. Make your life easier!

Christmas In The Classroom

I know that for many of you, the website I am going to share with you will not be one that you choose to use in the classroom. For some, you might want to share this with parents, and for others it may become a part of your week before the holidays. I say this, because the diversity of your population will probably dictate whether you are able to do one particular holiday with religious significance. However, I know that I have had many participants in my workshops from private church-based schools and Christmas is very much a part of the curriculum this month. Although I am an advocate of the separation of church and state for all public schools, I could not really see the harm in sharing this delightful adventure for the "Santa Believers" in all of us.

Google is helping to keep our eyes on the sky in search of a jingling sleigh led by reindeer and carrying scads of presents, and a man in a big, red suit. They are making it easier for you to find Jolly Ole St. Nick by once again partnering with NORAD on the 2008 NORAD Tracks Santa website. From now until Christmas eve, you can read about the history of the Santa Tracker, see a countdown to take-off, view updates from Santa's Village, and play holiday-themed games – a new one released each day – at the Kids Countdown link. The fun really begins on December 24th when at 3am PST, Santa lifts off into the northern sky to begin his trek around the globe. NORAD tracks his progress in real time, marking his stops and his current location in Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile. In addition, strategically-placed Santa Cams feed videos of his flight to YouTube and to the NORAD Tracks Santa video page.

Take a look at the Kids Countdown Link and I guarantee a smile on your face!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Family Internet Safety

I have always been convinced that most parents would like to be involved when it comes to teaching their children to use the Internet in a safe manner. They want their children to utilize all the benefits of the Internet, but worry with a sense of foreboding that there could be an element of "danger" lurking online. They often warn their kids about not providing too much information online, but they really do not feel equipped to actually plan out a strategy for keeping their children totally safe online. I would bet that they would be grateful for a little help with this issue!

Clicky Live will be an online program scheduled for Wednesday December 10th at 5:00 and 7:00 PM (EST). Parents and children can log on together and learn about Internet Safety during this live broadcast. Parents can think of this as a great way to "start the conversation" about how their children can keep themselves safe while enjoying the benefits of the Internet. The instructions on joining this online program from the website are:

1 RSVP– Go to Clicky Live to register yourself or your group! Clicky will be giving special shout-outs to kids and groups who register!

2 Download the Activities– For more fun before and after the show, download
and print copies of the NetSmartz activity pages.

3 Log on– Go to www.NetSmartzKids.org/ClickyLive at the scheduled show time.
If you’re watching with a group, you can use one computer with Internet access connected to
an LCD projector or a computer lab where each child has a personal computer.

4 Ask Clicky Questions– During the show, Clicky will read your questions and answer
them live! You can ask Clicky just about anything—from what his favorite color is, to how to deal with cyberbullies. And get ready because Clicky will also ask you questions and read your responses live!

By e-mail- Send in your questions before or during the show to Clicky@NetSmartzKids.org.
By phone- Call (703) 837-6238 during the show to ask Clicky your question. You can also call
and leave a message for Clicky before the show— he may play it back live on the air! If the line is busy, don’t give up; Clicky has a lot of questions to answer! Remember to get permission from your trusted adult before you call!
By IM- Instant message Clicky during the show using any one of the following applications.
The applications may be downloaded for free from the Internet.

5 Tell us what you thought!– The folks at NetSmartz want to know. We’ll be sending out
a short survey via e-mail. If you liked the show, then let us know so we can schedule more!

One more, maybe crazy idea at this time of year, would be to invite parents to school and show the broadcast on a large screen to the parents and students, following it up with a discussion of online safety!