Friday, February 27, 2009

Tip Sheets - "How To's" For All Types of Technology

I have just learned about Shawn Brandt and his blog TIP Technology Integration Program. On his blog you will see these Tip Sheets that will come up as Word Documents and provide very detailed directions for using so many technology tools. I was "blown away" by the Tip Sheet on using Audacity for podcasting. The step by step directions finally made it crystal clear to me how to not only use Audacity for recording, but how to exactly turn it into an MP3 file for placement on a website.
Under TIP Projects, Shawn has given us very detailed lessons for using Photo Story (Microsoft) for digital storytelling. Even if you are using IMovie for the Mac, there are good suggestions for creating digital story telling projects.
Take a look at this blog and see how many tools are covered by the TIP Sheets. They are just terrific! A lot of work has gone into each of them! Thank you Shawn.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jen Wagner Opens Registration For St. Patrick's Day Project

Just a reminder if you are not receiving Jen Wagner's newsletters announcing her online collaborative projects - her next project is open for registration. It is for Grades PreK - 3rd. Grade. It is a simple project using Lucky Charms cereal but as you look at all of the activities (all worksheets are not up yet), you will see how many different ways you can incorporate this project into your curriculum. Your students will also be a part of a world wide community of learners who will provide data from many classes.
The project begins on March 16th and final
results WILL be posted on the 20th.

Take a look at and register for The St. Patrick's Day Project
I know you will see many possibilities!

Have a great weekend.

Great Website for Learning About Animals

I was just catching up on reading some of the site reviews from Education World. I came across one that I especially wanted to share as it looked like an excellent site filled with content that students can use to learn all about animals. It is well written with text and design making for clear understanding.
The Animal Fact Guide offers students and teachers information on a wide variety of animals from around the world. Each article features the animal’s characteristics, a map showing its habitat, and other interesting information. There are also links to additional online resources. Users also can download free PDF files of coloring pages, word searches, and mazes. Included is the Wildlife Blog, where readers can discuss and share information about animals and view animal photos and videos. The blog entries that I read were really interesting and would be something to have students check every day.
The Teacher Tools section features worksheets and WebQuests that encourage students to do online research.
All in all this is one of the best websites I have seen for students who want to learn interesting facts about animals.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hi Everyone,

I am home from a long week on the road, but always feeling so good after meeting so many wonderful teachers doing so many wonderful things. Even with all they do, they leave the workshop ready to try new things and explore all that we have talked about.

Today, as I was catching up on my blog reading, Digitally Speaking, actually a Wiki that is subscribed to as a blog, "spoke" to me. It cleared up even further the Creative Commons aspect of Flickr and provided a tool that really makes it easy to determine if a picture from Flickr is acceptable to use on a website and the coding needed to provide credit to the photographer. It is called Image Codr . With Image Codr, you simply enter in the URL of the picture page (as seen in your browser once you click on the image that you want)) and Image Codr will generate the ready to use HTML code. It will also display a brief and easy license summary, so you don't get in legal trouble because you missed something.

Let's say I search for a picture of a tiger. I go to the bottom and click on Get Code which will take me to This Page . There is a place for me to put the URL of my Tiger Picture. I then click Submit Inquiry and I get complete information what I can or cannot do with the picture. Now, if you have not narrrowed down your search to only those in Creative Commons through the Advanced Search you may get many that say "This Picture is Not licensed Under Creative Commons" so you want to do the Advanced Search first to find only the Creative Commons pictures. Once you get the information, there is an HTML code that you copy and paste into your Blog, Wiki, or Website if it is something being published (like a District website). Insert the picture. When the Blog, Wiki, or Website is published it will have the picture and the photographer's name like this.

I am going to show this in my next workshop.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Go North - This Sounds like an Interesting Project

Another wonderful blog that I read is written by Mr. Byrne (cannot find a first name). He calls it Free Technology For Teachers and there is seldom a post that does not provide something very practical for the classroom that shows how technology can engage and motivate students.

Tonight I spotted his referral to a project that I am going to follow. Your students won't actually be collecting data or contributing to the project, but there is certainly a lot to learn by "following" this project. The description he gives is this:

Beginning on Monday, March 2 students in classrooms around the world can follow along on an Arctic dogsled expedition. Go North will give students the opportunity to learn about the Arctic through movies, photos, and audio updates from the Go North team. Students will also be able to map the trip and participate in question and answer segments. Go North is a project sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and Best Buy.

Following along with the Go North expedition is a great way for students to learn about the Arctic. To participate and follow along you do have to register your classroom in advance on the Go North website.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Book Trailers with Photo Story

For those of you who have been to my workshop this year, I have used as a good example of Photo Story 3 from Microsoft, a little book trailer about the book Sammy The Seal by Syd Hoff. I thought using Photo Story this way was a great idea so that children could get to talk about a book that they really liked, and practiced scripting and presenting a shortened version of their favorite parts. They also were engaging in persuasive writing as they tried to encourage others to read the book. I still think that the "child made" book trailers will make for the best learning experiences.
Today, while searching for Sammy The Seal example (the article was lost on the web) I came across an article written by the teacher who had first created it. Finding this, I discovered that there are many, many Book Trailers already done on Photo Story and, although your students would not be actually doing the presentation, they could watch and listen to these and maybe find some books that they would like to read. I think the collection, Book Trailers - Movies for Literacy is great for both ideas and examples. It also helped me refind Sammy The Seal.
I am sorry to say that for those who only use MAC - I have done the research and Photo Story is only available for the PC. You, of course, have IMovie and can do the Book just won't be able to use the ones that are collected here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Fun Site for You and Some Abraham Lincoln Activities

I had seen this once before, but forgot to save it and forgot what it was called. This has nothing to do with Teaching and Learning, but I think it is such a great Homepage, where every website that is a favorite one for many people is right there for your clicking pleasure! It is called AllMyFaves . I saw it again on the blog called Phyllis' Favorites .

Coming up on Abraham Lincoln's Birthday reminded me that I have a favorite Abe Lincoln website that has been around since 1996. I think it was first done by Tammy Payton (I hope I am giving credit to the right person). Anyway, I think it is great when a website is around for so long and I do not believe that good old Abe has done anything new in the last 12 years! Twelve years is unheard of for a website!!!! Take a look at Abraham Lincoln .

And....while I am thinking of Abe Lincoln, I hope many of you signed up for Jen Wagner's HappyBirthday, Mr. Lincoln's Online Project. I think you can still sign up and participate.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Fun Activity That Will Provide Some Reading Practice and some Fun!

I learned about The Tale Of Despereaux: Storybook Adventure from LarryFerlazzo's blog today and can see some real value to having your students enjoy the story, the games, the beautiful layout of the book, and the ability to place themselves in the story. I also liked the words being both seen and heard on the screen which helps to develop fluency as the students follow along. The students can make the story about themselves (even choosing an avatar that looks like him/her) or they can make the story about a friend or a parent or sibling. The book itself is a beautiful virtual "pop-up" book. There are several games offered to them as they go through the story. I did not see the movie, but I am guessing the plot is very similar to the story. I'd love to see more of these online stories, but I think that this one is tied into the advertising for the movie.