Debz place

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Science and Podcasts

August28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The school that I am currently working in has a new science discovery room opening next term for all classes to utilise. Funding is short and at the moment we are all being asked to formulate lessons of interest and take our own classes to the new facility once a  week. Next year money has been set aside for a science based specialist teacher to run a whole school program.

Now I am not science savvy and the thought of running science experiments weekly has sent me into a spin. Looking  over the net I discovered something of interest. This website the nakedscientist.com incorporates relatively easy science experimenys based aroung household kitchen items.

The thing that really appealed to me with all this new ICT knowledge is the use of pod casting the experiments. The students are able to listen to the naked scientist (there not really naked) as they are conducting the experiment. (All files are in an Mp3 format for easy reference) This could be so good for, not only using it in my discovery room but, with writing procedural text and having other students conduct the experiment using the instructions only. The upper school could also create their own pod cast of simple experiments and then attach video to the audio for other class members to view. Postings could also be shared on class blog pages. Possibilities become endless. This seems like a very exciting opportunity to incorporate science and computer technology.

I have attached the link below for you to view and see if you think it would be fun to use in your classroom.

Keep smiling and experimenting,

Debbie.

How to fire proof a balloon using a pod cast.

 

Digital images – What fun!

August28

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a task to finish on. FANTASTIC!!

I had no idea there was that much editing material available to create very precious photo memories. I could play with this for hours creating albums and memories to keep always.

I used 2 different online programs that were both free and did not require any program downloads. I explored the functions of both Fotoflexer and Picnik. Both worked similar, however I really liked the options in picnik to play with and add extra stickers and framed borders. Fotoflexer used animated stickers that were quite cool to add extra effects and the animated glitter stickers added a nice touch. I also had a go at using befunky but was disappointed because it was rather Americanised and included lots of holiday stickers that were not suitable.

As far as how I would use it in my classroom it is a tool that requires students to move between folders to select photos and then save their finished images in appropriate places. The image effects are good fun and it would be a great class activity to run in a lab where every child has access to a computer. The amount of discussion and sharing of visual effects using this program, would give those children who are not as competent, the opportunity to see and then use this software. It is probably more suitable for grade 3 upwards but could be used as a shared learning experience with younger students using an interactive whiteboard.

I just loved playing with this and can see I will now be spending hours (once uni is finished for the semester) creating a much personalised family album.

Keep smiling,

Debbie

 

Hope you enjoy my photos.

Animoto

August27

 

This morning I had a lot of fun creating my own slide show using a collection of photos of my class this semester. As you can see we have been very busy with lots of enjoyable activities on the go.

The online program Animoto was simple to use with step by step instructions along the way to help you create a video clip. It would be a great resource for students to use to display special days or activities that have occurred at school. The program allowed me to add music to the slide show with the option of using your own selection of tracks.

I would like to see a class use it particularly after camp experiences to present to the rest of the school what a camp is all about. Staff at my school could use it on camp information nights to showcase to parents what activities and facilities are available.

I will defiantly be using this online program in my classroom. Twice a year we have open days and information evenings. It would be great to create such a professional looking ‘story’ of what goes on at school and have it running on my interactive board. It is something I am going to recommend the school looks into purchasing Animoto plus .

I would also like to try and include short videos every few weeks on our class blog page.  That way I feel as if I am creating and fostering that very important link between home and school. Not all parents are able to contribute to the classroom with work commitments or caring for younger siblings. It would a lovely way of sharing with them what goes on at school and particularly in their child’s classroom.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

TumbleBooks – A great e-library to use in the classroom

August25

 

 

An invaluable resource that I use in my classroom almost everyday is called TumbleBooks. It is an e-library full of wonderful stories ranging from early years readers to both middle and upper school readers. It is something that my students have come to expect while eating their lunch everyday. It keeps them quiet and makes for an organised  eating time. The students will come up with title suggestions from something that they may have read at home. They will often include a story in their home reading log  for the night which has created new interest in our class home reading program. Some stories have games and activities attached which are more for fun than a literacy focus.

I suggest that you all read the book ‘5o below zero’. My class has listened to it over and over. I think I can just about recite it word for word. The narration by Robert Munsch is very appealing and the students just love it.

Keep smiling and happy reading,

Debbie.

Creating a playlist using Mixpod –

August25

 

 

I am still on the music path after recently playing with Audacity. So after reading a few other peoples blog’s I thought I would have a go at adding some music to my page. I used MixPod.com to create a playlist and then, following simple instructions, added it to my site. I recommend to anyone to have a go as it was a lot easier than I expected. I hope you enjoy my chosen tracks as I believe this young girl has an amazing voice. Oh! If you are looking for the music selection it is towards the bottom of my blog on the right hand side.

Keep Smiling and enjoy the music,

Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

Audacity

August24

O.K. So I followed the instructions and have found Audacity quite simple to use. The you tube instructions made things very clear and simple. It was easy to down load and being freeware it is something that children can use at home and at school.

I have had a go at recording one of my students that needs a real confidence boost. (See the Mp3 file below) The class was asked to write a short rap song related to a country of their choice. It was only after thinking about audacity that I realised i was able to record his song straight to my laptop. I would of liked to have included effects as suggested on the video but I had saved it and had trouble altering the file at a later date. I was able to erase the few umms and silent spells throughout the short song that made the quality a little better. The students thought it was very clever and enjoyed watching the whole thing.

As a teaching tool the upper school students would be very excited to use it for oral reading or role playing and selecting songs or sounds to use as background accompaniment. As an early years teacher I would love to do something similar and include sounds such as doors banging, crowds cheering or even engines roaring to enhance my story telling. Imagine how engaged the children would be. The students would love this sort of background sounds when sharing our class big books in the morning.

Keep smiling (and singing)

Debbie

Callum’s Rap song

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Whiteboards

August21

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive boards have gained huge popularity in schools in the lasts few years. But have they really improved student learning or have they been a very expensive tool for teachers to feel challenged and sometimes frustrated by ?

I can only comment on my own experiences and that of my school. We use Easiteach software with our interactive boards. The school has recently purchased LCD screens and mounted them on classroom walls. Like with all things new many teachers fear the power of the board whole others have taken off with the new teaching tool. Probably the most important issue that I think any school introducing new technology and software needs to include is good training and plenty of opportunity to practise.

Advantages so far seem to include an increase enthusiasm by the students and myself to teach and learn. Everyone seems engaged and therefore listening to the demonstration of skills and ideas. Probably the one disadvantage that I am experiencing at the moment is the lack if time to create a bank of resources. An issue I think all teachers and students teachers know all to well.

Something that I played with for quite a while, but was so worth the effort, was a interactive classroom roll. The students just love coming in every morning touching their photo and acknowledging their attendance for the day. I have included some instructions below for anyone that wishes to give it a go.

Notes for making interactive class roll

 

 

 

 

 

Keep smiling and have fun making your roll

Debbie.

 

 

Edmodo

August21

 

 

 

 

 

 

After using Edmodo now for a few weeks I thought it might be time to discuss how I could use it in my classroom.

 

At first, having used nothing like this before, I felt very overwhelmed and really believed it was too hard for me and definitely too hard to introduce into a classroom situation.

 

WRONG! I am a big fan and can see endless ways to use it in my classroom. It is a very easy site to navigate around and it is simple for the students to post comments and reply to fellow student’s thoughts and ideas.  ICT is becoming an integrated part of any classroom. The more, as teachers, we expose the students to the correct ways to use such social networking tools the fewer problems there will be later on.

 

The site is very secure and through invitation only can eliminate issues or concerns especially in regards to parents. It allows parents to sit with their children and be involved in their postings and comments.  I could see it being used for homework posting and engaging the class in issues which prompt much discussion and possibly many different viewpoints.

 

It is definitely worth trying and the students will love the different approach to learning both at school and home.

But don’t just take my word for it have a look at this blog page by Justin Cowen who is a Business Education teacher who is  successfully using Edmodo with his middle school students.

 

 

Keep smiling,

Debbie                                                   

 

 

*Narrative writing

August14

The other day I stumbled across a great website that is easy to use and highly motivating for story writing in the classroom. It is called story birds and you can find the link with information below. It is good to begin by just viewing other children’s work and you can even post comments on their stories. We did this as a whole class entry for a story that my students really enjoyed. All you need is a current email address and your away. Many of my class took the details home to share with their parents and begin writing their own stories.

Hope you get the opportunity to use this website and enjoy creating and sharing stories.

Debbie.

 

 

About us: a peek inside Storybird by mark on Storybird

*Blogging in Grade 2

August14

I have been giving a lot of thought to how I would use a blog page  with my grade 2 class.  First I would need to be a little more confident in using this tool before inviting my class to engage in the page. Something I am working hard on.

As a teacher you know your children write better when they have a real audience and purpose for their work. With Blogging it can create an interest in writing with an increase in  quantity and also quality. I have a little boy in my class that is a very reluctant writer. It’s not that he doesn’t know what to write but he is  so slow at the whole handwriting thing. Often he will refuse to write and complete his work. I am very confident Blogging will encourage him to record his thoughts and create an interest in writing again. It is also important that the children realise their work will be viewed by other class members, teachers and even parents. Another ‘real purpose’ to complete quality publishing.

As my first attempt at class blogging I am starting small. We are currently enjoying books by Paul Jennings. I will ask a simple question such as ‘What is their favourite Paul Jennings book so far and can you tell me a bit about it?.  I will keep you posted on how this turns out and whether or not my little reluctant writer discovers the enjoyment of blogging.

Time will tell!

Debbie.

Keep smiling

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