Friday, September 30, 2011

Reading: No-Tech to Hi-Tech

My students just began reading Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas.  I always start by giving students the handmade bookmarks above.  I want them to know why I'm excited about reading, and we talk about the quotes on the bookmarks.  We are reading the paper book (I did encourage students to purchase ebooks if they wanted, but no one did), and we are also doing a lot of supplementing with technology that I think makes for a much richer experience.

Here's some of what we've done so far:
Some things we are going to do:
Through this all, we'll be having face-to-face discussions in book club groups and sharing, laughing, and learning from each other!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friday Finds

Stuff I liked this week:

Then and Now:  The Steps of my Grandparents' Home.

The Two Photo Blog Challenge.  I posted mine above.
For anyone who can't draw like me: A stickman come to life!
Check out Under One Roof to see three generations living in one home in NYC.
I think this is a great video to inspire writing.  From Fifty People One Question.
PhotoPeach is more than just a slideshow creator - you can make a quiz right on your photos.

Finally, lessons in honor and memory of Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

There's Nothing Special About Technology

A couple times in the last week I was asked how I use Technology in my classes and with my students.  Each time I was asked about Technology and or Technology Tools with a capital "T."  I got to thinking about it, and I realized that I incorporate technology with a small "t."  I mean that it's not something separate, or special, or  different.  I don't need to announce: "Now we are going to use Technology!"  It's just a part of every aspect of my classes.

I don't teach in a computer lab, and I don't really have access to bring my whole class to a lab regularly.  Despite that, here are ways that technology was a part of my classes last week:

We discussed Success after viewing videos of the Panyee FC and this guy asking How Bad Do You Want It?
To introduce a unit on cultural identity students first tried their hand at Sorting People by race.
Then students logged into our class Moodle Forum to discuss their identity.
After reading in the book (paper book) stories about Eva Hoffman and Elizabeth Wong, students viewed interviews of both of them online.
I showed students a fun way to expand their vocabulary with Visual Thesaurus.
I tweeted this poster of the the only 12 1/2 Writing Rules You'll Ever Need.
Students reviewed comma usage with this Purdue Online Writing Presentation.
Students read about the news on the KQED Mobile New Blog project, and then checked a mobile news app on their phones to share a current headline.

I used my cell phone's timer app when we did 1-minute timed readings, as well as connected it to the room's speakers to play an NPR interview I had downloaded.  Most days I also had my laptop plugged in and projected so that I could show student writing samples, and online activities and resources they would be doing at home.  I snapped a few photos of students interviewing each other with my cell phone and recorded a model interview with my flip camera.

Of course in between all that, I responded to their emails, commented on their forum posts, added assignments and deadlines to our online class calendar, and updated our Moodle class site.

I like the idea of technology being fully integrated in my class and students seeing that it's just a typical part of learning.  This article also got me thinking of even more everyday ways to model technology to students.  Let's face it:  technology is nothing special to our students, and it shouldn't be that special in our classes either.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Finds

Deliquesce (verb)

 melt away
The ice began to deliquesce in the hot sun.

Cool stuff I noticed this week:

Inside Story Flashcards: the world's most interesting way to learn words.
Want to message your class?  Try Remind 101.
Draw attention with Skitch.
Turbo-charge your vocabulary with Word Dynamo.
What was there? combines historical photos + Google Maps!
Just for fun:  Do you say pop or soda?

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday Finds (Belated Edition!)

It's Saturday, but here's my belated Friday Finds!

I love this series: Interesting Ways
Fascinating population facts: You are 1 in 7 billion.  Are you typical?
Teaching students about their Digital Footprint
Greate quotes about Learning and Change
Cool fonts from fontsquirrel

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your Digital Afterlife

Think about your digital online presence: all the sites you go to, all the social media, email, accounts, and so forth that are password protected, and all of the photos, video, comments, and  memories that are housed in so many different places online.

What happens to all of that after you are gone?  Are you prepared for your digital afterlife?  Here are some links to help in your planning:

Adam Ostrow's TED Talk:  What happens after your final status update?
An example of someone who was prepared:  The Last Post
An NPR Story: After Death: Protecting Your 'Digital Afterlife'
Some useful tips in this article: How to be prepared for death in a digital age.

Some sites that help memorialize:
ifidie facebook app (warning: kinda creepy!)
mynextweet gnerates your future tweets

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Finds

A few things that caught my attention this week:
  1. Breaking Bread Everywhere
  2. I have two boys, so I found this fascinating.
  3. Flubaroo makes grading easy - and it works with Google Docs.
  4. What Children Want from their Teachers 
  5. Larry Ferlazzo's Best Sites to Teach About 9/11

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ingenious or Inappropriate?

Two moments over the past few days caused me to stop and think about the role of technology in our lives.  One: the magical moment of a wedding.  The other: a mundane task in my classroom.

This past weekend I attended a wedding and as the officiant walked down the aisle I noticed he was holding an iPad.  When he got to the front and turned, as the bride walked down to join her groom, he turned it on.  The officiant spoke touching, humorous, and heartfelt words.  The couple's vows were beautiful.  But I couldn't take my eyes off the iPad that was being used.  Ingenious . . . or inappropriate?

Two days ago in class, as I wrote the agenda and homework notes on the board students studiously took pen and paper notes, added it into their cell phones' calendar, or typed notes onto their laptops.  Then there was the student who simply held up his cell phone and snapped a photo.  Efficient . . . or kind of lazy?

What do you think?  Are there still places and ways where technology use surprises you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday Finds

It's been a busy, busy week!  Here's what caught my attention in between teaching my classes:

  1. Evernote makes my personal life efficient, and now this got me thinking I should start using it as a way to share information with my classes.
  2. Why contagious is a good word and how children in India were inspired to infect their communities.
  3. I read this to my college students and my 1st and 4th grade sons: Wishes for a New School Year
  4. Rethinking the power of faces and eye gaze in my presentation slides.
  5. It's not new to me, but I get a kick out of how addictive Free Rice can be when I share it with my students.