Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An Interview with Ralph Fletcher

I had the opportunity to speak with Ralph Fletcher after his presentation at the Literacy Conference on July 25. I'm looking forward to reading his books with my students this year.
Gabcast! Author Blog #6

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Completed Projects

I was very happy when I left class Monday and had my finished projects posted to my blog. It was great being able to give the web address to my brother and cousin and saying, "look what I did in school". I started working on a class blog for my students. My goal is to keep working with all of this media over the next month so I have a good handle on it when we go back to school. I'm going to the Literacy Conference in Frankenmouth. There's a break out session on digital storybooks, maybe I'll get more ideas or create another sample for my students to view. My husband told me he would stay with me Thursday until I meet Devin Scilian and got that interview on gabcast, that will be a cool post.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Digital Storybook

I finished my first digital storybook for the poem "Time" by Valerie Bloom.

Day of Tears Kiosk

Check out my kiosk for the book "Day of Tears"!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Digital Storybooks

As I was working on my digital story bookin class I thought (once again) about what a great instructional tool this will be for my students. It's a great visualization excercise. My students struggle with that aspect of comprehension; digital story books will be a great way to motivate them to develop that skill. I also think it will be a motivating way to have them practice repeated reading and fluency. I'm sure they'll record their stories or poems more than once before they're satisfied enough to edit the recording into their iMovie.
I was also thinking about what a change I'm in for when I go back to school in September. I have loved all the things we've done this semester, but I do believe incorporating all of this into my teaching is going to require a conscious effort to change my ways of thinking and work habits. I am definately looking forward to it though.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blogging, Wikis, & Toys

I'm excited and overwhelmed at the same time. I still love blogging, but the wikis are cool too. I lke the idea of having a class wiki and assigning a different student to update it each day. Parents could log on and see what was covered in class.
I just read the article on using cell phones in the classroom. I was so excited until that nasty little "copyright" word showed up. I have attended MRA conferences in the past and they always have excellent authors talk about their work. I have thought it would be wonderfully motivating for my students if they could hear James Howe or Christopher Paul Curtis read their own books. Recording one of these presentations and posting it on my blog would be great. I knew before I read the "C" word that these authors charge lots of money to talk to groups and recording their presentation probably would not be kosher. I bet some of them would be agreeable to reading a short little excerpt if you asked though. I also liked the suggestion of allowing students to read stories and post them or recording audio books. Mary Bigler from EMU suggested recording yourself everytime you read aloud to your class and then having those tapes and books available to your students in a listening center. This takes the idea one step farther and allows them access to those stories at home where they can be shared with their parents and siblings too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Writing without writing.

This article discussed several concerns that i have about blogging with my students and a couple that I hadn't thought of. First, I assumed that the internet usage slip parents sign at the start of the school year would be sufficient, but after reading the article I'm wondering if there other confidential issues I haven't considered. Even if I set up my blog so that only my students can read them I suppose I may need some additional consent form signed. I also never gave any thought to how much time it would take to load each students' information onto the blog. I could have each of them set up their own blog as I walk them through it, but they type so slow. I don't know if that's true of all middle schoolers, or just my special needs students. I like the suggestion of students using a word processor to write their journals and then pasting it to the blog. I wonder if that will work using the alpha smarts, I think it would. I definately have alot of planning to do before I start setting up my blog.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Blogging in the classroom

I did a project last year on threaded discussion groups. I read an article about it in The Journal of Adolescent Literacy. It sounded like it would be very motivating for students, but I had no idea how to actually implement it. At the end of this last school year my students were participating in lit. circles. I thought it would have been great if they could have discussed the books they were reading with their friends in other classes. Next year I'd like to set up a blog for all of my students to participate in, I don't know how to set up the list of participants though. I think it was in the settings menu, I'll have to play with it some more.
I agree with the IKids article. Our students are so use to having all kinds of technology at their disposal, they have a hard time funcitoning without it. I went to several workshops for special ed. this past year and they all recommended letting LD and ADD students use alpha smarts or a computer to do their writing. I saw a big difference in the content of my students' writing when I finally started giving them the option of using the alpha smarts. I think blooging would be even better because they would have a bigger audience for their repsonses and they would be more motivated to make sure their writing made sense.
Check out the survey I started for my students. I know it needs a little editting.

Day 1

I'm very excited about all the ideas I already have for how to use the blog in my classroom. I hope the technology is available for me to use. It would be terribly disappointing to learn about all this technology and not be able to share it with my students.