Our students are familiar with IPhones, IPods, Apps, etc. As I stated in a previous post, we need to bring our students' world into the forefront of our classroom. So many times we fight their world for any number of reasons, but we need to asks ourselves if the fight is even necessary. Often, when we bring their world into the classroom, we can get the students to do more because they do not view what they are doing as "boring school work". The "IPhone Biography" worksheet that I created allows students to experience the type of education that is meaningful to them. Students determine to whom the phone belongs. They must then determine what apps they think the individual would have on their phone. Students are required to justify why whey have chosen to put each App on the phone. The students must make a "Contact" list (who was close to the individual being studied). You could even have the students identify who would be part of their I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) contacts. The students even get to create an e-mail message. The students tell who they are sending an e-mail to, as well as the significance of the e-mail. Basic information about the individual can be written onto the "Notes" portion of the assignment. Whether you are asking students to create a Facebook page in a Word Document or asking them to design an IPhone, you will get more from them because you are engaging them differently (with their world).
As students write letters and stories, we are forced to correct the text lingo that is intertwined into their sentence structure. Any time I read "u", "i", "l8tr", "idk", "lol", etc. I feel like I am listening to nails on a chalkboard. I began thinking about how to combat this ever present nuisance. What if I taught grammar by bringing text lingo into my grammar lessons. I am going to start forming my grammar lessons around text lingo. I found a great website that will actually translate a sentence into text lingo and text lingo into sentences. Click the image above to be taken to the site where you can do this. Here are a few examples of what I expect to do.
coz John went2 d stoR, he mizd Jills ph cll.
Because John went to the store, he missed Jill's phone call.
When teaching students dialogue, I am going to create an entire text conversation between two people and have them translate it. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experience with this.
I am putting out a writer's challenge! Based on the image provided, have your students write a short story. I ask that you evaluate the writing pieces before they are submitted. I will post the winning story on its own page that will showcase exemplary writing. If you have any questions, please contact me via the "Contact Me" page. This image is available for download by clicking the on the link below.
January of 2011, I began to really look at the possibility of the Xbox 360 Kinect's use in the classroom. I read up on the Kinect and saw its potential. I had been using the Yoostar PC version in my classroom for some time, and knew that Yoostar was coming out with a game called Yoostar 2 for the Kinect. it was a light-bulb moment. I began to collaborate with Yoostar about the potential for their product to be used for the classroom. I also contacted Microsoft about the Kinect's potential for the classroom. I work with both companies for almost a year developing a presentation for the National Middle School Conference. It was wonderful working with and presenting with Ben Friedberg of Yoostar, Inc and Alex Games of Microsoft. When researching the developments of the Kinect for the classroom, I ran across an article from Microsoft's Education page about the Kinect and its use in the classroom. Don't you know, Yoostar 2 is one of the games featured for classroom use! How AWESOME is that. Below is my original article that I published on Edutopia as well as a link to the page for Microsoft's Educational Kinect page.
I am going to create a large Ipad on a wall in my classroom. As I teach different concepts throughout the course of the year, I will either have students create or I will create an "app" that I can place on the Ipad. This will help me to see how many standards I have covered with my students. I will laminate the "apps" so that they can be used year to year. One thing to remember when creating your "apps" is that it needs to be simple. You can design the "apps" in Microsoft Word. I set mine up so that there is a text box within a shape. Try to use little to no text in the "app". This will give a more authentic look. This could be a fun activity for students to do. It would allow them to try to show their understanding of the concept being taught by trying to create a symbol or picture that represents the concept.
UPDATE: Here is the start of my Ipad
The Hunger Games "app"
The Civil War "app"
The Declaration of Independence "app"
The Year of the Hangman "app"
A Wrinkle in Time "app"
Jacob Bryant gets excited because he will be seen taking the place of "Sesame Street" character Elmo in a video during Dan Jones' class at the Richland Academy School of Excellence. Jones uses green-screen video technology in his lesson plans. / Daniel Melograna/NEWS journal
[Education version] (No more death by powerpoint. Create really neat, visually stimulating presentations)
[Education Version] (This will allow you and your students to create websites that they can turn into portfolios. It is by far the simplest website creator I have ever used. Just drag and drop.)
(This is similar to cloud storage. It allows you, your students, or a combination thereof, to store files and access them from any computer. They have a video that explains it rather well on their homepage.)
(This site allows you to tag or bookmark sites that you feel are valid or valuable for your classroom. If you are doing a research project, it helps your students to be able to see what a reliable source looks like. This could also keep them from traveling to Wikipedia for research. If your students find a great website, they can added it to the classes page.)
(e-mail for students)
[Educator version ] (This is one of those sites that you just have to go to in order to understand what all it offers.)
[Education version] (This allows students to create videos that are really professional looking.)
(This site allows you to edit a Youtube video that you find. You can cut the video to only contain the material you want to use.)
(This site allows you and/or students to interact with each other about a book they are reading or have read. It will keep track of the books they have read, and it will make suggestions based on what they have read as to what they may want to get into next.)
(This site allows the students to create a six sided cube that they can convey an opinion, idea, synopsis, etc. through the use of text, video, and pictures. I am currently using it to have students retell what each chapter of a book was about, make predictions about the next chapter, and do an author study, as well as a book review. It is really cool.)
(Great math videos and science videos)
(This is another one of those sites that just needs to be experienced to understand what all it can be used for.)
(SC AN is an online tool that allows you to create scenarios and the students have to evaluate it based on the multiple perspectives you have chosen. There are plenty of prefab assignments already on the site. It is a really neat tool that gives you instant feedback on student performance.)
(If you have ever wanted to connect with a classroom in another part of the world, here is your means of doing so. There are currently over 19,000 teachers that have already caught on to this. Check it out!)
(This site teaches kids how to be safe online.)
(Starter sentences for when you disagree with them.)
(Students can create realistic looking newspaper articles.)
www.only2clicks.com is an interesting website. As a teacher or staff, you can create a set of resources that you would like students to use for your class. You can store them all in one place so that no matter where your students are, they can have access to the websites you have "bookmarked" for them. The page can be set up with different tabs for each content area (Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading, Exploritories, and more). This will help your students to have a more focused experience when doing research. You can also direct them to "valid" resources. It will keep them from Wikipedia, Ask.com, Yahoo! Answers, etc. All you have to do is create an account (make it simple to remember: School Name and password Grade Level or something similar). As students find sites that are "Good or Great!", they can add them to the content page of only2clicks.com. This will save you from having to try to direct all students to this "other" wonderful page that a student found. Once you have begun to build your only2clicks.com page, you will be able to have an amazing resource for students to go to to find creditable online sources.
Museum Box is a FREE tool that allows students to create topical projects. Students can create a six sided cube that tells a story or message about a particular topic. You can have your students upload pictures and create text on any variety of topics. I was introduced to this at the National Middle School Convention. Please let me know if you have used this. Also, if you try this out with your students, please give some feedback here.
Facebook, is it your friend or foe? We are told over and over not to be "friends" with students. Some districts even go so far as to tell teachers that they cannot have a Facebook page. But are there elements of Facebook that can be beneficial for teachers, students, and schools? It is surprising to see how many schools have a Facebook page and yet they tell their teachers not to have one. We have to admit that Facebook is a part of our student’s world, and we need to learn how to turn it into an effective tool within the classroom. I know that many are thinking, 'Facebook is blocked at my school and just about every school in the United States', and you would be right. Which websites should be blocked and which ones should not be blocked is a completely different discussion for another time, but what I want to let you know about is an effective way to use Facebook with your students. Facebook allows you to create a "Group". A "Group" can be set up one of three ways: Open- which means that anyone can join and see what members post (regardless of whether they decide to join the group, Closed- which means that someone must be invited to the group before they can become a member of the group, but anyone can still see what has been posted to the wall of the "group", or Secret- which means that only members can see what is posted and you have to be invited to the group. Why even think about starting a group? Many, many, many students are on Facebook and most of their parents are on Facebook. Most people check their Facebook page before they will ever check their e-mail. A group page can allow you, the teacher, to post announcements about your class, post newsletters, highlight what is going on in your class, and post homework. Parents and students can ask questions, and you can even hold a "parent meeting" without any parents having to show up to the school (This is done with the "Group Chat" feature).
Another benefit to Facebook "Group" pages is that students can create groups for school group projects. They can post pictures of their project to allow other group members to see how things are going with the project, as well as communicate about any questions they may have. The students can use this as an extremely effective communication tool when organizing a group project and while trying to iron out some of the confusing details of a project. If you decide to go this route, make certain that students include you in the group so that you can actually print off the group discussions as part of their participation grade.
This issue always tends to come up, so I might as well go ahead and address it, 'What if my students don't have a computer at home or What about the students who don't have Facebook accounts?' First and foremost, don't use Facebook as your only line of communication with parents. If you want more parents to get the information you send home with their child, and you know that parents are not reading the newsletter that you e-mail them, chances are better that they will read something that has been posted on Facebook. Still communicate with parents via letters and phone calls; the human contact part is still important when building strong relationships. Talk to the parents about your plan to use Facebook with the students as well as with parents. Be up front with them about your reasoning behind the use of Facebook. As far as not having a computer at home...most parents will gladly take their child to the library to work on a computer. If their child is at a library doing homework, they are not elsewhere getting in trouble. This is the kind of homework that students do not mind having.
As always, feel free to share your opinion, but remember...keep it friendly, professional, and if you disagree...state an alternative. Just saying that you do not agree with something doesn't advance people professionally, it only cause an argument and not discussion. :)