Teaching children to be good citizens is just as important as teaching academics. Children need to be guided to speak about others with respect even when they are angry of frustrated, jealous or confused. Now that most children have access to the Internet, we have to broaden our guidance to their behavior online. From how they respond to others, to what pictures and videos they post, websites they visit and games they play. I am in the middle of a long process of reviewing videos that define aspects of digital citizenship and provide engaging examples for students to learn the necessary warnings. Here are some links I like so far. Check back for more soon.
Teaching Digital Citizenship:CommonSense.org:
Stay Safe on YouTube: (2.5 min) Google Family Safety
Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks: Google Family Safety
Digital Footprint explanation (2min)
Do You Know Who You Are Talking To? (25sec)
Sexting Warning: (30sec) for older students:
Sexting definition: (1:14) For older students:
Pinterest is a great resource for ideas in the classroom. But on my last walk through, I found many of the authors are now charging fees to download their material. Although I support any avenue for a teacher to get paid for her hard work and personal creations, it is nice to have alternatives, and sharing is the way to go. On this site, http://www.teachershelpingteachers.org, you will find endless ideas for bulletin boards and activities that teachers post just to share – for free! So borrow, steal, use, and share your own unique ideas. So many great, yet simple and cheap ideas to use in your classroom right now!
So, I was wandering around on the Internet this morning and came across this really cool site, Voice Thread. To sum it up quickly, it is a place to post pictures and have others visit and comment. While they record their comments, they can interact with the image by circling or pointing. The end result is a collection of everyone’s comments, whether in recorded voice or text. The following link will take you to an easy to understand tutorial on how to use this freeware. I encourage you to click on it and just see what you think. And as you watch it, just imagine the possibilities in the classroom!
What a great way to use technology and save school funds at the same time! Because of financial cuts, many schools have had to stop taking field trips. A new avenue that is growing daily on the Internet is virtual field trips. It is worth your time to check out what is available by searching with the phrase, virtual field trips and include the content you are interested in, for example, “virtual field trip castles” will get you an interesting link with great photos of real castle remains. Some trips are better than others, but you are bound to find something that enhances your lesson. On this particular site, http://teaching.monster.com/education/articles/8847-5-best-virtual-field-trips, I can guarantee the high quality and educational potential for these 5 trips. Good luck! And have a great trip.
If you don’t already know of the website: Ted: ideas worth spreading, it is time to check it out. It is simply put, my favorite mind candy. You can listen to short and concise lectures by the best of the best professionals out there. The subjects range from science to art to spirituality and more. And don’t even get me started on Ted ed. That is another post altogether. I encourage you to go to Ted and in the search spot, type in “gaming” to then get a list of lectures to click and watch. Then sit back and have your eyes opened and your mind challenged. I am becoming more and more passionate about bringing gaming into the classroom. It isn’t a new idea, plenty of experts are working on it. But my mind is swimming with the possibilities. Go to Ted . If only to find a fantastic place to learn new ideas.
I just read an article for my masters written in 2009 by Anne Davis and Ewa McGrail. It made me rethink how to have students proofread their stories. I know I am not alone, teaching the skills of proofreading has always been a struggle. The students hate it, they put forth little to no effort and in the end, the product is not where it could be. Why? This article in The Reading Teacher explained that the focus is usually on typographical errors, grammar, and sentence structure. The problem is, students intend for their stories to be read and understood the way they have it in their head, but they fail to communicate it in written word. In other words, they don’t hear their stories read by someone else to hear what the actual product sounds like. Answer to this, have the students hear their work. I’ve used partner reads before. And even if the students are able to focus, the results are moderate. This article suggests to use a teacher podcast to have the students hear their work, while they have the written story in front of them. Thus, combining visual and auditory. The teacher records her voice through a program like audacity or garageband and makes it available for the student to listen while looking at their work, marking the problem areas. The student can repeat this enough times to make all the necessary marks for improvement.
This article goes on to say that this process does not have to happen with all the writing , but with a few every once in a while. The teacher in this article noticed her students started changing their writing process to include reading out loud what they write.
I encourage you to read this short article. I am excited to bring this strategy into the classroom!
Davis, A., & McGrail, E. (2009). “Proof-revising” with podcasting: Keeping readers in mind as students listen to and rethink their writing. The Reading Teacher, 62(6), 522-529. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/203282542?accountid=31683
This link will take you to a long list of great websites for various ages. Check some out and if you already use some, challenge yourself to get familiar with 5 new ones. When parents ask for recommendations for the holidays, you can be ready with a list.
BYOD = Bring Your Own Device (handheld internet-connected)
This may seem like a disaster. But actually, it’s the answer for more and more teachers. With budget cuts increasing yearly and no end in sight, we can’t sit back and wait for the school to purchase computers for each student. And we can’t continue on without bringing technology in the classroom in a meaningful way. Before you panic and imagine the chaos that will ensue, read some of these articles and watch a few short videos. Then instead of always being the naysayer, you can choose to be the informed professional who has an opinion based on facts.
Okay, so you might know that Twitter is a way of telling the world that you just tripped over a curb or ate the best apple pie ever. But actually, twitter is a great tool for educators to be a part of professional chats. These chats are scheduled for a specific time and as long as you have access to the Internet, you can participate anywhere. Check out this article from Edutopia. I think you will look at Twitter in a whole new way! http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitter-expanding-pln
As well, watch this short video of a teacher explaining why she tweets.
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This site will be a place to relax, to learn at your own pace and to get the support you need to bring your instruction to the 21st century. You can come here for easy helpful hints, tricks of the trade, links to understandable articles and quick reads that will inform you at the level you are most comfortable with. Whether you just started teaching or are one of those wise veterans, this can be your hub and your safe place to begin. Welcome.
My name is Christine Southern, I taught for eleven years from grades 1-4 before taking a decade off to raise three boys. I am now completing my masters at American College of Education in educational technology. I understand the issues of being pressured to make big changes with technology in the classroom. I know how many of you are frustrated with these pressures, believing that the tried and true ways of teaching should not fade away. I also understand how difficult it is to be a novice with personal knowledge of technology and little to no training on how to incorporate it in the classroom.
Please visit often and participate in the discussions. Don’t ever be insecure in your lack of knowledge about technology. I will help you get the information you need. No question is too simple.