Tag Archives: VoiceThread

Course 5

The Revolution of Revolutionary Biographies

Realized that I never posted a link to our Middle School U.S. Revolutionary Biography lesson. The format is not UbD, but it is similar and it is the format we use at our school. The steps we have taken have been outline in previous posting, which I will also link to. We continue to work on the lesson, however now that we have time to breath a bit we are also playing catch up in other areas as well. In small schools like ours we were many hats and only have one head! I’ll get back to you with some finished products in the near future!

The links below take you through some of the steps and thought processes from the start of the lesson to where it currently stands. You could also scroll down on the blog and start with the posting titled “A Life Preserver Please!”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Link to Lesson Plan:

Revolutionary Biographies Lesson Plan

For Rubrics to the lesson check out Diana’s Blog:

Diana’s Blog

Feel free to ask any additional questions that you might have!




Course 5

Life Preserver II

Life Preserver Cont…

With Mary Dodson Wade’s visit over and the foundation set, Diana went to work presenting the biography project to her middle school LA/SS class.  My plan would be to come in as much as I could in between play rehearsals. Since I was not one to be teaching the writing part my primary focus was on assisting kids through their technological endeavors.

Introducing historical biographies

Before the lesson began Diana and I were looking at ways in which we could incorporate technology. The kids had been shown a number of presentation tools throughout the year including, vuvox, voicethread, Comic Life, voki, storyjumper as well as others. These would all be options to the students, but my hope was that some students would be able to locate their own tools. Tools that might better cater to their target audience of K-2 students. I had high self-fulfilling hopes of learning about something new from our student with this option for self-exploration.

The students/teacher list of tech tools grows!

The larger issue for Diana and I became the aspect of collaboration with the outside world. Mary had already physically graced us with her presence, but perhaps she would be willing to continue this little experiment of ours virtually. Diana composed and sent of an email to Mary asking if she wouldn’t mind taking on the roll of editor so to speak. Students would send off their final drafts along with a lovely thank you note to Mary who would in turn offer the students suggestions prior to “publishing” their final drafts. Originally we had planned to only share in person the finished stories to our K-2 students and virtually with the middle school students at our sister school in Duri, three nauseating and bumpy hours away. Then it occurred to us why not let our kids present them to the K-2 students in Duri as well. It would require us to work out some logistics seeing as our students would potentially be using a variety of tools. Skype may work for part of the presentation, but not all. Perhaps screen share would work. Needless to say we needed to wait and see what tools the kids final settle on using and then get out fantastic Tech Coordinator Barry involved!

In the meantime Diana and I would continue to facilitate. Guide the kids when guidance was needed and make sure that they stay the course due to our limited timeline. I was already seeing how easy it was for them to get sucked into one site without exploring others.  So for now students are busy gathering relevant data on their historical figure, finding or creating images to use and ultimately deciding what tools would work best for their presentation.

Stay tuned…

Course 3

Pass the Mic: Personal Naratives

The idea for this UbD lesson came up as the school was planning our middle school cultural field trip and after week 4′s lesson on digital storytelling. A colleague (and COETAIL cohert) and I saw the potential to hit several standards in both Language Arts and Performing Arts as well as create a very exciting and meaningful lesson for the kids.

Students would be able to build on Performing Arts skills such as vocal expressions, vocal variety, diction, gesture, and overall confidence in a oral presentation…something I need to work on myself.

In Language Arts students would keep journals with daily entries while on the field trip. Students will rework their journal entries into a readable script.

In Performing Arts students will work on reading scripts out loud and to each other with regular critiquing for perfecting presentations prior to recording. At this time students will continue to develop the vocal skills required for a successful oral presentation.

A number of the accompanying chaperones from the field trip will compile photos and a CD of images will be burned for all students. These images will then be used by students and inserted into their oral presentation projects using voicethread.com.

We’ll follow the same format we used when we made “Grandma Jo’s Cupcake Blues”, but as mentioned above, go with voicethread.com as opposed to vuvox.com.

So that’s kind of the plan in a nutshell or two! We will see how it goes soon! The field trip start tomorrow!

…and here is Course 3’s final project. A joint collaborative effort between Middle School Language Arts and Performing Arts. Always looking for feedback! Enjoy!

UbD: Personal Naratives

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Course 3

Take a Picture!

Well that was enjoyable!

Course 3 introduced us to a multitude of options and effective practices in the use of visual media. The tools and philosophies presented were inspiring and some even immediately incorporate in to the classroom. Where previously I felt a hesitation to apply many of the new technologies introduced, but these particular new toys (VuVox, VoiceThread, Comic Life, etc.) and new ways of looking at uses for old ones (PowerPoint) began to feel familiar much quicker and dare I say it, fun!

The amount of programs/websites tools available now is absolutely astounding, yet super exciting. The link to cogdogroo was eye opening with its list of over 50 tools to assist in the creation of digital storytelling. Granted I wish I had seen it last spring when I was wrapping up another online course in technology integration from a California university. At the time I was given very little to go off of in regards to digital storytelling, yet I was expected to write about how I would use such a tool in my own classroom. The idea was completely new to me and almost entirely dismissed. Hate to sound like an rear end kisser, but really a big thank you to Jeff and Kim for presenting digital storytelling in a more inspiring light. The possibilities are truly endless and more importantly engaging for students.

As a visual learner the power of imagery has never surprised me. That being said I have come to realize that I was not using visual literacy in a manner that was most effective for student learning. PowerPoint presentations were drab and cram packed with too much text and super saturated with long spiels by yours truly. It needs to be concise, to the point and exciting. I’m taking cue from the advertising world. We know that the biggest consumers and most easily influenced are the youth today…the tweeners…the teenagers. Major corporations are more successful than ever before in selling their products to this age group because of excellent advertising campaigns. It’s concise, to the point, memorable and it all involves visuals. So take a picture!

I look forward to seeing what lies ahead in the COETAIL program. Feeling anxious and antsy though about that final presentation to the rest of the class in March. Public speaking ranks about as high as eating lutefisk for me. Looking on the bright side I suppose I could use lots of visual imagery to get my point across and spare you all of my stutters and “umm…umm…ummms…”