Course 1 Final Project

For this lesson I wanted to integrate technology into the writing workshop. Again with out limited resources and lack of a technology coordinator I was a little nervous.  With everyone finishing their stories at different times I knew going to the computer lab would be hard.  We have no assistant in the lab so I couldn’t send kids down when they were ready and many of my kids had never typed a story before so I knew they would need support.  I came to find out many didn’t know how to make a question mark, quotation mark or know how to save.  In the high school we have several laptop carts.  I went and talked to our MS/HS librarian and luckily no one was signed up to use her laptop cart in the afternoons. My writing block was during the HS lunch period!  Every day I would roll the cart over to my classroom and use the laptops in class.  This was I could help the student who was done get logged on and I could be there to assist them and also the kids who were still editing their stories (though now I wish I had access to laptops all the time!).  Since these computers were borrowed we talked a lot about how they were shared with the whole school and how we had to be responsible when using them.  I created a template in keynote so that the students had the area to type, but also the area to draw once the stories were printed.  They also created a cover, dedication page and all about the author page.  After doing this I realized just how little they knew about basic typing and other word processing skills.  I am glad I did this activity with them as we are planning to do a research and brochure creation project for Earth day and I know now that I am going to have to be very basic with step by step instructions.  They kids seemed to really enjoy typing their stories.  It made them seem completely finished and published.  The students took a lot of pride in them because they said they “look like a real book!”.  Next year we are supposed to have a laptop cart *fingers crossed* from the HS since they are going 1:1.  I hope to allow them to publish their stories more often.  This really showed me the need to have them on more, typing even small things, to allow them to have that basic practice and confidence.

The second part of this integration was after the stories we all typed, printed, illustrated and assembled, the students took photos of their stories using the new iPad cart.  Luckily most kids are so familiar with the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad that it required no teaching from me.  The kids who were not sure just watched a student who was familiar and figured it out.  Such quick learners :)  Then using the VoiceThread app the kids uploaded their pictures of each page of the story.  Then they recorded a video of themselves reading the story over the picture.  After it was over they listened to it back and posted it to their VoiceThread.  They reflected on their reading by noticing how they could become a more fluent speaker (i.e. using a loud, clear voice, adding character voices, more expression, etc.).  This was all to practice for when the parents came in for our final celebration and they read their stories out loud to their mom or dad.  After the celebration the kids could then go online to VoiceThread and listen to their classmates stories and leave a comment.   Here we talked about digital citizenship and the responsibility you have for what you post online and the comments you make online.

Online Collaborative Project Ideas

Research online collaborative projects that you might be able to use in your classroom. Write a blog post reflecting on how technology is changing the learning landscape and global education.
One of the cool sites that Kim Cofino shared with us when she visited our school in February was Projects By Jen.
These projects are so great for elementary teachers!  I think I would like to do the 9th Annual Great Egg Roll Online Project.  It will fit in perfectly with the measurement unit we will be doing at this time!  I am really excited about doing this because I have never done an online collaborative project before.  This course has been inspiring me to try new things that I have not had the guts to try before because I haven’t felt I had any support.  The online support and ability to see other teachers trying new things is inspiring me.  I hope that I can then pass on my inspiration to teachers in my grade level and my school.  My students will be so excited to participate in something this big with other students from around the world.
I think back to when I was a child and going to school.  We had these huge computers that we learned to type on with boxes over our hands so we could learn the home keys and when we were good we got to play Oregon Trail as a reward.  We didn’t have the internet to connect with other students and classrooms around the world.  My students are growing up with this worldwide connection as normal.  They Skype with their family abroad and fathers who are away on business.  They are so comfortable with technology, as is the rest of the world.  It makes sense for them to learn using these tools as well.  I can’t even imagine how my grandchildren will be learning in the future, but I am excited to find out one day.

VoiceThread with my Kiddos

This week’s essential question: Have teaching and learning changed with the introduction of new tools?

So I have checked out the iPads and have decided to use them for a project with my students.  They just finished writing realistic fiction stories.  I gave them each an iPad and they took a picture of each page of their story.  Then they uploaded the pictures to VoiceThread and they are recording their voices reading the story over the pictures.  They really like it (it is also great for fluency practice because the can hear themselves reading!).  The only problem is the tech dept. still has not gotten us headphones with microphones to record into, so I am having to send the kids out one at a time into the hallway to record because there is too much background noise otherwise.  The problem with the hallway has been that a class comes down the stairs and you can hear all the noise on the recording.  It is going to take a long time to finish them only going one at a time. I really wish I had a teacher’s aid or a tech coordinator to help!