Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More on Digital Storytelling

Check out these slides from Lynn Hilt. They outline the value, process, and some tools for digital storytelling. They also point to the value of implementing digital storytelling in the elementary school classroom, but the principles are universal. We all love to tell a story. Digital storytelling just makes it easier and more seamless to share those stories using contemporary tools.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Look What These Kindergarteners Did with iPads

You all know the story If You Give a Cookie to a Mouse. Well, take a look at this Little Bird Tale to see what happens when you give kindergarteners an iPad. Click on the image to view the kindergarteners' story of what they accomplished with their iPads. Their story, "If You Give Kindergarteners an iPad," is both amusing and enlightening, and also reminds us of how given the technology tools and a teacher willing to integrate the tools well, what young children can accomplish. We can stretch their literacy skills as far as possible when we put the tools in their hands and plan our lesson well. This Little Bird Tale illustrates not only effective use of iPads, but also the value of using a tool such as Little Bird Tales for students to create their own books.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Primary Junction on Pinterest

For those who use Pinterest or are interested in finding out how use of Pinterest boards can help primary grade teachers find valuable resources, check out the Primary Junction Pinterest's boards. Click on the image below to access the Primary Junction on Pinterest.

Let me know if you found the boards helpful. If you're using Pinterest to archive ideas for teaching, let us know more about what you've been archiving and how useful you find Pinterest for teaching.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Should Schools Have Internet Filters?

"Teach Kids to Be Their Own Internet Filter," an article that appeared in Mind/Shift, highlights building trust in students by not blocking websites. The article includes a student-produced video made at the end of the year to introduce incoming students to media resources at the school. The premise behind the video is that teachers, administrators, and students need to work in unison to build an environment of trust. Here's the video, produced with iMovie.

For further information, refer to the article: "Teach Kids to Be Their Own Internet Filter."

What is your position on schools blocking sites? Should schools have filters in place? Should we trust students to act responsibly online? How can an environment of trust be fostered in schools?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Follow-Up to Google Hangout with Kathy Cassidy: Learn More about Her Classroom

Kathy Cassidy recently posted a feature article for Powerful Learning Practice. You can find the article via this link:

A Year of 1-to-1 in Grade One

In the post, Kathy talks a lot about student engagement, differentiation, and student motivation to share. Check the post for the details.

If you could as a teacher enter a similar contest to the one that Kathy entered through Best Buy, and which she describes in the post, what would you wish to have in your classroom or for your students?

The post also has a link to a recent article Kathy published in the International Reading Association publication, Reading Today Online. Here's a link to access that article:

What's your reaction to some of the projects Kathy is doing with her students? Now that we have read her book and communicated with her online in a Google Hangout, how has she inspired you to take leaps in your own teaching?

Image source:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wikispaces in the Classroom

Wikispaces in the Classroom released lots of information about the new look and feel of Wikispaces aimed at its use in the school setting. Click on the image below to access the variety of resources Wikispaces is offering to help teachers understand and use all the new features.

Visual Dictionaries for Students

Are you using visual dictionaries with students? Find visual dictionaries to consider from this blog post, on the Free Teachnology For Teachers Blog post: "Five Free Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri for Students." Let us know if you plan to use any of the resources Richard lists in his blog post.

Halloween Ideas

The Teaching Channel has a Pinterest board with ideas for Halloween. You can check out the board by click on the image below. Post a reply if the resources on the board are helpful to you. Also, reply with your own ideas about plans for celebrating Halloween with your students.

If you're a fan of Pinterest, you also might want to check other boards of the Teacher Channel. Click on image below to get to the Channel's boards, where you will find plenty of teaching resources. 

Let us know if you found the Teaching Channel boards helpful.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Do You Know About BiblioNasium?

I heard about this site, but when one of my former students, a middle school special education teacher, ready to go off to Argentina, to teach there, recommended it, I decided to look into it. After I did, I was convinced it was an excellent site to engage students in reading and sharing what they are reading.

I even set up a site myself to explore how the tool works. Here is a glimpse into what I have so far, but I invite you to check out BiblioNasium for yourself, and set up a site for your class regardless of the age of the students you teach.

If you work with young students who are not yet reading, you can post on your site picture books you recommend for parents to read aloud at home or share with parents the ones you are already reading aloud in the classroom. If you work with older students, set up a class account, where students can post what they are reading, write reviews, make recommendations, and add books to a wish list. This truly is an interactive site that engages students in the reading, writing, and information literacy processes.

I love this site, and it makes me wish I were teaching students grades PreK through 8th grade, although I did start to set up a site for EDUC 584 just to experiment with the tools. I found the site user-friendly and liked its search box feature and links to "Resources," which includes a full list of Newberry Award winners.

I have also seen rave reviews about the site from teachers. Here are just a few Twitter tweets to give you an idea of teacher reactions.

Add caption

And here is a video I found in the School Library Journal's review of the site, which you can also read: "BibliorNassium, Social Reading for Kids."

Have you heard of the site? Would you consider checking it out and using it with students?

Global Collaborations

Recently, Jess Lussier and Michelle Gohagon of Regional School District 13 in Connecticut, shared an excellent Google Presentation of the variety of ways in which their students, K-6, have been collaborating globally.  These collaborations include Global Read Aloud, International Dot Day, World Blogging Day, and Poem in Your Pocket Day. To see their presentation, click on the image below, which will take you to the post with the embedded slide show. It's worth your time to learn about the ways young students forge global connections. Each slide about a project indicates how it aligns with Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Have you considered ways to connect your students globally, or even regionally? Share your plans or any projects you have already done to connect students with people beyond the walls of your classroom or school? What do you see as the merits of global collaborations?

The Power of Images on Your Blog Posts

Image: my niece Lauren
Yes, images add interest, but they also help to convey your message. We all know the saying, "A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words."

So, here are 3 posts about why you should use images and where and how to find images, as well as an infographic about copyright infringement myths, which relates to the use of found material on the Internet.

Another place to find images is Pic4Learning, but still Flickr remains my favorite. Just use the Advanced Search feature on Flickr, and you should be set. Open an account to store your own photos in Sets and save the photos you find in Collections. You will then be organized when you need to grab that photo you found months ago or stored ages ago.

I used to recommend PhotoPin, an easy-to-use site, but  once you enter a search term, often you are brought right to Flickr.

Now, here is the infographic, which clears up several myths about copyright infringement. The  infographic has been circulating on various social networks, so you might have seen it already.

Copyright Infringement: 5 Myths vs Facts
by floydworx.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Where do you go to find images for blogs, websites, and other uses? What do you tell students about where to find images to use in their own work?

Do you agree that blog posts and websites benefit from images?

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Sights and Sounds of Autumn

I found this video on Richard Byrnes' blog, Free Technology for Teachers. At this time of the year, and living in New England, consider sharing the video with students. The original video was on The Adventure Blog and posted with the title, "The Colors of Autumn."

Autumn from Thomas Rasel on Vimeo.

Perhaps the video will motivate students to create their own projects centered on the change of seasons, or in particular the fall season. Do you do specific projects in your classroom that celebrate the autumn season?

Byrne also created a blog post, "Autumn Magic: The Colors of Fall", with a variety of resources for teaching about the seasons.

Some of these resources included:

Autumn Stars and Patterns ( a video from PBS)
Fall Foliage Colors (Why Do Leaves Change Colors)

Here is a video Why Do Leaves Change Colors:

What do you do in your teaching that addresses the fall season? Have you found books, online resources, videos, and other materials that students particularly enjoy as we celebrate the change of seasons in New England or other regions of the world? Have you considered creating a book or video with your students to celebrate the fall season, including the holidays of Halloweeen, Veteran's Day, or Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

100 Top Tools for Learning

This slide presentation in a few slides tells what are the top 100 tools for learning. It is worth going through the slides. Interestingly, Twitter is in the number one spot this year. Other popular tools at the top of the list include YouTube and Google Doc. Check the presentation, and leave a comment about which tools you find helpful for learning and which you want to explore in the future. If you prefer, you can view the slides in full screen. Remember to use the arrows to advance through the 14 slides.