Saturday, May 19, 2012

n2teaching's WORDLE Group (weekly)

  • …Word Clouds in Education Series: Part 1 | 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning

     In this series of posts I will cover:

    12 Tips in Using Wordle  (Some you may now… but other you may not.)
    Over 10o ways  to use Word Clouds in the classroom
    There is more to Word Clouds then Wordle… other awesome word cloud generators
    Beyond word clouds… cool sites and applications to integrate word clouds

    Tags: wordle, tips, tricks, word_clouds

Posted from Diigo. The rest of WORDLE group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Winsome Wednesday: Build Your Wild Self

When given half a chance, children love to create and be imaginative. Use the web application, BuiLD YouR WiLD SeLF, and watch kids' creativity and imagination in learning...

run wild....

BuiLD YouR WiLD SeLF is a web application. Anyone can use their imagination or their knowledge of animals to create their own animal for a special habitat using this web application. Provide a platform for your students or children to build an imaginary avatar. Once their WiLD SeLF is created, they can use it as a desktop image, an avatar, or any similar application. Kids can compare and contrast various traits of humans and animals. They will also get a chance to learn about the habitats that some zoo animals would live in their natural homes.

Use this web application as:

A. the anticipatory set for new lessons in science, social studies, language arts, writing or other subject.

B. an example of animal habitat information to be studied utilizing many learning strategies; especially Compare/Contrast You can build a lesson about animals and their environments.

C. a formative assessment to determine if students can describe/explain why they used a particular environment or body part.

D. a reward for effective learning behaviors.

The web application, Build Your Wild Self was created for the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, and other New York City Zoos, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Trait: Sentence Fluency

We follow deer tracks in the mud, pretending that we too are wild beasts.
and so it begins! What happens when you prejudge a book recommendation from a colleague simply because of its name or its audience? For me, that's pretty rare, yet it happened with Guyku. Because I trust the educators of my PLN (Professional Learning Network), I changed my mind, I read Guyku. It's great, so I say, "Go with it!" With that in mind, I've decided to review this highly recommended book with a specific audience. I'm wondering if children who read Guyku will really care that the title makes it sound like it's a book for boys, yet I think most young ones will enjoy this book. I just read GUYKU, because of this trust within my Professional Learning Network. This book would be a satisfying read for boys or girls. While, the story of Haiku for guys sounded like a book that only a boy could love, I was impressed that the story would probably be well received by boys or girls. As I have written on many Tuesdays, I'm giving GUYKU the Six Traits of Writing treatment. While this book could be used to teach many traits, especially WORD CHOICE and SENTENCE FLUENCY. I selected SENTENCE FLUENCY because I think the Haiku message can be taught within the context of the fluency trait. In Guyku, each sentence is written in the poetic form of Haiku, yet the style and meter of each sentence is NOT repetitious. Quite the opposite. With sentences like
Hey, who turned off all the crickets? I'm not ready for summer to end....
With baseball cards and clothespins, we make our bikes sound like motorcycles....
it appears to me that this is a great opportunity to show your students how cool varying sentences in a similar (Haiku) format can be. Join me. Review this book.
Other educators who have spoken high praise for GUYKU: IMAGE: "Join the Guyku Club" by Peter H. Reynolds taken from the Guyku website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Trait: Ideas and Content

Tuesday's Trait: Ideas and Content highlights the story Drylongso. Drylongso BY Virginia Hamilton Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkey

Drylongso is a realistic fiction story, set in the 1970's. It is the tale of a farming family in the drought-stricken Great Plains or Midwest. The story could have happened in one of the many places with red dirt, including the Oklahoma Panhandle. The ideas and content of this picture book make is a great candidate to encourage and practice effective writing among older elementary students. The story is mature enough that it could be used as examples for middle school students. The big idea of this story is how natural forces can reinforce poverty. The poverty refers to the low economic standing of subsistence farmers, especially among African Americans in the drought stricken region. The poverty is represented by the meager types and amounts of food, lack of water, and other primary needs. Lindy's family in the story Drylongso never went hungry, but they were always on the verge of hunger. This could be a great opportunity to begin a conversation about hunger. First, define: What is hunger? This could be a lively discussion, because some may believe the tiny twinge when a meal is a few hours late describes hunger. Many of them may never know what it is like to be truly hungry and go without food for more than a day. While this could be a tricky topic, you will do well if you ask the students to share their stories in the third person. For example, you could ask, "Do you know anyone who has ever told stories of being hungry?" If they tell stories about themselves, it might be best if others don't know. That is one purpose for using the third person. They may know relatives who lived through The Great Depression of the 1930s, and they can tell their stories. Telling stories would be a great opportunity to develop related projects and tell the stories of your students' families. Students could interview friends and relatives and make a presentation. If your students don't have anyone who might have been hungry, you could use Skype or some other communication device and interview some people who lived through hunger times here in the United States of America or other countries. The secondary, yet important idea of the story is the drought itself. The drought is so pervasively discussed in the story that it really becomes one of the characters. Briefly, yet powerfully, the author discusses the drought using ideas and content that make you feel dry, dirty and tired from all the work that must take place to avoid the major problems of the drought. The description of the dust storm is very realistic. As an introduction to an important character, Nature, Virginia Hamilton does discuss the 20 year cycle of droughts in the setting. The turning point in the story is the dust storm that brings a new character, Drylongso. He arrives as an enormous dust storm spins into the story. His arrival is reminiscent of a modern day, muted Pecos Bill riding a dust devil into town. Drylongso, a boy a bit older than the family's daughter Lindy, is taken in by Lindy's family. They give him water to drink and use to clean his face, and they feed him. Drylongso tells the family how he was separated from his father during the dust storm and became lost. As the conversations continued, Drylongso revealed that he could use a dowsing rod to find water. Then he uses his dowsing rod to locate an underground spring in the dry creek bed that can be used by Lindy's family to help improve their water situation. They can water their animals and their garden, and this new water source is an inspiration for new positive feelings about their situation. Having helped the family, Drylongso says he must return to his father, and he disappears into the West. Characters: Lindy MamaLu Dad Drylongso

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Internet Grapevine is still local!

Treat your colleagues as you want to be treated. Don't share information that might let others in your local area recognize them. Gather closely for I tell you a tale of poor choices, a tale of a young teacher whose pride overcame her ethics, a sad tale that must be told. I'm the online observer, and I share her tale.

It seems to me that many who use the internet still believe that they are anonymous....that's just not true. One of the teachers in my Professional Learning Network chose to share information about a colleague that was not appropriate, yet this teacher never did understand that sharing without permission is wrong. As far as I could tell, this teacher was spreading gossip.

In the fall of 2011, my Professinal Learning Network was discussing the merits of an individual teacher's form used to help guide student/teacher learning conferences for mathematics. The teacher who shared this form is highly regarded as a technology teacher in our group, yet readily admitted that math is not their strong suit. The negativism and bias of this teacher towards a local colleague seemed shocking to me. I think it may be difficult to trust someone who takes the work of others, downloads it online, and tears the content to pieces.

The teacher in our PLN decided that a colleague's conferencing sheet was not appropriate and shared a link for this conferencing sheet. The irony is that the teacher in our PLN had no problem stealing another teacher's work and sharing this information all over the internet. What was most amazing to me was the fact that they were colleagues in the same school.

Since I didn't know at first that the teacher in our PLN didn't have permission to share the conferencing sheet, I looked over the document. Other teachers also looked it over, since we all share information with everyone in our PLN. Those of us who like mathematics and teaching mathematics found the conferencing sheet to be appropriate tool for teacher use in monitoring student progress. We learned afterwards that the teacher who shared the document with us didn't have permission to do that. I was concerned and frustrated that someone in our Professional Learning Network would do that, yet there it was.

In my experience, teachers collaborate to make a good idea better, but that was impossible because the teachers' work had been displayed online without their permission. Most of those in our PLN believed that some simple changes to the conferencing sheet could help make this a helpful tool for the student. Others thought the form was not appropriate. I thought the form was a very useful teacher tool, yet it could be easily modified for effective student use.

I was shocked that our colleague would do this to a fellow teacher, especially as the teacher didn't know it was being shared among our online group. Without getting permission from the author, it would be unethical to show a copy of it online.

I think it would be a really great idea, if we could consider that the same ethics that guide us at school also guide us, as teachers, when we collaborate or teach online. Ask for permission before sharing a colleagues OFFLINE work. If the work is online and public, you must still attribute the work to the author. This would be a great lesson for all teachers to follow, so they can feel comfortable when teaching online ethics to their students. As the saying goes,
Don't tell me you will do the right thing, show me!