Monday, December 8, 2014

December Tech Ideas

Here are a few December Ideas that @JulieRivasLopez and I rounded up for our December Tech Ideas Webinar.

Here's a quick summary of some of the things we shared during our session.
December Tech Ideas Symbaloo (all of our links)

StoryBots has awesome holiday books you can grab for free if you are an educator. 
Apply for your Educator Account

Creating Snowflakes
With the links to create a snowflake, consider having students create a snowflake in the classroom and take it with them to computer lab to see if they can recreate if digitally. Why did it work, why didn't it work.

Creating a Gingerbread Man
Have students create a convincing piece of writing to convince the audience not to eat him. Allow them to create a digital gingerbread man in the computer lab. Extension- take a photo of the gingerbread man with your iPad and use the ChatterPix apps to have students record the plea of the gingerbread man.

Use the StoryBots Tap and Sing App during the class Holiday Party. Consider using the Christmas Karaoke App to enjoy singing, reading fluency, and learn a few new vocabulary words.

I know there are more things we covered, you'll find all the links in the Symbaloo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Parents use Google to Write a Story for Their Child

Parents use Google Presentation to Write Stories for their Children

A Little Background
Our district is not a Google Apps for Education district.  I did have the privilege to help prepare teachers for the arrival of chomebooks. Teachers created their Google Accounts for homework and when they arrived, we dove right into Google Drive.  Everyone created a shared document and we randomly selected a teacher created doc to begin collaborating on.  Ideas began to fill the page. English teachers could see students writing in Google Docs and sharing it with the teacher and other students to proof read.  Teachers could see themselves using the comment feature to leave comments on student work.  Teachers could see themselves carrying a lot less paperwork home with them. They loved the idea of not worrying about a specific tool to open up a word processing document to edit.  "It saves automatically?" "I can see it on my smart phone!"   Let's just say, I had really good time.  I think the teachers did too!

All About Me Story
Two days later, I arrived early to set up for an after school session with teachers.  As I walked into the library, I saw many parents working on the computers. They were lead by two of Literacy coaches I had in my session a few days prior. They were beginning a project with parents to help them write a story "All About Me Story" for their child.

Parents had been invited to attend every other week to work with them.  They had prepared templates for parents and loaded them onto flash drives.  There was a problem, the computers in the library did not have Microsoft Office.

The Principal, that came to my session, had the solution, why don't you try Google Docs?  (Goose bump moment. YES!!!) The two of them took off.  Parents were creating accounts or logging into their Gmail accounts and had their first experience with Google Drive.  Let's just say creating the "All About Me Story" wasn't glitchy and no one lost their work. :)

It was a proud moment.  I was able to see see the results one session had.  It didn't just reach students, it reached parents!  Too Cool!!!

Hello Crayon + Chatter Pix Kids

HELLO Crayon + Chatter Pix Kids

I have been enjoying app smashing for some time now.  When you combine apps, educational fireworks fly in the classroom. If you haven't already, you've got to try HELLO Crayon and Chatter Pix Kids together.

I usually recommend HELLO Crayon when teachers are looking for a free drawing app in the elementary classroom. It has a few great features to make life easy when working with lower grades, there's undo and a fill can.  Trust me, that saves a lot of time when illustrating. ;)

Drawing a character from a book or an example of what you have learned in class is something that can be accomplished with paper and pencil.  When sharing this, I like to share Chatter Pix to allow students the opportunity to add their voice to their drawing.  Chatter Pix records 30 seconds of audio and will make it appear like the picture is talking. You can also download the creation to the camera roll for FREE! This is a great way to give voice to our Pre-K students. Imagine them drawing a circle in HELLO Crayon, they turn it into something they have seen that is an example of that shape.  Now they can explain how they know a whole pizza is a circle.

Check out the how-to my buddy Joe and I created and hear a few ideas for using HELLO Crayon in the classroom here.

Here is an example of something created by a 1st grader when she used Hello Crayon and Chatter Pix Kids.  She explains the problem in the story Chrysanthemum from the point of view of the character, Victoria.

Check out our how-to video for Chatter Pix Kids and learn a few ideas for classroom use here.

Kind or "Kiss Ass"

Here's a blog post I wrote a long time ago.  It's one that I kept in draft until I was ready to share, because I like to share happy things not things that bother me.  Here's to my first post that I wrote while feeling angry.

Don’t mistake being positive, excited, kind and caring for being a "kiss ass."

I really need a second to vent and process something I heard.

I work with many people.  I hear the advice, warnings, and gossip about people around me all the time.  I chose to be an ear, I don’t really add to the conversation and I certainly don’t repeat it.  I don’t like controversy.  I prefer to bring people together. I like it when people accept each other for who they are and help each other out for our students. 

One day, I served a school all day with a technology integrated session. I had a wonderful PLC with a few teachers that inspired me.  I left feeling like technology was being integrated effectively.  I felt that the students in their class were really blessed to have teachers that love teaching.

That same day I squeezed in time to meet with another teacher one on one. During that time it was expressed how happy she was now that she was no longer working with those “kiss asses.” How they came up, I don’t know, but those “kiss asses” happened to be the teachers that inspired me earlier that morning.  They are happy, they are excited, they share, they give everything a try without complaining.  I don’t know what happened between them, I’m not even going to ask.

I just replied by saying I’m really glad that you are happy this year and quickly moved onto the focus, the reason I was working with her.  I did my job and tried to cheer, motivate, and inspire.

I began thinking about things.  The same happiness the teachers expressed in the morning is the same kind of happiness I have when I’m excited to share something I have learned.  I can hardly contain myself.  They are kind and giving people. Oh, I could go on and on about the way these teachers give their time.  I tend to want to take care of people too.  It’s not because someone is important to everyone else or “popular.”  I am kind to people that are important to me. If I go out of my way for you, bring you a Starbucks, meet you for lunch, or stop by to say, hi. I never have hopes of something in return.  I don’t keep score or tabs. I do things because I want to and it’s a gesture that shows I care. 

My vent is to say that I was offended, even though the comment wasn’t directed at me.  I know people have said the same about me.  Yes, I’ve been called a “Kiss Ass.” Off the top of my head, I remember hearing this after I meet with someone I care about, someone I consider my mentor. I met with someone who was there to teach and encourage me when I was a newbie.  She also happened to be my principal at the time.  When I hadn’t seen her at school for an extended time, I worried about her.  Yes, the office staff kept us up to date on the details, but I contacted her and met her for lunch while she was recovering.  I wanted to be there for her because I care about her as a person.  Hearing that someone turned that into a reason to call me a “kiss ass” and assumed that I must have wanted something in return was very hurtful. 

I’m really not sure how I could have peacefully stood up for those teachers without breaking the trust I had already built with the other.  Really, I think it would be like standing up for myself.  I didn’t stand up for myself by confronting the person who said I was a “kiss ass.”  I simply ignored it and moved on with my life.  I won’t let someone bully me out of being myself.

Get to know people for their heart.  It’s a good way to learn what someone's intentions truly are.  Judging someone without getting to know the person or the situation really isn’t the way.