Tweeting: Effective or Useless…in the Elementary World?

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Twitter. I don’t know about you but I am more than bored with “He tweeted….,” or “she hit Twitter with…” This type of hype gets old really quickly when you see it on the news stands and hear it on the radio and television. It seems not even our nightly news anchors are immune to Twitter. But can Twitter truly be an effective tool in an elementary classroom?

Teach Hub has a lot of cool ideas. Global Digital Citizen did as well. Teachhub.com had one listed about connecting classrooms. This could be something as easy as connecting you with your grade level in your own school, connecting all the same grade levels within a district, or connecting you with a class half a world away to share and learn with one another. Another way it seemed to be useful was in summarizing what you have learned. So many students do not “know” what they learned today. Here is a way to collaborate with the class and post what you learned today in Math, Science, Social Studies, and Reading.

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Global Digital Citizen said this was a good way to silence blurters. I guess so, but eventually the blurter may get really good at hashtagging and as teachers and schools we may just not want to go there. #myteachernevercallsonme, #myteacherhatesme, #billyisstupid, #jasmineisboredtoday are just some examples. So in elementary school I think it needs a bit more control by the teacher.

Global Digital Citizen also had a few I did like. One was in sharing bite-sized learning. You could also set up their upcoming lesson by: Be sure to know what the definition of energy. Science is coming. #MrsPaceslittlebobcats5  Of course the hashtag for something like this would need to be class/teacher specific that they all were following.

Global Digital Citizen also had some great uses for Twitter with ELA and writing.

Capture 5 of 5 ways to use Twitter in Classroom

These seemed like a great way to use Twitter to practice a lot of things they learn but we don’t always have a lot of time to go back to daily. It may also get some students to participate who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable calling out answers aloud in the word games and grammar reviews.

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Using the University of South Alabama’s Marx Library, I was able to find a peer-reviewed journal with an article entitled, “Twittering About Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom” by Jeff Kurtz. It was published in Horace, Summer 2009, Volume 25 No. 1.  One of the things he did was have the class to collaborate to sum up the day’s learning. They had to come up with a message. Then they had to revise it to be 140 characters or less and edit it for correctness. They had to consider the needs and backgrounds of their audience so it was appropriate. Then the message would be tweeted. This activity of the class tweeting as a whole led to the class learning to tweet as individuals. It had his students looking at how to be concise and…wow! Isn’t summarizing one of the most difficult standards to teach?

Mr. Kurtz said he had wondered in the beginning if it was going to be worthwhile and worth the investment of time (the most precious commodity of teachers). In the end he said it was worth it.

This being what it is, as teachers we need to know how to ingrate technology into our classrooms in positive manners. We can be the ones who show parents (and the public) that social media is not always the dark horse it is made out to be. Like all tools, Twitter, or any micro-blogging application, can be used with positive rewards. It is up to the teacher to find a way to make its use positive in the classroom.

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Blogging My Way Through This Course (EDM 510) Post 8 – Teaching is Elementary

Today I found a great idea. I found a blog written by N. Carroll. It is called Teaching is Elementary. Mrs. Carroll is a 22 year teacher and currently teaches grade 4.

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In an October 2015 post she wrote about lessons on the go with The Walking Classroom. This is a cool concept of getting a pre-loaded class set of Walk Kits. They have over 100 pod casts on them which are grade level and Common Core appropriate. They run 20 or so minutes of a lesson and students are outside, walking a predetermined route on campus to put some exercise and fresh air into their daily lessons. It can’t be a bad idea. Right now the two available programs are grade 4 and grade 5. Their site states they are content standards appropriate for grades 3 – 8. There are History, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts podcasts.

The Walking Classroom says there is much research and data to confirm the link between exercise and cognition. This may tell us why they remember what Janie said on the way to school when they were walking and why they can’t remember what their teacher instructed them in while they sit idly by. According to the Walking Classroom site, “PHYSICAL ACTIVITY improves a youth’s perceptual skills, intelligence quotient, achievement, verbal tests, mathematic test, developmental level, and academic readiness.” There is a picture that shows there is a lot more brain activity going on after that 20 minute walk than without it. We’ve been making them rest after P.E. or the brain break they’ve had at lunch. What have we been wasting? Wow.

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There are also lesson plans to be downloaded that work with the podcasts so there are the checks and balances administration has learned to love and teachers have learned to depend on.

This program can surely benefit all students with activity and learning, but  children who are lower seem to benefit the most. They also believe they can be a wonderful tool for students alternative learning styles stemming from diagnosed ADHD, dyslexia, and/or autism.

Even if this was a twice a week activity, the benefits would be great. The one time cost can be between $2,500 and $3,000. What an awesome way to spend some Donors Choose or Go Grant money! So many patrons love the idea of assisting in the purchase of technology and outdoor activity equipment. This can technically combine the two. There is the possibility that they could also be shared between two to four classrooms and still see the classes use them at least twice a week, every week. This could be a game changer if it is used correctly. Thank you Mrs. Carroll for showing me this one!

Now for an idea: During some of those summer hours teachers must spend in workshops and professional development, maybe they could be making podcasts like these for their grade level that goes with their district’s pacing and content. A grade level could make up a year’s worth of podcasts in a few days working together. Students would have this intro and classroom teachers could expand further with group/partner classroom activities when the walk was completed. This would be awesome. Schools could buy the mp3 players and each student could furnish their own (for sanitary reasons) headphones. The school could sell headphones at a reasonable cost for those who can’t or won’t go get them. The cost could also be included in the classroom fees. It could work.

This would be a great way to integrate technology and get kids up and moving. Even down here in the Deep South we like to get outside during most school days. It perks kids up. They turn on their listening skills. It works. We should do it.

Little Star – My Adventure into Digital Storytelling.

Here is my story, Little Star. This is a story about a lonely star who does not understand his importance and he learns he really does have a part to play and he does have friends.

I recorded my music and intro on Audacity and uploaded it to play across the slides. I chose to record each page (slide) on its own instead of making an Audacity file and guessing at my timing. It was a little more under control this way. I couldn’t find a site I liked to just record a video. Maybe I will get some good tips viewing the ones from you guys and your digital stories. 😉

Little Star (through a WordPress link) but the one below may work better for you. It is a link to my Google Drive. Once you download it through either place, you can hear the music and the story (audio) and read along.

Please feel free to comment as it should be set up that anyone can comment. You can also comment below. I hope you enjoy it and if it helps you teach a lesson, please use (just give me credit). Please do not use it for any commercial endeavor.

Little Star

Capture Title page Little Star

Blogging My Way Through This Course (EDM 510) Post 7 – Upper Elementary Snapshots (Another)

I would apologize for using the same blog again, but I won’t. Melissa, who collaborates with many on this blog, has some great ideas for mathematical problem-solving. This is something we were discussing in the EDM 510 USA Course. We completed a reading assignment with the following works: 21st Century Learning and article from Education Week (October 11, 2010) called How Do You Define 21st Century Learning. Both of these readings indicated the importance of problem solving ability in the 21st Century.

When I was a child, my mother had this magical book. Well, I thought it was. It was old and it had everything. It had Myths, Fairytales, Non-Fiction accounts, riddles, nursery rhymes, projects for art and many other things. It had “puzzlers.” I always struggled with them. I had trouble rationalizing them. As an adult, as an educator, I know this is because I was taught there are steps to problem solving and learning. I could not make these puzzlers fit into my steps. My mother loved them and could easily do them. She would buy puzzle books full of logic problems and puzzler-type activities.

As we discuss making children ready to lead and survive well in the future, we cannot leave out problem solving and critical thinking. We cannot keep holding them to a method if we are teaching them to problem solve. The blog I found this one on was Upper Elementary Snapshots.

This is from Upper Elementary Snapshots It is a Flipbook to show the steps in problem solving: understanding what you must accomplish, plan how you want to solve it, execute your plan, and review if it worked or not.

I have posted a little about the flip book in the past, but it is a great tool for the students to keep at hand. The author,Melissa, speaks of how we must explicitly teach creative problem solving just as we teach anything. When we teach them many strategies but allow them to choose what to use, students learn to trust themselves and their instincts according to the author. This can be a valuable skill not just in school or Math class, but in life, as well. If a person feels the only way to get water is to turn on the faucet, what will they do the day the faucet is dry? They will have to find water. Problem solving can be like that. I agree with her that this also makes them responsible for their work. They can explain it and defend it.

Melissa has a few cool “puzzler” questions to be solved on the blog and of course there is a link to her booklet for sale on TPT for $10.00. I’m sure we can find a lot  for free if we google for them. Take a look and decide for yourself. Know though, teaching children to be a part of the global world in the 21st Century, critical thinking and creative problem solving are non-negotiable skills. We begin by allowing/asking students in Kindergarten to sort counting toys. If they sort them by type, we ask, “How else can you sort them?” We keep on until they (and we) can think of no more ways. As they grow more experienced through the grade levels, we can ask them to chose a way to solve a problem and then ask them to find a different way to solve it, and another until they have exhausted all possibilities. Let them see they can trust themselves to work through problems, to solve problems.

Blogging My Way Through This Course (EDM 510) Post 6 – Upper Elementary Snapshots

I was all about going back to Clutter-Free Classroom to  be happy about their free Fall activities. I love fall. I love Halloween. I love Thanksgiving. I love fall. So….following a lot of links she posted to various Teachers Pay Teachers sites (some free, most not) I got discouraged. Boo! I still remember the earlier days of the internet where teachers (having the hearts of gold we know they do) still offered up a lot of stuff for free. You know, back before they thought they could create the best graphic organizer and no one else knew how to do this. Oh come on guys! We all know how. I’ve done some cool ones.

I came across a blog she gives a nod to called Upper Elementary Snapshots. There is another thing I love. It is Math! I do so love math and I love turning kids from kids who don’t like it to kids who have no problem with it. Making them students who take math in stride and view anything new as a puzzle; a challenge to be completed. This blog is written by several teachers. Check them out. Mandy Neal writes her own blog as well: Teaching With Simplicity. It is like a daisy chain. One leads to another to another to another. Now, I have added mine to the front to discuss and it will send people to these sites as well. Cool.

What caught my eye was her Ten Math Games to Play with Dominoes.

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http://www.upperelementarysnapshots.com

It is a freebie from TPT. Get it. Math Stations! I have always felt dominoes were great for Math work. She uses these in her games on Ten Games. I would suggest several sets of dominoes. Your lower level students could practice addition and subtraction while your higher level ones could work on fractions or multiplication. You can probably think up some other games on your own.

Another freebie is on the blog Got To Teach! It is on Non-Routine Problem Solving (a flipbook). The author of this blog is Melissa. She is also a collaborator on Upper Elementary Snapshots. This book can be put together by the students and kept in their folders or binders for reference. I also saw a couple of ways it could be changed up particular projects. These are great and free!

Sometimes doing this activity can be like looking at Facebook or Pinterest. You say you will get on to check something and then, (POOF!) you find two hours have passed and you have saved a bunch of stuff to your computer, but have not completed your original goal. The World Wide Web is a sticky place sometimes. It can be like the Lost Forest. Sometimes you have to jump out when you see an opening! Check out these sites and get these freebies. I can’t wait to try out the domino games! Don’t forget to get the FREE activities and add these guys to your Feedly. I did.

Copyrights, Creative Commons, and Confusing Words

Hi Y’all! It is me. I am back. I have a little to write. I had an assignment. I had to find 3 images (free to use) and one audio clip (free to use) and post them. I am not sure if I was to put the assignment on my blog or on the course blog: Literate Computing so I am basically doing both. You can click here to go to the Literate Computing post Success: Things to Know About Copyright Law.

I posted these same three pics and links there.

Link to the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Education/the_scoop.png Link to the page of the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=37&pos=420 Link to the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Education/the_scoop.png
Link to the page of the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=37&pos=420

Link to the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Clocks_and_Time/alarm_clock.png Link to the image page: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=32&pos=0

Link to the image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Clocks_and_Time/alarm_clock.png
Link to the image page: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=32&pos=0

Link to image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Education/say_no_small.png Link to image page: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=37&pos=360

Link to image: http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Education/say_no_small.png

Link to image page: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=37&pos=360

MUSIC CLIP

This is a link to a clip of music I used, in the assignment, called In Your Arms credited to Kevin MacLeod on Incompetech.

The link is: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1500042

“In Your Arms” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

This CC is Attribution and here is his information (see above).

Blogging My Way Through This Course (EDM 510) Post 5

I told you guys I love free books! (Did you listen to that podcast?) Hmm? You ought to. Look to the right. It is still there.

This is a post about Zing. I saw that Free Technology for Teachers wrote about Zing. I am so, so happy! The blogger said he found the sign on a bit tedious, but I didn’t. I don’t actually have a full-time job and used the name of the school I sub at most of the time. It took it with no problem.

These are computer monitor sized pages (so they will be huge on the Smart Board). They are in English, Spanish, and some are written bilingually. There are books to teach reading comprehension skills and there are books for Craft and Style, Purpose and Meaning, Structure, and Vocabulary and Word Work. There are Science topics and Social Studies topics. There is a dictionary and you can set up your own library.

You can choose Lexile Level, Guided Reading Level, and ATOS Level. Why is this so important? Because you can assign books. Students can have their own sign on and can read online to themselves and complete a station activity. In fact, they could complete a different station activity each day of the week for one story (in many instances). Teachers can easily keep up with the reading logs of the students, too. Thank you Free Technology for Teachers.

Capture of ZING!

picture from: http://www.schoolwide.com/zing

This could actually be a great resource for a student to find a book for their 40 books. If they need a book on a 3.4 level in the Historical Fiction genre, they click ATOS level and choose 3.0 – 3.9. They then choose Historical Fiction and the book, Watchers: War, by Peter Lerangis, comes up. This can be something useful. They can sign on at home, on their tablet, on their phone (we know they have them) and read. I love to play games, but we can’t do that all the time. Well we can but we should not.

When you bring up the book, it is a short chapter book shown in an easy to view format. I love that we have page turning noise when we use this.

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As I said, this will also work well up on the projection screen in a way the students will feel like it is story time. These books can make it easier to use books in your math lessons, along with other content areas.

Go ahead. Get a password and a sign on. Use it. Allow your students to use it. It is really cool. It is a helpful site and unlike some other sites, which shall remain nameless, it is FREE! FREE! FREE! Do yourself a favor and get it!

Thank you for reading my blog! Leave a comment and have a great week!

*Clipart by My Cute Graphics