This week I am sharing articles and posts that I think are timely and important.
I just read this article about the importance of helping and teaching our students not only about how to be good digital citizens, but also how to be good digital leaders. Just because they don’t see themselves doing anything stupid or silly online when they Google themselves does not mean that they should not be found at all. We need to help and encourage our students to create a positive digital footprint so that they can be found when Googled, and that when they are, it shows their leadership, innovations, and inspirations.
Since many are implementing digital portfolios, I thought this EdWeek article by Larry Ferlazzo about the importance of making reflection a habit would be appropriate to share. EdWeek articles require a log in to read. This is free to subscribe to with your school email and a password.
I read an article from The New York Times about teaching math and in it was this great site for math riddles to be used for problem solving and critical thinking that I thought you might like to try with your (older for many riddles) classes. The riddles range in difficulty from easy to very challenging and topics from Geometry to Algebra, probability, logic, and more and would probably be best if these were worked on in small groups so students can practice problem solving collaboratively.
Here is a site that I shared last year but that came by again in my Twitter feed this morning. Hstry.co is a cool site for learning and creating using interactive multimedia timelines like this featured one on Life in the Colonies or this one on Using Twitter in your classroom. You can include text, images, videos, and quizzes in the timelines you create and then share or embed these on your site. One drawback that I have is the inability to filter timelines by subject. The site is free to sign up and free to create, though access to some of the really great bundles that Hstry.co creates (and there are some really perfect ones for our 4th and 5th graders) are for premium users at $49/year. Beyond that, it’s pretty cool.
That’s all folks.
It’s May so it makes sense to look back on the school year to reflect and assess how things have gone with the change in my job from specialist to integrator. We have had the Mac laptops for a year (we got 1 cart last April, 5 more last summer), the teachers have all had theirs for a year, the students have had access for almost the whole school year at this point so it’s a good time to see what we have done. And of course, it’s also a good time to see what there is still left to do, hence-half empty.
- Teachers are comfortable with their Macbooks
- Teachers and students are using the laptops everyday for something, whether it is a visit to First in Math, Spelling City or an application like Pixie, the teachers and the students are using technology in some way.
- Some first grade students are blogging
- Many fourth grade students are blogging
- Fifth grade students are blogging (this is not new but still . . )
- We have made connections to other classes through blogs, skyping and Mystery Skype
- A third grade class skyped with a Veteran for Veteran’s Day and also shared their biography museum with a class in California
- A first grade class has tweeted about and shared pictures of their Painted Lady butterflies and has received comments from other first grade classes in other schools
- Second grade students have shared their love of and improvement in reading through podcasting
- Many students are creating and sharing their work with others
- Teachers are beginning to think about ways to integrate the technology in purposeful, natural ways
With that being said, there is still more work that needs to be done:
- I would like all students and teachers to be blogging about their work, their reflections and their wonderings
- Meetings for brainstorming and sharing need to be a priority and I need to make it happen more often
- Though I met with many teachers and went in to many classrooms regularly, there were some that I did not go in very often, or much at all and that is something I would like to change, even if it is just to check in to see what is happening
- I would like to see more classes collaborating with others via skype and making connections with other classes
- I would like all students to be creating and sharing their work with others, creating a lasting legacy of their learning
Yes, much has been accomplished this year, but there is still so much to do.
So what do you think- half full or half empty?
photo credit: jenny downing via photo pin