Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tar Heel Reader!

   This week we had to make a story book on line for one of our assignments in my class.  I thought this was a really neat project, because by making it on line children have the opportunity to show it to so many people! I feel as though this will make the quality of the work much better and the students will want to take ownership for the work they have created.  The program I have chose to work with is called Tar Heel Reader.  I chose this program because I was able to upload pictures off of flicker that are free for the public to use, rather than just using the ones I have taken myself.  This program is targeted more for younger students, you can only write up to two short sentences on each page of the book, or they will not fit on the page when you publish it.  It was a very easy program, once you get the password, you are able to register so you can make books and read books others have written. I loved how all you had to do was type in the word of the picture you were looking for, so it even helps force my students to work on their spelling while looking up pictures they wish to use to illustrate their book.  I also really love how my students are able to express themselves freely while still learning the literary elements of making a book. I composed a story about the life cycle of a sunflower, you can check it out here.
It was a simple process but has a lot to offer, students can listen to the story in a child's voice, man's voice, woman's voice, or they can read the book on their own without any auditory. This is a wonderful way for students to be introduced to concepts in print and phonological awareness! Check it out and see what you think!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Story book

 I have been looking over different options on how to make a story book using different internet applications.  I looked into a couple where you had to upload your own pictures.  I did not like this because I do not always have pictures for everything I would like to put in my books. There were some programs where you could make a comic book like story, others you could have a movie feel to them, then there are power point like stories.  I like the thought of allowing my students to create there own story online.  I love how the parents and other family members will be able view the students hard work by just typing in the link! It is so easy and will make the student feel wonderful about all their hard work.  I mean how many students show their family members other than their parents the work they have done at school.  By simply sending a website the students are able to show aunts, uncles, grandparents and even cousins the  projects they are doing in school.  Also I think it is important for the students to learn how to use technology.  There are so many different programs out there to use and lets face it our world revolves around the internet so these skills are going to be very important for our students to learn.

Pie Day!

Pies by TSelrahc / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
I am currently placed in a 5th grade classroom on Mondays for one of my classes here at MSU. I went into my placement for the entire day to help out with a group activity both 5th grade classes where doing together.  We met in the gym and the teachers paired off the students in premeditated pairs, and explained what they would be doing.  In math class, the teachers discussed pie and how the number of pie is found in circles.  The students received a worksheet which had various objects listed on it.  They were given a yard stick, a piece of string, and the objects in which they had to find pie for.  They would use the string to find the circumference and the diameter. Then they would divide the two numbers so they were able to receive the number for pie. They did this very well and worked great with one another! I thought this was a very neat activity for the students to partake in. They learned how exactly to calculate pie, and were able to eat a giant cookie afterwards! It was a lot of fun!  I will definitely keep this activity in mind when I am a teacher and have my own classroom.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A history lesson with a chapter book!

  For one of my other classes this week we had to read a book called Esperanza Rising.  It was a wonderful story about a family who where living a upper class life over in Mexico, who lost their father, money, and land.  The Uncles were corrupt so the mother, grandmother, and daughter all decided they would make the long journey to American so they could all be together.  We are told about the immigrant camps, the horrible living conditions and the racism which still took place every day.  The Mexican family works very hard to make little pay and overcomes many hardships in which they encounter.  This book has powerful messages it leaves the readers with; it shows how if you work hard in life you will be rewarded, how if you stick together with family you are able to overcome anything, and how money is not important in order to achieve happiness, all you need is family!

   After reading this book I thought how neat it would be to use in my future classroom, I would be able to cover reading, history, and send wonderful messages to my students!  I think it is wonderful how one book can incorporate so much, not to mention the book itself was great! I was never bored while reading and actually found it difficult to stop reading it.  I wanted to know what was going on.  Another reason I liked this book so much is because I think it would be wonderful to use in an ESL classroom.  I am going to receive a minor in TESOL so I am very enthusiastic about having other students learn about different cultures and traditions.  I feel as if this book will offer a great amount of the hardships and journey Mexican immigrants had to over come.  I think it is important to be aware of others lifestyles in order to understand other people so in an ESL this book could help build the bridge!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Smart Boards

  Over my spring break trip I visited my sister in North Carolina, she is a science teacher at a high school there.  I was able to go to her school and see her room.  In her room she has a smart board she uses with her lesson plans.  She let me play around with it and do some of the activities she has made for the smart board.  It was really neat, they have different color pens that you can use to label different things or to better organize your presentation.  You are able to write in a white color and then put a color shape over the area to reveal the answer.  She does this so her students are able to partake in the lesson plan.  She also does fill in the blank with words from a word bank, and she is able to put up certain items they need to be familiar with.  It was amazing!  The students really loved how they did not just have to sit in their seats and do the worksheet on their own.  They were able to work through the worksheets together and she even created other hands-on activities for them to do as a class. Another wonderful thing about the smart board is that you can put your power points up on it too, you can make them right on the same program so you do not have to go and back and forth between the two programs.  It is very time efficient and offers visual learns the opportunity to pick up on the material very quickly.
   Overall the smart board offers students the opportunity to interactively learn!  I know I would not have been nearly as bored doing the same thing over and over again in class.  With the smart board there are so many different applications you use, that there is no reason to do the same thing over and over again.  It offers to accommodate a variety learning styles while the students are able to have fun!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jamestown and Yorktown

  This spring break I went to North Carolina to visit my sister and brother-in-law.  They live very close to the Virginia boarder so my boyfriend and I decided to visit Jamestown and Yorktown.  It was amazing!  There was so much to learn.  Inside both Jamestown and Yorktown had a museum set up so you were able to learn the background information before you ventured out to the replica areas of Jamestown and Yorktown.
   The Jamestown replica was set up just as they know it to have been.  They had houses, canyons, blacksmiths, etc, all with the tools and accessories which would have really been there.  There was armor you could put on and people who worked there were dressed in the time era and were full of information. They would tell you about the lifestyle of the people and answer any questions you had.  Outside of Jamestown were two sailboats you could go on and hear about where they were headed and who was traveling on them. Then a little ways down from that was a Native American tribe settlement.  They had several huts which were all set up differently inside, some where more elegant than others signifying their status within the tribe.  They also had a community cooking area and a worker dressed as a part of the tribe making a canoe.  It was incredible how much I learned here! I think it would be a wonderful place to take students to on a field trip if your school was from around the area.  What a wonderful learning tool!
  Then there was Yorktown which also had the museum inside where you could lift the three different swords to see which was was heavier and which was the lightest.  I found the French had the lightest sword! Then outside there was a camp set up with the workers dressed in uniforms, they were able to tell us all around the living conditions for the soldiers and their wives and children whom choose to stay with the men.  They had tents set up, a laundry area, a cooking area, a medic tent, and a canyon which they still shoot off every so often.  A little ways down from this was farm, the farm had a house, a cooking house, real crops they were growing, a hay storage unit, a slave house, and a tobacco house.  There were women in the cooking house actually making food they allowed you to eat.  This was a wonderful place to actually visualize how people used to live.  I am so happy I was able to experience this and will implement all that I have learned at these two places into my lesson plans!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Paperless!

  Green Tweets? by cogdogblog
 / CC BY 2.0

     I was going through my google reader and reading all of the blogs I am keeping tabs on.  I found an interesting entry about a school going paperless for a whole day on earth day.  This is such a great contribution and a wonderful idea!  But what are the teachers going to do for the day with their students then?  Well they could watch an educational video, or do powerpoint presentations.  They could also use their technology on this day.  Technology can be very useful and paperless!  Students can collaborate with one another using google docs, or they could look up research for a paper. These are just a couple of ideas, teachers could also do a review day and make a jeopardy powerpoint to help review!  I feel as if going paperless in your classroom is a wonderful to be forced to use different technologies to assist you in your teaching! I feel as though students need a break from doing the same old thing over and over again.  Don't get me wrong, I think routines are also very important, but it is nice to shake things up every now and then! So why not help out our environment by not using any paper on earth day?  I think as teachers we do not realize how much paper we use and have our students use every day.  This could be challenging, but we are intelligent people, we can definitely come up with one lesson plan where  we do not have to use paper! What do you think about this?