Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blogs, Wikis, and Webpages

Web 2.0 by Jeff Hester

So what are blogs, wiki's and webpages? Why are they used and what makes them so neat? In this blog I am going to discuss what they are and possible ways to use them in your classroom.

Blogs: Blogs are very useful when it comes to classroom discussion or an assigned topic where you want to hear what everyone has to say about it.  Blogs would be wonderful for students journals or reflections on certain things they learn in class that day.  I like how other students can comment on what the author had to say, they would be able to think of things in different ways by reading how other students have interrupted something.

Wikis: I think wiki's would be a good resource if students have to work together to draft a paper, or they need to plan something out.  Wiki's allow students to collaborate all on one page so they do not have to worry about not being able to open a file, and they are able to see corrections other students have already made.  Wiki's could also be useful for teacher to other teacher's conversations.  They would be able to bounce ideas off of one another without filling up each others inbox and without actually knowing each other.  You could be in different states or countries and still communicate with one another.

Webpages: Webpages would be great for teacher parent and teacher student communication.  The teacher could post news letters of what they have been learning in class, and even post some samples of students work for the parents to check out.  It could also have important dates to remember with activities scheduled on it as well.  This would be an easy way for parents to look up and find out what is going on in their child's classroom and something most parents would have access to all of the time.

Technology I Have Seen in my 5th Grade Classroom

Smartboard by Kathy Cassidy

    As I have stated before I am currently in a 5th grade classroom in the Lansing school district.  This classroom has four apple computers which the students are able to use, but unfortunately they barely ever get time to use them.  They also have an overhead projector and a newer apple version of a projector.  You put whatever you would like the class to see as a whole under the lens, and then the lens will place this object on the big screen in the front of the classroom for all the students to see.  The teacher I am with does not use much of the technology she has available to her in her classroom.  She is not comfortable with using a computer at all, and she only uses the old overhead projector.  The one where you write on it with markers and then it will place it up for everyone to see.  I went into this schools computer lab and they have bran new mac computers, the students had keyboards hooked up to them when I was in there.  My teacher told me this was part of their music class, however many of the students where not doing what they were supposed to be doing.  They were playing around on the computer and barely did anything with the music program.
   I feel as this is always a challenge.  There is so much you can do on and with technology so as a teacher it is extremely important to be aware of what your students are doing.  We need to ensure they stay motivated and focused when granting them the opportunity to use technology for an assignment.  I loved how this school had so many opportunities for students to be exposed to various types of technology, but I feel as though the teachers do not have the knowledge of how to use the technology.  This causes some students to never get introduced to new technology.  As a future teacher I feel it is extremely important to learn how to use various forms of technology. I want to be able to accommodate as many of my students as possible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clickers in Class

   I hate clickers by shareski.

    We used a form of clickers in class on Tuesday and I had mixed feelings about them.  First of all like an technology it took awhile to get things started.  They were not working so we had to wait and figure out what the problem was, it caused a loss of a lot of time.  This scares me away from things such as these clickers because as a teacher we do not have a lot of time to spare in our classrooms.  I would love to integrate this type of technology into my lesson plans but I would always have to create back up plans in case the technology malfunctioned.  The next problem with these clickers was that there was mass confusion on how to use them properly.  It took another several minutes after we figured out how to work the clickers to actually give our answer to the poll question.  This also worries me because I do not want mass confusion with all of my students. I feel as though we could overcome this problem much easier than the first one however.  After a while my students should figure out how to use the clickers and it should become a bit of a routine.
  Overall I thought the clickers were a great way to allow all of your students to participate in class.  Sometimes students as just to unsure in class to raise their hand and answer a question, but with these clickers no one knows whose answer is whose.  This is a wonderful thing because students are not as scared to be wrong!  This technology could definitely increase some students confidence.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Testing on Comprehension

Boats by J.Salmoral
    For one of my classes I had to develop a lesson plan which focused on comprehension. I came across this really good book called, "The New Way Things Work" by David Macaulay.  It is a really neat book! It gives the readers a ton of information on how things work and the necessary background information they need to understand certain machines.  It talks about different technologies, planes, boats, hot air balloons,gas engine, furnaces, and so on.  Macaulay presents this material in a fun and interesting way.  He has sections on each page to break up the text so the students are not overwhelmed and can comprehend what they just read better.  I also love how he has pictures of the object he is talking about and labels all of the parts with explanations of what they exactly are.  I feel this book would be interesting for both males and females, which is hard to come by at a 5th grade reading level.  It is also an informational book, but one that students would want to read and not dread to read. I think this is a wonderful book an will be a very useful book in my classroom! Check the book out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Cameras!

Breaking the ice with a digital camera by Mike Keran

   I was reading an article on how a teacher has used a digital camera in the classroom to get her students excited about learning. She talked about how she brings her camera to field trips and her and her students take pictures. They also will take pictures of different things they do in the classroom. She then goes on to say how they use these pictures to make books, or teach different sequences to her students.  By making her students use these pictures to compose a book, her students are able to be exposed to the process of book making.  They also will have to use their writing skills in order to compose the book.  I really like this idea because I think it will do wonders for children to acquire and increase their literacy skills.  I feel as though the students will be able to understand books better if they have the knowledge of how books are composed. I also like the fact that she uses picture to show different sequences, this is great for visual learners and ESL students! I never thought that a digital camera could be so useful in the classroom.
  I will definitely bring my camera in the classroom to help my students gain a better understanding of how books actually work! However a down fall of using this type of technology is obtaining the appropriate permission to take pictures of students and their work. This could be the most difficult part of implementing this sort of technology in the classroom.  As teachers we have to be very careful when we borrow the work of our students so no problems arise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Literacy for our future student!

copyright © 2007 sean dreilinger
   rachel reading to nick in the children's library - DSC00165 by sean dreilinger
                 copyright © 2007 sean dreilinger
   I am writing a lesson plan on comprehension for one of my other classes and I need to have them read a part of an informational book and see what they understand. I went to the East Lansing library to find a book to use.  When I first walked in there were a ton of children reading books with parents, or playing on the computers.  I was shocked but pleasantly surprised by this!  I was searching for a informational book a 5th year old boy would like.  I was struggling finding something at a 5th grade level.  I asked one of the librarians and she showed me around the whole children's section.  She was very helpful and there were a ton of books in the library for all ages.  This made me think how great it would be to take my future students on a field trip to the local library. What a good way to get my students interested and excited about reading! What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do They Really Understand?

ESL in Hainan by Surfing The Nations

I was reading an article today from one of the blogs I am following on my google reader.  It talked about how students may act as though they are comprehending and understanding the book they are reading, but are they really?  The article goes on to say how fiction books are very confusing for ESL learners.  They send mixed messages which are hard for ESL learners to understand.  What do you think about this? Do you see how they could be confusing? I know from my Spanish classes, reading novels were always a challenge.  It took me a while to really understand what the message of the book was.  I think it is important to be sensitive to these various aspects. How do you feel?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Literacy Reference Project

bank street booksstore: childrens books by cherrypatter
     As many of you know as a TE student here at MSU you have to do a literacy reference project which is very intense. I have been overwhelmed with it so far and have put over 40hours into it. But as I was working on my genre section I thought how it would be neat to allow my students to create a book using an online story book program and select a genre they would like to write their book in.  I think this would be a fun project for my students to partake in and I also think it would be a wonderful way for me to assess them.  I would be able to tell if my students completely understand that genre because they will have to use the elements of the genre to create their story. What do you think about this?


   This week we were required to create our own wiki.  For the introduction of t his assignment we were to go to wikipedia and see if our high school had page created for it.  When I looked at my high school page it had students full names on it where other students were making fun of them.  I did not like this at all and now I am actually more reluctant to introduce this type of technology.  I do not want to show my students how they are able to write whatever they want on a website, where they do not have to post their name next to it.  I feel this is a problem for so many types of technology now though.
    I am not sure if you have heard about a young girl who was being bullied at school and at home by students writing nasty messages on her facebook page.  The students would create people on facebook so they would not have their true identity revealed on the awful comments they were leaving. The girl ended up committing suicide.  I am cautious of different types of technology because of this. I think that bullying has been taken to the next level and it is getting completely out of control with the help of the internet and various types of technology.
    However I do feel with parental support and teacher supervision technology can be very beneficial for students to use in the classroom.  This wiki I created would allow my students to become sensitive to one another and to learn information about one another.  It is also helpful to show how America has grown to be what it is today! This wiki will allow students to be able to go home and learn about their ancestral background and then fill in their section on the wiki from home with the help of their parents. I also like the use of the wiki because i have ultimate control over what gets to stay on they wiki and what I feel is inappropriate for the wiki. Over all I think this tool could be very effective in my classroom.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Text to Speech!

text-to-speech.jpg by TalkingTree

This week we were assigned to explore a technology we think would be useful in our future classroom.  As I have stated previously I am TESOL minor so I am looking for anything that will be able to help me with ELL (English Language Learners) students. I found something called text to speech.  It is software you can download for free onto computers.  The teacher is able to allow there students to read the text while at the same time listen to the text.  This way the students are able to go at their own pace so you are not holding anyone back or losing students because you are going to fast. There are many different setting the learner can choose from, they can only have the words they are struggling with read to them by highlighting the words they need help with, they could have all of the text read to them, or the teacher can have premeditated words read to all of the students.  The students can choose from a male, female or even foreign voices which will read the text out loud to them.  They also are able to choose how fast the voice will read the words, this way the student is able to hear and comprehend what is being said.  It also allows the student to look at a word and hear exactly how it is pronounced.  The students are also able to take notes while going through this with the voice reading the text to them.
  Teachers are able to download old documents they already have or make new documents for students to access.  They can put up a wide range of material for their students to use such as

  • worksheets
  • tests
  • textbooks
  • supplementary materials
  • books
I found this website which gives teachers ideas on how to integrate this program into lesson plans and step by step instructions on how to use the system.  It is very useful and you might find it will help you save a lot of time if you look it over.
I think this use of technology could be very useful for ELL's because usually everyone is at a different developmental stage in their learning and this would allow the teachers to help accommodate students with the material they need to develop even further.  It will ensure students are not being pushed just because they are ahead of the rest of the class and with this program they will not have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up to them.  however the down fall to this program is that every student would need to have a computer available for their use.  This could present a problem because most classrooms do not have enough computers to accommodate every student in it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ESL Students

My ESL Students by DPerstin    I thought it was really interesting when we had a guest lecturer come into our class a couple of weeks ago. I am a TESOL minor so when he mentioned how to use technology to benefit those student you have that do not speak English my ears perked right up!  He said how it is impossible to accommodate all of our students with clarifying things at times because no one expects us to know 40 different languages.  This intrigued me, I was wondering where he was going to go with this.  Then he said how we should use technology resources to help make things run a little smoother.  At this point I had no idea what he meant by accommodating students by using technology, usually in ESL classrooms there are not enough computers for everyone to use one.  Then he went on to say how google has an application called google translator! I thought this was a great idea! I never thought about using a translator and it would be so fast and it incorporates many different languages! For some reason I can not stop thinking about how simple idea is, but how extremely helpful it would be to my future students! This is definitely knowledge I will always remember and apply in my future classroom!

Science Fiction

make good choices by Evil Erin
    I have never been a huge fan of science fictions books, but recently I had to  read one called, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.  When I started to read the book I did not think I was going to like it at all, I thought it was weird but as I continued to read it, I grew very interested in it!  This book talks about how our world is so obsessed with looking good and how people can act brain washed by this way of thinking.  I thought this was a very powerful and good message to tell young children while they are at the stage in their lives where they are so impressionable. This book stresses how beauty is not everything even though it may feel like that sometimes.  Westerfeld wants his readers to understand that the quality of the person is what counts, not how he or she looks. I thought this was a very interesting to that such a huge and problematic issue was discussed so heavily in a children's chapter book.  It made me think that maybe this is where these issues should be discussed. If we are able to educate our younger population to see a person for who they are and not what they look like we might be able to deal with this problem.  So much pressure is put on our young people to look a certain way or to dress a certain way if they want to be attractive or desirable.  This problem leads to hurt feelings, eating disorders, and a lack of self confidence.  I think it is horrible that we are taking away confidence from our young people when they are just starting to try and build up their self confidence.  I really enjoyed this book and their view on this issue.  I think it is a great book to read in your classroom to ensure that your students are aware of this problem and to see what they have to say about it!