Thursday, February 25, 2010

I just had the greatest time working with a group of fantastic 3rd graders using a program called Edmodo. Think social network and you have the idea but with an educational twist. The teacher creates an account, names their group, and then has their students build accounts to join Edmodo. The neat thing is students do not need email accounts and you control who enters by having a group code to give to those you want to invite into the conversation.
Today's class was starting plant study and research so their objective after creating their login was to post a question they had about plants. Right away the student's post appear and the other students are able to respond with an answer or by posting additional questions.
Edmodo would be a great tool to use to engage students while watching a video or student presentations and allow everyone to become actively involved by back channelling.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Place Spotting

Call me crazy and I'll have to agree, especially after taking on the monumental task of introducing all of my primary classes to our new Apple MacBooks using the website: Place Spotting. The objective of the lesson was to find the seven continents of the world using the quizes I made earlier. Once you are logged in it and working with a quiz it is a bit like Google Earth. Kids seem to love it and most take to it well. However, it does require that students have had some exposure to computers, using the mouse, arrows, and listening to directions. The help of classroom teachers is so appreciated especially when working with the youngest group since they range from the very timid or the over anxious "key pusher" who quickly put up their hands while yelling, "Mrs. R..." in what seems like a chorus.
Well, back to Place Spotting. I really enjoyed using it with the students and like I said most take to it well. It seems to be a good tool to use in teaching map skills, longitude, latitude, and general shapes of the continents and where they are located. Also, it would make a good pre-cursor to Google Earth and the many additional educational applications available with the use of that program. Here's the link: and to see my page just login using the login of: tcelibrary and password: sbisd


Cool tool: Weblist

Yes there is an easier way to share a multitude of web pages-Weblist. It allows the user to see a visual of the web page to determine interest or relevancy before they click on the link. The one I have attached is set up for our Kindergarten to use with their Dinosaur unit. The web pages on the Weblist page were taken from the district science portal, although many listed were no longer working.
While building this Weblist on dinosaurs it would let me edit the page, such as deleting links that no longer worked and then to save the changes. However, when I would open a new window the Weblist still had the pages I tried to delete. To solve that I just noted the links that didn't work and built a new list with only the working links.
A good reason to use Weblist is it allows me to keep students focused on sites and not allow them to waste time on dead web links or going to the wrong sites due to typing errors. Give it a try at:


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Recently I have had a few opportunities to assist student studies outside our school, our district, and our state through the use of SKYPE. Our first adventure began with an email request for a 2nd grade class in another state to exchange information. I jumped on the chance because I knew our school had adventurous teachers who try to integrate technology into their lessons and that would be willing to collaborate on this type of lesson. After several SKYPE sessions with the librarian in Nebraska to set up "meeting" dates, to share questions the students would want answered, teach my teachers about SKYPE, and even having a test run date we were ready to share the knowledge between students. With our MacBook connected to the projector we were able to invite the whole 2nd grade to observe while each class had representatives answer questions about living in Texas. Our students learned that Nebraska students did not see armadillos or wear just a t-shirt to school during the winter. Our students were amazed to find out that the temperatures with the wind were below 0 degrees. You should have heard the rumble in the library when the librarian in Nebraska took them outside to see well over a foot of snow!
Another opportunity came along when a librarian in our district and I helped connect two of our bilingual classes up for a book talking session. The students were reluctant at first but eventually even the most shy students wanted to be involved in the questions and answers. Both teachers were able to expand student understanding of the text that was read through a discussion with peers. The teachers see this as an opportunity to expand student learning and are looking forward to their next book discussion.
If you haven't tried this 2.0 tool yet...get busy! What better way to give students who may never have a chance otherwise the opportunity to experience the world beyond their daily boundaries. The world our students live in is just a call away and they are depending on educators to facilitate the learning.