Monday, September 5, 2011

New School New Tools

The Cumberland County Schools hold an annual elementary Battle of the Books. The 2011-2012 year is beginning and I wanted a cool way to introduce the books and authors to my 4th and 5th grade students. My hope is that I can "catch" their interest by infusing some technology.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Notes Anyone?

Really neat tool for note taking and study. As we move to more 1 to 1 technology this would be a great tool to teach our students and staff to use.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Timelines are an important part of daily life. We use them for project planning, trips (iteneraries), and to record our history. For those reasons teaching timelines is extremely important-besides they are also "Tested" skills. Being a teacher and a librarian has me on the outlook for ways to help our students construct their learning. One of my favorite teachers has used a timeline program with her class the past few years but after an extreme amount of problems with the newest edition I set out to find a better tool, and I think I have found it in Capzles. Take a look:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roll Cameras, "Action"

Our students are getting into movie making at a very early age. Yesterday, with the help of our new netBooks I had a group of 16 fifth graders giving up their recess to play producers. First we explored the ability of the our new netBooks to record video. That was a hoot to see since I allowed them to just play around and explore. Next I had them put on their headphones and microphones to record sound. Finally, we put the two pieces together. All of this was pretty remarkable since we only had twenty-five minutes from start to finish. All-in-all the students did a great job. The students are ready to form a club and start producing. Since I want them to gain needed skills they will be able to use in the classroom I'm planning a bit more structure to it all and have found Silvia Tolisano to be a great resource.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Books vs ebooks

There are many conversations among educators about the future of books in our schools. While I support the evolution of reading and the use of ebooks I question the idea that schools can or should get rid of traditional forms of books found in the library. Getting rid of stacks in our higher ed libraries to make room for coffee bars and common areas may be beneficial for high school students as they create their learning communities. However, I share a concern with other educators about our ablility to build the love of reading in our elementary children without paper books. There is just something special about cuddeling up with a good book while someone reads to you.

The video below does a great job of challenging traditional thinking. Let me know what you think about the subject.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Picture This

Ok, I've tried over the past two years to lead students and teachers to paths other than Google for their pictures thinking it would be easier to follow copyright guidelines. We have explored and used Flickr and Creative Commons but alas Google wins out every time. When I ask a student, "Where did your teacher say to go for pictures?" the reply is, "Google". So I'm throwing in the towel! I'm giving up! I'm going Google! Yes, that's right, Google Images. It's not your mother's Google anymore. Already it has become second nature to the students to use the advanced search option and in particular usage rights. They are learning how to set the usage rights to labeled for use or labeled for use with modification. Then I slide in some training on how to give credit to the picture creator. With this new found method students are becoming responsible users of 2.0 tools. This is a big improvement over the frustration students had in finding the other sites,trying to figure out if they could use the pictures found, and not giving credit where credit was due in their work. Thanks Google.