Wordle: Diane

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Integrating Technology into the Classroom - Questions about Photostory, Glogster, etc.

The following podcast is the first installment of "Integrating Technology into the Classroom Made Easy."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thing #23 - I made it!

I can't believe I finally finished. When I think back to how long it took me to get my blog started, it is a huge relief to have made it through. But honestly, I have had a lot of fun and I'm amazed at how much I have learned. I have already started using a few of the "things" with my kids.

1. Out of everything we worked on I have to say my favorite was
bighugelabs. Everything from the mosaic maker to the trading cards was great! There were so many things to do you couldn't do them all. Wow! I am so glad that I learned about this one.

2. Working on a project like this really changes your thinking. You know you have a lot to learn, but until you actually become immersed in this new world, you're clueless. It reminds me of what Dr. Claes always tells us, "You don't know what you don't know." Now that I know all of these wonderful tools are out there I will start using them with my students. Web 2.0 supports information literacy - teaching critical thinking skills and problem solving. You can't complete these types of activities without using these skills.

3. I feel the most surprising thing about this whole assignment is that I finally "get" blogging. I am 45 years old. I was not raised on a computer - I was raised with telephones and cell phones. Everytime someone would tell me how much time they spent on
Facebook or Twitter, I would think how stupid. Why would anyone spend so much time typing up their thoughts and feelings on a computer when they could just call a friend on the phone? Now that I have been working with this blog for several weeks I finally understand the fascination with it. It is uplifting when someone has commented on something you shared.

4. Question four is a tough one. At first I would have said a few more instructions would have been nice. There were several "moments of frustration." The thought of tossing my laptop brought a smile to my face many times. Now, thinking back over the whole experience, I would say the directions were fine just the way they were. The more you have to work at something - the more you learn. And let's be honest, the different areas of expertise each of us brought to the table created a sense of camaraderie. We all asked each other questions as we worked through this.

5. If you were to add another session like this, I would definitely participate. I am a lifelong learner, so anytime there is an opportunity to "add to my toolbox," count me in!

6. This experience was "well worth the stress." I enjoyed learning new things and felt a sense of satisfaction everytime I completed one - but I definitely leave with newly acquired grey hairs.

Well I'm off to do so commenting. Stay tuned for future updates. Remember - Same time, same place, same bat channel ..... or something like that!

Thing #22 - Nings

I wasn't real impressed with the social networking aspect of Nings, but I looked at some other items that I found to be useful. On Texas Librarian Thing I found this cute booktrailer for a Bluebonnet Book. I believe sharing booktrailers with our students would be very exciting. Eventually I would like to see the students at my school creating their own trailers.

Find more videos like this on TLNing

What about sharing contests with our students and then sharing their entries. This example is a first grade entry into a Storytube Contest.

Find more videos like this on TLNing

I believe our students would find it empowering to see what other children are out there creating.

When I checked out Texas School Librarian Ning, I found information that would be helpful to librarians as professionals. It offers articles on very relevant topics along with a chat board to ask questions and get answers from fellow librarians. Any time that necessary information is readily available - that's a good thing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thing #21 - Podcasts and Videocasts

I was really enjoying using Photostory until I couldn't get it loaded onto my blog. The directions on how to load it looked very user-friendly. Unfortunately, the icon that I'm suppose to click on (the little filmstrip) isn't on my toolbar. Now what? I'm clueless.

Thank God the HELP button really finds help for your questions. I typed in my question and it actually gave me the correct answer to solve my problem. The "help" button with most software stinks!

Click on the arrow below

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thing #20 - You Tube and Teacher Tube

I love YouTube and TeacherTube.  There are a lot of neat things that are created and shared on their links.  You do have to be careful though.  Make sure you view the entire piece before you share it with your kids, and don't be surprised if it's here today and gone tomorrow.  I have learned the hard way that things sometimes disappear overnight.  I hope you enjoy the bluebonnets of Texas.  We are working on our Big6 project and two of my students are studying bluebonnets.  I found something they might want to share!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 Awards List

Wow!  There is a lot of cool stuff here!  I really enjoyed looking at the librarian stuff on PBworks.  There was actually a page for students called "Wiki Etiquette for Students."  That is definitely something we need to teach our students about.  Next I checked out Wikispaces.  From there I clicked under library resources and I found this neat site called Flash Card Maker.   I could really see myself using this or having the students create their own cards.  I also took a look at Writeboard.  I think one of the neat things it has to offer is that kids can actually compare two versions of the same paper that they have written. 

On the personal side I started playing around with Lulu.  I had fun with the books and calendars sections.  I already have a great idea for a special birthday present.

You can view the entire list at Web 2.0 Awards List.  Have fun!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing 18 - Online Productivity Tools

I'm very disappointed with this one.  I really wanted to check-out OpenOffice but it wouldn't download.  While looking at the overview, there was a specific section labeled for "education."  Perhaps in the future it will cooperate. 

GoogleDocs did work.  This site offered a lot of options.  You can use it for spreadsheets, budgets, powerpoints, calendars and more.  I think my favorite was Jeopardy

I think the options that GoogleDocs offers is great.  The ability for more than one person to work on a document is really neat - especially with all this talk about collaborating.  One thing that annoys me about OpenOffice is that you have to download it.  I like being able to access GoogleDocs without downloading a major program - just individual templates.   If you have had a great experience with OpenOffice share it with me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing #17 - Rollyo

Rollyo seems pretty cool! I am having trouble getting my Rollyo search links on my blog though.  If anyone reads this and knows the answer - please help!!    Here is a link to "my essentials."  Once I get Rollyo properly linked to my blog, this will be great.  There are certain things I check everyday and this will certainly save me time.  They will all be in one place - plus it will give me jumping off points into new topics each day.  What a neat idea.

Thing 16 - Wikis

This is one of my favorites from 23 Things.  The many applications for Wikis are exciting.  I really like the fact that it is easy to use.  I just started a class read aloud of "Hector Mireles and the Battle of the Alamo" and I think a class Wiki might be a neat addition.  I have been using the strategy "Stop-n-jot" - I think this will actually be better.  Instead of having students offer to read what they have written, they can actually post them on our Wiki.  My students really enjoy using computers - so this will add to their writing pleasure. 

I thought the video from CommonCraft was very helpful.  I like the way they present their videos to make technology more user friendly. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thing 15 - Perspectives

I think it's interesting to read all the different perspectives on the future of libraries.  Nobody is really sure what every aspect will look like, but everybody has their set of ideas.  In "To better bibliographic services ," Riemer thinks we should have web features on our library sites.  He thinks we should let kids write book reviews and create tags on our library websites (i.e. Amazon and Google. )  I also liked his discussion of "metadata."  He did a good job of helping me understand how information was layered into databases by embedding additional information into topics.  I knew this, but his short blurb helped me "see" it.
Dr. Schultz really connected with me in "To a temporary place in time... "  I loved the way she discussed the progression of libraries.  I also benefitted from reading "Visioning the school library 2.0."  I liked how this article discussed "a vision - not the vision."  Nobody is sure exactly how it's going to look, or if there should only be one way.  With 2.0 everything should constantly be changing or evolving.

What do you think?  There is so much to think about when it comes to the future of libraries.

Thing #14 - Tags - What a great idea!

Technorati was a whole new world for me.  This project has been one new experience after another.  You hear about "tags" and you can imagine how useful they are, but until you actually start playing around with them, you have no idea how helpful they can really be.  It was interesting to learn that now they are being used as part of marketing strategies, as well as for personal use by web users. 

I spent a long time searching on Technorati.  The information that popped up with blogs versus posts was very different, but equally useful.  One of the searches I did was on libraries.  Two of the articles were valuable in terms of presenting a "case" for how important libraries are and the real need to invest money in updating them.  Of course, there were articles to the contrary.  There will always be a  contradiction.

I think delicious, Flickr and Technorati offer a very useful service.  By tagging information, it allows teachers to quickly find necessary information.  Teachers today have too many demands on their time and anything that makes their job easier is "great" in my book. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thing #13 - Tagging

Finally, something to help people like me get organized.  God bless!  I think the opportunity for teachers and librarians to be able to share their research is a huge benefit.  Delicious and Diigo provide a wonderful, free service.  This is a perfect example of "synergizing."  Two heads are better than one.  I know many times the person who I plan lessons with will have found different sites from mine.  The ability to share will benefit everyone.  Plus, think about the time saved.  Time is something that none of us have enough of. 

I think the podcast "Learning 2.0 and Delicious" was very helpful.  It is important, when introducing something new, to provide clear and easy to understand explanations.  From my understanding, we are not able to access Delicious from Katy ISD.  I spent the majority of my time focusing on Diigo.  I really liked the fact that they have a special educator account.  This feature allows a teacher to set-up student accounts for an entire class and they become a group.  They will be able to share information among each other.  Wow!  Imagine students doing Big6 with this tool in their toolbox.  I feel the most beneficial part of this for teachers is that many times we are not at our personal computer and it is frustrating to know that you have a bookmark you can't access.  For example, when I take my students to the computer lab, I can't pull up my personal bookmarks.  Now I will have access wherever I am. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thing #12 - Creating Community Through Commenting

I learned a lot about blogging by reading the articles.  I didn't realize there was an etiquette for blogging.  I found 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog to be very helpful.  The first thing I did halfway through reading the article was to go back and add a question to my last post.  I think asking questions in your blog is a great idea!   I also appreciated what the Cool Cat Teacher Blog discussed.  I truly appreciated "write a meaningful comment."  Too many times people are saying, "Yeah" or "Exactly."  Real communication needs to include thinking or feeling and when people write something they want to know that they have "touched" someone else. 

I really enjoyed commenting on other people's blogs from our class.  I haven't done much of that before this because I have been worried about keeping up with this project.  It was really fun and I will continue doing it.  It really is a neat way to get to know people.

Every week I yell at the tv whenever "Shear Genius" comes on.  It's not the best show, but it's interesting to watch some of the looks that the hairstylists come up with.  The new host is Camilla Alves.  She drives me crazy!  I can't understand a word she says - she ruins the show.  I went to BravoTV.com and commented.  I couldn't believe the nasty things that people were saying.  Mine was very tame.

Thing #11 - LibraryThing

I have really enjoyed working with LibraryThing.  It is easy to use and the site has access to so many books.  I was impressed that it is connected to Amazon.com and the Library of Congress.  Even though I have a Shelfari account, I will still use LibraryThing.  I plan to use my Shelfari account with my students for their reading logs, so I am going to use my account with LibraryThing for personal use.  I enjoy discussing books that I have read, and now I will have access to learn about books I want to read as well.  I looked through some of the groups and I found one that addresses my favorite:  Crime, Thriller & Mystery.  My favorite authors are John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark.  I can honestly see myself using this.  I also added a widget for LibraryThing on my blog.  This was fun!

Which do you like better? - LibraryThing or Shelfari

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thing # 10 - Online Image Generator

These are  my babies!  What a great way to show them off.  I think Trading Card Maker is a lot of fun to use.  I can see my students using this to create a book review or a new way to do a character map. 

I created a Wordle near the top of my blog to represent me.  Instead of doing a regular wordsplash on the board, I think creating a wordle would be a lot more fun. This would be a neat way to introduce a new concept or bring out prior knowledge before a new unit of study.  The kids could make them for individual characters from stories that they read and then have other students try to figure out what character they were talking about or what story they came from.

Glogster is a really neat program - but I use the educational version, not the regular one.  My students used it earlier this year to wrap up a novel they read.  They were required to have atleast 4 text boxes, along with 4 images.  They were also required to include a new wallpaper and one JPEG from a powerpoint slide that they had created specifically for this project.  The text boxes included information like figurative language, quotes from the book, character traits, and history of the Native Americans represented in the novel.  I found this program to be very user friendly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thing #9 - Creating Your Circle of Wise

All of this is really new to me.  The Cool Cat Teacher Blog offered a lot of critical information.  The article on "How to Create your Circle of Wise" was very informative.  Being new to blogging, I enjoyed the way Davis broke down the topic into several categories and discussed each.  I never really thought about bloggers in terms of "types" - the conversationalists and the egotists.  Now that I am reading blogs - I see her point.  I totally agree that this information will help me do a better job of choosing those RSS feeds that truly fit my needs.  I definitely don't need to be reading MSNBC when I have access to Fox News.  I wonder if I made more friends or enemies with that statement?  I really like Blue Skunk Blog and ALA Connect.  I enjoy just sitting there and reading what other people have to say.

I enjoyed using the search tool Topix.net.   It was user friendly and it provided a large number of  "results."  I found School Library Blogs on Suprglu frustrating.  At first I couldn't get the link to work.  Eventually I figured out the problem  and was then able to use it.  I didn't really find it helpful and it wasn't visually appealing.   As trivial as it may seem - sometimes visual appeal is important. 

Thing #8 - RSS Feeds

At first I found this very frustrating.  I wasn't really sure what I was suppose to do with this. Then I found a list with some wonderful choices to subscribe to.  I have fallen in love with Joyce Valenza and I really seemed to gel with Doug Johnson's quirkiness.  I think Google Reader can be invaluable.  I believe I will really enjoy using the account I set up.  I never really thought about how much time I spend searching or retrieving the same sites when it is so much easier for it to be sent to me on a regular basis. 

In terms of librarian use, I think it will be wonderful having immediate and continuous access to my most trusted sites for information that is essential to my profession.  This will keep me linked to the most current research and "thinking" in my field. 

I think anytime we, as educators, have access to professional literature, it will help us be more effective in our learning communities. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thing #7 - Google

I had no idea that Google had so many applications.  I loved looking at all the 3-D clips on Google Earth Blog and the Google earth sightseer offers up-to-date information and fun things for kids to learn about.   

I enjoyed looking at all the neat experiments at Google Labs.  I cannot believe things have gotten so high-tech.  Google shopper could become a real problem for people like me.

I found some great free clip-art while playing with Google - I just can't remember where.  Sorry!

I forgot to discuss Google Docs in my original post.  Wow!  Again, I never realized these functions existed.  The one that really got me excited was the ability to load all the user-safe powerpoints into a google account and then make the presentations from there.  This will increase the number of students truly paying attention during presentations.   If you have ever suffered through kids making powerpoints presentations the old fashion way - you will appreciate this new capability.  OMG it is painful!!  I was also excited about the "share and collaborate in real time" capability.  Whenever you are creating a document that will be used by more than one person, it is great that everyone can see it and work on it together. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thing #6 - Mashups

                   OUR FIRST CRUISE

Mosaic maker has been a blast!  I took all those great photos from a cruise and put them into one beautiful picture.  I can see using this with my students for a variety of applications.  What a great way to remember a class field trip! 

Jigsaw was a lot of fun too!  The kids would absolutely love doing something like this.  Imagine the possibilities!   

                         WELCOME TO JAMAICA

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thing #5 - Flickr

Flickr- I'm still not comfortable with this one.  I've been playing with it for awhile, but I'm just not exactly sure how I'm going to use it in the library with all levels.  In the secondary setting it's applications are obvious to me.  It's the elementary setting that is perplexing me.  I know that students can use it for downloading pictures for powerpoints, glogsters, etc., but past that I don't know.  I really liked the explanations they shared on use and copyrights for the pictures.  The variety of pictures available is astounding - make sure you search by "tags."   My biggest question is, "Where was this sight when I taught World Geography?"

Photo by :  Lester Public Library                                    

Photo by:  Altus

Thing #4

I'm registered (Feb. 3, 2010) and beginning the journey today! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thing #3

Creating a blog:  Don't laugh - it took me forever! Read this, click here, don't forget this, did you remember to ....  Just shoot me now!  I think I finally got it right - but what does that really mean?  Like I said earlier - I enjoy learning but some things take me longer than others.   Next time will be a lot faster.  I think I'm finally ready for the journey of 23 Things - it just may be a little bumpy at times.  I need to rest now!

Thing #2

7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners:  I dont' know too many teachers who aren't successful learners.  Being a "lifelong learner" is definitely the key.  My grandfather was a teacher and his motto was, "If you didn't learn anything new today - what was the point of getting out of bed?"  He was right!  I can't imagine living everyday without learning anything.  I would have to say Habit 2 is the easiest for me.  Accepting responsibility for my own learning and being an active participant comes second nature.  I enjoy learning and I enjoy helping others learn. 
Habit 6 is definitely the challenge for me.  I wasn't raised using IPods and MP3 players but fortunately I'm not afraid to try.  It just takes me a little longer to figure things out sometimes. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We all have to start sometime!

My son has been doing it. My friends have been doing it. Just not me. I'm talking about blogging. As a lifelong learner - here I am!