October 31, 2007

Digital Storytelling with a Smartboard

My filmmaking group is ready to begin planning their own films. So far they have learned how to use digital still and video cameras, a tripod, and two software programs: Photo Story 3 for Windows and Movie Maker. I felt it was important for them to understand all of the tools of filmmaking/digital storytelling before deciding what kind of story they would like to tell through film. Using a Smartboard was a great way for me to teach my students how to use all the tools of filmmaking in an interactive way. Here is a digital film made with Photo Story called, Filmmaking is Fabulous! Check it out:

What do you think?

October 14, 2007

Online Resource Extravaganza

So many online teaching resources...so little time to explore them all! Do you ever feel like that? I sure do. But what a wonderful problem to have. When I find one I like and that I think will work for my students I try it out with them. Then I assess how beneficial it was to use with them. Many times I will use that resource again and share it with my colleagues. Here are some of my favorite online activities that I have used with my third graders so far this year:

Writing: Online Letter Generator allows students to write a letter and learn about the parts of a letter

Reading: Starfall is a site designed for pre-school through second grade students who are learning how to read. I use it with some of my third graders with special needs-they love it! Teachers can even order reading and writing journals that go along with the online stories (for free).

Math: Learning Planet is a great place for pre-school through 6th graders to work on basic math facts and skip counting skills. My students can easily play the games on this site and enjoy coming back to them again, and again.

Do you know of any wonderful online teaching resources? What are they?

October 4, 2007

Bringing Yourself Into the Classroom

Wow...Is it really October? What happened to August and September? I feel like the last two months have passed by as quickly as a hummingbird in flight. Now that the school year is off to a crazy and lovely start and my students are getting used to me and I am getting used to them, I feel ready for the real learning and fun to launch into the next level!

I believe all teachers bring themselves into the classroom. I know I do. I share the things I love and enjoy with my students! I love reading, writing, poetry, and filmmaking! I love when my students ask questions about the world around them in critical ways, and I love allowing them the freedom and structure to answer those questions, or at least attempt to. I hope to bring my interest in technology into my classroom much more, starting NOW!

As a Global Learner in Adams County School District 14, I am given many resources and the support I need to teach my students with technology and to allow them to learn through technology. I feel very lucky to have that opportunity. I also feel that I have been so busy with the start of the school year so I haven't taken extra time and effort to utilize technology in my classroom as much as I would have liked, to take advantage of that opportunity.

As I write this blog post, I am writing to reaffirm my commitment to 21st Century Learning and to being a Global Learner. I am writing to remind myself that it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but I need to take small steps as I grow in my comfort level in teaching with technology. As I try out teaching with technology in new ways with my students it is scary and exciting. But the more I do it, the easier it will be. Overtime my students and I will be able to do more as we learn about 21st Century Learning tools together.

September 10, 2007

Get a Voki now!

Check out our classes Vokis! Can you guess who is who? Check them out on our website. We created them at voki.com. How could you use Vokis with your students? Do you want to make a Voki?

July 31, 2007

Ms. Taylor's Classroom Website

cross-posted on the Global Learners Blog

My classroom website is now active on the web! Please check it out and let me know what you think. My goal in creating this website for my classroom was to have it serve as a tool for communication and collaboration. I also see it being a space to share our classroom's educational experiences with the world, and a place for my students to access learning resources and activities. The website features:

  • pages for each academic area with related website links
  • links to google calendars for Alsup IB school, each academic area, and homework
  • a clustr map to track visitors
  • a page where Global Learner lesson plans will be posted
  • photo gallery that utilizes embedded Picasa slide shows
  • and more!

I used ideas from Jeff's website and many great links that Andrew has posted on Central's website. Thank you both! And thanks to Dave for helping me edit Html on my site to allow me to embed the clustr map and Picasa slide show!

Any ideas on how I could improve the site?

July 18, 2007

21st Century Learning Tools

I am a second language learner. I am not studying a spoken language of the world, but the fascinating world of technology. This summer I have been becoming familiar with new vocabulary words and concepts. Web 3.o, voki, technorati, wikis, blogs, clustrmaps, and more! What is more, I have been joining in and participating in this technologically minded world. Three months ago I didn't know what a wiki or blog was and now I have both! My classroom website will be up and running within the month! Then the journey with my students will begin! I am excited to start the next school year with so many new 21st century learning tools at my disposal. What will happen? Will my teaching improve? Will student participation, motivation and achievement improve? I think so... What do you think?

July 9, 2007

Website Development

I am currently creating a website for my classroom. This has been both a challenging and delightful experience. It has also been very useful, acting as a tool to help me share my vision of teaching with a potentially global audience. I plan to use my website for many purposes: a source of information for students and parents, a place to share students work, a place to post lesson plans I create so that they can be utilized by other educators, a place to post links to other online educational resources, and a way to communicate with people connected to our classroom community. Developing this website has started first with a framework which details are being added to. I am excited about what will happen in the near future when my website is launched and hopefully useful!

June 27, 2007

More Digital Stories!

Here are the two last films from Summer Learning Camp's youngest filmmakers at Alsup IB World School. The first is about family. The second is about the playground. Our last film is our best one yet! Check them out! What do you think?

Our Families!

The Playground!

June 22, 2007

Thoughts about younger students and digital storytelling

During Summer Learning Camp here at Alsup IB World School I have been pushed to work outside my comfort zone, teaching Kindergarten through fifth graders. I am used to teaching third and fourth graders. When I was designing my lessons for the three weeks of filmmaking workshop I struggled with what I should do in order to make films with the youngest students. I knew the second-fifth graders who had more advanced reading and writing skills would be more prepared to tell their stories digitally. But how could I make digital storytelling engaging for the youngest students? Would they enjoy the process or be bored? How much could they do on their own, and what would I have to help them with?

The Kindergarten/first grade group has made two films so far and has started a third. Each film has been posted to youtube.com. Their second film was about animals. For each part of the digital storytelling process I have guided the group in an interactive way using the Smartboard. Each student selected pictures that we downloaded from Microsoft Office Clipart online. After importing the photos into Photo Story 3 for Windows the students each edited their two photos, typed the names of the animals on them, and recorded their voice on their photos. We selected music as a group, built our story and then watched it on "the big screen." I have been happy with how this group has been able to focus on the digital storytelling process when guided through each part, one step at a time. Another thing that has helped is only working on our film for a short ammount of time each day before doing other activities. The students have a lot of fun making films together and then watching them! Any ideas how to improve this process of digital storytelling with younger students?

June 15, 2007

Using a Smartboard for Group Filmmaking

I have found that using a Smartboard is a wonderful way to teach elementary aged students digital story telling. I've been working with students in Kindergarten through sixth grade, teaching them how to take digital photos and tell a story using them. We are using Photo Story 3 for Windows, a software program that allows you to make films with digital photos. Using the Smartboard, all students are allowed to be an integral part of the process. They can see and learn how to use the features of the program while participating in making a group film. You can watch one of their films here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3FGoDj_hqw I see using the Smartboard is a way for my students to interact more while they are learning something new. Keeping them actively engaged helps them enjoy the learning process and stay focused on what they are learning. Have you tried using a Smartboard to engage your students? How have you used it?

June 12, 2007

My Mind is Full of Technology!

I have completed five days of Global Learner professional development training. My mind feels like a lettuce spinner that is in full spin. I am somewhat exhausted after learning about so many technology tools that have amazing capabilities. Under my exhausted layer there is a thicker layer of excitement. I am changed. The way I think about education has changed. Have you ever had an experience that has lefted your way of thinking about something completely different?

June 11, 2007

Welcome to Room 21 at Alsup IB World School! This year we will be collaborating and communicating on this Blog! What would you like to learn about in third grade? What do you hope our classroom community is like? What questions do you have about Alsup IB World School?