Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Visualizing Data

I think one of the best ways to help students develop the ability to visually represent information and data is by teaching your students about all the different tools that are available to do this. Showing students the youtube video on storytelling with infographics will show them how important visual learning is to people and how much more information is absorbed by the brain by seeing it as opposed to hearing it.  Another way would be to create an infographic as a class showing the students how you can easily represent things differently with some of the infographic websites..  I did a Science experiment with my students a few years ago on if people remember things better by seeing them versus hearing them.  I could do this experiment again with my class and then the students could work in a group and use an infographic such as Picktochart to present the results. I think that by having students create their own infographic will help them develop the ability to visually represent information and data tremendously.   

M. (2013, July 12). Storytelling With Infographics. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=VQbFX2QzbOI

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Learning and Applying Effective Search Strategies

I think one of the best ways to guide students in developing and practicing effective internet search skills is by teaching them strategies to do this.  Having a lesson  showing them an unreliable website such as the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus website would be a good tool to show them that not everything on the internet is true (Gasp!).  You could then use a website credibility check-list to show them how some of the websites, like the above website, may look legitimate, but are indeed not.  Another way to help students with these skills is by showing them how to do advanced searches, and using the Boolean search tools.  According to Frey, Fisher, and Gonzalez (2010) “one of the ways to limit their searches is to place quotation marks around the search terms so that the pages found include the words in the exact string as written” (p. 39).  This is so important to show students that as it can dramatically reduce the amount of websites in their searches.  Having a quick lesson on not only using quotations but any of the Boolean search tools will help show students how to narrow down things to topics that will relate to what they are researching and will help keep them from siphoning through tons and tons of webpages in the hopes they may find something relevant to their research. 
Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Gonzalez, A. (2010). Literacy 2.0: reading and writing in 21st century classrooms. Moorabbin, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

 Incorporating literacy instruction into content areas

I think teachers can easily incorporate literacy into other instruction areas.  One way to do that is to choose books that could go with other areas.  I always read Number the Stars with my students because I can use it as a cross category lesson.  By using Number the Stars I incorporate Social Studies because it talks a lot about World War II and what life was like during that time frame.  By reading the story not only are students reading a historical fiction book but they are also learning about a specific time in history.  We can then use that to discuss World War II and use it in other areas.  I have not had students write from one of the characters perspectives from this book or as another person who lived during this time frame, but plan on doing that with my unit plan. Not only have I hit Reading,but also Social Studies and Writing when using the book Number the Stars.   
There are many ways that this can be accomplished.  Frey, Fisher, and Gonzalez give many great examples.  Some of the ways are by using talking pictures, making comics or creating podcasts.  It is important to learn and use these new types of technologies with your students because as Frey, Fisher, and Gonzalez (2010) state  “the tools are going to continue to change with breathtaking speed” (p. 71).  This is why it is so important to keep our students up to date with the ever changing technology.  

Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Gonzalez, A. (2010). Literacy 2.0: reading and writing in 21st century classrooms. Moorabbin, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Number the Stars. (n.d.). Retrieved Aug. & sept., 2017, from https://www.amazon.com/Number-Stars-Lois-Lowry/dp/0547577095

Monday, August 28, 2017

Technology Tools

The first tool that I looked at that is new to me is http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/.  I think students will really enjoy making their own comics.  One way that I could use this is to help students summarize a story, paragraph or chapter of something we read by having their characters talk about it.  They could use their comic to compare and contrast books that we’ve read.  This would also get them writing as they would have to type speech bubbles for their characters.  I think students would find this activity very fun and might not even realize that it’s work and also assessment to see what they retained from the story.  This goes along with what Anderson, Grant, Speck (2008), say in that students didn’t mind correcting their mistakes on their emails because they wanted their e-pals to understand what they are writing (p. 29).  This shows that when students are doing something they enjoy they will work harder to make it the best it can be.

The second tool that I looked at was https://www.slickwrite.com/#!home. The reason why I chose this is because I work with elementary students and they think that spellcheck is the catch all and will make their paper perfect after clicking on it.  By using this I can show them that spell check misses out on quite a bit of things and it never hurts to get another set of eyes or in this case program to check for mistakes.  I think it will really surprise them how many errors they will miss when editing someone else’s work or their own.  This can easily be used before, during and after the editing stages of writing.

  Anderson, R. S., Grant, M. M., & Speck, B. W. (2008). Technology to teach literacy: a resource for K-8 teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Literacy and the 21st Century Classroom

     I think literacy has changed a great deal for the 21st century classroom.  Students are now able to carry literally millions of books in their hands just by having a tablet.  Whereas previously they would be using print media and would not have the ability to easily carry that amount of books.  When given the option most students even prefer to read on a tablet or electronic device over print media.  Because of this technology in my opinion has made it more accessible and easier for students to not only find stories that they enjoy but also tools that can aid in improving their reading skills.  They can do this through various apps or even have the ability to have the story read to them through their tablet or electronic device.  Because of the growth of technology teachers now have a variety of ways to track student literacy and use the data to help the students with problematic areas.  When using these types of literacy programs it will often tailor the lessons or activities to help boost the students’ problematic areas.  This is amazing because we all know how children learn differently and this helps individualize their learning. This is so important because like Anderson, Grant and Speck (2008) say, “Computers are common in the workplace and in homes, and increasing technology in schools is essential for preparing students for the digital future” (p. 6).  Since these are all common place and technology is constantly changing and evolving it is important to us as teachers that we continue to change and evolve our classrooms to meet the needs of our students.

 Anderson, R. S., Grant, M. M., & Speck, B. W. (2008). Technology to teach literacy: a resource for K-8 teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The tool that I chose to review was Voki.  Take a peek at it on the right and click the play button.  I think that this could be a great tool to use with students.  You could use this as your morning routine and have the avatar tell students what they need to be doing while you are doing other things like lunch count or taking attendance.  This could definitely be used with a variety of diverse learners.  It could be used as a great tool to help kids with sounding things out and how to pronounce things properly.

 One of the main reasons why I signed up for Voki is because they have a section dedicated to lesson plans.  You can do a lesson plan search by grade or skill and there will be premade lessons that you can use.  Not only do you have the option of getting premade lesson you can also upload your own lessons to the website.  Here is a link to their lesson plan page so anyone can check out all of the different lesson plans. 

One thing that I saw that I really liked was that some people used their Voki's when working with poetry.  They did this with one of my favorite Dr. Suess books, Oh the Places You'll Go.  If you like that story too check out Voki's blog where you can see a bear reading the poem.  I think Voki is a great tool that students will love.  I think students would love using Voki when they have to give reports or oral presentations.  They had a whole section of famous people that you could chose as your Voki.  I think a great assignment would be to assign students some of the famous people that they use on Voki and them have them give a report using that Voki.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Twitter Chat

This week I participated in the #teachchat.  I really liked the overall set up of this chat.  The moderator would ask questions and give us time to respond and then we would talk a little about the responses.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming which made it even better.  I found this chat by looking on the website http://www.cybraryman.com/chats.html.  I clicked on Wednesday on the website after realizing I missed one that I was going to do tonight by an hour.  I felt like everyone gave great feedback to the questions asked and gave me great ideas and feedback to use with my students.  I did not follow anyone from the twitter chat but now I am currently following some of the people I met in the chat.  I think the biggest thing that I found challenging was to remember to type in the hashtag.  I set up a specific column in tweetdeck with the #teachchat hashtag.  After doing this I didn't realize you still had to type in the hashtag everytime.  Even after I got situated I always felt like I forgot to type in the hashtag when I was finished with my tweet.  I think the only thing that could have been done would be on tweetdecks end.  I think there should be a way you so you don't have to type in the hashtag everytime.  Also I can't ever paste anything that I've copied into my tweets when using tweetdeck.  When I use twitter to paste a link or something I have no problems.  Overall I felt that this was a great experience and plan on doing this again especially with the #teachchat.