Monday, January 31, 2011

Playing with Prezi

Our 7th grade English classes are reading Call of the Wild by Jack London. Some of the kids were asked to use some technology tool (Glogster, Prezi, PowerPoint, Google Presentations, etc.) to present one of their vocabulary words. They needed the word - a definition - part of speech -antonym- context sentence - and image, if appropriate. I am always amazed at the creativity of our students - far greater than my own.
Anyway, I have played a bit with Prezi, and I decided I wanted to make a study guide for the kids with all of the words.(I only did the definitions and some images.)What's nice about Prezi is that it provides not only a link to the Prezi online but also an embed code. Here is my attempt. I just wanted to make sure I understood how to use the tool. Hopefully, I'll be able to some of the students' attempts. These tools really don't change the basics of learning vocabulary words; they just make it more fun. The ability to share with others lends engagement, as well.

Here is the permanent link they provided for this Prezi:

If you haven't looked at Prezi, go to their site. There are lots of good examples of students learning, recreating, and then sharing with other. The learning is what it is all about.

Friday, January 21, 2011

DEN SciConn 2011 - Saturday, January 22

I am looking forward to meeting with other educators at the Den SciCon2011 being held in Willimantic, CT tomorrow morning. While it means getting up early and driving over an hour to get to the meeting place when I could just as easily attend by logging onto my laptop at my dining room table, I think it will be worth it to congregate with others and share in the excitement of the webinar sessions.
It promises to be clear and sunny tomorrow but very, very cold. My son went to UConn in nearby Storrs, CT, and I remember how much colder it was there than down in the New Haven area where I live. With Martin Luther King's Birthday holiday on Monday, a "ice" day on Tuesday, a delayed opening on Wednesday, a full day on Thursday, and then another snow day today, it has been a crazy week. I don't remember having this many days off in a 10-day period every before.
So, meeting and collaborating with other educators tomorrow should be a good thing, and it will be nice to generate excitement for returning to school on Monday with all kinds of new things to share.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three Snow Days in a 7-day Period! Ouch!

Well, I'm sure the kids enjoyed their time off. I do hope some of them spent some time studying and learning. I know I did. There are so many professional development resources available to us teachers if we only can find the time to listen, watch, and/or participate in them.
After watching the Golden Globes on Sunday night, Dr. Temple Grandin's presence prompted me to look up the archive of the webinar with her last spring on Discovery Education. I watched the recorded archive of the webinar which raised my awareness of things students on the autism spectrum have to deal with. Since Dr. Grandin, herself, is on the spectrum, she speaks with great authority. I highly recommend watching it, and anyone who has a log in to Discovery Education (including all of the students in our district) can access it.
 You'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to access the recording for "The Way I See It with Dr. Temple Grandin."

I also joined a Classroom 2.0 session with Anne Mirtschin who offered up many links for teachers, like myself, who are striving to find more global collaborative opportunities for their students.
If you go to Classroom 2.0 live and click on the recording page, you will find the webinar. All of the associated links are in an application called LiveBinder.

I also listened to another archived webinar with Jeff O'Hara, founder of Edmoto, a safe social-networking site for educators and their students. I want to learn more about that application.

Well, I am hoping that the temperatures will rise enough so we will have school tomorrow. There may be a delay, but we all need to get back into the saddle. Time for more learning adventures!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Skyping with China

On Friday January 7, 2010, Ms. Wu and selected students from her Mandarin Chinese classes connected with students and teachers in Century School in China. Because there is a 13 hour time differential, it was 8:00 AM here in Connecticut, but in China, it was 9:00 PM. The Skype conference was possible because some of the students are residents at Century School. The students in China asked our students questions about how they celebrated the recent holidays, and our students had similar queries. The conference was very exciting and engaging for students in both countries, and they look forward to many more sessions of sharing. This was the second successful conference that Ms. Wu has moderated. The world is indeed flat, and these conferences are just the beginning.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Educational Podcasting in Woodland Park, Colorado

I am a member of Greg Limperis' group called "Technology Integration in Education."

Greg is a computer technology integration specialist/facilitator for Lawrence Public Schools in Massachusetts, I believe. His profile lists his hometown as Derry, NH. Greg is tireless in sharing good ways to help teachers integrate technology to make learning more fun and engaging for students and teachers. He recently promoted this Google video from a couple of science teachers from Colorado who have turned the concept of in-class time and home work upside down. It's really an interesting concept - and one that is within the reach of nearly every educator. Take a look.

"The times they are a changing..." and the world of education is embracing change at a more rapid pace than every before. It's about time!!!!!!!

Wall Wisher

Just before the holidays, I tried a web 2.0 tool called wall wisher with my staff. It is an application where folks asked to participate can post a short message (up to 160 characters) to a virtual wall. You can make your wall private or public, and you can moderate comments before they appear on the wall, if you wish. The owner of the wall can also delete the "sticky notes" that others have posted. I sent the link out to all faculty and staff, and I had 22 responses - about a third participated. I guess considering how busy the holiday season is, that's not bad. I got positive response from those who participated saying that it was fun to see what others were planning for the vacation time. What was really cool was the way the participants used the wall. Some just left a "sticky note." Others attached a photo, a video, or a link to a website.

The application definitely has educational applications. While I am not at liberty to share the wall that I created, here is a link to a wonderful google document showcasing lots of educational uses for

I hope everyone enjoyed the first day back to school. It was wonderful to have a break, but now it's back to learning adventures.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here is a post I wrote on my Discovery Education Network blog:

Happy New Year’s Day, everyone!
It’s 1/1/11 – how neat is that! I hadn’t even realized the significance of this January 1st until someone tweeted it out.
We celebrated at the home of friends in New Jersey. The couple we visited were newly married when we all started teaching at a junior high school in CT way back in 1969. They stood up with me and my husband when we were married in 1973. We are still friends after all these years, although I am the only one of the 4 still in full-time teaching. The trip back to CT this afternoon was pretty smooth.
Christmas vacation has nearly come to an end, and it’s time to get back into school mode. I had intended to do exploring on the Discover Education site this week, but I didn’t get a lot of free time, so I’ll use some of  my time this evening to scout around.

I joined Steve Dembo’s fitness challenge and hope to do well with that.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the 2nd Annual DEN SciCon scheduled for January 22, 2010. Last year the event was hosted at the CT Science Museum in Hartford, and participants, including myself, received free admission to the museum as well as the chance to network with others during the webcast. I wonder if there will be a physical meeting place this year. How fortunate we educators are to have such wonderful training available to us as part of our Discovery Streaming subscription. I am going to encourage my colleagues to tune in, even if only for one session.