Making Words Stand Out: Wordle!

16 Jun

I had heard of Wordle at the school I work; they gave out “Wordles” as a going away present for teachers who were leaving.  So I wanted to check out this website further to see how I could potentially use in the classroom.    As I explored more, I found this to be a great  visual tool for students, especially younger students.  We have learned  that people retain more through visual information, and although Wordles include words too, I think Wordle incorporates the visual aspect quite well by making the words stand out through different fonts, positioning and colors.

I decided to try one out and used my 3rd Grade History SOL standard as the theme for my first word cloud.

TJ

I also found the slideshow below, which gives interesting ways to use Wordle in the classroom, along with a lot of examples.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/barbk31/wordle-in-the-classroom-2587550&#8243; title=”Wordle in the Classroom” target=”_blank”>Wordle in the Classroom</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/barbk31&#8243; target=”_blank”>Barbara Krongold</a></strong> </div>

Social Learning Site

1 Jun

When tasked with choosing a social learning site, the decision was easy-Pinterest!

I have heard and seen numerous teachers using Pinterest, and now have realized why they joined!  This amazing tool has an abundance of teaching resources all in one spot and very easily accessible.  All of the “pins” and boards are so well organized, making it extremely easy to find a specific idea or subject.

As a career switcher, this will be an amazing resource to connect with teachers from across the country.  The following statistics found on a board amazed me about the wealth of educational information on Pinterest:

  • Over 350 boards have the title “Lesson Plans”
  • There are over 400 boards with the keyword “classroom”
  • There are over 450 boards with the keyword “teacher”

One pin I found particularly interesting for educators was “16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest”

how educators use pinterest

As a visual learner, Pinterest provides an advantage in that there are images of every idea.  You can show, rather than just tell! For example, instead of reading about how someone has organized their classroom, you can see it!organized classroom

I am anxious to start using Pinterest and know that this will be my “go-to” site when in need of an idea or suggestion!

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

27 May

The video, “Digital Media:  New Learners of the 21st Century” was incredibly educational for me, having not been in the primary classroom for over a decade!  To see the kinds of technology kids are using today is inspiring!  As a DC resident, the piece on the Smithsonian Institution hit home for me.  Having  visited some of the Smithsonian museums recently, it was encouraging to see how much they have incorporated technology to enhance the learning experience.  The video explored a program run by the Smithsonian in which students create a scavenger hunt for their peers using their cell phones.  I thought this was a creative approach to engaging the students more in the vast array of collections the museums have to offer.  Students these days are more likely to associate a museum with boring artifacts and paintings, however, this program makes exploring the museum interesting and interactive as they text clues and take photographs with the phones.  The one statement that really resonated with me was  that we learn best by teaching; that we truly grasp a concept when we are having to explain or show it to someone.  I agree with the statement wholeheartedly and hope that I can use this technique in my classroom in the future.

SOL Focus

27 May

The standard I will be focusing on this semester is Grade 3 History (Standards 3.1)  I have always been intrigued by history and love to read about other cultures and civilizations.  I  would like to be able to utilize videos and visuals to help teach this standard.  I also would like to use interactive maps, globes and Smartboard activities to help the students grasp the expansion of these classic civilizations.  Finally, I believe that a field trip to the National Mall would benefit those visual and tactile learners.

Edudemic!

27 May

After perusing the recommended blogs, the Edudemic blog caught my attention because of its marrying of education and technology.  I decided this blog would be the most beneficial for me because of my interest in enhancing my knowledge of technology in the education field.  

Edudemic’s goal is “to connect teachers, administrators, students, and just about everyone else with the best technology on the planet.”  This blog was created by Jeff Dunn and Katie Lepi and encourages the discovery and sharing of new technologies for the educator.  As someone who feels slightly technologically deficient, I am excited to continue exploring and learning from this site.

“4 Tools to Avoid Summer Learning Loss” was an appropriate post as we come to the close of the school year.  I am a strong proponent of continuing learning during the summer, as I have seen kids lose concepts even over Spring Break!  It is important to keep taking steps forward and not degrading the child’s base of learning.

The tools featured on this blog are all free apps that are easily accessible for the parents and provide reading platforms and interfaces for children of all reading stages. I thought this blog was very beneficial for parents and teachers over the summer, however wish that it gave some tools in the mathematics subject as well. 

GobstopperMeMeTalesBookster, and Tales2Go is the outlier here

The post “New Study Uncovers What Teens Actually Share on Social Media” was eye-opening and a little concerning.  I was astonished to read that only 60% of teens set their Facebook page to private (friends only) and that 20% have their cell phone number posted!  This post was based on a privacy study by the Pew Research Center.  The Pew Research Center conducted this survey in 2006, and the amount of information that teens are sharing on social media has increased drastically in all aspects.  I think this is an important post for parents to read, so that they can better monitor and protect their teens online.

The last post I read, “The Benefits and Downsides of Looping Teachers”, discussed the pros and cons of having the same teacher for multiple years.  Personally, I never encountered this while in school and was not aware of this practice being implemented into schools.  However, the special education teacher I work with has had the same children for multiple years and I have witnessed the tremendous benefits in looping in that specific case.  The benefits include an enhanced and deeper relationship with the students and their parents.  Looping also promotes better classroom management because the students aren’t having to learn new routines and rules for different teachers each year.  

The cons, however, include students being less able to adapt to change, continuous negative relationships, and students not being exposed to new/different teaching methods. 

I believe that looping can be beneficial, however only in certain instances due to the downsides discussed above.  

Check out http://edudemic.com/ when you get a chance!