Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thing #23!!!!

Wee hee!! I finished! (NOTE: My entries are slightly out of order--I am still waiting for thing #20 to finish upload, but I am leaving for a 2-week vacation tomorrow and must finish this tonight--sorry!)
1. FAVORITE DISCOVERIES: LibraryThing (I'm crazy about reading communities and hope to turn each one of my classes into one this year) and Photo Story (I will no longer be content to post pics on fb or snapfish--they must now be animated and have music to go along with them!!)
2. Wow, it's definitely made me less afraid of the multitude of things that are out there in the interwebs. I would use almost all of these in my classroom, but some are also things that I'll check on or update personally. I also like to know that if I do pick up a new hobby (which is something a lifelong learner would do), there will be a community out there to give me tips and support!
3. I was surprised both by how easy some things were and how difficult and/or time consuming others were...but that may have been a function of my computer and impatience more than the sites themselves. I was definitely surprised by how many great FREE things are out there that I could use in my classroom and that my students could have unfettered access too...but do I really want to be THAT available to my students? Which leads me to...what is the most effective way to use all of my new info? A thrilling prospect!
4. It took me a couple of "things" to feel that I was doing it correctly. Perhaps an intro page that gave the FAQs and THEN the "things" listed. However, this is a small point--overall I found it very easy to follow and I liked that our dates were flexible--I would never have been able to follow a weekly schedule this summer.
5. I would definitely participate; however, I think I'd have to do it during the summer...too much to do during the year and I would probably rush through a lot of this!
6. This professional development course provided me withg the resources and the confidence to explore and utilize a plethora of online learning opportunities.
7. Congrats to everyone else who finished--the blogs look great!

Thing #22

Ooh, ning for Teachers looks good! As a language arts teacher, I'm always looking for new ideas, feedback on lessons I have, or just a good, intellectual discussion on a poem, novel, or passage I'm teaching (or considering teaching). I love that with a site like this, I can have something that is professionally-based yet also "social," at least in the cyber-sense. I would definitely use this to throw ideas out there to teachers who are teaching the same thing as me. This is definitely one of those examples where the vast numbers of people and resources available on the internet can really make a positive impact in my day to day life. What a rich resource! In particular, I would use it to communicate with other AP teachers. I am on a listserv, but it is overwhelming and I have to wade through an awful lot of things that don't concern me or what I'm teaching. I like that I could lead this discussion but also weigh in on other people's ideas. Oddly enough, though, the first blog I clicked on was by a lady who was an educator but it was not something I would show my students in class...guess not everyone's using it for strictly professional purposes and there aren't as many filters on it as I thought...

Thing #21

I didn't expect to tear up during an online PD course,'s my story: (I've also included a link to youtube where I've posted it...the blogger took so long to upload and I'm not sure if it actually went through)...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



Thing #20

I don't know how I've been completely unaware of Teacher Tube for so long--I love that I can find online resources that I know are acceptable! Our YouTube was unblocked this year, and with the ACTIVboard, I was able to find a number of outstanding things to help in the classroom--everything from an audio and visual playing of Tupac's "Dear Mama" to lectures on Donne to a clip of Liberace, who was referenced in a novel we read. It was fantastic! This year, I'd like to use clips to help me introduce some of our more difficult, dated novels, such as Heart of Darkness and Dickens. I think that the setting is so important in so many of the novels that we read, and that our students have such a hard time imagining it or placing themselves in that time or place. So, I searched for things to help with that. Here's what I found--it somehow wound up on another post. It's a "book trailer" created by a librarian in Laredo and I think it does a wonderful job of making the book seem creepy enough that students will be excited to start reading it.

I think one of the best things about YouTube/TeacherTube is that we now have a million clips at our hands to help illustrate or enhance what we're teaching. Our students are such visual and aural learners that it will so help them with what they're reading about, and we don't have to show entire films. Can't wait to use this throughout the year!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thing #19

Cool site. I was immediately drawn to the "food" section, even though it has nothing to do with my classes. I checked out and Houston popped up, which was neat (and kind of Big Brother-scary--how do they know where I live?) I liked how they had things clearly listed and I also thought it was helpful that at the bottom, they had an aggregated list of recent food reviews from Houston publications. I looked at some of the other ones but found them slightly confusing; some of the "books" seemed to be nothing more than booksellers, and I now have my rollyo for that! :)
Not quite sure how I'd use this in the classroom; research again pops up, but I am not certain just how I could use it for that.

Thing #18

I am already a big fan of OpenOffice. I purchased a new laptop last year and didn't want to have to spend extra money on Microsoft Office, so I downloaded that and was very happy with it. We also have downloaded that software on our school computers (which has really thrown the kids off). I personally like OpenOffice and I have fewer issues with it than I did with Microsoft Office--what would happen is that our school computers would have outdated versions of it and our students would come in with the latest version and they'd either be unable to pull up their work or it would come up in wingdings or something. OpenOffice is able to seamlessly download different things.
I've worked with googledocs in the past and haven't been a huge fan. One thing I like is that, since I have a google account (my home "teacher" email is a gmail address), I can pull those docs up quickly. However, there was something about them, and I don't know if it was the organization of them or other aesthetics, but I just wasn't as comfortable with them. I still would rather use something like this than have to bow to the Bill Gates monopoly, and it is helpful with students who also have google accounts, as there are, once again, no formatting issues.