Sunday, April 29, 2012

The end is near...

The end of the year is quickly approaching and that can sometimes mean that kids are ready to be outside, not sitting at a desk (especially for the seniors!). So I'm doing everything in my power to get them out of their seats and moving around, working with other people, and trying new things.

I'm on a bit of a kick with iMovie now since putting together the Minecraft piece with my World History kids. The upcoming features will include: a PSA about cyber crime from my Street Law class, a "Dateline" special about 2011 Sports Scandals from my Sports History class, and the 10:00 news(ish) covering the Obama presidency in my US History class.

I know it's a little repetitive, but none of the kids repeat, so I'm excited to introduce them to the new program and give them an opportunity to try something we don't do much (that I'm aware of) at NEH - video work/editing. The US History kids are excited to try something that they have decided is a little like WCTV (which they will have an opportunity to participate in next year).

I'm excited to have the kids excited about working together to fit the pieces together. In addition to having a research piece to put together, which they will write, edit, and rehearse, they each also have some sort of production role. We're hitting a lot of the universal constructs, and as we close out the year I'm really looking forward to having something to keep them moving forward!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Minecraft in the Classroom

Here it is! Our first attempt at a Minecraft project. I was blown away by the amount of work that these kids put into this project. Before school, after school, during study hall, during class, on the weekends, getting a pass out of another class (when they could) - all because they were excited about this project. They worked together on the speech, recording, learning new ways of screencasting, taught others their new tricks, brought new ideas to other classroom teachers, and took more pride than I have ever seen in any other project. I'm excited to share with you, their work over how technology and people change the land and environment and the lasting impact of those changes on people and geography. Kevin, Gunther, Kaleigh, Skylar, and Michael - I am so beyond proud of how hard you all worked on this. I hope it is the beginning of many more amazing efforts.

The Task:
Topic/Theme: Agricultural Revolutions (They chose "Chinese Agricultural Revolution)

With your group you will prepare a presentation, with visual aides, addressing the
1. How did humans change the land?
2. How did this change improve their life?
3. What affect has this change in environment had on humans, animals, etc?
4. What new “technologies” were introduced at this time?
5. How did (or how might) the new developments change society over time?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

21st Century Learning for 21st Century Jobs

My Econ students have been reading Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat 3.0. Last week we read the chapter about what skills would be needed for the new "middle jobs". This week we started reading chapter 7, which talks about how we learn and prepare in terms of education for those jobs. I draw a box on the board and called it our "school" and asked students to fill it with "classes" that would help prepare them for the 21st century jobs that we had previously discussed. Here is what they came up with:

Defining the Modern Presidency

I asked my students to define the modern presidency in a Wiki discussion post. Below you'll see the prompt and the answers I've gotten so far. I thought some of them were pretty insightful and wanted to share.

prallekeehn Apr 13, 2012 1:53 pm
How would you describe the modern presidency? Who do you think will leave the greatest legacy from the modern era? With the new wave of media will we ever have another legend like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, etc? Why do we still remember those greats? Why do we consider them great? Due Monday!
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leahmeyer1996re: Modern Presidency
lm Sunday, 5:20 pm
modern presidency is now more focused on the economy and ways to reduce the debt. i think that Obama will leave the greatest legacy because he was the first African American president. i don't think that we will ever have another great like George Washington etc. we still remeber those greats because they made big changes to our country and our culture. we consider them great because they followed through on issues even when public support wasn't completely with them
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Carlsontr-15re: Modern Presidency
TC-15 Today 11:09 am
Modern Presidency is now focused on getting publicity and not fixing our nations issues. A woman president would leave the greatest impression on the U.S. No we wont because the media tries to end great presidents. They are the greats because they were the beginning presidents so there was more to get done. The are great because they got the most done in there presidencies.
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brandonb14re: Modern Presidency
BToday 11:12 am
I think that modern presidents are corrupt and only care for media. Obama, I think, will have the greatest legacy, but only for being the first black president. I think that the only way we will have another great president would be to kick them out of the media and force them to actually do something for America. We remember the greats for doing something extraordinary. Washington was the first president and a war veteran. Lincoln was the president who ended slavery.
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NJ Today 11:18 am
The modern presidency is now rich people that are able to have advertizing and lie to people about what they are going to do when they are president. I think president Bush will leave the greatest legacy because he was president during 911 and was president when the Iraq and Afghanistan war started. No, i don't think we will ever have another legend like George Washington and the other presidents because they were war heros and people that ended major issues like slavery and a bad economy. We remember those presidents because they were war heros and people that ended major issues like slavory and a bad ecomomy. We consider them great because they started great things and did great things that helped our nation.
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kylepruismannre: Modern Presidency
kp Today 11:19 am
I would describe the modern presidency as a more popularity race than a actually on issues which it should be because then we could have a president that actually knows what he is doing. I believe that the greatest legacy left from our modern presidency is that we elected a black man as president for the first time in history. no we will never have another great as long as the media keeps interfering because they can tarnish the presidents reputation which makes the people like them less. we still remember those greats because they did not have the media to tell the people about stuff they were doing wrong which allowed the people to see them as great presidents. we consider them great because they did do some great things but we never saw the do the bad things so presidents now cant be seen as great as them because of the reputation given to them by media. so we see them as great because we didn't see the bad. they still did great things that helped our nation which is why we see them as great.
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BryceVanlangenre: Modern Presidency
Bv Today 12:03 pm
I would describe modern presidencies as trying to get the popular vote of the people and making tax cuts and creating more jobs for the united states people. I think that a woman president would also be our most memorable modern era presidency. I don't think we will because the media ruins a persons reputation by saying lies or false commericals to vote for the other president. We still remeber these greats because they helped with civil rights like lincholin abolished salvory and led the union troops to a victory. We consider them great because they were the original founding fathers and they were great leaders and role models and some fought in a war some didn't but the presidents back then were great.
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HaleyNerlandre: Modern Presidency
HN Today 12:10 pm
I would describe modern presidency is more about the economy and trying to get out of debt. I think that Obama will have the greatest legacy because he is the first African American president. If the media keeps interfering with all the presidential stuff we will never have another legend like George Washington and the others. We remember them because they fought in wars, and helped with major issues, like slavery and the economy. We concider them great because they helped build our nation and they got things started.
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SierraThomasre: Modern Presidency
ST Today 12:15 pm
I would describe modern presidency as its now more focused on the economy. I think president Bush will leave the greatest legacy from the modern era. No we wont have another great one like George Washington etc is what i think. Yes we still remember those great people because they made big changes to our country and our lifes. We also consider them great because they started great things and did great things that helped our nation out a lot.
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lillian9re: Modern Presidency
LToday 12:18 pm
The modern Presidency is the government trying to get involved in everyone’s business and take everything in their own hands with the Economy. They are also trying to bend the laws and make it so that the government gets more money so that they can get out of debt. I think President George W Bush will leave the best legacy because he was involved in making big choices with 911 and that we should go into war with Iraq. Obama just came in and said that he wants to change it and made us look like we were running away form the problem. We will never have a legend like Washington and FDR because the media had come in and taken all the bad that is going on in the war back home to the American People and make them lose faith in the President and his choices. We remember those greats because they are the ones that made our country and put us on the correct track and know we are starting to mess that up and lose what was the American Idea back when we were created. We consider them great because they did so much for us to be what we are.
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jakeratzke3re: Modern Presidency
jToday 12:26 pm
The modern president is more focused on their publicity because the more they have the more they appear on tv, magazines, etc. The more the American people see them doing stuff like normal Americans. The way i put it the media controls the government today. I say this because when something gets put out on the internet the president has to come up with the reason why they did that and try to fix it. To be honest I wouldn't consider Obama great because what has he done with our economy? Nothing at all because he has tried to fix but when he tries something the worse he makes the problem. Why do we consider president of our past great? We consider them great because they have actually done something that has changed American history.
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smith3austinre: Modern Presidency
as 5 minutes ago
there are new laws and rules for the president, but other then that it's basiclly the same to the past. I think Reagan haqd the most impact in the modern lagcy because he brought us out of debt and was responisble for the soviet union collapse. No because the media has more power then it did before and will portray presidents and their plans worse then they seem usually. Also you have groups that split up the political and social groups and those groups will always oppose each other. We still remeber them because we compare how they did something to what a good president should do. We also see their names because they are great and many people dislike the current president. We consider them great for what they did as president and because they were very popular.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NEH Teacher Tech - Share Out

Class: 8th Grade US History
Technology: Google Maps
Content: Civil War
Best Practice: Collaboration/Team Work

Comments: Students had to research, use maps, identify, locate, create civil war maps

Class: High School Health
Technology: Computer - research, found related edu-game to review
Content: Endocrine System
Best Practice: Compare/Contrast

Comments: Defined communication, compared how the human body related to communication systems/mail system
Class: Spanish I
Technology: Wikispaces
Content: "Gustar" with food vocabulary, conversational verbs
Best Practice: Writing practice

Comments: Students demonstrated 20 spanish sentences using "gustar". Students were already familiar with wikis, so they took off, they had to find out how to use accents on the wiki. Kids created a "contest", able to read sentences and not deal with trying to read handwriting - it was harder to give feedback because of wait time, couldn't show them where the problem was specifically on their writing - but addressed this with individual conferences
Class: Guidance
Technology: Group Email
Content: Local Scholarships
Best Practice: Equity in distribution, access

Comments: Parents were excited to get emails, everyone was getting them, time saver - more efficient, simple, worked well
Class: Kindergarten
Technology: Tagxedo
Content: Word Families
Best Practice: Computer skills, beginning reading

Comments: Kids enjoyed the program, matching, did one lesson first with me, high school kids/helpers, and then did another lesson using their Read Well words. The second time around 2nd grade came in to help the Kindergarten students keep track -students took home work. Surprised at how easily some of them typed! Growth was fun to see! Students were excited about work
Class: 1st Grade
Technology: Little Bird Tales
Content: Story Writing
Best Practice: Collaboration

Comments: Students cut pictures out of magazines, wrote stories with 4th grade buddies about the pictures. Took pictures, the 4th graders typed in their text, 1st graders recorded stories, and saved the books to Little Bird Tales that can be shared online - wants to put on teacher page!
Class: Creative Drama (11th, 12th)
Technology: Wiki, Youtube
Content: Methods of acting
Best Practice: Writing, discussion questions, viewing

Comments: Found episodes of Inside the Actor's Studio - watched Jim Carey together, wrote summaries on wiki, responded, then repeated - students knew how to use the technology, Tech Team member was in her class to help with trouble-shooting. Problems - needed a rubric or guidelines for how to properly respond
Class: Biology (10th-12th)
Technology: Research/Twitter/TweetDeck
Content: Genetics/Mutation
Best Practice: Guided resources/scaffolding, summarizing

Comments: Used guiding questions to find characteristics of mutations - when they found them they had to tweet the answer, which forced them to summarize, address a public audience - let them use personal devices so they were able to get started right away. Pulled up TweetDeck and showed kids the feed, and used #nehbio to log their responses. Kids who don't normally participate were given a voice, people other than the kids in the biology class started using #nehbio - but then kids started trying to get #nehbio to trend (not as focused). Next time would have kids search Twitter themselves, would like to find more YouTube videos about mutations - they missed out on a lot of good information on YouTube.
Class: 6th Grade Reading
Technology: Twitter, websites, research
Content: Biographies
Best Practice: Informational reading

Comments: Used twitter to find ideas, resources, and websites. Students researched biographies, but had a lot of computer issues, library needs updated biographies. Students need help searching the web.
Class: 8th Grade Reading
Technology: Socrative
Content: Killing Mr. Griffin (novel)
Best Practice: Group Discussion/Reflection

Comments: Started out as a quiz - turned into really good discussion - you can choose whether or not to show their responses, you can upload your own quizzes, use app to create quizzes (works on phone or online) - kids asked to do it again! Kids like to use their phone. 
Class: 7th Grade Geography
Technology: Google Forms quiz
Content: Maps - State capitals
Best Practice: Retention check

Comments: Kids did a review test to see what they had retained from first semester
Class: 4th Grade Science
Technology: Google Forms quiz
Content: Body Systems 
Best Practice: Review

Comments: Name required, printing size was an issue, printed out a nice spreadsheet
Class: 5th Grade
Technology: Super Scribble Nauts
Content: Vocabulary
Best Practice: Create/Describe

Comments: Get a person from one island to another when there was a shark in the water - kids had to talk and work together, prompted class discussion
Class: Art
Technology: Wikispaces
Content: Project analysis
Best Practice: Compare/Contrast

Comments: Prompted one question at a time to help students develop their critique of their projects along the way
Class: Pastries
Technology: YouTube (How To videos), Cell phones, Wikis
Content: Cakes, Decorating
Best Practice: Modeling

Comments: Students used their phones to take pictures of their decorated cakes to post on the wiki
Class: 8th Grade Math
Technology: Phone/Computer
Content: Currency Rates
Best Practice: 

Comments: Class did proportions of currency exchange rates 
Class: 3rd grade Social Studies
Technology: ICN
Content: My America Series
Best Practice: Multiple learner types (visual, audio)

Comments: Haiku poem - students really want to share what they are doing, so they typed them in their wikis, then they used their wiki to do a student-led conference for their parents. Teacher copied and pasted Haikus and used pictures and recording to create a voicethread - used these at conferences. Using their individual projects to create group projects for wiki and to share with parents outside of classrrom
Class: Horticulture
Technology: Internet research
Content: Gardening - site, plant, date selection
Best Practice: Student investigation

Comments: Created plot of what to plant when and where - had to look on the internet to find the appropriate plants, students had to define/find own vocabulary words (crop rotation, alleopathy, etc) without clues - looked it up themselves and then had to relate it back using prior knowledge (walnut trees & alleopathy) Concerns: Keeping students on task
Class: 5th Grade 
Technology: iPhones, iTouches, Flip Cameras
Content: Students Empowering Students - Recycling
Best Practice: CREATING

Comments: Scripting, Filming, Editing a commercial - bringing 5th and 9th graders together to do different stages of the process


How do we continue to use technology after this "assignment"? What concerns do we still have?

Tweet - How would you use wikispaces in an elementary classroom? Individual student pages? Class Wikis?

How do we deal with technical issues? 

One teacher taught 8th graders how to save on flash drive & email to her so she could print it for them

What about families and students who don't have internet/computer at home? Some kids can get to the library, but not everyone has that access. -A speaker at the TICL conference a couple years ago wanted districts to go 1:1 with Smart Phones so that students have access no matter where they are.

Not every use of technology has to be "homework" - many things can be done in class

Getting internet access in the Elem. Computer Lab is really difficult - especially for young kids

How do you decide who has access to what?

We are looking at upgrading wireless again, broadband - going from 10 up to 20 or 25, but the problem with that is that any kid with a phone, ipod, ipad, etc is using our broadband

We need to teach kids how to print responsibly - and train them to ask for help when they need to change things or if something breaks down

Do we need to go to 1:1? School board will have to discuss this - laptops, tablets? High school, middle school? Computer carts are outdated or not well-cared for. 

When do we start teaching how to log in, turn on, etc - none of this is in the standards/benchmarks - where does it get done? Who is responsible for that?

Webquests work well for research so that kids are more focused (Zunal, TrackStar). 3rd grade set up the wiki so that kids have direction. 

MISIC is building out its resource database (at least for Science)

Ten Marks Math - differentiates for students, gives individual reports, formative feedback - give different numbers of problems (10 today, 20 next week, review), vocabulary and concepts are challenging - they (the company) are looking at their data - kids can get "helps" - video or vocabulary - a lot of information is covered that is on the Iowa Assessments that teachers may not have gotten to or isn't covered in the curriculum.

"I don't force every kid to do every thing I have anymore. You can do this or you can do this. You can work on geometry or you can do probability."

BudderBall Brownie has his own blog for journals and pictures (3rd grade take home bear - similar to Mr. Bunny's journal)

Teacher Sharing Soon!

This afternoon for PD, after a long day of fun-filled activities at "VIP" Day, we will reconvene to share out what exactly our teachers have been doing with their technology inspired lessons! I can't wait to share their ideas, successes, and challenges. Stay tuned for an afternoon update!

Until then, I wanted to share a few links:

Mr. Bunny's Journal (Kindergarten Little Bird Tale)

Virtual Museo Galileo (Virtual Museum)

What Does It Mean To Be Global? (Interactive App based on the book)