Sunday, September 15, 2013

Still Wondering What Dot Day Is and Looking for Activities

Dot Day can be celebrated any day. The Educators' Handbook for Dot Day is an excellent guide for lesson ideas for any day of the year. This free guide can be downloaded from Fable Vision Learning. Click on the image below to access the online pdf of the guide, and save the file for reference.

And for more inspiration, check this blog which is a steady stream of artistic contributions in celebration of the ideas represented in the book. Click on the image of the blog's banner below to get to the blog:

See for instance, the contribution from artist Jon Klassen, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal for "Most Distinguished Picture Book": This is Not Hat

You will find close to 100 illustrations on the site, as of September 15, 2013, which marks the 10th anniversary celebration of the book's birthday. Check the blog archive to trace back contributions.

Special Education Resources for Teachers and Others

We all teach students with special needs whether we are certified special education teachers or teachers working with students in our classes who have special needs. Here are some resources I recently discovered.

Thanks to Melissa Taylor for sharing many of the above resources on Google+.

What are some of your favorite resources for special education teachers? What tech tools do you find most helpful for students with special needs? Which of the above resources were most helpful to you?

Fifth Graders' Animoto: Classroom Vision

Mrs. Ripp, a 5th grade teacher from Wisconsin, is the brains behind the Global Read Aloud. She also has several blogs, and her students blog with KidBlog.

Here's an Animoto that her students recently produced and that Mrs. Ripp posed on two of her blogs:


Mrs. Ripp also invites others to post comments on her students' KidBlog: Mrs. Ripp's Class 

To get students ready for blogging, Mrs. Ripp introduces a paper blogging project, where students practice writing comments to one another's writing using paper and sticky notes. Here are two pictures she posted on Twitter showing her 5th graders doing paperblogs.

If you're looking for some fresh ideas to implement with students or ways to communicate with parents, scroll around Pernille's professional and parent blog. Also, search through her students' KidBlog, and leave them some comments.

To access each of the blogs, click on the images.

Professional Blog:

Parent Blog:

Mrs. Ripp's Class KidBlog

What ideas for implementation in the classroom did you get from flipping through Mrs. Ripp's blogs or her students' bog?

Ideas for Using Animoto to Enrich Student Learning

The Read/Write/Think website, which offers lots of lesson plan ideas, recently ran a post, "Bringing Animoto to Life in the Classroom." The post included many good ideas for using Animoto successfully in the classroom, as well as strategies for introducing the tool to students.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by dennisar
The post also reminds us about opening an educator's account and then enrolling your students by using the code Animoto provides. Setting up an Animoto Educator's account following the directions provided also helps to keep a class organized as students work with the tool and want to showcase their work. One suggestion was to set up a wiki with links to the students' Animoto. I did something like one semester to keep track of students' Animotos and to make it easier for other educators to find the Animotos all in one place.

Animotos for Spring 2012 students on a wiki page.

Some of the ideas that teacher Kathy Wickline suggested on Read/Write/Think website for using Animoto include:

  • Students introducing themselves. One of the Education 584 teachers in the West Hartford Cohort did this with his 6th graders. Take a look at his blog post where he includes three samples from his students, "Pulling It All Together."
  • Use of Animoto for students to recap a research project. This option can be offered as an alterative to the classic PowerPoint.
  • Set up an Scavenger Hunt in which students go off and take photos to document their findings. My niece did this with campers she supervised when she was a counselor this summer. The campers loved it, and then we assembled their photos in an Animoto. It was nice to share this with parents. In a school setting, the Animoto could be posted on a class website and shared with parents.
  • Create scrapbooks to review the school year. The Read/Write/Think does not include creating a Scrapbook specifically of a field trip, but one of the former Education spring 2012 students did just that. She created a scrapbook using photos of biweekly field trips her students made to a local farm, "Farm Trip Animoto."  Another teacher from the Spring 2012 also used Animoto for a field trip summary, "Field Trip Animoto." 
Given the valuable ideas the Read/Write/Think site offers, including organizing setting up a class Animoto site, I suggest going right to the post as well as following some of the links in the post. "Bringing Lessons to Life with Animoto."

Once you go the post on Read/Write/Think, notice the teacher, Kathy Wickline, who created the post, also has other contributions.

Screen Capture done with Awesome Screen Capture

If you click on her Profile link, you will find other lesson ideas she contributed to the Read/Write/Think site. She has lots of good ideas for using other Web 2.0 and other tools such as:

  • Voki as a way to create commercials
  • Prezi in relation to historical fiction
  • Glogs for book reports
  • Book Trailers created with PhotoStory 3 including a template for students to organize the trailer
Let us know what ideas you gather about using Animoto? If you are not yet following the Read/Write/Think site, you might consider doing so.  Take a look at the site's homepage to get an idea of the wealth of resources offered. Read/Write/Think.

So What Can Kindergarteners Do with Digital Tools

Matt Gomez, a kindergarten teacher in Texas, does amazing things with his students. Check his blog, and check this recent post about how he uses blogging with students. The post includes links to a variety of projects his students are doing.

Click on the image below to access the specific post:

If kindergarten kids can do all of these things with digital tools, think about what kids in general can do when teachers expose them to digital tools for learning and creating.

Here are  some screen captures from the post to give you an idea of what students are doing.

So what's your reaction to how the kindergarteners are learning with digital tools? After exploring Matt's blog and some of his posts, what have you been motivated to do with your students using digital tools?