Monday, March 5, 2012

Story Starter Sample!

I recently posted about Scholastic Story Starter. Here is an example of one of the creations of my students! Remember their goal was include correlative conjunctions in their writing!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Does Netflix Have a Future in Education?

These are two blog I found that is discussing Netflix and educational uses.

Puzzling Puzzlemaker?

In a recent post regarding Discovery Education, I mentioned that they offer a free puzzlemaker to non-subscribers. I was curious as to how easy this puzzlemaker would be to use. To me, if it isn’t easy, a tool like this, may not be worth it.

I discovered that the Discovery Education Puzzlemaker is very easy to use! As for how you could use it in your own classroom, word searches can be great ways for students to familiarize themselves with vocabulary words; crosswords can be engaging ways to review definitions. You could even have your students create their own puzzles as a review of vocabulary words or concepts. They can create their own, print them out, and share them with their peers.

*One thing I really did like about the Discovery Puzzlemaker was that it allows you to easily go back to your work and edit and revise! This is something I am always looking to see if a Web 2.0 tool allows you to do!
Here is a snapshot of an example word search I created!

Another Aspect of Prezi

After creating my own Prezi presentations, I wanted to know can I use Prezi in any other ways in my own classroom. (I would love to have my students create their own Prezi presentations, but at this time my students do not have email addresses that have been okayed by my school.) I am always looking for new ideas or different ways to approach the concepts I discuss with my students, and it turns out Prezi is a great resource. You can use Prezi’s search feature and look for already created Prezi Presentations. Since I am exploring conjunctions with my students, I found some neat Prezi Presentations that I could share with my students and/or get inspiration for myself!
Currently I am discussing conjunctions with my students, so I searched for some neat conjunction presentations. Here are some already made and shared Prezi presentations about conjunctions! I really like the one titled "Coordinating Conjunctions," by user Meredith Maddux.

Try searching the presentations for a topic or concept you are discussing in your own classroom!

Starting the Story

I am always trying to get my students engaged and excited about the writing process. I usually gear my class into writing about things they know, things they have personally experienced, but the other day, when we were covering correlative conjunctions, I just wanted something fun and engaging where my students could practice using correlative conjunctions in their own writing! Thus I discovered Scholastic Story Starter!

Scholastic Story Starter is a Web 2.0 tool that will generate a silly story prompt by “spinning a wheel.” Students type in a name, then chose their appropriate grade. Students can then chose the format they wish to write, notebook, postcard, newspaper article, or letter. It is simple and easy to use! My students enjoyed the interactive nature and doing something different!
Get a story starter for yourself! Check it out at the website below!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Easy Wordle Example

Here is an example of a Wordle product I created describing Web 2.0! I have a quick overview PowerPoint that I have shared with my students to introduce them to Wordle and direct them with the different features. I will hopefully be able to share this PowerPoint with you very soon!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Netflix in the Classroom?

Many weekends and Christmas breaks I have spent hours watching past seasons of my favorite shows or devouring episodes of a show I always meant to watch using my home streaming of Netflix. I even have my very own Netflix library with everything I intend to watch waiting patiently in my own, personally created queue. Could this Web 2.0 tool have a place in a classroom?
Recently, my students have explored the life of Moses, the great religious leader. We read about him, we discussed him, we have researched him, and the other day I wanted to share with them the Dreamworks movie, Prince of Egypt. I felt it would provide another perceptive of everything we did in class. I do not own this movie, but I wanted to quickly get a copy and have them watch it that week. After I called my local Barnes and Nobles and Target I found that they did carry copies either. Not thinking about going directly to an easy online source, Netflix, I changed my plans and my students never watched the video. It was this Web 2.0 project that made me stop and thinking, could I use my Netflix account to quickly access any video I may want to share with my students? I know that when I clicked the agreement box for Netflix, I agreed I would not use any of their videos for commercial purposes, but is my classroom considered commercial? This is a question I am very curious about. In thinking back to several course I took in college, one in particular on history through Oliver Stone’s movies, creating a Netflix queue for a course would have been very easy for my professor. Maybe this Web 2.0 could be useful for educators?

Journey to Discovery Education!

My school subscribes to Discovery Education and has for several years, but as things usually go, I had no idea of the wide variety of options and opportunities this Web 2.0 tool provides until I made it a point to explore and discover the ins and outs of Discovery Education.

What does it do?
Discovery Education allows you to not only search, download, and use as you want hundreds of videos, audio clips, and images, it also allows you to create assignments and share them with your students! As a subscriber to Discovery Education, you can create folders for your classes and piece together different elements to create your own unique assignment. The option Discovery Education provides for a teacher to create and save their own lessons, as well as, create their own folders with videos and/or other elements they found on Discovery Education makes this an example of Web 2.0!

How have I used it?
After the first time I searched Discovery Education for writing and grammar concepts videos I was disappointed. Nothing grabbed my attention. So I thought, how am I going to take advantage of Discovery Education in my English classes? Then, this summer I was given the opportunity to receive a day of professional development solely focusing on Discovery Education.
I am always looking for unique ways to create writing prompts for my students. Writing prompts are a huge part of my lessons. I believe the more you write the more you will develop your writing skills. I found out that Discovery Education has allows you to create interactive writing prompts with illustrations, sound clips, and/or video clips, and this is how I have used Discovery Education in my classroom! While currently I have only printed my writing prompts or shared them with my students as a whole group, Discovery Education does offer subscribers a way to have students virtually explore the writing prompt on their own and then submit their response electronically. This is an area I will have to explore!

Is it only good for subscribers?
While you might be thinking, “My school doesn’t subscribe to Discovery Education, so this would not be useful to me,” Discovery Education does offer lots of options for non-subscribers. Using the Teacher Resource found on the homepage of Discovery Education you have access to lesson plans, video clips, printable worksheets, a puzzle maker (you can create your own puzzles), and lots more! The Student Resource is also very useful. It offers games, homework help, and even webinars.

Check it out for youself:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pretty Pleased with Prezi

Prezi? My new presentation creator?

I love PowerPoint! I love using it for presentation purposes. I love using it to create worksheets or handouts for my students (it’s easier to format when I want to include an image). I even use it as my template creator for when I create templates for my students to use for writing projects (it’s easy for them to manipulate and move images and text boxes). When someone told me to check out the Web 2.0 tool Prezi as a presentation creator, I was hesitant. Why use something different when I like what I am using already? But I was feeling adventurous, so I checked things out and here is what I discovered!

Prezi is very easy to use. Once you create a free account you are able to design your own unique Prezi presentations, almost like little word movies and the best part is you can create, save, then sign out, and at a later time you can sign back into your account and edit your creation! Prezi will save your work for you! You can also download your Prezi presentation and save it to your own computer or flashdrive or cd. Prezi offers a variety of fonts, themes, layouts, and colors allowing your Prezi presentation to be unique!

How did I use it?
I created my first Prezi presentation to share with my students on their vocabulary words for a lesson they were learning. I used it as nothing more than a review of the words and definitions. I know this may not be the most exciting presentation, but it allowed me to practice using Prezi. My students were at first impressed with the uniqueness of the presentation and how they words moved and zoomed in and out, but they quickly became bored and no zooming in and out of words was going to help.

The Downside
I would love to have my students use Prezi to create their own presentations, but Prezi does require an email address to set up an account, and that is a policy my school has not fully set. So far now, I will continue to explore Prezi as a presentation option!

You can see my first Prezi presentation that I showed my students here:
Check out Prezi for yourself!

Wordle: Quick, Easy, Creative!

What it does
Wordle is a Web 2.0 tool that anyone can use for free! Wordle allows the user to create a word picture using any list, paragraph, article, essay of words they would like simply by typing or coping and pasting their words into the box and clicking submit.
 I have used Wordle in my classroom in the past as a way for students to create word pictures that describe the themes and major elements of stories and novels they have read. The end product shows what the students felt were important in their reading. Students enjoy using Wordle because it allows them to create their own unique product, and it is very easy to use and understand. If a Web 2.0 tool is defined by being easy to use, allows the user to create a product, and is interactive, Wordle gets all 3 stars!
The downside
What you create in Wordle needs to be printed before you exit the application. While your product can be saved to a public gallery, it is very, very hard to relocate your product. This means that as an educator, when you use Wordle with your students, be aware that they need to complete the word picture in the allotted class time.
Create a word picture of your own! Check out Wordle using this link!

The Plan

So the big question: What is considered Web 2.0?
In a world where Google and search engines provide immediate answers to any question, students enter classrooms knowing more about technology than many of their teachers, and toddlers can operate most electronic devices without ever being formally taught, Web 2.0 is everywhere! This blog will be my resource, my home base, for my personal Web 2.0 discoveries. I am on the search for Web 2.0 sources that can help me as an educator!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let the blogging begin!

Welcome to my blog! I am very excited to share it with you! I hope to use this as a great place to share, comment, and describe different resources!