Sunday, November 22, 2015

App Smashing: Blog 2 The App Smashing Project

       "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men," would be the best way to describe the way this app smashing project went. It was a good thing though because I think the final outcome will be a project that all teachers will feel comfortable with using in their classroom. My original idea was a little bit too complicated which I will go into detail about a little later in this blog. 

       My instructional segment plans posted on a my first App Smashing Blog stayed almost the same except for the following: I have updated these parts to match the final project.

Here are the apps and websites I used for this project:
Blendspace - to create the final presentation
Google Drive - to share the presentation with my teachers
Jing - to record the demonstration of the website.
Today's Meet - the site I was demonstrating in my presentation.

Instructional objectives
         Teachers will be able to follow the steps in this module to create and start a Today's Meet discussion with their students.
  Assessment strategies and tools
       Teachers will print the transcript of the Today's Meet conversation to turn in for credit for completing this module.
My original idea was to teach teachers how to create a Thinglink with their students. While I plan on still doing this, I realized that this one might be better in a face to face instructional class. One of the reasons I switched ideas was because the program I was using, Jing, only allows you to record for 5 minutes. The Thinglink tutorial was going to last longer than 5 minutes. It was also way too involved than I had expected which worried me. I was afraid that some teachers might get lost in an online module. I wanted to create a module that all teachers with varying technology skills would feel comfortable using and Thinglink wasn't fitting that category. That is when I remembered Today's Meet. I have been wanting to share this with them and this would be a great chance to do so.  I also wanted to use more than just Jing and Google Drive to create this app smash project. I decided to explore the blogs of my fellow classmates and became inspired to try my hand at creating a Blendspace. I used Sketchpad 3.7 to create this flow chart of the process behind my app smash project.

              I love using Jing, it is now my favorite screen cast tool.  It allows me to record and upload to my website or post as a link in a Google Doc.  Blendspace was a new tool for me. I love how you can upload from almost any site on the web or just type your own message into one of the spaces. The only thing I noticed about Blendspace is that websites did have a hard time uploading.  This tool allows you to combine as many apps as you want. I can see myself using this tool in the future to make like a "Symbaloo type" of instructional videos for teachers.
              One of the differences between this project and the single app projects is that you can use more creativity. You also have more freedom to change apps due to the fact that some apps or sites are better than others at getting the message you are portraying across.  A project with multiple apps also can spark interests in teachers and in turn help them start using these different apps in the classroom once they see it demonstrated. 
            One of the decisions that I feel the best about is keeping my focus on the teachers I am trying to reach. I could have pushed through the Thinglink tutorial and created several different Jing videos to finish it. However I know my teachers and this wouldn't be something that they would have felt comfortable doing only through an online module. My whole point in doing these modules and training is to help them. The Thinglink tutorial wasn't going to do that. It would have been confusing the way I would have had to do it. That is why I decided to pick a site/tool that would benefit both the teachers and the students. 
            I am going to be adding this Blendspace tutorial to our school's shared Google Folder entitled "Online Technology Development Modules/Instructions" and sharing it via email with the staff. 

     Here is my final project: Click below or here to see it. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Flipped Instruction/TEDEd Lessons

Flipped Instruction with Students    

       When I examined the TedEd website I went in with a school media specialist mindset. As with anything I do I ask myself, "How can I use this with my students/teachers?" So I decided to do a search for Tall Tales since that is what I am doing with my 2nd grade students right now.  Only one came up with that search. It was called "Overcoming Obstacles" by Steven Claunch. While that lesson was a great lesson and I will use it when discussing how characters show perseverance, it wasn't what I had in mind. So I decided to create my own lesson that I could use this week with my second graders.                
         My lesson will not be a "true" flipped lesson since it will still take place during the instructional part of the day, however it is an excellent way to engage the students and help them understand the material by giving them a visual of a character and how he is portrayed digitally.  My lesson is called,  "Tall Tales and their Extraordinary Characters."  I will post about the how this lesson goes later this week. I am looking forward to trying something new with my students.

Flipped Professional Development

         Flipped Instruction is the new face of professional development at my school this year. Up to this point I have only used Jing as a tool. Now with the discovery of TEDEd I have another format to use.  I had heard about it before, however I had never took time to look at the site. I love this site and will be using it in the future with my lessons.  TEDEd is another wonderful way for me to create these flipped lessons for my teachers and use the question features as a way to get possible feedback about each lesson.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

App Smashing: Design Stage

                 This year I decided to implement a flipped classroom approach to professional development for the teachers at my school. So far I have created videos on how to put a book on hold and a review of the Big 6.  My principal has really liked this concept due to the amount of information she has had to share lately at staff meetings. I present the information and then if they need my assistance or want to go deeper they come and see me.  There are some things that I still need to meet with them on but some I can do through modules. 
                  For this app smashing project I plan on having the teachers as my audience once more. I want to show them how to use some of the sites I have found that could implement in their classroom with their students.  The instruction is important for the teachers because they are expected to implement technology into their instruction. I want to show them a more hands-on approach with the students.  I am thinking about using Jing to demonstrate how to make a Thinglink with the students and then upload it into a Google Doc or as a Teacher Tube Video for the teachers.  By uploading it to Google Docs or Teacher Tube they can reference back to it as many times as they like. I think that learning at their own pace is beneficial to the teachers because in a PD after school some teachers have questions but don't want to ask because they are tired and just want to go home or back to their classroom, this way they can feel free to ask questions or stop the lesson and try something out and take as long as they need. 
               I hope that this will help them see that they can do this in the classroom and it would give their students another way to show what they have learned. 
      Instructional Planning of App Smashing Project
Audience, setting, and purpose for instruction

          I am doing this video for the instructional staff at my school that includes 2 administrators, 1 lead teacher, 37 teachers, and 10 teacher assistants. I want to provide them with strategies and different technology tools to use with their students.

Needs of the learners

As with any staff there is a broad range of technology skills and comfort level. We are a PreK-5th grade school with two self contained classrooms. So I need to keep that in mind and help them see how they can help modify it for any level.

For this module I will only need my computer. The programs I will be using are all on the computer. As I continue to add more I will need a video recording device to video me demonstrating some ideas like Draw my Life. The learners will need their computers or devices that they can access Teachertube or their Google Docs. The Thinglink application can be used across the curriculum.

         Teachers are expected to include technology in their lessons. It is my job to help give teachers the tools that they need to integrate. These tools or websites that I plan on sharing with them are easily integrated into any lesson.  

Instructional objectives
        Teachers will be able to follow the steps in this module to create a Thinglink with their students.

 Assessment strategies and tools
     Teachers will post the link to their Thinglink on a Google Doc in order to get credit for this module.
 Learning standards, competencies, or professional benchmarks.
    Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
         a.  Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
     Standard IV:  d.  Teachers integrate and utilize technology in their instruction.  Teachers know when and how to use technology to maximize student learning. Teachers help students use technology to learn content, think critically, solve problems, discern reliability, use information, communicate, innovate, and collaborate.

Depending on the activity, an agenda or timeline of teaching and learning activities.

  I will be posting several modules to our shared Google Folder so that teachers can view on their own.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Making the Connection: Inviting Parents to the Media Center

            Making the connection with parents is important part of the media specialist job. The natural assumption is yes, the media specialist supports reading. However it is important to be an active supporter and involve parents in creating a lifelong passion for reading.
           Today was the beginning of this mission for me.  We had our "Pete the Cat" Afternoon Reading Session today. I started off discussing websites for parents that provided strategies that they could use at home.  Then we introduced the book and I read and sang the story with the students help. I had so much fun. I was in full character, something I don't get to do on a regular basis with my classes due to time restraints.

 After reading the stories with the students I explained the stations to the students and the strategy behind the station to the parents. Then I had the students find their parents and pick a station to begin. 
             We had puppet making as our retell station. Watching the students and their parents connect as they created their Pete the Cat puppet was worth the entire session.  The students sang the story to the parents as they finished their puppets. This was by far the favorite of the group.                 
           Our next station was the sequencing station. This station worked on several skills in one, which included retell, beginning-middle-end, and sequencing the events of a story. They used story cards to glue them in order. This station can easily be duplicated by them just drawing or painting the events of the story at home. 
          The last station was a writing activity. They all were able to create a page in the book called, "We love our Shoes". This book will be in the media center for them to see when they visit.  This station also had a prediction part, where they had to predict what would happen if Pete stepped in grass, oranges, blackberries, or mustard seeds. 
             As the parents were leaving they thanked me for hosting this event and asked me when I was doing it again. I gladly told them that I was in the planning process of becoming the Pigeon from Mo Willems books. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Digital Storytelling with 4th Grade

        I love when I am able to use what I am learning in my Graduate classes with my students. When I was looking over the sample of digital stories I saw one that made me stop and say that would be perfect. It was a Digital Story about Texas. The fourth graders at my school are studying the state symbols and geography of North Carolina. I thought what better way to integrate myself into their curriculum. So we spent the last two weeks of media and one week in their flex lab time to create these projects. I am proud of the work that they did so I wanted to share them with you. I learned more about Voice Thread through this project.  When we finished it was 8 minutes long. I was afraid that would be too long for people. So I used the copy feature on Voice Thread and copied the Voice Thread and then created two digital stories by deleting the duplicate sides. I have posted it to the web page so that our students' parents can see what they are doing in media.

Here are the two Digital Stories. (It was only after I created this that I found out how to take my picture off as the speaker.)

App Smashing: The Beginning

        As I watched the videos and read the articles my techie brain went into overdrive and a single thought went through my head, "So many apps so little time." I could do so much with these. The students could have so much fun.  This project is going to be FUN!!!!  I have played around with some of the apps and I really look forward to exploring more.  I decided to create a video using Jing. Jing is really easy to use and share. I had used screen cast tools before but Jing has more features. One of the features that I thought was very useful is the image capture feature. This feature allows you to not only capture the image but also annotate as well. (See the example below.)

      Thinking ahead toward the App Smashing Project I decided to play around with two ideas. The first idea is offering a refresher video on how to put a book on hold using Destiny.  I created this video using Jing and then shared it in a folder in Google Drive so they will have access to it whenever they need it. I am also considering placing it on our web page under a "Instructional Videos for Teachers." Here is the first video that I did for the teachers.

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       The next video I am going to make is a video to demonstrate how to create a ThingLink.  I will be posting that soon.