Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ideas from the Minneapolis, MN TIES 2010 Conference

Had so many notes and great ideas at the TIES 2010 conference.  Love networking and learning from other educators and how they implement technology in their classrooms and schools!  Please visit my Wallwisher site to see the ideas and links to information from some of the presentations that I attended if you want to learn more!  If you also attended the conference feel free to add your personal notes and ideas!

Notes & Ideas from TIES 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teen Texting Continues to Grow!

The link to this article "Survey: Teen Texting Reaching Critical Mass" by Thomas Pardee includes some great information from a survey done on teen texting.  Also, it includes some information about what I do with cell phones in my classroom.

Strategies I use to integrate technology in the classroom...

Here is a link to Joe Dale's (author of the popular blog "Integrating ICT into the MFL Classroom") blog post about some of the things I do in my classes to integrate technology and engage my students.  He included some presentations I created, pictures of my students texting and a copy of the permission slip I designed for cell phone use in the classroom.   Just thought it might be useful to others. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fodey.com is fabulous...

Wordle: fodey.com

Tool: Fodey.com is a free online tool that one can use to generate newspaper clippings, talking tomatoes, wizard text and more. The cool thing about this site is that you do not need to create an account to start. You simply type in your text and it generates the product.

I used the newspaper clip tool with my Spanish III students to practice the Spanish Subjunctive with adjective clauses. The task that I gave them was to write a newspaper ad for an item that they were looking for. It could be a car, house, ipod, etc. The students simply typed their ad into the newspaper clip generator and clicked the generate button. Just like that they had created their very own realistic looking want ad! I then had students save their ad for me to grade at a later time. So easy!

Results/Reflection: I was really impressed by this tool and overjoyed at how easy and userfriendy it was. It was nice not to have to create an account to use the features. The only drawback was that students couldn't save their work while they were working on it. I definitely recommend this tool to other educators! It would be a great starting tool for someone just starting to use web 2.0 tools in the classroom.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Sites Grrrrrrreat!

Wordle: google sites

Tool:  Google Sites is a tool that I implemented as an assessment tool in my Spanish 3 classes.  Each class of students developed a class website with information on various professions, but in Spanish of course!  Each group of students collaboratively worked on a page for the site and was in charge of specific profession.   They had to include on their page what we were studying...characteristics of a person, professions, and the present subjunctive with verbs of influence along with some other fun features like links to resources, gadgets and images. 
Results/Reflection: The project itself went very well and the students were very engaged in what they were doing.  It was amazing to see what they put together and also know that the students had practiced a skill (web page creation) that would be beneficial in their future!  In addition, they successfully integrated what we were learning in a contextual and real life way.

  • Set up a blank web site template for each class prior to introducing the project to students.    That way they can go and start working on their pages immediately. 
  • For giving students access to the group site, the easiest way is to create one class account and give all the students the same username and password.  The nice thing about Google Sites is you can always revert back to an earlier edited version. 
  • If you want to have each student login with their own username/password, they will each need to set up a google account.  This can take some time...So, I would suggest having them do this prior to going into the lab (maybe as a homework assignment?).  They will also all need to have an e-mail address.    You cannot send out invites to the Google Site Template you set up until the students have created and activated their Google Accounts.  
  • Have students manually save regularly.  Many students are used to using programs that automatically save and forgot to save some of their stuff.  I brought a little bell into the lab and would ring it every 10-15 minutes to remind them to do this. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Texting 4 Class?

Wordle: texting 4 class

Tool: MASS TEXTING- I started mass texting my students this year to communicate important class information such as reminders for tests, project deadlines, study tips and other announcements. To do this I....
  • sent out a parental permission form which gave both students and parents the option of signing up for the texts.
  • added each student and parent as a contact in my cell phone.
  • set up groups within my cell phone based on the class period that the student was in.
  • started sending out mass texts to the groups I had set up.
** I know this process/way may not work for everyone based on your phone type, phone carrier or comfortability using your personal phone. However, there are some other ways to implement this tool such as using Google Voice or Microsoft Outlook (Thanks to Kevin Bals and his blog post on Using Microsoft Outlook for Texting Reminders to Students.. for showing me this method!).

Results/Reflections: I know the first thing everyone is probably thinking is that I must have received some inappropriate texts from students. That is not the case! Actually, I have not received any. I am amazed at the positive student and parent feedback I have received so far. Students really like receiving the reminders via text, since they almost always have their phones with them or nearby. It is an effective way of communicating important info, especially outside of the school day. Additionally, parents have told me that the mass texts are great for keeping up with what is going on in class and helps them to check in with their son/daughter to ensure they are turning in assignments, meeting deadlines, etc. I definitely plan to continue the practice of mass texting students and their parents in the future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Classroom Project Runway!

Wordle: Project Runway 

Tool:  My Virtual Model is a tool that I used to have my Spanish II students recreate their own version of the popular TV show Project Runway.  For this project my students each created a "look" by dressing a virutal model with an original outfit.  They then wrote a detailed description of it in Spanish, which could be typed right on the site and saved for me to grade.  For the actual fashion show (class presentations) students put up their virtual model, wearing their "look", on the LCD projector and described it to their classmates in the target language. 

Results/Reflections:  I was amazed at the interest level of the students during the presentations of their classmates.  They were really motivated and the end results showed it! They really liked the chance to be creative and I liked the fact that they practiced such a rich variety of their new vocab. in the target language and wrote really quality descriptions of their orginal outfit designs!  Another cool feature to this tool is that the clothing choices on the site can actually be purchased online!