Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Administrative Tour of the Model Classrooms

Yesterday, the administrators in our district were invited to a tour of all the model classrooms to see how the technology is being used to improve learning.  Here are some videos from their visit.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

PBL 2 - Student Project Example

I attended a keynote address by Gabe Zicherman at the Minneapolis TIES Conference this past weekend and he talked about gaming and gamification.  So many students are enthralled by video games!   I thought this example of a student PBL project was fitting to the topic of pulling some ideas from gaming into the classroom, as these students designed a new idea/invention and displayed their idea and predictions (in Spanish) for it through a video game!    This is their presentation with screen shots taken from their video game design.  Take a look!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Genial Writing App + SlideRocket Presentation = Great conjugation practice!

We utilized the "Genial Writing" app today along with a Sliderocket presentation I made containing alternating slides of a verb with a subject to conjugate and it's answer.  Students display the SlideRocket game on one of the tablets and use the other tablet to write their answers.  We are using this game/strategy to practice conjugation in the future tense, but it could be used with really any tense in a foreign language or be applied for other concepts in any subject area.  Things I like:

  • SlideRocket is a great presentation creator!  Great slide transitions and it embeds easily into a blog or website.  Also, it allows you to specifically share presentations with specific people and see how many people are using your presentation and how.  Best part.... it's part of our Google Apps!

Take a look at our activity here!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What do students think about the technology?

Here is a video of some of my students discussing what they like about being in a model 21st century classroom.  Take a look!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mobile Devices = Differentiated Learning

One thing I really love about having the Android Tablets is how much easier it is to differentiate learning for students.  We have a vocabulary quiz tomorrow and students were given various choices the latter part of the class period to prepare/practice their vocabulary.   Take a look here!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Updated List of Andoid Apps

Here is an updated list of the Apps that we are  using most frequently in my Spanish Classes.

  • Blogger
  • QR Droid
  • Spanish Trainer
  • Spanish Verbs
  • Conjugate Spanish
  • Word Reference
  • SlideIT
  • Pulse (for SSR)
  • Movie Studio
  • SuperNote
  • Google Docs
  • Letrix
  • Hangman for Spanish
  • Splashtop (for Instructor)
  • SketchBook
  • DoodleText

A Look at the PHS Model Classroom

Classroom Tools/Components:

How has the classroom changed because of all this technology?

Learning is more.... differentiated, meaningful, engaging, collaborative and 24/7!

What do the students think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blogging with the Transformers & Xooms

Students published their first blog posts today in Spanish IV!  I put up a discussion question on the Smartboard, students wrote responses, and then published them to their individual blogs.  The students loved the new way of communicating and are ready to do more blogging soon!  Take a peek at our first blogging experience here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Students Have Many Hidden Talents

I posted these pictures, because one of my Spanish IV students brought these in as a class treat before break.  I was so impressed!  It made me think about the many hidden talents each student has and how we as educators need to tap into their interests and talents to improve learning.  I attended a really great presentation last year about this topic by Sir Ken Robinson.  See video below with a very similar presentation!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Screen Capture (by Google) = Grading and Feedback for Blog Posts

In order to grade and give feedback to my Spanish IV students, who created blog posts to practice the various progressive tenses, I utilized the Screen Capture (by Google) extension for Chrome.  Next, I used its editing tools to highlight errors and write comments.  When done, I simply copied the final image and pasted it right into an e-mail to students.    

Tutorial of the Screen Capture Extension

*Project:  Students either took 4 of their own photos or found 4 images online and then wrote 2 sentences, one including a pronoun, in each of the 4 progressive tenses to describe their photos (This project was adapted from an orignal poster project created by my colleague, Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Asus Transformer - Our new classroom device!

My classroom is officially a 1:1 environment and I am thrilled to start implementing a bunch of ideas I've had for a while.  We received 15 Asus Transformers a week ago and also have 15 Motorola Xoom Tablets.  I am really liking that both Android Tablets are set up almost the same way, which is great for students adapting to the new devices.   Take a look at the device below!

Splashtop App! - Great tool for the classroom!

This app can be found in both the Android and Apple markets.  It is currently on sale right now at a bargain price of only $2.99 on the Android Market.  It allows me to navigate my computer on an Android tablet, smartphone, or device from anywhere in the classroom.  I love this, because I don't like to be stuck up at the Smartboard/in front of the room all the time.  I like the ability this app gives me to easily move around the room, but still navigate the computer/class activities.  See the video below for a description!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Speaking Assessments Completed Via Google Voice!

Used Google Voice App today for recording in the target language.  My Spanish 4 students recorded their responses to questions given in various perfect tenses.  The students were given a handout yesterday with 4 possible questions (one in each of four different perfect tenses).  Today, students picked one of the questions randomly out of a bucket and called my Google Voice number to record their responses.  Take a look here!

* I plan to grade the students recordings and send them their feedback via text message through Google voice.

** Students were not able to view their preparation handouts during the recording, but they were given a green sheet of blank scratch paper after handing in their prep sheets and choosing their specific questions to jot down/organize their thoughts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PCSD Model Classroom Teachers Meeting

Want to start out by saying that I am extremely grateful to work in a school district and have technicians that are so supportive, helpful and encouraging of innovation in education!

Meeting Highlights and New Ideas:
  • Need to create an organization shelf for easy storage of tablets during the school day.
  • One of the model teachers using Twitter with students - love the idea of creating a hashtag for our class and discuss various topics in the target language.
  • What is the best device to purchase at specifice buildings/for age of students?
  • PDF of lesson - put on blog and embed form with activities with it!
  • Create e-mail filter to filter e-mail from students for assignments right into a folder!
  • Google form>get students name and blog address>copy addresses>put in Google doc and publish on class blog.  Brilliant!
  • Voice Record with Micdroid app - send via e-mail to blog! 
  • Problem Based Learning - What is it?
    1. Has a situation problem to be solved.  Students come up with their own way to solve it.  
    2. No set product.
    3. Needs to have collaboration, communication, problem solving, real life relevance, real life audience

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Example of Soapbox Use for WL Lesson..

Here is a screen shot from my Spanish IV "Soapbox sandbox".  I pre-loaded some discussion questions that students used during a lesson on the perfect tenses today.  Was a great tool to engage and have students interact/discuss in the target language during the lesson. !

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creative Products from our first PBL Unit!

Here are some of the products/presentations that students in my Spanish III classes created to get people involved in their cause/organization.  Take a look!!


Video Game - Students created a video game and placed signage within the game that tells people how to get involved in the Red Cross. This is a slide show with screen shots from the game.

Friday, November 4, 2011

WAFLT Session 2 - Keeping it in the Target Language


students need training
language needs to comprehensible - pictures, acting out, cognates

Languages and Children by Helena Curtain - book

role play culture situations

if students asking for english clarification... ¿Cómo se dice? + let another student answer

have survival ?'s posted in room..

Interactive SMART Lessons for WL Classrooms

Notes from WAFLT Special Interest Session 1 - Fri., 11/4/11

Teachers Recess

  • Erasing things - erase to reveal task/pic/etcand 
  • matching activites
  • put detailed photo or pic up to converse about
  • create street map and have car icon for directions
  • take photos of student samples instead of keeping student work
  • put vocab of song up w/ pics 
  • tortuga game on smart
  • shark/tiburon - vocab game create grid w/ animals icons (3-4)have about 30 tasks or vocab

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#WAFLT11 Pre-conference workshop - Tech-niques that Foster 21st Century Skills

Notes from the wokshop...

  • what would you do? 20/20 - create videos or show videos of innapropriate/rude comments or actions  have students comment / discusss actions and what the appropriate action would be - could be used with group travel or conditional tense

  • clear conversation - u of michigan
  • blurb - create book and add audio
  • global hero project-  would work great during hero unit in spanish 3

        Wednesday, November 2, 2011

        Get Involved! - Problem Based Learning Unit 1

        Get Involved!  My Spanish 3 classes are currently working on forming formal commands, describing volunteer activities and organizing others to do a project/get involved.  They were given 3 questions (in Spanish :)..

        1.  What is a cause or social action project that I would like to support or help out with?
        2.  How can I get volunteers, generate support, or inform the public about this project/organization?
        3.  What is the best method to get the general Spanish speaking public involved?

        Here is a video of one group in the planning stages...

        Friday, October 21, 2011

        Student Demo of the Xoom at PT Conferences

        For parent teacher conferences last night I had a couple of the Xoom tablets out for parents to see the how the devices work and get a first hand look at the many ways they can be used. 

        Take a look at one of my students showing her mother how to use one of the Xoom tablets during her parent teacher conference.   

        Thursday, October 13, 2011

        Collaborative Mini Stories via Google Docs!

        We are currently studying preterite and imperfect in Spanish IV.  To further practice these past tenses,  students are working in collaborative groups to come up with a mini story in Spanish.  First, each group randomly chose a picture from the selection.  Then, they had to write/tell what happened in the picture.  Tomorrow each group will present their story to the class.  Here is a group using Google Docs to create their story, which allows them to collaborate more efficiently outside of class to finish their story as well as make any need corrections.  Take a look.

        Friday, October 7, 2011

        A new way to do video activities!

        For today's video lesson (an episode from a Spanish video series called "El Gran Desafío"), I checked for understanding by having students complete a Google Form.  They were able to watch the video and complete the activities at the same time.  When finished, they easily submitted the form and I can now quickly assess how they did using the Flubaroo, a feature of Google Docs!  We will definitely be using this tool again! 

        Thursday, October 6, 2011

        Even more grammar idol!!

        Here are a few more of the preterite grammar song presentations from my Spanish IV classes...

        One of my students even played the Ukulele for their song.  She received it for Christmas last year and actually learned how to play it via the Internet!!

        Grammar Idol!

        In the Spanish IV classes today students performed their very own grammar songs, focusing on one aspect of the preterite tense in Spanish.  (This was an activity developed by my colleague Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier)

        Their task:

        1. Choose a focus - regular verbs, ser/ir, dar/ver, J/U/I group verbs, i>y verbs, etc.
        2.  Choose a familiar song
        3.  Count out syllables of song
        4.  Put words to song to teach the class their preterite focus topic

        Here are the results of their assignment....

        Soapbox is superb!

        I was reading about a new site/tool called Soapbox last night on Free Technology for Teachers.  Being the Ed Tech geek that I am, I immediately signed up for the free service and tried it in my class today!  Wow!  It is awesome.  This tool lets students back-channel while you are teaching.  They can post a question and either the instructor or another student can post a response immediatly.  It also filters inappropriate content, which is great for the classroom!   Take a look to see it in action!

        The demo video from the Soapbox site

        Pulse App

        I have just downloaded the Pulse App for the Xoom Tablets, after reading about a similar Ipad app (Zite) that a colleague of mine downloaded for use in his classes.  My classroom purpose for this app is for students to use it during SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) Time.  Every day my high school devotes 10 minutes for students to simply read.  I really love SSR time, because I also get ten minutes out of the day to read!

        This app lets students pull info. from a variety of websites to read about topics that interest them.  Take a look at this short video review of the app.

        One of my students using it today!

        Tuesday, October 4, 2011

        Slide IT App = quick typing, in Spanish or English!

        I recently downloaded the Slide IT app for the Xoom tablets from the Android Market.  In addition, I downloaded the Spanish Language Pack that goes with it to allow the students to quickly type in either Spanish or English.  The best part is that they are both free!  It has really been working well and the students are now able to type on the tablets so much quicker in either language!  Take a look at the video to see it in action.


        Wednesday, September 21, 2011

        Doodle Text App

        One of my students came across a Doodle Text App today and we used it right away during our small group Jeopardy review game.  The app was used to replace mini whiteboards and dry erase markers for writing down answers.  It is easy to use and makes writing even more fun with all the color and background choices!  Take a look at some students putting it to use!

        Wednesday, September 14, 2011

        Sub Tomorrow.... Created a video plan! :)

        I am so thankful to our wonderful technology department here in Pulaski!!  Today they delivered a wireless microphone to me to use for creating video lessons.  I was so excited I had to test it out today before I left!!

        Tomorrow I will have a sub in the morning.  So, I decided to use the new wireless mic and create a video sub plan/instructions.  Take a look below.  There are still some things I want to tweak/add for future videos, but I was very happy with the results for the first time around!

        Tuesday, September 13, 2011

        Move over 501 Verb Books here comes the Spanish Verbs app!

        I have a set of 501 verb books in my classroom, but with the introduction of the Xoom tablets students are now choosing to use the "Spanish Verbs" App instead.  Today they utilized it to reference the correct present tense conjugations of various verbs while completing a group correct (strategy introduced to me by my colleague, Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier).  


        Friday, September 9, 2011

        QR Code Access to Discussion

        Students using a QR code displayed on the Smartboard to access our online class discussion.

        Discussion via texting and Xooms!

        We had a mini discussion in class yesterday using a combination of devices, Xooms and Cell Phones.  Some students added to the discussion online through polleverywhere while others texted their input via cell phones.  

        Wednesday, September 7, 2011

        1st Quiz with Xooms + Google Docs

        Instead of taking the quiz in traditional paper/pencil format, the students took the 1st quiz of the year through a Google Form.  The Xoom tablets were used to access the quiz link on the class blog.  With 15 tablets half the class took the quiz while the other half worked on a different activity. 

        Friday, September 2, 2011

        Great 1st day with the Xooms!

        I was curious to see what the learning curve would be like for students with the Xoom tablets, but they seem to be pretty quick to navegate it!

        Take a look at the video of their first activity using the tablets!

        Wednesday, August 31, 2011

        QR Codes - Just another idea...

        QR Codes will be used often in my classes this year to quickly access information. Take a look at one use I have for them!

        Demonstration on how students will be able to access the class blog using the tablets and the QR Droid App.

        Xoom Tablets

        We are starting off the year with 15 Motorola Xoom tablets!  These devices will allow students to use various apps from the Android Market, create videos, do activities online, communicate in a variety of ways in the target language, and much more!  Take a look at the tablet!

        System for Xoom Tablets Use

        This is a short video clip to show how the Xoom tablets will be stored and distributed to students on a day to day basis.

        Friday, August 26, 2011

        Apps for the Xooms

        I am really looking forward to working with the Xoom tablets as they are on the Android system.  The super cool thing about it is many students have Android smart phones and will be able to download and use the same apps outside of class also!

         I have started to put a list of apps together, in no specific order, that I would like to place on the Xoom tablets to start off the year.  I will be installing the apps on the devices using the Chrome to Phone extension via Google Chrome.  Take a look and if you have any recommendations/suggestions, please leave a comment!
        • QR Droid                                  
        • Where's my droid?
        • Student Clicker
        • Trippo
        • Catch
        • Blogger
        • Docs
        • Word Reference
        • Verb Conjugator
        • Ipadio
        • Google Earth
        • Flash Card Maker Pro
        • Document Scanner
        • Socrative Teacher
        • Spanish Verbs Pro
        • Spanish Verb Trainer

        Thursday, August 25, 2011

        Model Classroom Physical Setup

        Today I worked on setting up the physical structure of my classroom.  I wanted to create a couple different types of work spaces to accommodate the various learning experiences that will take place throughout the year.  I am excited to have students try them out and get their feedback.  Hoping these will work well, but if not it can always be easily changed! 

        collaborative group space, reading and work area

        area designed for direct instruction

        another collaborative group or work area

        Tuesday, August 23, 2011

        Learning about my students...

        I have done a personal info. questionaire of my students for many years now.  It started out as a regular old paper copy, but last year I started doing it through Google Docs/Forms.  The questions are updated a bit each year and this is the version I will use for the 2011-212 school year. 

        My 2011-2012 Student Info. Questionaire

        21st century learning - New Teacher Inservice

        A few of the other Pulaski model classroom teachers and I were asked to present some of the ways we integrate technology into our classrooms.  I have chosen the following 3 instructional tools to highlight:

        • Video Recording via SMART Recorder

        Friday, August 5, 2011

        Wow to Webdocs!

        Am super amazed and excited by this new Web 2.0 tool! There are so many different things you can do with it and what I love most is there is very little learning curve. I was able to create this, my very first Webdoc, and post it in a matter of minutes! A Webdoc integrates text, links, images, video, sound and apps in a super simple and visually attractive format! Plus the Webdocs can then be posted to a blog or shared via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. I can see a million possibilities for this in the classroom.... voting tool, getting student feedback, comparison of websites or blog posts, posting media, creating interactive collages/posters, etc.!

        Thursday, August 4, 2011

        Professional Learning Academy 2011

        The Professional Learning Academy this week was AWESOME!  I am so glad I had the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm with some really amazing and innovative teachers in my district!  I am super excited about some of the ideas we came up with and learned about (which I shall share in more detail very soon).   Now, all I have to do is get to work on implementing them for this upcoming school year!  Some of the topics and tools we discussed included...

        Monday, July 25, 2011

        Creating a Model 21st Century Classroom..

        I am thrilled to be creating a "Model 21st Century Classroom" in the upcoming 2011-2012 school year! My school district has chosen 5 classrooms (2 elementary, 2 middle school, and 1 high school) that will basically be given a "technology makeover". The technology tools in each room will be a little bit different, but in all the classrooms the implementation of technology rich lessons and problem based learning will take place.

        What will this entail for my high school Spanish classroom?

        • A Smartboard - A large sized Smartboard was purchased at the end of last school year and installed in my classroom in May 2011. So, I have already had some time to work with it and start creating lessons using the Smart software. However, I still have much more to learn and will work to optimize the capabilities of the Smartboard in the upcoming year to improve teaching and learning.

        • 30 Motorola Xoom Tablets - The Motorola Xoom is the first tablet device that runs on the Android 3.1 Honeycomb System. It also contains a dual core processor, HD Video Camera, front and rear facing cameras, and is Adobe Flash Player 10 ready. The video below demonstrates in more detail the capabilities of this device. With the 30 Xoom tablets, there will be a 1:1 student to tablet ratio in my room. As you can imagine, this opens up so many opportunities for learning and my brain has been working overtime lately with new ideas that I want to try out. I have to shut it down sometimes so I can fall asleep at night!

        As the year unfolds, I will be continuing to post updates on the creation of the "Model 21st Century Classroom" as well as reflecting on the various new tools, apps, strategies, and technology rich lessons that are implemented. I love getting and sharing ideas with others! So, if you have anything you think would be useful for me and others looking to improve 21st century learning, don't hesitate to leave a comment!

        Thursday, April 28, 2011

        QR Codes = Easy Info. Sharing!

        Tool:  QR Codes are a great way to share web sites, information, and much more with students.  I recently used a QR code in my Spanish IV classes to give students quick and easy access to research sites for their Spain project. To generate the QR Code, I used Kaywa, which is super user friendly.  It allows you to create a QR Code from any URL, text, SMS message or phone number.  You can then embed the QR Code where you want students to access it.  Through the use of their smart phone cameras and a QR Code App, such as QR Droid (free android app), students could then scan the bar code and quickly have access to all the resources via their phone, which means they could continue their project research and work on the go 24/7!

        Results/Reflection:  Students really liked having this alternate way to grab the info. and websites for their Spain project.  Obviously not all my students owned a smart phone, so the information and websites were also posted on the class web site, but it was nice for students who did have a smart phone to be able to have an additional point of access for the project resources.  I will definitely be using QR codes in my classes more often and will post more ideas for their use soon! :)

        Tuesday, April 26, 2011

        Guide Research with Customized Google Search

        Tool - Customized Google Search Engine - This tool works great for guiding or filtering student research for various projects and other activities. It allows you to input specific sites that you want students to use and allows them to search by keyword or phrase specifically within those sites.  I recently used this tool to help guide research for a large project my Spanish IV students were doing on the autonomous communities of Spain. I copied the URL's of the websites that I wanted them to use into the customized search engine creator and 2 seconds later I had a search tool that I could embed into my class web page for students to access. 

        Results/Reflection: This tool worked incredibly well for filtering information for students and helping guide them to quality web sites.  In addition, it was incredibly easy to create.  I think it took a grand total of 10 minutes to generate the customized search engine for my Spanish IV Spain Project.  This is definitely a tool that will be used again in the future!

        Monday, February 21, 2011

        Craig's List meet Señora's List!

        Tool: Google Sites - For teaching about the subjunctive with adjective clauses, I had my students create want adds for a varitey of things: automobiles, furniture, cell phones, video games, etc. I set up a template Google Site and added all the categories that I could think of that would appear in the want ads or on Craig's List. The site was called "Señora's Site", named after the famous "Craig's List" of which most students are pretty familiar with. In today's day and age a large number of people utilize sites like Ebay or Craig's List to look for or sell items. Wanting students to practice a real life skill/task and due to the fact we were studying subjunctive with adjective clauses, I had my students write an add for an item or service that they were looking/searching for.

        Results/Reflection: The activity worked pretty well, but there are some changes I will make for the future. The main problem that we encountered was that unlike Google Docs only one student can be typing on a specific Google Sites web page at one time. Everyone can be on the same Google Site and on different pages, but 2 people on the same page and one person's work will get deleted. So for next time, I will need to make sure that I have a seperate page within the Google site for each student in the class. On a bright note, this school year our district is pilotoing Google apps and all of my students already had accounts set up before we started, which was a real time saver and made it much more user friendly for the students. If your school does not have Google Apps, you can always create a free account for the class and have everyone log in with the same username and password. You can't track everyone's work, but it saves a lot of time and has worked well for me in the past.