Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A new way to read!

Instead of having students take out their books and read their culture info. in Spanish.  I made a video of myself reading the information to students and highlighting key words.  They  could see the text, hear it being spoken and pinpoint key information to understand it better.  Students loved it and it created a much richer way for them to read in the target language.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chome Timer Web App

I used the Timer app, available in the Chrome Web Store, in my classes today for a timed writing activity.

Things I love about it:

1. You can customize the background to any image.
2.  You can link a YouTube video to play when the timer goes off.
3.  I was able to add a picture from Barcelona, Spain during "La Navidad" and a Spanish carol available from YouTube to play when the timer went off.   It was a simple way to integrate a bit of culture into the lesson!

One tip - I pinned this Chrome app in my browser to have ready whenever I need to use it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TodaysMeet - Backchanneling in the Target Language

TodaysMeet was used in my classes today to create a backchannel discussion during a video in the target language.   I posed various questions throughout the video for students to answer and even gave out some prizes for most creative/detailed answers.  It was very effective for creating further engagement in the activity and took very little time to create/prepare!  Take a look at how it went...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Google Voice Speaking Assessment

We did speaking assessments in my Spanish 4 classes today utilizing Google Voice.

The bonuses..

  • Can complete 30 voice assessments during class in 10 minutes (+ approx. 1 hour to grade them)
  • Can access the voice messages from anywhere using my Google Account
  • Voice messages can be shared/embedded
  • Can send text back to students with feedback immediately!
  • Provides more opportunities to assess speaking w/in a World Language Classroom
  • Super efficient!
Take a look at the process I use to do this...

*Video created by Recess Duty.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Google Forms for teaching about your "Digital Footprint"!

Instead of a traditional "talk" with students about what is appropriate when using Social Media in the classroom, I created a Google Form with information/reminders about what is appropriate.  Underneath the information, I added a couple of questions that ask students to verify that they understand the expectations of using Twitter/other social media in my classroom.  Students will read the info on the form, answer the questions and submit it to me before we begin our first Twitter discussion tomorrow.  Take a look at the form below.

Remind101 - Keeping parents informed of class happenings!

This year I am using Remind101 for texting parents and students of important class information and reminders.  In the past I collected phone numbers, etc. from everyone to do this.  However, using Remind 101 has streamlined the process and made it much easier.

After setting up an account in Remind101, I created separate "classes" for each class I taught and for the parents of students in those classes.  With each class you get a subscription code that you can give out for people to subscribe to it. Once someone subscribes, Remind101 collects their name/info., which allows me see who subscribes. The teacher can also unsubscribe someone if necessary.  

I put my Remind101 subscription codes in my syllabus and will also put them out at parent teacher conferences tonight to advertise this optional form of communication to parents!

This is a screen shot of what will be displayed on the Smartboard in my classroom as parents walk in for conferences! (I have scribbled out the exact codes for privacy reasons.)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Generating Group Stories through TodaysMeet

TodaysMeet was utilized in my Spanish 3 classes to generate a group story for practicing the proper use of both the Imperfect and Preterite Past tenses.  To do this, I created a TodaysMeet room for each of my 3 sections of Spanish 3 and then linked the URL of each room to today's post on our class blog.  The whole activity worked seamlessly and students really seemed to understand better how to properly use the 2 tenses.  Definitely a successful activity, which I plan to use again in the future!

Monday, August 20, 2012

21st Century Learning - PCSD New Teacher Inservice 2012

For this year's new teacher in-service, I have chosen to highlight the following tech tools that I have found very useful in my own classroom:

  • Video  - Smart Recorder & YouTube


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reflection - Red Raider Learning Academy - Day 2

Today's reflection questions:

How might 6 hat thinking (see here for explanation) be used within the classroom or with colleagues?

  • I think that 6 hat thinking could be a great 'tool' for facilitating a discussion.  It recognizes the different hats we all wear at times and takes those into account.  The 6 hat thinking could help create better discussion by recognizing what everyone brings to the table and help avoid feelings of exclusion, hurt, jealousy, resentment, etc.  However, I do feel that if not facilitated well, it could hinder discussion.  

Describe when you have seen elements of the 4 stages of community (see here for explanation) in your community, school or family.  What stage is your school community in? 
  • I tend to see the 4 stages of community, (pseudocommunity, chaos, emptiness and community) when "communicating' in life.  The communication could be actions, words or both.  I feel that I constantly see all 4 stages, depending on the situation, people, etc.  In my school I feel that throughout the year we go between all 4 stages depending on the issues that arise or are being discussed, but I do love when that stage of community is achieved!!      

Reflection - Day 1 - Red Raider Learning Academy

This week I have signed up to take part in the Pulaski Red Raider Learning Academy within my school district.  This week long academy will have many components including collaboration time, goal-setting, experiences, reflections and more.  I have chosen to do my daily reflections via my professional blog to hopefully share / pass on what I learn!  Also, if you have any comments on my ideas/thoughts/etc. please share them.  I love the feedback!!  So here goes...

Day 1 Reflection Questions:

  • Where are you at as an educator?  I feel that as an educator I have come a really long way and have filled my "toolbox" with many useful teaching tools in 10 years, but I still have a really long way to go and will never be able to fill up my toolbox to the point where I won't need more!  I love learning, especially about learning and technology! It is fascinating to learn how the brain works and exciting to develop new tools to improve and motivate student learning.   Right now I feel that I am and will continue to be a builder of ' learning experiences' who continually needs to keep learning to improve and make those experiences successful!
  • How have you gotten there? I have arrived at where I am at through the many experiences in my life and what I have learned from other successful educators.  I also feel that taking risks in my teaching practice and consciously working to improve have been huge factors in forming the educator I have become.
  • What were the challenges and successes from the past school year? I did a recent blog post, where I reflected on the past school year and my thoughts can be seen by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What a year!! - Going 1:1 with Android devices

This school year had both it's challenges and amazing moments!   The beginning of the year was a little rocky as we spent time figuring out the devices, glitches, procedures and other surprises that came our way.  However, the benefits and high points of implementing a 1:1 Pulaski Community School District 21st Model Classroom most definitely outnumbered the obstacles!  I have laid out some of the new 'tools' implemented in my classroom this year, student favorites (based on their informal feedback), and goal/ideas for next year....

New tools implemented this year:
  • Class Blogs - A daily post was made each day to each blog that included the lesson, videos, links, activities, and any other resources needed by students.  
  • Individual Student Blogs
  • Video Lessons
  • Individualized Listening Activities 
  • Assessments via Google Forms
  • Interactive Reading Activities
  • Many Android Apps utilized throughout the year.  Click here to see a detailed list!
  • QR Codes 
  • New Problem Based Learning Units
  • Soapbox for discussion
  • TodaysMeet for discussion/back-channeling
  • Class Dojo - Used to track student participation in the target language
  • A SmartBoard and SMART software
  • Video Documentation of new tools used in the classroom
  • Youtube - used to upload all of the videos created throughout the year
  • New Performance Based Assessments
  • Google Forms to assess listening
  • Google Voice - Used for speaking assessments
  • Google Docs for collaborative writing assignments/projects
  • Gmail - Used with students for 24/7 communication and for assessment purposes.
  • Quizlet for online vocabulary activities
Student Favorites:
  • Class Blog!
  • Their own individual blogs
  • Video Lessons
  • Interactive Reading Activities
  • Online discussions via TodaysMeet and Soapbox
  • Google Forms
  • Google Docs
  • Google Voice
  • Quizlet
  • Choice in Learning/Individualized Learning!
Goals/Ideas for Next year:
  • Re-design the classroom setup and create a more collaborative learning environment!
  • Twitter Accounts for Students - Class created hashtags for discussion. / Open class walls to have discussions with other Spanish Classes & Spanish speakers. / Create an additional opportunity to teach about digital citizenship / Provide discussions in target language outside of the designated class period
  • Enhance Individual Student Blogs and create more student discussion between each other's blogs.
  • Increase Problem Based Learning Units
  • Increase Performance Based Assessments
  • More meaningful cultural lessons
  • Tie other curricular areas into lessons to create deeper understanding and meaning
  • TPR Storytelling Activities for each unit
  • Increase use of Google Apps for assessments and activities
I can't wait to see what next year brings!! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

InfoCor Tour

Wow!  I learned a lot and have a bunch more ideas after our tour today of InfoCor in Germantown, WI.  They were extremely knowledgeable about the products they had to offer and I learned about some great tools that I didn't realize I already had access too.

One of these tools is the Google 3D Warehouse!  What a collection of 3D images readily available for use!

Here are some pics of the products we viewed during our tour!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Semester 2 Spanish Oral Exams via Google Voice

Students are completing their semester 2 oral exams in my Spanish 3 courses today.  This is the process I use...

1.  Students receive a list of 3-4 possible tasks/questions 1-2 days in advance that assess whether or not they have met specific learning targets from the 2nd semester.
2.  Students prepare for all three of the questions/tasks.
3. On the day of the exam, students randomly choose one of the questions from a bucket to respond to.
4.  They use their cell phones to call my Google Voice number and leave a message with their name and response.
5.  I can then assess their responses from anywhere I have internet access using my Google Voice Account.

**You can even immediately text students their score from Google Voice!

Take a look....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

¡Presentaciones! - Which digital tool is best?

As a culminating assessment for our Spain Unit, the Spanish 4 students worked collaboratively in small groups to create a presentation on an autonomous community of Spain.  Their task was to convince their classmates to travel to their autonomous community by educating them on what their community had to offer.  During their presentations, they had to utilize 3 different visual components of their choice. (This was a project originally created by my colleague, Tracie VanGheem-Rottier.)   I was amazed at all the different web-based tools that students chose to best fit their needs and the various ways they utilized them within their presentations.  Some tools included Prezis, Tumblr blogs, Google Presentations, and Slide Rocket Presentations. Take a look here at a few clips of their presentations!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Mobile devices Offer Choices for Students

One thing that I really love about having the Android tablets this year is the choice it gives to students!  Today, we are blogging about our "pasatiempos" or hobbies in my Spanish 3 classes and students are to include an image to represent their writing piece.  Some students are using creation apps to create their own, some are using Google Images, and some are taking photos/using photo apps.  This choice helps draw the students in and make their own connection with what they are writing about!  What a great thing as an educator to see everyone so engrossed in their writing assignment today!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paint Joy App - Student creates a new use for it!

Today, one of my students created a new use for the Paint Joy app.  Instead of using a sheet of paper to play "Lotería" or vocabulary bingo, he took a picture of his game board and used the writing tools in Paint Joy to check off the answers that he had.   This allowed him to have a clean slate when we started a new round of the game instead of using different colored markers or symbols to check of the words that he had.

 It is amazing to see all the new uses of the Android Tablets that my students find on a day to day basis!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Android Apps on our Tablets - Updated List

Earlier this school year, I had posted an initial list of Android apps that were put on the Xoom and Transformer Tablets .  Here is an updated list of the Android Apps we are using in my classes.  All of these apps can be found in the Google Play Market.

  • Blogger
  • Splashtop Remote
  • Easy Voice Recorder
  • Catch Notes
  • Skitch
  • Google Docs
  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Dolphin Web Browser
  • Chrome Web Browser
  • Word Reference
  • Letrix (en español)
  • Motivator
  • QR Droid
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Prensa de España
  • Pulse
  • Spanish Verbs Pro
  • Verb Conjugator
  • SlideIT Keyboard
  • World Newspapers
  • Word Search (Spanish Version)
  • Google Earth
  • Genial Writing
  • Free Pronunciation Checker
  • PhotoShake
  • Photo Grid
  • Whiteboard
  • Paint Joy
  • Cartoon Camera
  • Hidden Word
  • Hangman for Spanish

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

QR Code to Access Performance Based Assessment Task

A QR Code, for a Google Form, was place on the student's quiz to allow quick access to that portion of the assessment.  Their Performance Based Task was to write a want ad for a personal item of their choice and to include 2 adjective clauses to describe the item they were looking for.


The QR Code allowed them to complete other portions of the assessment and then quickly go to the performance based task without having to type in a URL.  It made the whole assessment process very seamless for the students!  Take a look!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Using Google Forms to Reflect/Transition into a New Topic!

I have used Google Forms many times in the past for checking understanding of a concept, surveys, etc.  Today, I used them for a different reason.... to pre-check knowledge and transition into the next lesson.  I created a form with various multiple choice questions, open answer questions and a reflection piece to see how well students felt they knew the information related to the lesson we would be starting.  Then, I analyzed the  information collected by the Google Form and analyzed it to help me plan instruction to better fit student  needs.

Here is a video of students completing the form.

My Google Form -  This particular form was used to obtain info. on how well students knew and thought they knew the meanings of different conjunctions before starting a lesson on the subjunctive with adverb clauses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pick an App - Creating visuals for what we are reading!

Today, in order to help students read & understand the current chapter of "Don Quijote", we did the following activity ...

1.  Students were broken down into small groups.
2.  Each group was randomly given a section to read and tell the class about. (Jigsaw)
3.  Each group was directed to create a visual representation of their section to present with their explanation to the class using an Android app of their choice.

This activity worked wonderfully and I love that students are able to connect a visual representation of what they are reading to help in understanding/processing.  Here is one of the works of art my students created (In only 5 minutes!) using an app called Paint Joy.  This app is great because it records each stroke you make and plays it back to you in a video format  Other apps that were used today by different student groups included Whiteboard and Skitch.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This is how we read it!

Spanish IV students are reading their first mini novel (an abridged version of 'Don Quijote').  For today, students were placed in small groups and assigned a small part of the chapter.  They then read through it, looked up any words they didn't know and prepared to share with the rest of the class their section.  Tools that were used today.. 
  • Special Don Quijote Timer (to help keep groups focused/on task) - See video below!
  • Xooms/Transformers
  • Word Reference App
  • Abridged version of Don Quijote for Intermediate Spanish Students

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cartoon Camera App (Android) + Blogger!

To assess one of the learning targets for our current Spanish 3 unit (Title = Who are the Heroes?), which is 'Students will describe people and things', I had students create and blog about their own super hero, name him/her, describe what he/she was like and tell about his/her powers.  They also had to include a visual representation of their original superhero.  

Many students chose to use the Cartoon Camera App to create their visual. The app works just like the regular camera, but creates a photo that is "cartoonized'.  Students were fascinated with this app and it generated more enthusiasm for their assigned task!  Other students chose to create their own drawings, using one of the drawing apps on the Android tablet and then took a screen shot of their work.  

Here are a few examples of my students' creations.  


Monday, February 20, 2012

Y TV? YoutTube and Video in the Classroom!

I created this presentation for the PCSD February District Inservice.  It contains mini tutorials for each topic listed on specific slides.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Google Sites - Student Created Web Sites

As the culminating assessment for our unit on Professions and Subjunctive with verbs of hope and influence, each Spanish class is creating a Google Site to give their audience, Spanish speakers, information on and recommendations for a myriad of professions they have chosen.  Each group is in charge of a profession/web page within the site and must include resources, recommendations and other relevant information for people that may be interested in their profession.  The great thing about Google Sites is it is part of Google Apps and students can access their work 24/7!

Take a look at some of the initial planning and work students are doing for their sites!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Video lesson for Sub = No worries!

As I will be in a Model Classroom Meeting all day tomorrow, I created a video lesson for my Spanish III students, uploaded it to YouTube and posted it on the class blog for students to access.   It is an awesome way for students to continue learning, even if the instructor cannot be in the physical classroom!  

How did I do this??
  1. I used Smart Recorder to record and annotate the lesson.  You could also use the free tool Screenr to do the same thing.  
  2. I logged into my YouTube account and uploaded the video.  
  3. I then logged into Blogger and posted the video on the class blog, where each day's lesson and resources are posted.  
Here is my video lesson example....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who inspires you? Our Blog prompt for today.

Students continue to work on writing in Spanish via their personal blogs.  Some aspects I really love about  this activity are:
  • Blogging is a fairly easy way to publish student work to a real life audience.
  • Their past writing can't be lost or misplaced like with paper.  
  • They create a living document/portfolio of what they have done throughout the year.
  • Students can receive feedback from others to continually improve and discuss their thoughts in a motivating and interactive way.
  • It's just more fun!! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Google Voice App

I just downloaded the Google Voice App for both the Xoom and the Asus Transformer tablets.  I can now access my Google Voice Account and listen/ give feedback to students' on their speaking assignments and assessments on the go!  Here are some screen shots of the app taken from one of the Asus Transformer Tablets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WASB 2012 Presentation

Am so grateful to be a part of the Pulaski Community School District and have the opportunity to implement one of the district's Model 21st Century Classrooms. Today our model classroom team presented at WASB on our district vision and the happenings in each of the model classrooms.  Take look at our presentation here!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Twitter - Powerful Professional Development

I can't express enough what an impact Twitter, used as a professional development tool, has had on my educational practices over the past couple of years!  It is amazing the number of useful resources, ideas, and advice I obtain from other educators all around the world on a daily basis!  

Twitter has also served as a great way to document and share what I am doing this year, implementing a 1:1 environment with Android Tablets (Motorola Xoom and Asus EePad Transformer), with others.  I have linked/fed my professional blog, www.fillingthetechtoolbox.blogspot.com to Twitter using Twitter Feed, which automatically sends out tweets when I post new information on my blog, including the link to that specific post.  If you would like to link your own blog to Twitter, please see the my tutorial below.  

One additional thing of great use on Twitter is the Hashtag(#)! Hashtags allow you to collect/research information about a specific topic within Twitter.  See the tutorial for more information on the Twitter Hashtag.

All in all, if you are not on Twitter yet, sign up now!  It is the best most convenient professional development out there and a great way to share what you are doing with other educators too.  Did I mention it is completely free???

Monday, January 9, 2012

Google Voice Widget Added to Class Blog!

Today, I embedded a Google Voice Widget into the Class Blog Pages for both my classes!  The widget directly connects and automatically makes the call from a student's phone to my Google number.  The student can then leave a message or I can answer the call, if I am available.  In addition, the teacher's number remains anonymous.  This is just one more option for students to get in contact with me if they need help or have questions.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How does technology make a difference in your learning?

Students were asked the following questions today:
  • How does technology affect your learning?  
  • What do you most enjoy about having technology in our classroom?
Here are some of their responses.

The use of technology is obviously very engaging and motivating for students and that can easily be observed on a day to day basis.  However, the main questions our Pulaski Model Classroom Team will be working on gathering answers to next is "Do the devices/technology in our rooms truly improve learning?"  "Do students with 1:1 access to a mobile device do better than those that do not?"  I look forwarding to delving into and researching these questions and will post more about what we find!