Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tool #11-Reflections

It was a relief to me to know that SBISD has taken the time to find beneficial, appropriate and free educational apps that are located on Ed Tech.  I spent a significant amount of time trying to locate apps when I received my IPad from the Special Education Department and found it difficult to locate ones that I felt would be educationally productive for my students.  I like the way each one had a brief description of its application.  I particularly like the dictionary app.  I believe many of my students would have better reading comprehension if they increased their vocabulary.  There are so many words that are unfamiliar which makes comprehension very difficult.  It would be beneficial for them to identify words that are meaningless and then use the dictionary app to find meaning to incorporate new vocabulary into their reading, writing and speaking.  Many times my students can decode words but have no idea what they are reading.  I would like to expand their vocabulary by helping them to identify at least 2 unknown words a week, determine the meaning, write the word in an appropriately phrased sentence and then expand by using those words in a written composition to hopefully incorporate the new words into their personal vocabulary.  I knew that I needed to expand my use of technology in my classroom, what surprised me the most was how easy it can be.  I didn't realize that SBISD had consolidated so much information that is so easily accessed.  I struggled to find useful ways to use technology and didn't realize that it was so readily accessible.  I know that I need to take more time to explore the numerous apps available through Ed Tech as well as the interactive websites    offered by 11 Tools. I've been to workshops where they talked about  being "connected" to good teaching by  blogging but have never done it.  I now realize that there is so much offered and that I was narrow minded.  I hope to expand my teaching practices by blogging more frequently.

Tool #10-Digital Citizens

The first thing I would want to teach my students is not to believe everything they read.  The second thing I would teach is how to search and finally, to validate the information-use an additional source.  I read Vicki Davis' blog, I also read her blog in an earlier tool.  I find her to be very informative and "kid" friendly.  What I find most important to be a good digital citizen is to respect your own privacy and that or your friends.  Do not publish a picture or message that your will regret later in life.  I would let my students know that their prospective employers are checking now checking Facebook and Twitter and that they should never post something that their friends, neighbors or they would regret.  I will tell them not to be photographed in uncompromising pictures and not to publish a friend or family member picture.  I would tell them that it is important to be discreet and explain the consequences.  During parent conferences, emails and/or phones calls I would explain this philosophy to parents.  I might possibly send out a newsletter with the information about being a digital citizen which would list some of the websites presented.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tool #9-Interactive Websites/Apps

I think that its important to tie the technology to the objective otherwise you are not utilizing your time wisely.    We've learned a lot about congruency and to integrate technology with the same philosophy.  Students should be held accountable as a part of a life skill.  As adults in their professional lives, they will be held accountable for their work product and as children, it would be an appropriate life skill to be held accountable for their assignments.  Some interesting interactive websites that I  visited we Mangahigh and Learning Games for Kid.  I have heard about Mangahigh and many of the teachers at Frostwood speak very highly of it.  Being a Special Education teacher,  many of my students need numerous repititions of a skill for master.  Mangahigh would be an entertaining way to acquire additional repititions.  I also checked out Learning Games for Kids.  I saw that it had numerous games in different subjects that would provide reinforcement for my students.  There were ABC games, times tables, short vowel, spelling and vocabulary games.  I also saw three apps that would be appropriate and helpful for my students.  Many of my students would benefit from, with limited vocabulary this would improve their reading and writing skills.  I was thinking that when they are reading independently or with me, they could identify at least 3 words that are unfamiliar to them, look them up on the app, write or illustrate the definition and then use that word in a sentence.  For a writing assignment, I could require that they use at least one new word a week in a composition.  This is also one way I could hold them accountable.  I also liked Dragon Dictation and Idea Sketch.  Dragon Dictation seemed useful because they could match words with speech or work with a peer reader and respond to reading.  This seems especially useful for Science or Social Studies.  Their responses would hold them accountable.  Idea Sketch could be used for story sequence or main idea.  The work product would show accountability.  This could also be used for Science Labs or Social Studies.  They could use the Ipod/Pad to practice typing or writing stories, this would help with fine motor and would be a good life skill practice since they will most likely be keyboarding lifelong.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tool #8-Tools in my classroom

I have been given an ITouch and an iPAD.  I have had difficulty finding good educational Apps and am glad to learn that SBISD has a place to go in Ed Tech to search for good educational apps and that there is additional training on Atomic Learning.  The special education department had us set up an ITunes account so I appreciate that I have already done this. I also didn't realize that you could view numerous web pages or watch web clips.  These would be useful for doing some research for a writing project.  I didn't realize that the web clips could also be saved.  Watching videos would also be great for my student who have difficulty reading.  I could use the voice recording so that students could listen to themselves read to help with fluency. Another thing voice recordings would be good for is for the students who have difficulty writing.  They could dictate the information that they learned.  I would use the devices as centers.  It would be available for the students who had finished working with me and completed their independent work.

Tool #7-Online Project

I really like Wallwisher and my partner has been moved to a new school in Spring Branch.  I thought the students could do KWL charts on independent readings levels as a center.  They could begin by posting their interests to identify a book they could share and set timelines for when they would complete the K chart, the W chart, when they plan to complete the story and then share what they learned.  I believe this would be a good independent learning center and would help the students increase their fluency.  After they complete the study, they could write a composite on what they learned and write a reflection about how they felt about the project.  I would try to implement the project in late September or early October after classroom procedures and schedules settled in.