Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photosynthesis Rap

Coach Wheeler found this excellent video and shared it with the science department.  Enjoy!

Lab Equipment Infomercial

Lab Equipment Infomercial

You and your partner will be creating a video infomercial about a piece of lab equipment that is found in the science classroom. Here are a few examples of some short infomercials.  Look for the 10 requirements you must have in your video.

Here's a list of the pieces of lab equipment, you will be making your informercial about one of them.
Balance/Scale with weigh boat
Graduated Cylinder
Petri Dish
Microscope Slide with Cover Slip

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tool XI: Self Assessing and Reflecting

I think that the most useful and my favorite tool would be Google Docs. However, I also like many apps I have found to use on the IPad.  I plan to use the Google Docs for data collection among all my classes.

I have always wanted to increase the usage of relevant technology in my classroom but never really knew what that would look like.  My experience with the 11 Tools has given me many more ways to allow the students to show their knowledge in the way that best suits them.  I know that the more availability there is to technology, the easier it is to incorporate it into the lessons every day.

I did not have any unexpected outcomes from this experience.  I did however, become aware of many more tools to use to reach the students exactly where they are.

Tool X: Digital Citizenship

There are many things that I want my students to be aware of when it comes to digital citizenship.  The first thing is to be discerning about the information that they are accessing.  Anybody can post anything on the internet and it is extremely important to be able to recognize the legitimate from the illegitimate.  The second thing I want my students to be aware of is the fact that whatever you post on the internet is there forever and for the entire world to see.  Social media has given everyone involved an air of vanity.  What I mean is that there are so many forums to post thoughts, ideas, and pictures that soon you get a feeling that everyone wants to know everything you are doing and thinking.  A false feeling that YOU are the center of the social universe.  I believe in ten to fifteen years we will be tying early adult depression to social media.  Social media also ties into the third thing that I would like for my students to be aware of which is cyber bullying.  We have all heard heartbreaking stories about children who have either tried to take their lives and failed or, even worse, succeeded.  I get the feeling that the students do not fully understand the power that words have and how important it is to stand up for what they know is wrong.

I plan on using BrainPop in my classroom.  The students enjoy the clips and they are both quick and informative.  Each clip has a quiz at the end as well which can be useful for fast assessments.

I like the lessons from common sense media.  They seem to be comprehensive and cover all age ranges.  Requiring students to read some of this would be a good idea.

I plan to pass the idea of digital citizenship on to the parents of my students by putting it on my syllabus and sharing it with them on parents night.

Tool IX: Integrating Classroom Devices as Tools

It is very important to relate technology to the objective for many reasons:   To start, the use of technology must be relevant and align to the objective.  If using technology doesn't make the lesson better then you shouldn't use it!  When you can use technology, it keeps the students more engaged in the learning process.

Using stations is a good way to use technology in a lesson, but it doesn't work if the students don't know that they are responsible for what they are producing.  Students need to know what is expected of them and what will be acceptable use and non-acceptable use.  It is also helpful for them to have a rubric to let them know what they must produce.

I really like Learning Games for Kids, Thinkfinity and apps for dissections.  The virtual dissections are a much cheaper option and a good alternative for students who easily get sick to their stomachs.

I plan on using my iPads & Netbooks for data collection, having students create video tutorials, making timelines, doing research and creating presentations.  The number of options is seemingly endless.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tool VIII: Look at those Tools!!

First, I learned more about Net Books than I did about the IPad.  Since I was given the IPad at the beginning of the summer, I have had lots of time to play around on it learning as I go.  I did learn that the Net Books are pretty much just smaller, more portable laptops with picture and video capabilities.  One major benefit of the Net Book over the IPad is the projector port in the Net Book allowing the students to plug in and have access to gathered information.  I also learned that I have to create a professional ITunes account for the IPad and that the students will not be able to use the technology if they and their parents do not sign the usage form.  I learned that the students will use their own log in information, which could take longer but will ensure the students can be held accountable for what they are up to.  As an added bonus, to monitor the students usage of the IPads, they are synchronized to each teachers laptop making sure they do what they are supposed to be doing.

I plan on presenting ground rules and expectations for the use of the Net Books and IPads at the beginning of the year.  Letting the students know that poor behavior could result in the loss of technology privileges.  I will make sure that the students are aware that I will be monitoring their activity and that the information will be synchronized.

Tool VII: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

Content Objective:  Students will collect and analyze data from pea plant crosses of plants producing green or yellow peas

When would this all be going down?:  Students could be introduced to this project either before or after the unit on Genetics.  If introduced before the unit then it could spark their interest in what's happening and make them eager to find out why.  The project could also start at the beginning of the unit and run the length of the unit, leaving data analysis for the end.  The project could also be introduced after the unit on Genetics is over, allowing the students a real life chance at independent practice of things learned.  This would illustrate how predicted outcomes of Genetic crosses using Punnett squares model real life data.

Tools Used:  TodaysMeet could be used to pose and discuss questions between classes.  Google Docs could be used for data collection spreadsheets and presenting the information to their classmates.

Finding Information Just the Way Mendel Did
Description of Project Plan:  Students would set up a cross between first generation pea plants that produce a specific color of peas.  Multiple generations of crosses could be made, making the determining of the genotypes much easier.  Students would use Google Docs to record data to be shared within and outside of the class.  Students would use Google Docs and TodaysMeet to discuss what happened and why.

Tool VI: Using Tools to Promote Discussions

I made use of Twitterfeed, Twitter and Today's Meet for this assignment.  I already have a twitter account set up for soccer and using the service twitterfeed you can link from this article from your blog to your twitter account.  This allows other colleagues or students who follow you on twitter to see a link and know when you have written something new on your blog.
This would allow you to set up a class or team webpage and have the students or players follow the twitter account which would tell them when the new information (game time, class assignment, etc) has been posted.

I also used TodaysMeet which was very simple to set up.  This would allow for a class discussion on a video or assignment that you would want the class to comment on.  TodaysMeet would also give the students an opportunity to share data collected for a group assignment or a forum to ask each other questions without needing everyone's phone number.  Here is an example of a transcript using TodaysMeet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tool V: Producing with Web Tools is Awesome!!

A slideshow I created using Animoto.

I think both Animoto and Prezi are great tools to use in the classroom.  Both could be used in just about any unit.  Both tools could be used during a unit to show what the students have gotten so far, or at the end of a unit as a way to formally show their knowledge.  As a teacher, these tools could be used to introduce a new topic in a different way or as another way to get information across for the student who doesn't pick it up the first time (perfect for students who come in for tutoring).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tool IV: The Cloud

The ability to share documents and create forms with Google Apps is very useful. I have used it in the past to allow students to collaborate on a class assignment and it could be applied for making notes for team meetings or other curriculum projects during the summer when it's hard to get everyone together. The forms seems like a great way to ask short response questions to an activity or gather information (if you didn't want to use the SmartBoard) from different groups about errors they saw in an lab, things that went wrong, or interesting things they noted while we were working together. It could also be used for feedback surveys to get a feel for how the students feel like their progressing at the end of a grading period for example.
I will surely be using this in the fall.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tool III: Online Videos and Images

Videos are always a popular idea with students.  Anytime I have the lights off when they enter the room, their first question is, "are we watching a movie today".  On the days that we are watching something, I always correct them and say, "Yes, we are watching a VIDEO today".  I then explain the difference between a video and a movie.  Once they learn we are not watching Finding Nemo or Osmosis Jones, they are typically less excited about what's coming next.  They confirm with the question, "Is it boring", or "How long is this thing?".  Never the less, I find that videos are a good way to reach students of all levels.  The video sites I use the most are; BrainPOP, Discovery Education, and TeacherTube.  Below are two examples of videos that I may show the students for a Biology class.
This was a Discovery Education video on the human body and how it pushes itself to the limit when called to.
Next, I am going to create a hotlink to a video from BrainPOP.  Click on the hyperlinked "BrainPOP" to view.

The copyright and fair use information was very informative.  I learned the importance of citing your source while in high school and college but didn't think about needing to cite my source as an educator.  What it provides, though, is a chance for the students to become familiar with where I get my information so that they may have a dependable source to go back to for more information.  It is also important that our students know that work that someone has created is not always just anyone's for the taking.

A Dropbox is an extremely useful tool for the classroom.  I have my students do computer based projects which can now simply be placed in the dropbox to turn in.  This allows the file to be accessed regardless of the computer that is being used.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tool II : Leaving a Footprint

I am already part of an online community, multiple in fact.  The first online community I joined was facebook, my senior year of college.  I have since become a tweeter and a professional photographer on instagram, not to mention my new and wildly popular blog.  It seems like everybody has a social media, online community, account and many of us have multiple to keep our students from seeing our personal lives and our friends out of our professional lives.  The idea of sharing your thoughts online has become normal and in some cases overused.  Unfortunately, some people share way too much!  I don't need to know how lunch made you feel and see a picture of what you ate.  Using a blog could be a useful tool, however, for staying connected to our students, parents and other classrooms around the world.  Staying plugged in to what other educators and innovative thinkers will help you keep your thoughts and ideas fresh and keep you relevant in a community that demands entertainment.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Time

As summer break is now upon us I find myself answering the same question, "what are you doing this summer?".  In summers past I only just visited family, vacationed, and did some reading. This year, however, I will be doing something a little more unique. Every four years the best soccer teams, or football as it is known everywhere else on planet Earth; at any rate the best in Europe get together to compete for the right to be called The Champ.  This time the tournament will be co-hosted by the Ukraine and Poland and kicks off (no pun intended) on June 8th at 11:00am. This summer I will be glued to the television to ensure that I don't miss a millisecond of the action.   I feel the Dutch are favorites but it would be foolish to count out Germany or Spain. Please join in with me to watch "the beautiful game" played but some of the best in the universe on ESPN.  Here's a teaser to hopefully spark your interest in this great event!
One month of total football
One month when country comes first
One month to engineer a dream
One month to send giants home early
Who will survive?
UEFA Euro 2012

Tool 1: Getting It All Started

Setting up my blog seemed like a daunting task at first since it is something I have never done before.  However, I spent some time getting help and "playing" around with it and found it to be quite simple.  I look forward to the blogging experience now.