Thursday, July 2, 2015

MTI 562 Final Assessment

For our final MTI assessment, we are to grade one of our projects we created using a rubric.  I chose to use our class project rubric. My students receive my rubrics ahead of time for a few big assignments, so they have them to refer to while they work on their project. I have been referring to our rubric throughout this class, as well.  It really helps me to understand what I needed to have completed. The project I chose to grade was from week #3.  We were to apply a web tool we had previously learned to an assignment we do in class.  I chose to use Wordle with character traits.

I feel I had great understanding of the project and provided evidence by using an additional web tool to better present a complete understanding by my readers.  I kept my explanation of the lesson in a sequential order for my readers to understand how to teach the character trait lesson.  

In the rubrics I give my students, I always add in creativity and effort.  I believe the Completion category is probably referring to effort also in this rubric.  In creativity, I want to see my students add a little more thought in making it their own by using graphics, color, fonts, etc.  With my Wordle project, I felt that I presented my creativity in enhancing my graphic by using Jing and color.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why Digital Citizenship Should Be Taught

Today’s world is ever changing, especially when it comes to the digital world.  People of all ages are embracing technology whether it is in the form of a tablet, smartphone, or computer.  This technology is not going away anytime soon!  Having learned so much this summer about becoming a 21st tech-infused teacher, I realized how important it is to teach my students about digital citizenship.  They are the future and the ones who thrive on this digital technology.  The students need to know how to behave like a digital citizen.

Kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.--Kevin Honeycutt

Now is the time to embrace technology in the classroom and teach digital citizenship.  We teachers need to step up and use the technology in our classroom everyday.  Most students have a smartphone, tablet, or computer in their hands before and after school.  My students love the opportunity to use a computer in the classroom.  Seeing them engaged and motivated inspires me to embed technology in my lessons and projects.  With that being said, we need to guide these young people on how to be safe, responsible, and respectful while being connected.

Our students need to learn netiquette, the correct way of communicating online.  When teachers set the foundation, the students will learn the basics for correct behavior for being connected.  They need to realize they are not alone when they are chatting online.  What they write or send when connected is visible to others.   Students need to be taught about respect and protecting themselves and others.  This could help prevent cyber-bullying, which is becoming a bigger issue.  Also, future employers research applicants or their current employees social media to see what they have posted.  Some have turned down candidates for a job or fired employees for what they have posted.  Why not start teaching about digital footprints to the students at a younger age?

Common Core State Standards encourages students at every grade level to do research, collaborate, use critical thinking, and publish work online. The Internet contains so much information and it can be overwhelming.  Some of that information is trusting and others not so trusting. Teaching our students about websites and how to correctly cite their research to be published will encourage them another step closer to being a good digital citizen.   

Where do we begin to do this?  There are many websites, lesson plans, and videos available to use a resources and guides to get us started.  These resources are engaging and age appropriate. I have listed a few of them below just to get you started.

In our ever-changing digital world, let’s help our students become the best digital citizens possible. By embracing technology in our classrooms, we can encourage them to problem solve, think critically, collaborate, and be a producer of information.  Let’s prepare them with the positive foundation they need to handle the challenges of being in a connected world.  

FreeTechnology4Teachers article on the importance of digital citizenship

Friday, June 19, 2015

Using Wordle for Character Traits

I am always wanting to find ways to add technology into the lessons my students are learning. So, I am taking an online class this summer and have been introduced to so many resources.  I am overwhelmed, but I am loving all the learning!  This week I found the website, Wordle, which is a good tool for making a word cloud.  You do not need to log in to register.  The website seems fairly easy to maneuver, especially for my fifth graders.

My character unit of study seems to need some tweaking.  In the Common Core Standards, my fifth graders need to compare and contrast characters by their traits, actions, words, and feelings.  However, some of my students struggle with the understanding of character traits.  I like to spend time reviewing the concept and find text evidence to support their answers before comparing and contrasting two characters.

The students will break into small groups to discuss about five or more traits the main character showed throughout a novel.  While in small groups, the students will need to support the trait by finding words, actions, or feelings stated in the novel.   Before their group finishes, they will rank the traits 1-5 with 5 being the strongest.  One person can type the traits according to their ranking on a Google Doc.  If the trait is rated a five, then they type the word five times and so on.  Also, they will type the character's name a few more times than the strongest trait.  The highlight all of the text and copy it.

Now to make the word cloud, the students will go to  Click on the "create" button.  The next page will open up where the student will paste the copied text into the box.  Then they click on "go".  I did struggle with using Chrome and it would not work due to Java.  But I switched to the Safari browser and it worked just fine on my Macbook.

The website will then create a word cloud using the words you pasted into the box.  The more you type the words the bigger the word is in the cloud.  Since I wanted the character's name bigger, the students will type it more than any of the traits.  This is where the kids can have fun with creativity.  They can change the color and font and size.  Once they have what they want, then they can click on Print and save it as a pdf.

Using Jing, the students will make a screenshot, add a border, and write the text evidence from the novel using quotes in text boxes.  They can save and print once they are done.

I believe this will keep the kids engaged and use their creativity in technology.  Using Wordle word clouds can be a fun way to display vocabulary, their characteristic traits, or main ideas in a unit.  I think the possibilities are endless.  Wordle makes it easy. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Tech Problems Solved!

This week in my MTI562 class we have been learning about solving tech problems. With having experienced problems in the computer lab every time we go, I just naturally know what to do. Whether it is a hardware issue (mouse not plugged in) or a previous student did not log out, I could solve most issues. However, one of the tech problems we face is mostly "operator error", such as typing in the wrong email address or URL.   I spend the time trying to figure out what the student did or didn't do correctly.  This delays my time with the class and adds to my frustration in the computer lab.

As mentioned in MTI562, give the problem back to the student to solve.  Being able to see their mistake would be a great accomplishment for them!  I really like the idea of the students solving the problem because they need the opportunity to experience it.  In the new Common Core State Standards, students need to be able to persevere and attend to precision.  A few of my students would just rather raise their hand and ask for help without even figuring it out themselves.  Just by looking over what they typed, they could see their mistake, such as reversing letters or leaving something out of an address. Sometimes I even encourage them to delete it and start over.  A few other students who take it upon themselves have asked their neighbor to read the letters to type in so they can try it again.  Using whichever strategy, I will be thrilled to see them face that problem and solve it on their own!

As for the other issues in the lab, I want to be able to show the students how to solve them on their own.  Then they would be able to persevere through different techniques.  If they try and it still doesn't work, then they can ask me.  Most problems I experience can be solved by the student.  This will be a great time saver for me and be able to attend to other matters in the computer lab.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

First Google Hangout

I just participated in my first Google Hangout and loved it!  It was really awesome to be able to meet and have a discussion with the classmates from all across the United States in different time zones.  

As I sat and listened to our discussion, I was thinking of other possibilities Google Hangout could have.  Being able to chat with someone who could not attend a parent/teacher conference is one idea my "class guide" (aka the instructor) suggested.  Then, I thought about a student who was not able to make it to school and has questions on his absent work.  Being able to ask an expert some questions from my students.  This is only the beginning of many ideas!  

What ways have you used Google Hangout? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hello MTI562!

I have been teaching students for 19 years.  This past school year I taught 5th grade for the first time after teaching 4th grade for 18 years!  I just needed a refresher and it worked! My colleagues really made a difference for me, as well.  I loved the enthusiasm and motivation of my fifth graders and it keeps me looking for new ideas and techniques.

Now that I have an idea of curriculum expectations, I want to get up to date with technology and use it more in my classroom.  I feel like it was the missing piece to my teaching and learning this year.  I have always loved trying something new and then sharing it with others.  Since collaboration is such a necessary part of teaching with my colleagues, I also hope to create that same vibe with my students.

Let the learning and collaborating begin!