Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Media at my House

New Media at my House

 Permanent linkcross-posted at cheryloakes.com 
In October, with my son Nathan’s prompting, I posted about new ways to view media and new ways to communicate. This update is an additional post about the new media added in our home. Thanks to Vicki Davis’ tweet about her use of Roku, I have added some new technology to our home theater unit.

One of my criteria for adding a new technology module was that it needed to be a plug and play unit, which the Roku is. Also, since I use Netflix already, this unit was compatible with my Netflix account, something I am already familiar with. (It is also compatible with Amazon Video.)

Why add a Roku? We do not have any TV station reception and no cable TV. The Roku is an alternative that offers several options to a media hungry family. You must have internet access in your home in order for this to work. It even works with a wireless internet modem. Our internet comes into our home through the telephone service, TDS . ( I know you are thinking that this cannot possibly be fast enough to stream Netflix,  stream archived news, stream radio, etc! There are disbelievers in my family too. But not anymore.)

In about 1 hour, I was able to plug in the Roku, register for an account on my laptop, then begin adding FREE channels to my account. The first show we watched through the paid Netflix account was Mystery Theater 3000, Santa Claus. I did add the Hulu Plus subscription account which has allowed us to watch Law and Order, Three Stooges, MediaFly, Face the Nation and more. Shortly after, my son added Pandora to the list of channels and now we are streaming personalized music. Life is Good.

The Roku is a plug and play unit. It did enhance the media offerings for my family. It is very easy to follow the prompts during set up. Be sure to order the additional plugs/cords so you have everything you need to set the Roku up without another trip to the store or waiting for a package to arrive from your online shopping center.

CoolCatTeacher  http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/


Saturday, December 11, 2010

One Person, One Gift

This is the last post in the blog challenge from Melanie Holtsman and I am not looking forward to it. How can I choose just one gift, never mind one person? Can I choose a group of people to give one gift?
While at first this challenge appeared easy and I let it go at that, now that I am putting the words in a post, it is impossible!
Here goes. If I am able to give one gift to my students I would give the love of life long learning. Similar to the give someone a fish and you feed them for that meal, teach them to fish and you will feed them for life. My gift would be specific in the introduction, yet have far reaching appeal and long lasting effects.

Recipe for Life Long Learning

Huge bowl
A Personal Learning Network
Connection to the Internet
More Questions

All the time in the world

Serve up and share with the planet

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My life as a Scientist

The Blog Challenge this week fits me to a tee! What is your life as a scientist like? What kind of observations do you find yourself making? Do you have a wondering? Have you ever tried to find the answers?

As a life long learner I hope to model what we should all be experimenting with!
I am curious about Vernal Pools. Someday my friend Charlene and I will write a children's book explaining how important Vernal Pools are to all. I take trips to Vernal Pools, I photograph Vernal Pools, I practically live in a Vernal Pool.

I am co-teaching science classes at our High School. The science teacher is highly qualified in science, I am highly qualified in special education, we are a team. I have always wanted to use the Farmer's Almanac with a science class as one of the textbooks. We started out the project this past week. So far, so good. I want to thank the Farmer's Almanac for setting up an educational price for this project. We will have more about this in the upcoming months. There will be teacher materials, templates and student responses about our journey with the Farmer's Almanac. The Farmer's Almanac is a perfect science notebook. There is something for everyone, inventions, predictions, improvements, it sounds like the Scientific Method Live!

 snowflake from 2010-12-04 coakes photo, iphone
But, my favorite topic to study is snow! I have a snowflake lesson which incorporates symmetry, ice crystals, weather and history. My hero is Snowflake Bentley, and there is a terrific children's book about Snowflake Bentley you should read if you are interested in the history of snowflakes. I go out and ski in the snow, I shovel snow, I take photos of snow, I make movies about snow, I make snow ice cream and yes, I even get stuck in the snow.

Lastly, one of these winters I will take a trip to Mount Washington Weather Observatory for a Winter Edutrip! This is a trip to the extreme weather on our planet. Mount Washington has a great summit conditions page which I check every day in the winter and weekly during the other seasons. The reason I check the summit conditions is that I want to know what I will be skiing in for temperatures, wind and snow conditions. I am working on a spreadsheet to collect data so I can predict the weather at my favorite ski mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain. So far, I have not been really successful, it is a work in progress.

I can't wait to read the other science blogger challenges. You can check them out here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A glimpse at my years in high school for the Blog Challenge!

Way back, in high school, I was considered a "B" student. I was shy, yet a leader in some small organizations like Sunday School, Future Teachers-yes way back then, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I was a little bit on the edge in my classes. I questioned everything!
If we were given an assignment, I wanted to find out a way to do the assignment, but to do it differently. When we studied Civics, instead of doing a huge project, I invited the city planner of a neighboring community to speak to our class. I had to set up the interview questions and make sure that it related to our course work, which I did, and it ended up being a great experience. Maybe that led me to be a webcaster on Edtechtalk and interview educators for Women of Web 2.0 and now for Seedlings.
I was co-chair of my junior prom, 'Barefoot in the Park', I traveled to Europe that summer and when I graduated from Suffield High School and was accepted as a student at the University of Maine, and never went back to live in Connecticut. I graduated from Univeristy of Maine, both undergrad and graduate school and have lived and worked in Maine since 1974.  I did travel back this summer, to Suffield,  for our 40th Reunion, which was a blast! It was like the years disappeared and it was like the old days, the the girls riding around in Lana's car looking for things to do, but really it is about talking, planning and living life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making a Transition Plan for your High Schooler

cross posted at TechLearning.com

Since 2004 IDEA re-authorization, schools have been charged with creating transition plans for students with IEP’s to include specific plans on how the student will be prepared for life after high school, whether it be work, post secondary education, or both. Let’s look at where you might begin with your middle or high school students as they being thinking about careers.

This is where I am going start with my students.

First, register at Princeton Review and then click here to take the career interest 24 question survey. Be sure to save your registration information so you can save materials and go back and look at what you have saved. As with most surveys answer the questions fairly quickly.
Once you finish the survey you get a an Interest Color and A Usual Color. Mine happen to be Interest=Green and Usual=Red. Then about 50 careers are generated from my interests with links to each career that give me more information including facts and figures about salary, the options to move up the career ladder, what the present and future may hold, and even what someone in this profession might read.
This site is also linked to SAT’s, ACT’s and college information.

The other Career site I found was Office of Science Education
Here I began with 127 careers, I chose 2 categories, narrowed  my choices down to 10 careers. Next,  I selected about 30 skills I felt I had or would like to have, finally I ended up with 5 careers if I had a Master’s degree and 3 if I had a Bachelor’s degree. This only took about 10 minutes to get to the 8 careers I ended up with.

Another great website will send students to look at what their career may eventually pay them.This website would be a great site to look at with groups of students so they could read, collect data and report out to the group the variety of jobs they might be interested in.

If you are on holiday, share this blog with your students, let them begin the search. One nice result, I still have teaching in my career choices, but also  a few in the science field I did not know about. I wonder what my students’ career options will be?


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hosted the Day in a Sentence Week! November 15, 2010

Thanks for all who participated during this really busy week.
To see the original gathering spot, check out Wall Wisher  . Here you will find sentences and links to many bloggers.

Bonnie wrote: Big Week Coming: NWP in Orlando and lots of wordcount coming for NaNoWriMo!

LynnJacobs wrote: As the bell rang today, releasing the students (and us) for a week's vacation, I was slammed with a boisterous, nasty head cold that continues to build tonight.

Murcha wrote: I loved being part of the Global Education Conference this week - heard global presenters, made new friends, shared stories. A Mirtschin (Australia)

Mr. Wood: I love the way you manage your own learning.

Tracy wrote: I caught a young student holding hands with a classmate who is in a wheelchair with no oral communication skills, little movement - encouraging!

Cheryl wrote: "That's what I am talking about!" Seems to be what I repeat for most things! Especially when my students tell me of their successes!!

Bonnie, I hope the NWP was a successful week for all who participated. Lynn, I hope you get through your nasty head cold quickly! Murcha, we are glad you are part of our Global connections! Mr. Wood, excellent sentence, I am sure it motivates your students. Have a great week, and look for a note from Bonnie signaling the beginning of another DAIS.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The important thing about being thankful

I just read some student blogs this week, they wrote about animal research using Margaret Wise Brown's book as a model, The Important Book, I borrowed their idea.

The Important Thing about being Thankful
is that the glass if always half full.
It is an adjective,
it is useful,
it describes me most every day.
But the important thing about being
thankful is that the glass is always half full.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let Universal Design for Learning, be all about “Assisted” Technology for All

cross posted at TechLearning.com

Our goals for our students include independence as life long learners. When you work with challenged learners it is imperative to focus on their independence and life long skills and practice using those skills. Here is the how to: Help your students achieve independence as a life long learner, anytime, anywhere.

In September, we introduced our students to the suite of Google Apps. All students were given a user name and password for our school google domain. Once logged in, a calendar was introduced as a way to keep track of assignments, family vacations, days off, tests and quizzes, Homecoming, Sporting events, school plays, Marching Band and the end of first trimester. Next we shared how to access their email, a google doc, how to answer a survey in a google form and finally how to make a presentation. All of these options are located in our google domain. This google introduction took about 3 weeks as we shared how to use these apps and how to find purpose while making good choices.

Most often, the use of google apps allows for collaboration, whether that be a shared calendar, a shared presentation, a google doc or a shared spreadsheet for data collection. Shared calendars not only serve as a reminder of when a project is due for a student,  but it’s also a way for the teacher to see when an important competition is scheduled, and then it’s a reminder for a teacher to attend that school event .

Our students even chose to use google presentation as they prepared for classroom slide shows. They were able to use  google presentation with the teacher as editor, or with peers as collaborators on their projects.

The most powerful reason for using google docs is that the app allows for  a teacher to be editor across time or space. Also, the teacher  can choose to open the document at a later time  and leave editing comments and questions for her students. There are never enough hours in the school day to work with all students, however, by going digital, the opportunities for revisions and edits extend far beyond the walls and hours of the classroom. One evening I told my students that I would be online to edit student work. One student left me a note the he had his essay ready to be edited. I edited the work, left him questions and comments with suggestions for changes. He immediately started making changes on the document as I was working on it. We chatted using google chat and in less than 20 minutes, he had a revised document and was ready to turn in the paper the next day.

The next focus was teaching our students with some excellent web 2.0 tools. We chose to use Animoto, an online slide collage production tool, complete with Text, titles, spotlights and music. Finally,  we taught our students how to use Quizlet. Quizlet is a vocabulary flashcard online tool. One  Friday afternoon  we shared this app with a student, he had not done well on his previous English quiz. During the weekend he taught himself how to use Quizlet, added his vocabulary words and on Monday he re-took the quiz and passed with 100%. That is the power of student choice, student digital access and student designed toolkits.

Until recently, classroom tools have been teacher chosen, teacher driven and teacher taught. This week, each of our students began designing their own toolkit with powerful online tools. We hope that by having students design their own toolkits, that they will have a reference spot to go to when they are completing school assignments or long term projects. Since these toolkits reside on the web, it provides our students anytime access and choice in which tool to use and complete their assignments.

This week our students created their toolkit from a google doc template. They added their own tools, selected colors and personalized their templates. Then they published their google doc to the web. Finally, by giving their toolkit webpage a tiny url, our students are able to find their toolkit no matter where they are.

Stop by for another installment about our continued use of webtools in our toolkits. These tools allow for all our learners to be independent life long learners.

This blog post is part 2 of multiple blogs about  UDL, toolkits and independent learners.
For more information, check out the toolbelt theory by Ira David Socol http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2008/03/csun-2008a-toolbelt-for-lifetime.html  or the UDL tech toolkit started by Joyce Valenca and Karen Janowski, http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/. Finally, from CAST.org, http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/toolkits/tk_procedures.cfm?tk_id=61
we have teaching every student.
What should your students consider for their digital toolkit? http://techlearning.com/blogs/33988

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Am I a writer? What is my life as a writer like?

What is your life as a writer like? Do you write for work and or pleasure? What kind of things do you have to write as an adult? When you do write is it texting, computer, paper, journal or other?

My life as a writer, adult, educator, blogger, parent, friend, learning network...  Never in my wildest thoughts as a student back in my K-12 education years did I ever consider that I would be a writer. When I was a student I wrote out of necessity. I wrote answers to tests, quizzes, short stories, research papers and letters to friends and send them through snail mail.
Today, I write for TechLearning.com, for TeacherHub.com, my own couple of blogs, SEEDLINGS @ edtechtalk,  a weekly newsletter to my students and our Skills Cafe, my IEP's, accommodation notices to students and staff, keep up with my Facebook pages, Twitters and texting on my cell.

I am glad I learned to write!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Skills Cafe Newsletter 2010-11-01

      Skills Cafe
     A week at a time - November 2010    TAKE this Survey please.


Congratulations to our sports teams! Football!

F. Links

This link will take you to all the links we have used.

G. Did You Know?

You need to keep track of your community service. Get a form and get started. We can help!

H.  What is in your IEP?

What is in your accommodations list? Be an advocate for yourself.

 I. WatchME Video Contest

check the bulletin board

November 1, 2010                                                                   

A. Week 10- What's Ahead?- Your Webpage for your Toolkit!

Glogster! do you need to make a poster?

See Mrs. Oakes for a username and PW.

Try BridgeURL to have one link to go to your favorites!

Did you take the survey?

GOOGLE CALENDAR- add new deadlines! Are you all caught up? Do you have all your Trimester 2 classes chosen?

C.  The Weeks in Review

What belongs in your Toolkit? As a student you need to have tools in your toolkit which will make your life easier. The google domain has a calendar, a document , a presentation, a website tool, gmail, Quizlet and a way to record audio! Sciencewriter.cast.org, Literary Companion, Sparknotes, Animoto, what else? Snapgrades? Make your own document of all the links. See directions in Moodle.

D. Books on Audio, mp3, itouch, shuffle, CD

Have you thought about listening to your books? We have Night, Mango Street and many more. But even more if you have a library card from Wells Public Library, you qualify for a Portland Library Card, and you also can qualify and download your own audio books.  See Ms. Cowan, Ms. Jortberg and Ms. Oakes to get other books on AUDIO.

E. Do you have a learning tip to share?

You can share your ideas here with your classmates. One of your Animotos, a poem, a story, ideas, your own photos or movies! Nothing to Do? Here is the $20.00 Challenge
You can write an essay for NPR public radio student essay. If your essay is published, I will give you a $20.00 itunes gift certificate. You can have help with your essay. Here are the essay rules.  http://thisibelieve.org/guidelines/

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Explode the Small Moment!

Blog Challenge Week 5

The challenge this week is about explaining a moment in the week where an unexpected event gives us pause, causes us to reflect, think and savor what we are doing. I had such a moment.

I started a new job this year in a Resource Room at our high school.  In the two weeks I had to plan with another teacher we decided to use the toolbelt theory with our students while giving them support to pass their high school classes,  we also wanted to teach them to find, collect and maintain a digital toolkit.

It has been a challenge. Most of the students wanted their support to be what they were used to. However, we kept true to our goal of providing one or two skills a week, skills which could be used during their school assignments, projects and in the future. Finally, this week, week 10, we began to see the payoff.

The small, seemingly insignificant moments included:
a student requesting to use "a graphic organizer thingy"
a student using Readability before printing some work from the Internet
students using sciencewriter.cast.org to write up their science lab
the boys choosing to solve the 'games' in design squad at PBS instead of a dirtbike race
students staying afterschool to continue working on projects that just take more time 

I could continue, but you get the idea.  Yes, it is November 1, 2010. We have had a few weeks of school, we have taught new skills and now we are seeing the payoff. Students are beginning to choose to use the new tools over the 'old ways'. A small moment that caught me smiling. It has been a challenge, it has been worth it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What Should your Students have in their Digital Toolkit?

As we work with students in our resource room at the high school level,  our plan is to support our students  becoming lifelong and independent learners.While I have only been back in the classroom for two months this year, here are my favorite 10 items that we have considered for their toolkit. While some of these tools are tools we  are using in specially designed individualized instruction, all of the tools are good in terms of Universal Design for Learning.

Tools 1-5

We are part of a google domain, so we assigned a domain gmail account to all students, complete with calendar, documents, chat and presentation. This is the number one tool our students are using.

  • Students share their calendars with their teachers.
  • Students share their writing for editing purposes with their teacher.
  • Students share their presentations for editing purposes with their teacher.
  • Teachers email students with messages about assignments.
  • On occasion, I am able to chat with students when I am online during the school day and this is a nice feature.

Tool 6

Animoto is an online tool where students make slide shows with images, music, text . Educators can request free education accounts where students can make slide shows lasting more than the free 30 second shows. It is a fairly simple process, an educator requests the free classroom account, Animoto sends a classroom code, good for 6 months, then have students sign up using the code and the resources are free to use.

Tool 7

Moodle, we use moodle as an online course delivery system. We have designed a Skills Cafe course where our students check in weekly for the skill of the week. This is place holder where our students can go back and check our recommendations for their tool box.

Tool 8

Readability; This button works on Firefox and is a way for students to use the internet for research and strip the webpage of the ads and extraneous details. This is perfect for all learners. Follow the link, and then drag the Readability button to your browser toolbar.

Tool 9

Khan Academy, is a wonderful resource that all our students will need to have in their toolkit. It was recently recognized in the Google Power of Ten /\ One Hundred Competition and will be subtitling their movies into many world languages. Again, this is great for lifelong and independent learners. If a student is working on a chemistry problem and they have forgotten the process, a quick visit to Khanacademy.com, will allow them to have a quick video moment to view the process being taught to them as often as they need it.

Tool 10

Quizlet- is another student favorite. This is where students can create, collect or collaborate their learning new vocabulary in any content area, foreign language, science, world studies etc. There is a way to login as your Facebook account and really easy ways to share with others. Did I mention, there is an app for this?

Our next step is for each of our students to make a digital toolkit. This is intended to be an online collection of their favorite tools, available to them at all times no matter where they are, no matter which computer they are on and no matter what they are working on. Stay tuned for the next post about how we had our students create their digital toolkit.  By the way, what is in your digital toolkit? Here is an example from the CAST.org website, sponsored by Verizon Foundation.  Another Planning for All Learners is another great resource.
Thanks to my students for trying out the different tools. Thanks to my teaching partners for stretching the learning landscape.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What book made the biggest impact on your life? Was it read to you, did you read it?

The book, The Wind and the Willows , by Kenneth Grahame, written in 1908 was read to our 5th grade class, by a long term substitute.

When asked by his friends Ratty, Badger and Mole, if Toad had learned the error of his ways in driving a motor car and was he really going to reform Toad looked this way and that and
“Certainly not!, replied Toad emphatically. “On the contrary, I faithfully promise that the very first motor car I see, poop-poop! off I go in it!”

I can still hear the giggles that broke out in the classroom as the teacher read that last line.

In 5th grade, we had a long term substitute who came in mid-year to get us through the end of the school year. For some unknown reason our class had been through a couple part-time substitutes before a long term sub was hired. This woman was a young teacher and knew exactly how to take an unruly group and captivate them with her choice of a read-a-loud.  She came into our classroom and shared a ‘secret’. She was going to read a really wonderful book to us each day after we finished our classroom work. We were on her team immediately. Then part way through her read-a-loud she announced that if we could get our work done by the last quarter, we would take time and make a play out of the Wind in the Willows and put on a play for our parents and the whole school.

Although the read aloud is just a memory, the scenes of the play still come back to me throughout my life. I ended up being the curtain manager, thus I knew the whole play, all the lines, all the characters, the entrances and the exits.  I still remember getting the book as a present and although I never read it again as a child, it was on my shelf as a good friend. When I had my children, I remember reading it to my son and sharing the story that now for me lives on as a memory.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Life as a Mathematician

This post is part of Melanie Holtsman's challenge to blog about a topic during the next 10 weeks. This is week three. When I saw this topic I was excited to write about it, because I love math! I love the challenge of trying to find the answer and the pattern of math in our lives. Now, I did not say that I practice and can answer all math questions like calculus or statistics, but rather, I like the study of mathematics,  I like the problem solving challenges, and I love searching for patterns in our answers!
SunFlower: the Fibonacci sequence, Golden Section
My favorite mathematical term is Fibonacci! When I was teaching math, as an adult, I learned about Fibonacci. When I taught this concept to my students as 4th graders, they just moved into understanding the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, as well as, understanding how to divide large numbers! It was amazing to watch the power of that understanding.
How do I use math in my everyday life? Well, this weekend, my husband and I are working on a project, tiling our entryway. It requires measurement, problem solving, prediction, reflection and finally, we hope success. The price for success is practice, problem solving and troubleshooting! It is a challenge. Usually on the weekend I am cooking and preserving food for winter. That requires measuring ingredients, looking for recipes, and finally following the directions to make corn relish. Math is all around us. I am a mathematician! So are you.
Entry way half done.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Media and New Ways to Communicate

Cross-posted at Tech Learning
This blog post is for my son Nathan. Last week he kept sending me links, Mom, you need to blog about this! Gizmodo  , had a post about how to replace your landline with google voice and a couple of gadgets. Then, he suggested I also blog about how Google TV and Logitech Revue were teaming up to change your TV viewing options.  While I have read both articles and claim to not entirely understand how these gadgets will work, I get the  big ideas!
With the latest gadgets and a little reading, some  comprehension and ingenuity I would be able to add enormous functionality to my TV set and video conference right from my living room, among many other options. For the phone piece, I would be able to circumvent the monthly fees associated with a phone company coming in and plugging in a box with wires and phones in order to meet my communication needs, by buying a gadget and setting up my own phone system!
While these options are revolutionary, I think there is too much of a learning curve for me and most of us, to attempt to add these tools to our household gadgets. However, I believe in twelve months, these two options will have been streamlined for anyone to be able to plug and play. After all, that is what most of us want, the best and newest options in working order, without us understanding all the background information necessary to make the changes, we just want to plug and play.

Now, on the other hand, Google Voice  is something that I have embraced and here is why. With my google account and user name, I signed on to have my google voice number collect calls from my student’s parents. Why? Do you know how difficult is it to get a phone line out of a school building, or to have a way for parents to get a hold of you without giving your home phone number? My google voice number gave me the freedom to have my phone number available to give out to anyone. The beauty of google voice is that the incoming phone calls go right to voicemail and are transcribed to text, so I get the messages instantly as text, even I am not taking calls. It took me all of 5 minutes to set up.

I even gave the Google number to two of our students who are on vacation. They call in each day and leave us a report about their travels. It is great to have the audio and the text of their reports.

The next service I am using is Netflix Instant Viewing through my Netflix account. I used my paid subscription to have DVD’s sent to me and then I can also use the instant viewing to watch selected movies on my computer at a moments notice. The BEST feature I just found, is that I had watched part of a movie at home, then while on the road I signed into my account to finish viewing the movie. The account remembered how far I had watched the movie and picked up where I left off. How sweet is that?

So, thanks to Nathan, you are getting these posts about some revolutionary things you can begin using immediately without much of a learning curve. However, you will also have some even more revolutionary things to look forward to in the coming months. As for me, I am waiting for more plug and play functionality and less of a learning curve while taking advantage of these new media and communication offerings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Challenge 2010-10-10

A simple survey! I have to share my favorite, longest running simple survey. The author of the blog, Kevin's Meandering Mind, Kevin Hodgson, sixth grade teacher from Western MA  says,
It’s been quite some time since I have launched Day in a Sentence, the collaborative venture where I ask you, dear reader, to boil down your entire week or a day in the week (your choice) into a single reflective sentence. Then, you post your sentence as a comment to this blog post. My job is to collect all of your sentences and then publish them together over the weekend.
So, what do you say? Do you have  a pocket of reflective energy? How can you capture your week or a day in your week in a single sentence? Add your sentence to the comments here, and spread the word.
I have been a commenter to Kevin’s blog for over 2 years now. Most weeks I am able to comment, one sentence! Sometimes, I put the challenge aside and then I forget. However, this is the longest running response I have made in the digital world. Kevin is very creative and our responses have been in the form of alliteration, poems, sentences, on a whiteboard (Scribblar), one word and more. We even take turns as the prompt writer, collector and finally author of the post. Shared authoring helps spread out the tasks, and my sharing week.

I have to mention the other “survey” collection that I have been part of, the 365 Days of Photos. Today is actually day 356 of 365 in my first year.   Yes, that means I am going to continue with either 365 days in year two or 365 day in 730 (365+365= 730). Apple's prior to apple jelly This is a visual journal of my year, and each image has a story to tell. A story I would not have written down. My point, be creative and appeal to all the learning senses when asking a “survey” question. Allow your students to leave a word, a sentence,  or an image in response. You can actually try it out here and leave me a comment about this post. The directions are posted on a sticky. You can leave an image as long as you get way back to the original URL that contains the .gif or .jpg ! If the word FILE is part of the URL, you didn't get far enough back. (FlickR use to allow a jpg URL, but no longer. I use wikipedia ) My other purpose in sharing WallWisher is that you only have room for 160 characters. My students are delighted that the response has to be SHORT!  As is best practice, all comments will be moderated. Stop by and give it a try. Leave a comment in words or an image.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I am a reader!

Melanie Holtsman posted this challenge at her blog as a way to find/have purpose for blogging. I liked her idea. I blog for TechLearning.com  two times a month, I blog for TeachHub one time a month, I blog for myself, hm, well, uh.... when the spirit moves me. So, thanks to Melanie, I will blog for myself, using her topic prompts for the next 11 weeks. If you are reading this and have been waiting for the right moment to begin blogging, I mean posting to your blog, not just reading blogs, this may be the moment you have been waiting for. Try it. Be sure to email Melanie and she will link back to your blog. You will see the power of your new personal learning network! Here goes!
 The Topic for this week's challenge:
 What is your life as a reader like? Do you read for work, pleasure, instructions or emails? What is your favorite author and/or genre? What is your favorite reading spot? What did you like to read when you were the age of your students?
As a high school student,  in Suffield, CT, I read just about every young adult book I could find in my public library, and when our new high school was built with a beautiful library I read poetry and fiction/fantasy. My favorite poet was Rod McKuen, author was Tolkien, The Hobbit, and newspapers, magazines for current events.
My favorite reading spot had to be my bedroom. My favorite author wrote stories about Maine and I devoured them all. I may actually remember her name, sometime.
Currently, I read hundreds of emails a day, at least a dozen blogs, pages of Facebook and Twitter. You will notice I do not read books for pleasure. However, I listen to hours of books! My most recent is the Girl with the  Dragon Tatoo series. I loved listening to that series so much that I finally bought a book to read during winter. My question to you readers, is listening to audio books reading? I say a huge yes! What do you say?

Friday, October 1, 2010

I did it!

I made a challenge for myself when I changed positions and moved to the Wells High School Resource Room, that I would hit the google search within the year. I was going to check each month to see when it happened. Today, October 1, 2010, when I googled wells high school resource room  this is what came up in .38 seconds! I made it in one month.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What has changed in the periodic table, the environment and education in the past 40 years since I last took chemistry?

 Permanent link cross posted at TechLearning.com

 I am co-teaching in a Physical Science class. Actually, I am co-learning about the Periodic Table. Here is an interactive periodic table where you can look at the historical perspective by hovering over each element. No wonder I did not recognize the periodic table.  Look at how it has changed since 1970!
Periodic TableOn April 22, 1970, we celebrated our first Earth Day, now 40 years later we are finally taking our own cloth bags to the grocery store. Why? We hear that plastic bags may take from 20 to 1,000 years to decay.   Things have changed here too!
 In November 1980 the Superfund Bill was established to clean up the hazardous waste sites in the USA. Why? After years of stockpiling waste in metal containers the containers finally started leaking and spilling into the water supply and the land.     We have made progress in this area.
In June 1990 the Spotted Owl was declared endangered in the West. It was fought by the logging businesses as it would stop their cutting of old forests. Some folks are now talking about taking some animals off the endangered list!
 In education we have a similar timeline.
1970 - Jean Piaget's book, The Science of Education, is published. We begin an era of discovery based teaching.

1990 - Public Law 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), renames and amends Public Law 94-142. In addition to changing terminology from handicap to disability, it mandates transition services and adds autism and traumatic brain injury to the eligibility list.

- The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002. The law, which reauthorizes the ESEA of 1965, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.
September 2010
Education Nation will this spur on change? Is this the tipping point?

What has changed in the past 40 years in science, the environment, education? How much has stayed the same?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Run Away!

Run Away!
Originally uploaded by Burwash Calligrapher

Getting ready for TechLearning
Cross posted at TechLearning


Back to school this fall season meant back in the classroom for me. Ever since I went to the MLTI Student Conference last May 2010, I was yearning for life as a classroom teacher again. Be careful what you wish for, my wish came true. There was an opening at our local high school and here I am. High school resource room teacher/facilitator!

You will be hearing lots of stories this year about high school, special education, universal design for learning, assistive technology and our google domain.

We decided to begin with making some changes in our support study. We now have a Skills Cafe. This is organic, flexible and as one of my peers says  crunchy. Ask the students what they think, they have a few more descriptors like this is not what I want to do, why do I have to do this, this is dumb, and many  more. Anything to get out of being organized and collaborative. However, we have a plan and we are sticking to it. I should mention that some students thought it was cool, especially since they can add things to the calendar like football games, field hockey, drama, and marching band. I will be busy trying to attend something for each student!
  Our first step was to get all students into the google domain, with a shared calendar, shared folder for their assignments and a place to check their email. We accomplished this in a two week span.  At the end of the second week, I left messages in all their email accounts with a good job email and if necessary a reminder to complete missing assignments. I can peek at their grades and see what is missing, send them an email reminder, talk with their teachers and all this from one stop at my computer.

This is going to be a year long journey. We will have some challenges, some celebrations and some student success stories. If you have something to share along these lines leave a comment, let’s build this together and share with others.

My new blog Learning Cafe a door to the future http://learningcafe-doortothefuture.blogspot.com/

Our twitter:  Door2Future

Our moodle page:   http://moodle.wocsd.org/course/view.php?id=199

Our Twitter Feed goes right to the blog and to our Facebook page.