Allison's blog post
Allison Ross, is a soon to be social studies teacher, who is working on her masters at the University of Akron. For a blog post on visual learning she created an outstanding chart of resources for all teachers. I asked her for premission to repost her chart on this site. Below you will find her work and I hope you check out her blog as well.
Using meetings.io for the first time.
Near the end of the school year, my students have been interviewing experts on different topics from the content we studied. Their projects will be posted soon. However, we had a problem as some Professors had never used skype and where unsure of how to use it.
So, while looking for an alternative way to record these interviews from around the world, I sent out a tweet and someone in my PLN, tweeted back: meetings.io.
Meetings.io is a free service. You DO NOT have to create an account to use the service. You can go to the site, open a meeting and then email the link to people you would like to speak to. It works great. Images are clear (better then Skype), locations are shown, sound is clear and images are side by side so you can see each interaction clearly.
If you create, a free account, you get more. With an account you get a private room that is always open with the same address, so people don't need more emails. Meetings.IO promises to have the following up and running very soon: note taking section, open a live chat box, share files, and screen share. These options show up in your private room now, but if you click them they state they will be up and running soon. The note taker function is up and running now. See Features
I really found this site to be quick, easy to use and very clear. However, check in your schools to see if it is blocked or if they block ports this software needs to work. It was blocked at my school, but a great option for home use. Let me know what you think after you use it.
Student's in the language arts classes made movie trailers for books they had been reading. This was a twist on the traditional book report. Students used flip cameras, iMovie and of course staff to make trailers for the movie version of the book they had just read. I have seen at least 15 (they love to show these 3 minute mini-films) and was even asked to be in a few. Clearly the kids love taking what they have learned from a book and creating and building trailers around the main themes, characters and settings.
I can't upload a students whole trailer as both students names and images are in them, but I did take my Oscar role out for you to see below. Of course, I play the bad guy who is back to reek havoc on the world. Roll out the red Carpet....
Hi, I'm Hanna (Garth's daughter) I've been thinking I should write a blog so here it is. I've decided to write about something called voki. It's really cool first you pick a character then add to it, you can record your voice and make it say whatever you want. After my teacher showing me this I got thinking wouldn't it be cool to learn about maybe Christopher Columbus and make a voki that looks like him and says a quote that he actually said. It would definitely help me remember so much better than just plain old notes. If you look below you can see one, its me!
Check out my Voki below.... Thanks, Hanna
Garth: Well, Hanna showed me Voki a few weeks back (click here for teacher section of Voki--even a lesson plan database). Her teacher, had them make voki's during class. I added the image above to my classroom blog: http://www.7aworldhistory.com/(once on the site click Mr. Holman and you can see and hear my voice in my Voki). Within three days, I bet 50% of my students had created voki's of their own and put them on their reflective blogs. Kids love them and teachers, we should be able to find tons of ways to use these to help students learn. Shot your ideas into a comment. Well, Thank you Hanna for sharing this with me and others on Teachersfortomorrow.net
Do you remember those geography lessons in middle school? Hours of looking at flat maps of places you have never seen or heard of? How boring! Kids never really learned how to use a map until they could drive. Then reading a map was relevant.
Today, we can excite and engage kids in understanding how geography impacts our world. In 3-d they can see how the land shifts as mountains raise and valleys fall. They can view street views of markets in Hong Kong, barges being filled in the harbor and watch as the sun sets over the mountains. They can plan attack routes of medieval castles! How to use the water routes to establish trade and so much more. Not to mention read articles about specific building and interesting places built right in to the program.
I taught students for 25 minutes how to use google earth to tour the world, collect images and tag places we will study during the rest of the year. The list of places they visited is attached below and you can see several images they found and tagged as well. The students then read over the state standards (A. Use Physical maps--google earth is that--to analyze the reasons that human features are located in particular places. B. Describe the geographic factors and process that contribute to and impede (stop) the diffusion (culture, war, trade, technology, and innovations) of people, products and ideas from place to place.) and picked images they had tagged to explain their understanding of the these standards.
Student's then created blogs that explained what they had learned from this tour. These blog were outstanding, insightful and clearly showed they had learned a great deal about how humans use geography to their advantage. I think the power of the FREE software was really shown today as we started to talk about the Vatican and the creation of the Catholic Church. Over 1/2 of my students pulled up google earth (without me mentioning it) and "Fly" to Rome to view this city state. They played their way to learning. Let Mike and I know how you are using google earth...or Science people GOOGLE SKY.
Mike and I are both big fans of Sir Ken Robinson. His talks on TED (including "Do School's Kill Creativity") have influenced our thinking and teaching. However, this talk: "Changing Paradigms" was given in 2008 at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and is 55 minutes long. Below is a great, and only 10 minute long, visualization for the major ideas in this presentation.
As you watch this film, ask yourself: what does this mean for me and my work with students? How can I break the mold of traditional schools?
As social studies teachers, Garth and myself are constantly debating the merit of history for the sake of history, creating connections with the past and present (enduring impacts) and instilling our students with a cultural identity AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, a sense of cultural empathy. Sir Ken is an advocate for the arts and creative thinking. I often refer to social studies as the "red-headed stepchild" of the academic world; we are not math or science, and we don't teach communication like language arts. I believe that social studies is actually just as important as math, especially if we are talking about preparing kids for their futures. Historians are the secretaries of the world. We record, analyze, judge, and put into context everything that happens. While social studies may not encourage as much analytical thought as math, the critical thinking and empathy skills that social studies does teach is invaluable.
I'm sitting at my laptop, wrapping up this blog that Garth started, wondering if I will be a teacher next year. The levy in our district failed and I'm caught at the bottom of the seniority list. I want to teach, I want to make a difference and I want my students to have the best possible education possible. Sir Ken talks about education and economics. While he focuses on the future economies of the world, I can't help but wonder about the current economy and where citizens and the government feel education belongs. "You get out what you put it", underfunding education and cutting the Arts will have a detrimental impact on the future of our economy. Believe in teachers. Believe in students. Believe that well-rounded education will create well-rounded people.
I have been using inspiration for about five years and Mike has been using it since he student taught with me. He now uses Bubbl.us or mywebspiration (free at this time) since his building did not buy inspiration. However, if 30-40 percent of your students are visual, we need to be using webs for our students benefit. These software's help students understand, see connections, and learn the material we teach.
I posted this little visual blog because of the email I got yesterday. It was from Brittany.
Thanks! I downloaded the free trial but couldn't connect my netbook to
the Smartboard, so I just used Webspiration from the teacher's
computer.. My group is teaching a unit on writing a research paper, so
after the kids do their research and have their notecards they're
going to make an inspiration web and then convert it to an outline to
help them write their papers. It's also a great way to help them
generate ideas before we take them to the library. Thanks for
introducing me to the software!
We need teachers to find ways, like Brittany, to make school work for our students. The old software's still have value.
Made on Motivator
In the last post, I talked about how my new 7th graders were telling me they lacked self confidence. My orginal plan was to share a free website my wife had shared with me, however, I got off track. She attended the conference at Bowling Green a few weeks back and while Mike and I were presenting she traveled to a few sessions. One session showed her the website Motivator. It is a free site and I believe a good way to personalize motivational comments for your students. I plan to use this a few times a week, to add quotes and motivational comments with images of my student. I hope by the end of the year to have a room full of these images and quotes. Give it a try and let me know what you think about this free software. In a few weeks, I plan to address the question: How do we motivate middle school students in a more thoughtful way. Cheers, Garth
My dog, Woody. Made with 275 images
Mosaickr.com is a mosaic maker. You use flickr photos to create mosaics. I plan to use this site this year for open house. On the first day of school, I will take photos of each student and upload them to my class flickr page. Then each day I will snap a few more photos of students working, so that by open house I have a few hundred images. Then I plan to use our school logo to create a mosaic for my door.
The examples below are from the Mosaickr.com site. You will need to have a flickr account, but you do not need a lot of photos uploaded. You can create these mosaics using open source images others have taken right on flickr (Cleveland, Ohio has over 600,000 images). You can get the Small mosaic for free and it downloads directly to your computer. You can also pay a fee and get much larger images. The downloads are fine for most application in school.
1. Historical figures with images from their life or geography mosaics
2. LA: What book are you reading? Images of that subject
3. Science: Ocean Theme, Weather, Animals, and more
4. Math: Great architecture of skyscrapers or buildings (even my hometown of 45,000 has 29 images of buildings, Newark Ohio)
5. Art: Famous Artist with their work
6. What would you add?
Garth shot me a link to this site this morning, and we were both so blown away by how cool it is, I just had to link it here. Tagxedo is a word cloud generator that lets you copy/paste text, use url's, your twitter stream and more to create word clouds. Why is this site more grawsome than Wordle? At Tagxedo, you can easily change every characteristic possible: eliminate common words, change orientation, change colors AND you can have your word cloud appear in shapes. The picture below is an example of a word cloud I created by entering the url to this blog. Because its about education, I went with the cliche "apple" shape. In the beta version, you can even upload your own images to use!! Check this site out and think about ways to engage students with your curiculum!