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Monthly Archives: June 2013

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I have been using Pinterest as a way to find out what other teachers are doing and coming up with on a few different topics. I am moving into a new classroom this summer at a different school. The set up of the classroom is new and, thanks to switching grade levels, I have a lot of different materials/supplies/books etc to work with (and to store!!) I have found from some other great teachers/organizers on Pinterest, tricks, techniques, systems for organizing a new classroom and storing materials.

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I have also been using the site to try and find some ways of incorporating our 2 classroom computers into the curriculum, in any way possible. I’m not sure exactly how I will use them functionally in the coming school year but I am getting some good ideas for different sites that help students practice various skills. I also have tracked down a really neat tool for assisting in running records. It is designed for the iPhone or iPad and calculates words per minute and reading rate automatically.

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This was another cool activity I stumbled on. The teacher called it TableTopTwitter. A passage was picked from a book (but this could easily be adapted to ANY curriculum area) and students traveled around the room to the different passages leaving their “tweets” (thoughts on the passage).

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Overall, I have loved using Pinterest to spark ideas and collect awesome ones from other teachers. 🙂

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I had heard about Tagxedo from another teacher who used it to create a keepsake for a family member. I was brainstorming end of the year gifts for my room parents, and this popped into mind! I thought it would be really cute to select a kid-friendly shape to enter all of their first names into and have the program configure their names to fit inside. This seemed like a simple task, until I got to the webpage. I found the site hard to use. There is a STRONG possibility that my troubles were a function of user-error (not the first time). But I really spent some time on this one! I decided after our last class to give Tagul the same effort. Still hit a dead end. I would have really loved to use this! I was hoping if I got the hang of it, I would be able to make better use of it for the future. Hopefully I can get some assistance and figure this out because the finished products look amazing.

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creativity

I thought this article was amazing. It seemed so memorable and altering for the teacher. My own classroom has its fair share of up and down days – things that are unplanned that go well and things that are planned to the T, only to flop completely. I love that this moment was documented 🙂

The shift from teacher directed to student created learning has to be a tough one. You have to recognize the potential that your students have, turn it into a challenge and give minimal instruction. I agree that the task-based learning is an active way for students to participate in practicing 21st century skills, but I think that this project was so much more than that. The teacher had just the right bait: she was able to fuse self-propelled learning with acquiring new skills, and keep the students on the hook.

The nature of the project allowed for choices. It was mentioned that some of the students present were not necessarily the ones to speak out or get involved in a group project, but this study gave everyone the freedom to choose their topic and their path for learning it, and ultimately teaching it (as opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach). The sticky note idea was awesome. (I can also see where even young students could participate in something similar). The class had to create their own outline when given a very BROAD topic. The final product would be based on their interests, meaning it could look different from year to year.

I love this teacher’s honesty too. It would be a HUGE challenge to shift out of the traditional front-of-the-room role and leave a lot of room for mistakes and alterations. She said, “It’s difficult to know how much to let them fail”. Majority of traditional learning projects, even the group ones that are meant to seem more dynamic and student driven, still rely on a rubric or guide or outline. Letting the class take the driver seat presents a huge challenge for the teacher…when do you step in? and how much?

Facilitating this endeavor meant allowing the nature of the project to change according to the problems that came up and the way the STUDENTS decided to solve them. I can see from a student point of view how completing a project, worrying about a grade, trying to work in a group can all be difficult without a guideline. Students have fallen into a comfort zone of “If I check every box on the rubric, I’ll get an A”. Leaving little to no room for creativity or REAL thinking.

http://plpnetwork.com/2011/03/22/the-nuts-bolts-of-21st-century-teaching/

Pinning!

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I have chosen to use Pinterest as my Social Learning tool. I have recently started to explore Pinterest for things like classroom organization, classroom themes, activities, games, etc. I love it! There is so much to explore and so much to share. Educators use this network to share and publish their ideas. Pins also link to teachers’ blogs, class websites or other resources. I am looking forward to finding and saving some of the technology resources and tools that I discover for classroom use.

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