Monday, August 9, 2010

EDIM508 Reflection on Third Grade Virtual Field Trip: A Tour of 3rd Grade Reading

My Virtual Field Trip using Google Earth is an ongoing project. The purpose of using Google Earth for this trip is to give third grade students in my class the opportunity to learn about the geography and cultures in various countries of the world. Google Earth provides a way to integrate technology into lessons and expose young students to the use of a new tool.
The third grade reading anthologies used by our district have many stories from places around the world. This is an ideal scenario for using Google Earth with the students.

Instructional 3rd Grade PA Standards:
7.1.3.A.: Identify how basic geographic tools are used to organize and interpret information about people, places, and environment.
7.1.3.B.: Identify and locate places and regions as defined by physical and human features.
1.9.3.A.: Use media and technology resources for directed and independent learning activities.
1.9.3.B.: Understand media as a source of information and entertainment.

Instructional Goals:
Students will integrate the discipline of reading with geography and technology.
Students will learn to use Google Earth and understand its relevance while learning about new places around the world.
Students will develop a respect and appreciation for different cultures around the world.

The trip begins in the town of the students’ school. An image of a bus is located in front of the school. As students read stories from various countries and cultures, Google Earth can develop additional geographical, historical, and wildlife information, points of interest, and an appreciation of these places. Videos, video segments, links to related websites, and assignments are included in the tours. The assignments address inventions from other countries, language barriers, immigration, and appreciation of other cultures.

The first trip is to China, land of the story The Mulan Legend. In China the students will visit Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, a free market, and the Giant Panda Sanctuary.

The second trip is to Russia, home of the grandparents of the author Patricia Polacco who wrote The Keeping Quilt. Here students will be introduced to Catherine the Great and explore her palace. Photographs of Siberian tigers and Russian nesting dolls can be seen here.

The next trip will bring students back to the United States to El Barrio which is Spanish Harlem in New York City where the story Grandma’s Records takes place. Then story was written by Eric Velasquez who is a son of Afro-Puerto Rican parents. In the near future would like to create a trip on Google Earth to Puerto Rico and expose the students to the music there.

After reading The Talking Cloth by Rhonda Mitchell, students will travel to Ghana. Here students will watch a video about life in Ghana and complete an assignment about the interests of Ghana. At Rhonda Mitchell exposes students to cultural art. This site will be included at a later date.

The last trip of the year has not been created, yet. The trip will continue to New Mexico where the story Dancing Rainbows by Evelyn Clarke Mott takes place. The life of some Native Americans will be visited here.

Howard Gardner states “The task for educators becomes clear: if we are to fashion persons who respect differences, we need to provide models and offer lessons that encourage a sympathetic stance. Models set by teachers constitute a crucial starting point.” (p. 110, Gardner) I feel that this Google Earth project for third graders provides an excellent opportunity to model positive connections and appreciation for all cultures and for the students to begin to develop their awareness and appreciation of the likenesses and differences of various cultures.

Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print.

Here is my Third Grade Virtual Field Trip: A Tour of 3rd Grade Reading

Sunday, August 8, 2010

EDIM508 Week 7: Places Online That Will Contribute to My Professional Growth

The Discovery Educational Network (DEN)hosts many educational blogs across the U.S. which are worth the time to explore. The blogs are written by numerous leaders of educational technology.I plan on reading blogs and posts in the DEN for my professional growth. It a very resourceful place to visit. There is so much in the DEN that it can be overwhelming. If I set a time every week to explore as much as I can within a timeframe, I'm sure that I will have expanded my knowledge on the use of digital technology for educational purposes. It will also increase my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

While exploring the DEN, I found an awesome site which I will continue to follow for my professional growth Angela Maiers is a leader in 21st century education. Being an advocate for the use of technology in education, she conducts workshops and training sessions on 21st Century Learning, critical thinking, reading, and communication. On her site, which she continually updates, Angela posts parts of her presentations along with slides. Examples of a few are: Passion Driven Learning, Question Asking: An Essential 21st Century Skill, Professional Learning Networks. Links to the Top 100 Language Blogs and the Top 100 Edublogs are on her site. She posts her favorite videos and books which she recommends. She has even published a book Classroom Habitudes. On her site, comments which include more links to more resources can be found. I feel that her web site is the path to my future. I, also, follow her on Twitter where she daily shares videos, new innovations with technology, and effective educational practices. Angela Maiers is an inspiration!

Monday, August 2, 2010

EDIM508 Unit 6 Using Digital Media to Develop a Student's Respectful Mind

Julene Reed states that students "must be able to work with people from all parts of the world." By going on virtual field trips online and visiting web sites set up for students to see how people around the world live, thrive, their sense of community, the beauty of their land, and the problems they face, students can be exposed to diversity and likenesses around the world. This will prepare them for their futures of collaborating around the world to solve local, community, state, national,or world problems for the benefit of the planet, whether through business, environmental institutions, education, manufacturing, or the arts.

Our school's 3rd grade reading anthology stories travel to many places around the world. A few stories follow up by providing a short social studies lesson about the region of the world in which the story was written, but many don't. The stories lend themselves to the possibility of learning more about parts of the world. Exposing young students to various cultures is a way for them to develop a respectful mind. (Gardner, p. 103-125)

Here is an example: One of the stories is about a child living in Ghana. On the web site students can connect to this site . Here students can see photographs taken by 4 students living in different countries in Africa, one being Ghana. The African students describe what their schools are like and what they do after school. The site also has a spot for students to listen to a thumb piano and play a thumb piano online, a video showing and giving directions for making a mask, and a Swahili folktale.

Connecting with students from another coutry around the world would be wonderful experience. Art, stories, photographs, and daily routines could be shared. On the web site My Wonderful World, classes can set up epals. Here is a list of possible epals that can be established from teachers in Ghana .

I'm looking forward to sharing this possibility with my co-teachers in 3rd grade. If not Ghana, another country would be fine. This is a great opportunity for children to begin to communicate globally and to develop positive relationships outside of their community. While establishing global communities in school, students can practice using Howard Gardner's respectful mind.(Gardner, p. 103-125.)

Reed, Julene. Global Collaboration and Learning. 2010.
Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print

Friday, July 30, 2010


EDIM508 Reflection: Using Glogster in My Classroom

My glog ( titled Amazing Ants. It’s has been created for 2nd graders to develop background knowledge for the reading of the book Ants. This is also in their anthologies. This background knowledge will improve fluency and increase comprehension. The standards that are addressed in the glog:
Pa Learning Standards for Early Childhood: Second Grade
Key Learning Area:
Approaches to Learning: Demonstrates Imagination, Creativity, and Invention
5.2 Use and connect materials/strategies in uncommon ways to investigate and problem solve
Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening
1.1 Learning to Read Independently
C. Demonstrate fluency, the ability to read grade level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression
D. Demonstrate a rich listening and speaking vocabulary, the ability to understand and use words to acquire and convey meaning
E. Demonstrates comprehension, the cognitive process involving the intentional interaction between reader and text to convey meaning
1.2 Reading Critically in all Content Areas
B. Identify and use a variety of media to gain information
1.4 Types of Writing
Informational: Develop and demonstrate the writing of informational pieces that provides information related real-world tasks
1.6 Speaking and Listening
A. Apply listening and speaking strategies effectively
B. Use electronic media for learning purposes

For second graders the glog will be a model for them to use and to see how Glogster can be used to create projects in their futures. When I first show them the glog Amazing Ants, I will speak to them briefly about how I made it by recording my voice and finding videos, photos and images that I uploaded. I will answer any questions they may have about the creation of it. I could give them the glog address for Amazing Ants so they would be able to access it from home. I may give the website for Glogster. In addition, my discovery writing assignment may access some creativity in some students.

Glogster is a generator of creative ideas! I’m sure that students will be motivated to use it. Glogster definitely meets the goals of creators. It can “extend knowledge, ruffle the contours of the genre, and guide a set of practices along a new and hitherto unanticipated direction.” (Gardner, p. 98) I definitely feel like I have met all of this criteria this week in the creation of my first glog! To sum it up, using Glogster is a fabulous avenue for students to learn, practice, and be assessed on academic knowledge, to engage in creativity, and to use digital media/technology, a 21st century skill.

Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EDIM508 Unit 5 Creating Content Outside the Classroom

In working with children 5 – 8 years old, I have not heard them talking about creating content online at home. I have not even heard any discussions on creating content. I do know that they create in many ways at home. They use technology such as digital cameras, video cameras and computer/video games. They watch YouTubes and listen to IPods. I researched “how children create content online” in various ways and continually saw articles on online safety for children and parents, which is truly important.

I also found an article which showed research by Temple and Duke Universities which was of interest. When underprivileged students were given computers to use at home, their scores on state testing dropped, producing a wider gap. “Providing technology to children at home does not necessarily enhance learning. Computers in the home are mainly used for entertainment such as gaming, videos, social networking. Many families lack the knowledge on how to use a computer for research, exploring the world or current events. Parents' behavior and attitudes toward technology are a critical factor in predicting a child's experience with various media. Research shows that students who have at least one parent with a graduate degree are significantly more likely to create content, online or off-line, than others. Says sociologist Eszter Hargittai of Northwestern University, "While it may be that digital media are leveling the playing field when it comes to exposure to content, engaging in creative pursuits remains unequally distributed by social background."

This leads me to believe that educators need to guide parents and students in computer use. Digital and media literacy is essential. As a teacher I now feel that I should provide resources that should be shared with parents so that they can steer their children towards these types of sites. There are many interactive games educational and noneducational online which are easy for parents to find. Here are some new sites which I discovered which promote creativity and sharing of creative stories and art: This is an online social safe network for children 6 -10 years of age. Parents control with whom the child socializes. It’s similar to facebook, but for children and managed by the parents. Mostly are communicating with relatives and close friends that parents have allowed. Children can not only socialize, they can create art and share it within their network. They can play games, watch child safe videos, listen to music for children within that age range. : Children have free access to games that stimulate creative thinking : Children can submit stories, art, poems, reviews. Each week 3 submissions for each type of art are selected from around the world and featured. Anyone can view them. It’s a great way for children to get published. It’s a great way to view artistic development from around the world. It is “child safe”.

A way that I would like to have my students create content in the classroom is by having them draw a creation based on a topic or I could post a piece of art and attach a voicethread ( Students could develop a story about it. I would allow other students to comment or tell their own story. If possible I would like parents to share their thoughts. In this way students could create content, but in a safe environment.

The research article mentioned earlier has reiterated to me how important it is for educators to guide students learning in the use of media and tech tools. Students will let their talents go to waste if not encouraged to create!

After viewing this video of Brian Crosby teaching his disadvantaged 4th-6th graders, I am inspired to work towards his level of use of Web 2.0 tools to connect children to the world, to collaborate, to create content, and to motivate children. Here it is: Passion-Driven Learning in Action

Temple professor Renee Hobbs: A computer doesn't make kids smart. ( )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

EDIM508 A Creative Activity Using a Digital Resource

" The creator's goal is to extend knowledge, to ruffle the contours of genre, to guide a set of practices along new and hitherto unanticipated directions." (p. 98, Gardner)I feel that creativity can definitely be nurtured in the classroom even through structured curricula required in daily teaching. We can encourage students throughout the day to think outside the box when they try to think of strategies for gathering infomation to solve problems or answer questions. The way that we ask questions can encourage creative thoughts. There is always more than one way to solve a problem or answer a question or write about a topic. As teachers, we should allow creative expression of ideas. The student with an answer that sounds abstract may be the person using creativity the most, even if the teacher feels that the answer is incorrect. Instead of stating that the answer is incorrect, the teacher can acknowledge how the student arrived at that answer and state to the student that the thought was creative. Students with creative abilities are often receiving negative feedback from teachers for not writing on the topic, for being incorrect, for not thinking like the teacher. If teachers want to endorse creativity, then they should think outside the box on ideas in which this can be done and show appreciation for students who demonstrate the same.

Children create in many ways if we provide the opportunity and if they trust that they will not be criticized on their ideas. I'm presenting a simple tool that will allow students to express some nonjudgmental creative writing and art. The activity also incorporates the use of background knowledge. The tool is Postcard Creator These activities could be used with 2nd-5th graders.

Skills that should have been practiced prior to engaging in this activity are: knowing the parts to a friendly letter, writing addresses, capitalization of proper nouns, in particular places such as streets, cities, and states. Students could be exposed to postcards in several ways: the teacher sharing postcards that were received, teacher modeling how to write a postcard, teacher or student reading of any of the Postcard books, such as these:
Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar System by Loreen Leedy
Postcards from Mr. Pish (Volume 1) by K. S. Brooks
China (Postcards from) by Zoƫ Dawson
Postcards from Buster: Buster and the Giant Pumpkin (L1) by Marc Brown
Postcards from Paul (Newsbox) by Hazel Scrimshire and James P. Smith
Postcards from the United States by Denise Allard
Postcards from Kitty by Margaret Wang and Pattie Silver
At the Beach: Postcards from Crabby Spit by Roland Harvey
and there are many more for many grade levels.
"The Postcard Creator helps students learn to identify all the typical parts of a postcard, and then generate their own postcard messages by typing information into templates. Students fill in the address, details on the postcard's artwork, and the postcard message. The finished postcard can then be previewed, edited, and printed. After printing their texts, students can illustrate the front of their postcards in a variety of ways, including drawing a picture, creating a collage of images, or printing and pasting clipart in place.
The tool is easy to use, made even easier with the Postcard Planning Sheet, a printable PDF students can use to draft and revise their work before creating and printing their final postcards on the computer. See a completed sample Postcard based on Where the Wild Things Are for details on what a student's work might look like." ( )
Here are some ideas that could be used to inspire creativity for the writing of the postcard, although the possibilities are endless, and stiffling creative ideas should be discouraged:
1)Write a short letter to any fictional character from any book. If students need starters, suggestions could be given:
Write to the character about something that you wish that they would have done.
If I were you (the character)...
Ask the character questions that you want answered.
2)Pretend you are a character from a fictional book and are writing to another character.
3)Write to an author, president, artist.
4)Pretend that you are a famous person and are writing a postcard.

One other aspect of creativity that this tool allows is for the creator to design a front, name it, and briefly describe it.By using Postcard Creator, students are engaging in a creative activity. The brevity of the writing should be encouraging for students who do not like to write in length.

"The challenge to the educator is to keep alive the mind and sensibility of the young child." (p. 84, Gardner) "It is vital to keep open alternative possibilities to foreground the option of unfettered exploration." (p. 86, Gardner)

Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print.

Friday, July 16, 2010

EDIM508 How Multi-Media Presentations Foster the Development of Both the Disciplined and Synthesizing Minds

(I will be using the abbreviation MMP for multi-media presention throughout this blog.)
First, let's look at how a muti-media presentation fosters a disciplined mind by examining the four steps of achieving a disciplined mind:
"1) Identifying the important concepts within the discipline.
2) Spend a significant amount of time with this topic using a variety of examples.
3) Approach the topic in a number of ways.
4) Set up performances of understanding: Be able to give performances of understanding in a variety of conditions." (p. 32-34, Gardner)
Whether the MMP is used by an instructor or is used as a tool that will be created, the four steps are being fostered. First, the purpose of the presentation is identified. Next, an MMP can provide ample time to explore the concept. The MMP can be presented by an instructor. It can be used at a learning center. It often takes more than one view to get a grasp of everything presented and therefore, can be watched repeatedly for better understanding. After watching an MMP, the student can explore the topic by other means, different resources. The topic is usually approached in a variety of ways on an MMP: visually with videos and images,auditorily with music or recordings, in a game-like fashion, or by connecting to other links of information on the topic.Last, an MMP is a tool a student could create to show his/her understanding in a variety of multi-media ways, such as showing understanding by creating a song on the topic, creating an organizer, graphics, a piece of graphic art, creating a digital story. The media is a resource for providing multiple means of expression to display understanding. The instructor could use the creations as assessments of understanding of the topic/concept.

Now let's see how an MMP fosters a synthesizing mind. Syntheses is how we "knit together information from disparate sources into a coherent whole." (p. 46, Gardner)A MMP definitely does this! Let's look at the most common kinds of syntheses:
A "narrative" (p. 47, Gardner) can be written as a MMP such as a digital story. "Taxonomies, complex concepts, rules and aphorisms, powerful metaphors, images,and themes, embodiments without words, theories, and metatheories" (p. 47-50, Gardner)can all be created and exposed on a MMP. Links to resources, imaging, videos, recordings could all be used on an MMP to demonstrate these synthesises.
The components of synthesizing are the same components that are used to create an MMP.
1) "A goal" (p. 51, Gardner) The creator of an MMP needs to have a purpose of the syntheses that will be achieved. Why is the MMP being created?
2) "A starting point" (p. 51, Gardner) Why was there a need to develop a MMP and where does the topic exposure need to begin.
3) "Selection of strategy, method, and approach" (p. 51, Gardner)Choose the various media tools in which the concept will be infused.
4) "Drafts and feedback" (p. 52, Gardner) Start to create the MMP.View it from an audience's viewpoint to see if it makes sense or if it will be effective in reaching the initial goal.
The blending of the various forms of media along with the knowledge that is to be shared is syntheses.

My MMP project will create disciplined minds by providing multiple means of representation of vocabulary to increase understanding of literature that will be read. The multiple exposures of the vocabulary by various media and activities should improve comprehension while reading the literature. The activites also lend themselves to developing listening and speaking skills. The integration of the media with vocabulary development, listening skills, speaking skills, and the reading of the literature makes this interdisciplinary. Students will also gain knowledge on how to use technology to acquire information. Syntheses will begin when the students will be able to read the literature fluently due to the multiple means that the vocabulary was presented. The students then will be able to express knowledge orally and written on the topics of neighborhoods, communities, and cities. It becomes an expression of the blending or knitting of information from various sources...syntheses of a child.

Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

EDIM508 Blog: Incorporating Digital Media in an Interdisciplinary Activity

The activity that I'm going to discuss is one that is being encouraged in all math classes from K-12. It is a skill that is assessed on PSSA's. Students are asked to write the steps they used in solving math problems. This skill involves math knowledge and being able to express knowledge in writing. For this activity the writing would need to be very sequential without omitting important thought processes. Kindergarteners, early first graders, and students with writing disabilites could express their strategies orally. To incorporate digital media into this activity, students could post blogs with a teacher made weblog for the math class. The blogs should express their strategies for solving an assigned math problem. I believe that many students might be surprised at how many different ways a problem can be solved when reading other blogs. In fact, I believe that teachers are often amazed at the students' thought processes! I believe that it would be possible for non-writers or those with less writing abilities to be able to draw how they solved the problem and record their strategies on a program such as SAM Animation ( )or some other program that I am not familiar with yet. Maybe some other teachers may have some ideas on how this could be done.
This activity is interdisciplinary because it involves math, oral or written expression, reading (of others' blogs) and incorporates the digital media of blogging.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

u02a1 EDIM508 Blog on Digital Media: Using a Video Segment

One of the reading themes for our school's second grade is Around Town: Neighborhood and Community. The pieces of literature are about various cultural families who live in cities. Our school setting is rural and many children go on vacations "to the mountains" of Pennsylvania. They rarely visit cities and have little background knowledge when this literature is presented. With Discovery Education streaming I located a video Let's Explore: In the City in which a host answers childrens' questions about a city. Video segments from it answer questions about What is a City?, Neighbors and Community, Transportation in the city, Homes in the city, Buildings in a city, Things To See and Do in a city, Workers and Jobs in a city and a Review. The use of these video segments throughout the theme would assist students in understanding the vocabulary associated with neighborhoods, communities, cities, and various cultural language that is presented. This in turn will improve the students comprehension of the literature.
My specific goal is to increase vocabulary and improve comprehension. The video segment that I will focus on for a specific topic will be Neighbors and Community. This video segment includes a visit to Chinatown. The first piece of literature that is read for this theme is titled Chinatown.
1. Discuss knowledge from the students about cities, possibly from visits or movies seen. Chart vocabulary about the city elicited from the students.
2. Visually present the words "neighborhood" and "community". In the classroom students will point to their neighbors and discuss what it means to be a neighbor. Ask the students if they have any other neighbors. Introduce the video segment and watch Neighbors and Community.
3. As a class, build a community with different neighborhoods using different types of blocks for each neighborhood.
4. Think, Pair, Share about the video segment: The teacher will name the topic. One partner will compare the city with our town and rural neighborhoods. The other partner will contrast the city with our rural and town neighborhoods. The topics will be: buildings, homes, traffic, transportation, people, food.
5. Writing activity: You are visiting your friend who lives in Chinatown.
Choice A: Write 4 sentences that tell what you think you will see and do.
Choice B: Write 4 very different types of questions you want to ask you friend about Chinatown.

Prior to the reading of the story Chinatown, the following words will be presented with digital images/video segments: tai chi, herbs, seafood, cobbler, wok, Chinese New Year celebration.
Here is the video segment.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This is me!

This will be my 30th year as an elementary Learning Support teacher in the same district in which I started teaching. My role has changed through the years. For years I taught EMR and LD students in a classroom in which the students were in my special education room based on need, but usually for 4 or more hours a day. I basically was the students' main teacher each day. Next, for several years my classroom consisted of 14-16 K-6th graders with disabilities. For the next many years my classroom consisted of 12-15 K-3rd graders of "need" usually for most subjects. The last few years our school building became an "inclusive" school. So, my role has changed. I've been co-teaching with K-2nd for reading and/or math. Our district uses PLC (Professional Learning Communities) and is developing the use of the PRTII to determine the needs of all students. In our building I'm on the K, 1st, and 2nd grade teams. I'm on the Learning Support team for our district. And, I'm on the "At Risk" team for our building. Our building has established a 30 minute enrichment/intervention time for all students daily. So, currently I'm usually delivering interventions to regular education students who are on Tiers 2 0r 3 and to LS students daily. This coming year I also will be working with the 3rd grade teachers in our building for the first time. I guess that I'll be on the 3rd grade team, too. It seems that every year is a new adventure.
I became interested in acquiring an Instructional Media degree after taking an online class on UDL (Universal Design of Learning). I'm excited, yet anxious to learn to do all the things that my sons can do with technology. Also, I want to be able to share what I learn with my colleagues, especially when developing interventions for students.