Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Patterns, Patterns, Patterns!

I love using manipulatives for hands-on learning! We are currently using patterns to gain and understanding of skip counting and multiplication. Students are using manipulatives to model and describe repeating and additive patterns. I placed stations around the rooms for pairs to explore and create patterns. Manipulatives included: 2 sided discs, foam stars, foam leaves, 1" colored tiles, connecting chains, geometric shapes, and firefighter action figures.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education

I thought this was a very interesting infographic outlining the pros and cons of social media in schools. Although it mostly focuses on the college level, some of the information is useful for primary and secondary education.

Surviving the College Dining Hall
Via: Online Universities Blog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Hereby Grant You Permission to Pin!

Did you know that when you pin something on Pinterest you should have the permission of the blog owner? YEP! It's right here: Pinterest Users Need to Read the Fine Print. When we signed up for Pinterest, we actually agreed to the following terms:
  • We own the rights to images we are pinning. 
  • We grant full rights to Pinterest to use those images in any fashion! 
Don't believe it? You can read the Pinterest Terms here. Seems like a site that's set up for sharing and collaborating would make these terms more obvious when someone signs up. Am I going to take down all my Pinterest boards? No way! But because I'm now aware of these terms, I have changed how I'm going to use Pinterest. I'm no longer going to pin images directly from someone's site or blog unless I have permission. If you have a blog, be sure to read the whole article to find out how you can give me and others permission to pin. 

Interestingly, I found out about Pinterest when someone commented on my blog that they had "pinned" one of my ideas.  I was so flattered that I never even thought that I should have given them permission!

So! since I am a teacher and love to share, I hereby grant you permission to pin anything on my blog that you think will be of "Pinterest" to others :-)

Information for Bloggers and Educational Site Owners Only

Laura over at the Corkboard Connections Blog has come up with a great plan.  She is hoping you'll join her Permission to Pin link up to show that your site welcomes pinning.

Link Up Directions
  1. Add this red Permission to Pin badge to your website or blog by copying and pasting the HTML code below into your blog post or sidebar. Placing it on the sidebar will serve as a permanent symbol that you are giving permission to pin. the link will take you to Laura's blog post so others will know what is going on.
  2. Create a blog post that briefly explains this issue and describes your permissions. Don't forget to include a link to your Pinterest page, too!
  3. Join the Link Up at the bottom of her blog post by adding your URL and the name of your blog or website to the link up area below. The URL you enter should go to your blog post giving visitors permission to pin, and the image should clearly identify your blog.

Learning about Mardi Gras via Skype

My teaching partner (who is also  photographer), Ginny Limer, took some great pictures and made these collages of our recent Skype session with Ms. Naugle's 4th grade class in New Orleans. They taught us all about Mardi Gras by giving reports and using visuals. They even showed us a traditional dance!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pristine Classroom vs. Environment for Independent Learning

I was looking back at the pictures I took of my classroom at the beginning of the school year. It was so pristine! Now that we have been in school for over 100 days it has a more lived-in look! Using the daily 5 and giving my students time for independent learning has allowed them to really USE the classroom. They have access to what they need when they need it.

Our Daily 5/CAFE board has been put to a lot of use since the first of the year...

Comprehension Strategies

Accuracy Strategies

Fluency Strategies

Vocabulary Strategies
Before: Conference table, math centers, book display

After: Added anchor charts and all the stuff we need to learn!
Before:  2 student computers
After: 3 student computers!
Before: A library full of good-fit books
After: more books and other learning materials

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our First Skype Session and What We Learned

My students sharing an excerpt from MLK's "I Have a Dream " speech while the other class watches and listens via Skype.

What a fun day we had Skyping with a 3rd grade class in suburban Chicago. My students read their reader's theater excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the other class shared some of their writing. Afterwards, the students asked each other questions. We learned that a Chicago Dog has a bunch of stuff most second graders don't like and that deep dish pizza sounds really good. My students shared their favorite sports teams and their ancestral heritage. During the call we also discovered that both classes have blogs so we made a plan to read and comment on each others' blogs! My students really enjoyed the experience and asked if we could do it again!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flattening the classroom walls through Skype and more!

Skyping with Mr. S of Living Maths in Cape Town, S. Africa
Since the beginning of the year, I have been working to incorporate technology into the classroom in many different ways.
  • Blogging - We got started on this right away. The first few days on the portable laptop stations were quite challenging, but the payoff has been a classroom full of students who are motivated to write and post on their blogs on a weekly basis (more than I can say for myself ;-) Our blog is password protected, but we allow guest comments. The students are so proud when they get positive feedback on their work.
  • Edmodo - We joined an Edmodo group through the Global Classroom. Students from all over share and ask questions about seasons, holidays, school, and their favorite things. This is a lot of fun and a nice extra for the kids to do in the computer lab or when they have free time in the classroom. 
  • Voicethread - Again, through the Global Classroom we joined the "Seasons Around the World" project and "Kids Speak". My students have enjoyed adding slides and their voices to the Voicethread and hearing kids from other places tell about themselves.
  • Skype - I intended to start much earlier, but this week I finally unwrapped the webcam I received through DonorsChoose and hooked it up! I immediately called Ms. Naugle's class in New Orleans to make sure we had a good connection since I have signed up to Skype with her this coming Friday. We were so excited when she answered and we got to say hello to all of her students. When we join them again on Friday they will be teaching us about Mardi Gras.
I have a feeling we will be adding a few more stars to our global project map now that we are Skyping. This afternoon I set up Skype sessions with Mr. S of Living Maths in Cape Town, S. Africa and another teacher in suburban Chicago. During these sessions, my students will be learning new things from students and teachers from far away places. How cool is that?