Saturday, February 23, 2013

Personal Learning Network

Writing on my patio with these new blooms.
In thinking about my PLN, I am remembering starting my teaching in public school in January 2005.  I was newly hired teacher for the overflow classes, and the only room for my 2nd grade class was in 4th grade.  I had no SBISD mentor, and no textbooks for a while.  There was not the curriculum support so valuable today.  I didn't even know enough to ask for roadmaps.

So how did I survive?  I had a fabulous personal learning network!  Teachers from around the world supported me via the internet with fabulous lessons and ideas.  We joined others on blogs showcasing classroom poetry, had pen pals, joined a Butterfly Project, and participated in many "Stuffed Buddy" traveling logs.  I am so grateful to those teachers, many of whom have since retired.  I am a member of a Ning community for 2nd grade teachers.

Now I have so much interaction and inspiration from those in our district, as well as those from afar. I started following other trainers' blogs such as A Scoop of Technology.  I am so impressed!
My team is digitally active, and recently participated in Google docs with the Frayer Model, where we simultaneously wrote about heroes one morning.  It was so successful, we are planning to make it a weekly habit.  I can see inviting others to join our school.  I am also inspired by the middle school and high school teachers in SBISD, particularly Memorial Middle School and Stratford.  I tutor students in upper grades and therefore read the highly detailed instructions for using technology for homework.  Wow...we have very talented teachers who are skilled to giving complicated, sequential directions for  blogging, etc.!!

In Edmodo, I receive great suggestions from Edmodo Apps and Computer Technology.  Questions are asked and answered all day.  Our own *Karen's Kollections shares great links.

Diigo sends me links and suggestions daily.  Here is a recent find:Teachers who use technology
I think these will be excellent for ESL students and vocabulary help.

In Pinterest I love looking for anchor charts.

On Twitter, I receive great educational ideas from Mark Brumley, tech in ed, and edutopia.

And my PLN is stabilized by my son who brings solutions to my frequent questions.

9-11 Boat Lift...a favorite hero video

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January Trainer Reflections

Trainers in SBISD have been asked to reflect on technology tools that have stood the test of time, and those that have been underused or discarded.

This year I have not used Animoto, BrainNook, or MangaHigh.  BrainNook and Animoto have increased usage fees.  MangaHigh was less effective for my 2nd graders--they enjoyed the games but couldn't understand or practice the strategies needed.  While I set-up KidBlog, and last year used it quite a bit, this year it seemed too much of a struggle.  I tried implementing a Book Buddies KidBlog with 2nd and 5th graders.  Because we rarely meet, it didn't work.  I also realized that this year's 5th graders were the last 2nd grade class to have just stationery PCs in the classroom.  Their experience in 2nd grade was less about websites and more about Power Point presentations and using Word.  They were not able to assist the 2nd graders in using the KidBlog.  I also have not used Diigo, except for the daily ideas they send by email.

What have been effective are Edmodo, Odyssey, Stupeflix, and Glogster.  Edmodo is simple for 2nd graders to locate and log in to.  They are excited to see activity by friends and teachers.  Edmodo apps such as Go!Animate videos have been a huge hit, although they can't be edited.  Edmodo is given new motivation for using grammar in online communications.  Odyssey has spiffed up a bit in the reports generated, and it has the same developmentally appropriate, TEKS based activities.  Stupeflix produces impressive videos and can be edited and remixed time and again.  Getting to Stupeflix has several steps, but that is workable.  Glogster continues to help students shine.

Dropbox has been very helpful in sharing documents, etc., with teammates.  I am starting to use Evernote.

I am grateful for the new library resources and the continued availability of AR at Westwood.  I am experimenting with and istation.  I wish this had all been available to me as a child.