Plan of Action

Over the last couple months I have had a variety of different tools out at my disposal. Some of these tools have been well worth the time. Some of these tools I will probably never use again. All in all, I have really enjoyed learning new things and finding out about new resources that I can use in my class. The first twoweeks were spent learning about basic online classes, copyright and the safety and netiquette. These are important to put into your classes. Many of the students in our classes are very web savvy. They also trust way to much.  It is important for us to teach them proper Internet use to avoid any trouble they might find during their time on the Internet. In the three week we learned about blogs. Blogs can be a good way to keep in touch with your students at home. If I was to use this in class I would probably use it as a way to review each class period. I can remember many nights were I would get home from whichever sporting practice I was in at the time and was asked what did you do in school… My response “nothing”… Obviously this wasn’t true. If I were to write a blog I would summarize that days class period. Parents or even students who were not in school could now have the chance to see what took place during the class period. Weeks four and five were spent looking about wiki’s. For my wiki I developed a track theme wiki. The wiki was designed to keep my track team in order. The wiki was meant to provide updates for my track athletes. It also had the teams roster, schedule, weekly workouts, photos and results. If I were to implement a wiki in class I would use it in the same way. I could give the students updates on the assignments due that week, what topics we would cover for the week, when their next test would be, etc. Inweek six we explored the different Apps that are offered by Google. The apps that I would use the most in my classroom were Google Earth and Docs. Being a Social Studies teacher Google Earth can be very helpful showing students images from around the world. I’m sure that I could use Google Docs in the classroom but that would be used mostly for Professional Development. Week seven was spent looking at the different E-tools. I really liked this week. I found many different E-tools that I would use in class. I really liked the Fakebook Pages. I actually just got a magazine that had facebook posters for historical figures. With this tool I could create my own and not have to pay for them. This week was full of different tools that I would use here and there throughout the year. However, I didn’t find anything that I would use on a regular basis. The final two weeks we learned about RSS and Social book marking. Both of these topics will help me gather information easier. This information will either help me be a better teacher, further my own education, or help me give my students more supplemental information. What I like about these two topics is that everything is just there at your fingertips. You don’t have to do much searching. With all that being said, a plan of action is just that. Its a plan that with time will be fine tuned. I hope that i will get better with the different tools I learned about in this class. I look forward to future online classes that can teach me more.

Diigo

From what I am getting out of the information and playing around on Diigo is that it is a supped up Favorites that connects with other people. It has a few features that give it advantages over the Favorites menu found on most IE. Diigo allows you to tag your websites.  This can help you save time in your classroom. For Example, Lets say that you are in a bind and need something quick. If you have done a good job with bookmarking sites on your Diigo account then you could search your tags. Hopefully when searching a certain tag you find what you are looking for. Another good feature of Diigo is that it connects you with other people. Much like Twitter, you can follow or be followed by other users. This allows you to view their bookmarks as well. If you follow people who have the same interests as you, its possible that you will find sites bookmarked on their Diigo accounts that you may want to use. Just yesterday I found a site bookmarks on Melissa’s Diigo account that showed before and after pictures of Japanese towns after the Tsunami’s. I was able to incorporate them into my lesson for that day of class!

RSS

RSS feeds are a pretty nice feature to add to your online knowledge… These feeds can save you a much of time.. Instead of going from site to site the site comes to you all in one place! With that being said, I have got into habit of going to certain sites each time i get on my computer and I will probably continue to visit those sites. One thing I liked about some of the RSS feeds is that you could subscribe to certain categories. I like this because you don’t have to sift through all of the feeds that may come from that given site. It will only send you what you want to read about. From a professional standpoint RSS will help me because I will be given a continous feed of information and opinions from other teachers. I can read about their opinions and then form my own… and the great thing is that it is all sent to me!

Here is a list of sites that i have subscribed to via RSS:

www.bigthink.com

www.edweek.org

www.people.uis.edu

www.edutopia.org

www.scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

www.espn.com

www.insidemdsports.com

E*Tools

Have been checking out some of these E*tools the last couple of days and have come away pretty impressed with a good many of them. There is so much out there if you just know where to look. I am glad that I am being introduced to some of these places. The two sites that stick out the most to me were timetoast and classtools. I could really use the timetoast tool every unit. What I would like to do this with tool is create a timeline for each unit. In this time line I would put important events that we are going to cover during the unit. I feel that dates are only semi important. I feel that knowing the time frame of when the event happened is much more important then knowing the actual date. I think that this tool will help my students gain that time frame recognition. The classtools web site is loaded with a bunch of different tools for classroom use. I feel like this site is like one of that 12 in 1 utility apps that you can get on your smart phone. It has a bunch of minor apps that’s that you wouldn’t want to buy alone but coupled with other minor apps it makes it well worth your purchase. Just to hit on a few of the apps on this site… 1. name generator… I hate to pick on kids and I don’t want them to think I pick on them all the time… easy solution is the name generator… plug the kids name into the generator and it randomly picks a name… This could also be used to pick seats or groups… 2. the countdown timer… Many of my students struggle with using their time wisely.. much of this struggle could be based on having to do the math on the clock… easy solution is the countdown timer… display the timer on my projector and all the student has to do is look up to see how much time they have… 3. arcade game generator… Want to make kids more interested in learning?Make a game out of it… this website has a game generator that incorporates your own made up questions. The more questions the students answer correctly the longer they get to play! 4. Fakebook… Fakebook is a knock off of the popular Facebook that all the students have… I polled my class and 75% of them had a Facebook or something similar to it. Fakebook allows the teacher to create a fiction Facebook acountt. The account looks just like a regular facebook account… Here is an example: http://www.classtools.net/fb/30/IlZ3WR. 5. There are a number of different graphic organizers that take different shapes and forms… there are organizers that look like a cheeseburger to a fish! All in all these are two pretty awesome sites that I plan on using in my classroom

Google Docs

After my first go around with Google docs one thing is for certain; Google Docs will help me be more involved with other teachers more then I will be able to help my students. I feel that this would be the ultimate Teacher Professional Day Tool. There are many times that we are given an assignment during these Professional Days but what ever happens to that work? For an example, A group of four teachers are asked to split up a benchmark and update 5  questions each. Each teacher will then go back to their room  and eventually do their part and send it to their supervisor. How do we know if we created the same question. How do we know if all of are questions are on the same topic? Answer is, we don’t! However, if we use Google Apps we can all work on the same document at the same time! Now we are able to work on the same document at the same time. We will now be able to see the work other people are created. We may also comment on the work, make suggestions or changes….

…I could think of a few times in the last couple months that I could have used google docs in my classroom. One time that really comes to mind was when I gave the students class time to work on their National History Day projects. The problem that the students were having was that each student did their research on the same computer. If one student had found some really good information that they wanted to share with the rest of the class they would have to email a link or try to retype the link in their own address bar. If they had a great picture they wanted to use they would have to search for that picture on their own computer. I feel that if they were using google Docs they could enter the same document and avoid all that extra research and work…

… One more side note… I know that we are focusing on just google docs but there are a number of different Apps that I could use in my classroom! I already use google Maps and earth a good bit!

updated wiki

I have finally been able to finish my wiki… Everything sort have fell into place once I was able to get rolling. It was very easy to create new pages and change the look of my wiki. I didn’t like how I couldnt use the tab button. I also realized that all of the perfect spaces that I had on my schedule and rosters didnt apply when I actually posted it. Everything just ran together. So now I am going to spend some time fixing that!

Creating My Wiki

Oh life… I finally was able to close on my house… a month later then I expected… great that I finally have my house… not so great that it’s just as my track season is starting.. oh yeah and lack of Internet isn’t good thing either… so with that said I was only able to start my wiki this week… I had hoped to get on here today at work and finish it during my planning period.. only to see that it was blocked by the board because it falls under forums… oh life.. lol… but anyways… With what I have been able to start so far, creating a wiki doesn’t seem to bad. I had to use my Iphone which slowed the process down and made it much smaller but luckily for me, I have good eyes! At first I didn’t really understand what I should do but I took a look at a few other pages and then I was able to come up with the idea for my wiki! I was pretty excited about my track wiki page. I had been wanting to come up with a web page that I could keep up with that had information throughout the year. However, up until this point the only thing I could think of was facebook and myspace and I didn’t really want to go down that path with students. From what I am gathering, it looks like I could give my athletes on the team log in information and they could post their own videos or photos. That would be amazing. The question that I have… Is there a way that I could limit the information they could add. For example… they could only post on the photos tab.. Otherwise.. Once I got the idea of what I was going to do the outline of my wiki went along pretty good.. Hopefully it will continue to go well once I get a chance to start filling in information!

Using Wiki’s in the Classroom

Even though wiki’s may be the “in” thing, I am not to sure that it would be “in” my class. Wiki’s are new to me. From what I am gathering about Wiki’s, is that they are an online class discussion/information gathering center. There are certainly advantages to using a wiki such as it allows students to help each other online by providinginformation. For example, I could assign a project for African American History that requires the students to create a wiki for a historical African American. In their wiki they would be required to start providing information on the person they selected. They would also be required to add information to atleast five other peoples wiki’s. The advantage here would be that the students will be building on the information of another. They would also get the chance to not only learn more about the person they selected but they would learn about five others as well. The disadvantage with my class is that not everyone in the class is not serious about learning. These students have free reign to post whatever they like about the person. The information posted may or may not be factual. They could also go in and change the information of another student. If there is a way that the teacher would be notified and must approve all changes before they are displayed it would be better. A friend of mine said that her college professor uses wiki for their assignments. While it may be nice to have a place were all assignments go, she said that anybody can view the assignments other students turn in. I would think that their would be some confidentiality problems with this.

Creating My Blog

Well there you have it… I think I have just created my first blog. I say think because I am not quite sure I am successful as of yet. Even though I watch the how to create your blog video, the page that keeps showing up on my computer is different from the video. I also am having a hard time finding the settings to complete the final step. Hopefully I am on the right website and doing things correctly. If I am doing it correctly then I guess it was very easy considering that I did it without video. If not I am assuming that it was pretty difficult to do. I feel that a blog could do some pretty great things for my class. The first advantage I can think of to creating a blog for my students would be a summary of that days class. Many times through out class you can be interrupted. Sometimes class just doesn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. If I had my students look at my blog every night they could get a final wrap up of that days class. I could also make announcements or reminders about classwork.

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