Friday, November 30, 2012


For grad school, I was asked to look at this link and identify the technology concepts that I would most likely want to implement in my classroom.  I also needed to identify the ones that would be too challenging for my students.  

After going through the technologies provided on the lists, there are so many that I would LOVE TO DO.  But, I teach first grade.  I’m not trying to use that as a crutch.  I bet somewhere in the world, first grade classrooms are making their own Wikipedia sites.  However, that isn’t my class, at least not yet ;).  I also feel strongly that the easiest ways to utilize technology is to look at something you already do, and see how you can just tweak.  A social studies GLCE for first grade students includes a look at cultures.  The students need to explore and identify differences and similarities in cultures.  How fun would it be to prep my students with interview questions and allow them to video tape clips of environment and surroundings, then use video conferencing to share experiences with a class, maybe in New York City.  I have friends who teach first grade in North Carolina, Colorado, and California.  I really could use any of the resources, such as Breeze or Net Meeting to have this interaction.  I’m sure the kids would love it too.  Then, they could create a report of project of some kind to compare and contrast.  The strategies that this would include would be scaffolding.  I would help support the children throughout the entire process, limiting my help during the project time.  This is also learning styles.  By using the technology, I am more likely to engage more learners, rather than simply having pen-pals.  Video conferencing with experts or field trips would also be an easy change. 

So obviously, the most challenging activities to do with my students would be Wiki, blogging, webpage development, etc.  Mostly because I feel like the students who do these things need more understanding of computers.  My students struggle enough with just the logging in process because they are new to doing it.  The simulations listed were all for older students, however during CEP 810, some students discussed simulations for their special interest group project.  They did provide more grade level appropriate simulations that I am definitely interested in using!

Do you utilize any of these technologies?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wiki Lab

Happy After Thanksgiving!

Today I am working on Wiki sites.  I was suppose to update a fact or SOMETHING to my school site.  Then, I was asked to create a site.  So this is what I did.  Because my school did not have a Wikipedia site, I decided to go to the generic site of Tawas Area Schools and update their page.  I changed a couple incorrect things, as the elementary school is no longer PreK-4.  Also, the name of the middle school was incorrect.  Then I linked the name of my elementary school, Clara Bolen to a new Clara Bolen Elementary Wikipedia page.  This was the wikipedia that I was asked to create.  I put a few facts about the school.  I also attached reference pages to support some of the things I wrote (for example, we won a state award last year, therefore I attached links to reference it).  I also linked the Clara Bolen Elementary Site to the Tawas Area Schools and Tawas City, Michigan sites.  I also linked the Tawas City site to mine.  It wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be!  I also played around with Wikispaces, creating a site that looks like this: Mrs. Plank's Page.  It was so easy to insert the Widgets... especially the Skype and the Facebook!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

UDL Checklist

This past week, I posted a updated lesson plan.  This was a revision of a previous lesson I had created awhile back.  The changes that I made were in response to the concepts that I learned about Universal Design for Learning.  These are simple modifications used to make your lesson work for any student.  This is a checklist that I used to evaluate the lesson.  It is accessible here!  I highlighted the barriers to my previous lesson and made the changes.  I also identified some features that my original plan highlighted.  Do you use UDL?

UDL Guidelines – Educator Checklist
Your notes
Barrier: The students only received the content verbally.  By showing the students examples of the torn book, they can visually see which words had letters and which ones didn’t.
Barrier:  The students only have the knowledge from what I told them earlier, so if they have some confusion about concepts, they didn’t have support.  To prevent this barrier, I could provide an anchor chart that remains in my classroom that we create together.  This will remind the students of what needs capitalizing. 
Features:  The students know a lot about writing stories and they know that their name needs to be capital and the start of sentences.  I’m activating this, and then teaching them about the new content.
Barrier:  We worked together, but I never allowed them support in their processing.  An easy modification would be to have mini-conferences with each student.
Your notes
Feature: The children will use the digital story book to tell the story.  They will record their voice and upload their image. 
Your notes
Barrier:  The students do not get a choice throughout.  I assign the letters of the alphabet and the assignment.  An easy modification would be to allow them to choose which letter they write a page for. 
Feature:  The students love my son.  They get very excited anytime I use him in my teaching.  Therefore, they will be more likely to be engaged if they have an authentic audience.
Barrier:  The lesson had only one expectation for sentence creation.  By conferencing with the students, I could use that time to vary the challenge for individual students.
Barrier:  This lesson had minimal peer to peer communication.  To change that, the children can share and review their completed sentence to guarantee that it makes sense and it correct.
Barrier:  The students never assessed themselves.  The children can look at their work during the conference.  As a whole class, we can assess the accuracy while watching the story book. 

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