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Monday, January 24, 2011

Good Day, Glogster Account Issues

Today at school there is some pretty good stuff going on.  A Grade 6 class is finishing off their powerpoint presentations on French Celebrities.  Two Grade 2 classes just had book exchange.  After recess a Grade 4 class is going to continue with their research on endangered animals.  And after lunch I am introducing another Grade 3 class to Glogster.

I have used Glogster several times before, and it always seems to go over quite well, with the teachers and the students.  Now that I am at a school long term though, a problem with the accounts system is occurring to me.  If a teacher in Grade 3 makes an account for a student in Grade 3, and that student moves on to Grade 4 and wishes to continue using Glogster, we have an issue.  The Grade 3 teacher will most likely want to use Glogster again, because it is awesome, and in order to do so she will have to delete her previous classes work.  The student will not have any sort of persistence with their work then.  If I plan to create sites that allow students to demonstrate digital portfolio's, this could become an issue.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snipsnip.it is super video snipping!

Just tried out http://snipsnip.it/ today. Students were trying to get a video added to their presentation about a figure skater, and wanted to show a short clip of her skating in the Olympics.  However, the best quality video they could find, that showed exactly what they wanted was over 8 minutes long, far longer than the presentation itself could (or should!) be.  I remembered seeing Snipsnip.it showing up from http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ last week, but I had just bookmarked it and not had a chance to test it out.  The interface was really easy, and in a few moments the students had selected a 30 second clip that showcased exactly what they needed.  No fuss, no registration.  Very nice.  Only issue we ran into was that it did not work correctly with Internet Explorer 8, but as I had installed Chrome at the same time as Google Earth we had a ready alternative.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Scaredy Squirrel Maps!

Every 2nd day 7 on the cycle I spend some time in some grade 2 and grade 4 classrooms before lunch.  At first, I panicked.  I did not have access to the computer lab during this time, and I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with the students for 40 minutes in their own classroom.  It has turned out to be awesome, as soon as I realized that I could start sharing books with them!  For the last two sessions we read some of Mo Willem's Pigeon Books, and the students had to create their own cover of what the pigeon could and could not do.  They loved it, and for several days later students would stop me in the hallway to tell me about a new pigeon idea they had, (Don't let the pigeon run a chewing gum factory!) or to show a new pigeon they had drawn.  This time, I wanted to focus on maps.  Scaredy Squirrel always makes the best maps about things terrify him, so after reading Scaredy Squirrel at the beach, I asked students to take a place they normally went, and imagine it how it could be made scary!  They had some excellent maps, including basements at backyards that I am sure a SWAT team would not want to try and get through.  I wish I had scanned or take a picture of them, but they were quite large, making it difficult to easily save them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Knuffle Bunny Too!

Inspired by Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny series of books, the Grade 2 French Immersion classes started, and partially completed a small project today.  We read Knuffle Bunny Too, and discussed how the author uses real photographs and added other drawn pictures on top of them to make their story.  I took several pictures of places in the school, converted the pictures to black and white, and saved them on the schools server.  The students then had to pick one image, edit it, and then embed it in a word document where they could write the words that accompany their story.  One class almost finished, and another still has most of their writing to complete.  It was somewhat of a challenge for the French students who were not used to typing in French.  They had to become a little more used to typing and adding the letters with accents using the alt key plus the 3 digit code.  Overall it went well, and the students certainly seemed to enjoy it.  When its finished we may try to share them online so that others can see them, and even try to share them with Mo Willems.
An example of a students work.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So Long!

I hate to do the "I did not post in so long!" post, but it has been a while.  Before Christmas I had the book fair, and then the Christmas concert, followed by the accounting for the book fair, and attempting to get everything ordered.  Then just before Christmas, I was desperately trying to get the library back in shape so I could have it up and running for Jan.  That did not get done, but I hope this week I am able to finalize everything.  The real issue now is getting some volunteers to help actually run the library, as there is no way I will be able to do that myself.  I am going to have to ask the principal to place it in the next newsletter, and I will post it on the schools website as well.  Even 5-6 people helping for an hour or so each week would make a dent in the mess that is the library.  Actually to be honest, the library isn't a mess.  I really need help cataloging new books.