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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

20 Ideas for using WORLD CLOUDS

I love using word clouds in the classroom. If you've never heard of them take a look at mine below, and check out these free sites Wordle and Tagxedo. You can create them to show kids, or have students create their own word clouds. Whatever you choose, here is a list of ideas on how you ro your students can use word clouds:

1.Introduce a new topic
2.Introduce new vocabulary
3.Visual Prompt, create sentences/stories from words
4.Practice oral reports (reading words vs reading report word for word)
5.Copy/paste news article, tweets, - have kids try to figure out what's going on from words
6.Include names of people/events- have kids guess the time period or historical event
7.Have kids create one to summarize/describe a person, place, time period, event
8.Encouraging creative writing from words (character, setting, mood descriptors)
9.Focus on one word- synonyms, antonyms, rhyming, alliteration, related words
10.Teach prepositions Table, Door, Book, Bed, Pillow, Boy (nouns in word cloud)- have the kids make sentences; The bed is by the door. The book is under the pillow. Great for ELL students!
11.Matching Spanish and English (kids find the pairs)
12.Do all of the above with different languages
13.Use Active Expressions handhelds to collate student responses to questions
14.Personal Narratives Copy/Paste for 'Guess Who' game.
15.All About Me words
16.Copy/Paste text from famous speeches, what are the important words/topics
17.Pre-freading- Paste non-fiction words related to book topic, have kids guess a title
18.Copy/Paste two fairy tales, two word clouds-try to guess what they are or the theme
19.Character Traits analysis for book characters or people from history
20.Word Wall online

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tweet, Tweet

One of my goals for this year is to incorporate Twitter into the classroom, as a means of enhancing instruction, engaging students, and communicating with parents and students. Here are some of the crazy ideas I've thought of and some I've stole off the internet...Okay...Most of them I've stole off the internet! : )

*Shout out- Give kids a random question, see who's the first to respond.... ie. Temperature in Anchorage...
*Buzzwords- Post a vocabulary word or concept. Kids then post phrases, words, or thoughts they connect with it. ~This can be turned into a word cloud using Wordle or Tagxedo OR go to Twitter Map to see a visual of these words and how they relate to one another.
*Parents can follow what we're doing in class. Students can also take the lead here and do the tweeting themselves.
*Geotweets- Ask people to tweet where they are or where they've been (farthest, last vacation, etc.). Then pinpoint these on Google Earth. Use GE to make a map and/or calculate distance, etc.
*Language teachers- Students can post a 'boring' word, or a mispelled word, others can tweet the correct spelled words or synonyms, just like a dictionary or thesaurus.
*Find an expert to question or follow (Vet, Scientist, Author, etc.).
*Scavenger Hunt- Ex. Find a picture of a piece of art from the Renaisance, no duplicates.
*Reseearch Diary- Give the entire class a topic, let them tweet information found.
*Create 'fake' Twitter accounts for famous historical people or book characters. Tweet dialogue as if you were the character.
*Current news events- Each student is assigned a day that they have to tweet a current event.
* can puplish students tweets over the course of x number of days, which can then be turned into a professional looking newspaper.
*Blurters- Students who like to blurt out answers, questions, or thoughts can tweet them to you using a laptop. These go instantly to your computer or cell.
*While watching a movie or short clip- engage students by giving each a laptop. Students can tweet questions or comments about what they see...Also, give them questions to find answers to tweet during the movie.


I'm Back!!!

I'm about to begin the 2011-2012 school year, and I'm super pumped! I have moved from 4th grade (self-contained) to 6th grade (social studies). My school starts computer classes in 5th grade, so at fourth grade, most of the kids are not very familiar with technology, unfortunately. My school is getting better as teachers are being given more technolgoy to use in the classroom and, of course, more training. I'm hoping that these sixth graders are ready and able to really dive into the 21st century with me! (After all, I was, for many of them, their fourth grade teacher.) I'm also really excited for the upcoming year because my superintendent has asked me to create/teach a few technology workshops for teachers throughout the year. **So...I get to share some of my ideas and Web tools with teachers, getting technology into the classroom and into the hands of teachers and students, PLUS... I get paid for it!! Doesn't get much better than that! Please note...I am far from an expert when it comes to all this ~stuff~. I'm really actually quite a beginner myself. I do, however, love to explore, learn, and try new things. I'm hoping this year will bring many new adventures, experiences, and ideas!

Here are some of the technology related goals I have set for myself this year:
1. Blogging- Continue to blog, but this year set up a blog for all five classes, and use it to create some really great discussions about the concepts we are learning about. Also- using idease oGradual Release of Responsibility, allow the kids to really take this and make it their own.
2. Twitter- Get all students and parents on twitter and use it to collaborate.
3. Google Earth- Create a map/or multiple mapping projects using Google Earth.
4. Glogster- LOVE THIS- Create a Glogster Project for my social studies classes
5. Prezi- Have each student create an online presentation via Prezi or Powerpoint
6. Excel- Teach students to create a spreadsheet/graph information ie. population- collaborate with the math teacher on this. Possibly publish findings online.
7. Survey Monkey- Use this at least two times for parents this year (maybe set up mini lab at pt conferences in the hallway), and with students to assess background knowledge.
8. Diigo or Create a curation project with kids, teaching them how to find information
9. Group Me- Probably not possible bc of our school's cell policy, but I would like create groups with cell contacts and bring cell phones into the classroom for collaboration.
10. Smart Board- Use my smart board daily, to enhance learning and engage students.
MOST IMPORTANTLY **SHARE- Share my ideas with other teachers in the building.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Technology Tuesday


Vocaroo- Free Voice Recording

(You do need a microphone, but one can be purchased for less that $20.)

R,R,A- Read, Record, Analyze -- Practice reading a few times, record, listen and analyze yourself/partner for "Fluency Factors" (smoothness, accuracy, clarity, expression, etc.)

  • Short, timed passage

  • Poems, Tongue Twisters, Song Lyrics

  • News Articles (Scholastic or Dogo News online)

  • Reader's Theaters

  • Word Lists

  • Short stories

  • Book talks

  • Persuasive Speech

  • Student Writing (Analyze for sentence fluency)

**Recordings can be posted to class webpage or sent to anyone via email!**

I thought about having students record themselves reading a short story that they have practiced and sending it to their younger brother/sister's class to have it played by the teacher!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Classroom

My Classroom

*Please note that many of my ideas for anchor charts and posters were taken from Beth Newingham, Angela Bunyi, and Heather Renz, 3 of my favorite teacher role models!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Technology Tuesday


A group of my fourth graders just got done making a timeline on Timetoast! It was the first time I've used this site, and I will definitely use it again!! A little backround, in reading, we have been learning about text structure, more specifically, sequencing. A small group had just finished reading Antarctic Adventures, a book about 6 different Antarctic expeditions. I had them make a timeline of the important events from the book. They really enjoyed this, especially getting to add pictures to the timeline, but do this last, as kids will get caught up in searching for the pics rather than typing the information. Timetoast worked great for this reading activity. Here are more activities I am envisioning trying with my class (that go beyond the obvious History related timeline.)


-Using the timelines already on timetoast, or their own, to create a math activity where students have to do calculations to answer questions about the timeline.

ex. How many years before Scott arrived at the South Pole, did Shackleton reach the Pole?


-Observe change Plant Growing (Great for primary, let them each take a day to describe their observations and take a picture with a digital camera) Caterpillar to Butterfly Bread Mold/Bacteria Growth/etc. Seasons Changing -Famous Inventor/Inventions Writing

-Students can create a timeline of their most important moments in their lives-upload their own pictures from home : ) FUN -Teach time/order transition words using timeline and plot -Have students write instructions or plans, then share pictures of themselves doing these things.

eg. (How to Get Organized, Workout Plan, Baseball Training Activities, Summer Activities to Stay Busy) You could even have them look at some examples from magazines like Self or Shape, or maybe even from a kids magazine. I love American Girl!


-We are in the middle of BIG research projects. I was thinking of using Timetoast to create a timeline of important deadlines.

-Timeline of important school days to remember

-Timeline of memorable events from our school year to share on the last day of school! (I have to remember to keep my camera handy!) ***I would love to do this one! There have been so many memorable things that have happened-- broken arms, a visit from a famous football player, making a class video, Wii Just Dance Party, field trips, etc.***

-Timeline of losing teeth (Primary) CUTE!!!!

I plan to put all of our timelines on our class website to share with students, parents, grandparents, etc.

If our timeline doesn't show up, click here to see A History of Antarctic Adventures!

A Few of My (Seven) Favorite Things

Katie at Persnickety Pickles is having a non-teacher related Linky Party! Here are A Few of My (Seven) Favorite Things:

1. Make Up Forever High Definition Invisible Cover Foundation, $40.00 at Sephora!! : ) The best foundation, ever!!

2. Jewelry...Especially Premier Designs Jewelry! I heard (at one of my Premier trainings) that you should spend 70% on your accessories and only 30% on your clothes. I love how putting on 2-3 pieces of jewelry can change the entire look of an outfit.

3. Shopping!!!! A few of my favorite stores are:

4. My new Mizuno running shoes! I've went through a lot of good running shoes, but these are by far-- the best.

5. Shoes, especially heels and wedges! Click here to see my some of my fav's for the season!

6. Being a mom to three boys!

7. The band Santus Real! Love the song "Lead Me". Listen to it on YouTube!