Thursday, February 28, 2008

SmartBoard: Day 1

Well, today was the first day with my new SmartBoard and it was pretty cool. All the students got to try it out and they loved it...until it stopped working. :(

The two highlights of the day were:
1) Exploring the Great Pyramids with Google Earth (were learning about Ancient Egypt in Social)
2) Playing "Swat" in French. I said a number in French and the first person to point to the number on the hundred chart got a point for their team.

Not really deep stuff but fun none the less. Hopefully we can get the glitches out of the way and get into higher order activities soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

School Based PD on Digital Story Telling

I have to give a school based pd for teachers on digital story telling and I am having some trouble planning. Help.

I was planning to use the story of Three Little Pigs to have the teachers work in groups and I would assign them a set of tools to retell the story using those tools:

Group 1: Comiqs/Digital Camera
Group 2: VoiceThread/TuxPaint/GarageBand
Group 3: circaVie/FlashPaint
Group 4: Kerpoof

But then I was reading a blog from injenuity that Rob Wall shared. The person suggested throwing the tools into one hat and the objectives into another and mashing them up. The idea made part of me cringe and part of me grin.

I was also thinking that I should show them the tools, tell them the assignment, and let them choose the tools.

I feel that I could use some feedback on this idea. Keep in mind the goal is to expose my staff to the tools available and let them develop a comfort level that would allow them to use the tools with their students.

CircaVie Timeline of the Battlefords

There are pamphlets you can get that have a walking tour of the Battlefords. It would be cool to take your class on the tour and take pictures of the sites and then use them to make a timeline of the community. Fits in well with the Grade 3 social studies curriculum. Think I might try this in the spring.

Is it ok to type your thinking without a filter? Is that how you blog? ;)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Flickr Virtual Tour

I was playing with Comiqs after reading Donna DesRoches post about it and it got me thinking about switching from Google Web Albums to Flickr (or using both). While exploring Flickr I got the idea to do a virtual field trip with my students. We started a unit about Egypt in social studies and I was thinking that we could use the geotagging feature to take a "field trip" and then make a comic book of the tour. There a lot of excellent pictures people have posted.

My questions are:
1) has anyone done this?
2) if so are there any potential pitfalls I should be aware of?

Thanks for any advice you could give me.

P.S. My wife just suggested that I teach the students to photoshop themselves into a picture in front of the Great Pyramid. I used Photo Booth to take a picture of my daughter "in front of the great pyramid".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mythology VoiceThreads

After making puppet shows for the Greco-Roman myths we decided to do retellings for our First Nations stories using VoiceThread and TuxPaint (Yay! TuxPaint!) The students read the story, made jot notes, and then retold the story in their own words. We are not done yet. One group thought they were done but something went wrong with a section of their audio. Oh well, we will finish after the break. Here's a sample:

Mythology Videos

The students are making videos from puppet shows they wrote after reading Greco-Roman myths. It worked fairly well. I think I may try a similar project using JumpCut later. Here's a sample:

Our Solar System

The students read about each of the planets in the solar system and made jot notes. The students drew and coloured pictures of each planet but we used Google to find pictures of the solar system because 21 kids + 1 scanner = 1 huge pain in the but. We used Windows Movie Maker to make the videos and raise my stress level (constant crashing and loss of student work). The were far less shy about narrating their videos than I thought they might be. Here is a sample video:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Social Studies Video

The students made models and took pictures of items related to First Nations of the Great Lakes region. We generated class notes based on what we learned while making the models. The students choral read the notes for the video. The students really seemed to enjoy this process.

The Toilet Paper Solar System

We made a video to show the students the relative distances of the planets in our solar system. It seemed to work well and the students enjoyed it.