Thing 23: Final Thoughts

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to “play” with so many different technology tools. Summer time was a great time because frustration level was lower while the press of the school day was absent. I can’t wait to try and blogging with my students. Checking my RSS reader will be a regular treat and professional learning opportunity. We have covered so much territory that I will depend on my coach, Adrienne Hill, to remind me of some of the new tools as the year progresses. The next step is to keep looking for and incorporating these and other new tools into my classroom.

Thing 21: Google Maps

My google map of Jekyll will show sixth graders some of the island basics as they prepare for their field experience.

View Jekyll Island, Georgia Tour in a larger map




Photo credits for map:

An empty and lonely park bench by Frank Starmer

Driftwood by Frank Starmer l

Beach by Frank Starmer

I think that google maps will be a great tool when introducing or reviewing a novel such as The Call of the Wild or The Children of Willesden Lane. By tracing the settings of the book on a map and embedding photos or videos of the areas, the setting can come alive for students.

Thing 20: Google Drive (docs)

Although I have tried to use google docs at school many times, I was impressed when using it at home today. At school, I have to encourage students to first create the document in Word and then upload it because google docs has been extremely slow at school. I was pleased to note that it was fast today unlike other times I have tried to use it both at home or school. I like the idea of using google docs for a number of reasons.

  • Students and teachers have access to their work anywhere internet access is available. It eliminates the need for flashdrives between home and school!
  • Students can work on projects simultaneously. My students love it when they can sit side by side working on different presentation slides in the same project. They can collaborate both online and in person as they work efficiently to get their individual assignments within the presentation completed. They can also reaccess the work during study hall or at home to continue working.
  • I love to comment and edit student work in progress. I often monitor from my laptop as students type papers. It is a great time to work with students who are making the same grammatical error endlessly. I can both prod procrastinators and also encourage those who are writing brilliantly!
  • Professional: Two other teachers share sections of the same lit courses with me. Google docs would be a great way to co-plan when face to face time is impossible.

Thing 18: Screencast

I think that screencasts will be great for flipped classroom assignments and for students who are absent. Computer lab time is valuable. I usually try to give the logistics of negotiating websites the day before I’ve signed up for the lab. Adrienne, my Web 2.0 coach, is trying to arrange for me to be able to post screencasts directly to my DWS website for absent students to view. I also think it will be great for students who want to hear the directions a second time. I have been impressed by the efficiency of the screencasts Shelley has produced for this class. Screencasts will definitely be added to my bag of teacher tricks.

Thing 17: Podcasts

When I first got an iPod, I tried out some podcasts but didn’t really realize the significance. By being able to download and listen to/ view certain “episodes” at any time, I can save ones I especially value to watch again personally or use in class if applicable. Personally, I was happy to discover that many of the authors used in my group Bible studies (Charles Stanley, TD Jakes, and Joyce Meyers, for example) all have podcasts available in iTunes. I might use some of them with the whole group when I am serving as discussion leader. I enjoy listening on my iPad and iPod because they are so easy to transport. I can listen to those I’ve downloaded while on the gym treadmill although I will have a hard time putting aside my mysteries and historical fiction selections for even a second.

Using podcasts professionally for lifelong learning and classroom instruction looks promising.  Learn English Funcast would be a great site for ESL students. I am going to recommend it to my favorite Chinese waitress who has asked for help with her struggling English (although maybe it would be more appropriate for middle school boys). I plan to use the main ideas from Grammar Girl’s 330 GG The Rules of Story with my lit students. I especially enjoyed Joe Sabia’s The technology of storytelling on TEDTalks Education. I think that my students would enjoy seeing how stories have transformed form cave writings to Facebook; I would love for them to realize that the stories are recycled but the platform changes with technology.


Thing 19: YouTube and Tammie

YouTube is a site with which I am very familiar. Many of my facebook friends embed videos or post links. I think that it is a great tool if used wisely. I worry about the wisdom of some of my students and have unfortunately found my concern justified a couple of times through the years.

Some interested sites I found are annotated below.

Two Sites to Use Professionally:

Reading Quizzes and In-Inquiry is a cartoon clearly showing the disconnect between traditional assessment and real needs in the lives of students. The cartoon student thoroughly understood the story, made connections to his personal and school life, and made a 50 on the quiz which contained only picky recall questions.

Until the day Buck dies is an interesting anime set to music. It looks like a response to literature by a student who took quite a bit of time producing the video to tell the story of Buck’s love for his master. I think that my eighth grade lit students will enjoy watching this video and relating it to the emotions evoked while reading The Call of the Wild. The same author has several other animes for the novel if students wish to watch them.

One Interesting “How to” Site:

How to Tie the Celtic Heart Knot by Tiat is a site I will use with my Builders’ Club or Jr. Beta Club. I think that they would really enjoy creating heart necklaces for Whiz Kids, a group of elementary students we have “adopted.”

One Student Generated Site:

The 2012 GHP students created a video showcasing their experiences in Valdosta. It was interesting to see how they played with special effects. The creativity of the main spokesman was interesting to watch; he reminded me of many students I have been blessed with over the years. My students at DWS could easily produce a similar video on a topic or activity of interest. In fact, my eighth grade English students created a story board for a similar video. We just didn’t carry it through to production.

One Site Just for Me:

I didn’t know that Nora Roberts and her family actually own and renovated Inn Boonesboro! In The Next Always, Nora Roberts explains how she took the settings of her real life town as well as the occupations of her husband and children and transformed them into her current trilogy. I can’t wait to read the third book due out in November!

Ideas for using YouTube:

I would like to encourage students to video some of the presentations they create for Spanish, English, literature, and science and put them on YouTube for other students to enjoy and use as study resources. Using YouTube for personal enjoyment/benefit to track hobbies, actually see and hear favorite authors, and see instructions for simple home repair has already enriched my life. Having access to a wide variety of content and pedagogy videos will continue to enrich my professional life.


Thing 16: Classroom 2.0


I found my niche in the English teacher group. I love to see what young adult novels are being used successfully and enjoyably in other teachers’ classrooms. I will refer to the site often to look for books to read and recommend to students. The give and take in the discussions yielded some good food for thought.

Wiki 101: Sample Novel Page is one functional site I plan to use for inspiration. All of the basic novel elements are laid out in an easy to follow format. I want to play with It looks like a great site to use with students. I can imagine them creating their own digital bulletin boards as part of a book report or unit project.

I would like to experiment with social networking. In my personal life/lifelong learner mode, I would like to set up a place for my book club to discuss our current selection as well as recommendations for other members. I would like to set up a similar forum for my students to discuss the books they enjoy.


Diigo: Thing 15

Tammie’s brand new diigo library is up and running! I am excited about being able to have one stable list of bookmarks to use on new laptops, Android, and iPad. A computer crash will no longer mean the loss of all bookmarks. The capture tool will be a great asset, too. Through the years, I have lost access to several sites I used regularly with students when the sites were removed form the web. Tagging proved a bit frustrating in that I realized how important it is to use key words that will be remembered – specific enough to distinguish without being too specific to remember. I am happy that there is an advanced search feature on the site.

Each year, I have my eighth graders complete a scavenger hunt based on Anne Frank. The Anne Frank Museum website is rather complex with lots of pages and links to negotiate. We all work together to navigate. By using comments and highlighting, hopefully I will be able to remind myself of locations and give students better scavenger “hints” during the hunt.

The search feature is almost overwhelming. I look forward to using it when I am on a hot topic at school and need to find excellent resources fast. The history of “hits” and commenting should provide insight into the relative value of sites. When time is at a premium, getting to the best sites quickly is essential.


Breathe: Thing 14

My reader has had lots of good recommendations from Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers. While great suggestions for using NASA sites to explore moon travel and sites for virtual postcard creation seemed intriguing, my favorite post was a rather old-fashioned one.  Two Books to Read Before School Starts looked great to me. Playing with Media is a book I am going to request be added to our professional development library at DWS. While I love reading on my Kindle, iPad and computer, I still love sitting down with a real book as well. If that book talks about ways to create multimedia products on computers, that’s the best of both worlds!