The Desk

The Desk
So many projects . . . so little time!

Friday, July 27, 2007


All last year I had a poster (compliments of Compass Books) taped to the wall of the checkout desk. It was a map of the world. My students loved looking at it. Because we are a year-round school, our very well travelled staff take many interesting trips during the year. I thought it would be fun for the students to see where we were going so I asked the teachers to take our school mascot, Lightning the Leopard, with them. I went on EBay and purchased several small beanie type leopards. I chose this size because they could be packed and take up as little amount of room as a pair of socks. I asked the teachers to take digital pictures and send them back to me. I moved the map to a wall and I'm adding the pictures as they come in. When I learned about Slide I thought it would be fun to try.

So far Lightning has travelled to New York City, Seoul Korea, Russia and Australia.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Techno Teachers

I thought I'd follow up on my comments about the technology inservice and lessons I did with the teaching staff at my school. The format was that I did three one hour sessions. Initially, I worried about not being able to fill the time. Pshaw! I ran out of time each at each session.
I have learned so many new things but I wanted to limit what I imparted this first time so as not to overwhelm.
I began by explaining and shared my personal experiences with it. As I mentioned earlier, the teachers received laptops that day and several of them mentioned that they had not been looking forward to redoing their bookmarks. When they learned that could keep track of them they were thrilled. One teacher did express concern about anyone in cyberspace able to see what you tag. The "do not share" feature was very welcomed.
All of our teachers are required to maintain a website and our district uses TeacherWeb. We've been using this for about three years and I spent some time going over some tips on working on their pages.
The last part I tried to fit in was tips on their Ed1Stop pages. Our county portal had just discontinued linking to BrainPop for a variety of reasons and some time was spent on discussing alternatives they could use. We use United Streaming Video and Groliers Online and I talked about those features as well.
In upcoming staff meetings we will spend a little bit of time on mini lessons. First up is teaching how to use the calendar option and reminder feature in Microsoft Outlook. Also, in the near future I will be sharing image generating with the fourth and fifth grade teachers and brainstorm ideas on how they can use them in the classroom.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Week #7 Thing 17

I've given some thought to this posting to a wiki idea and I can see the value, especially in the upper grades. There are many, many options for its use. In an elementary school classroom a fourth or fifth grade teacher could set it up for students to enter comments on group research topics. I found it very easy to post to the CSLA sandbox and as long as there is an option to monitor the posts I can see it used to the benefit of our digital natives.

In my library I think this would come in handy as a place for students to post comments about books they are reading. A digital book club could spring out of a wiki. They would be an excellent vehicle for GATE students.

Another suggestion might be for the California Young Reader Medal committee to establish a Wiki with this year's choices and open it up to students and educators to respond and comment. Teachers and Librarians could submit suggestions (because you know we all do it differently) and the students could offer their opinions on characters and plots. Authors and illustrators could also be offered a platform through a CYRM wiki.

On a side note . . . I held my technology lessons with teachers at our opening day inservice (our students returned to school on July 11th!) and their favorite item was Del.i.cious! They all were receiving new laptops (courtesy of a very supportive principal) that afternoon and the idea of "portable" bookmarks" was a hit. At today's staff meeting it was heartening to see each of them with her laptop open and taking digital notes. Along with our site technology rep and the district technology educator we will be doing a mini tech lesson at every staff meeting this year. Like I wrote before .... we have a very supportive principal!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Week 7, Thing #16

English poet, Alexander Pope, wrote, "A little learning is a dangerous thing (An Essay on Criticism, 1709). That was my initial feeling about Wikis. My bias went so far as to convince the fifth grade teachers at my school to steer their students widely away from them as a research tool for students.
Because of this adverse opinion, I really felt that I needed to visit all of the samples in this exercise and give it close scrutiny. I think I was looking to validate my prejudice. My opinion of their value in student research has not changed. But now I can see that there is a place for the "wicked" wiki in the world even if it isn't my world.
The slide show created by Meredith Gorran Farkas, Norwich University, is an excellent tutorial for those wanting a clear picture of what a wiki can be used for. She also sums up, in the very first slide, the pros and cons. If you haven't already looked at it, I recommend you do (