Everyone knows that visuals help students understand concepts to a greater degree. Sometimes it is hard to grasp a concept unless you can actually see it work. I have discovered two amazing sites that provide free visuals. Hippocampus.org is a free, core academic web site that delivers rich multimedia content--videos, animations, and simulations--on general education subjects to middle-school and high-school teachers and college professors, and their students, free of charge. Teachers project HippoCampus content during classroom learning and assign it for computer labs and homework. Students use the site in the evenings for study and exam prep. Users do not need to register or log in to use the site.
I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.
Many of my friends and colleagues are using a new site called Bitstrips to create personalized comics. While most of us are seeing these on Facebook which most folks don't see as an educational forum, there is also some educational value to having students create comics that resember themselves and using short captions to explain what they are learning. How fun would this be! Bitstrips for Education is the cleaned up version. There are also apps for the IPhone and Android devices if you would rather use those to create your masterpieces. This cartoon that seen with this post is a colleague of mine. I loved his comic so much that I thought I would post it here.
One of the things I miss not being in the classroom is teaching writing. I LOVE teaching writing! My favorite tool to use was a 4-Square graphic organizer. There is a book on this process you can buy from Amazon. The resource below is based on this book. It is a simple and easy way to organize for a writing assignment. Once the kids learn the process, you will see a dramatic improvment in what they produce.
On Tuesday of last week several teachers from grades K-8 met together to create semester tests in the areas of reading and writing. Prior to the work time, two of our Central Office administrators shared some guidelines on best practices to use when thinking about test question creation. One of the suggestions that was made was for teachers to begin asking higher level thinking questions during daily instructional time. One IPad/iPod/IPhone application that will help with this is
Another suggestion that came from this meeting was to write out questions on index cards or keep them on a note pad for each unit. The idea was to have the questions you wanted the students to think about planned before your unit. In thinking about this, I realized you could again use your IPhone/IPad/IPod to help you. There is a free app called Flashcards Deluxe. You could program your cards with your questions and then flip through them on your cell phone or tablet during discussions of the content area. You can enter your flashcards with the questions right on the device or upload them though the developer's website. Keep each unit's questions right at your fingertips!
By the way, both of these apps are totally free and are available for both Apple IPhones and Android devices.
Third grade at AES have been working on timelines. We created them in Smart notebook. Boy, was this was a process! One of our issues is that the grade level is a little chatty and that makes learning a new software program interesting to say the least. However, we did get the timelines done. Here are a few examples. The rest of us will put them into our blogs later and we will write a post about our day at school.
First grade students created pictures to show seasonal change using Tux Paint. while second grade students used the program to create Halloween pictures. Tux Paint is one of my favorite programs to use. The only downside is that to get to the saved images of the students, it is a little bit of a hassle. Tux Paint does not give you the prerogative of saving to your desired destination. To overcome this, I use the snipping tool from Windows 7 to save the image to the school server.
This morning while I was eating breakfast I got an email with a link that shared some great apps that you can use on your IPhone even if you don't have a set of IPads or IPods in your classroom for student use. It was called Teach with your IPhone. I have used several of these apps and would like to encourage you to check them out. However, following this resource another teacher on that chat sent this link: My Teacher is an App. This link shares information about how more and more learning is being taken online in an effort to get rid of teachers in the classroom. Remember the old 1950s scare of how machines would take over the world and do away with humanity? That was followed up in the 1980s with all the Terminator movies. Well, the reality is that in education this prophecy is coming true. More and more online learning organizations are touting themselves to be the savior of the students. They are personalizing education in order to increase accountability on nationwide standardized test scores. The current low test scores our students are earning are a result of poor teaching by incompetent teachers, according to these online institutes.
The sad thing is that while policy makers and school administrations think these online organizations will solve testing problems the truth is this online learning will only increase the problem. The problem with low test scores in our Nation's schools is not the teacher. It is the test itself. Research is saying something totally different than greedy money saving policy makers want the public to know. Smaller class sizes taught by experienced, veteran teachers in face to face classrooms where relationships are encouraged and built between the student-the teacher-the family are the best way to increase student learning. This should be coupled with fewer tests and more authentic ways of measuring learning. One test score on one day does not show a years worth of academic understanding.
Do we want students to really learn? Or do we just want them to get through school as cheaply as possible? Wake up folks! Education costs money but aren't our students worth it? You will get what you pay for.
_Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools,
located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to
work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work
with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus,
I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler