Tag Archives: technology

How Skype can Enhance your Lesson Plans

Skype has to be one of the best free and simple web 2.0 tools available.  Skype makes it easy to collaborate, share files and messages, and work with others from anywhere in the world.  Many schools are using Skype to connect with content experts, leaders, and other classrooms and students.

Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other people. You can use Skype on your computer, mobile phone, or a television with Skype.  Skype has a very easy tutorial for getting started for Windows  and Mac users.  Get started today!

Now, Skype has an resource just for schools called Skype in the Classroom.

Click the photo to access Skype for the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is a free community that allows teachers to connect across the world to help their students learn. Log in with your Skype account to get connected.

Hear how teachers are connecting with each other, finding partner classes and sharing inspiration using Skype.

Click on the “Projects” tab to find a project that might coincide with your curriculum.

Listen to how teachers are using Skype with their students to collaborate with other schools around the world! Find out more about this global initiative and how you can get involved.

 

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Simple K-12: Changing Education through Technology

Click the icon to visit this great resource!

Once again, through Twitter, I have discovered one of those blogs that I just keep visiting over and over.  Each time, I find another quality post that is relevant, accurate, and useful.  I Ed. Tech is definitely a blog worth a subscription.

The blog is one element of the Simple K-12 website, and the motto,  Changing Education through Technology, is evident in every post.  Dedicated to ensuring teachers and school leaders are prepared for teaching and learning in the 21st century, the resources on this blog are current, innovative, and intuitive.  That’s exactly what educators need.  Blog posts are short, simple, and to the point.  Most provide a brief introduction followed by a list of resources with links to each and a short blurb about how to use the resource with students or colleagues.

By signing up for their E-mail list serv, anyone can get access to 11 Hidden Webtools for your Classroom.  This resource provides some excellent free, easy-to-use web resources with direct links.  Blog posts such as:  14 Reasons to Have a Blog, 5 Ways to Transition Classrooms into Web 2.0 Learning, and 6 Must-Have Teacher Tech Tools  are quick reads that can have a great impact on student engagement, student inquiry, and instructional delivery and design.

If you are looking for something specific, the blog uses a tag cloud, a search bar, lists of recent and popular posts, and offers archives listed by month.  Plus, you can subscribe via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS feed.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go, sign up today!

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21 Signs You’re a 21st Century Teacher

I can’t take credit for this blog post.  I found it, like many great educational finds, on Twitter.  This post came from the I Love Ed Tech website.

Here they are – the 21 signs you are a 21st century teacher.  How many define your practice?

1. You require your students to use a variety of sources for their research projects…and they cite blogs, podcasts, and interviews they’ve conducted via Skype.

2. Your students work on collaborative projects…with students in Australia.

3. You give weekly class updates to parents…via your blog.

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4. Your students participate in class…by tweeting their questions and comments.

5. You ask your students to study and create reports on a controversial topic…and you grade their video submissions.

6. You prepare substitutes with detailed directions…via Podcasts.

7. You ask your students to do a character/historical person study…and they create mock social media profiles of their character.

8. Your students create a study guide…working together on a group wiki.

9. You share lesson plans with your teacher friends…from around the globe.

10. Your classroom budget is tight…but it doesn’t matter because there are so many free resources on the web you can use.

11. You realize the importance of professional development…and you read blogs, join online communities, and tweet for self development.

12. You take your students on a field trip to the Great Wall of China…and never leave your classroom.

13. Your students share stories of their summer vacation…through an online photo repository.

14. You visit the Louvre with your students…and don’t spend a dime.

15. You teach your students not to be bullies…or cyberbullies.

16. You make your students turn in their cell phones before class starts…because you plan on using them in class.

17. You require your students to summarize a recent chapter…and submit it to you via a text message.

18. You showcase your students’ original work…to the world.

19. You have your morning coffee…while checking your RSS feed.

20. You are reading this.

21. You tweet this page, blog about it, “like” it, or email it to someone else…

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Making Sense of Integrating Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

Helping teachers and administrators understand the meaning of "literacy" is an important first step.

I don’t really understand why there has always been this push back from teachers who think that teaching and reinforcing literacy skills are the responsibilities of the English teacher.  I never took at science, social studies, art, or technical course that did not include reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, and communicating with others.

Occasionally, teachers in these courses did as well or better at teaching literacy skills than did my English and Language Arts teachers.  I think one of the biggest barriers is that not all teachers have a true understanding by what is meant by “literacy instruction.”

All students deserve quality literacy instruction. Good teachers include literacy instruction instinctively throughout each lesson regardless of their content.

When I worked as a Curriculum Specialist, one of my greatest joys was mentoring young teachers, observing them, and providing clear, specific feedback on their instruction.  I worked with some outstanding teachers who were just starting their careers.  One thing the strongest and most effective teachers had in common, regardless of their content-area or grade level, was that they intuitively and purposefully created learning opportunities for students in which literacy strategies were embedded throughout each class period, each lesson, and each unit.

So, what does this mean to non-ELA teachers?

I challenge you to take a look at the bullets below no matter the subject you teach and decide which bullets are important for students in your class.

The Common Core State Standards define students who are College and Career Ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Language as those who have the following attributes:

1.  They demonstrate independence.

  • Comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines without significant scaffolding
  • Construct effective arguments
  • Convey intricate or multifaceted information
  • Independently discern a speaker’s key points
  • Build on others’ ideas
  • Request clarification, articulate their own ideas, ask relevant questions, and become self-directed learners
  • Seek out and use resources to assist them
  • Demonstrate command of the English language
  • Acquire and use a wide range of vocabulary

Image courtesy of Discoveryschool.com

2.  They build strong content knowledge.

  • Establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter by engaging with works of quality and substance
  • Become proficient in new areas through research and study
  • Read purposefully and listen attentively to gain general knowledge and discipline-specific expertise
  • Refine and share their knowledge through writing and speaking

3.  They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline. 

  • Adapt their communication in relation to audience, task, purpose, and discipline
  • Set and adjust purpose for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language use as warranted by the task
  • Appreciate nuances – such as how the composition of an audience should affect tone when speaking and how connotations of words affect meaning
  • Understand that different disciplines call for different types of evidence — i.e. documentary evidence in history and experimental evidence in science.

4.  They comprehend as well as critique.

  • Engaged and open-minded
  • Discerning readers and listeners
  • Work diligently to understand precisely what an author or speaker is saying
  • Question an author’s or speaker’s assumptions and premises
  • Assess the veracity of claims and soundness of reasoning

Valuing evidence as well as using technology and digital media strategically and effectively are skills our 21st century students must master to be prepared for college and the workforce.

5.  They value evidence.

  • Cite evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation
  • Use relevant evidence when supporting their own points in writing and speaking
  • Make their reasoning clear to the reader or listener
  • Evaluate others’ use of evidence constructively

6.  They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.

  • Employ technology thoughtfully to enhance reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use
  • Tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently
  • Integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline
  • Are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communications goals

7.  They come to understand other perspectives and cultures. 

  • Appreciate that the 21st century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures with diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together
  • Actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening
  • Able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds
  • Evaluate other points of view critically and constructively

This resource includes research, recommendations, vignettes, and professional development suggestions.

The Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects were built on the premises that reading in the content area is critical to building knowledge and writing is a key means of asserting and defending claims, showing what students know about a subject, and conveying what they have experienced, thought, imagined, or felt.

When I read through the standards, I found that they provide a great reference to guide the classroom teacher in terms of what students should be doing with the content.  The standards provide an opportunity for the teacher to ensure that students are engaging with the content in meaningful ways that will help ensure that they are indeed college or career ready. We know that most college and workforce training programs require informational readings, and to ensure our students are well-prepared for college and the workforce, we ALL owe it to them to teach and support our students’ literacy development.

If you are looking for support as you begin to think about the role literacy plays in your planning, curriculum design, and daily instruction, check out these great resources.

Bringing Literacy Strategies into Content Instruction:  Developed by the Center on Instruction, “this document provides research-based guidance on academic literacy instruction in the content areas, specifically focusing on the effective use of text in content areas.”

Common Core for Social Studies Teachers!:  (Look for Episode 15)  ASCD’s Michael Fisher interviews  Bruce Leader, a 10th grade Global Studies teacher at Starpoint High School in Lockport, NY.  In this interview Bruce Leader discusses integrating the literacy standards for writing and reading from the Common Core into his professional practice.

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Navigating the Resources

I love tech tools that can enhance classroom instruction, and there are so many out there that searching for just the right tool can be overwhelming.  I am working on a Delicious Stack to support teachers who are looking for some innovative and cool Internet sites and tools to use inside and outside of the classroom.

 

 

Check out my stack on “Super Cool Web 2.o Tools” by clicking here.  And…if you have suggestions regarding sites you would like to see me add, just let me know!
Happy surfing!

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Thinking Outside the Instructional Box: The Flipped Classroom

We have all heard that our  21st century students need hands-on, interactive experiences.  Teachers today are being asked to teach in ways that they were not taught  — with technology that is brand new and often unfamiliar. How exciting…..and scary…all at the same time.

One controversial method of building in more hands-on class time is called the Flipped Classroom Model.  The major difference in this model and traditional instruction is that teachers videotape lectures they would generally provide in class, and students access them online as homework.  This trend, although not new, is gaining popularity with teachers who are thinking outside the box to find ways to preserve instructional time for students to explore, collaborate, create, build, and experience the curriculum.

Check out Aaron Sams’ classroom as he explains why he flipped his classroom. Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann were early adopters of the flipped classroom. Both Sams and Bergmann currently teach in Woodland Park High School in Colorado.  They are writing a book about the Flipped Class.

Learn more about Aaron and Jonathan’s philosophies and how their flipped classrooms came to be by clicking here.

Still interested?

Read the latest article here from Ed Week about the flipped classroom:  Lectures are Homework in Schools Taking Khan Academy Lead

Want to learn more about The Flipped Classroom?  Click here!

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