Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jan Johnson collected a bunch of quotation books and her 4th grade students had fun browsing through the wide variety of memorable quips. Their mission was to select one quote to illustrate. When all the drawings were complete, I scanned the images to create .jpg files.
Using a VoiceThread Educator account, I created identities for each of the students in the class. I then uploaded each student's piece of artwork.
Students then opened their VoiceThread and narrated their quote. Fellow students were then encouraged to view the other VoiceThread creations and comment on them.
Take a look at their work at:
If you have a VoiceThread account, you should be able to add your own comments.

Kathy Kaldenberg, Librarian

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teach Paperless! Use GoogleForms for collecting feedback

SMS Principal Mike Herdliska has had great success this year transitioning from paper to online data gathering. He started with building climate surveys using the form option in Google Docs. Last year 23 staffers responded via the paper form. That total increased to 35. Student participation exploded, going from 84 in 2009 to 427 this year. Parental feedback blossomed also with 60 responses in 2010 compared to 13 last year.

The administrative time saving was significant, taking Mr Herdliska only about 20 minutes to set up the survey and post it. In the past, the survey had to be printed, sorted, distributed, gathered and tallied by hand. With Google Docs, not only was the data available immediately, it was automatically sorted by group, from which charts could be generated on the fly.

He commented, "obviously the number of responses adds to the validity, but also I believe that the honesty of the feedback is better than would be expected from a paper copy - comment bank would indicate this as well..."

The Leadership Team has gone on to use the easy survey form to gather input for timely decision making.

Mr Herdliska noted that he could "see many ways to gather input from all stakeholders and make decisions based on data..."

If you haven't explored the many features in GoogleDocs, you may want to do so. There are many classroom applications as well. The Google for Educators site is a good starting point.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SCSD bloggers

Did you know that we have several staff members that are blogging up a storm?

Matt Townsley is probably the most veteran of the group. His assessment blog has garnered national attention. Check it out at: MetaMusings. He also does a podcast with his brother-in-law, Russ Goerend called "With Students In Mind".

Shawn Cornally is also weighing in on teaching, assessment and grading at his blog: Think, Thank, Thunk.

Dawn Posekany has been using the blogging format in the classroom with "Life Inside the Biology Classroom" hosted at EduBlogs.

Ivy Nielsen is experimenting with EduBlogs too for English 9.

Jennifer Boldt uses the blog option in iWeb for posting her assignments for classes like Earth and Environmental Science.

LeeAnn Gilroy posts at Blog de la tecnologia este semestre using Google Sites.

I use iWeb's easy blogging much the same way, for posting news. Because our blog pages are hosted locally on the SCSD server, the comment option is not available, limiting the usefulness for discussion. I post many of our multimedia projects on the blogs and the 3rd and 4th grade really enjoy looking and listening to each others work.

SCSD Media Services Blog
1st Grade MC Blog
2nd Grade MC Blog
3rd Grade MC Blog
4th Grade MC Blog
Peripatetic Librarian Blog

If I have accidently left out an SCSD blogger, let me know. Blogs are very easy to organize and follow using an RSS feed. Use this bundle to get started.

What a hoot!

Second grade teacher Sheri Jones and her students feel a special bond with the baby owls they have been watching hatch and grow up over the the last few weeks. They regularly check in to the web site: to see what is happening with the chicks and their parents. Sheri is hooked and even spends some of her free time chatting online with other educators and owl fans while watching the chicks antics in real time. The LCD projector has helped students view the nest activities and there have been some exciting discussions and questions about chicks and bird biology. Sheri also recommends: Decorah Bald Eagle Video Stream.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tech enhanced animal reports

Take a look a listen to 3E'a animal reports.

Step 1 - Learn about animal habitats
Step 2 - Select an animal to research
Step 3 - Use online databases such as World Book Web and NetTrekker to gather information
Step 4 - Locate an image
Step 5 - Load the image into PhotoBooth, select the green screen option
Step 6 - Write a brief report
Step 7 - Read/record report using GarageBand. Convert file to MP3
Step 8 - Use iWeb blog page to combine photo/audio files
Step 9 - Share with parents during conferences

If you have any questions about the project, contact Amanda Stahle.