Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blogging Made Easy

I’ve always believed that blogging has seemed like such an advanced task to take on in a classroom.  However, today my eyes were opened.  I visited Mrs. Kritsch’s classroom at Lakeview Elementary where her 2nd graders were blogging their opinions about a complex scientific innovation (video surveillance in public places).  Mrs. Kritsch has organized this into a simple step-by-step process that would be easy to duplicate into any classroom environment.  

First, the day before blogging will take place, she has her students watch a video that she has found on Science 360.  As a class, they discuss the issue and the students use a graphic organizer to help them develop their ideas.

Then Tuesday morning Mrs. Kritsch hands back their graphic organizers, with spelling suggestions if needed, and students login to KidBlog and type their opinions into a new blog post.  And here is my favorite part - each of their opinions is supported by two different reasons! This is such an important skill to practice with students because it is so transferable to future writing the students will be asked to do.  It creates a great environment that helps to empower her students' voices and teaches them to be smart and logical when forming opinions.

Mrs. Kritsch says that using blogging is a very motivating way for students to practice their writing skills.  A few of the students I talked with said they liked blogging because they liked to share their ideas, see their classmates' ideas, and it got them to practice typing.  

One of my favorite moments I observed was when a student showed their deskmate how to make a smiley on someone's blog response.  It was a mind-blowing moment :)

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project? Feel to to contact me

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ban the bullet!

Reading from slides is so 1990s! Help your students become zen masters at presentation.

10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

11 ways to use images poorly in slides

#5 is my favorite: 
(5) Image is of poor quality & contains watermark
Even worse is to take a free comp from a photo website and stretch it out. This introduces distracting visual noise (and says you are either cheap, lazy, or both). If you cannot afford images (or do not have a camera, etc.), then it's better to use none at all. 

What options do students have for creating presentations?

Keynote - every Mac laptop in the district has this application
Open Office Presentation - all student laptops have this application
Google Slides - every district student and staff member has a Google Apps for Education account, which includes this application