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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wings and Bubbles: Flower Legend by my Class

I am adding a link to a fellow teacher's blog that shows the wonderful work that her students are doing in her classroom.  Mrs. Marshall's students are integrating writing and technology to express themselves on a topic that is relevant to every child.  Please, enjoy:  Wings and Bubbles: Flower Legend by my Class: There is much talk about Storybird these days.  Here is one my...

Saturday, July 31, 2010


What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox?

I'm already using google docs to cooperate with my teammates and get organized.
I loved Jing because it allows me to make videos for my students to become more independent with technology, and to help other teachers with tech issues.

Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

I'd like to have my students working with digital storytelling. I'd like to have them working on projects for L.A, science or social studies where they would search for illustrations and pictures to tell a story or make a book on a given topic.

How have you transfomed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom?

I understand that incoorporating technolgy is fundamental for our student's future. I understand that now more than ever we need to teach our students how to be critical thinkers and responsible citizens, so they can take and give the best of what the internet and the technology have to offer. I understand we need to teach our children to be lifelong self-motivated learners and problem solvers. I understand we teachers are facilitators of their curiosity, we are mostly skill providers... the information is out there!

Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I needed a little push to get into so many tools that I always knew were not difficult to use but time consuming, so I never took the time to explore them or get into them. I feel more motivated than ever to incoorporate more technology into my teaching, specially into student's independent work... I'm curious and kind of nervous because getting 1st graders to handle this is a challenging task!

Tool 11 - Digital Citizenship

How to teach the idea of digital citizenship to my students?

I think the idea of citizenship need to be thought both explicitly and implicitly.
The BrainPop Jr. "Digital Citizenship" videos are awesome -even for 1st graders; these videos are a good tool to introduce several important topics to be discussed as a class. This would be the explicit part of teaching digital citizenship.
On the other hand, the implicit way of teaching digital citizenship is an on-going process: you as a teacher have to permanently model and "think aloud" everytime you go on the web. I would use my Activeboard in front of the class when researching, google-ing", blogging, chating or working in a classroom project online. You as a teacher must model and explain to the students how to do a search, what is your criteria when selecting trustable sources, what is your thinking process when reading materials, how you critizise and validate information by comparing different sources. You as a teacher must model how to give credit to others, how to be respectful when engaging in blogging, or conversetions, etc.

This are the three things I want to make sure my students understand about being good digital citizens:

1. Be Safe: use technology in a healthy positive way. Stay away from inadequate websites and dangerous people online that might undermine your integrity. Report to your parents and teachers if you encounter any of that. Don't give personal information away.
Stay away from creating addictive bad habits... technology can be dangerous for your mental and physical health if you can't stop using it! Find a healthy balance with other activities like playing outside, cooking, doing sports, visiting friends.

2. Be Critical - Don't beleive everything you read! Learn to question who you read: what are this person's credentials? is this person using serious/recognized/credible sources? is this website trustable? Always check and compare the information you found with other online or written sources, research furhter, ask people you trust and experts for their opinion. Never rely in one only source... be kowledgable, find "the other side of the story", be open minded!

3. Be ethical and Responsible: Use the internet respectfully with others and yourself. Use the internet always in a positive constructive way -even when disagreeing; be always nice and respect other people's feelings; never use the internet to bully or let others bully you; report any abuse.
Give always credit to others for any work, materials or ideas you borrowed (both intellectual and artistic creations), and cite the sources of your information. Ask your friends and family for permission to publish any picture or say something about their personal life before you post it anywhere on the web.

Tool 10 Mobile Tech and Apps

I checked the suggested list of Top 50 free educational apps and found that most of the apps listed there are not really suitable for primary-early childhood students. However, they are awesome applications for you as a teacher and for students in upper grade levels.

Checking furhter, I started to find more suitable apps for little ones, such as Drawing Den by Applied Phasor ( and loved it! This particular app is an appropiate tool for younger children and it's lots of funn ! First graders love drawing and coloring and this is a great tool to integrate technology with something they love to do. This tool will also help them to develop motorskills, pay attention to details, and gain confidence with drawing. They can make up stories by saving several drawings to upload later on on Youtube.

I also found Animal Fun by Brian Pfeil ( which is an incredible tool to teach children vocabulary, both orall and written. It helps students to identify as much as 50 animals by the sounds they make, recall animals' names and learn how to spell their names in english. It seems like a fun thing to do!

You can also find apps for thousands of children audiobooks searching for Free Audiobooks ( ) and scroll down to the end of the page to find the ones for kids.

BE AWARE that a lot of this apps are not really for free... they have a free kind of "trial" but you need to pay in order to go further than that.

Tool 9 - Working with Skype

Working with Skype is nothing new to me. I think anyone comming from far away has already used it to talk to family and friends since it is much cheaper than paying international calls.

I think it is an awesome tool for our students and teachers to share with students and teachers all over the world, and learn about their experiences, projects, and way of thinking. It is a meaningful way for children to learn about the world, how cultures are different and alike us, and how we can all have different points of view and ways ... if we are smart enough we will teach our children to be open minded, respectful and knowledgable of other cultures, so they can see how much those cultures have to offer. It is also a great tool to learn and practice other languages!

Tool 9 Using Jing and Screencast

Working with Jing and Screencast was pretty eassy and awesome -once you get done the downloading and signing up part. It is so easy to record your screen and show everyone how to do things... you don't have to be phisically togehter with a peer or student if you want to show them how to do something on the computer... you can just record the process on your screen and they will have the video of it available as many times as they need without you having to go over the issue with them again! Evenmore, they can pause the video and work along with it in another window so they can get it done! It will save you so much time... you don't have to go student per student anymore (specially with little ones). I loved it.
You and your students can also record powerpoint presentations or pictures as videos and record voices, so you/they can make read aloud books, reading along books, classroom projects presentations, etc.
Chilren can not only share their projects on video but also teach each other how to do things!
Sharing is as eassy as sending an invitation or embedding the video or just pasting a link. Awesome!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tool 8 - embedded video - Zoo vocabulary in spanish

This video is great for building science vocabulary. It allows the children to acquire and recall vocabulary by listening, reading, and actually obseving real life images of the animals being studied.

Videos are great resources for teaching. You can find almost anything on the web that will help you to reinforce what you teach and develop student's skills in all content areas. There are so many resources you can use in workstations where the students can listen to stories, songs, or poems, and develop vocabulary while improving their listening and reading skills; all of it through the use of technology!