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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!

Tool 8 - embedded videosong: "La serpiente de tierra caliente" -

This was one of my favorites songs when I was little.. it takes me back to my early childhood!

In addition to that, the hotlink takes me to all sort of songs in spanish, traditional to my country and other spanish speaking countries. This songs are full of rhymes that develop phonemic awareness, vocabulary and memory. I can see my students enjoying them over and over!

Tool 7 - PhotoStory - Olga's Picures

These are pictures I've taken in times and places were I've been touched by the gifts of nature!

Tool 7 - Digital Story Telling

I used Photo Story 3 to make a video with pictures I've taken around the US. Making the video was easy once I had ready the pictures I wanted -which was the time consuming part.
I had no problems uploading the pictures, finding background music at and saving it on my hard drive as a finished product--a wmv . The problem I have enconter is trying to upload the video to my blog... I've been trying all day long but have not succeed. I guess I'll try at 3:00 o'clock in the morning to see if I get lucky.
For now I guess I can go ahead and write about How can I inccorporate this tool in my classroom.

I think the story telling is an incredible tool for my students to make books and improve their writing and reading skills. They can make both fiction and nonfiction books, create stories on their own or simply retell a story by making illustrations. They can also create videos to explain concepts to other students or just show their work to others or their parents. They will have so much funn with it!

Tool 6 Wikis

Wiki is an awesome tool for working as a group in projects. Students can cooperate on wiki to write a research, a story, a poem, a report, a summary, a retelling, etc. They can also work together brainstorming on a given topic, finding solutions to a problem,etc. It is an excellent tool for student projects in general, and it allows to expand the initial topic by linking new pages in order to develop related ideas that the students want to explore in depth or need to explain.
Checking the wiki gave me the idea of having a book review project where students can make lists of books they like/dislike or recommend/no recommend and link the titles to a page where they write a short review explaining why.
I also liked the idea of showing off examples of good student work and create students prtafolios where each one of them can post content, having their own student account.

Tool 5 - Social Bookmarking

Bookmarking allows you not only to organize information and resources you find on the web but also to share your work with peers, students and parents to make easier for them to find those resources you already screened and spend time finding. It allows groups with common interests to enrich each other with information on where to find more information that is relevant to the group. By using this tools I will be able to find resources for my students to use, search and share.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tool 5 Tagging and social network

I searched on Delicious using "canciones para ninos en espanol" and found this interesting websites: and
Both websites have wonderful resources in spanish for early literacy inculding classic fables, traditional songs, online read aloud stories, etc. They both have also early writing resources and activities, games, handcrafts, etc.

Using Digo and doing the same search I found This website is more oriented to parents than to educators, but you can find songs, stories, jokes and fun videos for children. I also found on Digo this beautiful website: which is full of stories to teach values to children; the stories are organized by values or in aplhabetical order, there are thousands of them. This website also has "audiocuentos" (stories read aloud) that you can acces by creating a link to your blog.

Tool 4 - Use of Google Docs and Reader in the Classroom

With Google Docs students can work together on so many thinks like elaborating group projects for science, or social studies; they can create group stories, scripts, poems, songs, lists, writing ideas; they can help each other solving math problems, writing reports, etc. They can give feedback to each other, answer each others questions, etc.
Google Reader will help students to get organized and be able to handle all the information that is out there for them in one place.

Tool 4 - Google Doc

I created a Google Doc to share with my team called "OCAV-Supplies 1st Grade WWE".
I'll use this spreadsheet to gather information about the supplies the teachers in my team need to start the school year; we have to order this supplies through our school secretary and keep track of it, according to a team budget.
We will be given a catalog of supplies and everyone can cooperate by adding the name of the supply they need (if is not listed on the spreadsheet yet) and the quantity they need under their name. The spreadsheet has the formulas ready to add quantities, prices, total cost, etc.
This Google docs tool is already helping me to get organized with my team! We don't have to phisically meet for staff like this, and everyone can manage their own time to get this done! It is awesome!

Tool 3 - Mushups

I find some much fun to play with some of the mushups. First I used Comic Strip Generator to make a Magazine Cover and had lots of fun, it was easy and quick to make! Then I tried Image Cheff to make a "wanted" poster, and a newspaper video; it was easy, fun and quick as well!

With the comic strip generator the students can Make Magazine Covers and write news about the clasroom, the school, their learning or their personal life. They can also create cartoons and use captions, which will motivate them to create and write stories for their peers to read and comment on while having fun.

Image Jeff is also a great generator for ideas to write about. Students can create visual poetry, stories, word mosaics, and news (both wrtten and video news). I can see the kids blogging on those images and stories!

Tool 2 - Posts

The following are the blogs I posted comments on. I really enjoyed going throughout different blogs and filling myself up with ideas! I also enjoyed commenting on fellow teacher blogs.

Mrs. Farias 11 tools for the 21st century
Teachers Like us
Technology 101

Tool 2 - Points that stood up on commenting

After reading on Vicki Davis blog I realize I'd like to create a positive environment in my blogs. Positive in a way that they are inviting for my bloggers to participate, and that my bloggers are willing to do so. Positive in a way that my bloggers are respectful to each other and positive in their comments (even when debating on a topic) so everyone's comments are listened to, answered and appreciated. In order for this to happen I understand I have to create clear expectations when setting up my blog by setting rules of participation; I also must intervene when necessary, and most of all keep actively interacting with my bloggers.

The same attitude will apply to me when interacting and commenting in other people's blogs.

Tool 2 - Personal Learning Network (PLN)

I think a PLN is a great tool to share knowledge, questions and ideas with other people. It is a great opportunity to grow as a profesional by debating, discussing and commenting on different topics related to education, the school, the students, etc.
It is also a great opportunity to listen to my students, their needs, wonders, and thoughts. It will motivate them to open up to me and to other students; will allow us to grow not only academically but as a classroom community.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tool 1 - Incoorporating Blogs in my classroom

Using blogs in my classroom will allow my students to practice reading and writing while developing technology skills. It will allow my students to communicate their thinking, share with classmates and teachers what they have learned, ask questions, get answers and share information. It will also allow them to acquire new learning and have fun while exploring posts, entries, videos, music, etc.

Blogging will also allow me to communicate more effectively with parents by posting our classroom progress, goals, activities, etc. It will allow parents as well to get informed and monitor their children at school.

Tool 1- Voki

The avatar is so cool! The students are going to love it! However the voki website gave me a hard time when publishing... it is really slow and failed at least 10 times saving my voki before it gave me the code!