Friday, November 1, 2013

As if You Didn't Think Your Classroom Could Get Any More Comical...

 Venturing into the Techie World

It's easier to venture into the techie world when there is someone to tug you over the bumps,  and I owe it to SaraK.LMS for that!

Last year, I was looking for better ways to incorporate technology into my American Literature Course. I was assessing their 21st century skills of creativity and critical thinking, and Sara provided me with an array of tech tools and programs I could explore with students. Neither of us were familiar with many of the programs on the long list of tech tools. We decided that we would make my 11th grade honors students the guinea pigs in trying out various new and innovative sites for presentation tools, animation, and scrap blogs.  Some of these sites included Popplet, Pixton , GoAnimate, Scrapblog, and Capzles.

Popplet helps students collaborate in real time,  creating concept webs, and  Capzles helps students create interactive timelines, or "time capsules" online using videos, photos, text, music, audio and most documents.

The project was to apply archetypes  to Catcher in the Rye. Students needed to reinterpret Holden's story, walking  their peers through the events from Catcher in the Rye that coincided with the Hero's Journey. The creative project was accompanied with a 3-5 essay. 


Here is a sample of one group's capzle

Pixton was the most popular choice, and many students created some awesome comic books and animated videos for the class.

Here's a sample I created for students using pixton. The project was assigned for Catcher in the Rye . The sample was based on The Great Gatsby, a book we finished earlier in the semester.

I also created a google doc form for students to complete when they submitted---another good idea from Sara. You can do this by accessing your Google Account--> Google Drive-->  Create -->  Forms. The last question asks for recommendations and/or comments on the project. Here it is--unadulterated. 

TimestampWhat are your group members' names?What class period are you from?What program did you use to creative your project?What type of project did you create?Insert the URL link to your project here. Usually, there is a link on the program website that states, "Share." The site will provide you with the URL link needed to share with others. Copy that URL here. Any recommendations or comments that you would like to share about this project? Would you recommend I try it again with next year's students? Why or why not?
3/5/2013 8:06:38
Period 6CapzlesTimeline liked using Capzles to do our project. It was very easy to use and it opens up many creative doors for the user. I would reccomend you try it with next years students because the creative portion was an easy way to incorporate technology and the 7 C's into the Catcher unit and the essay helps explain the project even more.
3/5/2013 14:15:42
Period 6PixtonComic Strip

3/5/2013 14:38:36
Period 6PixtonComic Strip
We have two comics.
3/5/2013 16:04:59
Period 7PoppletTimeline Yes i think this is a good way to see how people can connect the book to a certain topic.
3/5/2013 16:23:50
Period 6goanimate.comAnimation (Movie/Video) would not recommend you use these programs next year because these programs sometimes require students to enter credit card information in order to buy additional things. I don't think it is a good idea to encourage students to use their parent's credit cards on online applications.
3/5/2013 16:46:30
Period 7poppleta web tried using capzules firt but we didn't like it. We thought that a web made on popplet fit the project perfectly and didnt have too many problems. One problem we did have is that if you share a popplet, you cant edit the bubble made by the other person.
3/5/2013 17:14:23
Period 7PoppletTimeline website works well when it loads properly. I do recomend this, its fun and very easy.
3/5/2013 17:24:23
Period 6PoppletTimeline

3/5/2013 17:25:45
Period 6PixtonComic Strip

3/5/2013 18:12:08
Period 7pixtonComic Strip was a simple project if you and your partner collaborated well and got the work done without fooling around. I would definately recommend that you should try it again with next year's students since it was fun to do but still difficult.
3/5/2013 18:31:16
Period 7Pixton.comComic Strip is a new and fun way to create projects!
3/5/2013 18:40:16
Period 6PoppletTimeline's sort of slow and very limited in its actions. So I would recommend it, if there were better instuctions and directions then it would be more resourceful.
3/5/2013 19:03:25
Period 6Popplet Timeline using popplet it sometimes gets hard to find where your project begins when it zooms out, sometimes you have to search around for it before you can get to working on it.
3/5/2013 19:30:28
Period 7PixtonComic Strip
Was very easy and helpful I recommend this project and website for next years students
3/5/2013 19:41:39
Period 6PixtonComic Strip

3/5/2013 19:41:51
Period 7PixtonComic Strip
Very fun way to do a project
3/5/2013 19:42:53
Period 7PixtonComic Strip think Pixton was extremely successful in portraying the certain actions and emotions of each character in this novel. There were plenty of people and backgrounds to choose from in order to make the events as realistic as possible. I would highly recommend you use this again with other students for the years to come.
3/5/2013 19:55:44
Period 7PixtonComic Strip was alright. I think that I perfer just essays, but that's a personal preference. I think an option that is not on the computer, like a poster or something, would also be a fun alternative option for a creative project.
3/5/2013 20:10:17
Period 6PoppletTimeline are plenty of websites to work from on this project however I feel many weren't very user friendly or had limited functionality. I tried all 3 other websites before settling with popplet because it is the easiest to use. You should do the project again next year because it was relatively easy but has a good topic. maybe the sites will be better next year or it's possible I used them poorly myself.
3/6/2013 5:51:29
Period 6PoppletPopplet good way to orginize ideas and easy to use after getting used to it. Yes, this is a good way to orginize project ideas and is fairly easy to use.
3/6/2013 12:31:04
Period 7capzlesTimeline

3/7/2013 8:34:23
Period 6PoppletTimeline would do this again, however i would use prezi instead of popplet.
3/7/2013 13:09:02
Period 7PixtonComic StripPart I

Part II

Part III
pixton was easy and fun to use.For a group project, it's be easier to create a comic under pixton school because it allows collaboration, unlike pixton for fun.
Alisha and Kaitlyn

Daniel and Gabe

3/11/2013 20:06:22
Period 6Pixton.comComic Strip would recommend using it again next year. It's relatively easy to use and allows for a lot of creative thinking
3/11/2013 21:52:35
Period 6PixtonComic Strip
We really enjoyed this group project. It allowed us to combine our creativity to come up with a product that we both felt met what our expectations were. This program was fairly easy to use and become comfortable with. I would recommend using this next year with your students and encourage them to use this program.

Flipping English Classrooms

Flipping a Classroom: I was drawn into looking into the "flipped classroom" after a coworker of mine published The Elephant in the Flipped Classroom. Although the article discussed some of the issues with flipping, it reminded me of a technology PD---one of the better ones I have attended-- that provided tech tools to engage students in active learning. I decided that I wanted to read a little more about flipping, specifically in the English classroom---
While searching for various ways to cook asparagus, I somehow stumbled upon some great links on the Pinterest APP! I'd like to share... Access the links from this board.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Traverse. Early 14c. From Latin "An Act of Passing through a Gate, Crossing a Bridge, etc."

It was 10:00 in the evening and I began my "Trying Tech Tactics" trek into the unknown. Traversing through the wilderness, I was enchanted by the glittering lights of foxfire, drawing my attention to the vibrant folds within the fungi species.

It was widely believed that the light acts as a warning to hungry animals, like the bright colors exhibited by some poisonous animals and insects.

Caressing it with a gentle tapping of my index finger, it was cold to the touch, as are all foxfire leaves, and the many layers of  fungi concealed the viral specimen lurking in the folds of the flowering....


If you've gotten to this point, and you have just asked yourself "What the heck am I reading?" I must apologize for my lack of Fitzgerald skills in creating metaphors to draw comparisons between seemingly unlike "things." But let's be honest, as a teacher, my bedtime was also about 2 hours ago---yes, that would mean I hit the sack at approximately 8:30p.m. because I am thoroughly exhausted from the day's work- of grading papers and implementing curriculum and disciplining children, and, most importantly, aimlessly exploring the internet, looking for tech-tastic  activities, being blinded by the bright glaring lights of various websites--only to be left with baggy eyes and occasionally a virus-infested link that I idiotically accessed. Is that a run-on?

So here I am....  you can avoid my nightmare....the nightmare of taking an odyssey through the darkness of the internet because you are trying to search for and attempt "tech tactics" in the classroom. 

Ok... so on one of these long enduring journeys on the internet, I stumbled upon EDUtopia.

 A possible solution to the tedious google internet search for tech tools. The title of this site was very creative. Let's forget that "utopian" and "utopianism" are words occasionally used to denote visionary reform that tends to be impossibly idealistic. In fact, many utopias are satires that ridicule existent conditions rather than offering practical solutions for them; however, this website seems to offer practical solutions for educators who are trying to integrate technology into their classrooms and provide authentic learning experiences for students. 


An overview of their mission sums it up:

"It’s a place of inspiration and aspiration based on the urgent belief that improving education is the key to the survival of the human race. We call this place Edutopia, and we provide not just the vision for this new world of learning but the real-world information and community connections to make it a reality." 

You may want to check out the  Technology Integration Research Review, which provides an overview of various ways to integrate technology into the classroom--

So instead of mindlessly doing a google search to begin your search-for-tech odyssey, make a quick stop here to see if they have what you are looking for first.