Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tech Tuesday 11/30

Here is another Tech Tuesday blog post for everyone. See what you can use in your classroom. I also wanted to remind you that I will be moving to a twice a month updating schedule. This will allow me a little more time to find the best of the best to share with you. It will also allow me a little more time to work on my Masters. :-)

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone. Here are some great resources that could spice up any lesson plan. Take a look at some of these sites and see how these might be used in your class.
Web 2.0  Projects - First, here is a Wikipedia definition of Web 2.0 - The term "Web 2.0" is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design,[1] and collaboration on the World Wide Web.

I have have tremendous success with struggling learners and reluctant learners by incorporating more Web 2.0 into my lessons and allowing them to use Web 2.0 in their class projects. I have found that allowing students to use tools that allow them to collaborate with one another really allows growth in understanding. This link will take you to some great student examples of Web 2.0 tools. You will find examples of Blogging, VoiceThread, Wikis, Nings, Animoto, Photopeach and Xtranormal. I highly suggest you take a look at Xtranormal because there is a rapping Einstein that will have you rolling. Do not feel overwhelmed with all of these new tools. Just think about adding one to your lesson at a time. You might just want to have some fun with it and present it to the class as a part of something you are teaching. That might spur kids to experiment with the tools themselves and use them for their next project.

Stag'D! - Here is a great site that I heard about from @ktenkely and her blog iLearnTechnology. Check out the complete review that she gave the site here. Long story short, Stag'D allows students to tell stories in 3D. I can see this being used in many different ways in my English class. I could have students use it to re-create events from stories we are reading to emphasize themes, symbols, motifs, etc. Social studies classes could use this to re-create historical moments or speeches. It is another fun and interactive tool that allows students to not just learn material, but to create with it. Creating with the new information has made a real difference in my classes and I think Stag'D is another great tool to facilitate that creativity.

Here is a great collection of Copyright Free and Public Domain Images. I'm not sure if I shared this exact link or another one with similar free pics, but we can never have enough resources in our pocket as teachers. This is worth linking on your class website, the school website and even the library website so students can use pictures for projects and presentations without violating copyright laws.

I hope you take a look at these sites and pass them around to others if you find anything worth while. As these students spend more time collaborating online with their peers, it is important that we start to look at tapping into these great resources to connect them to learning inside of the classroom. If you are looking for something specific, don't forget to drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

- Give it a try!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

5th Hour Freshman English Special Project and Tech Tuesday

My 5th Hour Freshmen English students wanted to create a special project for the students of Van Meter High School. My other classes were working on various projects to introduce the students of Van Meter to Michigan, Detroit and our city of Grosse Pointe. They thought it would be cool if they gave a tour of the school but did it with a Lip Dub. I supported the kids in their project, but told them this project would be on them to organize and execute. For two weeks, the kids broke into groups and worked on various parts of the project. Some students were in charge of props and others were in charge of getting permission from the administration to film at school in the morning. A couple of students had their math class figure out the distance that could be covered during the length of the songs that were chosen! It was so exciting to see the students work on something they were passionate about. My only rules were that everyone participate and that they write a short reflective piece (That can be found here). Please feel free to comment on the Kidblog; the kids would love to receive feedback from other people. The kids worked hard and what you are going to see is the completed video. The students are still editing to come up with a directors cut with bloopers, credits, etc. More than anything, this truly shows what students can accomplish when they are give the chance to be creative. I hope you enjoy the video.

The songs in this video are Happy Together by The Turtles (Covered by Simple Plan), Our Time Now by the Plain White Tees and Here It Goes Again by OK GO.

A final thanks goes to Mr. Geresy for putting the video together and hosting on the new video site. If you have not checked out the site, make some time to do so. It is very cool. 

Animated Gettysburg Address by Adam Gault

My friend Kelly shared this on her blog the other day and I thought I would pass it on to everyone. I thought this woudl just be good for Social Studies teachers to use, but I really think it could be used in English classes as well. Teachers could have students create similar project for other famous speeches or poems studied in class. By concentrating on literary terms like tone, students could create visual representations of the speeches or poems. It would be a great way to allow student to dive into a piece of writing instead of just letting them read it or hear it in class. Let your mind run wild with the different possibilities.

Skype Education
As some of you may know, the teachers in our district can now use Skype in the classroom. There have been resources shared about connecting with teachers on this site, but now Skype has joined the conversation. Starting in December, Skype is going to launch their Beta Skype Education system. Teachers can sign up, for free, and list their information for teachers all over the world to see. This will allow teachers to connect with other classes from around the world. I’m very excited to see Skype enter the educational field and create a space for educators. Take a look at the site and sign up when you get a chance. Opening up your classroom to the world is one of the best things you can do for your students.

Lastly, here is a quote I read on my Google Reader I would like to share.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope everyone has a great day and a wonderful break. All of us have earned it. Happy Thanksgiving.

- Give it a try!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tech Tuesday 11/16

Sorry for the lateness of the post. I had it ready to go, but I forgot to send it out out today. My students just wrapped an amazing project I'm excited to share with everyone once the finishing touches are in place. Look for it next Tuesday. On to the tech!

Study Jams 

Scholastic Study Jams are awesome! This site is a Scholastic site that focuses on Math and Science. Students can learn about Volcanoes, Photosynthesis, The Universe and Creating Equations From Word Problems. Each concept has video, slide shows, important vocabulary and tests. Using fun and unique ways to present material, Study Jams is a great way for teachers to re-enforce concepts in the classroom. Parents should consider using Study Jams to allow their children to explore areas of interest outside of school. When I think back to my struggles in Math and Science, all I had for support was Math Blaster. Sites like Study Jams by Scholastic are great resources to help children understand concepts they might be struggling to understand. I highly recommend checking out Study Jams for use at home or in the classroom.

StoryLine Online

StoryLine Online is a great site that has actors read children books. I stumbled upon it on my Google Reader and thought that this would be something all teachers and parents could use. Below, you will see Jason Alxeander, from Seinfeld fame, reading the book Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy?

The site is free to use and supported by the Screen Actors Guild and it worth a look. You can show Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog or To Be a Drum read by James Earl Jones. There are activity guides that can be downloaded with each story and used with the children before and after the story. I think this is a great way to bring something a little different into the classroom. 

That's it for this week. I hope these couple of sites make their way into someone's classroom in the future. I hope everyone has a great week. Remember, give it a try!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tech Tuesday for November 9

Blogging in the Classroom K-12

I was in Kansas City, MO this weekend and I had a chance to present with some amazing friends of mine. Becky Goerend, Kristina Peters and Shannon Miller all use blogging in very different ways for their students. Here is the video of our presentation. I'm near the end talking about how I use it with my students daily and how I use it to connect to students I work with in Van Meter, Iowa. If you would like to connect with any of these teachers, please let me know and we can set something up.

This is it for this week. It was a busy weekend in Iowa and Kansas City. I had a chance to spend the day in Van Meter and actually meet the students that my Freshmen are working with this year. It was a great experience. If any teacher wants to connect their classroom with another for different types of projects, I have people lined up waiting to work with you. Just send me an email and we can make it happen.

Starting in December, Provenzano's GPS Tech Guide will go from a weekly update to a bi-weekly update. I want to provide everyone with the best content out there, and it is easier to search over two weeks than one week. As I get deeper into my Masters and as essays pile up, I do not have as much free time to devote to this venture. I wish I could do even more for everyone out there, but I have my responsibilities in the classroom I cannot ignore. I will still always be available to help anyone out if they have questions. Thanks for being a great staff!

- Nick

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tech Tuesday for Novemeber 2

This week will be a short Tech Tuesday because I will be presenting on Blogs, Tweets and Skype. Below I will post my presentation for anyone that could not attend my song and dance. Yes, there will be singing and dancing. I'm a full service presenter. :-)

The Balancing Act

I've been asked to be the educational blogger for a show on the Lifetime Television Network called The Balancing Act.  I'll post once a week on various educational issues for parents from a teacher's perspective. I think it is a great chance for parents from all over the country to actually hear from a teacher about how they can help their kids at home after they have spent the day with us. This is an exciting new adventure for me and I appreciate all of the support teachers have given my other blogs. That gave me the confidence to tackle this and see what happens. Feel free to share the site with others.

Blogs, Tweets and Skype

This presentation will not make a ton of sense without me being there to voice over (I will do a screen cast when I have time), but there are some great links and videos that can help explain Blogging, RSS feeds, Twitter and Skype. It's worth a look and feel free to email me with any questions.

Carryout text

Here is a very cool site that takes the text you type and convert it to MP3 files. This is something that could be great for students that have a hard time reading and understanding notes in class. Special Ed departments could use this for struggling students.

The site is currently in the Beta testing phase and might have some bugs, but it is currently free and worth a try if you are looking for a way to help certain students.If you know of teachers that do not read this blog but would benefit from something like this, please pass this along to them. I think this could do great things for some students and their teachers. Thanks to @MZimmer557 and his blog for sharing this great site.

That's it for today everyone. I hope you learn some great things in your Tech PD and use them in your class. Don't feel rushed to use them, just give them a try!

- Nick