Sunday, February 22, 2015

Standards...there are ALWAYS Standards

No matter what we are doing these days there are always standards to look at.  You don't have to be a teacher to know there are things you could be doing at a certain standard.  But because I AM a teacher I will stick to the standards I know for teaching.  I was introduced to some standards that are new to me recently.  I would like to look at them and see what I can do to help my students.

These standards are called the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  They have standards for students, teachers, administrators, coaches and computer science educators.  Since I just learned a lot about Digital Citizenship and made a PowToon presentation about your Digital Footprint, I am going to look at Promoting and Modeling Digital Citizenship and responsibility. (See my PowToon presentation on my About.Me  page.)

Standard for Teachers 4a states, "Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources" (ISTE)

In 4th grade it is so easy to go just copy someone else's work off the Internet. They don't get when you do something like that it's wrong and illegal.  So I always try to model obtaining information online.  I put my computer on the overhead and show them how to look something up, paraphrase it, quote it, and then site their source.  Just putting "Google" down for their source is a common misconception in 4th grade.  So I show them how to look for the author and site the correct web address.

Standard for Teachers 4b states, "Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources" (ISTE)

When I give students an opportunity to get on a computer, some of them excel when they otherwise would not have.  Technology is a wonderful way for children to showcase their knowledge is a different way.  When I have a student who is struggling with actually writing something on paper, I give them another way to do that.  Using Google Docs and having them type their writing can be helpful.  In math it's the same idea. There are a lot of web based math programs where you can see how well a student is doing. I like to use Front Row Math to supplement the lessons I teach in class.  This program gives them a way to use the online tools for math and to think about what I am teaching them in a different way, the online way.  Even though I don't think it's that much of a difference it can be a game changer when it comes to 4th graders understanding a concept.

Standard for Teachers 4c states, "Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information" (ISTE).

With this standard, I get to use the cool PowToon presentation I made on Digital Footprint.  The other awesome thing is that I get to share what my colleagues have done as well.  Ms. Disrude made a presentation on Netiquette. Mrs. Owen has made a presentation on Cyber-bullying.  From these presentations I get to share and promote digital etiquette.  I also get to show my kids my blog and show how I am sharing that with our community responsibly.  

Standard for Teachers 4d states, "Develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital age communication and collaboration tools" (ISTE).

Recently we took a virtual field trip to Africa.  With the help of YouTube, my kids got to sit in on the conversations of the way life is like in Africa and how it has changed.  We then made pictures of elephants and I posted a picture of a few of them on Instagram.  We learned so much about another culture and had a deeper understanding of what life is like there.  I want to show my kids there is a whole world out there that they can discover.  Technology is the gateway to do that.  Many of my kids will not have the opportunity to actually go overseas, so having a way to communicate and see the world and experience it is valuable.

I love learning about new standards for teaching my kids.  It keeps me focused and on the right track.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

iMovie Trailer...very clever 4th graders!

I just had to post this iMovie Trailer for you to see.  These kids did an amazing job showcasing their reasons why they think cell phones shouldn't be at school.


Sunday, February 15, 2015


I created an About.Me page.  Another cool thing Rae suggested.

Here is my page...

Opinion topic issues!

     This week has been a challenging one!  Let's just say I am so happy to have a 3 day weekend.  :-) 
     We have been working on Opinion Writing.  My students have been debating the hot topic of whether or not to allow students to have cell phones at school.  Even though these guys are 9 and 10 years old they have some strong opinions on the topic.  Over the last two weeks the students have been writing a 5 paragraph opinion piece on the cell phone issue.  They have been using Google Docs to type their finished stories.  On the SAMR Model this is at the Augmentation level, typing their stories using Spell Check, centering their title, and changing their font.  I have always wanted to take this task "above the line" to the Modification level and have them share it with each other and comment on each others stories....I will have to save that for another time!
     So for this weeks assignment, I thought what better way to kick it up a notch than to have them make an iMovie to try to sway their audience members.  This covers one of my goals I have set for myself and my students on ISTE-S 2a, to collaborate with their peers on making something in the digital environment.  I didn't know how to make an iMovie, but I knew some of my kids did.  (Thank you Deanna Owen!) I had those kids give me a lesson on how to make one and then they got to teach it to the rest of the class.  I have been learning about the pedagogy in teaching and it tells me that I need to let my kids create, teach each other, and learn from each other.  So they did, they made iMovies this week.  They worked in groups of 5-6 with one iPad and set out to convince each other that cell phones were a good thing at school or not.
     I do have to say selecting the iMovie after I had the base of my lesson was a good thing.  I got to focus on teaching how to write an opinion piece of writing and then this week the iMovie was a bonus.  I didn't stress out about how it was going to turn out because I didn't know I was going to do it.  For me I got to move this lesson to the Redefinition level because they got to create something on the iPad and share it with other students.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Reflection and new goals

I have been doing a lot of reading in the last week about Teaching in the Digital Age and I have realized that I have so much to learn.  I have been getting my toes wet when it comes to technology in my classroom, but I can do so much more.
There are three goals I am going to be focusing on in the next two months.  The first is to have my students be more collaborative.  This falls under ISTE 2a, to interact, collaborate and publish with peers.  I collaborate with my colleagues all the time, so why shouldn't my kids do it too?  When I have my kids on their iPad, it's usually just them researching information on a report we are doing.  My goal is to take this a step further and to have them help each other create movies and presentations about what they are researching.  I want them to learn from each other and create something special to share with their peers.  I don't know a lot about the iMovie apps or other applications I can use, but I have a teacher next door who does.  So I will be collaborating with her to learn how to teach my kids.  The Del Norte School District has many talented teachers who are excellent resources to help me and my kids learn new apps that will have them collaborating with each other.   
I enjoy showing my kids the data I have on their learning.  They have Data folders we regularly use to track their multiplication goals, fluency goals and Common Core State Standard goals.  All of that data is in a folder on paper, I would like to change that and transfer their data online.  This goal would be ISTE 3d, process data and report results.  I think they would really like entering in their data and how much they have grown in an online setting.  They love seeing their progress and growth and I think they would love it more if they had their very own way to do it online.  I feel like we are a goal directed classroom, but going digital would be a huge step, more for me than them.  To accomplish this goal I will need to find out what kind of goal orientated apps/website are out there.  I need to ask our Data Coaches if they have any experience in these applications and if they have any suggestions on where to start.  For now, a Google and app store search is a good place to start my research.
My third goal falls under the "Active" section in the Technology Integration Matrix.  Throughout my four years of teaching, I feel like I have progressed from Entry level which focuses on typing programs to Adoption where I am regulating their activities.  I think this stems from a lack of knowledge on my part. I don't feel comfortable just being the guide and letting them do their own thing.  By nature I like to control things, with some of these sites/apps I don't have that control and they do.  I know this is a good thing and that is how they learn, because I know it's how I learn.  So to improve on my kids taking an active roll in their learning I need to focus on some concepts where they get to explore and discover what they can.  I need to learn to be the guide and let their learning be self directed.  I am going to really rely on other teachers to direct me to what kind of subjects work best.  I know there are math apps out there were they can design their own house and this would cover many standards we have been working on.  This goal aligns with ISTE 1b, create original works as a means as personal or group expression. 
After reflecting on the components of the Technology Integration Matrix,  I know I have a lot of areas where I can grow as a teacher and learner.  There are so many wonderful sites and apps I can use in my classroom.  I need to take advantage of the teachers in our district who know to do the things I don't.  I am not one to ask for help, and I need to do that.  I expect my kids to do it, so I need to do it too.