Friday, June 6, 2014

Time to start gathering the ideas for next year!

As a mom of four who is working on a huge new project, preparing for a conference, and supposed to be cleaning my house......I figured I would put all of that off to start working on some of the cool ideas I am seeing and looking at implementing next year. (Who says teachers don't work over the summer???)
  • Pen Pal News - This has been completely revamped and I am so excited about it. They connect you and your students with classes across the globe based on your language, level, and maybe age (?). They give a free trial, and after that it is $1.99 per student. I am able to easily cover this cost with the fees students pay to be in Spanish class. It utilizes video tools to give some lessons and, of course, students are expected to write to their pen pals. It also helps meet some of those Common Core goals with 21st century learning and literacy.You can choose when your session is and for how long. I chose a six week session beginning in October, because I thought that would give me enough time to get the kids going. Check it out for yourself. 
  • History Pin - This is a resource I found on Free technology for teachers. I think this looks like a great idea to find information, and classes can create lessons as well. Here is the description from Free tech for teachers
    • Historypin is probably my favorite service for locating geo-located historical imagery. After writing my post about Views of Venice I explored Historypin for the first time in a few months and enjoyed exploring some of the Historypin channels and tours of geolocated imagery. On all of the Historypin channels you will find, at a minimum, galleries of historical images geolocated onto Google Maps. Many of the channels also include a tour that you can flip through to view connected image sets. Historypin is largely a crowd-sourced effort. Your students could contribute to an existing Historypin project or create projects of their own. Historypin allows anyone with a Google account to place images within the setting of current Google Maps Streetview imagery. Your students could create a Historypin project of their own by going to your local history society, scanning historical images, and placing them into a map. (Try using the CamScanner app for iOS and Android to scan images without having to use a dedicated scanner).
  • Classroom blogs - I have been using a classroom blog, but not to its full potential. I am looking at increasing student usage for next year in meaningful ways. I think this is a great intro/rehash of why classroom blogs are so important. You can use Blogger, Wordpress, Edmodo - just remember to use the format that makes the most sense for yourself and your students. For example, we are a Google school, so Blogger made the most sense for me since our students already had the login information and can upload easily. Here is my blog from last year. Students in lower levels were not required to comment on others posts, and you can see how well that worked. I always choose prompts based on what we are learning, current events, or school activities.
  • Using music in the classroom - Do you love music? Do you wish you could use more in your class, but don't have time to sift through lots of songs to find the right one? Then do I have the link for you. Thanks to El Mundo de Birch, here is a database of over 1200 songs!
  • Here is a post that just came up with some great Ed Tech tools, especially for videos and engagement. Can't wait to try these out!
These are some of the things that I am checking out so far. If you find great info, please comment and share. Hopefully in July I will have another list of some of the great resources I have discovered in my curriculum planning and from FlipCon14.