Monday, January 26, 2009

Elementary Projects- Google Maps and More

If you were to offer 3rd-5th grade students a ticket to anywhere in the virtual world, where would you guess their overall favorite place would be?(*answer below) We have been going all over the map with the help of the updated tools in Google Maps. Driving directions have been the most popular use of Google Maps, but please take a look at what you can find now.

Students wanted to get a close-up look at the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, and Niagara Falls. Students who have lived in other places got a glimpse of their former hometown, and some even saw their actual home.

These trips took us to Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, Nevada, California, North Carolina, and many more. We also got to see far away places like Rome,Tokyo, Berlin, and Lithuania. Travelers shared vacation spots from San Francisco to Washington, DC. Zooming in on South Carolina in Terrain View helped students in their understanding of our state’s geographical layout.

Explore more at Google Maps Tours Video clips, and detailed tutorials will help your family plan trips, avoid traffic, and help children feel more comfortable before riding unfamiliar public transit systems.

First and Second grade Technology classes joined online projects with classes
nation-wide. Students enjoyed checking the map that shows the schools that
are participating in the Winter Wonderland Project. Students shared their knowledge of places, and they learned many new locations too. See
Google Map of participants

Please click here to see some of our Winter projects listed by class:
1st grade:
2nd grade:

More collaborative projects are coming our way for new Technology
classes this semester!
See other items about our classes:
Foreign Languages on Voicethread and Microscopes in the Technology class.

I wonder if the favorite place of the new semester’s classes will also be their *own home?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wordle and the Presidents

What is a Wordle? My elementary technology students are learning to create and format lots of them. For our purposes, a Wordle is a word cloud that shows main ideas and details of your selected text. We chose inauguration speeches for a hallway display titled Guess the President.

It is becoming a big hit - especially after Mrs. L Smith, a 4th grade teacher, who correctly guessed one of Lilli's (her student) Wordle as Abraham Lincoln's speech. She explained the clues that she used to make her great guess! Her students were delighted that she joined in the fun in their technology class and came up with more ways to use Wordle to improve their writing. Other teachers are also brainstorming ways to use Wordle in their classes.

Today - unexpected music to my ears from a new student who asked, "Can I do this at home too?"

The Wordle above is not from Abraham Lincoln's speech. Can you make a good guess? What are some more ways to use Wordle in your classroom?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inauguration Watch

Keep up with inauguration news ! Do you know of any more resources for our classes? We are looking for more for elementary students.
If the widget below is not visible (blocked at your location), go to

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Setting Goals for Technology

Goal setting is the topic of the new year. In response to a blog in elementarytechteachers I came up with mine, so I need to document them here in my web log.

Before I do I have to mention a refreshing new blog I read today. Penny's take on the SEVEN THINGS meme was to include what I will call simply images with captions. We teach students how to understand more information by reading captions. What a better idea for our goal setting writing assignments she has inspired. Search for images that reflect your goals and write captions. Many web tools are available to learn and apply here. Just pick one...or two.

Last year was the year of wikis, blogs, podcasts, and voicethread to name a few. Twitter got a third try from me over the holiday and I have now realized the value in its use. I even unblocked messages on this blog - I can handle that now. I have tip-toed around Google docs and played with Google Earth. It is time to move on now.

So here are my technology goals for 2009:

1.Google Docs - For collaborating- I need to find those who know and encourage others to go along with me too.
2. Google Earth - I want to build and use more meaningful lessons. Right now I am working it in on two projects.
3. Collaborative Projects - I love to join other classes whether down the street or across the globe. Now it is time to MAKE them happen too. Working on that and crossing my fingers.
4. Maintain & Repair - Take tools and projects that I started, finished or dropped last year to their next level.
5. SMART Board - Build spectacular :) lessons with every tool for every subject and every level for every teacher... (You all get that way too - don't you?)

There they are. How about you?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Have You been Tagged by the SEVEN THINGS Meme?

Have you been tagged?

I was just tagged by Vicky S in the meme going around the education blog circles called “Seven Things”.

Here are the rules:

* Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.

* Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.

* Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.

* Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter and/or Plurk.

  1. My blogger friends probably do not know that I am the middle child of five children. I have an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister. The things that you have heard about a middle child are probably all true.
  2. I have a delightful 26-year old daughter and a wonderful 18-year old son. Time marches on….I miss following them around for sports and their other childhood events.
  3. My daughter and I love to cook and experiment with ideas in the kitchen. She lives in a few hours away, but we stay in close touch. We love to talk about dishes that we have tried at home or dining out at different restaurants. Must have gotten the loves-to-cook gene from my mother. She is still cookin' at 80-years old.
  4. Photography has been a secret thing that I want to pursue – some day. Thankfully my son has taken an interest in it, so I hope to learn from him. He has taken beautiful shots from the first day. Although I take lots of pictures - I do not have the artist's touch.
  5. Giraffes….for some reason I started collecting them many years ago. Maybe because they are tall, graceful, just a bit unusual, and have very kind eyes. I have them on all desks, shelves and at each computer at school. My students get attached to the one at their station. Digiraffe (short for Digital-giraffe) is our classroom mascot.
  6. I took a few years of piano lessons as a child and wish that I listened to my parents about practicing more. I still play sometimes when no one is at home. We purchased a digital piano – it has a volume control and I can plug up a head set.
  7. Love to sing and dance. I leave singing in public to others (my sisters). Another thing I do when no one is at home is crank up the music to sing and dance like I did when my children were small…and thought it was great fun.

Now...who to tag? Apologies in advance if you have already received this. I am behind in my blog readings, so here goes.

I would like to read the blogs and know more about:
Maddy Shapiro
Kevin Jarrett
Noel Forte
Adina Sullivan