DEN Summer Institute 2010

I attended my first DEN Summer Institute last week at Bentley University in MA. Met many amazing educators (DEN Stars!) and learned a great deal.  Lodge McCammon‘s all day workshop taught me many new (and simple) ways to use video (Flip cameras) with my students. Can’t wait to have them create their first Paper Slide video or act out a math concept. I am working on finding lower elementary songs to use in concept music videos Lodge Style. Had a great time making the video on Plant Cells with the whole group.

Matt Monjan did a great job showing us all the new features of the Discovery Education website, especially the Builder Tools. I look forward to using the Assignment Builder, Quiz Builder, and Writing Prompt Builder with my class this year. I had fun showing these features to some teachers this morning and it was fun to watch their amazement and excitement at using these tools. One of the teachers kept texting another teacher while we were talking to share the site with her.

I enjoyed meeting Peter Reynolds and visiting his Fablevision studio. The Fablevision website has many wonderful resources for educators. There are Flash versions of some stories as well as a free download of Benjamin’s Bowtie in the Fable Library. He was nice enough to autograph a copy of So Few of Me for each of us. He also autographed my copy of The Dot that I brought along. His books are perfect springboards for lessons on creativity and caring and it will be fun to plan lessons around them.

Hall Davidson joined us later in the week and shared Web 2.0 tools and great tips for making movies with Green Screen and DE Streaming. His presentations are always filled with many great tips/ideas/websites.  I enjoyed talking to him about the ways I have used Green Screen with my 2nd graders.

We used Edmodo as a backchannel during the Institute and it was a great way to learn how to use this tool. We had fun putting up polls, questions, links and images. It still is being used by the DEN Summer Institute attendees to share our trips home, reflections, ideas, links.

Loved all the free stuff – Discovery Blanket, Book signed by Peter Reynolds, DE T-shirt and Glogster T-shirt, great note cards from Florida (Thanks Francie), Hyperstudio, etc.

I enjoyed this first DEN Summer Institute and hope to attend again in the future. I know many people put in a great deal of time to make it happen and I am very thankful. I met Lance Rougeux and many of the DEN leaders for the first time and am impressed by their hard work and leadership. Lance and the  DEN crew were there to make sure we had a wonderful and educational experience. They were amazing!

This blog entry is cross posted on

Landforms Mash-Up

Last fall I created a video explaining Landforms (and Bodies of Water) with my second graders. I decided to combine this video with Discovery Education clips to create a video that I could use with my in coming second graders. While I could simply show the student video, the inclusion of DE clips allows it to provide more information. I could also show the DE video on its own, however I believe that by combining the two it will be more engaging for the students and if the students are engaged, then chances are they will remember the material and make those important connections.  The in coming group will enjoy watching the group from last year, and will be excited about making their own class video. We will then get to watch the video that we created – thus reinforcing the concepts even more.

Making the video is always fun. What looks like it takes seconds to film usually involves many retakes and giggles.The lines are repeated over and over by the “actors” and heard over and over by the rest of the class. The class usually has something to complete at their seat while we film, but I know their attention is on the group in front of the camera.

Here is a sampling of the video – it is too large to embed the entire video – So I edited it to show just a few segments.

My Media Mash-Up

 This blog entry is crossed posted at

In a DEN Blog post by Hall Davidson, he asks for video Mash-ups created by teachers or students. He wants to showcase some of them when he presents at ISTE 2010.
As I am on summer vacation (first week), still in my creative/work mode, and have many video clips still on my laptop, I decided to see what I could come up with.
I started with a recording of my 2nd graders singing
“I Know and Old Lady.”  They sang this in music class and I thank our wonderful music teacher Mr. V for playing the piano and recording this during class. (He used my iPod Nano with a microphone attachment.)

I then searched Discovery Streaming for clips of the animals mentioned in the song and downloaded them. As I am using a Mac and iMovie 09, I next needed to add the videos to my iTunes library and using the Advanced tab, convert the clip to an iPad (or iPhone) version. Now the clips are in a format that iMovie 09 will recognize. I did a Google search for Old Lady pictures and then used Blabberize to animate some of them. (Blabberize lets you download your animation as a video for free.) After the animals, Old Lady pics, and song were added to the timeline, I choose clips of my students that were filmed with Green Screen. We made quite a few videos this year, so I had many clips to choose from. The video might have been better if the student clips showed them actually singing or acting out the scene, and if I did this during the school year I would have had the children decide how to illustrate each section of the song.
This was fun to create! A great start to my summer.