Raving Over Resources

Wow! Have you seen the new videos released by Discovery? Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson are total rock stars! These videos provide some great tutorials to get you started on your journey into the world of Web 2.0. I have embedded one of my favorites below… as it includes information about Wordle, Glogster, and Voicethread, three of my favorite Web 2.0 tools. I also love it, because it features one of my Glogs that showcases my students’ work. (Inventor glog) Be sure to check out all of these informative videos… you won’t be sorry!

Crazy for Chroma Key?

Are you crazy for Chroma key? Do you even know what Chroma key is? Well, let me explain. This term is commonly connected to the words “Digital Storytelling”. Chroma key is used when a color from one image is removed, revealing a picture beneath.  How does this work? Well,  the key to doing this is a greenscreen and Adobe Premiere Elements4 software. A greenscreen is merely a solid green background that is hung on a wall. You can use a big green sheet, or even paint the wall green.

My active little first graders absolutely love to be in front of the greenscreen. They love to move! Do your students like to move? Why not help them move right onto the silver screen as they star in their very own curriculum video? Our students today are media-minded. A great way to engage and motivate them to express their knowledge is through creative storyboarding and collaboration. Creating digital stories is a great way for students to engage in higher level thinking skills and for teachers to differentiate instruction. Writing scripts, debates or interviews allows students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic, theme or experience through deeper understanding. They can represent and elaborate on knowledge through creative writing, communication and movement. This is also a great way to assess student learning.

Check out some of my first grade examples below. It’s so easy to adapt this form of digital storytelling to all areas of your curriculum. What are some ways you could use a greenscreen in your classroom? Please share!





To Simplify… or NOT?!

I never really thought about it… but technology simplifies my life in so many ways. I use technology everyday for both personal and professional use. Technology simplifies my personal life by enabling me to pay bills online, shop online, and connect and collaborate with friends, colleagues, and family through Skype, Twitter, and Facebook. With two young boys, I get my “me time” when they go to bed. It’s my time to relax and reflect as I catch up with friends, read my favorite blogs and check out my favorite websites.

Professionally, technology simplifies my life by enabling me to connect with other educators through Email, Twitter, Ning, Wikis and Blogs. I have an awesome professional learning network and tons of support. As a primary teacher, I understand the value of home-school connections, and technology makes this easy for me! It allows me to bridge the gap between school and home. My classroom website was created so that parents can access classroom news and view student work. Technology also enables me to view my son’s grades online… and he’s only in second grade! Technology allows me to have the whole world at my fingertips…and simply simplifies my life. How about yours?

Neat-o Word Mosaic

So… Check this out! I came across this site today that is very similar to Wordle.net called Image Chef. Image Chef lets you create Word Mosiacs, as well as other fun projects… (which I haven’t had the chance to play around with yet). This differs from Wordle, in that you do not have to type words more than once for size variation. There is one text box to type in, and you choose the font and color of the text. There are also different shapes and styles to choose from. Very neat! Check out the one I created below… I modeled it for the PA DEN Blog.

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com

Dinosaur Fossils…

So… B-7 has been studying dinosaurs… and what better way to excite students than a fossil hunt!! I ‘mixed up’ some dinosaur fossils for the kiddos to find. We’ve learned so much about paleontologists and fossils these past few weeks, that this was the perfect way for them to demonstrate what they’ve learned. They were so excited to “become paleontologists” for the day. Check out the video below. :) Once the “baby dinosaurs” were discovered… creative writing filled the classroom. Check out their stories here.

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