Thursday, October 4, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
I have come across several wonderful posts for the International Week of the Gifted 2012 Blog Tour (#IWG12). This tour has provided me with insights into what’s going on in gifted education around the world from folks who are dedicated to advocating for this very unique learner population. I almost feel like the guest who is a bit tardy to the party, but nonetheless would love to jump in by sharing the importance of connecting our children on a global scale.
Over my short career as a gifted education teacher, I have found that technology has opened our classroom and our minds. It has allowed my students to see themselves beyond their homes, communities, and even country. It has exposed them to life models, who much like themselves, have faced some challenges but have succeeded. But more importantly, technology has allowed my students to connect, learn, and share with other children like them. This communication and collaboration is crucial if we are to prepare today’s 21st Century learners into tomorrow’s leaders. If you currently serve or work with gifted learners, I strongly encourage you to start making these connections! There is no right or wrong tool or even approach to make this happen.
To celebrate my gifted students, I am sharing our adventures in connecting with the world through this video. I hope you enjoy it and welcome you to join us and other gifted classrooms around the world!
Why Gifted Kids Should be Sponges Not Spongers via Gifted Chatter (New Zealand)
Monday, July 9, 2012
- Nancy mentioned some collaborative writing activities in her post and I really like this approach. One app worth mentioning for the pre-writing stages is Scoot & Doodle. Students can use this tool to draw their own webs, characters, or illustrations for stories or poems. Another variation would be to have classes draw Rebus Puzzles and solve each other's puzzles.
- Another excellent app for visual learners is Cacoo. This would work well for illustrating an array of concepts because it provides several templates for mind maps and flowcharts. These would work well for collaborative research projects.
- Google Docs is also integrated into the Hangouts, which would make it easier for smaller groups of students to take notes or collect information during a Hangout. I am wondering though if it would be possible and perhaps easier to have a couple students take notes live on other computers on that shared Google Doc in real-time so those in front of the hot seat (or webcam) are talking instead of typing.
- I plan to continue our Novel Study Units and hope to utilize Google+ Hangouts to talk with all our participating classes at the same time and play Vocabulary and Character Trait Games. We also plan on incorporating Readers' Theater using Google Effects. This should be fun!
- I also stumbled on A Story Before Bed. Although I did not get a chance to fully explore book title options, it looks like great app to use with younger learners, especially those who are learning English or to read. Wouldn't it be great for my students to start a virtual Buddy Reading Program with a younger class? We'll see what the future holds for this app.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Elle's Dream List
1. Travel to a new country every 2-3 years
2. Visit a different U.S. city every year
3. Teach abroad for about 3-5 years
4. Secure a career path that involves technology & education or gifted education (or both!)
5. Become a homeowner
6. Run a 10K race
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
1. Content Specific Calls- This year I decided to focus on Math with my enrichment group to practice and apply skills in a fun way. To learn more, check out my Math Skype Buddies post.
2. Celebrity Skype Calls- Thanks to some connections made on Twitter, we were able to talk to a couple celebrities. Our kids were very excited about these calls! Check out our calls with Olivia Holt, from Disney's Kickin It, and Kristan Cunningham, from HGTV and the OWN Network.
3. Collaborative Projects- This year we combined Skype and Edmodo to work on novel study units for Tuck Everlasting and The Whipping Boy.
4. Skype Jobs- This is the first year we tried Skype Jobs during our calls. These are a must when it comes to talking to guest expert speakers, during Mystery Skype Calls, or during games/competitions for Math.
Have a look at some clips from our calls. My hope is to continue to connect with classes around the world and work on more collaborative projects that combine several Web 2.0 tools. What ways have you used Skype this year? Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Skype moments.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
As with most Skype calls in my class, I assigned Skype Jobs. Here is a summary of some of the jobs:
1. Greeters & Inquirers- These students were responsible for greeting our class and asking our questions.
2. Map Keepers- These students had atlases and Google Maps available to narrow down the location based on clues.
3. Question Keepers- These students kept careful track of the questions asked and reported these to the Inquirers.
4. Logical Reasoners- These students were responsible for listening to the clues given and putting the pieces together to determine the exact location. They worked with the Question Keepers to construct questions.
5. Runners- These students were messengers who shared clues, questions, or tips between the Map Keepers and the Logical Reasoners. They also were responsible for giving the Inquirers our class' questions.
And if you're wondering where to find classes to try out a Mystery Call here a few places to look:
1. Skype in the Classroom- I posted my project here and received many responses from other teachers who are members of this site. To join this fast-growing community, click here. To view my project page, click here.
2. Twitter- There are many teachers on Twitter who are currently seeking classrooms for Mystery Skype Calls. I normally come across them tweeting and RT to help them find others in my own PLN.
3. Twitter Chats- Several grade level chats on Twitter have accompanying wikis where participants can sign up for Mystery Skype Calls. A few include #4thchat and #6thchat. If you click on these chat names, you will be directed to their Mystery Skype sign up page on their wiki.
I hope that these resources help in your journey with Mystery Skype Calls and enjoy them as much as we have!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
This has been my first year to use Edmodo with my classes. My students have taken to it like fish to water. But even more so, it has opened up opportunities to write for different purposes. I think this is important because students need to see writing as another form of communication.
Here are several ways we have incorporated Edmodo in our gifted classes:
Weekly Journal Entries- I normally prompt students to make connections with the topic they are exploring and their own experiences. Instead of just limiting journal writing to a notebook, now students are able to post and share their thoughts, opinions, concerns, and doubts with others. The instant feedback my students receive provides further affirmation for their writing.
Collaborative Projects- In the fall we used Edmodo to collaborate with classes during The Global Read Aloud. We created a group where students could post their reactions and predictions to the novel, Tuck Everlasting. This semester, I am incorporating that same structure to create Book Clubs for several novels we are studying. I am taking it a step further to post some products such as illustrations from a section of the book that other partner classes can guess (Literature Circle Job), Haikus about nature (for The Whipping Boy), and video trailers for the novels. I am interested in seeing the feedback and dialogues that take place through these Book Club Groups.
Keeping in Touch with Former Students-This year we were sad to see two of our students move. To keep in touch, I created a group where the class can leave notes and keep their fellow classmates updated in the happenings of our classroom. I even awarded them a “We Miss You” badge.
Checking in After-Hours or during an Extended Break- My students love Edmodo so much that they asked if they could log in at home. They love to see what their classmates are doing on the weekends, during holidays or breaks. I think that this communication among peers is essential in maintaining the sense of community that we have. However, as informal as the communication may be in these instances, I always stress the usage of correct grammar, punctuation, and complete thoughts.
How do you use Edmodo in your classroom? What have been your favorite features? I would love to hear your ideas!