Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Salmon Release 2012! NATURE JEPORADY GAME FOR OUTDOOR LEARNING!

This week is my school's annual salmon release and I'm in charge of it!  The salmon tank lives in the hall right outside of the library.  The above photo is a picture of them as they are turning from alevin to fry!  You can still see their yolk sacs hanging down in the above picture.  This is before they actually started swimming.   The stream is right behind our school so we actually walk down there.  We've got this great ampitheater where the kids sit and then we send two kids down at a time.   Here's my challenge. I have to keep the kids who are waiting entertained and it is OFTEN RAINY!  So I've created this Jeporady game that is hopefully completely waterproof!  It uses macrame cords to connect sticks together to make the Jeporady grid.  I used a hot glue gun to attach wooden clothespins to the cords. Then I made and laminated question cards in four categories:  Salmon Spelling, Salmon Challenge (harder, multistepped questions), Know Your Fish, and Know the Puget Sound.  The "Know the Puget Sound" category allowed me to give the kids some greater knowledge about the problem of stormwater runoff.  I'm pretty proud of how it turned out and it looks great when it is hung on the tree in front of the ampitheater.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DOCERI interactive whiteboard iPad App -- Review


Doceri is an interactive whiteboard app for the iPad with the great $50 price point and the thirty day trial.  I recently saw it at the NCCE Conference, which is the Northwest region’s educational computing conference.  I decided to try it out in my library for the last two days.  This is what I’ve discovered: 

1.        Doceri connects the iPad to a computer wirelessly.  It was reasonably easy to do this, although I kept on having to make sure that my iPad app had the right IP address for my computer.  The Doceri Desktop software did indicate what my IP address was at the connection screen.  I appreciated how simple troubleshooting this was.  There is also the potential to use a QR code for connection but I didn’t choose to do this. 

2.       So once I logged on, it was pretty easy to use the Doceri iPad app as a mouse.  I was specifically trying to see how often I had to go to the computer to do something because I couldn’t do it with Doceri I was able to click around and play Safari Montage clips (my video streaming service) for students and only had to approach the computer at the end of the clip so that I could escape out of full screen using the escape key.  

3.       I used my SMART Board Notebook slides that I already created as a part of the lesson.  What I discovered was that I couldn’t manage to manipulate the screen using the SMARTNotebook interface.  I couldn’t draw by selecting the SMART Notebook pen and I couldn’t drag elements around the Notebook screen.  BUT… 

4.       I could add a Doceri layer on top of the Notebook screen and was easily able to write text upon the Notebook slide.  I could have saved it as a Doceri drawing as well.  I really liked writing on Doceri.  I did use a Targus stylus with the rubber tip but I can see where the Doceri pen would be a vast improvement upon this.  I did test this out at the conference and it was very responsive. 

5.       I did use the built-in Doceri keyboard and it did work well.  It is smaller and with more keys on one screen than the actual iPad keyboard so a user will NOT be using ten fingers to type  on it but will either use the stylus or the hunt and peck method. 

6.       I tried to do a lesson which required me to be able to copy text from one screen to another.  I could NOT figure out how to select text for copying and pasting.  I’d be very happy to learn how to do this but the Doceri help information didn’t seem to have anything on this one.  It’s my assumption that you really can’t do that on Doceri.
 
7.       I did not test out the feature which basically records all the steps that you make when presenting a lesson so that the lesson can advance without you.  I did see that demonstrated at the conference.  There’s a great model lesson where the United States are slowly drawn in the order that they entered the Union.  I can see where this would be a nice thing but I’m trying to find an application for it in how I teach. 

8.       Bottom line… for $50 bucks???  It’s AWESOME!!!! Especially if most of what you do is write on your white board.  I’m also thinking that it’s going to improve as well.  

9.       I’m also thinking that this could be something that would be useful for the special education kid in the general education classroom who simply can’t come to the front of the room to present something on the whiteboard but yet wants to contribute.  Put the Doceri on that student’s iPad and occasionally say, “Okay, it’s your turn to drive.  Can you tell us what you think?”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things learned from the NCCE 2012 conference

Our regional technology conference is called NCCE and it was held in Seattle last week. Here are some things that I learned from it.

1. A new poet to follow: Taylor Mali gave the keynote address, which embarrassingly brought me to tears at points. "Let me teach... Like I'm on the edge of losing everything."
2. Going beyond digital curation: ├╝ber librarian Christopher Harris challenged us with many ideas, some that I did not want to hear. One was the idea of producing more quality information along with others. The other was to hold off on attempting to get into ebooks as a school librarian. The large publishing house ebook market hasn't created great structure for us yet. Although smaller publishers like Rosen are doing amazing things as well as Mackinaw VIA. Rosen has a CyberSmart ebook series that is worth taking a greater look at. The idea of creating and sharing information and curriculum was something that I can appreciate. I enjoyed spending some time on curriki.org and may go back again soon.
3. A few new Apps to look at: I was thrilled to see others at the conference using Evernote to take notes on the iPad. I was starting to think that I was the only one using that robust and creative tool.
Also downloaded iBook Creator. I am pretty disappointed in it after todays session. As far as I can tell you can't make the pages text wrap. I think that the best use of iBook Creator is for photo stories. I can see using it with a class where they have to take pictures with an iPad and then provide a narrative. After downloading iBook Creator and being disappointed, I went ahead and downloaded the open source ebook creation tool called Sigil. More on that after I finish my project on it.
4. Twitter. Not wanting to feel behind the times at a Tech conference (fate worse than death) I finally signed up for a Twitter account. Really enjoyed using the conference hash tag to see what people were thinking about. Have plans to continue Tweeting and reading especially with hash tag #tlchat and #edchat. So much to read and learn.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Accelerated Reader's report on what kids are reading!

Accelerated Reader's report on what kids are reading! 

This is a really fascinating list.  It takes all that data from all that AR quizzing that is going on in the nation's schools and lists the books that are the most popular at each grade level and then breaks it down by boys and girls.  Not surprisingly, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a top of the list for 5th and 6th grade.  Hunger Games and Rick Riordan's books are also right up there.

It was also interesting to see which books must be read as an all-class read.  One of my personal favorites, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, was highly ranked. 

Worth glancing at and even sharing with students at your grade level!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Here is my last minute Dr. Seuss costume since I planned a spirit day for my school with a Dr. Seuss theme! A wordle iron on of all the words in Green Eggs and Ham.  Here's the Wordle that I found.  All credit goes to the "Journal of Cartoon Overanalyzations."