Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pod casts

I just spent a lot of time looking over all the podcast information. I landed on Calais Middle School's podcasts. They have a wide variety of podcasts that I thought were very well done. I especially like the "We like to Dance" podcasts. Evidently, each student at Calais Middle School has to take one quarter of dance. At the end of the quarter they put on a "dance recital" as a podcast. Middle school kids of all shapes and sizes were dancing together to 1940's music as well as the YMCA. And, they looked like they were loving it.

I was very impressed with Mahoney Middle School's Health Podcast. I didn't realize we have so many students with a British accent! I thought some of the health podcasts were of high quality.
Good Job Robin!

Where to start? I can see my students making commercials to "sell a book" they just read. I can see myself making a podcast to help kids remember the steps to use when trying to recognize cause and effect in a reading or how to find the main idea in a reading. I envision this could be a series of mini lessons that students and parents could listen to at home. These are all possibilities that I would have to really think about before using. Right now I feel a little overwhelmed with all that we have learned in this class. Perhaps I will just stick with the Wiki Page I am trying to work on for right now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Full Moon, Mice Heads, and Legs

It seems to me that every year it doesn't take very long for things to become "crazy" "crazy" at Mahoney--full moon or not! I think it is because we are a school full of adolescents who are charged up on hormones and lets not forget that probably most of our faculty are 40-50 something women in varying stages of menopause! EVERYBODY comments how cold my room is when they come in. Hey, I'm hot--okay! It certainly makes for some good laughs when you can step back and take a look!

My biggest headache of the day was not at school and the changing schedule and my 6th graders needing to have it explained 50 times, but the 5 (yes I said 5!) mice heads I found on my front steps. My cat is a maniac! He eats every part of the mice except for the heads then vomits it all up late at night in our bedroom! Anybody want a black and white kitty?

I missed class today as I had my last sonogram on my leg after surgery in July. I am growing new veins (this just amazes me), no blood clots, and everything looks good. I can even walk up the stairs at Mahoney and not have a throbbing leg!

So, my 6th graders worked very hard on testing the last two days, almost everybody turned in the form saying their parents saw their progress reports, and I learned how to skype today! All is good in the world. I am off to learn about pod casting.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marvelous Marvel

This site is so rich! I could spend all day just looking to see what is available. Today I added new things to my folder. Primary Search is where I had the best luck finding lexile articles. I found great articles on immigrants that will fit nicely with my first READ 180 unit on immigration. I am ready to go----still just waiting for new licenses!

I think Marvel is a very good resource. There is so much there that sometimes I spend so much time just browsing.

End of September and a new family member!

Wonderful news! My niece had her baby yesterday. Little Ellie Kate is finally here and we are all very excited. Oh yes, I won the pool. My date was right! I won the right not to do dishes for the next family get together! Hmmmm.........

I am determined I am going to follow through with my Wiki Page on the novel, Rickshaw Girl. Next week, my students will write chapter summaries that I will put on the Wiki. Later, I will include our interview (by Skype) with the author. Now, I just have to find the time to do all this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wiki Wiki Teaching

I just read the blog entry on Wiki Wiki Teaching. I've explored several educational wiki sites and landed on an interesting 5th grade class that collaborated on a Wiki using a shared classroom novel.

I think I could possibly build a Wiki Page with my 6th grade students. We are currently reading,
Rickshaw Girl, by Mitali Perkins. We will also be SKYPING with Mitali Perkins! I am very excited about this. Would it be a good idea to build a wiki page with my class and then invite Mitali Perkins to collaborate with us? Hmm......I think I can do this! Connie and Steve, can you help me?

I'm thinking my students could each add a chapter summary, we could have a Bangladesh dictionary of words in the book, we could add information about the characters, and the plot. Maybe we could post a map of Bangladesh and add something about the area and culture of the people. We just read about Internation Mother Language Day in Bangladesh today. Perhaps we could do some research around that and add that to our wiki.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

RSS and Delicious

I think the idea of RSS is awesome and now I know what it is when I see that little symbol. I even taught my daughter about RSS. But, I have to say I haven't really checked it since I set it up in class. I just don't think to do it. I tend to use my portaportal, but I am experimenting with Delicious.

Curriculum activites and Google sites

I really like the curriculum activities site. I recognized a lot of different sites that I use and I know some other teachers use. This site is like a portaportal site. I guess there are many different ways to do the same thing using technology.

I think I have to go back and reread the tutor page for google sites. I tried to make a page and put a "word of the day" on it, but had too much trouble and it took a lot of time. I finally just got too frustrated to work on it any longer and had to take a break. I will go back and look over the information again, but at this point I think I would probably just use homeworknow.

I was thinking that when I decide what tools I will use from this class with my students, I want to make sure that it is about the learning and not just the jazzy tech stuff. I am thinking right now I might go with voicethread this year and do blogging again. Right now I feel like these two tools with allow me to get at the meat of the learning by using twenty first century tech tools.

However, we are not done with class yet! Still more great things to come I am sure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Old Bones

How did we get to the middle of September? I find now that I am in school all day I do not have the time to play around on my computer. Maybe I will find some time this weekend.

My 7th grade READ 180 students are so excited about getting their laptops tomorrow. I am going to try to do a blog with them in a few weeks. This should be interesting as it is a group of 9 boys! I'm going to be doing a lot of reading this year about sports, race cars, and I'm guessing gross stuff. Some one brought in possum bones today to show me and they didn't even clean them. The "yucky" bones did not smell very good. I asked them how they knew they were possum bones and they loudly exclaimed, "Mrs. Gott, we checked it out on the internet! I should have know!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Voicing my enthusiasm!

Wow! I like this voicethread thing. I saw a great site with 6th graders reading poetry and talking about what devices the poet used to appeal to the reader. I was very impressed. I spent a lot of time commenting on their work.

I will certainly be using this at some point this year. My students record themselves reading with the READ 180 program so this will be natural for them. I can see so many possibilities with this tool. I'm going to spend more time exploring this site for sure.

Connie and Steve, once again I want to say how much I like the way this class is structured. I was able to move through the voicethread tool at my own pace and try things when I was ready. I didn't have to worry that I was falling behind or I missed something.

ok, what's next? Bring it on!!!

We're Back............

The test will be this---can I concentrate after working all day as opposed to being on summer vacation? I think I can.

I've been blogging and even tried a few new tricks. I am ready to learn more! Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why can't I remember these things?

Today, I spent some time relearning how to use my grade book on Infinite Campus. Good Grief, I used it all last year without a lot of problems and this year I couldn't even remember how to set up my headings! I finally did it, but when I looked at it; the headings only show up on the quarter 1, quarter 2, quarter 3 and quarter 4 listings! Aren't they suppose to show up under quarter progress for each quarter too? Guess I will have to find some help.

I really got a sense of what some of our students must feel like when they are trying hard to do something and it just isn't working for them. At one point during the morning, I just wanted to yell out something, anything--just to let off some frustration. Instead, I just chewed some gum!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Links and Things

I am trying out links and things. This is me practicing. I need a lot of practice.

This is a link to runbetsyrun; my daughter's running blog.

I am also trying to post a picture. Here goes!

This is a picture of my kids and their significant others at a family wedding on Lake Michigan.

Fred (Betsy's boyfriend), Ted (my son), Tom (my other son), Sarah (Tom's girlfriend), Nina (Ted's girlfriend), and Betsy (my daughter).

I need more practice with picturing......
I love this picture! It reminds me of ME on a bad hair day!

One more thing to try because I want to be like Holly.

This is not from the family wedding in Michigan, but I like this video. It makes me laugh!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I had a few minutes today to play around with the new tools we are learning. I went to and looked around. I saw some pretty cool things and saw how teachers are using voicethread in their classes. I can't wait to learn more about it as I am already thinking about how I might use this tool in my class. I wonder if you can put voicethread and music together? I think I will go back and explore some more.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

google docs - interesting

Today I played around with google docs. It is much easier than I thought. I was able to send my doc out for editing by others and I could watch as they were making their editing remarks. How cool is that! I am beginning to see the possibilities on how to use this in my READ 180 class; especially with struggling writers. One huge problem I have with my READ 180 students is that when they write they write once and then they are done. They think revision means to fix a spelling error. I really have to work hard at teaching them this is editing and not revision. Google docs would be an easy way for them to practice revision and get better at it.

I probably won't jump in right away with this, but it is something I will try to use maybe after Christmas. I still have many new things to learn about google docs.

Day 4 reflection

The week is done already? Last night a friend asked about my class. I said I've learned so much in just three days, but my head was spinning. I like that I can go home in the afternoon and play around with what I have learned in the morning.

I did a class blog last year with my students. I developed a rubric for scoring their comments. I did this all as a pilot to see how kids responded to blogging and how to evaluate what they were writing. I really wanted my students to respond to my thinking. I wanted them to comment on my thinking and respond with their own thinking. It took awhile to get my 6th graders away from commenting with "cool dawg". When I refused to accept that type of comment and modeled what exactly I was looking for, I got better responses. I shared my rubric for commenting on the blog with another 6th grade teacher and she used it too. We got together to revise it and will try it again this year. We still have a few questions for Steve K. and will be asking for his input this year as well.

I am so consumed with learning the other tools like RSS and igoogle that I have not really thought about how I might use those tools in class. I always need to see examples of how tools have actually been used with students. Then I process it and think how I can adapt it for my students and my teaching style. At any rate, I am ready to learn new things today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Delicious - yummy new tool for me

When I first started working with Delicious I was a little lost. However, I got on a roll and I know I will be going back to this a lot. I've added a lot of new sites and I can't wait to go back and explore in depth some of them. I have to admit, I've heard Steve K. talk about delicious before this class and just thought he was referring to his usual morning snack. The more he talked about it the more I realized he was referring to some technology tool. Now, I have a better idea what delicious is all about. There is so much out there! I found a wonderful site on grammar that I think middle school students would like. It is has almost everything you would ever want to know about grammar but more importantly it looks fun.

How will I use this with kids? Am I ready to use this somehow in my classroom? I think right now I will use it personally and probably this year do a little more with blogging. Lynne can appreciate this....I once jumped off the very top of Frye's Leap. It took me 6 different trips to the leap with my family with everybody jumping and teasing me to jump. After 6 trips watching, studying, and thinking I probably could do it----I finally did! I have made many jumps since and think No Big Deal. Maybe all of this technology stuff will come to be No Big Deal to me too!

My Hopes for Today - 3rd Day

I'm just moving on hoping to get a quick learn on how to bookmark on delicious today. I impressed my daughter with what I have learned so far, but my sons were not all that impressed. I have a portaportal I set up a few years ago. That seemed easy enough for me to do, but now I am wondering how is that different from delicious?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brand new laptop and multi-tasking

It is 4:30 on Tuesday and I am using my new Macbook, watching Oprah (regular bacon is better for you than turkey bacon), keeping an eye out my window watching for my elderly neighbor as I already had to help him back to his house today after he went out for a walk, and believe it or not texting back and forth with my son. Now that is muti-tasking!

This course must be working for me. I had the confidence to go ahead and change my password on my new apple, figured out how to change the network while I am at home and after this post I am going to investigate about how to print from my new laptop.

I guess I am not all that different from some of my students. I just need the motivation to learn(discussions in class about the importance of new tech skills in our professional and personal lives), confidence to try new things (calm, caring instruction from our two teachers), and time to practice and play (still summer vacation!).

update on new tricks

The way class was conducted this morning really matched my learning style. I could read and reread at my own pace and then when I was ready (when my confidence was up) I could go ahead at my own speed and try new things. Holly and Henry are great seat mates as I tend to talk myself through things when I am learning something new. They have been very patient and helpful! I will go home and play with this RSS thing.

I will have to be careful about filling the RSS feed with too many interesting things! I am thinking I will have to put in what is relevant and important to me as a teacher and personally. Figuring out what is important as opposed to what is interesting; hmmmmm, sounds like what I am always trying to teach my reading students.

So far so good. It is good for me to be a learner again; especially right before school starts.
My hopes for today are to learn how to use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and I would like to know more about adding a link while blogging and why people do that? Sometimes I see links all over the place for every little thing! I am interested in the igoogle site after watching Holly navigate around her site yesterday. My biggest hope and goal is to conquer this apprehension I have around new technology.

I thought the conversations yesterday were interesting and I am looking forward to hearing more from people and entertaining new ideas. I woke up this morning looking forward to class.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Learning New Tricks

The day I turned fifty I took time out to reflect on all the lessons and tricks I have learned during the past fifty years. There are too many to write about in this blog. The day I turned 51 I took time to think about all the lessons and tricks I have yet to learn! I am always open to new learning, but I must admit not always confident. Technology is not a huge comfort area for me. It moves too fast and I find myself still thinking about and trying to learn some technology that is "so yesterday" as my own kids often remind me.

I am excited to learn new tricks in this course. I will make myself a promise to be a little more self assured to try new things. My mind is racing already with new ideas about how to incorporate meaningful SSR with my reading intervention kids. I read a interesting blog about letting kids read blogs written by kids during SSR time. I am in intrigued by a comment I read in the blog about how we are always concerned with kids creating content and how it is just as important for kids to consume content. This really challenges my SSR assumptions and forces me to think outside the box. I'm thinking I will play around with this new trick this year.