Archive | December, 2011

Learning Log- Ending Module 4 and The Final

18 Dec

As much work as this module and the others were, I’ve put off writing my last 2 learning logs not because I am a procrastinator (hahaha), but because I almost don’t want to see class end. I know that sounds like the craziest thing I could possibly say but this class has forced me to invest time into my learning that was completely necessary in order to become familiar with all the tools we needed to learn.  I’ve appreciated the knowledge that’s been passed to me and the positive impact it can have in my classroom.  I’ve really enjoyed comments from my fellow classmates and did learn a lot from their sites and posts. Some of them can still do things that I don’t know how to do but at least I know it can be done. I really enjoyed seeing all the final projects and the great ideas across so many different content areas.

The background for our final project is as follows: “Effective integration of technology into classroom instruction will help students acquire necessary skills to be competitive and productive members of a global society. Technology should be integrated across all content areas and should create an environment which encourages active engagement, group participation, authentic tasks, and frequent interaction and feedback. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.”

Using the wiki to organize our project is great because I probably wouldn’t have worked with it anymore after we did our Screencast projects. I couldn’t see all the advantages of wikis from just that one project. I love the tabs. They keep everything organized and in an easy to follow format. The widget feature allows for so many tools to be embed/incorporated into the wiki. My wiki I was so excited when I was able to link my VoiceThread to my wiki but also be able to view it right there on the wiki page.  That was exciting to me! Also, when I was able to view my Voki on my home page, I was ecstatic because I’ve never done that before! I really did excited over the smallet of things but I never would have invested all of this time if I had not been in this course. I literally have had almost no free time since this course began and when I did take too much personal time away from this class, the effects were detrimental. It was definitely a lot to juggle and I’m hoping that my efforts pay off. I stretched myself, I did things I didn’t think I would/could, and I learned some personal lessons that have caused me to reflect and analyze the way that I balance life, work, school, family, and friends.

I want to make one last comment on the last sentence of the background information on our final projects. I really cannot wait until technology becomes just that. I hope technology becomes just something we do on a consistent basis, use in all classrooms, and with all teachers. When this happens, maybe our students will leave school just a little more prepared for that global society of ours.

Learning Log- Looking back…

18 Dec

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) give Standards for Foreign Language Learning.  They state that communication

in the target language, or in my case, Spanish, is understood as a process that involves three modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.

Within those modes are five genres that teachers use to help students better comprehend the language they are learning. They are listening, speaking, reading, writing,

and viewing.

Looking back over the tools we covered in the last 8 weeks, I wanted to more closely examine which tools would best match each genre specifically. With a little research, I

actually found an article that addresses this this topic specifically. The article begins with the listening genre and states that it’s more than just getting the statements made by

 each person. It’s “morphology, syntax, vocabulary (grammatical competence), the social and cultural expectations of native speakers in the language studied (sociolinguistic

competence), how to use pronouns and conjunctions in a cohesive and coherent manner.” Learners also need to be able to make educated guesses to fill in the blanks when they

hear words they do not recognize. Students can listen to a conversation, poem, music, broadcast, presentation, or story and do everything listed above but what about

technology? Students can listen to videos on youtube, podcasts online, skype with someone who can speak Spanish, download music from an app on their phone, or listen to a


After listening and interpreting, the student will probably be dying to share their input. Next comes speaking. In class, we try to do a lot of that. However, little technology has

been incorporated up until this point. Conversations with partners are common, acting out skits, singing, telling a story, or describing someone or something are all common

activities in my classroom. But why not capture these moments so that they can be viewed again by the student or by others who could learn from their words? We have flip

cameras at my school to capture skits or plays students are working on. These can be uploaded onto teachertube to reach a wider audience and even put into moviemaker or

photostory. The audio could be recorded so students can hear what they sounded like at the beginning of the year versus now. Students can speak on their or others’


Currently, there is a big push for collaborative and argumentative writing in the classroom. So besides pen and paper, what can be done? GoogleDocs is the first tool that comes

to mind. I can give students extra individualized help by utilizing googledocs and informally check for comprehension. Students can chat or email with other students learning

the same content as they are or can even write to a native speaker. Online discussions are popping up everywhere on twitter, facebook, diigo, blogs, and wikis. Journaling about

what you are learning is a great topic for a blog and a student has a much clearer understanding of what they are getting and what they are not. Stories or comics can be created

but first, a script is needed. Class notes can be taken on a googledoc, posted, and read by a student who was out sick. Students must learn how to safely communicate and

collaborate in online communities but that is a requirement now. We need to be teaching them now.

Reading is critical when learning a foreign language. Students need to be exposed to proper positioning of words in sentences in the target language. However, if what they are

reading does not interest them, they probably aren’t going to pay very close attention. But what if they are reading an email from the pen pal in Mexico and they know they will

have to respond? They are probably going to pay attention to every little detail that they read. They can read stories, poems, scripts, texts, emails, googledocs, slideshows, etc.,

“Through viewing activities, students can observe authentic interactions among native speakers, learn about differences among dialects, accents, registers, and body language

without leaving the boundaries of their classroom.” Grammar does not interest most students but seeing a culture come to life can motivate any learner. Performances,

traditions, conversations, movies, documentaries, commercials, exhibits in virtual field trip, and images from anywhere in our world can be viewed right here in the classroom

in Carroll County. Hooking students is never easier than with a crazy video on youtube that some loco teacher put together in all their free time. Conjugations Back

There’s nothing like viewing projects other students have created and involve your students in making an even better project. Get competition in the mix and there’s a win-win.

I know that not everything was covered in this learning log but there are great activities that are already occurring in world language classrooms everywhere and they may just

need the name of a tool to get them started. Good luck all! Dive into that tool box!!!

Learning Log- Wikis

15 Dec

Before investigating what a wiki could do for my classroom, I was sold. On blogs, that is. I liked blogs, thought commenting was brilliant, felt it was an effective way to collaborate and share one’s own thoughts with the world. And then I had to look up classroom wikis that were used for the content that I teach. Bah humbug. And then I found one Spanish teacher’s site and resources and videos and liked what I saw. I came across a wiki for Web 2.0 tools that I had and had not seen in this course thus far and felt enlightened. The last site not only posted Spanish class content, but basketball schedules, National Honors Society documents, and other school information too! Wow! Not only is this a great way to communicate with students and parents but there is a lot of professional sharing going on through class wikis and I just found out about it! Now, I couldn’t see everything. Some sites I didn’t have permission to see but this is one way that I know I can protect my students’ privacy from just anyone on the web. This collaborative site can be a great wealth of information for parents, students, other teachers, and for the school all in one place.

Sra. De Col’s Spanish wiki  includes many many helpful class documents. The first thing you will see is that her class uses an online textbook which has activities that even I could access! Woo hoo! Her syllabus is included which is very important for parents to be able to see at all times throughout the year. Sometimes students lose this, especially in middle school, and then parents would have to request an extra copy but its conveniently located on the wiki for easy access. I would like to post my syllabus on my class wiki. At the bottom of the home page are notes on many of the topics in Spanish 1. I can understand them easily because I know the content.  However, a parent may have a hard time understanding what the notes mean and might not be able to help their student if this was the only information posted. It might be a good idea to also post links explaining the content in the notes or under the link for the notes in case students are still having difficulty understanding. Homework is listed by date on the site and project descriptions are hyperlinked. This is very organized and accessible at anytime during the course. There are no surprises and students should be well prepared for any assignments coming up. There are Resources for students and teachers who are doing research or who need extra practice. Also, there is a section for What do I need to know in terms of copyright and fair use laws and policies?  I think this shows responsibility on the part of the teacher and that she is making sure they are understanding how to become responsible digital citizens. Other helpful/useful sections were : class exercises, class notes, videos teaching spanish concepts, grammar notes, 1 public discussion, student resources page, many links for students to practice Spanish, and podcasts!

Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools This site has organized all the Web 2.0 tools that we’ve been studying this semester plus more by category/function, lists the name of the tool, web address, and description for what its best for! Categories:  Presentation Tools, Collaborative Tools, Research Tools, Video Tools, Slideshow Tools, Audio Tools, Image Tools, Drawing Tools, Writing Tools, Music Tools, Organising Tools, Converting Tools, Mapping Tools, Quiz and Poll Tools, Graphing Tools, Creativity Tools, Widgets, File Storage & Web Pages, Other Helpful Sites, Creative Commons, and Teacher Resources! It also says that if you are a teacher using an effective tool not listed on the site, to contact them and they’ll add it to the list. They are keeping up to date, using the best of the best tools that teachers have found success with! This site was a bit overwhelming because I didn’t know yet what exactly I was looking for. Once teaching have been introduced to wikis or other web 2.0 tool and know what they are looking for or what they want students to create, this wiki would be great because the resources are great in number and even specify what’s free and what isn’t . Tutorials are even offered on some sites!

DHSESPANOL is a high school Spanish wiki that has tons of resources for this teacher’s Spanish 1-4 classes. Voki is also featured here which is something I have not seen on many wikis. It is speaking avatars that can be shared anywhere on the web. It can look like an animal or person, its lips move, and you can record your voice to have it talk to whoever visits your site. It’s pretty neat and is good for giving instructions or just welcoming someone to the site. Since I teach Spanish I, I closely read over this page of the wiki scanning for similar topics and/or projects that I do with my students. If I found a similar project, it would be neat to do presentations to her class and to mine or to even pair students up from different classrooms to work on one project on the wiki. Student presentations on their personal heroes were at the top of the Spanish I page and I thought this was an interesting getting to know you idea for the beginning of the year. There aren’t a ton of topics but the games and practice sites for the topics posted are fun! There’s battleship and hangman and jeopardy! Fun games loaded with content to get students competetive and focused! I like these links. In the teachers section, she also has the link to create your own games so other teachers can post their own vocabulary lists. Under projects, the teachers has posted instructions for students on how to embed videos within their glogsters and publish their videos to for other schools to have access to them. These instructions are useful to me because I’m not even sure sometimes how to embed, hyperlink, etc., although I’m getting better at it. These step by step instructions are important to have on the wiki in case the site is hard to understand.

So many extras were included on these wikis that I hadn’t thought of before. I learned a lot from when we posted our screencasts and all typed on the same page but I had not thought of posting syllabi, school updates, class notes, and their projects all in one place! Very useful and informative!

LL-Google Docs

5 Dec

The last topic I wanted to mention in my blog is Google Docs. I had no idea what it was or how it worked and now I am sold! I love it. In one of the articles, the teacher was talking about how flash drives were always causing a problem and how there would be several different versions of an article floating around in her inbox and it just got to be too much. Well in my classroom, and in a middle school especially, students are constantly leaving their flash drives at home and not saving correctly, etc., and google docs alleviates the worry. It’s saved instantly and wherever they are! They can use documents or presentations! I showed my boyfriend how to use google docs and then we discovered the chat bar on the right tab bar if two people are collaborating at the same time. We can chat about the document but not on it if need be. He had a blast deleting everything I wrote as I wrote it. I then wanted to give myself full rights to the document but did not know how. LOL. It was fun and very informative and useful. I will be showing this to my students especially the “forgetful” ones but will also use it a lot more myself! I AM SOLD!

A survey I created on google docs:

Learning Log-GoodReads

5 Dec

Describe how you will use the bookshelf and other ways you might use GoodReads in the instructional setting.

GoodReads seems like a great way to catch up with a friend if you miss your Starbucks date with them. I love talking with other teachers and my media specialist about what they are reading and what the kids are reading. It cause hype, creates energy, and makes connections. Connections are so important with our students and staff. That’s what helps everyone want to work together and make sure no one is left behind.

I also love talking with family members about good reads! GoodReads is a great place where I can have family and friends collaborating and sharing so that we all can get the most out of our reading material. I really like the recommendations that the site suggests.

This would be a neat site to show to my students especially for over the summer. This way, as long as they are loggin in, they are being held accountable for at least looking at what their friends are reading and logging what they are reading. If teachers are their friends, which seems very safe to do with GoodReads, there will be lots to discuss in the Fall when it’s back to school time!

My “to-read” bookshelf is centered around spanish culture, ancient civilizations of north and south america, and popular culture from latin america. I never get enough of learning about new customs and getting new insight to pass on to my students about the culture of the language they are learning.


Social and Collaborative Media

5 Dec

In my voicethread, I tried to be brief but informative and tried to get teachers excited about a few social media tools. I focused on using cell phones with students since most of them have them already, and in this economy, it’s one option that might be feasible. I also went into detail about twitter and the many uses it has for students and teachers. I also touched on the importance of educators learning the tools so that we can teach students the skills to survive in “real-life” once they are out of school and in the work force. The focus is collaboration and teachers, we need to get there out first and then bring it back and break it down!

Excited about my first voicethread and I liked this so much more than Windows Movie Maker…ugh!

Learning Log-iGoogle

3 Dec

My iGoogle page!

With iGoogle, the big idea or concept here is organization and access. If I’m having to visit 6 different web pages to make comments on all of them and my own postings, how can I possibly make sure I do everything I am supposed to? Well, it’s quite hard but with iGoogle,I can put most of the sites on my iGoogle home page, check each one, make postings and comments where necessary, and not leave anything out. This is a great tool for getting updates too. I do not necessarily think I would use this for my middle school students, but our media specialist may be able to use this just like she posts all important links to our home media page. Organization is key! I will also add links that are great resources for my students and get updates from blogs that post language teaching ideas and websites. This was easy to put together and effective. I almost wish I had learned about it sooner. Seeing other classmates’ pages reminded me to add a few extra widgets. Yay classmates!

Teacher using skype with students in another country!

3 Dec

This video wouldn’t load for me at first but after about 3 tries, it started playing! These are elementary students skyping with students in Germany! They are practicinng speaking in English, German, and Spanish! I’m just wondering how did these two teachers connect? They sing songs, listen to each other and all of it is recorded on a flip camera so that students can look back and rediscover their learning over and over again. Wow! It’s just so neat to see it happen on video! I’m also wondering if maybe the teachers send each other scripts of the songs they will sing so that the students on the other end can see the words as well. I am just amazed at this technology and how incredibly engaged the students must be. Wow!

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