Unit Planning

This project has been my first real experience with lesson planning and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have never had more appreciation for teachers as I do now. I feel that some of the CCSS that I have connected to this unit plan may not be being adequately met. However, this assignment has me excited to take ED373 next term to learn more about unpacking standards.

For my unit plan anticipatory set I am planning to read the book Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi and maybe a video on different insects for Youtube. The end project of this unit students will become a Jr. ‘expert’ on an insect of their choosing. Students will work on writing an informational paper using vocabulary that has been discussed in earlier lessons. The students will then create a podcast series about their insect using GarageBand. I am thinking about adding an interviewing part to the podcasts so that students can work on listening and speaking skill while learning about other insects. The last part of technology I have decided to use it Doodle Buddy or Tux Paint which are both paint programs; students will use one of these paint programs to draw a picture of their insect including labeling their drawing with vocabulary.

I am struggling to find two other pieces of technology to integrate, but I am planning to use the weekend to look back on some of the web 2.0 tools we have been talking about in class and look on Pinterest to find more inspiration.

Podcasting and Video Creation in the Classroom

Becoming a 21st century teacher may seem daunting at first, especially for those who have been well established in the career prior to the major technological advancements, as well as teachers who may not feel that they are ‘tech savvy’. One of the easiest ways to start integrating technology in your classroom is through podcasting and video creation.

Podcasting, a process of recording, editing, and finally posting audio, is a relatively simple way to start using technology in the classroom. Podcasting is extremely versatile, and can be used in any content area. Recording software (Garageband for Mac users, and Audacity for either PC or Mac) and a microphone are really all you need to get started. Kimberly Kellogg has some great ideas on how to use podcasting in the classroom. My favorite idea she proposes has to do with preparing for a substitute; creating a quick podcast instead of lengthy sub notes definitely has its benefits. This same idea could keep absent students up to date. Students could also use podcasting to practice interviews; the list is endless when it comes to what type of interviews students could conduct.

Once getting the hang of podcasting the jump to video creation isn’t too far. Video creation will take a little more time, direct instruction, and technology to implement, but it is definitely worth it. Video creation will require the use of a camera, microphone, editing software like imovie, and a posting platform such as YoutTube. Another way to create a movie is through Animodo. his web 2.0 tool is a little different than the traditional video creation, but would be great for those lessons that you don’t want students spending a copious amount of time editing, but you still want them creating something. One cleaver idea for using video creation in the classroom is having students create book trailers. Students could create videos on books they are reading, including information on the author or illustrator, and a meaningful passage. Once videos are posted to a classroom YouTube or Schooltube platform students can go and look at their classmates trailers and find new books to read.

Both podcasting and video creation are two great ways to integrate technology across multiple content areas that create student engagement. All teachers should begin experimenting with these tools, and work towards using them regularly in their classrooms.

Web 2.0

Scratch is an animation creation site which also users to create simple animations from pre-loaded characters, backgrounds, movements, and sounds. The site also allows for some contents, such as sounds, and pictures to be uploaded for more customization.
Scratch has the potential to help students meet ISTE standards of:  1. Creativity and Innovation, and standard 6. Technology Operations and Concepts. Scratch does require some prior knowledge with basic computer skills, but other than that the site is relatively user friendly. The site does a great job explaining how to use the basic features of the website thought a step by step tutorial. The limitations of this site are potentially young students will still not grasp how to use the features from only the tutorial. The tutorial doesn’t have any sound nor does it show you exactly where to click with arrows, etc. The biggest limitation would just be the amount of time it would take to have students practice on the site before becoming proficient enough to produce a product. Due to the somewhat involved nature of this program I would think that Scratch would be best used in grades around 3-5.

Kidblog is a kid friendly blogging site focused on using blogs in the classroom. Kidblog is a great tool to have students collaborating and working together. The best feature of Kidblog is that the teacher is still in control; depending on what settings the teacher chooses determines what can be seen, commented on, or published. Kidblog could be an asset when working towards ISTE standards of: 1. Creativity and Innovation, 2.Communication and Collaboration, 5. Digital Citizenship, and standard 6. Technology Operations and Concepts. Another strength of Kidblog is that it only costs around 36 dollars per teacher per year which is a great price for all of the features Kidblog has. Kidblog is also add free, and does not require a student email to set up. The only limitation to Kidblog would be the need for technology. To use a blog effectively you would want students posting all the time. If technology is lacking in your school it may be hard to integrate blogs into the classroom. Kidblog could really be used in any elementary, or middle grades; the ways in which teachers have students using the blogs would be what changes across the grade levels.

Skype is a video conferencing application that allows free video calling. Skype can be used on many different platforms such as smartphones, tablets, smart T.Vs, computers, and even some gaming systems. Using Skype in the classroom would definitely be a teacher led activity, but has such endless potential when it comes to where Skype can take your class. Using Skype in the classroom could meet ISTE standards of: 6. Digital Citizenship, and potentially standard 2. Communication and Collaboration. Students are most likely not going to be using Skype on their own, especially elementary or middle school students, which leaves the teacher up to learning how to use the site. Skype is very easy to use and walks you through the process of downloading and installing the program for the first use. After you have installed Skype, you are ready to ‘call’ your intended party. Skype does require the teacher to contact the person, or people who they want their class to speak with, but with planning Skype allows classroom to ‘meet’ people who they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  Skype can be used in the classroom with all ages with teacher facilitation; however, informing parents of young children about your plans for using Skype in the classroom is important.