Friday, February 10, 2012

Ideas to share

Larry Ferlazzo is the author of the blog Lerry Ferlazzo's Websight of the Day...for teaching ELL, ESl, and EFL. Larry's blog is one of my favorites to check.  In fact he is in my top three edtech bogs that I read. He takes inspiration from many different places and incorporates it into his classroom.  Even if you are not an ELL teacher many of the things her posts a bout can be used in your classroom. Below are two recent posts of Larry's that enjoyed and thought would be helpful to other educators.

NPR’s Robert Krulwich Provides Another Excellent Idea For A History Lesson

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social Responsibility Online

Nothing I am going to say in this post is ground braking or new information but simply some reflection on things that have be going in on social media for sometime.  This is one of those moments of thought that comes to all of us in our own time even when other people have been talking about it for months.

This morning I was listing to NPR on the way to work.  Of the top of my head I can not remember exactly what the story was about but they started talking about a gentlemen posing on Twitter about his experience in his country as they where under attack and they interviewed the gentlemen via Skype.  This is when I started thinking about the social and political impact that social media has had on the world.  I started think about the occupy movement, the events in Egypt, and the other events that have been fueled by social media. The more I think about it the more questions I seem to come up with that have no good answers.

Who teaches the youth how to be responsible with social media?
I think we have seen this falling on the schools for the most part but is that where it needs to be taught?  In this era of No Child Left Behind do we have time to be teaching it? When it comes right down to it schools are expected to teach the students to be safe online and how to be responsible developers/protectors of their digital footprint. If we don't let students use social media in schools how can we assess what we have taught them? Is taking a test over the responsible use of social media really an effective assessment? We all know that kids say one thing and do another. I feel that this is kind of like teaching a kid to run a mile and then having them take a test over how run the mile instead of having them run. (OK that may not be the best comparison but you know what I am getting at).  Then we run into the question is having social media in the schools a good idea?  I still don't know how to answer that question.

What if Doogie Houser had Face Book?
I know that may people my age have had this thought.  There are even several funny things online about it. I am sure that if Dr. Houser had posted his journal on Face Book or a blog, not just a word doc, that he would have inspired many people.  Here is the thought that crossed my mind today. What if Hittler had a Twitter account? I know you just cringed when you read that. Think about the influence that Hittler had on the world and think what could have happened if he was able to reach us all with Twitter and Face Book? Maybe we would have been able to intercept the ideas that Hittler was putting out there and change the direction things where going....but maybe not.

So there is my non-answer to the question I posed.  Just some general, maybe not so thought out, observations.  I think we are all still struggling with the best practices with social media education and implementation in education. There are so many things to take into consideration with these topics it is hard to know where to start....but it will be interesting to see where we end up.


I came to a realization today that I have posted no resources for making, or finding, WebQuests to use in the classroom.  I know that WebQuests are nothing new but very few teachers I have talked with use them or know how to make one.  Below are some links to help you get started.  Even if you don't have a computer for every student you can still use a web quest.  They could be an active during your center/rotation time or even a full class activity on your interactive white board. 
WebQuest Design Process 
Creating a WebQuest It's Easier Then You Think
Best Places to Create (and Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts and WebQuests - Larry Ferlazzo

YouTube WebQuest 101
     Part 1
     Part 2
     Part 3
     Part 4

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Any of you that read my blog on a regular bases know that I spend a lot of time listening to NPR. With a 40min dive both ways every day there is a lot of time to listen.  On my way home yesterday there was a story called Quiet, Please: Unleashing "The Power of Introverts" Any other day I would have thought it was an interesting story and dismissed it to some extent but yesterday it stuck with me. At a meeting on Monday morning we were talking about Differentiated Instruction. It made me think about how there a lot of things in a child's education but does the fact they are an introvert or extrovert ever come into play? Take the quiz in the story and see if you are an introvert. Just in case you where wondering I took the quiz and I am an extrovert.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rebuild Joplin MO

The Weather Chanel has several things posted about the rebuilding of Joplin MO after the tornado last spring. I know for most of us this is out of our minds but to the people in Joplin this is the norm right now.

Images: Joplin Builds a New Hospital

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Holocaust Remembered

International Holocaust Remembrance day is January 27.  Here are some resources that I posted last year for National Holocaust Remembrance Day that is recognized on May 1.   Please remember to preview everything BEFORE sharing them with students due to the graphic content that some pages may have.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 

The Paper Clip Project

The Holocaust - lots of links!

Holocaust Websites - lots of links!

Interactive Map of Auschwitz

Holocaust Interactive Timeline

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are you guilty? I am.

I had a moment of clarity a few weeks ago and it had impacted the way I plan on teaching. I realized that as I, and other teachers, work with kids in that lab there are lots of things we just expect them to know. We want the kids to type a poem with the right formatting and I would see the teachers, myself included, get so frustrated when the students did not know how to do it.  I then had to stop and think about when do we teach the kids HOW to do this?  I do assignments with MS word in the lab but when do I teach them HOW to use the program?  I did a lesson with the 4th and 5th grade students this month just going over some basic things the kids needed to know.  The next time I had them they the had to type a short document using the formatting tools we had talked about.  I was amazed at how much better the kids did.  I did the same thing with saving to the server and saving as a 97-2003 doc with positive results.

I guess the point I am trying to make is we need to not be blinded by getting our students to use the technology, no matter how basic we think it is, until we teach them HOW to use it. The extra time I took to go over the things we THINK they know will pay off in long run. Now I will not have to tell 25 kids how to indent so we can spend more time on a polished finale product.

This is the same problem teachers all over the country run into when they get new technology and get no instruction on how to use it.  Without training the technol is underutilized, if utilized at all, but the teacher is still expected to be making full use of the technology provided.  This is a no win situation for everyone but it is the same situation I see us putting our students in every day.  We cannot assume what they know....we need to teach them what they need to know.

Bring on the DARE reports, famous Missourian projects, and counting books because we know HOW to use MS word!!!!