Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Applying Kidspiration

For this project second grade students were studying fairy tales and their teacher needed a quick project just a half an hour before class started so she asked me for ideas.  I did a quick exploration of Twitter for story writing ideas and came upon an idea for a story spine where the prompts are written out for the child who would then fill in the details.  This is perfect for second graders who are not quick typists yet.  I decided to use Kidspiration 3 for the template because it includes lots of great storytelling pictures which would also act as prompts for the students.  And, pictures are fun!  Here's a sample of the product.

The kids really enjoyed making up their stories.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Technology in Second Grade Math

In my position as the Computer Lab TA at an elementary school I work with the teachers on ideas for using all kinds of technology with their curriculum.  Recently a second grade teacher told me that her students were having a hard time understanding the difference between area and perimeter.  I suggested we have them make a movie about the two concepts.  The students used a flip cam to record and they narrated and explained the concepts.  Here's their final product.

Here's some of the feedback I got:

"I just had a moment to watch those amazing You tube videos of math concepts.  I HOPE you sent those to parents.  They are creative, fun, and inspiring.  Thanks for extending yourself to enhance instruction using our technology.  Clea, this is the BEST way for our computer specialists to help our classroom teachers!"
Dr. Deborah Shea, Assistant Supt. of Educational Programs & Instruction, Niskayuna Central School District

Teaching Teachers

In July, 2011 I created and taught two classes of six hours each through the BOCES Model Schools program to help teachers use technology.

Blogging for Parent Communication and Student Writing
I taught the teachers how to set up and tweak a Blogger blog and use Kidblog for their students.  Each teacher left with a blog set up and ready to use to communicate with parents, for personal use and for student use.

Student Evaluations
"I was able to set up and start to make a functional blog which will let me continue for the year."

"How to set up a blog to use immediately.  We were able to create our own blog for the upcoming school year."

"Walking away with a product to use right away."

"How to design my blog so that it is ready to go in September!"

"Learning about blogging to use personally or professionally was very helpful. The different, many ways blogging can be used was very useful."

"Learning that blogs are just as useful and actually easier than websites was a new concept I find extremely helpful." 

Sample Student Product
One teacher's blog from this class:   http://mrsvenerus.blogspot.com/

The Internet: 
What's There, Will it Work, Keep it Organized
This class was all about using web 2.0 tools to find online resources, learning how to evaluate those resources for classroom use, and using cloud tools to keep them organized.  I recommended using Evernote, Dropbox and Zootool together to cover all the bases.

Student Evaluations
"Twitter can be used for finding wonderful educational resources. Zootool is a wonderful tool because I always find webpages and I never go back to explore them. Twurdy will be very useful to my students. It will help them find sites that are easier for them to read and understand."

"Love Evernote and the HUGE list of resources to use!"

"Becoming familiar with Internet resources such as Evernote, Zootool, Lingro, Twurdy, etc. is very beneficial to create a personal body of resources to assist Special Ed students with assignments."

"I am walking away with so many useful websites and methods to organize them."


As a volunteer I publish the quarterly newsletter for my son's middle school.  The staff and PTO committee chair people do the writing and I collect it all, take some photos and put it together for publication.  I send a final PDF to the webmaster for distribution to the staff and parents.  I have created this both in Word and in Pages, both on PC and on a Mac.  Before I took this position the newsletter was distributed on paper.  Here are samples from both programs.  Other writing samples are available upon request.

Here's a sample done in Pages.
Quarterly January 2012

Here's a sample published with Word.
Iroquois Quarterly March 2010