D.E.A.R. Moberly! Let’s get reading!

D.E.A.R. Moberly

This Thursday the whole school will be celebrating Drop Everything and Read at 1:00pm! This means, you can find any classroom (or the big gym or library), any friends and read any book with them!

D.E.A.R. was first invented by Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona books, who had Ramona’s classroom often participate in Drop Everything and Read. To pay tribute to Beverly, schools all across North America celebrate the event on her birthday, April 12th. This year, we will participate on Thursday, as April 12th was a Sunday!

Look forward to reading with YOU!

DEAR

What is Digital Literacy? Oh and FreeTech4Teachers

What is digital literacy? Information literacy? It all relates to the idea that with content and information so accessible to students these days, it’s just as important to be teaching them the skills to acquire this information as it is to teach the content itself. Some of these skills, such as these outlined by the National Council of Teachers of English include the ability to:

– develop proficiency with the tools of technology

– build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally

– design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes

– manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information

– create, critique, analyze and evaluate multimedia texts

– attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

So how do we even begin? Where do we even start? If this all seems daunting….then slowly! Start by reading an article, maybe try something new. Ask your colleagues what they’re doing and using. Visit the Librarian 😉

With that being said, FreeTech4Teachers is a great place to start poking around. The creator, Richard Byrne (who I incidentally also follow on Twitter!) blogs some great articles. For example, “Dozens of Alternatives to YouTube,” “7 Tools for building Review Games” (think Jeopardy), or “5 Tools Students Can Use to Create Alternative Book Reports.” It also conveniently has a search bar, so you can focus on your specific needs.

He’s also the creator of Ipad Apps for Schools and has numerous other helpful links on his page, such as Google tutorials (there’s SO much more to Google than the search engine!), how to create blogs and websites and much more.  In the words of Demiris, be a browser 🙂

References:

Richardson, W. (2012). Why school how education must change when learning and information are everywhere / Will Richardson. New York, NY: TED Conferences.

Make your posters POP with Canva

Canva’s a pretty cool tool I discovered recently, that’s also fairly intuitive and could easily be used by upper intermediate students as well. It’s a design app that allows you to make posters, infographics, promote events, create cool pictures for websites, inspire your students with quotes….you get the drift.

The one down side of this website, is that it does need to make $ and the number of free backgrounds, images and shapes are limited. That being said, I still found it worthwhile, particularly if you’re sourcing your images from elsewhere (your own files, pixabay.com, pic4learning.com). It does require a sign up with email address, so suitability for student use is at your discretion. Can be downloaded or shared as PDF, images or URL.

I will definitely be using this tool for signs around the library, updating my blog, creating posters for events and even lessons. Here’s a sample I made to showcase!

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Popplet

Brainstorming. Webs. Graphic organizers. Mind mapping. Whatever you like to call it, Popplet does it. You can easily colour code, add pictures, videos, connect and disconnect ideas. Very easy to use, even for primary students. Helps show relationships, improve organization, reinforce note-taking, concept mapping.

Program is both an Ipad app and web based tool.

Check out my very quickly and easily made Graphic Novel brainstorm requirements!

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It’s Spring…..Tweet! Tweet!

Ever wondered about Twitter, what a Tweet is or what on earth it’s possibly for good for?

I did. I imagined a Facebook or Instagram without the pictures. And I mostly only like the pictures 🙂 So what’s the point?? I recently caved in June and created an account to stay current on all our job issues over the summer, but here’s what I discovered.

1. There are many amazing teachers on Twitter, from all across the globe, who use it as a virtual staffroom for sharing resources, pictures, links and other relevant professional materials.

2. There are chats about EVERYTHING and anything to do with education. Interested in talking to other teachers about technology, ipads, special ed, Edmodo…..literally, there’s a chat for that. See the schedule below for just a SAMPLE Screen shot 2015-03-31 at 8.48.30 PM

3. Professional Development doesn’t just happen on Pro D. As teachers we need to be more cognizant of our PLN’s (Personal Learning Networks). Who do we learn from? How can we access the information we need? How do we share information that we’ve learned? Twitter is a great way to start expanding our PLN’s. Find a few colleagues or professional accounts. See who they follow. Start to network!

4. You can connect and communicate with leaders in the field in ways you never could before or otherwise. I follow Will Richardson, author of the book “Why School?” I recommended, which enables me to ask him questions, make comments and learn from him in ways more meaningful than just reading his book. Did I mention @Raffi_RC is a prolific tweeter? And who doesn’t love Raffi.

Here’s a few of my favourites I follow:

Screen shot 2015-03-31 at 9.02.50 PM                               Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 10.10.40 PM Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 10.11.09 PM                              Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 10.12.17 PM Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 10.12.40 PM

I’d be happy to help anyone interested in setting up an account or wanting more information! #bced #edchat #edtech

References:

“Top Reasons Why Teachers and Educators Use Twitter.”- http://edtechreview.in/news/522-top-reasons-why-teachers-educators-use-twitter

“Ten Reasons Why Teachers Use Twitter as a Professional Development Tool.” – http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/08/10-reasons-why-teachers-use-twitter-as.html

New Graphic Novels

Think graphic novels are just comics for kids? Think again. Some of our new graphic novels have spectacular imagery and some interesting and complex plots.  Come check out this popular section…..if there’s any books left 😉

(book descriptions courtesy of Novelist and Webcat)

The Lost Boy – Greg Ruth – When Nate finds a tape recorder and note addressed to him in his new home, he is thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing long ago.

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That One Spooky Night – By Dan Bar-el (we met him!!) – Three strange tales filled with shivery fun occur on a dark, spooky night and include the stories of a broom that goes in search of a witch, mermaids who swim in a bathtub and a house party that turns unexpectedly batty.

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The Silver Six – Andy Lieberman – Discovering that they share a common connection, a group of orphans makes a daring escape from their orphanage to an uninhabited moon, where they are pursued by a powerful corporate boss who caused the deaths of their parents.

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Sidekicks – Dan Santat – When Captain Amazing feels he’s getting too old to be a reliable superhero, he tries to hire a new sidekick, but his pets have different ideas

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Doug TenNapel –  Tommysaurus Rex,  Cardboard, Ghostopolis – Just read ’em.

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? Interested in Inquiry ?

I know this year we’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking about and implementing more inquiry based lesson and units. While the point of inquiry is for students to discover their own learning and interests, we still do have curriculum and they still need guidance and some kick starts to get them going. Here’s some great resources I’ve found to support the inquiry interested inquisitors (try saying THAT 3x fast!)

http://guides.library.ubc.ca/inquirybasedlearning – lessons, units, books, videos targeting Elementary teachers, compiled by the UBC LIbrary

http://eduwebinar.com.au/web-tools-to-support-inquiry-based-learning – organizes it’s tools into helpful categories such as explore/locate, identify/define and create/share, making it easy to pinpoint which tools will be most effective for your specific needs.

http://www.inquiry-based.com/ – focus on SS inquiry units, but also has book suggestions, teacher resources and classroom in action videos.

DiscoveryLeaC05a-A06bT06a-Zphoto courtesy of http://www.discoverylc.com/index.php?page=12