Sunday, July 24, 2011


I've known about wordle for a while because our school librarian showed the staff how to use it but for me it was the idea of using technology just to use technology and nothing really stayed with me about it.
I realize now that I can use wordle in my classroom for both science and reading literacy. In first grade, I teach basic sight words and we have a weekly word list. How much fun would it be to use wordle instead of old school pencil and paper to take the weekly list home?
Also in science, there are scientific words that I supply the students with throughout the inquiry process. Wordle would be a cool way to help my students cement their vocabulary.
So, here is my challenge using some of the new (and old) web tools:
Can I use wordle, take a picture of it with jing and upload the graphic to my blog?

Tool tool, pick a tool!

This has been a busy week for me. My daughter got married yesterday so I found myself reviewing blogs and discussions. It was really cool though because I had to laugh about some of my posts about never using blogs and wikis in my room. Now one of the things I am most looking forward to is using a video blog in my room. Never say never.

I took a look at jing because I’ve always wondered how people take screen shots. I believe this will be a powerful tool in helping me get my students rolling. I may even change my final project in to a PowerPoint about logging on and navigating the web. Even though I use my computer and projector to teach my students basic computer skills, by using jing, I can actually give my students a hand out or even cards on a ring. They could keep these cards in their desk and refer to them as long as they need too.

I could use this tool to eliminate the need for me to go over each step infinity number of times.

The collaboration portion of this class has been especially helpful. My fellow students have fantastic ideas and they keep me excited!

Friday, July 22, 2011

wiki wiki blog blog

I am so glad I took this class. I went in to it with the attitude that I would take the knowledge I gained and adapt it to an early primary level. I'm finding that I really don't have to adapt to use web tools and that web tools are available to enhance my teaching ESPECIALLY at the primary level. Instead of making my life more difficult, they are indeed tools and make my life easier.

I came in the the class firmly believing that I would not have my students blog. I thought that blogging would be too difficult for my students who are still learning the difference between d b p q and g and who, more often than not, write the letter s facing the other way. My gramma refused to use an ATM. My mother doesn't put gas in her own car. Blogging is beyond my students' capability.

After playing around with blogs, I now see that my students are perfectly capable of blogging their scientific findings. I see that video blogging lends itself perfectly to collaboration. I plan to have my students blog in order to share their findings as a result of Inquiry based science. I see now how video blogging dove tails in to the sense making portion of any science lesson. I am very excited to use video blogging with my students.

I still have not figured out how to use wiki and am open to ideas and suggestions that to not contain writing literacy at the base.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

arguments can be helpful

Dana Blomquist

Sunrise on the Best Day Ever


Students will ascertain the time of sunrise on their next birthday and compare it to that of their classmates. Whole group analysis of sunrise information will lead to journaling of patterns and findings.

Title: My Birthday

Author: Dana Blomquist

{Bear with me; I’m trying to adapt the idea to a first grade level. I’m not sure I’ll use this model because I’ve had so much success with Inquiry based Science that the Argument Generation based Science by Sampson and Grooms seems contrived. I’m open to suggestions.}

Use the website: to determine the time of sunrise on your next birthday. Within your pod, compare and contrast the sunrise time for the day of each of your birthdays. Put your pod members’ birthdays in order according to sunrise. Put your pod members’ birthdays in order according to calendar. Are there similarities? Are there differences? What patterns do you notice? What do you expect to find when we discuss our findings as a class? Record your observations, predictions, thoughts and ideas through pictures, words or video.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Technological Enhancement

One of the sites I found to be helpful in chapter three was:

The table of content said that it was for grades three and up but I know that my students are capable of figuring out mass versus weight and this simulation will help them to achieve it. Initially I was friustrated because I needed to update adobe and spent my five free minutes doing that. I want to save my thirty day free trial until I have students.

I looked at but honestly some of my students are still just learning the order of seasons in the northern hemisphere so I am hesitant to blow their minds with the idea that when we have winter, South America has summer. I may take a look at this gizmos again toward the end of the school year depending on the scientific literacy level of each year’s group. I did like the hands on aspect of manipulating the earth’s axis. I am also certain that my students would argue that it isn’t 80 degrees in June! was an interesting site dealing with planets. I am always looking for help when teaching about objects in space because it is such a vast concept. First graders have trouble with scale and maps and the sheer vastness of space is beyond their grasp.

I have bookmarked the “Explore Learning” site because they have gizmos on practically every topic.

The other site I am pleased with is:

I’ve used to help me teach computer literacy and the students end up playing all kinds of cool games dealing with math, reading and science. On the PBS try it site, the focus is more on science. The site is easier to manipulate than the “Explore Learning” site. I really liked: because it was very applicable to everyday life. I will encourage science teacher’s in my building to utilize the PBS site. It’s very user friendly and has fun interactive things to do.

My favorite site is still There is so much entertaining science that students think they are playing and they are learning in the meantime. Kids can play with the immune system at There are also various other early primary science games. Check it out!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

web tools

Web tools have been on my mind a lot this week even though I have not been in front of a computer. I like how this class plants the seeds of knowledge. I can then process at my own pace before having to jump in without a well thought out plan.

One of the ways I will use web tools in the future is to allow a student portfolio for science. I have been unable to do this up to this point because of the reading literacy issue with first graders. By using web tools, I will be able to overcome the language arts literacy deficits and be able to focus more on science literacy with my students.

I went on a fly-fishing trip and was able to draw connections between story boarding, video, PowerPoint and other ways of sharing information. I cannot figure out how to upload a PowerPoint to my blog but have included video. I am very excited to take this back to the classroom to use with students. Part of me wishes this class were offered during the school year so that I could show what my actual students are capable of undertaking, understanding and producing.

One of the critical science competencies for first grade in my district is the plant life cycle. Up until now, I have always created a paper science journal and had students illustrate their understanding of the plant cycle. I see now that this competency lends itself perfectly to story boarding. By allowing my students to use video to share their knowledge, I am removing writing limitations. By removing limitations, I no longer have to guess if the student really knows and is just inhibited by writing levels or if there is a gap in science literacy.

I know that my students will be better able to focus on science literacy while being less limited by their current reading and writing level by using web tools. I never would have made the easy jump without this class.