Putting the “Tech” in Poetic!

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve been pulling together some poetry resources to share with my teachers in an after-school workshop tomorrow.  (Click on the image to download the flier I sent out.)  The focus is on using technology to enhance poetry lessons.

I’ve created a Poetry LiveBinder to organize all the resources to make it easier for teachers to plan poetry lessons for their students.  I especially like the lessons at the Read/Write/Think website, so I’ve given them their own Tab in the binder.  I’ve also included several sites featuring online poetry, and sites that offer interactive poetry-writing tools.

I’m also excited about sharing my ThingLink Channel, which features links to resources for some of the poetry books we have in our school library.  These images are “re-mixable,” which means anyone can add links to any of the books I’ve uploaded.  This way teachers can share their own lesson plans and activity websites for these books.  It’s a great way for them to collaborate, even when they can’t meet together in person.

In addition to the web resources I’m sharing, I’ve also pulled about 75 poetry books to have on display for teachers to check out after the workshop.  The books will be grouped into categories such as Haiku, Curriculum Connections, Concrete Poetry, Novels in Verse, and more. 

Of course we’ll have snacks and door prizes as well, and I’ll have a few computer stations set up where teachers can play around with responding to poetry using VoiceThread and Padlet.

I’ll update this post later with photos and more resources.  In the meantime, please leave a comment sharing your favorite poetry site for elementary students so that I can add it to the collection!

 

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Tech or Treat in the Library

I’m really excited about the Tech or Treat event I hosted in the library this afternoon!

We had 7 different types of technology stations set up for teachers to explore; some were self-guided while others were manned by a presenter to provide demonstrations and/or answer questions.  (See the TECH OR TREAT flier for details.)  Each teacher was given a “trick or treat” bag to collect candy from each station, and we had pencils, bookmarks, and other goodies for them along with handouts and step-by-step guides for the different devices and resources that were featured.

The informal atmosphere kept everyone moving around at his/her own pace, with some teachers lingering to try out a tool or dig deeper into a website, and others gathering in a corner to discuss new ideas for using technology in the classroom.

From the verbal feedback I received, all of the teachers found at least one website or gadget they could see themselves using in the classroom.  (In fact, one teacher took a FLIP camera with her as she left!)  Since this was only intended to be a quick overview of resources, we will schedule more in-depth training sessions by request in the future.

I will be formally surveying teachers tomorrow to find out what they liked most/least about the event, what they’d like follow-up training on, and whether they’d like to make this an annual event, but based on the comments I heard from teachers as they were leaving, I’d say our Tech or Treat was a big success!

 

 

 

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Powerless

Eeeek!  Five days without any internet access to speak of!  I left my bag of power cords and chargers at home on Tuesday as I headed out the door for the South Carolina EdTech Conference in Greenville this week!  I guess attending a technology conference and not being able to use any gadgets once the batteries died is just one of life’s little ironies!

I did soak up some fabulous information though, and thanks to old-fashioned pen and paper I was able to take notes on everything.  I’m working on my conference report now, which is not only a great way to share my experience with my principal, but also helps me to clarify what I learned.   (I should have it posted online tomorrow or Monday.)

I’m also catching up on some of the sessions I missed due to scheduling conflicts by visiting Edmodo.  Each presenter was asked to upload his/her presentations, handouts, links, etc to Edmodo, and attendees were given a list of codes to join any or all of the groups.  Big thanks to the presenters who have uploaded your resources already!

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to “tweet” or “blog” the conference this year, but I’m excited about some of the ideas I’ve brought back with me, and I’m looking forward to sharing with my teachers and students.

 
Image: ‘Recharging
www.flickr.com/photos/44302262@N08/5461188253
 
 
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Unwired and Unplugged!

 

I’m finally registered for the S. C. EdTech Conference (new policies presented a stumbling block this year, but my new principal really came through for me!) and I’m looking forward to an inspirational experience!

I’m excited about the wide variety of sessions being offered, and thrilled that so many will be led by South Carolina teacher-librarians, including Janet Boltjes, Betsy Long, Liz Hood, and Valerie Byrd-Fort!

The Keynote speaker is Will Richardson – educator, author, blogger, speaker, and change agent.

Will you be at the conference?  Let me know in the comments!

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Page Turning Tool

I played with a fun new tool this past weekend called Page Flip-Flap.  It turns Word or PDF documents in online booklets, complete with a rustling sound when you turn the pages.  (And we book people sure do love us some paper rustling sounds!) 

Page Flip-Flap

All you do is upload your document and fill in your email address, which is used to email you the link to your online flipbook.  No registration or login necessary, and they promise not to use your email address for spam.  It’s free, so there are ads on your online booklet page, but you can banish them by clicking the “full-screen” button, which is at the bottom of the page next to the printer icon.

I used it to transform the S.C. EdTech Conference summary I created last year into a nice online report that my new principal could view.  (I’m requesting permission to attend as usual this year, and wanted to make sure she understands what a valuable experience it is for me.)  You can view it here.  Maybe. 

Or maybe the site is blocked where you are.  Like it is in my district.  As I found out this morning when I skipped to my school computer ready to copy and paste the link into an email to my principal.  And luckily tested the link first to make sure it was working.  And it wasn’t.  Sigh.

So there go my grand plans for Page Flip-Flap, such as converting our school newsletters into this nice online format for our parents to view, or publishing my policy and procedures manual as an online booklet, or anything else creative I might want to do but can’t because once again I’ve been thwarted by our filters.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be the happy sunshine blog where I celebrate good things.  Well, I guess I could request that the site be unblocked.  It could happen.  No, really, it could.  Right?

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Open Download Week at My School

When our two school districts merged into one this year, our computers were all locked down by the Technology Department.  No control panel to manage your desktop settings, no installing your own printers or software, no downloads or updates from internet sites, etc. 

As of this week, many teachers were still without printers as our meager handful of techs struggled valiantly to get to each school and install the drivers, and many were still waiting for the installation of software (disks that accompany our textbooks, speech software, electronic microscope and document camera software, etc.).

This week the Tech Dept relented a bit and declared an Open Computer Week!  We’ve all been racing the clock grabbing programs like Google Earth and Photo Story 3, sending shortcuts to our desktop, and updating Adobe Reader and Flash.

Hooray for trusting teachers to manage their own computers!

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EdTech 2010 Session Highlights

edtech10  I’ve been busy these past few days pulling together all of my notes from this year’s South Carolina EdTech Conference so that I can share the highlights.  I was fortunate to be given professional leave time to attend the conference, and as always I returned refreshed and excited about new tools and ideas to bring back to my school.  Unfortunately not all of the presentations have been posted at the EdTech site yet, but you can click here to see the ones that are available.

In Hallway Hubbub, media specialist Betsy Long explained how her morning news crew is using FLIP cameras to conduct hallway interviews with students and teachers, then remixing them and adding music with either Movie Maker or Animoto

The other video session I attended was Lights, Camera, Action presented by Dennis Duszynski which was full of ways to use video in your school.

Rhonda Edwards shared a collection of eBooks she has written to share the history, geography, and wildlife of South Carolina.  Her website includes extension activities for each of her books.  You can see her presentation info here

I did not get to attend Jeff McCoys session on Free Online Tools and Resources (conflict with another session) but he always has interesting things to share so I made sure to check out his presentation info.

I also sat in on the following four sessions: Web 2.0 Instruction; iPodabilities: Creating iPod Touch Lessons; Twitter for Teachers; and Wikis Glogs, and Gadgets for Empowering Students.  Unfortunately, these presentations are not available at the EdTech site yet.  I’ll have to do more research to see if the presenters have a website, blog, wiki, etc where they may have posted the info.

And finally, how many of you are using Thinkfinity?  There’s nothing posted on the EdTech site by the presenter for this session, but I’ll be doing a separate post on this incredible web resource as a WWW next week, so stay tuned for that!

p.s. By the way, you can view the Keynote speech  and the Awards Presentation online via CloudCaster!

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