Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sneak Peak

I wasn't sure quite how to add a "sneak peak" of my digital writing project without posting the actual link (and I can't give the whole project away just yet!). But after talking in class this week I will follow others' examples of putting a picture.

Better late than never!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Digital Writing Project

Project status:
I LOVE my project! I would have never started a blog had it not been for this class, but I am really enjoying writing updates about my pregnancy for friends and family to read.

Originally I thought of starting a journal about being pregnant. I wanted to write funny reactions we got when we told people and keep a record of what I was going through. I started the journal this summer but only got a few phrases into it. I couldn't make myself sit down to fill it out. Plus so much seemed to happen that I couldn't keep up. I've found an on-line journal (my blog) much easier to update and share. I also like being able to add pictures of how my stomach is growing (this was in response to my mom's constant request for pictures). Having family in Madison and DC makes this a great way to keep them up to date with what is going on. I'd also like to share it with my daughter one day!

I have kept journals before, though not that many. I have found that I can't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts and that my penmanship (in trying to write quickly) isn't the clearest! These are more reasons as to why I like having an on-line journal. However, this if the first time I have kept a journal that others will (and are) reading. It does make me think twice about what I write and how I write it.

I have mentioned to the class that I feel a bit awkward sometimes because I want the blog to be about the pregnancy and our soon expanding family, though the only pictures I can put on now are pictures of me (my belly!). I do plan to keep up with the blog and add pictures (and hopefully videos) when our baby girl arrives.

As of now the blog is mostly journal posts and digital pictures. As I mentioned I would like to add video and possibly voice clips of our daughter. I'm sure the grandparents will like this as well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Professional Blog Portfolio

I chose the following posts from my professional blog for each of these categories:

1. Professionalism
I feel that my blog about my Voicethread project is a good example of professionalism. Of all the projects and resources we discussed in our Digital Writing Class, Voicethread is the resource I thought would best fit with my classroom. If only my pictures had uploaded!

It was more challenging trying to incorporate blogging and role play into my 4th grade immersion classroom. I really connected with Voicethread because the student can still work through the writing process but not have to have a completely polished final product because the nature of Voicethread is oral.

2. Creativity
For creativity I chose my blog on Collaborate Writing Assignments because in this posting I described how I wanted to use a blog (or wiki) to create a personal recipe site for our cabin weekends as well as how I might use this process with class - thus bridging personal and professions, how creative!

3. Design
I chose my blog about search methods as my best example for design. When I think of design I think of the layout of something, how well things go together and who aesthetically pleasing it is. For the most part my blogs are reflections of what we did in class with links to resources. In this blog, however, I figured out how to embed a You Tube video! (I realize this might not be that exciting to others - old news - but for me this was big!).

Colleagues' blogs:

1. --- Voice
I like Debi's Oh What Fun blog post. I literally can hear her voice when reading this blog! I think it's the style of writing - longer sentences then a few shorter ones. I also like that the voicethread she created is about something personal, her cat :)

2. --- Multimedia Multimodal component
Wow! Michelle went to town on her "Blogscar" posting!! This is so creative - with the Seinfeld clip, the audience clip, her avatar, the movie star pictures and links, oh my! It is definitely worth checking out.

3. --- Thoughtfulness
I enjoyed Janice's blog on the Ning Role Play. She brought up a good point about being "equitable" in providing resources to students who do not have computer access. She also discussed the idea of using technology in a way that is purposeful and best serves our students - something I often think about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Collaborative Writing Assignments

So this isn't so much school related but I am interested in creating either a wiki or a blog for our cabin recipes. We have good friends in Chicago and Milwaukee and we use my parents' cabin as a rendez-vous point several times a year.

Each time we get together we split up meals and cook for each other. Every time we get together we say we should start a cookbook with all our recipes. (Plus our friends Santi and Kristi are AMAZING cooks and we want their recipes!!!)

At first I thought about making a binder to keep at the cabin but that would make it hard to figure out what ingredients you need to buy with the recipes stored up there. So...I was thinking I could create a blog - this way we can add our recipes and pictures of what the dish should look like. I started the blog but am now wondering if a wiki would be a better choice.

What I would like to do:
- Be able to easily add recipes.
- Have friends be able to add their recipes.
- Be able to add pictures.

My question is - if I use the blog, will my friends be able to contribute or will I have to put all the recipes up?

As for a school project, I did like the idea about creating a collaborative digital writing piece (The Library Ghost) with a class from the Bledsoe article. In this article the 4th grade class worked through the brainstorming, writing and revising stages to create a script. I could definitely see how this could be a great way to model the writing process. I also liked the idea of the class turning the writing piece into a script and then acting out their masterpiece.

- All students are involved in the creation process.
- Students work through all parts of the writing process.
- Multiple technologies can be used to create the project (Photostory, Voicethread etc.)

- When working with a full class it is hard to make sure every student is involved.
- As the article described, you need to decide if all students will be involved (thus making a long story) OR if some parts will be cut (making a more appropriate length but leaving some students out).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Digital Storytelling

I checked out a few of the links that Candance sent to us but the one I connected with the most was the Mom's brag vlog. This interested me because it is very similar to what I am doing for my digital writing project - a personal blog.

In her blog, Erin Nealy documents her daughters' lives using video (hence the vlog!). This definitely makes the blog more interactive and more interesting to watch. Even though I wasn't too interested in the lives of people I don't know (!!) I can see how it would be great for family and friends.

We also talked in class about how great it is to capture the "firsts" in life. Candance made the video of Oliver's first words - how wonderful to have that on video as opposed to just writing about it! PLUS what a great "gift" for family and friends who are far away and miss some of these moments.

I have enjoyed using my blog as a sort of journal documenting my experience being pregnant. I do however keep in mind some positives/negatives we discussed in class:

- length of the entry: I want to keep a journal of what is going on in my life at this point but I also don't want to "overwrite". I still struggle with how much information I want to a)put on-line and b)send out to friends (not wanting to overwhelm them).

Ex: in the vlog (link above) I watched the "Big News" clip where the parents tell their girls they will be going to a Hannah Montana concert. The idea is cute but the video kind of goes on and on...

- pictures: At this point my personal blog is pretty much pictures of my stomach! I don't want the blog to seem too self-centered (the only other pictures I have put on are the ultrasound pics). Though I find pictures grab my attention more and make me want to read the text that follows.

- having an audience: I enjoy using my personal blog as a journal because 1)I can type much faster and it therefore it is more efficient for me to type than write and 2)I can add pictures (which is harder to do on paper). However, if it were just my personal journal I could ramble on and on...and on...but now that I have an audience I keep the following in mind when writing: what might interest my followers, what I want to remember and what is appropriate. (Ryan didn't love that I put a picture of the pregnancy test on!).

At this point I wouldn't have a lot of moments that I would want to capture w/video but as I said above I can definitely see adding them once our little one is here. That means I might need to invest in some new technology...!!!

Classroom adaptations:
In the past I have had students make a Photostory of their 4th grade year. I haven't tried yet but I am interested to know if Photostory allows you to add video (or if it is strictly pictures).

Challenges to using Photostory: I need to do a lot of the leg work ie taking pictures (throughout the year!), compressing and saving the pictures so students can access them and then teaching how to use Photostory (this is actually the easiest part).

It would be fun to incorporate video into the digital recap of the year but that means 1)remembering to take videos during the year and 2)finding recording devices that I - and possibly the students - can use.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My voice thread...

is still a work in progress! Check out steps 1, 2 and 5 of how to do the addition strategy les sommes partielles.

Isa and I have been talking about how voice threads could be very useful in second language learning. By using a voice thread you can still work through the steps of the pre-writing, writing and revising BUT because the finished product is oral you won't (and can't!) get caught up in the spelling and grammar mistakes.

I decided to try a project that I would like to do with my students. I chose do explain an addition strategy: the partial sums method.

My steps:
1. I wrote out each step of the strategy (folling an example from the Student Reference Book of Everyday Math).
2. I took pictures of the steps and uploaded them to my voicethred.
3. Using a microphone I recorded my explanation of each step and using the pen wrote on top of the pictures to help explain each step.

This project would be great for my students because it would help them with their mathematical reasoning skills - they need to explain their thought process.

One frustrating point: as you can see not all of my steps are included in my voice thread. I tried SEVERAL times to upload my images. I even left the site open over night. (FYI, I had also compressed my images before trying to upload them so the images wouldn't be too big). So, you only have the first slide, steps 1 and 2 and the final step. Any thought out there on how to fix this?

One question: After I recorded my voice and saved it I found I wanted to make a change (use the pen to write on top of the picture) but I couldn't seem to figure out how to delete my previous recording after saving it...thoughts?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My role as an African-American Man

Wow - who knew how many changes you go through when being pregnant! I am (personally) not only growing (in several directions) and finding new hormones but on our Ning role play site I am an African-American man!!

If you would like to see other stock photos click here.

I decided to go in the opposite direction of what and who I am hence the male and the African-American parts to my new persona. This gives me a freedom to write in a way that I would not ordinarily write. However this does create challenges from time to time as when I read posts I tend to want to respond with my teacher thoughts and experience!

I found the role play interesting but honestly a bit tedious. I much more enjoy (and get more out of) talking face-to-face. The one thing I liked abotu the role play was that it gave us a number of days to do our research, we didn't have to find articles and be ready for one set night of class. If someone's article/thoughts inspired me I could go off in a new direction to explore.

Having said that I did find it time consuming to alwyas be checking in online. I would read through the forum to see if there were new posts then I would have to check my page to see what comments were made and respond back to them. I felt my brain was being pulled in too many directions.

An interesting concept but I honestly don't see myself using it any time soon! (No offense!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Role Play

Take a look at my role play biography.

I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet, work and talk with teachers from other schools and in different grade levels during our writing cohort. It has helped me step out of my classroom and look at things from a different perspective.

I have also appreciated having time to chat with other teachers who teach the same grade and subject areas I do. Case in point, being able to check in with Janice as to what she is using for our MN project!

I liked Janice's idea of having students specialize in a particular area of Minnesota. I could see having students choose a city, lake or area of Minnesota and create a sort of travel brochure persuading people to visit their area. Janice used Flicker slideshows about the BWCA (beautiful pictures).

Another possibility would be to have students journal an imaginary trip through Minnesota. They could use the photos from Flicker to add to their presentation. They could also use Google Maps to both track/plan their trip.

So many little time!

Monday, September 28, 2009

FYI Google notebook

Never having used Google notebook I thought I would give it a try...

Google recently stopped development on Notebook, which means it's no longer open to sign-ups by new users or being improved.

I would be interested in a short tutorial on how to use online note taking (being quite old-fashioned and loving my paper and pencil...)

Search Methods

When I think of doing research online I get overwhelmed...and that worries me a bit because if I want to teach my kids how to navigate the web to find accurate information in an efficient way I need to be able to do that myself!!

In chapter 2 Beach describes some of the difficulties that arise when searching online - one of which is getting overwhelmed with the amount of hits one gets when using a search engine like Google or Yahoo. This made me think of the new Bing commercials I have seen on tv lately. I love how they show people having an "oral" search overload (like this link of a pregnant woman overloading on hits about what you can and can't eat when pregnant). It's funny because IT'S TRUE!!

And now I'm sad because I think I deleted by reflection relating the search methods to my fourth grade class...!!!

Summary: I think I wrote about kids trying to search out information online pertaining to Minnesota. It has been hard to find sites that are kid-friendly with relevant, factual information. If I have trouble searching for information online how can I help my students research effectively and efficiently?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogging experience

Blogging experience...what is blogging?? Just kidding, but that about sums up my blogging experience!

I have followed blogs of friends. My best friend Trisha taught abroad in Ireland a few years ago and kept a blog to keep us all updated. I wish blogging had been around (or I had known about it!) when I studied abroad in 2000. It would have been way easier to keep a blog then to try to email individuals to describe my experiences.

I also have friends (Mary and Dan) with a 13-month old daughter who keep a blog. Their family lives near by but they post photos from trips they have taken or funny updates about their daughter.

For my class project I plan to create a personal blog about my "journey" being pregnant. My mom keeps asking me to send her pictures of how far along I am and I think it might be fun to look back at the process.

I plan to have my blog resemble Mary's blog about her daughter, Anya. (Click on Anya to see the blog). Mary updates it with pictures and funny stories. If you scroll down to the bottom there is a hilarious picture of Anya looking like Wolverine!

Blogging in the classroom:
I am definitely interested in blogging in the classroom I just don't have a good idea of what that should/could/would look like. I also am concerned about my students doing it in a second language. The most authentic audience would be their pen pals in France but I worry about students taking enough time/having the right process to help them write a blog (or other digital venue) that is well written.

I'd definitely be interested in hearing what second language/ELL teachers do with their students.

In the article "HOT Blogging" by Zawilinski (this week's primary reading) it references a "Showcase Blog" used in second language classrooms to practice English. However, when I went to the site it first asked for a password, but did let me in. Honesntly I wasn't too impressed with the site and didn't find it to "showcase" the students' work. There are activities/quizzes but I guess I was looking more for a portfolio type of blog.

Monday, September 14, 2009

1st blog

What I want to learn to do with digital writing...

As a writer I would like to:
  • easily connect with family and colleagues to share ideas/life
  • learn more about myself (I've never really been a journal person)
As a teacher of writing I would like to:
  • learn authentic ways to use it (for myself and students). I don't just want it to be an extra "task".
  • incorporate digital writing into my curriculum - in a meaningful way
  • learn ways to work the writing process into digital writing
Resource Link:
This article is about a 4th grade teacher who created digital comics with his students.