Sunday, February 15, 2009

FLIP Camera + 8 year old, part 2 ---> Incorporating Story

In my previous post, I sent my son on a Geometry Hunt. (see post) After hearing Jason Ohler and Daniel Pink speak at PETE&C, my new challenge to myself is to find a way to incorporate "story" into my students' school experiences.

If you have not yet seen The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns, I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy. The main character, a triangle, has grown very dissatisfied with his life. It is boring to only have three sides and three angles, so he goes to the Shapeshifter time and again to get just one more side and one more angle. The reader follows the triangle through his adventures as a quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon, and on and on! With each transformation, the triangle discovers different activities. For example, as a pentagon he was privy to top-secret information, but he couldn't share with his friends. While this book is excellent for reviewing and/or reinforcing many common polygons, it is also a story about being happy with yourself.

So, using The Greedy Triangle as a springboard or model, I could have students incorporate digital storytelling with the treasure hunt. Let the planning begin!

Additional Academic Standards Addressed:
1.4. Types of Writing
1.4.3 GRADE 3
A. Write narrative pieces (e.g., stories, poems, plays).
Include detailed descriptions of people, places and things.
Use relevant illustrations.
Include literary elements.

Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task and audience.

1.5 Quality of Writing
1.5.3 Grade 3
Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
Gather and organize information.
Write a series of related sentences or paragraphs with one central idea.
Incorporate details relevant and appropriate to the topic.

Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.
Sustain a logical order.
Include a recognizable beginning, middle and end.

Write with an awareness of the stylistic aspects of composition.
Use sentences of differing lengths and complexities.
Use descriptive words and action verbs.

Revise writing to improve detail and order by identifying missing information and determining whether ideas follow logically.

Edit writing using the conventions of language.
Spell common, frequently used words correctly.
Use capital letters correctly (first word in sentences, proper nouns, pronoun "I").
Punctuate correctly (periods, exclamation points, question marks, commas in a series).
Use nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions properly.
Use complete sentences (simple, compound, declarative, interrogative, exclamatory and imperative).

Present and/or defend written work for publication when appropriate.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

FLIP Camera + 8 year old

A recent Woot purchase was my Flip videocamera. The primary reason for my purchase was to have a videocamera that my third graders could manipulate easily. So, I gave my 8 year old the camera, a list of geometric shapes, very little instruction, and set him loose. From the quality of the video I can tell that we would need to work on video taping skills, but, all in all, I am impressed. I think this camera will be a fine addition to my elementary classroom.

Here are the steps Ry and I followed to make a finished product:

1.Hooked the Flip to the Macbook's usb port (cactus, as he calls it)
2.Dragged the video from the camera
3.Opened the video in Quicktime, exported it as a .mov
4.Opened iMovie09, imported the video
5.Added a title slide ... by this time I lost him to his Lego collection, so I did the rest without his assistance.
6.Exported the completed movie as Quicktime.

So now I am thinking, with some training, this type of project is feasible in the elementary classroom! We have many "treasure hunts" as part of our math program. Wouldn't it be incredible to have kids film their treasures instead of writing them down. Sharing back to the group could be much more clear! The alternative is having kids describe their findings. What if they could actually see them. And... what if the camera went home and the treasure hunt took place outside of school. Oh, the possibilities, without cords and tapes to manage.

PA Academic Anchors:

1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

Warning: Video may cause motion sickness:

Special thanks to my son, who has been stuck with many challenges since I haven't had my own third graders. :)

Also...I know Ry needs to understand the difference between circle and sphere and he could point out what part of the windows, table, and tv are parallel. I was focusing on process. If I did this in the classroom. I would insist that the content be correct as well. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Powering Down

In 1995 I bought my first computer, a power mac. As a substitute teacher I began to explore the world wide web using the Mosaic web browser. From there, I became intrigued with how technology could be used in the classroom. From then on, I was "plugged in" to the world of technology.

During the last two years my ventures into the web 2.0 world has been exciting. Devouring books and blog posts, creating wikis and google docs, connecting via twitter, plurk, Discovery Educator Network, Keystone Technology Integrators, and Classrooms for the Future coaches, using, mac, pc, and iphone has become an integral part of my life.

Currently some professional development efforts have failed miserably. I have started to really ponder the concept of "professionalism" and to reconsider "putting myself out there" so to speak in terms of sharing with others. My passion for reaching our digital learners, making learning meaningful for them, and for the concept of instilling life long learning has driven me in my ventures thus far. As I am readying myself to leave the role of technology integration coach and re-enter life as a third grade teacher, I am saddened. In order to protect myself emotionally I have decided to step back a bit. Perhaps it is time for a break from the intense world I have been experiencing, not because I am overwhelmed, but because I am not making a difference.

My recent purchase was a regular cell phone. My iphone has become an ipod. It's time to refocus. I am not discouraged, but disheartened and am looking forward to some clarity of thought and restoration of some self-esteem.

Monday, February 9, 2009