Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘Edmodo’

Creating Global Learners! Projects and ResourcesThat Knock Down Classroom Walls!

With the technology we have today, a one-room classroom should no longer exist! All of our students are capable of being or becoming global learners.  We have the ability, using any, or all, of the Web 2.0 tools available, to knock down our classroom walls, and allow our students the chance to collaborate with students in their state, or the world.  During the 2010 school year,  I took advantage of many resources, SKYPE, Epals, Kidblog, (in conjunction with comments4kids), and the various Edmodo communities.  All of  these resources allowed me the chance to reach out to teachers all over the world, and have their students interact with my students. This year I am going to add  Collaborize Classroom as another tool to extend my classroom.

Here are two projects that I have already joined, and one I have created.  I’m excited!  Please feel free to add your class to any of these projects!

1.   Mystery State Skype project – This project is run by a teacher I met on Edmodo.  Our classes were pen pals, and she and I had a chance to meet F2F at the ISTE convention in Philly. Teachers set up a Skype conference and use information they have researched, to guess what state the other class is from.  This can be done with all the teachers who have signed up. When your call is done, you can continue your collaboration with any of the teachers throughout the school year!

2.    Global Read Aloud project 2011 – This is my first time being involved with this project, although it is not the first time it has been done.   The Global Read Aloud  project is exactly what it says. A book is chosen, and students from all over the world interact to discuss this book. The project is divided into a K-3 book, and 4th and up(“Tuck, Everlasting”)The teachers choose the media they wish to guide discussions, Skype, online learning platforms, email, glogs, the sky is the limit! I believe this will be a wonderful learning experience for my class!

3.    ” Penpals Who Write” project – Teachers who are interested in having their class WRITE another class, please sign up and connect! Web 2.0 is acceptable, but you must write letters, that’s part of the experience.  I had two pen pal classes last year and it was a wonderful experience.  Not only did we interact using Web 2.0 tools, but we actually wrote letters and mailed them to each other.  Have you ever witnessed the excitement of a student when they receive their  letter?  How about the anticipation of waiting for the next one? Priceless! This was definitely a project that opened their world and helped improve their writing skills. You can also join the group I have created on EduPLN.

If you know of a project for the upcoming school year, please add it! Let’s move those walls!

“Share Global Classroom Projects” on Lino


Rap as a Learning Tool? Rappin’ in School? (Elementary School Style)

I tried to rhyme.:) As you can see, rapping is definitely not my thing, but it is something my students enjoy!  And no, I don’t mean Eminem, JZ , and the like, I teach in an elementary school.  I use the videos that are  available on Youtube, Teachertube, etc… It’s a fun, interactive way to learn, it engages and gets them moving!

Last year, I was teaching Polygons, and I decided to use a rap called Polygon Rap with my students. Not only did we learn the rap, we created props, made a video of them performing the rap, and uploaded the Polygon Rap video to TeacherTube.  Every single one of my students knew the different polygons. Educational and fun!

Recently, I discovered a site called WatchKnow, which allows me to watch educational videos at school. The great part is that we can watch videos from sites that are usually blocked.  Therefore, I can get YouTube, Teachertube, Schooltube, all in one place, secure, and most of all, unblocked.  This discovery has led me to look for raps that deal with whatever subject I am teaching, because the students enjoy it so much. For example,  I was teaching the Bill of Rights, and we sang the Bill of Rights rap every day.  I posted it on Edmodo, and my students shared it with their parents at home.  Guess whose students know the Bill of Rights?

 When I was teaching area and perimeter, Mrs.Burk, my all time favorite on Teachertube, helped my students grasp the skill.  I would begin the lesson rapping along with  Mrs.Burk’s Perimeter Rap.  We would rap loudly, mimicking her moves, no matter how corny we looked! It  makes me laugh just to think about it! But as much fun as we had, my students internalized area and perimeter because they knew the rap.

Today, I was reading posts in the Language Arts  Edmodo community, when I came across this link in a teacher’s reply. This Week in Rap, current events in rap form. Amazing! I let my 17-year-old watch it. He watched the entire video. He liked it, I could tell, although his only comment was, “He can’t rap better than me.” I’m debating whether to show my 5th graders, I guess I will determine that by its content, but if I were in middle or high school, I wouldn’t hesitate.  I would even let them create their own version of ” rap current events.”

Anyway, to “wrap” this all up, (pun intended) , “I believe rap in the classroom is a great asset!  Let’s give those boring textbooks a rest!  These videos are a help when it comes to takin’ tests! Word!” 🙂

Why Run, When You Can, “Jog the Web?”

   Get it?   Usually you run around the web looking for websites. With Jog the Web, you bundle what you want in one place and “jog” from site to site, well, sort of. 🙂

Anyway,  I found out about  Jog the Web  from one of  the wonderful teachers in the Edmodo Language Arts community.  I was really grateful because I am conducting a workshop on some of the websites I use in my classroom.  This came in right on time, and it is very simple to use.

You have to create an account, and then you can get started creating your Jog..  There is a section to add the title , the URL, and a page comment(description) of the site, then you hit SAVE.  You can add as many sites as you choose.  Each site has a page number, and you can change the position of the links you added while you’re creating or editing your jog.  I found out that if you click a number of times, it will move your link more than one position at a time.  When your jog is displayed, it is a slide show of the sites you added, complete with the attractive title page made from one of their templates. The great part is that the sites can be accessed through the jog, you do not have to leave the jog to get to the sites, unless you want to. AND, not only can you add Internet content, you can also add your own content.  There is a chance to purchase a Premium account for those of you who want more.

Don’t want to lose your jog?  You can save it to your Favorites.  Want to share your jog?   Share by email, embed it, use the link URL, or use the Bookmark and Share box which is  filled with a number of ways to share!  They even have a Help button which can be turned on and off. One more thing, your jog is public unless you have a premium account.  This means others can view your Jog, but by the same token, there are wonderful Jogs that you can view as well!

One small annoying thing, when you go from slide to slide, text pops up that says, “We’re Trying to Load…”. for about 2 seconds. Maybe it won’t happen to you. But, I don’t mind, it’s worth the time!

WONDERFUL WEBSITES! – This is my Jog that I am using to guide my workshop. (Tools for Integrating Technology in the Classroom)And each teacher walks away with this Jog, which they can access anytime they want!

Using a Glog to Construct Knowledge – an example of how a teacher used Jog the Web for a class project.

Bag the Web – another tool like Jog the Web, except you “bag” your sites. Very cool!

Another Reason to Love Edmodo!

After attending the PLC Summit 2011 in Arizona, I gained a greater insight into  how important collaboration is.  Not just within my school, but in the U.S., and other countries.  With that being said, I give Kudos to Edmodo for allowing collaboration to take place on their site.  Edmodo is not just a site for my students, but it is also a site for me.  You might not know this, but Edmodo allows you, not only to join communities, but to create them.  I have only created one community, a school district PLC community, but, unfortunately, they’re not ready for Edmodo. They think it’s too high tech, and so I sit, the only member in that community. Hopefully, some day, but I digress.

I joined the Edmodo communities, just as I did EduPln, Twitter, LinkedIn, hoping to find other teachers who were into what I’m  into.  Who share my passion, and see nothing wrong with going home, getting on the laptop, desktop, Ipad, whatever floats your boat, and looking for other teachers to help them make teaching what it should be, engaging,  interesting, and passionate. (Hmmmm… is passionate too strong a word?) Understand, I am by  no means downing the other sites, it’s just that Edmodo is my favorite.:)

 Edmodo is , different.   I not only have two, yes two, pen pal buddy classes  for my class, which by the way they love, (Which one Mrs.M, our Cali Pen pals or our NJ friends?) , but I have learned so much from  my unknown, unseen, colleagues. If you join  an Edmodo community, you notice a number of things.

  1. They are very, very,  generous with their knowledge. 
  2.  These teachers share links, files, sites,student work, etc…
  3. They provide unsolicited information, valuable, usable, information!
  4.  They answer your questions, not just one teacher, but many teachers!
  5. They say things like “Thank you”, and “Great idea!”
  6. They are so helpful, really, I am not exaggerating!
  7. They have a community for each  subject, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to join.

Here’s an example. Every year, I have my students perform poetry for their parents. I call it “Poetry Day.” It is great, everyone loves it, BUT, I struggle to get the students to write various types of poetry, Well, the other day, one of my Edmodo colleagues posted this link, ETTC Instant Poetry Forms. Voila! My problem is solved. Of course, I immediately thanked her, as all good  Edmodo community members do.:)

Love it! I will continue to learn from my colleagues, and share my knowledge with them.  I just thank Edmodo for giving me the opportunity to collaborate with teachers who are serious about what they do, teach!

3 Steps to Creating Your Personal Learning Network(PLN) – An Edmodo Blog

“Virtually Voki”

Click the Play button.  Don’t you just love it!?

It’s an avatar that has so many uses in your classroom.  Voki for Education allows you and your students to ” create personalized speaking avatars and use them in your blog, profile, and email messages.”  What I love about Voki is that it is a tech tool that is so simple to use. I had so much fun customizing my avatars, I played with the hair, eyes, skin tone, accessories, and even makeup! Adding a voice is as easy as making a phone call, text-to-speech,  recording with a microphone, or uploading an audio file. They also give you a vast assortment of backgrounds,and you can even download your own. (I found this out from my students)

And believe me, you are not on your own. Voki for Education wants to make sure that you use Voki  in a productive manner. Their website  offers  a Teacher’s Corner, a Voki Community, and even a Lesson Plan Database to help get you started. I already used it for a lesson that I was asked to add to the database. I have used it on our class blog, used it to remind students about upcoming events, we created avatars and posted them on Edmodo to our Cali pen pals, and we used them for our African-American History projects.(See an example below) What a way to change a project that had become tedious for the students.  They worked on it at home and in school, and there’s not one student who did not participate! And of course, you can use it with any topic.

I know there is so much more I can do with Voki, the possibilities are virtually endless!

“Oprah Winfrey” Voki  history project

Environmentally-friendly lessons!

We just received new copiers. . Big ,big, heavy-duty copiers, meant to run off lots and lots of paper. I have come to the conclusion,  that teachers,mind you this opinion is  not based onany  research, use more paper than any other profession.  Between assessments, handouts, flyers, and the” 25 pages that were copied 2 sided/2 sided because someone forgot to clear the machine” or “the teacher who used it before you forgot to remove the pink paper,’ we waste a lot of paper!

That being said, I was so proud of myself when I created an environmentally friendly lesson.  As a matter of fact, more and more of my lessons are “green.”  I owe it all to my friend, technology.  I was teaching the skill making inferences and it  was almost completely green. First, my whole group lesson was  obtained from SMART exchange and was shared on the SMARTboard.  The students followed and interacted on the board, no paper. Next, they watched the video, “Miss Nelson is Back”, courtesy of Discovery Education’s United Streaming.  After viewing the movie, they completed the  “Organizing Inferences” sheet,that was  posted on Edmodo, turned in on Edmodo, graded on Edmodo, AND their grade was viewed on Edmodo. And as an icing on the cake, “Mrs.Nelson is Back” was  assessed using the quiz I obtained from United Streaming and typed onto Testmoz.com.  The quiz was  taken online, graded online,and the  scores were given to the students instantly! I tell you, how much more “green” could I get? 

More and more, because I have access to these tech tools, I have been moving away from the use of paper in my classroom ,and it’s a good thing. My students have begun suggesting lessons where I don’t require the use of paper. Our reading and math program have online assessments where the students’  grades can be accessed online.  I have created an answer key for assessments though, it’s always good to have a hard copy and some parents do not have Internet access at home. Our state testing program is online as well. I’ve found that being “green” is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for my classroom as well!

Edmodo- Gotta Love It!

I have to admit, I thought I had written a post  about Edmodo. Why wouldn’t I?  Ever since I discovered it, it has been a staple in my 5th grade class. However, I realized I didn’t, when I read another post, “Edmodo, yes”!   from the blog Technology Chatter.  How could I have forgotten to write about Edmodo, which  has made my life wonderfully easy.  How?   When I describe it to colleagues, I call it the “Facebook for Educators”, but it’s more than that.  I post assignments on Edmodo every day. Not just “read page 43 in your textbook” assignments either. I can post images, videos, questions, tests, worksheets, polls, have discussions online. Any work I have them “turn in” can be graded online, and their grades are posted privately. No paper! So, it’s environmentally friendly as well.  I have created groups for every subject.  It even has communities where teachers can connect, our own little PLN. And now, they have Edmodo for Parents, still unexplored territory for me.

But my favorite part of Edmodo is my Pen Pal group.  I joined the Language Arts community and asked if anyone was interested in being pen pals. Mrs.T  and I, not only have our classes write to each other, but we also formed a Pen Pal group on Edmodo.  Our classes have shared photos, movie clips, comments, birthday wishes, weekend happenings, weather updates, and our  latest, Voki conversations. I already had a Voki and Mrs.T was kind enough to email me instructions on how to post it. The first thing my kids do in the morning is check Edmodo to see if their pen pals wrote them, they are so excited! Recently Mrs.T sent pics of the beach, after I sent pics of the kids in the snow.:) It’s just a great way for them to communicate with students outside of their school, outside of their state! The students are writing and Mrs. T and I are sharing ideas. I know as the year progresses, I am sure we will discover more ways we can connect our classes.  In the meantime, I will continue to use Edmodo in my class, my own little piece of educator heaven.:)

“Teaching the Teacher” Webinars are wonderful!

Teachers are an ever-evolving bunch, , we are constantly learning.   If we don’t learn, we become stale, and it is almost impossible to engage our 21st century students.  But, thanks to the advances in technology, teachers can expand their mind without leaving their homes.  Online courses and  tutorials in every subject imaginable are available on Youtube,   Teachertube , and of course,  Google.  But my favorite resource  are webinars.  I discovered webinars about  a year or two  ago, and have been hooked ever since. What is a webinar?   It’s a web seminar.  All you have to do is register.  You will even get reminder emails, which is great, if you are as forgetful as I am!    I love webinars for a number of reasons. They are free!   Usually, you get a choice of dates and times. I don’t have to leave my house.  I can cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner while listening and watching. It is a fantastic way to build a PLN (Professional Learning Network) because people from all over the world participate.  If it’s live, you can ask questions, make comments, or provide helpful information to your peers.  Links are embedded directly into the text chat,so, no worries about checking out  that exciting new site that was introduced.  You can always go back and obtain any information you missed, because the webinars are recorded.  And most of all, you get tons and tons of information from your presenter and/or the other participants!.  I usually attend technology webinars, because that’s my thing, but there are so many out there,I’m sure there’s one for whatever your passion is. If you’re really brave, you can even host your own webinar! I’ve listed a few sites that host webinars that are beneficial to educators below. Try one! Webinars are wonderful!

LearnCentral(Connect,Share, Inspire) ,

All New Edmodo webinars

Discovery Education

PBS Teachers Live

Classroom 2.0 Live

Thinkfinity Webinars

Solution Tree PLC webinars


What a great idea! I discovered them earlier this year and I love this organization. Someone said to themselves(or a group of people, who knows?), what can I do to make it easier for teachers to get money for all the wonderful things they do?  How can I provide them with the funds they need without any out-of pocket expense? How can I help those, who want to help teachers, find teachers in need? I know, I’ll create a site where donors can choose what project they want to fund!  At least, that’s my version of what happened. 🙂 But, this is what they do.  All you have to do is have a project in mind, go to their website, put in the asked for information, and ” Voila!”  Okay, not everyone gets funded, but at least you stand a fighting chance.  I needed 30 headphones and mouse pads for the wireless laptops my school received. I posted on DonorsChoose.org and, no kidding, within a month I had funding for 30 mouse pads and 30 headphones. One of our donors was students who wanted to give to others! Also, I almost didn’t get my headphones because of a mix-up. I wrote to Donors, they stepped in, and I received 30 headphones. Edmodo, in correlation with Discovery Education has stepped in and have a page that publishes teachers’ projects, all you have to do is email them your project information.  I have another project on Donors, I want wireless mice to use with the Office Mouse Mischief program, which I hope gets funded.  But even if it isn’t, Donors has given me a  chance to get what I need for my classroom, with no out-of-pocket expense!

Technology Rules!

My class  got our laptops back today! Well, actually, they’re not our laptops, we have to share them with the school. I had to write an essay explaining why I wanted the laptop cart housed in my room, that wasn’t a problem. I feel like they’re mine because none of the other teachers really use it. The teacher across the hall was using it, until one of her students completely bent the plug  while bringing it back to my room. And yes, I was secretly happy for that little incident. But back to the topic at hand, I love technology,, more importantly, I love integrating technology into my lessons. It opens up a whole new world for my students, and myself.  I have taught the same Reading series for the last three years, I’ve always changed the way I’ve taught, but with the laptops, Wow! The laptops stay on my students’ desk from the time they enter in the morning, until the time they leave in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, they still do work the “old school” way with pencil and paper throughout the day,but  the available technology allows other options to engage them.  KidBlog,( their very own blog), Edmodo(FB for students), Twiducate(Twitter for students), Glogster, (virtual posters), Tweentribune,( online current events the kids read and comment on), the list is endless. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers, if you use nothing else, use his site. He is an excellent resource for beginner and expert alike! I realize I am fortunate to have laptops, some desktops, and other resources some might not have. But even if you are a one computer classroom, there is still a way to integrate technology. And to the teachers who are fortunate enough to have these tools , and not use them, tsk, tsk! No excuses allowed, I have been teaching for over 26 years, so the old person excuse doesn’t work.:)Stick your finger in, the water is fine, and try just a little at a time, you’ll grow to love it as much as I do!

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