Learning Logs – “wikis”

7th Grade Reading Mrs. Crase

Description of wiki:

                I was visually attracted to this wiki because of the colors and the simple words and links.  Mrs. Crase had a chart entitled “21st Century Student Outcomes and Support Systems” on the front page, so that showed me that her she was a teacher who has had similar training with teaching the 21st Century learner.  The items on that chart reflected everything we have been discussing in this course, so I was hoping that this one may act as a “model” wiki for me and the one I will design. 

                Listed on the main page was a reading unit for each quarter.  Background information and videos, rubrics to the unit assignment, sample unit assignment and other suggested readings were included when I clicked on one of the quarter assignments.  I really liked that all of the information was right there for parents and students to access from home at any time.  Though no one left a comment, there was a place to offer one about the projects.  Listed in the “SideBar” were all of the assignments that Mrs. Crase assigned to her kids and also a list of school-wide announcements.         

How the wiki would help support teaching and learning:

                This wiki most supports teaching and learning by encouraging parental involvement.   Mrs. Crase had a document entitled, “Strategies for Parent and Students to Increase Learning”.  This whole site is a giant collaborative hub for teacher, student and parent to be active and participate.  Parents can actively ask their students about the topics that they are discussing in school, view all of the videos that their child saw and even have the assignment and rubric expectations to open at any time.  With the parental support, Mrs. Crase can have the classroom learning encouraged at home.


Description of wiki:

                Joyce Valenza created this wiki as a place for teachers and librarians to collaborate.  Anyone may write her to be invited to join, but until then, one may not post on the site.  Visually, the site is not very interesting to look at, but it is well organized and I would like to create my topics and categories as neatly as she.  There were categories for book recommendations by grade, information about literacy by grade and links to teacher and school library blogs.     

How the wiki would help support teaching and learning:

To me, this wiki would support teaching and learning most by offering so many links to digital learning and Web 2.0. It was almost as if Ms. Valenza took SLM508 as all of the links support digital bookmarking, digital learning and many other of the topics we discussed.   As a librarian, I know that I will have to explain the importance of and offer samples of digital learning projects for teachers that are unaware.  This site will support my teaching in giving me quick tools to reference and a number or other teacher resources to talk with.   This Online collaboration of joining this will, in turn, affect my teaching as I will always have a fast way of acquiring knowledge and create lessons of value for my students.

Using Web 2.0 to Lure Middle School Students to the Library

Description of wiki:

                I was attracted to this wiki by its title.  Sadly, students may be turned off by the media center and so “luring” them with meaningful and engaging activities may be a way to turn their attention to the library and discovery.  I liked this wiki as it is simple, to the point and offers answers that are easy to understand.  I would use this wiki as a resource when trying to teach students or teachers about creating digital projects.  The only downside to this wiki was that not many of the links worked.  This would have to be changed for use in the classroom. 

How the wiki would help support teaching and learning:

                If they all did work, I would use the sections entitled, “What is Web 2.0?”, “What is a Blog?”, “What is a wiki?”, “What is a Podcast?” and “What is Google Earth” for instruction for both teachers and students.  Each section already offers a sample of each type of media so all learners would have the chance to read about the tool the see a live example.  For teachers, I would use the section “Anyone Can Do it” to help any hesitant teacher see that by starting small, they can have all learners creating digital media projects in no time.  I’d like to create my wiki with as many examples and explanations as this one did.


Module 2 Part III: Flicktion Digital Product


This project is aligned with the Frederick County Public Schools 7th grade Language Arts standards:

LA.700.60.04             Write to express personal ideas that relate a clear, coherent event, situation, and/or  storyline by using well-chosen details, that reveal the significance of, or the writer’s attitude about the subject, and that purposefully include rhetorical elements, such as figurative language, descriptions, foreshadowing, and symbolism.

LA.700.60.02             Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, colorful modifiers to enliven written presentations.

This digital tool supports the unit I do when teaching the purposes for writing. This product is appropriate for this task because students would love working with photos and would be more excited about writing the piece that accompanies it.  Flickr is easy to use, so there would not be much trouble teaching students how to use the tool.  I have no doubt that the photo that I chose and story that I wrote would have my student’s attention as it was “gross” to look at and a piece of my life that I was sharing.  In my experience, students really like the teacher’s personal stories and connections.  I have modeled that writing can be fun while using descriptive words.  No matter what writing ability a student has, he or she would be able to create a Flicktion piece.  I used this tool as a final assessment.  The instructional focus would be learning about the different reasons why authors write.  Students would read examples of each type and practice identifying each.

As a written assessment, I would have students choose one form of writing persuade, inform, entertain or self-expression and have them complete a Flicktion final project.  I would start by having students choose a photo that is a favorite.  The self-selections gives them choice and will put them at the center of their project so that they can take pride.

After the photo is selected and put on their Flickr account, students could add text.  In class we’d draft and edit, then students could type their writing assignment.  Next, they could copy and paste the final edition into the “description box” of the photo and save.  Students could also add the location of their photo on a map as an extra detail.  Once students “tagged” the photo with the word “Ficktion” it would be shared in the “Fliction” community.  Students could look at classmate’s work and comment.  They would also get digital feedback, not just from their classmates, but also from other users.

Social and Collaborative Media

The potential of social media is discussed in this VoiceThread.

VoiceThread is a social media tool that teachers can use for instruction or that students can use for assessment.  The tool uses photos or video that the reader records his or her voice over.  One unique feature is that others can collaborate on the same Thread, offering more information on the same topic.

My VoiceThread focuses on three types of social media: Twitter, Google Forms and DIIGO.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.


Well, I have joined the site, “Goodreads” and have started a small list of Holocaust novels to pair with the prejudice unit.   I would use this bookshelf as a recommended list for students and parents who wanted to learn more about The Holocaust.  I would encourage the two to read together and then fill out their own Goodreads bookshelves or add their opinions to mine.  This could open up discussion within the bookshelf and encourage students and parents to read in order to add more to their lists.  Classes could share their findings on a class blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Edmodo account, and be involved in recommending books to their peers and other parents.  Students love to recommend books to me and this would give them a place to do so, while practicing their written expression.  Another way I may use this site is for books for literature circles or lunchtime book clubs, which I do with my kids now.  Members of each could their recommendations on and the group could vote or even make a group shelf to document what they have already and soon want to read.

Learning Log — iGoogle

No more multi-clicking!

Though I have been a member of the Google community for about three years, I had never set up my iGoogle page.  This page will support my teaching and organization at school by keeping my shared documents, Twitter account, E-mail and Google Reader articles at the touch of a finger.  Every morning, I start my day by opening a Google Doc to provide students with their daily tutoring placements.  I then open a separate E-mail account, maybe check the weather on a different site and keep up with the latest articles that have been sent to me regarding teaching.  I feel naïve that I never knew I could set up my main Google page and then personalize it for my daily needs.  This will help in time efficiency so I can have more time to give to my instruction.  For teaching I can set up my feeds for what I am currently teaching in hopes that some of the ideas will be able to be used in the classroom.

In order to support learning, iGoogle offers me a chance to be in the captain’s seat to observe.  I can monitor the kid’s shared documents and collaborations for instant feedback.  I can also have instant access to E-mail to answer questions from parents or students.  Having the Goggle Reader feed ensures that I will always have fresh articles and ideas to offer to my kids in class.  If I continue with Twitter as a tool in my classroom, I can keep track of any tweet or assignment that a student completes on the site.  If not, I’m sure whatever educational site I choose will have a “gadget” so I can link to the feature.  My goal is to continue to use this page on a daily basis.  You can see that I already have my home school’s Google Docs  — I am excited at the realization that I will not have to click from window to window to find my daily documents anymore.

A Wanna Be Attempts a Screencast

My Screencast:

Combining Writing with “Flicktion”: A Student Tutorial

My first attempt with a Screencast went well.  Overall I am very comfortable with creating one, and plan on making more in order to save time with whole class activities.  This production will be used in my classroom this year as an extension activity with an Honors class.  I will guide them through the process and have them put a final writing piece in to be assessed.  It’s intended purpose is to be the tutorial for the kids so that they can reference it at their own pace and hopefully save me time from answering questions about how to use the program.  I can then focus on helping the kids with the actual writing and creative aspect of the “Flicktion” product.

I did have some trouble with my camera feature, getting my notes to copy from a Word document, and saving the Title to the work.  The title is  Combining Writing with “Flicktion”: A Student Tutorial.  Please enjoy and maybe even use in your classroom.  Click the box “notes” on the bar on the screen so tat the notes disappear and your can actually see the Screencast.

Learning Log–Flickr Slide Shows

I am choosing the same topic for my slideshow as I did for my gallery as I really do plan to use these to resources in the last term of the school year when I assign a Holocaust novel to my honors classes.  I uploaded a few more than ten so that I would be able to apply this to my own classroom.  We also read many short texts based around the same theme of prejudice, which is one of the units in our 7th grade Language Arts curriculum.  All of those instructional stories add more depth to the students having a better understanding of the time.  Last summer, I visited Stutthof Concentration Camp in Poland.  These are photos from my trip that I took in order to use during the Holocaust unit that I do each year.

In this set, I plan for students to look at the slideshow and then get a better idea of what life in a concentration camp was like.  I would show this set after students have been studying the topic os that the scenes would’t be as shocking.  Students could then use the photos as another tool in writing a narrative on the feelings and emotions that a prisoner may of felt in a camp.  The pictures will give them a springboard in order to describe the colors, textures, possible climate or environment in general, fright and depression that they may write about.  Of course, students would use all of the other knowledge that they have acquired from the other text they have read or movie clips they have seen in order to tie all of the pieces together.  From past experience as a learner, I know that the student is usually more captivated by a topic if the teacher has witnessed herself and is sharing personal artifacts.  Hopefully, these photos and my personal experience and photos from the camp will help give the students a better understanding.

Here are some of the Frederick County Public School Standards that support what I would do with these photos:

  • LA.700.20.06 Recognize instances of propaganda and persuasive techniques.
  • LA.700.20.11 Reorganize information from different articles or procedures on the same topic.
  • LA.700.20.12  Compare and contrast information with prior knowledge.
  • LA.700.30.09  Students will apply and refine a variety of strategies to critically read and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective.
  • LA.700.30.09d   non-fiction, which may include biography, autobiography, essays, diaries, and journals.
  • LA.700.30.09f  reference, which may include textbooks, historical documents, newspapers, periodicals, editorials, speeches, interviews, nonprint materials, on-line websites and search engines.
  • LA 700.70  Students will demonstrate their ability to use the structures and conventions of the English Language in their written language.  

Learning Log Flickr Galleries

In my Language Arts classroom, I can foresee using Flickr all of the time from now on.  Not only does it offer thousands of photos for students to use in their digital projects, but it also can be used as a prompt for a free-write exercise that I do every time I have a class for 90 minutes.  Also, students can collaborate on the site to create stories in which all group members can take part.  There were so many ideas shared, but I am just going to focus on a few. In the blog “Flickr and the School Library” I liked the idea that The Web Footed Booklady offered about showcasing on Flickr all of the ways the media center is used throughout the day.  As librarians, we are faced with the possibility that we may have to justify our job and the importance of the center.  Using this Online tool, photos of use during the school day, after-school programs, staff meetings, and even parents meetings can help to prove the value of the library.

In his article, “Using Flickr in the Classroom” David Jakes discussed all of the ideas mentioned and went on to provide an easy to read list about all of the ways that Flickr can be used in the classroom and how it can help students.

In my classroom, I would use Flickr’s lesson about Creative Common’s licensing as Jakes listed and also for digital field trips, as I will never get to take my students have the places we read about.  Elizabeth, in her post “Learn How to Create Engaging and Interactive Virtual Field Trips for Your Classroom” explained in great detail the importance of and a offered a free copy of instructions for creating the trip.

In the Language Arts curriculum, the objectives have been divided into thematic units.  One of the units in 7th grade is “prejudice.”  I chose photos that I would use as the students read texts from The Holocaust.  Some photos would be used to offer some background knowledge, others would be used to look at the propaganda of the time, while some display life in the camps.

Classrooms Blogs — Not Just for Showcasing on Bulletin Boards Anymore!

Mrs. Poulin’s Blog

Gail Poulin teaches kindergarten at William E. Norris School in Southampton, Massachusetts – and stated that the main purpose of her blog was to be a a communication device between home and school.  One nice statement that she made to families was that the blog is great way to keep distant family members in the loop of what the child is doing in school.  She actively uses PhotoStory3, Animoto, and Movie Maker to post her videos which I think is great as our students in my school are sometimes only getting to use those programs starting in middle school.  The blog is very easy to navigate and visual easy to look at — with kindergarteners, it would have to catch attention as Poulin urges her students to make comments on the blog after reading them at home with their parents.   All monthly newsletters are easily seen and pictures from the class field trip were published with a description of the day.

There are links to practice literacy and math for kids to play Online games.  On both os those posts, I was expecting to see links to the curriculum and maybe some sample work or copies of assignments — but maybe that is reserved for a homework page.  Other than the link for students to have Online books read to them, there was no other academic information.  One post directed readers to the stuffed animal, Mr. Davo, a Tasmanian Devil’s blog.  This was interesting as I am inferring that the animal is passed around the state between a few teachers.  Again, I was expecting to see a science connection or picture of the actual Devil, but all that was provided was pictures of the stuffed animal at each kindergartener’s house.  That would be very special for them to be included in the blog, but I would like to have read some facts about the animal.  The reason that I said that they must pass the animal around is because there was a video that explained that Mr. Davo had come for a visit, but would now be going off to Cape Cod to see other kids.  I would use this passing of the animal to help my kids learn about Skype in order to see other kids enjoying Mr. Davo’s presence.  I like her ideas of keeping this blog updated and I think my school already has a feature like this, I just do not take advantage of it — though I do have some blogging experience now:)


This 6th and 7th grade classroom blog is based in British Columbia and maintained by teachers, Ms. Smith and Mrs. Bombini (who stated themselves as learners to the blog as well).  The purpose is to be a place for learners to share the inquiry learning that they have done.  The teachers are models for me as far as getting their students curious about a topic of their choice and then researching it to find answers.  I am impressed that every student in the class has his or her own blog — which is linked from every main page.  I also liked how there is a sidebar that displays where each reader is in the world.  I saw a few for the Maryland area and like to assume that they were from our class.   This site is easy to navigate and the process must have been kid friendly if so many kids were able to create their own blogs.

One of the posts that caught my eye in this 0blog was entitled, “Survey Says: we’re running our own businesses!”  The post olds the links to all of the “business” pages that the kids created for their class project after learning about manufacturing, retail and service.  Those broad topics were the base for the inquiry learning that was done in each room and I am inferring that the end product was the advertisement on the blog.  Oe of the student created a blog to advertise  his “Meaningful Magnets”.  It is not clear that this student has completed al there was within a rubric for the assignment.  If I designed the project, I would have posted the rubric or expectations so that readers like myself knew exactly what was expected.  Tommy’s Blog was more in-depth and I was able to click on more sidelines and options.  As far as the assignment, I was able to get a better idea about the product and even had a chance to take his survey about how I would prefer the product.  So far, this was the only site that allowed all of the kids to showcase their own work on an individual page.

The Plugged-In Portable

This site’s goal is to integrate Technology and Curriculum and is hosted by David Carruthers a grade 6 teacher in St. Thomas, Ontario.  I like this man’s philosophy that kids shouldn’t have to “un-plug”  when they get to school.  It is apparent, just by scrolling through the blog that technology is used in most daily instruction.  I was attracted to his blog as he had a lot of student work and post titles describing inquiry learning–which  am attempting in my classroom now.  Up until I read this blog, I had only seen the Huzzah! site allowing kids to showcase work.

One post was entitled, “Reaching Well Beyond the Walls of the Classroom” reflected on the thoughts that the old classroom ways have turned into technical practices.  Kids may be absent from school, but want to join the conversation through Skype, they are learning in a way that is incising them to be in school.  The message of this post was short and sweet–we need to keep up with the way kids are learning to live their lives–with technologies to communicate.

I clicked on the project based learning link since I just learned about the process in my last collaboration course.  David wrote that he first had his kids design the ultimate bike and the results were fantastic — kids researched bikes then used their imaginations.  He thought the results went well, and was ready to produce another project.  He also took some time to look back on the work that was done.  “What Will I Do Next Time?” was a post reflecting on the first inquiry based research project that David attempted with his class.  I found it interesting that he criticized himself for not having a clear enough goal for the end of the project, which I found to be true for the Huzzah! site as the goals were not clearly stated.  I appreciate this post as we all know that reflection is one of the most important parts of growing and learning.  He also discussed having numerous checkpoint for kids–he must have had trouble with kids falling behind or not hitting all of the points of the assignment.

Works Cited

Bombini and Winner. (2012, March 21). Huzzah!. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://huzzah.edublogs.org/about/

 Carruthers, D. (2011, October 23). TheUnpluggedPortable. The UnpluggedPortable. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://thepluggedinportable.edublogs.org/

Poulin, G. (2012, March 23). Mrs.Poulin’sBlog. Mrs.Poulin’sBlog. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://poulingail.edublogs.org/

Proof That Librarians Are Cool…

The Unique Librarian

The first blog that I have been was The Unquiet Librarian — Buffy Hamilton, who herself,  seems to be a true Georgia peach with over  19 years of teaching experience.  The site is full of informative posts from topics like, poetry, Nooks in the classrooms and collaboration and irquiry learning.  I found the site to be easy ti navigate and I liked that her posts included, models, pictures of her own lessons/organizational techniques and personal photos.  This blog was the winner of the Library Blogs in 2011 — so this a wonderful model for me to follow as I attempt to follow through with my goal of creating a classroom blog/library blog someday.

One post that caught my eyes was Time to Reboot The Universal Symbol for Library?  Hamilton brought the idea to her blog community that maybe it was time for a new sign rather than the blue one with a silhouette reading a book.  Some of her followers commented that they thought that tradition should be kept, another said that the sign should be updated to a modern version, while one even said that we should combine the two and perhaps have a Greek figure holding a book in one hand and a cell phone in the other.  I could foresee using this type of activity, maybe even a contest, in a media center.  Maybe have the kids research ancient signs that we still use, like in medicine, and then maybe make an updated version either using a computer program or by hand if they like art.  In an elementary and middle school, students would enjoy having their artwork around the halls of the school.

TLC = Tech + Library + Classroom

This library site caught my eye for two reasons.  1.  I am really trying to learn about all of the current technology that I am not using in my classroom. 2. I loved reading The Hunger Games and as I scrolled down, I saw a picture of the librarians acting out their own rendition of a book cover.  Priceless.  Part of what I have learned from this course is that people are suppose to network with other with the same type of interests, right?  Well — I am into tacky fun and these librarians seemed to be fun and still teach kids as they are doing it.  The purpose of the blog is to show other educators how to tie all three, tech, library and classroom together.  Visually, this blog is nice on the eye in the soft green and colorful picture ad recommended pictures stand out.  I will say that I expected there to  be more information about brining technology, library and classroom together–since that was the title.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the content on this blog, unlike The Unquiet Librarian.  I’m not taking much new learning from this blog.

On the Library Love post, Tara, the ES Librarian, International School in Bangkok, Thailand sent a shout out to her library assistants.  Though this may not have any actual educational factor, it was nice to see that she is on a collaborative team.  In my last class, I learned how important collaboration is in order to produce the type of media center where reading, research and technology are all combined.  With all three in place, student achievement can occur.  And, who doesn’t like a little praise to keep moral?

I clicked on the Skype and Connection post because Skype is new to me.  The post talked about how amazing Skype is for schools.  This is interesting to me as a teacher who has not witnessed this technology being used in my building, yet in Thailand, the kids are learning how wonderful this technology was.  I think her post was just a comment, but to me, it acted as a persuasive thought that I could be contacting other classrooms across the county or team teaching with other teachers to further my student’s learning experience.

The Daring Librarian

Danger is her middle name!  Out of all of the blogs that I visited, this was my favorite.   I felt energized as I scrolled through the pictures and titles.  Gwyneth Jones’ comic theme is perfect to hold student attention and she offers a lot of different information and links to the school’s wiki page and an online electronic portfolio.

The first post that I checked out was entitled, You’ve Got Game: Wii Learning.  This post highlighted an Online learning session about how to use the Wii gaming system to support math standards—hmm, video games and math?  Talk about engaging in hands-on way.  What I really thought was awesome about this session was that students were helping the teacher present the information.  So, the kids had to inquire and collaborate and the teacher acted as a co-learner with the students by taking part.  This is a useful model for teachers who would like to do more digital learning with their students with the help of the librarian.

The second post that I checked out was about all of the Lady Gaga Librarians uniting.  Jones started off by talking about media specialists possibly being cut because of the budgets.  She talked about how to be expandable and how librarians must put themselves out there in order to make know how important their jobs are.  She then said that a media specialists are a lot like Gaga when she said, “She loves her “little monsters” and so do we! She has style & doesn’t apologize! She doesn’t ask for permission.”  Jones was not saying that we should all be like Gaga — but was trying to explain that the outgoing attitude would be helpful in keeping media specialists in the schools.  As professionals, this is a good attitude to have–to put forth every effort to make great learning occur–it is not ideal that a librarian may have to fight for the job, but when the job is done correctly, we should be in all of our glory.

Works Cited

Hamilton, B. (2012, March 12). TheUnpluggedPortable. The Unquiet Librarian. Retrieved March 20, 2012, from http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/

 Jones, G. (2012, February 20). Daring Librarian, The. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/

Tara. (2012, March 14). TLC. TLC=Tech+Library+Cassroom. Retrieved March 20, 2012, from http://techlibraryclassroom.blogspot.com/