Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eight Random Facts MEME

I've been tagged for the 8 Random Facts MEME by my new blogging friend, David, from Ed Tech Learning.

My blog is very new, so I don't have many readers. But, I have a lot of great blogs that I really enjoy. So, this will be fun. Here goes...


1. Post these rules before you give your facts.

2. List 8 random facts about yourself.

3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them.

4. Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Eight Random Facts About ME
  1. I love heavy metal music. That surprises most people who know me.
  2. I play the piano badly, but I really wish I played well.
  3. My undergrad degree is in Criminal Justice. I never used it, but I think that's why I love those crime shows on Court TV and A&E.
  4. My favorite tv shows are The Daily Show and Colbert Report. I hate reality TV.
  5. I have an awesome son who is about to turn 14.
  6. I have three step daughters (also wonderful) who are like my own children.
  7. Knitting is one of my obsessive hobbies.
  8. I'm one of the few Florida natives.

Eight great ed tech blogs I'm tagging...
  1. The Other Side of the Desk
  2. The Thinking Stick
  3. Tie4Teachers
  4. Musings from the Academy
  5. mLearning World
  6. Virtual Learning Worlds
  7. EdTech Cool
  8. Cultivating Minds

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Elementary Wiki Ideas

What are some ways to effectively use the collaborative aspects of a wiki with elementary curriculum? I've been pondering that question and jotting down some ideas. I'm thinking of setting up a class learning space wiki with pages for each subject area. My thinking so far...

Writing - Introduce the six traits of writing by posting an excerpt for each trait. Students change the text to improve upon the trait in focus. We can refer back to these examples as we apply the six traits to our writing over the year.

Spelling - Our spelling lessons are organized by rule. Wouldn't it be interesting to post the rule, then ask students to find words that reflect that rule? As the year progresses, we have documented all of the rules along with examples. Think wiki word wall.

Math - Create number collection boxes in which each student posts a different name for the number. Example: 64 is... 8x8, 60+4, 100-36, a photograph of 64 toothpicks. Another collaborative idea - each student creates a number story. Students go back and solve someone else's story. As part of the geometry unit, students find or take photos representing shapes, parallel, perpendicular, angles, etc. The photos are posted in a visual geometry museum.

Social Studies - We study Florida, Native Americans, and explorers. Students create collaborative journal entries for historical figures or fictional members of a culture. Each student contributes one or two sentences reflecting upon the life of that person. Collectively, we end up with a more complete view of the world from another's perspective.

Still thinking about science and reading. Ultimately, I want to push the collaborative effort beyond the walls of our classroom. There's a lot of talk about this, but it's difficult to get other students and classes out there to contribute without planning ahead. Even then, teachers often have different views of how a collaboration should proceed. So, I'm still noodling it over and keeping an open mind. In the meantime, we'll start locally and encourage others to contribute globally...that's a first step.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

One Laptop Per Child - Interns Wanted

OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) is hosting a Summer of Content to facilitate the development of educational content for the program. This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in a big way by directly contributing lessons and curricular units.

If you're not familiar with OLPC, you can learn more about the vision here. The goal is to "provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves" via a $100 laptop, designed to transform education for the world's poorest children. Nicholas Negroponte (founder) views OLPC as "an education project, not a laptop project." I love this viewpoint because hardware alone will never make the impact that a full educational revolution can make. In order for that to happen, people need to get involved.