Sunday, September 28, 2008

Info Influx

I have a confession to make...I rarely, I mean rarely get through the unread links in my Google Reader account. However, I usually find myself going through the Delicious links first and today I zeroed in on Will Richardson's.

He bookmarked an article from the School Library Journal titled Now Embeddable: Google Books! by Joyce Valenza and boy did I have a time with this. As I do with the nifty Web2.0 gadgets I come across, I was trying to see how I can make this new Google Book embeddable feature work in Our Wiki, unfortunately I had no luck.

So, I was bouncing back and forth from Google's Operating System Blog to the School Library Journal and back and forth between my blog, Our Wiki, and my classblogmeister account to try to get this feature to work. There must have been 10 tabs open at the top of my Firefox browser as I was trying to manage the madness.

I was to prevail in time, but oh did it take time. Here's the thing, it takes me an ungodly amount of time to figure this Web2.0 "stuff" out and because of this I rarely get through my G-Reader. I have also come to realize that this is's the network that I have created and the information isn't going anywhere. So if it's needed I can surely search through and find the information that I am looking for.

Here lies another aspect of what I am figuring out about myself. The obvious part: There are only a certain number of minutes in a day and I have to be as strategic with them as possible. For me, it always come down to this question: "How am I going to help my children and my students manage the massive influx of information and be as effective as possible about the choices they make and how they decide to spend their time if I am not able to model this for them?" The good ole lead by example...I guess this is the Marine in me.

So I have opened the flood gates and allowed myself to be subjected to the blast of the blogosphere so that I can learn how to not only stay afloat but to learn how to truly leverage this for myself. So at any rate, it took me a good chunk of the day to figure out how to embed Google Books into wikispaces and I am still working at it. I was able to embed books here in Blogger.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Writing Momentum

The first couple weeks of the new school year seems to be going very well with this group of fifth graders. I am strategically and energetically setting up the routine for our Reading and Writing Workshop and already finding much success.

Teaching reading and writing is most definitely an art form and I think to do it well, really well, the teacher has to let go of some control. We are not painting by numbers but rather helping students believe and live their lives like readers and writers. I think the first part in empowering students to think like this is to give them the opportunities to read and write about things they are passionate about.

Perhaps they may not be passionate writers at first, but I can tell you that after a couple days of sharing out what they have written for the day, everyone wants to have the chance to read their favorite section to the entire class. The momentum is definitely in my favor right now, the key is to keep it going. So, the challenge I have been thinking about is, "How am I going to sustain this writing momentum?"

Actually, I already know the answer...I think.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Little Steps

Ok, so I have been thinking about my presentation to my students' parents during our first Curriculum Night, which is scheduled for the end of September. Last years power point presentation was a spectacular Non Example of how to utilize power point and so I am now in the process of a complete overhaul.

Last Year's PowerPoint: In the famous words of Leelefever, "booo..."

Curriculum Night 2007
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

This Year's Presentation that I will speak to:

Curriculum Night 2008(Ppt)
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Here's the thing. I am attempting to build a bridge between myself and the parents. So of course, I do spend some time introducing myself and this year, my attempt was to simply use photos that I will speak to in order to achieve this goal. I guess you can say these are little steps towards Digital Storytelling.

Then, instead of blasting my audience with a ton of text on each slide I only use a short phrase or word that will help prompt me as to what I will speak about. However, I still feel as though the parents may want to take notes or jot questions or concerns down along the way so, I designed another presentation/handout that is text driven that will correspond with my verbal presentation.

I think this is a small step, hopefully in the right direction. I did spend 3 or 4 nights putting this together after all of the family went to bed, which is OK. Working through this project did allow me the opportunity to focus on the essential points that I want to speak to. In the end I will be able to chalk this up as another learning experience in the digital landscape.

Here is the corresponding handout that the parents will have during my presentation:

There are a few glitches in this presentation such as 2008 showing up twice on the title slide and a few hyperlinks that are not accessible and I am not sure why.
Curriculum Night Ppt
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