This video is somewhat delayed. Last summer I participated in a hands on science workshop at Oxford at Emory University in Oxford, GA. It was an amazing two weeks of technology free exploration. We spend some time in a small A-Frame lab-house at the edge of a small lake and collected water specimens, looked under rocks and under leaves on trees to discover the range critters residing in the area and to determine the health of the environment based on the wildlife present. It's the kind of learning I did as a kid in the creeks nearby my home. I recall tricking the newcomers into sniffing freshly picked skunk cabbage and amazing friends with captures of mud puppies and salamanders. We examined our finds under microscopes, made charts and graphs and predicted outcomes. We walked the walk of a child investigator in the hopes of providing such an experience to our our students. OIEE as they are called specialize in backyard investigations. They absolutely insist that student devise their own hypothesis and then develop a method to test them and to collect data. As an aside, Oxford University is a two year college leading to a 3rd and 4th year at the prestigious Emory University in Georgia. Little Oxford exists in a bucolic setting amidst farms and small town neighborhoods. A very infamous event took place the Spring before our summer course. It involved a live zebra. It will forever be remembered as one of the most infamous college pranks in history. Just google it to learn more!
3-third grade boys research and create sports talk show to tell about their favorite players. Students wrote the script individually and collaborated on setting up the show.
Watch how 40 seconds transformed our class pet, Sparkle into a weightless cloud hopper. I wanted to introduce my students to the green screen concept so I decided to demonstrate it as a magic trick using the rabbit as my focal point. Instead of pulling him out of a hat I placed him in the sky. what you are seeing here is the after effects but what your are hearing are the students voices while simply watching Sparkle explore his small student desk top which was covered in green fabric and sitting up against a green backdrop. When the students saw the finished product the next day, their jaws dropped and they started giggling and asking how I did it. I showed them, a couple at a time at my desk and explained that it was a little like making a collage. I just combined two images.
Each year I enjoy giving my students the challenge of turning a story into a play. In 3rd grade this was even more of a challenge for me in a number of ways. To begin with, we have more content to cover and lots of time spent preparing for standardized testing in April which makes it difficult to eek out time to plan and practice let a alone perform. Additionally, the process of choosing parts, developing lines and creating dialog, sequencing and blocking the production must happen over an extended period of time and students get anxious about when it will finally be ready.
I read the story, My Father's Dragon aloud to the class in December and used it to discuss the different fiction genres including folktales, fairy tales and fantasy. This story is fantasy. Next I had the students storyboard their favorite scene in the book using a graphic organizer for comic strips. This helped them identify with the characters. We talked about how character traits are identified in speech. How somebody says something tells a lot about their personality. It is their own particular "voice". Next I made a long list of characters and asked them to give me their top three choices. Except for three parts, everyone got their first choice.
The girls involved in the dispute over parts had a plan, could we modify the story somewhat to make one part stronger and in effect make two leads? We managed to reach consensus and our parts were established. All that happened in January. I wasn't until March that we had an opportunity to continue our work.
In March I asked the students to gather on the carpet and we walked through the parts. We established positions and entrances. I took pictures along the way. Later I printed the images with scene captions and asked the students to write the lines they thought they should say in their various scenes. Some of them knew exactly what to say, others needed help. Some wanted to say very little and that was OK.
They worked in small groups with their scene partners to develop the dialog further. In the end, a student typed up the dialog on each picture slide in a power point and then I printed the copy as handouts. We spend time practicing in a circle the timing of the lines and just talking through the entrances and so on.
The 2nd to last week of school we were running out of time. The students wanted to make their own costumes. I suggested keeping it simple and sticking to a hat-mask so we could see and hear them clearly. We rehearsed on a Wednesday and it was a disaster! I wondered how we could pull it off. 3rd graders like to discuss everything and we had more talk than action.
One wise friend, Paula Boston, who also enjoys doing plays with her class suggested I set a performance date and time. She said when the kids have the goal of performing for peers, they rise to the occasion. She was right! We had two performances on Thursday and it went splendidly. My soon-to-be-college-daughter Madi filmed, as she was out of school already, and Mrs. Boston's 3rd Grade watched. She had her students make comments about things they liked or questions they had. We had one performance on Friday and scheduled the parent performance for Tuesday the last week of school. After each performance we talked about how we could be improve.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience although a lengthy process. The students will forever remember My Father's Dragon and the very special roles they each played in making it happen.
My Father's Dragon, part 1, Students listen, sequence, select, write and act out a chapter book.
Today I noticed that my podomatic ranking went up so naturally I logged in to check the account. I apologize for not having posted anything this year, but I was dangerously close to using up my free space! Isn't that terrible? After all podomatic has done to provide a wonderful free space I know I should have just shelled out the $ to keep things rolling or perhaps I could have requested a PTA mini grant to cover the annual fee. I think I was concerned because they hadn't made any noticeable updates to the site, but now they have! So, my plan is to upgrade and upload the 3-4 new episodes I created this year which are scattered between vimeo and teachertube.
I filmed this episode back in December '08 and I love it! What I love about it is listening to these 3rd grade students thoughtfully explain what they are attempting to accomplish and why. Andrey, the first student had me for kindergarten and since I moved to teach grade 3 this year, he visited often. He was concerned that I didn't have an interactive whiteboard. He wondered how I could manage. I told him, as I explained to my own class that creating an interactive whiteboard on the cheap was entirely possible. I showed them Johnny Lee's, How to - video and posted it on my classroom blog along with a link to the instructions for creating the wiimote pen tool.
Last summer I had attempted this myself but my skills at assembling anything with wires and solder created a second rate sculpture instead of a usable pen! I gave Andrey my wires, highlighters (the suggested housing for the pen) and batteries. He brought the materials home and convinced his father to spend some time helping him assemble this pen tool. He reported to me weekly about his progress. His dad is a pilot and they only had small windows of time to work. Finally in November it was finished. Instead of using the highlighter they chose a narrow metal pipe. It looked a little like a pipe bomb as you will see!
In the meantime a pair of boys in my homeroom became intrigued and wanted to get involved in the process as well. I demonstrated how to search for the wiimote whitboard movie and website and they were confident they could find it once they got home. 2 weeks later they had produced highlighter encased pen tools with the help of their fathers!
The next hurdle was to sync up the bluetooth device. I tried 2 of my own dongles and downloaded the suggested utility which seemed simple enough but just couldn't get it to work. Andrey, Michael and Skyler were dying to see it in action. Skyler's dad, offered to come in and solve the problem. He used a different small utility and got it to work! Everyone was amazed! Unfortunately I don't have footage of this portion of the project. It was a remarkable accomplishment for these three boys and I could tell they felt like Nobel prize winners!
I'll guess that this opportunity to experiment and to make an impact on our classroom was the most significant educational experience they had all year. Why? It taught them valuable hands on skills and showed them that even 8 year-olds can make a difference in the world. I will try to seek out more opportunities like this to capture the intellectual curiosity of my students.
This is the 'boys show' I promised shortly after the girls initiated their own podcast program. The boys had very different goals. They wanted to use or be action figures, super heroes and special effects. The planning portion took about half an hour while the boys collected things from around the room to construct mini sets. They wanted to find a way to use the aluminum plate flying saucer so the show became a wordless story about an alien invasion. I added some music from freeplaymusic to create atmosphere. The kicks and punches look more like dancing to me. In fact I considered downloading and using Kung Fu Fighting as the back track! Running under 2 minutes both the boys and girls get such a thrill from seeing themselves in action. As a result I have taped each student 'flying' around the globe and will put something together with a focus on Earth Day and the endangered species we studied. I noticed lots of engagement and collaboration between the boys. Some of them had a real sense of how it would look when finished, others just participated for the fun of it and enjoyed the surprising end product. I hope this teaches them that the sky's the limit when it comes to creative use of technology and teamwork.
Just before Spring break we finished the annual drama project. This year I introduced a book , The Little Old Ladies Who Liked Cats by Carol Greene. Our Media Specialist ordered me a used copy from Amazon. I read the book whole group. The response was encouraging. Right away they started to identify the sequence, plot and the wide range of characters. For the next two weeks I used the book as a basis for exploring story elements including: setting, main idea, characters and sequence. After the first week I suggested they each consider what part they would like to play if we turned the book into a play. The biggest surprise came when two of the girls wanted to be dolphins. I was confused until they pointed out the dolphins in the illustration. We worked them into the play. A boy volunteered to be the cow and then realized cows were girls so we made him a bull who talks about cows! Next was the mouse character who decided he really would prefer being a bear. Luckily bears also like honey so we worked him in. Finally we had no volunteers for mayor until one of the girls suggested we use a princess instead. Good idea I assured her and we worked he into the play.
We walked through the parts and then work on individual lines in small group. I like them to decide what to say. The pirates came up with some funny lines as did the sailors. Our little lady knew just what to say and the cats got into character! Our last modification came when we tried to resolve the conflict. It was decided that the pirates be allowed to return if they followed the rules. In the end they get to join the navy. I used free play music to find snippets of tunes to underscore the dialog but the last number was a special request.
They all wanted to dance to High School Musical 2 so I threw in 10 seconds to make it happen. For me technology plays an important role because it motivates me to think in broader terms. The students know they are working on a movie they will be able to keep and share with family. I have explained the editing process to them and they gave me suggestions about the order and the sound. I showed them how the storyboard panel is just like the exercise they do when they arrange pictures in the order of a story.
Parents helped with costume assembly, getting the students dressed, keeping them 'quiet on the set' or occupied in the Media center between takes. Mrs. Foresman my Paraprofessional was invaluable giving direction as I manned the camera. Look for a short follow up to this vodcast where I will explain how to make these simeple paper costumes and the set. If you have any questions or comments look for my small voices post on my blog: http://ripplingpond.wordpress.com
WOW! Show number 3-0. This show erupted spontaneously. It was Friday morning following journal time when we typically work on a whole group project involving creative writing. I was finishing up the Avatar project with the boys. The girls had completed their parts and were reading and enjoying books together. One of the girls approached me and suggested the girls do a play using one of our Language Arts stories as their model. I told them if they could work independently and make sure each one could participate I would record their efforts once they finished. This motivated them to action.
All seven girls discussed their lines and then created some artwork to accompany their lines. They worked very diligently. I just enjoyed seeing their spontaneity, inspiration and creativity at work. It motivates me to perform as their teacher-facilitator. They all took ownership and shared in the project. I am very fortunate to have such self-motivated students. They simply amaze me. As for the boys, they were also working, collaborating and comparing their Avatar dialogs. I promised to do a special 'flying' project with them soon! Shortly before PE I was able to take the girls to our multi media room to record their production. They we very cooperative and poised. They are hoping to perform their lines live on our internal morning news for the whole school. That's Girl Power for you!
Kennesaw State University produces excellent teachers. I was able to witness the process and discovered the rigor of the program first hand. I listened to my student teacher talk about her course work and I watched as she prepared for her observations. Her role was actually a pre-student teaching role. Over a 15 week period she worked in our classroom, gaining knowledge and experimenting with various teaching strategies. As a parting gift I offered to show her how to make a podcast and used footage from one of her lessons previously recorded. I removed the audio and reduced it to under 5 minutes. Next I showed Helen how simple it is to use Pinnacle for studio editing. She caught on quickly and edited her own audio including several student voices as well. If you are a teacher you may get some good ideas for teaching patterns to kindergarteners or you may want to comment and add some great ideas of your own!
Each year I work with my students to produce a Thanksgiving play. We share the play with their parents after the traditional 'feast day' in the cafeteria. This year many students had new ideas about the play. We had all kinds of new roles. We had King James, Little Dove, and jack & Annie from the Magic Tree house! We also had a student play his ancestor who was aboard the Mayflower. Our resources included the If You Were There book on Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving on Thursday from the magic Tree house series and several short movies from our United Streaming collection. Because the play would have been very long if performed live, I decided to take still shots of each scene and asked students to record their speaking parts. The result was a product enjoyed by both parents and students. The images allowed us to see faces and hear the voices clearly. It's just under 7 minutes long but may give you (teachers) some ideas for capturing your own 'plays'. I owe a vote of gratitude to my Parapro Mrs. Foresman and my KSU student teacher for helping to coordinate this effort. I used Photostory 3 but next time I will pull everything into Pinnacle because I can export without doing a file conversion. This file was converted using zamzar.com.
And now for something completely different... Our PTA held an auction to raise money for science and technology. Teachers were asked to contribute. I offered, "Make Your Own Podcast". Perry, a 4th grade student new to our school and with a Montessori background won the bid. he loves drawing so I let him experiment with the Promethean board. He created several images and used them to make simple animations. I imported everything into Studio 10 and then he recorded the voice over. It took 3 afternoons, a total of 3 hours. We had a wonderful time and Mrs. Foresman my Parapro kept us entertained and supplied with snacks throughout the process. We all had a terrific time.
The Kid Chefs decided to make cupcakes originally based on a non-fiction recipe book featuring exciting images of cupcakes disguised as volcanoes, apples and much more. Later we looked at son www.HiMonkey.net recipes and they all agreed to decorate panda cupcakes. I baked oversize supcakes for them in individual tins to facilitate the decorating process. The little bit of green represents the bamboo pandas love to eat.
This is the second cooking show. The Cookers of CVES make pancake batter and then decorate using marshmallows and chocolate chips Would you eat their pancakes? See for yourself. I had parental help filming this episode. Thank you Mrs. Robertson!
Finally! The long awaited and much anticipated episode 24! This is the first is a series of three cooking shows, the culmination of a thematic unit. Concepts of language arts, math, social studies and health were covered using the cooking theme. For instance, students learned how to make dough by singing the Peanut Butter and Jelly song. They discovered the origin of wheat from the book, Hold the Anchovies. Curious George Makes a Pizza turned pizza making into an adventure. Creating grocery lists, learning new words such as ingredients, kneading and yeast, students found real world applications for their new found knowledge and skills. The filming was done in a separate room. It took 40 minutes to stop and start and go through the process. All that yielded only a few tablespoonfuls of sweet footage! Enjoy! If you have tried anything like this with your students please post a comment and link to your cooking show. We would love to see it.
If you are watching this now, you are probably one of my regular subscribers and this podcast is actually intended for the unpoded, those who have not ventured into the land of podcasts. I will host a Poster Session at NECC07 on Tuesday from 1-3PM to help persuade teachers that should should make time to LISTEN! Podcasts open up a whole new world of possibilities for educators in teerms of networking, support and ongoing professional develoment. I picked two of my current favorites to highlight, The Ohio Treasure Chest by Eric Curtis and of course, Podcast for Teachers, Techpod with Dr. Kathy and Mark. I hope neither minds a little publicity. People deserve to be recognized for their work for the community and I aplaud them. If you are a podcaster then you surely know about the time commitment required to produce them.
I will be handing out a flyer with my current iTunes playlist so people can get an idea of where to start. Naturally that includes, The Appleby School and EdTechTalk among others. My list changes often. So many podcasts, so little time. In addition I have a "coloring book" handout with a few podcasts mentioned. It is my hope that people will not only take a look at small voices, an example of a teacher experimenting with authentic literacy projects, but that they will begin a personal quest for knowledge.
I would value any of your comments. I know this presentation isn't perfect but I just had to say, ENOUGH or I would still be working away.
I will also host a Brid's of a Feather on Monday at 4:45 for educators who would like to compare notes about how they use podcasting in the classroom. Would-be podcasters also welcome.
It is finished!
Please go to my blog to read my reflections on the process of making this particular episode. http://ripplingpond.wordpress.com
My work has begun on our final podcast for the school year. With only 12 days left of school I have decided to create a project which will permit my students to act out a scene they have watched all year long. They will perform a Cheetah Channel morning show. The Cheetah Channel is our wonderful morning news production. Last year our principal dedicated a room for multi-media and TV production. Our Media Specialist Diane Briggs manages the station with assistance from our Gifted and Talented teachers. Every 5th grade student has the opportunity to appear on the show or act behind the scenes as a technician. They do a remarkable job. My kindergartners once did the flag salute but they yearned for more.
In order to plan, I asked the students to tell me about the sequence of events and the different parts of the show. We came up with four distinct parts. 1)the anchors who announce the show 2)the students who lead the pledge 3)the special guests, and 4)the singers. I asked students to give me their top two choices of roles and then I made the assignments. I met with the special guests and they shared their ideas with me. The anchors sat in front of the classroom to practice. I was amazed how much of the morning script they had memorized just from watching and listening! They didn't want to leave anything out. My plan is to practice in LA small groups this week. I will divide the groups by job assignment. The anchors will write up their lines and so will the guests. The pledgers will recite the pledge from a written copy of the text. We will talk about each of the phrases and what is all means. The singers will practice their lyrics and hand motions. We will work on diction, energy and expression.
Next week I plan to spend one hour of Language Arts whole group filming the show. I will not tape an hour of film! I will only record what I need which will be no more than 8 minutes. I will try to crop as I go to avoid lots of back-end editing. Once I post the podcast I plan to let the students watch it and respond to it in writing/journaling. I also plan to ask their parents to write comments on the podcast. I've never even thought to ask before this! A note will go home with the URL, maybe the students can write the note? As I write I am getting excited about this project. They can't wait and neither can I. I think I will even grab some standards to include, for those of you who like to see how all of this fun can actually tie into the curriculum!
Our class went on a field trip to the Chattahoochee Nature Center. It was more than a walk in the woods. Students explored, used dramatic play and touched things found in nature. They gained an appreciation for the earth and it's creatures. Rebecca, our guide did an outstanding job helping the children capture her enthusiasm for the outdoors. I took nearly 200 pictures. I printed them on copy paper in b/w. Students wrote about 2 photos, one self selected and the other selected by me. The second day I had students come to my desk during snack to record their narration over this PhotoStory 3 project. It's 6 minutes long, longer than most but they are reading their own words and this can't be rushed. I attempted to convert the wmv file using zamzar.com but it told me the file was too large. I broke down and bought crazi for ipod by River Past. It does a perfect conversion and costs under $30. Now I will likely do more with PhotoStory because the students are asking to take their own pictures and want to write about them!
Georgia State School Superintendent Mrs. Kathy Cox visited Creek View Elementary on Monday, April 30. She was introduced by Principal Trussell and student anchors over the Cheetah Channel News. Mrs. Cox made her way around Creek View in the company of her two assistants and our Assistant Principal Mrs. Betty Swanson. This brief clip shows Mrs. Cox in Ms. Shields' kindergarten, and a 1st and 3rd Grade classroom. The 1st grade teacher is Heidi Holcomb, 21st Century Classroom Coordinator and Mr. Robert Theriault who teaches 3rd grade and is also a 21st Century Classroom educator.
The Making of WBEC-FM briefly chronicles my field experience project with one 5th grade class this Spring. I worked closely with Ms. Becker to use podasting as a catalyst for various modes of writing. The students were in groups of 3 selected by their teacher. There were 8 groups in all. I will post details of the project on my wiki, http://ripplingpond.pbwiki.com before the NECC conference in case teachers would like to view the plans and materials. It is our hope that these students will inspire other students and that MS. Becker will inspire other teachers to harness the magic of podcasting in the classroom. You can listen to the student work at: http://wbecfm.podomatic.com