Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thing #9- Library Blogs and News Feeds

Today I started my search to create my "circle of wise" and stumbled across Classroom 2.0. It is an online community/network of Web 2.0 users. This is a place where they can share their expertise or ask questions. I especially thought it was great that they had a beginners group for someone like me that is just starting to explore this new world of Web 2.0. It was interesting to search their posts see how others were using Web 2.0 in their classrooms.
I found Topix to be the easiest and more user friendly site for searching news feeds. I liked how you could change the location to search other areas as well. I moved here from Iowa so it is always nice for me to keep up with what is going on back there!
I was instantly overwhelmed when I look at Syndic8. This site was very busy to me and not visually pleasing to the eye.
Through my search today I did find an interesting wiki site create my the Wissahickon School District. I was not able to view the grade level wikis, but there were several other links that I found to be useful.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thing #8 RSS Feeds

RSS feeds and Google reader were not something I knew anything about before today. Google Reader is a place where I can subscribe to different blogs/news feeds and receive instant updates. This is a wonderful way to stay current on your information and to SAVE TIME doing it! Who doesn't like the sound of that? A librarian could subscribe to author's blogs and teachers/principals could keep up with different associations to make sure they never miss a thing!

I was thinking about how this could be used in my personal life and I wondered if Pet Finder had an RSS feed. I did not see one on the site. My sister is currently looking for a certain type of dog to adapt and there have been several times that she has found a dog she likes and they already have someone going to look at it. Wouldn't it be neat if they had a RSS feed that would update you on the new dogs posted for a certain dog breed? Maybe that is wishful thinking, but I couldn't help but think how great that would be for my sister!

Learning about RSS feeds was not as fun as some of the other "things" but certainly useful for my personal and professional life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thing #7- Google Tools

I have always been a google user for searches simply because it is what I've known. I had never taken the time to look at all the interesting tools it has to offer. I enjoyed exploring igoogle where I was able to create a homepage specific to my interests. One of my favorite tools I found was the To Do List. I am a HUGE list maker and I don't think I could live without one! There is no greater satisfaction than crossing off something I have accomplished on my list! I wonder if using the strike-through feature would do the trick too?

I also like the tool that shows the current phase of the moon. This is one of our second grade objectives and this tool can really come in handy when the kids come to school and say " We didn't see the moon. It was cloudy.

I also looked into the Atomic Learning site. This is a site where you can go for quick and easy online training on different software applications and also submit questions you may have. I thought this was a great site, until I noticed that a subscription was needed and it wasn't cheap!

As a librarian using Google Alerts would be a great way to keep up with different authors, awards, and even new technologies.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thing #6- Mashups and 3rd Party Sites

Wow! I don't know about you, but I have found myself losing track of the time and spending HOURS playing with these new applications! I love the idea of creating a trading card through Big Huge Labs. I plan to use it next year to give to the parents during class orientations so that they have all of our classroom information!

I am also excited to try Bookr in my classroom. It is a very user friendly application that could be used by kids of all ages. What an awesome way for my students to showcase their work! Every year we have an Author's Chair Night where we invite the parents into the classroom to share all the writing pieces they have written throughout the year. This year I am thinking each child can select their favorite piece to publish through Bookr and showcase them to the parents!

So far.........Thing #6 is at the top of my list!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Having Fun with Flickr Slideshows!

More to come, but I am having so much fun playing with my pictures I wanted to share! Here are my boys, Cooper and Rudy! Click here to make your own slideshow using your Flickr photos!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thing #5- Flickr

Today I spent some time exploring Flickr. While I was searching, I found the tags to be useful in order to find photos on a certain topic. I first searched for some pictures of cloud formations. This is an objective that is taught in second grade and I found some wonderful examples to show the kids. See below! This picture was uploaded from "tipiro's photostream."

I then explored the groups feature where you can share photos within a group of people and set them to be public or private. I found a group titled: 2nd Grade: Native Americans that caught my interest. This group created an activity for their students to explore a variety of photos of different regions of the United States and use them to compare the climate, land, and plant life for a particular Native American group. What a great idea! I was not able to see all the documents, but I did send a request to be a part of the group and learn more about how they use Flickr to incorporate technology on the classroom.

I also found another group titled: School Library Displays that I thought would be very helpful for a new librarian looking for ideas to set up a visually stimulating library. I know as a teacher, we beg, borrow, and steal good ideas for our classrooms and this is a great idea for librarians to share their creative ideas as well! This photo was uploaded from bookbuddies.

Overall, I think that Flickr is a useful resource and a great collaborative tool for sharing photos and ideas! I already have lots of ideas turning in my head on how I can use it!

Thing #4

I am all registered and ready to explore! Time to check out Flicker!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thing #3- Blog and Avatar

Setting up my blog was quick and easy to do. After it was set up I created my Yahoo Avatar. It was so much fun! Once I started changing it around, I couldn’t stop. I enjoyed changing the backgrounds and it was hard to decide on just one. I have made a Voki before, but this had so many more options to play with.

Thing #2 Lifelong Learners

As an educator, part of my teaching philosophy has always been to encourage lifelong learning. As I reviewed the 7 ½ Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners, I reflected on my own personal views and found that I am stronger in some areas more than others. One of the most obvious strengths for me is to teach and mentor. From a young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Like most teachers, I enjoy seeing that light turn on when my second graders learn something new! I have also been a mentor to new teachers in our building and have helped them transition into the role of an educator. I enjoy sharing “tricks” I have learned along the way to help them be successful.

The most difficult habit for me is to view problems as challenges. When life gets busy and a problem arises, I have to admit that I sometimes view it as a crisis. I can remember back to my first few years of teaching and feeling like I could not find the time for one more thing. With experience, I have developed much better time management and I am able budget my time so that I can expect for challenges to come up. In hindsight, I am usually able to see it as a learning experience but it’s not always easy from the beginning.