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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wallwisher: A way to get everyone involved!

Have you tried Wallwisher yet?  Wallwisher is an online bulletin board where people can post ideas or comments about a subject. 
Above is  a wall that my class made as we did a prereading lesson about differences.  The students linked up to the site, and then from my prompt, they added their own ideas.  (In this case, the first prompt was how are people different from each other.  The second prompt was how are we alike?)

I find the site very easy to create walls.  Once the wall is created, the site gives you the link so you can send it or post it for others to access.  As people post their ideas, a simple refresh lets them or you see what others are thinking. 

I have done this a couple of times this year.  I find it interesting the students who are willing to post their ideas here but would not typically participate in a class discussion of the same topic.  My students were engaged, and this was a great springboard for our class discussion.

This would be great for meetings or for a time when you are introducing a new concept.  People could post ideas or questions here for all to see in real time.  The walls remain accessible to the creator from the Wallwisher site.

I hope you find this useful.  Let me know of a great way you have or are going to use it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

America's White Table

     For the past couple of years, my team and I have included in our Veteran's Day observances a reading of America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven.
     My students enjoy the story and many can relate to an uncle or other relative who honored our country with their service.  The personal connections my students make to it are strong, and I really believe that it makes the meaning of the day stronger for them.
     After reading the story, we take our 3rd graders to the cafeteria and set a table on the 10th so that is set up for the 11th.  If you don't know the story of this military tradition, then this story is a must-read for you.
     We are lucky to live in our country and to have so many brave men and women who have protected us in the past and present.  Thank you to all of the veterans out there.  Words can not express how much we appreciate all that you have done for our country.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What would you say?

I have been asked to a couple of different groups in the next week, and I would be interested to know what you are thinking.

First, I am going to speak to a Citizen's Advisory Council about the use of social media in the elementary classroom.  I have a few ways that we use it in our 3rd grade classroom, but I am wondering if you have ideas of things that should be said.  I will explain our Classconnect site, our blogging, and our recent Twitter account as places that we have started.  Do you have anything that you think should be mentioned?

Also, I am speaking to our staff about Web 2.0 tools.  I have a short time, and I want to share easy sites that I know they will be able to use easily.  I am thinking about Wallwisher, Wordle/Tagxedo, and ClassConnect.  Some of our teachers are very tech savvy, but not all, so I am thinking I will hopefully give everyone one new thing to take away.  Is there a tool that I am forgetting about?  What would you share with your staff in 20 minutes? 

I am excited to spread my passion for technology to these groups, but I don't want to overwhelm anyone or make them feel like it takes something special to use these sites.  I want something easy that they can use and understand.  Am I on the right track?