Information Overload

It is the attack of information.  It can be big and scary. I find the following commercial just too funny not to share.  When working with students this could be how they feel when they are looking for relevant information on a project.  Personally, some days I feel like this since my PLN is expanding.  Even though this commercial is for Bing, I am using iGoogle as part of the PLN Challenge #6: iGoogle –A PLE hub for your PLN wheel.

iGoogle reader screenshot

I set up my iGoogle, I am still working out all of the different buttons.  I did find that I could upload my own photo into iGoogle and turn it into a theme.  If anybody wants to use it, it’s called My Flower Collection.  These three paintings are in a series of 4.  I am currently working on the last one.

I like the idea of having a spot where everything is.  That way I am not jumping or typing in the web address every day to see what is going on.  It’s nice an organized.  I just wish my comics could be directly put onto the page. May be in a few months, they will be allowed to be directly sent to iGoogle.  I find that having twitter available on the page is wonderful.  I created a tab just for Twitter.

Now, I just need to get into the habit of checking my iGoogle reader.  Students could use this like their own personal newspaper/magazine.  They could find articles that are relevant to what they like and subscribe to those articles creating a higher interest in reading.

Have a great day!

-Mrs. Berry

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30 Day PLN Challenge #5: Using Blogs as Part of Your PLN

PLN Word Cloud

I have been blogging for the last 11 months or so and I find that blogging is a whole lot of fun!  The reason why I started to blog was because it was a requirement for one of my graduate classes.  Well, I have found that this is a format that I rather like.  The reason why to blog is personal: I like to share ideas.  Another reason why I like to write blogs is due to the nature of a blog.  I have been keeping a personal journal for roughly 23 years, every day.  I have a lot of journals.  Some days are longer than others, and some include sketches. So blogging comes natural.

Top Ten Things That I Like About Blogging

  1. Sharing
  2. Having a PLN to bounce ideas off
  3. Your PLN or random strangers can comment
  4. The format of the blog can be what you want it
  5. I can include videos
  6. I can include photos
  7. This is a spot where I can connect with parents/community
  8. I can find cool lesson plan ideas from other teachers in my PLN
  9. You don’t need a degree in journalism to write a blog, it’s for everybody
  10. Other bloggers will help you

Things That I Wish I Would Have Known Before Blogging

  1. When you give your blog a name, make sure it’s a good one.  Kind of hard to change later.
  2. Read a few blogs from different companies.  WordPress is nice but doesn’t let you add certain things for free like cool widgets.  Several 2.0 Web tools don’t embed into WordPress.
  3. Try out different free versions of blogging sites before finding the one that you like best.
  4. Defiantly try Kick Start your Blogging from Edublogs.  I found this to be extremely helpful and fun.
  5. Remember, if you type it the world can see it.  So keep in mind who is your intended and not intended audience; both can see what you write or post. (I actually knew this one before blogging.)
  6. Add tags, they help people find your wonderful post.
  7. Blogging is not just for company or teachers it could be for anybody.

Things That I Do Before I Post

  1. Use a Word document to type out my thoughts first and save the draft (power could go out, or the Internet decides not work when you go to hit post).
  2. Find some sort of visual to go with my post.  I have my blog post an update in Facebook and the program grabs the first picture or visual for your post.  Your image also shows up in Google image searches.
  3. Reread what you wrote.  This works most of the time for me; however, a few spelling grammar or spelling mistakes get by me.
  4. Create a post that is relevant to my blog’s theme.  Mine is blending reading and art together.   Keep reading for my connection below.

Blogs could be used in a classroom where students read each other’s blogs and comment back.  Students could develop their own PLN where they learn together and how to use the web tools.

Parents could also create their own blog and be involved with what their children are creating and saying online.

Go Forth & Post!

-Mrs. Berry

I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat

1952, Tweety Bird has spotted the sneaky Sylvester and broke out into a song about what he saw.  I have included one of the many different versions via YouTube of Tweety singing his little song.

Now fast forward to 2011, Tweety would now tweet, “I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat.” By using Twitter Tweety could let his friends and followers know that Sylvester was a foot in less than 140 characters.  His friends could twitter back and give him some advice or follow his updates as how he foiled Sylvester.

This blog is dedicated to: PLN Challenge #3: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN.  I heard about Twitter a few years ago on NPR and thought it was just something that I wouldn’t use.  Why would I?  Well, I have started an account and I am just getting my feet wet about using Twitter. I am using Twitter to expand my PLN and to get new ideas.  Kathleen Morris, a second grade teacher and blogger from Victoria, Australia wrote a great explanation about Twitter.  Click here to read her description.

Twitter screenshot

So I created my account.  I wanted my blog name but it was taken.  So I thought why not use my name and art. That worked and now you can follow my tweets at @MrsBerryArt.  I have set up my blog to give twitter updates automatically.  I set up my account and updated my bio information.  There was only enough space for 160 characters but I fit it in.  I also changed my background to one of my paintings.   I clicked on a few people that I want to follow to see how this works.  There is a spot for messages.  There are a few art companies that I know of that I clicked to follow.

Happy Tweeting!

-Mrs. Berry

P.S.  Tweety might say, “I Tweeted. I Did, I Did!

30 Day Challenge: Personal Learning Networks

I am starting the 30 Day challenge through Edublogs: Personal Learning Networks.  I know; I’m on a WordPress blog platform.

All the cool stuff I have found has come from the Edubloger website, so I thought I would try another challenge and see how it could fit into the classroom with reading and art.  I am looking for inspiration even if it doesn’t come from a formal professional development day.  The artist Grant Wood said, “My best ideas have always come to me while milking a cow.”  So here I am looking for others and ideas.  The first challenge is to write a post about PLNs.  Ok, so what is that?

For me a PLN is people who are looking to learn something new and network with each other to share their ideas.

I tried this website called VoiceThread for the first time.  I think it’s pretty neat because now you can hear what others actually sound like.  I just love to hear the different ways people sound.  Here is the link for the VoiceThread for this challenge.  I am the giraffe.

Now that you have participated it is time to make your own.  For a tutorial on how to useVoiceThread click here.

VoiceThread Screen Shot

A VoiceThread is useful for teachers because this could be used for students who have missed class due to illness or who are traveling.  I created a video with Animoto on how to create a flower.  I have shared this with students in my classroom.  Afterwards we discussed if there were any comments or questions.  Students who are out of the classroom could also participate by watching the videos and my comments and then add their own. Click here to link to my example that I have made. The lesson is an introduction to looking at a flower and painting it. Please feel free to comment.  I am still playing with the features.

Enjoy making your own VoiceThread!

-Mrs. Berry

A Little Bird Told Me

I tried a free teacher challenge tool from Edublogs.  The website is Little Bird Tales.  I rather like this little program.  What a neat way to record your own voice or your student’s voice.  The drawing tool takes a bit of getting used to.  While I was recording, I needed to start over a couple of times.  It is important to eliminate as much background noise as possible. Click here to hear my little bird tale called Color Dance or the image below.

When creating a story line explain to the students that they need a cover, a beginning, middle, and some sort of ending.  There is a short little video explaining the process for using the tool.  Click here to watch it.

I have listed tweet tweets (pros) and squawks (cons) for using this free web tool

Tweet Tweets

  • You can upload your own images.
  • After uploading your own images you can draw on top of them.  (Really neat feature)
  • This program can be used by students or parents.
  • There is an undo button (the red arrow) if you make an opps.
  • You can record your voice or sound effects that you make.
  • The process is simple and user friendly for children.
  • Did I mention it’s FREE!
  • Your tale can be public or private depending on your preference. If you do choose public it needs to be approved first.

Squawks

  • It takes a while to load images or to save.
  • Only four lines will appear for the story even if you have more to say.
  • You can’t move objects around, only undo them if you don’t like it.
  • Painting tools are basic.
  • The images are static and don’t move.

If you have more than one day a nifty way to teach a concept would be to use Little Bird Tales.  Ways to use this in the classroom:

Language Arts:

  • Have students write out their story and then create their own pictures for it.
  • Have students write out their own story and then illustrate a picture online.

Science:

  • Have students use this for explaining a scientific process.  For example: how a plant grows.

Math:

  • Have a mathematical concept.  Older grade students could make one and then share this with a younger grade student.

Social Studies:

  • Have students create a time line of events for a particular moment in history

Visual Arts:

  • Have students make a story about mixing colors.  Refer back to my example.
  • Enjoy creating your own little bird tale.

If you have any more ideas please comment and share your ideas.

-Mrs. Berry

To Smile or Not to Smile?

I am trying the first free website (wallbuilder.com) through the 30 day teacher challenge.  If you click the link you will be directed to the challenge with directions for this program.  The program is pretty self-explanatory and it does not take too long to figure out the ins and outs.

Tips:

  • Once you have your wall address you cannot go back and change that part.
  • Title picture needs to be kept small if you upload your own image.

As a part of my curriculum my seventh grade students need to ask/generate questions about artwork (Mona Lisa).  I also want my students to be able to use online technology to do this.  I thought I would have students try this instead of using paper to record their questions (trying to save the earth and my budget). This way each student could also see their classmates’ questions. I set up the page to have their questions come to my school email because I want to monitor their questions.  I will also be able to assess their questions this way.

Here is an example of what my students will be working with.  I picked the denim background because it is the same as the bulletin board background that I use in my classroom.

Questions About Art from Wallwisher

 Two other ways that this could be used in the classroom

  • I would also use this like a word wall where students could post their own descriptive art words that they think of during the course of the year.
  • I would also use this for students to find images that could go along with a particular element of art or principles of design.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Flipping Over Online Flip Books at Do Ink

When you are procrastination and want something fun to do this website is a spot for you.  Remember making flip books as a kid, and it took you forever to get the drawing just the way you want.  Do Ink is where you want to go.  Well, this program lets you copy your drawing and then change only a small part.  This saves you some time, but it’s so fun you will spend hours with the program.  You need to sign up for your own account.  It’s free.  I have listed the up and downsides for using this online program.

Downside:

  • Your work becomes their property
  • Time consuming!!
  • It takes a bit to get used to the program (watch the tutorials first and save yourself some time)
  • There is a cost if you want to use a premade “prop”
  • If you make an opps with your drawing and publish it, then you can’t go back and fix it (my mouse ear has holes)
  • You need to be 13 years old

Upside:

  • There is a spot where you can undo what you just did (hint it’s at the top)
  • There is a spot to save
  • It’s a lot of fun and if your drawing is cheesy nobody will notice because the animation part makes it move

Here is my first attempt:


After I watched the tutorials here is my advertisement for my blog.  Yep, several more hours were spent on creating this.  I tell my students never to put a “cheesy” sun in their picture.  A few days ago a student told me that he thought of a way around this.  He told me that you could put holes into it and then it would be a cheesy sun.  So I made my cheesy sun (there are stink lines for the sun rays) and a sleepy mouse for my animation.

Ways that you could use this in the classroom:

  • Students could watch a short cartoon and list all the jobs that would be associated with creating a cartoon
  • Students could write their own stories and create illustrations
  • Students would write out an explanation for their artwork.
  • Students then could be critics and evaluate another’s animation (give guidelines if critiquing classmates)

Enjoy making your own animations!

-Mrs. Berry

P.S.  I skipped a bunch of challenges and went for one that looked like a lot of fun that I could use in the classroom.  It’s from the Teacher Challenges: Free Tools Challenge #6: Exploring DoInk – Vector Images and Flash Animations.

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