Famous People Poetry Voicethread

First of all, I cannot take any credit for any aspect of this voicethread.  I did not help with it at all, but it’s so good, and such a great example, I have to share it!   It was done by Mrs. Hudson’s 5th Graders at Clearbrook.  They wrote poetry about a famous people and used voicethread to record their poems.  Mrs. Hudson taught a few students how to use Voicethread, and they helped their classmates record on one computer in the back of the room.  After everyone had recorded, they were able to post the final product on their class blog! What a great project, and what a great way to use technology in the classroom!

Third Grade Subtraction Voicethreads

Students in Mrs. Devlin’s Class have created these voicethreads to practice subtraction, teach others how to subtract, and see if anyone has a different way.  Check them out, and feel free to comment with your own method! 

Subtracting Numbers without Regrouping

Subtracting Numbers with One Regroup

Subtracting Numbers with More than One Regroup

Subtracting Numbers Across Zeros

Note:  We did realize that you could keep the writing from fading towards the end of the project.  To see how, read how to increase writing time in voicethread.

Increasing “Writing” Time in Voicethread

Blenna Patterson just emailed me the solution to a problem that has been baffling me for awhile now…how to keep the writing from fading in Voicethread.  I am posting it here in case others have similiar problems.  The solution is so easy.  Here’s a Voicethread showing how:

Pretty much all you need to do is click the center button in the color palette before you start drawing!!

Voicethread Color Palette

Voicethread Color Palette

If you haven’t tried out Voicethread, it’s a wonderful online digital storytelling tool that can be used across subject areas!

2nd Grade Batty Facts Voicethread

Mrs. Vest’s class create a Voicethread on Batty Facts to go with their lesson on facts and opinions.  Creating voicethreads on a specific topic gives students a chance to write, practicing reading, and listen back to information, which helps them learn and remember it better. They are also a great way to practice fluency and oral speaking skills.  Students are always amazed the first time they hear themselves read, and I always give them the option to redo their reading if they don’t like it.  It’s neat to see how quickly their reading changes when they can hear themselves! Take a look at their project (and feel free to leave them some comments).

Do You Know Your Technology ABC’s?

Flip through the Technology ABC Voicethread below!

  • Which terms/sites/items have you used before?
  • Which ones are new to you?
  • How can you use these things in your classroom?

As you flip through the Voicethread, click on the link to explore more about each “letter,” leave a comment or two if you are familiar with some of the topics and have ideas on how to use them in your teaching , and stay tuned for some more detailed posts!!  I’d also be interested to know if you can think of anything to add.  AND, if you want to learn to use something new in your teaching, I’d love to help!  Leave a comment for that too!

About this Project

Awhile ago, maybe even this summer, some discussion arose in Twitter and/or Plurk about the idea of a technology ABC poster (I’m sorry, I can’t remember exactly WHO started the discussion to give credit.  If it was you, leave me a comment please).   And through those discussions, Pam Elgin and I came up with the idea of a Technology Word Wall and started adding to the list using things that our teachers might use.  Pam recently worked very hard to create PowerPoint slides for this project on each letter, which you will soon see in our schools’ computer labs.  Meanwhile, I thought it would also be fun to post the final product in virtual form via VoiceThread, complete with links to each of the topics.  Hope you learn something from it!

Update:  Pam has posted the actual powerpoint file for you to download or print slides here!  Thanks, Pam!

Yoga and India

I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now. I want to share this incredible lesson that was done with some of our Third Graders as part of the Trek2India Project. However, as many of you know, the actual trip to India by our superintendent was canceled due to the unrest in Mumbia, his first stop. I want to share my reaction to those events as well.

Robyn Zamorski, our speech teacher at G.W. Carver, lived in India for a short period of time. She also currently teaches Yoga at a local fitness club. So it was very fitting to have her teach some of our students some Yoga poses to go along with the India project. But what started out as purely a chance to collaborate with our Physical Education Teacher, Pam Palmer, and Robyn, ended up being one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in education. While I was there only to take pictures and create a Voicethread about the project, I walked away amazed. It started with a class of third graders running into the gym with high energy. I thought to myself, “Well, this will last about 10 minutes..maybe 15 if we are lucky.” I was so wrong. As Robyn lead them through the poses, and the Sanskrit names for them, their energy dropped, and they loved it! I had started running around taking pictures, but quickly changed to moving slowly and deliberately around the room so not to disturb this incredible energy in the room. After watching that lesson, which lasted the whole 30 minutes (and the kids wanted to do it again), I was floored. In the age of stimulation, I’ve always thought we need to keep our students “busy.” I still believe that. But now I understand that kids need a chance to relax and get focused too. I share the VoiceThread below with you….put please understand…it only captures a small fraction of what went on in the gym that day.

With this Trek2India project, Pam Elgin and I had spent lots of time learning about the culture as we prepared the Trek2India Wiki that would be used as the hub of communication between our Superintendent, as he traveled, and our students and teachers here. Pam and I learned about the people, the culture, and some of the history behind India’s democracy. When I first received the news about the events in Mumbia, I was sitting in my car getting ready to pick up some of the food for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I was floored. Heartbroken. Relieved. I was thankful our Superintendent had not left yet (he was scheduled to leave the day after Thanksgiving). His first schedule hotel stop was the Taj, was one of the hotels affected. But I was also deeply, deeply saddened for the Indian people. News about other countries does not usually affect me that much. I might feel a short sadness when reading an article.  I might thinkabout war and peace in a broad sense.  But hearing this story filled me with a deep, deep sadness. The more I thought about my reaction, the more I realized it was because I felt a tie, so to say, with the people. After spending so much time learning about them, and after almost having the chance to make connections with some of the schools in India, I felt extremely sad to watch their city in flames. I share this because I came to realize the power of making connections with other cultures on a personal level. I’ve known the power on an intellectual level, but never felt the power so strongly on the personal side. The idea I came to understand was that the more our students have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, connect with them, and empathize with their struggles, the more peace we will have in our world.

Sea Questions with Mrs. Z’s Kids!

Meg Swecker is at it again! She’s currently diving in Mexico and at the same time, communicating with students in schools back in the United States using VoiceThead. On this trip, Mrs. Zamorski’s students participated! Here’s the VoiceThread they made:

In Roanoke County, students in Kindergarten are learning Spanish from students in Mexico thanks to Meg. They also used Voicethread, and Meg’s awesome new Ocean Studies Wiki for this project. I love that she was able to get students in Mexico to help record Spanish Words. Check it out here.