Learning Log Flickr Galleries

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Although I have viewed photos of family and friends using Flickr, I never realized the potential resource it is for  classroom teachers.  At first, I was overwhelmed due to  my inexperience, but as I learned how to search and explore the photos available I was overwhelmed in a different manner.  New searches led to a wide variety of pictures.   I could find out if pictures were allowed to be shared to a gallery with a click.  In the past I have googled images in order  to create power points or to include in class discussions.    This resource, along with Creative Commons makes it easy to access pictures ethically. As a gallery is made the pictured is cited automatically.  As I was planning to teach my first graders about Japan in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Cherry blossoms, I decided to make a gallery to highlight some of the landscapes and traditions of Japan.    Many of our students are visual learners and benefit from visual content. I spent a lot of time searching for simple pictures on Flickr so I could fully see its potential…. keys, muffins, butterflies, pillows, pencils.  I was amazed at the number of pictures available.  This could be a great tool as students are designing digital storytelling projects.  I also liked the idea of using some of the photos as a writing project.  Maybe a gallery could be made that includes pictures that make students think or that may offer a variety of perspectives.

My Gallery:  Japan. Created 3.27.12

Classroom Blogs

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Listed below are blogs from classroom teachers at 3 different levels.  As I was searching for classroom blogs to use in this post, I was overwhelmed at their number. Kudos to all those teachers who use blogs to meet the needs of our 21st century learners!

Elementary School

Look What’s Happening in Room 102 is a 2nd grade class blog maintained by their teacher, Mary Ellen Lynch.  She decided to create a class blog in order to share student work and learning with parents.  The blog not only highlights student work but connects students to bloggers from around the world.  One interesting post ,Skype Call with our Pen Pals, documents their Skype session with their pen pals in Massachusetts.  Mrs. Lynch included an Animoto movie showing her students getting their letters. This authentic writing project reflects many of the other activities included in the blog. Mrs Lynch encourages parents and readers to leave comments and feedback.  In the post, Feedback, she writes about the importance of feedback and explains how to use the blog and program in order to do so.  She uses a digital portfolio program EPearl which enables students to build their portfolio as they progress through elementary school.  The blog does not access this system but encourages its use by parents. The blog incorporates  2.0 tools to highlight student work  including Animoto, video and voice threads.  Links to activity websites are also included in the blog and are arrange by content area.

Look What’s Happening in Room 102 demonstrates how powerful a blog can be. What started out as a communication tool has become a portal for learning.  This second grade class has the opportunity to communicate  with a wide range of  people who give them feedback and encouragement. This type of authentic learning is essential.  Our students need to understand the importance of creating a digital footprint and this type of  blog can give them opportunity to learn how to do just that.  I notice that full names are not included but that all students are represented in the work posted. I especially like the section titled , Our Blog Guidelines which outlines appropriate behavior and security guidelines. Students are given the opportunity to learn appropriate online behavior through these specific rules.  In my opinion, this is an essential component of any class blog.  As I set my own goals, I see that additional knowledge and practice using Animoto is essential.  It seems that Mrs. Lynch has an upgrade for this application and, as demonstrated by her class blog, …it’s worth it.

Middle School

Krebs’ Class Blogs The byline of this blogs reads “creating, contributing, communicating, connecting, collaborating, curating” and that is exactly what happens in Mrs. Krebs’  classroom. Students use the blog to post what they are doing in science, history, English and literature.   Each student has a link to their own blog that they use to post work  and leave comments. The home page organizes the posts in a very user friendly manner outlining the blog assignments and lessons with links to individual students responses.  For example, Skyping  with Kenneth C. Davis, 2.09/12,  outlines the Skype activity then connects readers to the blog assignment that students completed.  Each student had their own style of reporting and synthesizing the information.  Mrs. Krebs encourages her students to be creative and gives them opportunity to explore the use of web 2.0 applications.  Monday Mash Ups, 1/9/12 , challenged students to create designs using befunky.com.  They posted and blogged about the process rather than the product.  The section titled Netiquette outlines the class rules for digital citizenship including a prezi presentation.

I really like that this blog is so student centered.  Mrs. Krebs uses the blog not only to share the work of her students but more importantly to let them share it themselves.  It provides a tool for teaching students how to be digital citizens and how to leave a positive digital footprint.  The Netiquette section resounds with this philosophy.  If we don’t teach kids how to communicate digitally then how will they get the guided practice they need in order to be successful users?  This is a middle school blog but I wonder how I could translate this to an elementary setting?  Things to consider are time, access and accountability.  Surely as a media specialist I could collaborate with teachers and  facilitate such a student centered blog.

High School

A Bump on a Blog is maintained by a high school English teacher, Mrs. Sims.  The home page archives her entries and also link to student blog pages.  It seems that their individual blogs are part of assignments reflecting the curriculum.  Mrs. Sims not only blogs about lessons and activities in her classroom but more frequently posts material that will be of interest to her students.  For instance, in The Power of Words, 7/8/11 she posts a powerful You Tube video that challenges students to think about their own choice of words.  A Bump on a Blog is interactive as demonstrated by Now It’s Your Turn, 5/14/10 where students asked to give advice for next year’s students.

I chose this blog to concentrate on due to its format.  Many of the high school classroom blogs I visited were focused on class assignments and presented material accordingly.  A Bump on a Blog reads much like a Tumbler.  Mrs Sims give students something to think about with the material she selects for her posts.  I can see how the blog would engage students and provoke thought and expression.  I was also interested to see student blogs in action as this is an area that I have limited experience. The student blogs demonstrate creative and original thought and give students a portal for learning and expression. It appears that most of the student blog posts were journaling assignments although the blog did not indicate as such.   It made me think of my own classroom where daily journal writing is done, writing homework is assigned and compositions are hung up on the bulletin board. When I write, I use the computer.  Why don’t I let them?

Social Voice This blog intrigues me.  It is purely composed of student work and student reflection.  I didn’t include it in the assignment because it did not specify the grade level of the students participating on the blog.  The blog gives students the opportunity to post their work and to express thoughts, opinions, and creativity. Check it out!

 

 

Look What’s Happening in Room 102. (2012) Retrieved from http://teacher102.edublogs.org/. March 18, 2012.

Krebs’ Class Blogs. (2012) Retrieved from http://krebs.edublogs.org/. March 18, 2012.

Bump on a Blog. (2012) Retrieved from http://simsbumponablog.blogspot.com/. March 18, 2012

Social Voice. (2012) Retrieved from http://socialvoice.blogspot.com/. March 18, 2012.

Library Blogs

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In my search of library blogs, I found many that cover a wide range of purpose and subject areas.  Public libraries, library associations, and schools have blogs that offer readers a variety of information and resources.  Listed below are a few of my favorite library blogs that I hope to maintain as a I start my career as a media specialist.

The Unquiet Librarian Buffy Hamilton is a high school librarian.  Her blog is one that embraces the needs of a 21st century library, school and students.  Her blog reflects the successful projects she  has done with students, her professional contributions, and collaboration with colleagues both in and out of the classroom.  Her blog reflects her personal views but also represents the work she does at Creekview High School . For example in her post,  Nook Program @ The Unquiet Library Update, March 2012 she outlines a program she initiated in her library to utilize Nooks.  Included in her post was an overview of the program including pitfalls and challenges, a reflection of its success and goals for the future.  Her blog has numerous categories listed in a pull down menu including , collaboration, copyright, ALA,  issues, 2.0, authors, etc.   In her Feb. 18, 2012 post, Share: Ken Robinson- Changing Educaton Paradigms she shares a RSA animate lecture from Ken Robinson outlining the need for educational reform.  She offers readers materials from the numerous presentations she has done for AASL, ALA , and professional  conferences  and webinars   throughout the country.

Wow.  I am so impressed with Buffy Hamilton’s work.  She not only highlights activities in her library but provides support and information to her readers.  I my opinion, this is what  21st century teaching and learning should look like.  She includes so many topics that librarians of all ages will find useful as they challenge themselves to meet the changing needs of their students.  Of particular interest to me is the information she includes on collaborative lessons. Ms. Hamilton’s blog will be one that I will frequent and recommend to others in order to stay on top of ideas, trends, and practices that support informational literacy objectives and global learning.  Her blog offers readers so many directions including professional development opportunities, blogs and books that  she recommends, and links to other educators who share the same vision for learning.

The Adventures of Library Girl

Jennifer LaGarde is a middle school librarian whose purpose is to share her thoughts about libraries and student learning.    She has  professional accolades including serving on the NCSLMA’s Young Adult Book Award  committee and currently shares NCSLMA webmaster duties.  The Adventures of Library Girl blog covers many topics of interest for librarians and teachers.  Ms. LaGarde recently attended the NCTIES conference in Raleigh and included her summary and reflection of the sessions that she attended.  She also has posted  materials from  professional develoment presentations that she has done for librarians across North Carolina.  The posts she includes are varied ranging from library projects to global initiatives. In the post, What Do You Stand For?  Creating a Library Brand that Matters, she encourages librarians to make a stand for their library program and communicate to all stake holders that libraries are just not about book buts about learning.  She explains how she became “Library Girl” and how it has enhanced her library program.  In the post, Snapshot of a 21st Century Library Program, LaGarde blogs about her upcoming presentation (of which she includes a Prezi ) to librarians outlining how libraries can meet the needs of 21st century learners.  Rather than tooting her own horn she uses he blog space to reflect on her program and encourages other librarians to do the same.

I chose this blog because I liked the honest and reflective manner of LaGarde’s posts.  Not only does she share her experiences as a professional but she does so in a very easy to relate to manner that helps me in my own reflection. In her most recent post, March 18 2012 she writes about her nomination by Library Journal as a “Mover and Shaker.”  Her humble response to this news  reflects goals that I think are so vital as I move into my role as a librarian.  “I just feel really, really lucky because a) I get to do the work I love b) I’m surrounded (in real life and virtually) by BRILLIANT and supportive people and c) I live during a time in human history when sharing and learning with others is incredibly easy.” Library Girl is easy to relate to and offers motivating insights.

Bulldog Readers Library Blog

This blog is hosted by Julie Hembree who is the teacher/librarian at a K-6 school in Seattle, Washington. Its stated purpose is to share new books, reviews, classroom lessons, events, and visiting authors.  Ms. Hembree uses the blog to communicate with parents, student staff and visitors in order to share.  In addition, Bulldog Readers Library Blog also links readers with other blogs that might be of interest to the school community including  other school and  teacher blogs as well as blogs that connect to places around the world.  A large focus of the Bulldog Readers Blog is for students to share personal reviews of what they have read.  Posted on Feb. 27, 2012,Wonder by RJ Palacio includes not only a book review but an Animoto trailer.  All reviews are approved and posted by Ms. Hembree.  Pictures and summaries of library events are also included on the blog as well as a pages that outline activities and lessons that promote learning and the love of reading.  In the post, A Sweet Papaya Ending, a reading promotion is highlighted encouraging students to attend Read Aloud Tuesdays.

This blog appealed to me because of its simplicity and focus on  book reviews, reading promotions and the love of reading.  As I think of my own future school library, I envision a blog that has components just like this.  Students can have the opportuninty to share ideas, opinions and projects while  enjoying those posted by others. Other stakeholders such as administrators, teachers, parents and community leaders can see the value of the library program.   The events and activities demonstrate and active library where literacy is valued and celebrated.

The Unquiet Librarian.(2012) Retrieved from http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/. March 16, 2012

The Library Girl. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.librarygirl.net/. March 17, 2012.

Bulldog Readers Library Blog. (2012) Retrieved from http://bellbulldogreaders.edublogs.org/. March 17, 2012

The Beginning

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So this blog marks the beginning of my blogging career.  As a part of my graduate studies, I am creating this blog in order to review blogs and other professional resources that will promote inquiry , knowledge and  creative thought in my students.