Had a busy week in Calgary visiting all six schools. As always, there are lots of great things happening in the classrooms with teachers who are truly dedicated to the job of educating the students in their classrooms.
A tool that I share with a few teachers is Telescopic Text (http://www.telescopictext.org/). This link provides the user with the ability to take a simple sentence and through some creative planning, the end result is a paragraph that is transformed from the beginning simple sentence. To get an example of how this functions, go to this link and click on the grey shaded words to see the effect of the expansion that takes place – http://www.telescopictext.com/. Be aware though that the .org link requires Firefox. Internet Explorer cannot be used to create a telescopic text file.
Another web tool that I shared was http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp. The students in the Language Arts class were creating newspaper stories. This tool will take the work for the story and create a newspaper like appearance. Pretty neat and very easy to use. Once the clipping is made, the student has the opportunity to download the finished product and then insert the clipping into another document.
For those teachers who will be working with SMART Response (previously known as Senteo), be aware of a few things to help in the use of this program. In you are working with Windows 7, you will need to save your class list in a CSV format. For whatever reason, Response will not recognize the Excel format unless it is in the Comma-Separated Values format. Another area that is causing some issues when teachers first start using Response is that they can only get the program to recognize only one question and the program shuts down. Remember that in order to continue which ‘x’ number of questions, you must insert a ‘Title Page’. This signals the Response component of the notebook program that there is a successive number of questions to be administered. A little thing but it does cause issues if over looked.
With Linda who teaches high school English, she wanted to be able to quickly do a homework check using her iTouch. So what we did is we created a Google Form. On it, we listed all the students using the ‘checklist’ type of question – the checklist included ‘Done’ and ‘Not Done’. We embedded this Google Form into a wiki and she now can do a quick homework check and on ‘Submit’, all the data is recorded for her to check later in the day. And she can use this same Form on successive days so that she will have a running tally of the work done (hopefully it is all done!). We could have skipped the step of embedding the Form into a wiki and just run the Form from Google itself.
So this created a quick fix but in my visit to GCA, I was introduced to the iPad App – TeacherPal. Wow, what a great app! It does a quick job of taking attendance AND recording marks as well. So the teacher is able to walk about the class with the iPad and quickly record all of the marks to complete their assessments!
GCA is leading the way in Palliser when it comes to using tablets – in this case iPad2’s into the classroom. They have a cart of 30 with plans to bring yet another cart in the near future. Staff and students are really excited about this use of this tool in the classroom. Teachers already, within a week of having access to them are incorporating them in their classroom. Along with TeacherPal, the phys. ed. teachers are using iMovie to record and then show the students the video of their mechanics on the spot – instantly after demoing the skill movement! Using Bamboo Paper, another teacher was able to handwrite notes (that was projected using a docking port to VGA adaptor) and have the notes saved for future reference! Way to go GCA – they’ll be documenting their ‘trials and tribulations’ to share with us as the year progresses along.
Have a look at these links. They are sure to be of interest to the students!
- If It Were My Home – http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/index/CA
- Every Time Zone – http://everytimezone.com/
- WorldClock – http://www.poodwaddle.com/clocks/worldclock/
Here is another interesting infographic: