Monday, December 31, 2007

A Photo Recap of 2007

Photo highlights from 2007--in school and out!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year in Review

Top 07 of 07

The top 7 tools that have changed my teaching and learning in 2007:

7. Student-centered blogs: These have extended student discussions and allowed them to really "show what they know."

6. My document camera: I love this because students can place their work on the camera and teach/share their work with the class. It also changed my oral reading strategies by placing the book on the camera and having students read along. The students are engaged and can participate often. Plus, it has eliminated all of the "I can't see-eee" comments I used to hear so frequently! : )

5. Audacity: Besides student-created book reviews in our district database (look under Foster) the students have developed their own radio show. It's given those students who choose to participate the opportunity to write a script and speak for an audience. I love that it is 100% their creation and their work! I am truly a facilitator and look forward to allowing others to to use their creativity to produce their own work too!

4. Adobe Premiere Elements: Although this program took me awhile to get comfortable with, the students were able to quickly come up with ways to use the green screen to superimpose images behind them. This program brought digital storytelling to a new level. Of course I have to mention the "@ Your Library" video the 2nd graders made in the spring...It might be my favorite work of the year!!

3. Voice Thread: I love Voice Thread. It's easy and gives students the opportunity to extend their work beyond the classroom. With a simple scanning process, student work can be voiced-over for a quick archive of knowledge.

2. Wikispaces: Wikispaces has given my students the opportunity to collaborate on book tagging projects, author studies and a place to store web sites. It also gives the students I tutor a way to communicate with me while practicing writing skills and a creative outlet for writing.

And the number one tool that has changed my teaching and learning is.....
1. Twitter! Duh!! Twitter contributes to my professional development EVERY day. I learn something from Twitter every time I log in. I hope this tool will be around for a very long time!


Ok, this is going to be a mini-post with a big payoff... Senduit is a great site to share large files. I used it to send a movie file to Colorado and to send a large Power Point presentation to Japan. Upload the file to the web site and then Senduit stores it and sends a temporary link for forwarding to the receiver. It's best for a quick exchange of large files. Love!


It had me at "Hello." Ever since I saw the first iPhone promo, I knew that we were destined to be together.

So, I had been going to visit my future iPhone every now and then in Shadyside and at South Hills Village Mall--just to reinforce my love. Last weekend I decided to stop and visit while doing some last minute Christmas shopping and some magnetic force led me over to the AT&T store to inquire about my current phone plan. After a few small changes, I switched my plan and I now am paying $20 less a month than with my former plan. Of course it doesn't take a math wizard to realize that after 2 years, the phone could almost pay for itself with the new plan... Sooooo, with numbers on my side, I promptly walked right back to my friends at Mac and grabbed the iPhone, a case, and the Protection Plan. A worthy investment.

I think the touch screen is the most impressive feature of the iPhone--it's like a mini SmartBoard that dubs as a phone. It's very intuitive and quickly corrects any miscued tapping. The second best feature is the fact that is pairs well with my car. All I have to do is have the phone on in my car and say, "Call. Mom." and it dials my mom's phone number. Even though any well-equipped blue-tooth phone would do this, it just seems so much more impressive with the iPhone. The immediate access to email, videos, searching, weather, etc., is an information-seeker's dream.

I am now completely connected. I've been able to answer random trivia questions, give up-to-minute sports scores, and text much faster than ever before. This "Junior Baby" is a welcome addition to my professional development and quest for immediate knowledge!!