Friday, August 28, 2015

Newseum: Free Primary Sources

I received information from about it being Women Rights Day and to look at the free resources available on Newseum Digital Classroom regarding Women’s Suffrage Movement.   I was able to do some exploring and learned the site has a lot more to offer, free of charge.
The focus of the site is the First Amendment, but there are many articles about Journalism and topics Journalists have dealt with to impact society. (Berlin Wall, Watergate, etc.)
There is a video archive, an image library and also a few learning modules that feature specific topics. I also noticed a primary sources section featuring Civil War newspapers and images alongside the First Amendment information.
While it doesn’t offer as much information as some primary source sites, student working on a paper or a topic that needs reference to the First Amendment could use this as a great place to start.  

There is an opportunity to create an account for both students and teachers.  These are free accounts.  There is also an opportunity for students to submit work and do extension activities about the topics involved.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Importance of a Backchannel

When I was a classroom teacher, I used a lot of different tools to help my students, but since I have left teaching and became I librarian, I have learned of another thing that is just as important as some of those resource:  a Backchannel.  
In our technological times, a backchannel is the comments and questions that happen during a social media interaction, a lecture or a webinar.   In the classroom, that could mean using a tool like TitanPad or Padlet to allow students to create questions and comments about something happening in class.   
It could mean letting kids use to chat during a presentation about the topic being discussed.  Regardless of the form, a backchannel is a huge asset to the classroom. Why? Because a backchannel isn't going to go away and kids can refer to it whenever they need to as an aid to study.
I have participated in a lot of twitter chats, webinars and discussions and in many of them, having that backchannel later as a reference has helped me numerous times.
It's simple to look at the notes and find the comment someone made about their use of a tool or find the link to the web tool that worked for a teacher.
It's a fantastic and necessary addition to your classroom.  Teachers, a backchannel is easy to do- find a site that kids can access to type in notes. Here are some easy and free sites you can use for the backchannel.
Titanpad, todaysmeet even google docs can work. 
Be sure to monitor the kids, but, the results are a lot of resources kids can use for a future assignment or test.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blendspace to flip a class: From the Archives

My edshelf connection is turning into a goldmine for new tools to use in the classroom.  One such tool I came across was Blendspace.

Blendspace is a board per se, that allows users to add video, text, quizzes, and more to make the flipped class experience even more in depth.   It is very well organized and easy to use.  Some may remember edcanvas, this is now blendspace.

I sent a copy of a canvas/board to my French 2 class and I loved how the page worked, looked and assessed.  I was able to embed several videos to the site and then add a quiz at the end.  Even if the quiz is treated more as an exit slip, I am still going to see how much information the students have obtained and maintained.

The blendspace platform allows users to connect to many different web based tools, including dropbox, vimeo, google drive and educreations.   I can see, with the educreations component being an add-in that a teacher who uses that program for flipping a class will find a great deal of ease and success pulling tools for student use.

I am really impressed by how easy and quick this is to use. It takes very little time to establish a space, add documents and information.  I am excited to see how it works for my classes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pinterest for the Library: From the Archives

So many teachers are starting to use Pinterest to get ideas for the classroom.  I started using it several years ago, when it was in beta, so I know how huge it can be to curate and find ideas.  It got me thinking that maybe using Pinterest could also be a great tool for the library.  I decided to create a Pinterest account for the Library and share the information with the students and teachers at my school.  What a great tool for everyone.

I decided the key was to create boards that were based on our genre selections in the Library as well as tools we could use in the library.  We are adding boards left and right featuring titles, displays and specific genre.

I love using the boards to organize things.  I am hoping our students and teachers also refer to the site to see what we have available.  I am going to spend a large amount of my summer and snow cancellation days building the boards so they are easy to use and meet my needs.  I also made a lot of posters and advertisements to put around the school and let everyone know what we have been doing.  Let's hope we see an influx of people using the tool to help them out.

To check out either of my Pinterest boards, you can go here:  Library  or Personal