Digital Storytelling: Meaningful Technology in Third Grade


littlebirdtales.com cover image

By: Tyra Moore

  • Click to view my tale.
  • littlebirdtales.com logo
  • Are we sabotaging our children by classifying them as smart or not? Do we empower them to gain meaningful technology experiences? Elementary-aged children are quite different from the nearly adult students I’m used to. I had an opportunity to lead a STEM camp for rising third-graders last week, and I’m forever changed.

 

When the principal and my boss sat down with the media coordinator and I to talk about the camp, I had no idea how I was going to fair with primary kids. It turned out to be a beautiful adventure!

My first day at the camp began with a field trip to the local zoo. My trusty pal, the elementary instructional coach from my previous post was with me, and again on the following day. Thanks to her I was able to slow my brain down and show them effectively, how to create digital stories. The school media coordinator was there to save the day on the third day.

I was reading Mindset, written by Dr. Carol Dweck at the time. For three days, I was handling these children with care. The book forced me to be cognitively aware of the holistic features in each child.

These were my takeaways:

1. Third-graders like to hug – a lot.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like a rock star! After just a few moments of getting acquainted with my new little buddies, they began to approach me, one by one with open arms, smiles, and half grown-in front teeth. “What is this?” I wondered. Admittedly, I have a twelve-year-old who used to love to hug. Now I have to beg for them, but I do fondly remember that time. This was a bit different, and as the days went on, I began to expect them with glee. I believe hugging is their way of showing appreciation for learning. 
Continue reading

5 Things to Say to Someone Who Hates Tech


Home and still reeling from an awesome ten-day conference tour which featured a presentation at NC New Schools, and my first experience at ISTE in Atlanta, it finally is easy being green, Kermit! I had a chance to have lunch with one of my favorite colleagues, an elementary curriculum guru, in my opinion. Our conversation was astonishing!Kermit

Thanks to Hurricane Author, our workday was abbreviated, so we were able to go on and on about education theory, best practices, and of course, TECHNOLOGY. She’s not a techie. She didn’t go to ISTE. She doesn’t (GASP) like technology. In fact, it makes her want to cry. I tried desperately to identify with her. What she said reminded me of my experience in Calculus IB At Elizabeth City State University.

It was the spring semester of 1996. Dr. Sachdev appeared in the doorway of his office and welcomed me in for tutoring, and to retake a test that I completely bombed earlier in the week. Aside from the fact that I could barely discern what he was saying with his middle eastern accent, I just didn’t get complex mathematics. After about thirty minutes of review, he gave me the test.

I took it, and handed it in. Dr. Sachdev went back into his office to grade it. I waited patiently, hoping that I had redeemed myself. Soon he reappeared and handed the test back to me, and another blank test. He said, “Take again.” After about two more times, he looked at me with weary eyes, put his hand upon my shoulder and said, “No more for today. Go on and get some rest. We try again another day.” I cried. Continue reading

10 Takeaways From ISTE 2014


20140701_102350The 2014 ISTE conference in Atlanta GA, was indeed an eye-opening experience. If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the #ISTE2014 on your feed for the last seven days. I got off the plane ready to take in all of the information, and I boarded the flight home afraid that my brain was going to ooze out of my ears! Therefore, it’s taken me a few days to wrap my mind around the many things I learned while in attendance. So, here are 10 takeaways from this amazing national conference!

1. Technological Savvy requires a personal commitment.

Let’s face it. After attending ISTE 2014, it became very clear to me that there are far too many tools and strategies for one to ingest and regurgitate all at once. If I were to rely solely on the presenters and materials I encountered during the conference, and tried to remember every word spoken, I’d fail miserably at retaining valuable knowledge. Thus, it is my personal responsibility to go back into my notes, research the many links I’d written down and QR codes I’d scanned, and embed those concepts mentally, according to the needs of my school district. Continue reading

Twitter For The More Advanced


Use a Dashboard and Expand Your Twitterverse!

Are you still trying to follow along with various Twitter chats, stay abreast of all the breaking news, and keep a watchful eye on your kids’ tweets all on the official Twitter website? It can be mind numbing trying to flip back and forth to all of those pages. This is when a dashboard comes in very handy! Today’s post features TweetDeck, prefered by many to use specifically with Twitter. Unlike Hootsuite, you can only manage your Twitter accounts and no other social media like Facebook or Instagram. However, if you are only looking to supercharge your Twitter experience, this may be the dashboard for you! Click here to see a Thinglink graphic with tags and explanations!

Just a little tidbit as we move into summer conference season. Be armed with a dashboard and Tweet Like A Boss!

Share this and subscribe! As always, thanks for stopping by!

Never Lose Your TechEd Resources Again!


We’ve Expanded!

TechTools

 

As I coach teachers each day, I think it is essential to gather the strategies and resources provided, and house them in one location. Sharing simple tools for keeping up with endless bookmarks (Diigo), annotating and saving texts for later (Evernote, Clearly), or creating the world’s best blogs (WordPress, of course!) can mount up, and it’s easy to lose track! So to stay organized, I decided to expand to a web hosting site that I’ve grown to love: Weebly. My space was previously active, since I launched a website for my students back in 2012, and I thought it would be a shame to let it go to waste! Now, it’s totally revamped and packed with resources for technology integration and Project-Based Learning.

Screenshot 2014-04-24 10.20.35The links are organized into a webmix created powered by Symbaloo. Personally, I like the functionality of the tile squares rather than incredibly long lists of links. However, with your feedback, I’d be glad to consider adding descriptions below the webmixes for those who need more information. Soon I’ll upload a screencast showing just how handy this tool can be! Plus, it’s visually attractive.

In fact, my undying committment to Symbaloo® is what prompted me to expand my “tool shed” to Weebly®, because WordPress.com does not permit embedding webmixes into this blog.

TechTools TabJust in case you navigate away from this post and explore some others here, you’ll be please to know that there’s a direct tab up above, to take you straight to the Tech Tools you need! Once there, you’ll find a tab to bring you right back to Social Juggernaut.

Ease of use is the name of the game when it comes to helping teachers with tech infusion.

In addition to the resource pages at Tech Tools for Teachers, there’s a Tutorials tab where I will post all of the screencasts I produce in the future. Check back often!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, This post was totally about self promotion! Kind of, but the more teachers this blog can help, the more students there are to gain from those teachers, and it’s a win-win situation. In all things education…remember, we do it for the kids!

Speaking of helping, please share this post with your friends and colleagues. Subscribe to get email alerts for each new post, and who knows? If you take a moment to leave a comment, then I can possibly become a better blogger, and most importantly, a better support for the teachers I serve.

Regards!

STEM In Rural Schools: What Kids Want Us To Know


Robotics Adds Value To Learning Outcomes

Bertie STEM High School Robotics Team Members (from LtoR): Trekell Scott, Jaikeim Mosely, Dashawn Hayes, Tyshawn Hayes

I walked into the media center at Bertie STEM High School in Windsor, North Carolina and saw the most beautiful thing: Children were making presentations to their peers about something great they learned, and the product they created! As Principal, Daphne Williams looked on, the presenters were all well versed in robotics, and were equally proficient in controlling its actions. I thought to myself, people need to know that there are some GREAT things going on in Bertie County! This district is among the lowest in the state socioeconomically, however students are reaping the benefits of a 1:1 environment on the high school level thanks to the Golden Leaf Foundation.

I caught up with a couple of the team members, Jaikeim Mosley and Kiani Strong, to ask a few questions about how Robotics has impacted their learning. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading

What You’re Doing Wrong With Classroom Tech


The answer is that you’re likely under analyzing one important factor:

Using vs. Infusing (According to Merriam Webster)

1use noun \ˈyüs\

: the act of using something

: the state of being used

: a way in which something is or can be used

in·fuse transitive verb \in-ˈfyüz\

: to cause (a person or thing) to be filled with something (such as a quality)

: to cause (something, such as a quality) to be added or introduced into a person or thing

Back in the early 2000′s, I was a young budding high school teacher, and arguably the first in my building to begin substituting the old green chalkboard and the messy overhead transparency markers with Microsoft PowerPoint® presentations to deliver my lecture notes. Keeping a moist towel near the board to wipe the powdery gook from my fingertips after every sentence was getting old.

Besides, it was a health hazard! The yellow mess was everywhere: on my clothes, on my papers, in my hair, on my forehead, all over the floor and my desk. Washing the board and beating the erasers on the brick walls of the building wreaked havoc on my sinus cavity! On the days I used the washable markers on transparency sheets, the ink usually bled on my hands, where it remained many hours into the night. Let’s also remember the TV/VCR cart, and the array of movies in the media center (and the film strips if your tech was really dated). Continue reading

Go Wild With Social Media In The Classroom! Sort of…


Are you tired of constantly being on the prowl, looking to reprimand students whom you catch using social media during your class time? Unless your school has strict digital device policies, or the ability to block all connectivity to the outside world, it’s an everyday task. However, today I’ve got a couple of tools for you from Classtools.net that your little social media enthusiasts will love! So, let’s take a traditional research paper/PowerPoint (substitution) assignment, and move it into the Modification/Redefinition levels of technology integration.

MJ Cover

Continue reading

Top Tools for the Backchannel: Engage Students With Powerful Discussions!


So you’ve planned your lesson, and tailored your lecture so that you tell your students all they need to know about a given subject. You’ve pulled up a PowerPoint presentation you saved on your flash drive two years ago, and made some minor updates. Student’s will need to copy these slides into their notes. Then you picked the perfect YouTube video and prepared a list of questions for students to answer afterwards. Right? Are you bored yet? Your students will likely be. This is a classic example of a teacher-centered lesson.

There are a couple of ways you can take this plan and move from the substitution level to the higher order thinking levels of technology integration, according to the SAMR model.  The best blog that describes this model that I’ve seen is Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch!

The SAMR Model

The SAMR Model: Image the creation of Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D.

 

For this lesson, we’re going to take it up one level from the Substitution Level to the Augmentation Level of the SAMR model by using the Backchannel discussion strategy. Continue reading

Are Schools Losing the Social Media Race?


social-media-logosThe thought recently occurred to me that in order to prepare our students for the future, school districts have to implement social media technology into the curriculum.  Recently, one of my eleventh grade anatomy students (we’ll call him Andy) raised his hand to be acknowledged and said frankly,

“Mrs. McCullough, you do know that today’s student’s are smarter than you all are, don’t you?”

In an attempt to fight back the adrenaline rush and avoid the onset of steam spewing from my ears, I replied,

“How on earth did you come to THAT conclusion, Andy?”

His answer was simple, but painfully obvious.  “Teachers are not ‘up’ on technology like we are.  If you all hook up a new device, you have to read the directions.  Y’all don’t even really know how to use Twitter or Instagram. The stuff we’re learning in school is really not preparing us for real life.” Continue reading