Tablets anyone?

SGPT121USSSo, Guilford County Schools was one of 16 school districts in the country to win a federal “Race to the Top” grant giving us $30 million to spend on tablets, data subscriptions, and training for all our middle school students.  From what we’ve heard half of the middle schools will get the tablets next year and the other half the next.  I don’t know what will happen the following year for incoming 6th graders.  It would make sense that additional money would need to be allocated to keep tablets coming for those kids also each year but who knows?  We don’t know what kind of tablets they will be but we’re pretty excited.  It will change the way we teach for sure–at least it will for me.  What a great boon to know that every child will have a tablet with Internet access.  I have to get my course on Moodle or something now so students can submit work digitally and we can get away from paper for the most part.

I would love to hear from others with a 1:1 program in their schools and how having these tablet has changed your classroom in a positive way.  I know there are challenges such as students wanting to play games and be off task in that way but I know there have to be so many great things about students having their own devices too.

Using Blogs and Wikis in the Classroom – Ideas Needed!

I’m in a workshop about using blogs and wikis in the classroom at the moment and just heard a great way to use a blog in the classroom.  One of our 6th grade science teachers set up a blog where a zoologist (his fiancée) posted short articles about various animals or topics relating to zoology and his students would read the posts and comment.  He talked about how excited the students were to see if the zoologist had responded to their comments.  Some students even read, commented and corrected each others’ comments.  What a great idea to connect with someone in the field!

My 7th and 8th grade students are getting ready to start emailing penpals in France with ePals.  The teacher and I have been trying to think of a common project the students can do.  Perhaps we will start a blog or a wiki to collaborate with each other.  If anyone out there has done this type of a project with email penpals, I would love to hear about it.

I ran across this link on my resources page and there are some great ideas there!  Enjoy!

Pinterest – Get inspired!

I am just loving Pinterest for getting French teaching ideas at the moment too.  If you are an educator and haven’t started using Pinterest – PLEASE do yourself a favor and join Pinterest!  Start searching for the subject you teach and start following some people who have ideas that line up with yours.  You will be amazed at what will happen.  It takes Personal Learning Community to a whole new level.  It’s also very addicting.  You have to be invited to join Pinterest so if you need someone to give you an invite, feel free to contact me and I will beglad to do so.  Surfing on Pinterest tonight, I found the video below and Go Animate! and some other cute ideas like this printable Eiffel Tower.

Word Clouds

I have been playing around with word cloud generators this week. My students have made a list of 10 things they are thankful for and then found the French equivalents. They made their own word art today in class. Tomorrow we’re going to the computer lab to generate some art on the computer that can be published to our class web page.

I have found that word art generators are hard to come by. I ran into Wordle and Tagxedo along the way.  Wordle seems to be very popular but I find the options to be a bit limited.  Tagxedo has a lot more options and allows you to create some really great looking shapes with words.  For private users, you could even create some of this art and buy it on t-shirts etc.

Here is what I am thankful for:

 

Dabbleboard – Online whiteboard for drawing & team collaboration – Interactive whiteboard software

Dabbleboard – Online whiteboard for drawing & team collaboration – Interactive whiteboard software.

I found Dabbleboard today after posting that last article about interactive whiteboards.  Just thought I would share.  This looks like it might be easier to use than the software installed on my teacher computer and it’s web-based and has a free sign-up.  It also has the advantage of being collaborative so the possibility to use this in a computer lab or when your students each have a computer in front of them is there.  Your students could then add to the drawing.