Monday, March 30, 2009

Save the Words: 5th grade vocabulary lesson

Wondering where I have been? Sorry, I head up scheduling for our state assessments. And, we are in the middle of giving state assessments. It has been a busy two weeks. This week will hopefully wrap up our reading and math assessments. Yeah!

Today, I wanted to share a fun, simple vocabulary lesson. Open your web browser and head to I read about this site a few weeks ago on freetech4teachers. Save the Words is a collection of words that have been removed from the Oxford Dictionary due to a lack of use. The website lets you adopt one of these forgotten words and bring it back to life.

The site is actually very interesting. So, I made sure to allow time for my fifth graders to look through the site. Then, I asked my students to select a word to adopt. We did not go through the online process of adoption and entering email addresses. Instead, I had my students email their word selection to their classmates using ePals. Each student had to persuade their classmates to help them save their selected word. Basic requirements included having to list the chosen word, give the definition and use it in a sentence. A quick and simple assignment that can turn into something complex if you so chose. Step it up a notch by having students create videos or podcasts persuading the audience to save the word. Even having a debate and letting the audience pick the winner could be another fun option.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Animal Stories

Primary students recently researched and wrote stories about animals. After typing the stories in Microsoft Word, students illustrated their stories using TuxPaint. I collected all the completed stories into one Microsoft Word document and uploaded into Calameo. Calameo is a website where people can publish and share work.

Calameo was very easy to use and it had several privacy options. I did become frustrated with the site. The students stories and pictures are suppose to be on one page. I have fiddled with the document, put in page breaks but I am still having problems. It might work better to convert your document to pdf format first. I usually use pdfonline, but for some reason I am having problems with receiving my completed document. So, I used Zamzar to convert our word document to a pdf. Once I uploaded the pdf to Calameo then the pictures stayed with the text on our animal stories. Click here to view the publication from the Calameo website.

Last year we did something similar only I borrowed an idea from Tammy Worcester and had the students create a zoo exhibit for their animal.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Activities

For St. Patrick's Day I choose to read the book, The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing. After reading the book to our primary students, I had the students use TuxPaint to draw a picture of how they would try to catch a leprechaun. Pictures were upload in to Animoto.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring MACE '09

I presented at MACE on March 5th with long time friend and colleague, Tuanua Swartz. I was relieved to see that attendance was great with all the recent talks of budget cuts. The MACE committee did a great job setting up and hosting the technology conference. It was nice to see the expansion over into the K-State Union. Hall Davidson was the Keynote speaker. I would recommend Hall to any of you needing a keynote speaker. He shared a wide variety of applications for classroom use.

I came away with several new contacts and some new resources. I also left knowing that there are still many elementary educators wanting ideas for integrating technology into their classrooms and that I need to do a better job of sharing resources on a regular basis. Thank you to the few of you that stopped to tell me you are using my blog as a resource!

If you were unable to attend MACE, presentation handouts can be found here. Make sure you make arrangements to attend summer MACE in Wichita, Kansas. On a side note, if you are wanting to build up your podcasting resources make sure to check out the first annual podstock which will be hosted in Wichita on May 1st and 2nd. Discover more by joining this Ning community.

and I shared information at MACE '09 on building public learning networks and global collaboration. We used prezi and glogster as our main presentation applications. I plan on doing posts in the future on both applications. In fact, I have my third graders working on building recycling glogs.