Podcasting in the Classroom

Tim Wilson, a technology integration specialist from Minnesota, hosted a session at NECC last year (NECC will be in San Antonio June 2008). The audience put together a list of classroom uses for podcasting. Tim blogged about it and offers this list:

Collect field notes during a science field trip
Living museum, researching characters
“Radio shows”
Creating audio guides for local museums
Teacher powerpoints
Early language learners, (rhyming, etc.)
Staff development
Language learners recording assessments
Discovery Education videos
Science reports
Art projects
Digital portfolios
Weekly classroom news
Serial storytelling
Reflective journals
Summaries of school events
Broadcast school sporting events
Roving reporters
Capturing oral histories (family history)
Podcast vocab words and spelling lists
Flashcard practice with iFlash
Musical compositions
Soundseeing tours

Since podcasting is new to many in our school district, I thought I would offer this list up and see if anyone was interested in trying it out.  If you are, give me a call.  We have the equipment available for our staff to try these things out.

Any other ways to use podcasting that you can think of?

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Nonfiction Writing in the Primary Grades

Fellow edublogger and San Antonio ISD Director of Instructional Technology Miguel Guhlin wrote today about Tony Stead‘s presentation in his district concerning the literacy needs of primary age students.  Having been a primary teacher in my early years, I know the struggles educators encounter in this arena. 

Tony’s book, Is That a Fact?: Teaching Nonfiction Writing K-3, seems to be a wonderful step in the right direction to overcoming those struggles.  Tomie dePaoloa says in the foreword that Snead’s books is the “first, middle, and maybe even the last word on nonfiction writing for young, young children.”  Wow!  Strong words from a respected author.

Miguel points to several interesting statistics from Stead’s presentation.  The one that jumped out at me was that in K-2 classrooms, 95% of writing experiences were with personal narrative and story.  Now I love the fact that these two writing styles are covered.  There is nothing easier for a child to write about then what they know best: him/herself.  And at this point we are all well aware of how important story is for the development of right-brain-engaged students.  But I see Stead’s point here.  What type of writing do you do most now?  Me?  Persuasive passages/narratives (grants), blog posts to inform others, blog posts as a brain dump for reference personally, and last but not least, emails.  Nonfiction writing is at the forefront for me because I need to present facts in everything I write in my professional setting.  Even grants, filled with dreams and hopes, are based on facts as we know them and predicted outcomes based on research.  While I can include a personal narrative about my learning experience, it would mean little to nothing to a grant reader.

His research showed that 96% of all read alouds were with shared fiction.  Yet how many kids incessantly about their vast knowledge of dinosaurs, bugs, alligators, etc?  Should we not share more of these types of nonfiction books with them at the earliest stages?  The library generally is loaded with them, so why not take advantage of them?  Then load up Google Earth and show the kids where the animals originated or currently are found (remember Google Earth is on those flash drives we gave out during inservice).  Stead even has a modified KWL-ish chart in his book for these types of read alouds. He gives students manila folders to keep track of their own learning. Linda McKinney and Peggy Rains taught me something similar when I began teaching.  They used a spiral and the kids self-selected topics to read about and learn from. Personal Research on Basically Everything (PROBE) Journals is what they called them.  The great thing about Stead’s approach with his chart being used in this manner is that the students share their thoughts and new knowledge and can cross check facts in a group discussion. 

You can read Miguel’s notes of the presentation here.  Or you can listen to the podcast of Stead’s talk here.  He was gracious enough to record himself for Miguel. 

Thanks for posting this, Miguel.  And thanks to Tony for allowing it to be shared.  You know sharing knowledge like this is what makes our virtual community better and our classrooms stronger.

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Podcasts anyone?

I recently came across several really neat podcasts that you might be interested in:

60-Second Science – from Scientific American comes the latest science news each weekday

Learn Spanish Survival Guide – self-explanatory

Travel with Rick Steves – 30 years of globetrotting for PBS has helped create this content

Language Arts
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing – one of the top podcasts regularly, great for everyone not just ELA teachers

To take advantage of these podcasts, do the following:
1. Open iTunes
2. Go to the iTunes Store (menu on the left side of screen)
3. Click on Podcasts in menu of iTunes Store
4. Click on Power Search in the right hand side of screen
5. Copy and paste the titles that are in bold print above into the Description box on the power search screen
6. Click the name of the podcast, and then click subscribe
7. If all else fails, call me to come help you out 😉

If you find any great podcasts you want to share here, email them to me or leave the information about them in the comment field and I will make a post about it.

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Anyone covering the wildfires in California in class? So is Google Maps.

If you are discussing the events of the California wildfires with your students, you need to integrate Google Maps into your lessons/conversations. Check out what folks are doing with this online tool and others to aid citizens and emergency staff here.

Take a look at the citizen pictures on Flickr.  Amazing!

Now that is harnessing the power of the Read/Write web!

Image by Google.

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Rock the Web – 07-08 National Youth Presidential Forum

rock_the_webHey history and social studies teachers!  Here is a great chance to get your kids involved with the upcoming election in a 21st Century way.  Here is what their site has to say about the event:

On November 14, 2007, The EWN Foundation together with the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at The University of Central Florida, The Presidential Classroom and The United States Association of Former Members of Congress will conduct a three hour National Youth Presidential Forum (NYPF). The NYPF will be webcast to an estimated 25 million students, who will be first time voters.

Presidential Candidates will participate in the Forum from remote locations of their choice. The candidates will field questions from a moderator and students representing the Presidential Classroom. After the webcast, students will participate in an on-line vote for the candidate they would choose in the 2008 Presidential Election. Student’s feedback about the candidates’ responses will be collected and provided to the candidates after the event.

Each student will receive a login code from their teacher, 7-10 days before the event. They will pre-register to vote at www.rocktheweb.org. There will be pre-event class work assigned by the teachers. Then each student will attend the event at their respective venues. After the event, each student will receive a unique ballot code that will enable them to return to the web site and cast a vote and complete a survey about the Forum.

The goal of the NYPF is to increase the knowledge of our youth and to promote participation in the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election.

Check out the Rock the Web site for information and registration. 

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Free. Quality. Self-selected. Your pace. Your place.

What else can I say about the technology sessions offered in the k12online conference? Check out the poster below, and then check out the site. This is your chance to learn new technologies and the pedagogy behind them without having a class full of people sitting around you. No pressure to move on until you are ready. Yet, there is a ton of free support offered in this as well, so you are not left stranded. The conference is one I highly recommend.

Oh, did I mention it is free?

If you need help getting an RSS feed reader set-up so you can follow the conference happenings easier, let me know. I am always more than happy to help out.


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Oh My Gosh!!! This site is awesome!

Now, we all know there are several great resources out there, but this one is SOOOOOO valuable to upper grade educators.

Hippo Campus has videos, both instructional and informational. These things ROCK! I realize you may not be as excited about it as I am, but cool, free, awesome resources are so needed with our curriculum these days. Kids can access these from the house for help with homework. They can use them to enrich current lessons or presentations. You can use them to give a twist to your lessons while letting the students know they are out there for reference. Your students will love it.

You are in luck if you teach one of these courses:

  • US History (AP and regular)
  • Algebra (Elementary, IA, and IB)
  • American Government (AP and Regular)
  • AP Biology
  • Calculus (AP I & II, General, and Intro)
  • Environmental Science (AP and Regular)
  • Physics (AP B & C, College Prep, General, and Intro)
  • Religion

Please check this site out. My post cannot do it enough justice for the value of the content found here. (Or am I just too PBS or something?)

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