Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This is from a response on the Classroom 2.0 PLN forum page. The responders name is Marsha Ratzel - and I think this is so very interesting!! It's very down to earth.
The best way I've found is to keep a list going. Use Word or Stickies or
whatever makes sense for you about topics, ideas, quotes, stats...anything that
makes you want to stop and and think. Then when you have time to blog, you can
go back to that idea file and pick one out to blog about. I read lots of other
bloggers...and I feel that is super important. It builds community if you read
and comment on other people's blogs. It maybe one of the best ways for you to

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Final thoughts...

So - it's time to turn around and reflect on where I have come.

I have spent a lot of time playing with many of these tools before class started- but that's all it was...playing. I had not made the jump between my personal experiments and my library. This summer helped me to pull those two pieces together. It gave me time to hone my skills and discover new places to explore! I loved that!

So - what are my take aways??? IN A WORD...GOOGLE

First: Google Reader.

I love this tool. I had a list a mile long of blogs I followed now and again...but they are on my DEAD computer. Google reader makes it possible for me to access the blogs from whatever computer I have in front of me. I LOVE that!

Kristin's organization and usage suggestions also made this a more helpful tool. I had played with Bloglines and just got more and more confused. This is clean and easy.

But - her most important suggestion is to keep a short and managable list. This is something that I REALLY need to work on. I keep growing my list.

Goal for this year: Cull my list to those I am really interested in. That will be my focus.

Second: iGoogle

This is another awesome tool. I've changed my home page to iGoogle and keep tweeking what I want to appear and where. This is such a great way to organize the things I really am interested in. This also solves my stupid dying computer issue. Because it's online I don't need to worry about loosng links.

Goal for this year: Keep organizing and subtracting from this page.

Third: Google in general

I was in an ITEC (Iowa Tech Convention or something like that) workshop a couple of years ago on google and all it's extras. It was too much for me at the time. There are so many pieces of this that I really like and want to learn...after the summer spent loving iGoogle and Google Reader I think I'm ready to play with a few more toys...like Google Earth, Google docs and all the Educators possibilities

Goal for this year: Explore Google for Educators and share with my new staff

This Google love is all so unexpected. I have sort of felt that it's trying to take over the world and now I am becoming a believer...little scary! But it's just too good to miss!

This takes me to my PLN...like my blog list it just keeps growing...I have started using twitter and am trying to figure out how that fits in to the whole PLN idea.

I will continue to follow Joyce V and Kathy Schrock and Kristin S and Will Richardson and Warlick and and and...

That continues to be my problem. But - as I use twitter the posts are short and focused - in some ways that's easier for me to deal with than long blog posts. I tend to be a skimmer and twitter may be my best friend.

I also plan to stay connected with the amazing talents that I have been attending grad school. There is so much knowledge and experience and energy in our cohort - I'm really looking forward to growing up our skills together! I feel honored to be a part of that network!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More books...

Yesterday was a day that I gave myself to read...just to read...and to see Harry Potter!!

And read I did...I read Marcelo and the Real World in the morning and Graceling in the afternoon and evening...and into the wee hours of the morning...I LOVED THEM!!!

I just kept thinking...why wasn't I reading these during class. BOth are sweet and interesting and a bit inspiring - ok Graceling only inspires me to wish I had a Grace and want to learn to sword fight(but I digress).

So - it makes me wonder about my previous opinions about YA being only dark and depressing books.

Both of these books have heavy themes - Marcelo's investigating lies at his father's law firm and Katsa is trying to figure out what to do with her gifted killing skills while rescuing a little girl.

BUt, there is something in the way they are treated that isn't as heavy handed. Maybe it's because it's not realistic fiction - but Marcelo is. I don't know.

I just know I got to the end of them with hope and inspiration...maybe that's a little heavy handed and sappy...

Now I need to write a couple of responses and my final post...truly I'd rather just be reading! :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twitter post from Warlick...

THis is a really great website that Warlick tweeted on...


It is REALLY full of stuff...

Have fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Where I'm From...

This little movie is inspired by a poem written by George Ella Lyon. It shows just a little of what comes together to make me...

Sunday, July 12, 2009


How powerful to hear the actual person telling the story. I think that was my favorite part of this presentation. It was also very cool to hear his daughter tell how easy it was to make a voicethread...I think we may have chosen to disagree in the beginning of our learning.

Years ago my students did family tree project. They made a family tree and as they shared their tree with the class they had to 'tell' at least 2 stories about some member of their family on the tree. This would be a perfect way to share that project!

Great ideas!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What it all Means -Richardson

I appreciated this culminating chapter, but...

Much of this is way out of my control. I know every little bit helps - but sometimes you just feel so alone. When you stand in front of a group of teachers showing them another tech tool and you know their inner dialogue has already labeled you a wacko...it gets a bit hard.

I think that's where the PLN comes into play. Being a part of a PROFESSIONAL network helps you to know that you really aren't alone. You are part of a movement that is challenging the standard and encouraging change.

So, when I read the epilogue and imagined how seamlessly all this fit together - it made me cringe. I really don't believe my district will be to that point before I retire...in the next 15-20 years. I hope that I can come back to this post and know that I sold us short.
But, I'm afraid that is not the reality.

We are but drops in the ocean! But, after all, the ocean is made of of only drops! :)

Podcasting...Richardson ch. 8

I've been dabbling in podcasting with my 4th graders for the past 3 years.

Three years ago we did a podcast called "News To You." For this the students worked in teams to interview teachers and staff members at Kalona Elementary to make a twice monthly podcast. They also told jokes, celebrated famous birthdays and had a run-down on the district sport teams.
This is the white board that we used to plan the podcast - each student was on a team and played a role in the recording of these.

We had a great time and received some nice press due to our involvement - channel 2 news from CR came down and did a segment on us! :)

This is a closeup of our goals for these podcasts. I think the last one is the best...NOT BE BORING!!!
The kids worked really hard on that!

The next year we did podcasts on the 50 states - 1 per state. So I posted 50 of these on the class site. Students again worked in small groups. The podcasts focused on facts, places to visit and activities on the states. Groups also wrote test questions based on their podcast.

One of the major benefits I saw was the change in writing from the beginning to the end of hte project. As the students realized that there was a real audience - their writing improved. As did their speaking voices!

4-2 Class website - this is a link to the very outdated class website. There is a tab at the top that says USA PODCASTS - when you arrive at the page - click on archives and it will take you to the list of our podcasts. The NEWS TO YOU tab and the earlier podcasts no longer work...clearly this page has been ignored last year...oops!!

Last year - NO PODCASTS. I just didn't have the energy to continue as I worked through grad classes. These projects take a lot of teacher energy. The students are thrilled to be doing this - but it's all new. There were times I felt awful about that - I had an amazing class and they would have loved the process. But, I just couldn't seem to make it happen.

Next year - new schools, new jobs, new grade levels...Don't really know what will happen.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ch. 6 - Implementation

I think the quote from Eric Hoffer on page 164 sums up this whole idea...

"In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves
beautifully equipped to work in a world that no longer exists."

WOW! That is the world of our students - but isn't that also the world that we are entering as librarians!

Our job is not to use these products because we think that we have to - instead it is to use these products because it is the way the world works. It is the only way to inherit the earth and the children we are called on to teach!

I am just going to jot down two of the quotes that knocked me upside the head...almost off my floating mat. (Remember - in the pool!)

160 - We are realizing that teaching technology today would make as much sense as teaching pencil was in the 1950s and 1960s. The shifts in our information landscape have impacted on society and caused us to rethink what and how we teach, not advances in technology.

161 - We have to think differently about teaching and learning, not simply use new tools.

I love the idea of the PLN - and that is because I've felt the benefit of that already in our cohort. I am convinced of the need for it...now I need to convince others.

Chapter 5 - Ethics and Context

This is probably one of the MOST important chapters in this book. I have sometimes felt that this is the tedious and policeman part of my job...but after reading this chapter - my attitude has been adjusted!

The story about the Piper, Kansas school was such a great example - but Warlick didn't stop there. I got that part that these parents needed a kick in the rear. But, that didn't seem to be his point...The paragraph explaining the difference in our attitudes toward knowledge was really insightful!

"This imbalance of power between information producers and consumers
instilled in us, the consumers, a perceived right to do with information
what we wanted...We were taught to create a bibliography, but not why." 139

This is a topic that our students will need to deal with for the rest of their lives... as will we. We just haven't used information in the same way - so we don't realize that we need it!

To move our students into the realm of information property holders seems like an enormous shift. When they are involved in the creation of information that we deem important enough to add their name to the copyright or attach a CC license to it - the issue of plagiarism is spun on it's head. Now they understand the idea of information ownership in a completely different way. COOL!!

Is this another example of how the process and the product are becoming more important than the content? To help our students continue the learning process as functioning adults - this is a lesson they will need to learn again and again!

Warlick - Expressing ideas Compellingly (ch. 4)

I read this chapter while hanging out in my pool this afternoon...what a great way to dream about the future!

So many things in this chapter caused me to pause and ponder - sometimes with my eyes closed...but it wasn't really a nap! :)

I was very interested in the diagrams on page 110 and 111 illustrating the ways students interact with text in the blogging and wiki worlds. What a change from our old methods of interacting. It makes me think about this class's organization. I enjoy reading the text - but I must admit my ah-ha moments usually come from reading one of the other blog in this class. It is in hearing the actual uses and applications of what he is talking about where my learning occurs. That is exactly what he is demonstrating! We are good!!!

The section on communicating with images was very intriguing! Working with students and cameras -their first inclination is to snap and snap and snap - especially now that they don't have to get film developed. I really like his reminders to look for the story and to teach it that way - use that language as you use images.

As I reflected on this I was reminded of a school board presentation that we, the Tech Committee, had to two years ago. We decided to take PowerPOint as an app and show how students develop their use across the ages.

So - we started in 4th grade where we teach it and showed an "All About Me" presentation with tons of noises and odd transitions. From there we showed some really boring PowerPoints done by middle school students and ended up with a couple of HS presentations. The one that sticks out was a final report on world hunger. The music was haunting, the text flawless and the images linger two years later...

The images of those presentations expressed our purpose - our goal in infusing the curriculum with technology.

I think Warlick would have liked it!

An ooops in Blogland

I loved my old blogger template. I don't know what I clicked today...but it all went haywire! So - that must means that I needed to find a new one. How in the world does it suck so much time...

It reminds me of those Family Circus cartoons where the kids are supposed to go from A to B and end up all around the town and back. That is exactly how my afternoon has gone.

And my list...

not much progress.

Oh well - it's only Friday! :)

Kalona Elementary Tech Club and Arnie Abrams ideas - a great match!

I found this webinar to be very interesting! I wish I had seen it before we started our after school tech club - because much of what we figured out to do with the kids he had presented in such a pleasant format. We may use some of his handout for when Tech Club starts up next year.

Our Tech Club was made up of 24 4th and 5th graders who met every other Monday night for 8 weeks. There were 2 adults - myself and the elementary librarian. We also invited 3 kids from last year's Tech Club to help out. It was so much fun and so much work!!

We worked on taking images - the nitty gritty. Then we taught them some simple editting techniques and they eited photos. With that info they did a short project where they took pictures to teach a skill and made a wordless slideshow in iPhoto.

Then we showed them how to manipulate the images and mix it with video and they made an iMovie about a place in the world they would like to travel to.

Finally we taught them how to do podcasts with pictures and they did enhanced podcasts of their favorite nursery rhyme.

We also had a year 2 Tech Club. This was a group of 8 kids who met on the alternate Monday nights. These were kids that had been in the club last year - so they were all 5th graders. They worked on creating a movie that could be given to new students and Kindergartners to show them about our school.

For this one we used storyboards, had production meetings, did lots of brainstorming and team trouble shooting. We simply ran out of time. It is a shame - but these projects take LOTS of time if you want to share them with the general public. So - next year I think the year 2 kids - even though they will be different kids - may start where last years kids ended. We shall see

Marc Aronson - Non-Fiction author's study

My non-fiction author is Marc Aronson and this is the link to the voicethread.


The link to the bibliography is


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fiction Author's Study

This is my link to the Fiction Author' study - Allan Stratton