07

A Book Review of a Different Color

Probably been done before but I’m trying to make book reviews/reports a little more exciting. We started with the Byrd Book Review blog and simple audio reviews but my goal is to up the entertainment value for listeners and creators. We still haven’t publicized the site with our students but it’s getting pretty decent organic exposure so far. I made a sample review of The Hobbit through the eyes of Gollum using bits and pieces of audio from the movie and BBC radio play. This gives a nice way to review the book and focus on both point of view and the idea of voice in writing. If you’d like to hear it . . . [audio:http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/byrd/woodward_t/gollumn reviews it.mp3]

Comma Rules and Keynote

We teach 12 comma rules each spring in preparation for our state writing test. In previous years, I have worked off of overheads. My students laughed at me as I repeatedly blinded myself while standing in front of the screen. This year, I decided to save my eyes and put a series of Keynote (PowerPoint) presentations together. My goal was to make the lessons easier for visual learners to grasp. I used consistant color schemes and movement on the screen to show the students methods that helped them break apart a sentence. The truth is, grammar is very technical. There is no beauty of word choice or personal expression in placing commas. Grammar is the math, the logic, side of writing. This makes teaching grammar–well–boring (no offence to math teachers out there). Below you will find links to my first effort at making the grammar lessons more engaging than an overhead and my hand. I started making the Keynotes at Rule 4 and worked my way through the lessons before returning to Rules 1-3. It’s interesting to see how the presentations evolve as I became more comfortable with the software. I ended up exporting the presentations as enhanced Quicktime videos that are clickable. I linked these to my homework blog so students could review the lessons if they were having […]

07

Welcome EdTech 2007 Participants

Welcome participants of Community Idea Stations’ EdTech Conference. If your looking for blogging resources connected with our presentation “Bob on Blogs,” you will find it here. Feel free to look around and comment while you’re visiting, and make sure you subscribe to or bookmark the blog. We update it several times a week.

The Outsiders Vocabulary Blog

I know how tedious vocabulary can be–I’m an English teacher. I have a list of 60ish vocabulary words for the novel The Outsiders (Do it for Johnny!). In previous years I have handed out the list, sorted by chapter, and asked the students to define them. I would put a selection of words on the test to ensure the kids did the work, and hoped that the words would stick. I’ll be honest with you, we would be lucky if they remembered a third of those words. I wasn’t happy about this. This year, I decided the vocabulary needed to have more value. I asked Tom to talk through it with me, and we came up with The Outsiders Vocabulary Blog. The students had access to create posts–as opposed to simply commenting on my posts. They drew one word out of a hat and completed a word study on it. The posts were sorted by chapter and part of speech. The result is a comprehensive vocabulary database for the students, and another vocabulary tool for teachers. Two classes worked together to create this glossary. They began to see the benefit of collaborating. By breaking the list down, they were able to get more out of the work. Along the way the students received mini lessons in citing sources, scanning a […]

Audio Book Reviews

Way, way back in May of 2005 I had the following idea- Audio book reviews- This is something Steve Dembo of Teach42 and I discussed. I’d like to see short podcast book reviews attached to the school library database and in RSS feeds. How cool would it be to look up a book and be able to listen to the reviews of other students. Having a RSS feed for various types of literature would also be good. This would seem to encourage both more reading by listeners and more reading by those wanting to make podcast reviews. That idea is (at least partially) coming to fruition now. Mainly because our librarians and another teacher I work with frequently came up with it on their own and got me motivated. It’s odd how circular somethings are. We’ve started a Byrd Books blog with audio, video or text reviews of book submitted by students. The posts and thus the books are also rateable by other readers through a neat ajaxy star system. I’m going to work on creating dynamic pages and feeds based on book type and reviewer so you can subscribe to just the book type you like or to the reviewer of your choice. I also need to install a tagging plugin. I’ve been really happy with the flash player […]

28

The Communist Manifesto on YouTube as a Cartoon Remix

A great idea and great project type for kids. You could do this with any number of fairly dry historical documents and while it would take quite a while the level of comprehension, analysis and retention the creators would get from this project would be incredible. The movie itself makes for a nice resource if you’re covering Communism. via BoingBoing some time ago

The Cliche Rotation Project- Act Now!

Defective Yeti (a very funny blog which has nothing to do with yetis or defects) had the following post- Of course, the problem with cliches is that they are just so darned … you know. Cliche. That’s why I am initiating the Cliche Rotation Project, to replace our current set of cliches with new ones of equivalent meaning. For example: Old & Busted New Hotness Made a mountain out of a molehill Saw a duck and shouted “dragon!” Quiet as a church mouse Silent as a shadow’s whisper Ready and willing On it like a bonnet Wore his heart on his sleeve Flew his feelings from a flagpole I’d love to do that in an English class. It could be done to reinforce the ideas of cliches (and avoiding them). You could use it as way to approach vocabulary (each “New Hottness” cliche has to use one of our vocabulary words). I think it’d even work well with a poetry unit. You could also have them illustrate their cliches. They’d make good journal or story prompts. (Draw three new cliches out of the hat and include them in your story) All in all just a great way to get kids having fun with words and focusing on language. He’s inviting submissions through comments on the post. Why not try your […]

07

Optimism

In my district we have 12 middle school people who focus on tech integration (one at each school). We all create lessons and share resources with our teachers but have not until now worked together very consistently/effectively. So at our meeting on Friday we hammered out an idea to what is outlined below. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and while I do fear I am being naive in some ways I have high hopes for what this might become. There’s only one lesson there right now- but it’s been a busy weekend for me :). The current incarnation- ITRT Plans a blog for posting good lesson plans in a semi-structured manner including documents (rubrics, instructions, notes, whatever) samples of student work from the lesson a little reflection on how things went, ways to improve or how to change things I’m using a lot of images if possible and installed the snap.com preview script. Visuals are often a deciding factor for me and I imagine the same will be true of others. if someone uses or adapts the lesson I’m hoping they’ll add their experiences and how they changed things Lessons will be grouped according to subject and tagged according to VA SOL and keywords. a group del.icio.us account since a number of us have our […]