Strip Design App

Using my iPad, I downloaded a cool storytelling app called “Strip Design.”  It allows you to turn your photos into a comic book.  It is a lot of fun and really easy to use!  Just remember to create those story boards beforehand so you know what pictures to take.

 

Check out my how-to video below:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haFrODg00OQ

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Pinning Away!!

When I was growing up, I loved to tear pictures out of magazines and pin them on a bulletin board I had in my room.  As I grew older, I cut out images, quotes, craft ideas, pictures of places I want to visit and taped them into a book.  Nowadays, people don’t need to grab the scissors when they see a something they like.  They can “pin” it.

Pinterest is the newest way people can organize their ideas and share them with others.   It is often compared to a bulletin board.  When a person found a picture of shoes they wanted or found a new recipe she or he wanted to try or found a costume she or he planned to make she or he would tear, cut, print it out and pin it on a bulletin board.  Now, when you find something you like on the web, you can “cut it out” and pin it on the board you create in Pinterest.  Pinterest is your virtual bulletin board.  It is a great way to visually see things you like and visually organize them into different boards.  Teachers can use Pinterest as a way to share and collaborate on ideas.  Teachers within the same school building, school system, surrounding districts, state, and different countries.

I would bounce around a lot when I taught the Deaf. One year I was teaching third grade.  The next year I was teaching fourth grade.  The following year, I taught second, then third, and then again second.  Every year I felt like I was first year teacher.  Not only did the grades change but so did my room.  I would throw out ideas and folders thinking to myself, “I’ll never teach that grade again.  Why keep that idea?!?!”  Or I would loose activities in the move.  If Pinterest was around when I taught, I could have organized my activities by grade level, ability level, subject matter, or whatever I want!  And instead of packing up all of my files or moving a big, heavy file cabinet, all I would have needed was a computer and internet access.  Oh! The trees I would have saved!!!

Before I go any further, let me go over some important terminology.

 Pinterest Vocabulary

Pin

  • A pin is an image or a video you like and want to keep for future reference
  • When I taught, I would find cute craft ideas to use for the different holidays or seasons.  I would make print out a copy of the activity and file it away.  Most of the time, I would forget all about it or couldn’t locate it because I had A LOT of files.
  • With Pinterest, I can do a search for “fall craft ideas.”  When I find one I like, I pin it.  (I’ll get more into detail about how all that works.)
  • Before I would cut out the idea, now I just click on it or pin it.

Board

  • Think of the board as your file folder
  • You found an idea you like.  You want to keep it.  You take out a file folder, label it, and put the clipping in it. When you want to use the idea, you go into the folder.
  • A board is your virtual file folder
  • There are no limits as to how many boards you can have and you can label them how ever you want!

Repinning

  • Did you ever see an idea from another teacher and say to her or him, “I really like that idea.  Can I have a copy of it?”  That’s repinning!
  • Pinterest allows you to search other people’s boards.
  • When you find an image/video/idea that you like, you can repin it (copy it) into a board you have already created or create a board for it.

O.K.  now that we have gone over the vocabulary, let’s talk about setting up an account.

Starting an Account

Setting up an account it easy.  You can use your e-mail account, Facebook account, or Twitter account.  On the next page, you will see a bunch of images and be asked to pick 5 that you like.  The purpose of this activity is for Pinterest to get to know what you are interested in so they can suggest people to follow.  We’ll get into “following” a little bit later.  Then, you will fill out a profile page on yourself. Your username will be how people can find you.  FYI:  You have the option to hide your profile so if anyone were to do a search on you, your pinterest board would not come up.  All you have to do is click on “hide.”  Once your account has been verified and it is all set up, it’s time to create your boards and start pinning!!

There are two ways you can pin an image.  You can pin an image from the internet or you can pin an image from your own computer.  I am just going to focus on how to pin from the web.

Pinning from the Internet

The easiest way to pin an image from a website is to download the “Pin It” button. You can find  it under the About tab.  This way whatever you pin, will have a direct link to the web page you  got it from as well as give credit to the person who created the idea or took the picture.  After you select the “Pin It” button, it will walk you through the directions as to how to add it to your bookmark bar depending on what web browser you are using.

Find an image or idea you like and want.  Click on the “pin it” button in your bookmark bar.   Below is a video in how to pin an image from the web.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MmN-gY_-xY

You are given 4 boards at the start but there is no limit as to howmany boards you can create.  To add more boards,just click on the Add tab at the top.  

Next, you will have to name your board.  After you have named your board, click on the “edit board” button under the board.  Here you can add a tag line for your board.  This is helpful so people know what the board is all about.

Following

Pinterest is really a community for sharing which is great.  One way for ideas to be shared is by following.  There are two ways to follow on Pinterest.  You can follow a person or a board.  By following a person, you will see every board that person creates.  That’s great if your school has teachers creating boards solely as a means to share with others.  But let’s say, your friend (outside of school) has a board on integrating technology in Math.  Your friend also has boards for vacation ideas, remodeling her bathroom, birthday ideas for her 5 year old.  You may not be interested in those boards.  You are only interested in the one about integrating technology in Math.  Not a problem.  All you have to do is:

1. Find your friend (if you sign in by your e-mail and she is a contact, she will pop up there)

2. You will be brought to where all her boards are housed.

3. You will see, in the middle of the board in red is “Follow.”  That will allow you to follow all the boards your friend has created.

4. Under each board is the button, “Follow.” Click on that button to just follow that one board.

That’s Pinterest!!!  I hope this inspires you to get rid of your file cabinet filled with ideas you probably haven’t used in years because you have forgotten them and allows you to be free to pin new ideas to be used not only by you, but your colleagues.  I will post more about the other features of Pinterest at a later date.

Save a tree and start pinning!!!

Symbaloo

Adventures with Symbaloo…….

I picked this site for my personal dashboard because it was visually pleasing to me. I love squares.  No. I LOVE SQUARES!!!!!  They are just so perfect in my eyes.  Four sides all measuring out to be the same……ahhhhh..perfection.  So, when I saw the image for Symbaloo, I knew I found the right personal dashboard for me.

However, as I started to explore and create my own, I found it was not that easy to manipulate the page.  My time is precious. I do not have a lot of it.  Like Denzel Washington said, “Explain it to me like I’m a five year old.”   In the classroom,  I have all the patience in the world to spend with my students and help them figure stuff out.  Outside the classroom, I have little patience at all.

As I started to create my project, I noticed I was not given a blank slate. The websites were already in the boxes. I started to wonder if I had done something wrong in the set up process.  So, I did what I always do when I think I made a mistake: take out my eraser and start all over again. The second time around was getting a lot better.  I discovered that I could use work other people already created and add my own.  Second discovery: I work better in the light of day than the dark of night.

Here’s how Symbaloo works, but first a vocabulary lesson.  What is a “webmix?”  If you saw the image in the PDF file for this assignment, then you saw the webmix.  It is what the big square is called that houses all of your web addresses.  These addresses are added to the webmix in the form of a tile.  They are not listed in a list.  During the set up process, I was given the opportunity to add webmixes that someone else created.  Webmixes can be created under a specific heading or focus.  I picked wembixes for Reading, Writing, Math, Social Studies, and Science.  Before I picked a webmix, I picked tiles I wanted to be included on my Home webmix.  Remember, those tiles are going to the links to the websites you want to share with others.  After both of those processes were completed, I was shown my very own webmix……with all the other ones I added.  Then, I got to work.  I discovered that I could create a webmix from scratch.  However, it would have been the last option in the webmix linear tag bar, and I couldn’t find a way to move them around (mental note: figure out a way to move webmixes around).  I went to the home webmix (which was the first tab) and started to move the preselected tiles around on the webmix.  I could even delete ones that I changed my mind about.  To add my own tile with web address, I just needed to click on a blank tile.  Next, I could click on the option to create my own tile or type in a topic and pick from a all ready set up tile.  After picking a blank tile, I wrote the web address.  What was VERY helpful with this site is I didn’t have to check to make sure the url address worked.  Symbaloo did that for me!  Next, you title the tile, pick a font color for your title, pick a color for your tile, and then an image.  You could add one from their library or import one of your own.  If you choose to do this, remember the tile is small and whatever image you pick will also be small.  Moving tiles around is as easy as dragging and dropping.  If you decide you no longer want to use a specific tile anymore, just click and hold, start to move it and a trash image will appear on top.

In the past, I have used portaportal.com.  This site allows you to create different categories to organize your websites.  They are viewed in a list form.  I posted an image of my below.  I liked the ease of this site and how it organized my information.  You can even created subheadings within your heading.  You can pick small icons to comment on a particular site.  For example, for coolmath4kids.com, I picked the “cool” icon.  Other options are a thumbs up, WOW, and a smily face.

I’m really excited to use Symbaloo.  I already have a list of things I want to do to mine.  Oh yeah, I’m a lover of lists, too.  I’ve seen on other webmixes you can create a tile as your heading and then go into and it will bring you to another webmix focusing on that topic.  If anyone has figured this out, please spread the knowledge.  Thanks!

Web Poster Wizard

 

My how the times have changed….. I’m an 80’s kid.  I was raised during that crazy fashion time when neon was a color that everyone wore and pegging your pants was cool.  When it came to report time, going to the store to buy a white poster board was the thing to do.  Back in those days, the only option was white.  Next stop was the library where you would grab an encyclopedia or two and make photo copies that cost you 5 cents.  Then, it was time to go home, get out the glue, markers, scissors, and maybe a ruler and get to work on your poster.  Back then color photo copies were futuristic and not available at one’s local town library so your pictures where black and white.  If, IF you were feeling creative, you would use your markers or crayons and color in your photocopies.  Fortunately, we have come a long way since I was in school.

Reporting Today: Today students don’t have to be subjected that tedious and boring way of making a poster to showcase one’s work.  With the internet, their creative juices can grow even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body.  With Web Poster Wizard, any student can create a beautiful poster on-line in just a few easy steps!  This site allows students and teachers to create their very own poster sans white poster board.  You can create your very own web page on any topic you want.  With just a few short clicks, your poster is created!

Web Poster Wizard:  This a free site for teachers and students to create an on-line poster or worksheet.  It is an informative self-created web page. On the first page, there is a written how to guide.  Under the guide is an example of a poster and a worksheet.  When you go into the site to set up your poster/worksheet, there is a “Guidelines and Requirements” link that is not easy to read.  Fortunately, the site walks you through each step.  A teacher or student can create an informative poster on a topic, and then add up to 16 links for students to explore the topic.  The other option given is to create a worksheet.  For this option, a teacher creates an assignment for students to complete and provides websites for students to use.  Both options require an image, website links, a header, sub header, and a body of text.  After a poster or worksheet is created, it is given an ID number.  In order, for students to locate a poster or worksheet, she or he can do a search.  The search options include: using the poster or worksheet ID number, the class code, or the teacher’s name.  Doing a search on a topic is not on option which lends to the work created being private.  You must know the code in order to see the work.

How do you start?

  • First, a teacher needs to create a free account using her or his e-mail address and creating a password.
  • Second, a teacher creates a class name.  This name can be changed at a later date and more classes can be added.
  • Third, is research.  You need to research your topic before making the poster/worksheet.  Once your research is done, it is suggested that you create your text in a Word document just in case something happens on the site as you are you working, you have your text saved.  Remember, you are not only researching the topic to gather information, you are also researching useful sites.  After all the grunt work is done, it’s time to create!
  • Fourth, is setting up your poster/worksheet.  The format is the same; it’s all about how you word the text.  Finding where to begin, how to set up the webpage was a little tricky and took some digging for the teacher; students just need to click on the “Create a poster” link on the home page to get started.
  • Fifth, it will walk you through the steps of the required text.  You need to think of a title and then a header (subtitle).  Next, is copying and pasting your text from the Word doc. into the Body box provided.  Lastly, is adding your image.  If you are using an image you found on-line, you are reminded (in red ink) to add the URL in the caption box under the image.  You have control over the size, font, and color of your background and text.  Long are the days where you have to use a ruler to make your not so straight line to write your Title and subheading.  You have 9 different font options, and the sizes and fonts are shown below your option bar.
  • Sixth, is adding the links.  You need to create a title for the link; then copy and paste the URL onto it.  You can have up to 16 links.

Who can use this site?  Well, I believe that getting students excited about technology at a young age will create life long techies.  I can see preschool and kindergarten classrooms creating a poster as a group.  In first grade, a worksheet page can be set up at a center.  Second graders and up and create their own posters.  I think middle schoolers and high schoolers can create their own worksheet page for other students (and maybe in the teacher) to complete.  Instead of a test at the end of a unit, why not have them create a worksheet for their fellow classmates?!?!

Kids these days….don’t know how lucky they have it….No longer do they have to deal with starch white poster boards or blinding neon poster boards (honestly, how are those colors pleasing to the eye?), paper cuts, jagged cut pictures, black and white photocopies.  Now, they can be as creative as they want using Web Poster Wizard.  You will feel like a wizard because the site is as easy as magic…..no seriously, it is easy.

Here is a link to my Poster on Lions.  I created it for a younger audience.

Web Poster Wizard Lions

ADDIE Model

Image

(image taken from nwlink.com)

The ADDIE model is a model teachers can use to teach a new concept, to someone who is unfamiliar with the subject matter.  It breaks down a process in a step-by-step way to easily explain the beginning, middle, end, and the thought process that went into it.  The ADDIE model is also used outside the classroom setting.  It breaks down how one learns something new and how to go about learning the new concept.  I like how each step helps the teacher/organizer focus on the task at hand.  Each step serves as a purpose and flow from one to another.  If I were back in the classroom, I would use this model when starting a new subject matter.  I could also see myself using it with a student who is having difficulty applying a concept by defining the issue at hand and figuring out a plan of action.  Using the ADDIE model in this situation would then allow me to have a visual pathway to show colleagues and the student’s parents how the student was able to master the concept.  An instructional strategy I have used in the past has been cooperative learning. In this strategy, students take control of their learning. They work in small groups and work together on a common goal or concept.  There is little teacher interaction.  This differs from the ADDIE model by the teacher have a major role in the teaching process and the students in the driving seat.

Here are the sites I read about ADDIE:

http://www.articlesbase.com/training-articles/the-addie-model-why-use-it-305218.html

http://www.click4it.org/images/a/ab/Toolkit_Template_A.D.D.I.E._Model.pdf

http://easylearningweb.blogspot.com/2010/02/using-addie-model-for-training-best.html