“Je colorie mon français” with QR codes

I always love walking up and down the hallways of the school where I work. The wall displays are put together with care, with themes to really demonstrate what the students are learning in their classrooms. From artwork to poetry, lego, and pictures that capture students learning, there is always something new and exciting to see.

The other day while walking through the hallways in the school, this big poster of a rainbow paintbrush on the wall saying “Je colorie mon français” really caught my attention. So I stopped by one of the classes and spoke to one of the teachers to learn more about what the poster was for. She then explained to me that it was to help teach students French expressions and corrections. She explained that, after school that day, the grade 4 teachers were going to get together and make two videos for the students. One, that would teach them the expression of the week, and one to help correct common mistakes French Immersion students often make. Once the videos were finished, they would be published and a QR code would be created so students, parents, administration, and teachers could scan and watch their videos. This was the first week for this activity, so the grade 4 teachers created these first two videos to showcase an example to their students. Beginning next week, for the remainder of the school year, students will be working in groups to create, publish, and display their weekly French expression and correction.

In addition, to throw in a little bit of friendly competition and to integrate Math into this activity, when students use the weekly expression or correction in their day-to-day learning, they will receive points for their class. Classroom points will then be added on to a bar graph, teaching students how to use a bar graph – a learning outcome for grade 4 Math.

I was so excited to hear that the grade 4 teachers were embracing technology to get their students to learn French expressions and to help them correct common mistakes. I was also thrilled to hear that the grade 4 team was working together to create this project so all the grade 4 students would benefit from this activity.

The teacher said to me before I left the classroom that day, “you know us, were are never afraid to try something new!” These grade 4 teachers are really amazing and they definitely are not afraid to try something new. If you walk past their classrooms, you will notice flexible seating, gamification, and some really excited and engaged learners.

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Mind Maps

As a visual learner, I see the great importance in using mind mapping tools with my students when planning a project, when doing revision for a test and even when they need to write everything down that is in their head.
Before using mind maps with my students, I noticed that many times their ideas in their writing were disconnected, they would often go off topic or they would get stuck because they didn’t know what to write about next.
With mind maps, students can link their ideas, insert images and even insert videos (depending on the tool they use). They can use colors and they can make their plan come alive. Students also tend to spend a lot more time on their “plan” when using mind mapping tool. Then, when it comes to writing, they are very prepared and feel more confident throughout the writing process.

Here is a link to 100 reasons to use mind maps :
http://www.mindmapinspiration.com/100-reasons-to-mind-map-paul-foreman/

Mind Map Ideas mindmapinspiration.com

Another great thing about mind maps, is it good for all ages!

Here is a list of 5 FREE Mind Mapping tools available online:
https://bubbl.us/ – Brainstorming made simple
http://mind42.com/ – Collaborative mind mapping in your browser
http://www.mindmeister.com/ – The leading online mind mapping tool (MindMeister goes mobile: iPhone. iPad. Android.)
http://www.mindomo.com/ – Mind mapping made easy
http://www.wisemapping.com/c/home.htm – Visual thinking evolution

Here is a great tutorial on how to use these 5 mind mapping tools:
http://h30411.www3.hp.com/posts/1018306?mcid=Twitter

Happy mapping!

Screencast-o-matic

My lessons just haven’t been the same since I found out about this great computer screen recording tool, Screencast-o-matic: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/screen_recorder

This tool is really easy to use!

You can save or upload your video into YouTube, you can embed your video into your webpage, blog or wiki and share with your students and other teachers.

Check out some of the PowerPoint presentations my students created and shared with their classmates, using screencast-o-matic.

Not only can your student record their presentations, but teachers can record their lessons for student to refer back to them later on!

Ever have students constantly asking questions about how to do something on the computers? By providing your students with a step by step video, they can watch it as many times as they need to in order to understand what they need to do!

Any online teachers out there??? What a great tool for students to use to be able to share their projects with peers in their virtual classroom.

Ready, set, record!

Tools for using YouTube safely in class!

For me, YouTube has become one of the first places I look to get a great “hook” to catch my students attention at the beginning of a new unit (and throughout). When I’m in the drivers seat, I can control what my students see.  However,  more and more my students are driving and this year I am offering an online course to my students,  therefore, I have been paying a lot more attention to the content on YouTube. Whether it be the comments at the bottom of the video, the video’s that are available in the sidebar, the video’s that show up after the video chosen is done, etc,  I am much more conscious of the video links I share with my students….until now!!!

After attending another fabulous Webinar organized by SimpleK12 (http://simplek12.com/tlc/webinars/),  I was introduced to some amazing tools that let you chop and purify those great videos!

1)  TubeChop allows you to easily chop a section from any YouTube video and share it. (You can also embed your chopped video into your website, wiki, blog, etc.)

2) Safe Viewing
  • Safeshare: http://Safeshare.tv – Generate a link without the comments and related videos. (Ability to share the video via Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • QuietTube http://quietube.com/ – This provides you with a button to put on your toolbar. When you open YouTube or other video sites, click on the button, and your video will be displayed without any ads, comments, etc.
Now I can share video’s with my students without having to worry if something inappropriate or offensive will show up while they are viewing the video’s links I have shared with them.
Did you also know that YouTube has a section for educators?
As well, for all the history teachers out there, this is really neat: YouTubeTimeMachine – http://yttm.tv – Where you can get videos from any year. Your students might really enjoy searching and watching video’s of a certain time period!
For other additional resources visit: http://livebinders.com/play/present?id=172921 which also includes a list of YouTube alternatives.
Enjoy!

Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy in a Digital World

On October 6th, 2011, I participated in an amazing Webinar, offered by SimpleK12, that shared a lot of very useful tools for our classroom.

visualblooms.wikispaces.com

I hope you find these applications useful as they are also very well organized for each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Blooms chart (New Version)

  • Creating
  • Evaluating
  • Analysing
  • Applying
  • Understanding
  • Remembering

Knowledge and Rembering

Comprehension and Understanding

Application and Applying

Analysis..

Evaluate (Formerly the top)

Creating

Links from the webinar:
http://www.diigo.com/user/mrplough07/bloomsSK12

If your interested, check out : http://simplek12.com/tlc/webinars/ for their upcoming FREE webinars!