Sunday, September 20, 2009

Using Visual Imagery

I thought this assignment would be easy: Find an image using Creative Commons and share how you plan to use it in class. I teach kindergarten so I had a million ideas when searching on Creative Commons. I searched city blocks, to look for letters and words. Then I thought about using a picture of clouds and having students interpret the images that they see. Next I thought about colors, shapes or maybe numbers. There were actually too many choices. After a dozen or so searches and viewing 40+ pages of photos I narrowed it down to ten pictures. The picture that I eventually choose came from the search: geometric shapes. The picture was taken by T Hoffarth and posted on Flickr. The title of the picture is Power Lines. I will use this picture with my kindergartners to reinforce the idea that triangles have three sides and three points and that this means even when you change the dimensions (angles and/or size) of a triangle it is still a triangle. When the image is placed on the Smartboard students will be able to use the Smartboard markers to identify and outline various triangles in the image. I may also print the image out and give it to partners with the same task of outlining triangles in the photo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Changes BIG & small

* My students see me using my laptop to find the perfect song on iTunes, when they need to get up and move;
* My students know that I communicate with their parents by sending "letters" on the computer (e-mail as described by a 5 year old);
* My students know that when the laptop, projector, and smartboard are all turned on, connected, and working together, whatever they see on my laptop is what they see on the smartboard (and they are fascinated by it!);

* My laptop is located in a place where I can easily get to it while I am working with my students so that I can access anything that I need without turning my back to them or loosing their attention.
* We have watched Eric Carle read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" on You Tube.
* We have experienced "The Little Red Hen" on Speakaboos.

So those are the small changes in my teaching this year because of the courses so far in the COETAIL program.

And now for the BIG change -

* I am in the process of setting up a classroom blog to help me share and communicate with the parents of the students in my class. I feel the need to send something more exciting than the standard weekly newsletter. I want to be able to show parents what we are doing not just try to explain it in words. I want to include the kids in what is posted on the blog. I'm not quite ready to launch this endeavor and share it with the world but I will be soon. I'm still trying to find the perfect visual set-up for the blog. I know it is a lame excuse but after looking at several other classroom blogs and starting the Visual Literacy Course: Effective Communicators and Creators I need to find the perfect visual set-up for the blog. I want it to be more than a screen full of words. I want it to be inviting and friendly so that my students and parents want to be a part of it. I'm very excited about it but nervous at the same time. My goal is to have it ready to share by next week.
Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!

The changes that I have made don't seem very substantial but I'm not a huge risk taker and since my students are young, baby steps are the best fit for all of us.