Friday, May 27, 2011

Do you Doodle?

It is that time of year again when trying to schedule a meeting: team, grades, curriculum, transition is insanely complicated!  It is meeting season in education.  Trying to pick a day when everyone is around and available is next to impossible.  You need to Doodle!

Doodle is super easy, just make an account and then....

Try it out by accessing my sample doodle here.  Just add you name and the dates you are available.  As creator of the poll, I get to see a view like this

Which allows me to easily pick the date the is most convenient for the entire group. Never have a crazy reply all email chain again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Create: Drawing Tools

Getting students to create their own product has been the cornerstone of the PWSD technology plan this year.  With Kid Pix on the fritz since we moved to Windows 7, I have been compiling some replacement resources to have students create their own digital art.  Most of these websites are perfect for k-12.  Whether you are working on mouse control and saving properly or asking students to create original art for a presentation, one of these should fit the bill.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses, so play around to find out what works best for you.

There are 10 resources that I would recommend, feel free to add the public URL to you website or moodle page.
Some of the highlights...

1) Sumo Paint - more sophisticated than paint which will keep you advanced user busy with layers and filters but easy enough to just create an image.  You can save to the gallery, if you want to create an account, or download as an image if you don't. 

My favourite tools, symmetry and light effect filter!

2) Tux Paint - this is what PWSD is supporting to replace KidPix.  This is an offline program that needs to be installed.  If you want it on your computer lab, just open a helpdesk ticket.

3) Pencil Maddness - This one is new to me, but I think it has loads of potential.  Lots of cool tools and you can either create an account to save to the gallery, or just click on the JPG button when you are finished to download the image. 

These are just three of the many tools listed, have fun exploring or set your student loose on them all!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Collaborative Grade 3 Literacy Classroom

The  last in our AISI Literacy series this year that takes a look inside a classroom in Peace Wapiti School Division.

Special thanks to Mem, Collette and Donna for sharing their wonderful classrooms with us!  And to Rowena for making sure this good work gets done and published!

Savanna's PD Day

I love going to Savanna.  The teachers fabulous, the conversations challenging and they always feed me.  Unfortunately I don't get out there nearly as often as I would like.  At 143km from Grande Prairie, Savanna is number two on the list of our furthest away schools in Peace Wapiti School Division.
Mike and  Tina working hard!
After polling the group.....

and getting some rather inconclusive results, I tried to plan a day that allowed for a lot of time to explore, use and plan around the them of "Create, Collaborate and Connect".  

Take a look at all of their are a few:

Stacy's PhotoPeach Story
USA Foreign, Economic, Political Policy Timeline on PhotoPeach

Tina's QR Code (she is going to use this to figure out how many students have the tech to use them)

Stacey's Newspaper

Thanks for a great day!

ASBOA: Better Together

When the Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) was looking for presenters for their annual conference and approached myself and Sandy McDonald, from GPPSD, to do a session on Social Media it was an easy sell. 

Sandy getting things started!
Better Together: Connecting School Business Officials
The benefits of learning how to navigate social media, and to take advantage of social networking, are many. Sharing and learning with others inside and outside of your organization is easier than you might think. Come join Jen and Sandy and learn about new tools of the trade to help widen your network and make new connections to support your personal and professional growth!

While the topic, social media, was familiar to both of us, the audience and the location were new.   Instead of teachers and administrators the room was full of financial officers, executive assistants and a few occupational health and safety folks.  We went through the whys and how-tos, you can see all our resources here, but the conversations went a little more in depth around safety and privacy.  All in all it was a great day and a fabulous opportunity to connect with another group in Alberta Education.

Just out the backdoor!
Jasper was also fabulous and gave me the opportunity to photograph a few of the beautiful sites and critters...

The view
Mountain goats on the way back to GP!

Spider Scribe

I saw a tweet today

Which took me to

I am always on the lookout for a good mindmapping tool.  My go to tool has always been Bubblus but their last update has me less than impressed and looking for a replacement. (See some student bubblus mindmaps here)

Back to SpiderScribe, this one caught my attention because you can add text, word documents, images, event dates and maps.  You have lots of options for colour and text width and size and then you make the connections between the items as you see fit

The sharing feature allows you to keep your mind map private, share by email address or have it open to the public which is what I did above.

The tool does require an email address to sign up for an account and the tool is still in BETA, which could be good or bad.  Good because they will add new features and updates.  Bad because it may go away or cease to be free, in their terms of service they talk about charging.

You can see more written about this tool at Free Technology for Teachers or check out my bookmarks for mindmapping or graphic organizers that may work better for what you need.

May: It's been a tough month!

The hardest part?  This...

Loving the weather but struggling to get to bed at a decent time and using the snooze button far to much!  Anyone else having this problem?

Looking at my May calendar I knew it was going to be a tough month.  For the first ten days of May, the adults in my house were collectively gone for twelve and in a six day span I stayed in three different hotels.  Plus I started another course at UBC.  It's not an excuse but the reason for my prolonged absence here.

I am back and have a plethora of posts in various stages of readiness.  I have a ton to share, just need to sit down and get it published!  So here we go....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's happening? May 2-6

Another whirlwind week ahead!

Monday - Wembley Elementary School to model some lessons.  Tomorrow we will be introducing one grade 4 class to cartooning, another grade 4 class will be finishing off some SMART training and I will be working with a Grade 1 class on writing from picture prompts.

Tuesday - Wembley Elementary School to model a lesson on Buoyancy.  The afternoon will be spent with GPPSD to work on the PD sessions for our Tri-District PD days next year.  See the sessions we are planning and put your name in to facilitate one of them!

Wednesday - working with Rowena, AISI Literacy coordinator, to finish editing the last (I think:) in our video series.  Check out the PWSD YouTube channel to see what has been posted so far. 

Thursday - Alberta Education's Jurisdictional Technology Contacts meeting in Calgary.  Watch my tweets for updates, there will be some interesting sessions on mobile and cloud computing that I am planning to attend.

Friday - Off...I am only working 0.85 this year!

Worth sharing