Saturday, March 26, 2011

PE_Final Project: Glogster

MY RILS PLAN
TARGET AUDIENCE: Students in my Spanish I class.
MATERIALS: Laptops, “Expresate” textbook, Chapter 5 Vocabulary 2 list, personal notes.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STANDARDS:  Students will:
1.3.2 present information on different topics in a variety of formats.
1.3.3 write a personal communication e.g. note, letter,etc.
1.3.4 present familiar topics enhanced will multimedia
2.2.3 identify and produce artworks, crafts, or graphic representations of the target culture.
  ISTE STANDARDS (NETS for students):  Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
OBJECTIVES:   Students will talk and write about where they live or would like to live, describe houses with the help on the new vocabulary words learned in chapter 5 and create a multimedia poster online in which they will describe their own house or the house of their dreams in Spanish with the support of the new vocabulary in chapter 5. 
WEB 2.0 TOOL: EDU Glogster (www.edu.glogster.com An innovative web 2.0 tool utilized by thousands of students all over the world to create multimedia posters online or "glogs" in different content areas and languages.  
 PROCEDURE:  Students  will:
·      upload the pictures they took over the weekend  in their “My Pictures” file of their “H” drives.
·      Type their paragraph about their house (or house of their dreams) in Word.
·      Go to the EDU Glogster website and will log into their accounts.
·      Create a new glog.
·      Upload their pics to the Glogsters file.
·      Choose a background and begin crafting their online poster based on their preferences.
·      After all posters are created, a presentation or portfolio will be created. 
SOCIAL PARTICIPATION/LEARNING:   After posters are created, the students will be organized in groups of four and will write their feedback  and opinion on their teammates' posters. They will state what they like best and explain why they like it. (To be written in the “Comments” section under each poster).
MAKING CONNECTIONS:  When writing their descriptive paragraph, the students will take into consideration all grammatical rules studied and useful expressions when creating their sentences in Spanish. They will also be connecting with what they consider home or personal ideas of what they want their home to be.
CREATE/PRODUCE: A multimedia poster online in Spanish called MI CASA or MI CASA IDEAL, describing  a house or ideal house in Spanish, enriched with pictures or an Animoto video or PhotoStory.
REFLECTION:  Students will evaluate their own posters by writing a short reflection under the “Comments” section of their teammates' poster. Teacher: So far this has been a very enjoyable class, sharing with my students about where they live, listening to their ideas on what they want their posters to be like and helping them with the tool when issues arise.
ASSESSMENT METHOD: Rubric provided.
DUE DATE: April 6, 11.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

PE5_EDU Glogster (Part 2)

Good, good Saturday morning! Here I am again with more on Glogster. I've spent some very valuable  time "playing" with this tool and I love it! I'm sure my middle school students will love it too! Creating an online poster seems to be easier than I thought. After signing up for a free basic account, I started creating my first glog. The first thing I had to do was get rid of the predetermined glog that shows up when you hit "create new glog". It was really easy, just to move the icons to the trash can, and there I was ready to pick the background or "wall" I wanted.

Then I started exploring all the other tools that show on the menu: "graphics", for adding decorative icons to your poster; "text" for creating any type of textboxes, bubbles and titles; "image", for uploading your own pics from your files and adding colorful frames to them; "video", for uploading  video clips from School Tube or your own files; "audio", for adding your sound of preference. Also, there are "draw" and "data" tools, but they are part of the Premium accounts, and allow any user to draw or upload any Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF or wrapped file as an attachment to the glog.

Something important to remind Glogster users is not to hit the "Go back" button on the web browser. If the poster has not been saved all what has been created will be lost (It just happened to me, see the pic on the left?). Another  feature of this tool is the " Tips" section that shows at the end of the glog you are creating. It gives you suggestions and ideas on what to do to improve the quality and presentation of your multimedia poster online. I think my students are going to have a good time with this new tool, it will let their creativity and imagination "fly" beyond the classroom... Below you can see, what my first glog looks like, since I am teaching about Holidays in Spanish-speaking countries this week, I decided to start my class with this glog...
 

Friday, March 18, 2011

PE4_EDU Glogster (Part 1)

This week I continued evaluating Web 2.0 tools and it was Glogster's turn. This "cool" tool can be found under two different web addresses:  www.glogster.com, for personal use and social networking, and the one I will talk about in this blog, www.edu.glogster.com, especially designed for school use. 


The EDU Glogster is an educational website for creating very colorful multimedia posters online called "glogs". It's a new way for students to show their learning creatively. It is also a collaborative learning platform where students and teachers can interact and "voice" their thoughts on anybody's "glog". There are three different account levels with different features designed according to your needs: Basic,  Premium Teacher and Premium School.


One of the most important characteristics of this online tool is the fact that it fits any content area or school subject since its main purpose is to show students' creative expression of knowledge,  and it meets and exceeds national technology standards, a very important feature for educators that look for original ways to integrate technology in their lessons.
The "Premium" account for educators allows teachers to set up their classes and set up individual student accounts and online portfolios. Also,  once the "glogs" are created, they can be shared in multiple ways, kept private or available  to your set  classes only,  or you can post them for public view and feedback. Educators can also create presentations with all their students posters or embed the presentations in their school webpages.


Well, I guess that's all for now. I can't wait to start my first glog. I'll be back soon with more on this Web 2.0 tool!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BP7_Livemocha (The Commercial)

Here's my commercial on one of the Web 2.0 tools, I evaluated. Hope you like it!



(Some images taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BP6_Link to Catherine's Blog

Hello, again! Just wanted to invite you to visit Catherine's blog.  Follow this link and enjoy it...

BP5_Link to Kris Knof 's Blog

Hey, guys! Follow this link to my comments on Kris Knof's blog...

BP4_Ediscio

Discovering Web 2.0 tools...

One of the tips I used to give the students in my Spanish classes was  to create flashcards  to memorize new vocabulary. However, I noticed that this technique didn't work very well with all my students. For the ones that were organized, it was easy to number their flashcards, color-code them by topics, and keep them handy in a Ziploc bag, ready to use, ready to study them. But for those who struggled keeping their belongings and school tools in place, flashcards were never found when  needed. They could have been left at home, in the lockers, or even on the hall floors. So ... when I  heard about Quizlet, I started using it right away. I was able to create flashcards online, to provide my classes with the file names, to  add audio and images, and most important of all: they help me differentiate in my classes. No matter what type of learner I had,  Quizlet could fit their needs.  This is my second year with Quizlet and I noticed that my students are getting tired of the same every time they get a new vocabulary list. But thanks to the  http://www.onlinedegree.net/100-essential-2-0-tools-for-teachers/ website, I discovered a new powerful tool: http://www.ediscio.com/. It's time to bring something new to my classes and give my students the opportunity to choose the online flashcard tool that best fits their needs. 


There are so many different and cool things about  Ediscio. Besides all the features that Quizlet provided, and that Ediscio has, it offers its users the opportunity to organize the flashcards by topics, keywords, or in folders known as cardboxes. Let's take a look at its main menus:

On the left side menu you can access your home page (image above), your mail, your profile, your "chums" (friends), the classes you've set up, your cardboxes (where the flashcards are located) and your "stats", which allows you to check your students' progress, the hardest words in your cardbox, and word clouds. It's an easy way to track learning without wasting too much time, and it's there, ready to use. 

 Besides having the choice of creating flashcards one by one, there's the "multi tab" that allows you to create as many cards as you need all at once. Unfortunately, there's no "Import" option as Quizlet has, but it does have the symbols menu, essential when the flashcards are created in different languages. A discussion board tab is also located in the top menu for students to interact and comment on the topic studied, their classes, their progress, etc. 

And... here's my favorite thing about Ediscio...
For those students that usually say that they weren't home and couldn't access a computer to study their flashcards, there's "Ediscio Mobile".


I'm sure my middle school students can't live without their smartphones, mp3s, iPods, etc. There's no excuse for not studying their vocabulary. Even when they're away from home...there's Ediscio...waiting for them!

PE3_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 3)

Well, I may not be an iMovie expert yet, but I got my first Lynda certificate last night. Now I'll feel more confident when creating my video projects for my graduate classes. Also,  I have discovered another way to spend time with my children, that is,  creating movie trailers and home videos.  Movie trailers are really easy to create since iMovie already has 15  templates with different themes to choose from. So... what best way to kick off my son's baseball season than creating a movie trailer with some of his pictures from last year's games? Let's see...


I thought it was going to be really easy, but then I encountered a problem: I wasn't going to import videos, but pictures, and I had no way to bring my pics from iPhoto since the camera icon was off. Luckily, after checking here and there I found the way to do it: using  the "Convert  to Project" option under the "File" menu. That choice immediately allowed me to import my pictures for the trailer. So here's the final product...

video

This summer's going to be fun! My children will love being my main movie characters! Thanks to technology for allowing me to capture the best moments in my life with my family.  :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

PE2_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 2)

Wow! This has been a very productive evening! I've been watching the rest of the  iMovie tutorials and  I've learned so much! Now I don't regret not watching these videos before  because I know that what matters is what comes ahead: there's nothing I could do about the past, but there's a lot I could do to make my future assignments better.


 So far there have been a couple of tips that have drawn my attention. One of them is how to use the "precision editor". With this tool you can easily fine-tune the beginnings and the endings of your clips. It helps you cut a clip at a precise moment, or time the beginning of it with audio.


Another useful tool is the one for cropping or rotating clips, and I started using it right away. I had a couple of videos I had recorded with my first digital camera about five years ago, but as you see in the image above, I had mistakenly turned the camera. Now with the help of the iMovie "crop" tool I was able to rotate the clips and enjoyed watching them again.


Finally,  and the most fun for me, is the "green screen effect" tool. I didn't have the opportunity to put this one in practice, but I'll find my way to apply it in one of my videos soon. With this tool you can easily change the background of a clip by imposing one clip over another. Now I wonder if my husband will let me paint one of our bedroom walls green...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

PE1_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 1)


One of my week 2 assignments in my ETC class was to watch the iMovie tutorials on Lynda. I remember taking a look at this wonderful website in month 2 when I received the email on my FSO account; however, I admit not going back to it to take advantage of all its didactic videos. What came to my mind after watching a couple of segments was "Why didn't I do this before?", "It would have saved me so much time and frustration when I was creating the videos for my month 3 class". It's true, I admit it, I had a hard time creating those videos, but I'm glad  I can still do things differently and better after finishing these tutorials.


Lynda divides the content of its tutorials in different topics and subtopics to help you select what you may find relevant to your learning. Each of these subtopics features short video segments, which, by the way are very illustrative and educational. The one that captured my attention was on how to import videos from a tape-based camera. I have one of these devices, but found it very difficult and time-consuming to import videos to my computer, so I used to watch these videos connecting the camera directly to my television.


The problem with that was that in order for me to skip what I didn't want to see, I had to forward the video, calculating in my head when to hit play again. Now I know how easy it is to import my videos to my computer and with the help of iMovie I can delete, edit and embellish what I want. I also know that I have a lot of work to do regarding all those tapes that have been sitting in my closet for a long time and that  have captured some of the best moments in my life...

Friday, March 4, 2011

BP2_Livemocha


Discovering Web 2.0 Tools...


Our second assignment in my ETC class was to evaluate an application or tool chosen from the Go2Web2.0 website.  After looking here and there, I decided to narrow my search and limit to my main passion and content I teach: the study of foreign languages. Then I randomly chose Livemocha from a “palette” of about eighteen different applications, read the brief description of what it was about and felt interested right away.  Livemocha is the largest online language-learning community in which anybody interested in languages can sign up and start learning English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, or any of the other 25 languages offered immediately. I created an account as if I was an English speaker wanting to learn Spanish, and noticed that the courses are divided in four levels from beginner to advanced, and comprise language learning skill builders such as writing, speaking, listening, and vocabulary practice with flashcards reviewed by native speakers. 

 
Also, I found that the phrase arcade and interactive videos are very appealing to any language learner, as well as the community site.   Here you can make friends from all over the world who are also learning a foreign language, and are eager to practice the language studied with native speakers.  There is, on the other hand, a tab called “Explore Culture”. 

In this section any member can post a picture on what life is like around the world or share something interesting about his/her country. Another way to interact with other Livemocha members is through the  “exercise submission” section where a learner can send his writing exercises for peer reviews or feedback. I definitely found this website very useful and appealing. Even though it isn’t free, it’s cheaper than a hiring a tutor or enrolling in a course at a community college or any other private institution, and the best thing of it is that anybody interested can learn on his/her own pace without having the pressure of attending any place and having to modify a routine or schedule.  

BP3_iGoogleScreenShots

Here are the screen shots of my iGoogle pages.  I, Fari Lopez,  declare myself a real iGoogle fan and fish lover! :)



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BP_1 Welcome to my Blog!

Finally V-day is here!
After weeks of preparation the Palmetto Finest judges came to our school today. My colleagues and I called it V-day because everybody talked about "the visit" and "the visitors". Deep in my heart I want our school to get this award, but even if we don't,  the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction on all the work we've done in the past few months is unmeasurable! We did let those judges know how hard we work and how much we care about the children that attend our school. It was amazing to see our walls filled with  artwork created by our students, pictures of their field trips and activities lead by our community members and PAC, their math  and science projects, their neat graphic novels, and of course, their tech integration projects in their Spanish classes. Our students showed their best and everywhere in the building the value of the Habits of Mind for our school community was reflected. I feel so relieved now,  but...what comes next? Teacher Advancement Program observations? PASS testing? End of the school year preparations? Spring break? Well... I think I'll just enjoy the rest of my week...