Students Teaching Students

For the final project in our landforms unit, I have my fifth grade students teach our book buddies class (Melody’s 2nd grade class) about volcanoes. The students are expected to teach the second graders what they learned about volcanoes. This is fun to see them take on the role of a teacher. Not only do they realize how hard it is, but it helps them make sure they really learned and understood what we studied.

One of the requirements for this project is that they integrate technology. In the past, I used to require them to make a power point or use a specific type of technology. However, something our I.T. specialist has encouraged me to do is to leave it more open, so the students can choose how they will use technology. So for this project, I let them decide how to incorporate technology.  Many of them created I-movies, Powerpoint, Glogster, and used  iPads. The students also have to create an assessment to see if the students learned what they taught. For the first day, my students went in to teach about volcanoes, and the next day they will give them the quiz!  The final part of the project is to erupt volcanoes with them.

One of the groups came up with a fun board game!


Here’s a link to one of the glogster’s they created!

http://www.glogster.com/glog/6ln37kntlmlruq3b9iahla0

Bulletin Boards!

In a previous post I shared how I created a blog to incorporate technology into my science lesson. In another post I showed a simple way to make a booklet. Now I am going to show you what I did with the pictures we printed from that blog, and the booklets we made from those pictures.

I created a bulletin to show the parents our hard work!

The thought of bulletin boards can be overwhelming. I know of teachers who choose to simply add pictures as the weeks go by on to their bulletin board, and of teachers who change it ALL THE TIME (I admire you). I like to pick certain points throughout the year and stick with the designs that are simple, but parents like. That way I have done the bulletin before  (in the previous years), so I know what I works, and what I need!

You can also take the same idea, and create a totally different design. My bulletin board was focused on the students looking at clouds, and my teaching partner made her board into the water cycle:

What are some bulletin board designs that you love?

Blogging for Beginners: KORCOS edition!

Friday was an exciting day. Jee Young and I were able to present at KORCOS on Blogging for Beginners! Like many presentations involving technology, we had a few minor glitches that made me regret not packing an extra pack of tissue paper in my purse (for the sweat), but overall it went really well. The workshop was packed with teachers ready to learn, and blogs were created!

We covered what is in our Blogging for Beginners tab here on our two apples a day page, as well as gave a step by step process for creating a simple wordpress.com (our platform of choice) blog. These steps are on the KORCOS wiki page.

A few questions that were asked:

Why do you use wordpress?

I have noticed that blogger pages through gmail tend to have problems in Korea. There are times when the page is only in Korean, even if my computer is set to English settings. Also…I have had blogs through both platforms, and I just like wordpress better, I feel that it is very user friendly.

Can you make your blog private?

Of course you can! If you have a wordpress blog, the privacy setting is under the settings tab on the left side of the page when you are at your dashboard. (I believe you can make any blog private through most platforms).

How often do you blog personally?

To be honest, when you first start blogging- it is important to blog often! Jee Young and I take turns throughout the week, and usually take a day or two off on the weekends. My personal blog has suffered a bit due to my graduate class, and this awesome new site, but if you recall from Jee Young’s recent post, she is blogging EVERY DAY. Crazy woman.

There were many more questions… but a lot of them were specific to the person, or I don’t remember them. If you have questions feel free to write a comment (WE LOVE COMMENTS).

I don’t know why no one told me my name tag was twisted backwards^^.

Jee Young also presented on Read Alouds… she may share pictures and her experience from that later (I haven’t actually talked to her about it yet, hehe!)

What are some great professional development conferences that you go to? What are some awesome workshops you’ve been to, or have presented at?

Remember, sharing is caring!

Connecting Classrooms through Skype

It all started with a simple comment on a blog. Recently, I started reading a blog of another international school teacher’s blog in Saudi Arabia through the two writing teachers slice of life challenge on Tuesdays. I found out that she was also a fifth grade teacher. I left her a comment, asking if she would be interested in collaborating with our class. After a few e-mails, we decided to create a google document where we would write questions for each other. So we had our first Skype session this afternoon (morning for them).

It was great as my students learned about their life, culture and school in Saudi Arabia. We also shared about our lives in Korea and our school. I think one of the funniest parts was when we taught them some words in Korean (hello, teacher & student) and when they repeated it, my students did the Korean “oooooooh” in unison. They were so impressed by their good pronunciation! Towards the end of our Skype session, one of my students asked me if we could ask them what book they are doing for their read aloud. We didn’t have a chance to ask them, but it seems like it could be a good topic to discuss the next time we Skype with them!

Here are some more resources for finding global collaboration opportunities!

Skype in the classroom

Epals global community

ilearn

The Global Read Aloud

Global Collaboration Project

Earth, as Seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt from Apollo 17

Connecting to the world through Skype!

Science: An Easy Way to Integrate Technology

As I was teaching my science unit on the water cycle and clouds last year, I had the urge to integrate technology (I may have been slacking in that department in the fall…and my new year’s resolutions were kicking into high gear). I started looking for a website that I could send my students to in the computer lab. I had this vision of them looking at the different kinds of clouds we were learning about, picking a picture to print, and then creating a booklet with their printed pictures.

I searched and searched, and found nothing. nada. zilch. I began to deflate, when suddenly… it hit me. I could just make my own! I gathered pictures I liked and created a blog:

cloudsforscience.blogspot.com

I had the site bookmarked on the computers in the lab and gave my students simple instructions. They had to read about each cloud and pick one picture (out of three choices) to print. Before we went to the lab we had already learned about these different types of clouds, so this was a good review for them.

This experience made me realize that if you can’t find something you like (I have become very accustomed to borrowing everyone’s great ideas, I guess it’s time for me to share^^), you can create it!

Feel free to use the site (it is designed for second grade), and if have made your own sites, please share them. It’s only polite 🙂

Here are some examples of the booklets my students made last year (sorry for the quality, I took them just now with my phone!):

The Global Read Aloud Project

One of the things that I love about technology is that as an international teacher it allows me to connect with classrooms all over the world! One of my professional goals this year was to find more opportunities to connect and build relationships with other teachers and classes outside Korea through the use of technology.

This past September, through the Global Read Aloud Project, I connected with classes from Canada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Australia, and more. It was really fun for my students to connect with all these different students while reading the same book, Tuck Everlasting. We communicated through edmodo, skype, wikispaces and blogging.

I know it’s a bit early, but I would highly recommend you start thinking about whether you want to join and sign up for the Global Read Aloud Project 2012 here!

The Progressive Story Project

As international teachers, Jee Young and I are constantly looking for ways to be involved with other schools in other countries. Last year, we attended a yearly teaching conference in Seoul (KORCOS) and learned about the Progressive Story Project. To summarize it simply, five classes are partnered to write one story, and each class is responsible for illustrating their section of the story. They also record their section of the story on voicethread.

Karen Ditzler started this project several years with a couple classes in an elementary school district in the USA. Since then it has spread, and this past fall classrooms were represented from a total of 10 countries and 29 States… 289 classes altogether!

When my second grade class took on this project last Spring, our story started with a class in Australia and ended in Pennsylvania, USA. It is a great and easy way to incorporate technology into the classroom, and there is a chance that the classes you are paired up with will be in your same time zone, giving you the chance to skype with each other. Which is how my students made several Australian friends! We were able to have a couple of “skype dates”, and talk about the story we were writing together, we also had the chance to share things about our perspective countries and cultures. The students loved it.

I am a visual learner, and because of this I feel it necessary to include my students’ illustrations from last year, their story turned into a mystery and our section was describing “the suspects”. I will leave you with this:

  

and remember… two apples a day will keep your students happy^^

Tips for Successful Reading Buddies

This is our second year working together as reading buddies. It works out pretty well since I teach 5th grade and Melody teaches 2nd grade. Last year, for the first reading buddy activity, we had our students fill out Venn diagrams of their similarities and differences.

This year, we we wanted to try something different and incorporate our new IPADs. We had the students use the photo booth on the IPADs to take photos with their reading buddy. They had to take different photos, using each of the photo settings. We told them that both of them had to be in the photo. The students had a great time taking photos with each other.  The second activity we had our students do was create a list of their similarities using the notepad on the IPAD.

Students have fun using the photo booth options on the IPAD.

Students taking photos together.

Tips on Successful Reading Buddies:

1. Match up students carefully.

Take into account students’ personalities, behavior, and reading levels so that partnerships are successful.

2. Explicitly teach the older students how to read aloud.

 I will usually do a mini-lesson or demonstration with my students on strategies for reading aloud picture books before we read with our reading buddies.

3. Mix it up every week.

Sometimes we encourage the fifth graders to pick their favorite books in advance to bring to read. Other times, we go to the library together and students pick out books together and read. Some weeks, we do a hands-on activity together which helps deepen their relationships and allows them to get to know each other in another way. This is particular good for those students that are struggling readers, but excel in other areas like art.

4. Invite your reading buddy class to your class events.

Last year, we invited our reading buddies to come watch our poetry cafe. This year, we went into their class to share what we learned during our nonfiction unit in reading workshop.

5. Do a long term project together.

Last year, we had students create picture books for each other. It did take about 1-2 months to plan, draft, revise and publish their books. It was nice though because at the end, they gave their buddy the book they made. This year, they are creating a math picture book together.

6. Integrate the activity to your curriculum.

When our students were working on their poetry unit, we had them work on writing poetry together with their reading buddy. The fifth graders were good at teaching the second graders about poetry and they did a great job working together to create poems. Poetry is a great and easy unit to incorporate into your reading buddies and it’s part of the curriculum.