Science Fun with Vocaroo!

Today we watched a great video on Discovery Education about weathering and erosion. I am always looking for interesting and creative ways for my kids to digest and respond to things we are learning, especially when the learning comes from a video. I think very often we sit kids in front of a video and they zone out, having learned nothing and having wasted 20 or 30 minutes of opportune learning time.

So during the video, the kids were asked to write down at least 8 interesting things they thought the video shared in their science notebooks. They were then asked to go to Vocaroo and record their 8 items orally. For those of you who have never used Vocaroo, it is the most user-friendly, awesome, online recording tool out there! No login is required, and you receive an embed code of your recording for wonderful sharing opportunities. We are also in the lucky position of being a 1:1 netbook classroom, where all of my students also have a headset with a microphone (although it works just as well with our netbooks' built in microphones!).

So after recording their audio weathering and erosion information, some sitting outside on the benches for less background noise, they learned quickly how to upload their recordings onto their Kidblogs!  And as if that wasn't magical enough, the real magic is happening tonight! My computer email is dinging off the hook as the kids (and parents) go in and listen to each other's recordings! They are leaving the sweetest comments for each other! What a great way to reinforce the curriculum. Not only will they probably remember the facts THEY recorded about weathering and erosion, they are listening to each other and picking up some things they may not have caught while watching the movie!

I'm so proud and psyched! Please check them out and leave some comments, they'd be thrilled.

Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why My Kids Blog

It's hard to believe we have completed 3 weeks of school already! I am so thankful for the group of kids I have this year. After looping for two years with my last group, and missing them dearly, I was afraid this year would be difficult. Not to worry! I have the best group of 28 dynamos a teacher could ask for!

We began blogging early! For one thing it allows my most introverted student to express him/herself and, I have found, it allows me to get to know my students in a way nothing else can! Plus, they LOVE it! They love writing new blog posts AND they love commenting on each other's. I recently received the following email from one of my student's mothers and she gave me permission to share it here. It gave me goosebumps and made my day. If your students are not blogging yet, don't wait another day to get them started! Please feel free to visit and leave comments on ours HERE!
"I wanted to share with you a cool experience I just had with James.
The boys and I went to the public library to return and check out new books.  James picked out a Hardy Boy title he said this boy had recommended.  Turns out the boy is a child who commented on a Hardy Boy post James made on KidBlog.  He said he wanted to read this book so they could "talk" about it.
Thanks for all you do,

Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why the Cove LOVES LiveBinders!

My kids have been doing some amazing things during our first full week of school! There are many blog posts coming to share what we've been up to, so stay tuned!  One of my favorites from the week has occurred thanks to the dedicated work of the ladies behind the creation of LiveBinders!  Here is how we are using these digital online 3-ring binders at Collazo Cove:

  • I asked permission from the creators of LiveBinders AND got written permission from parents for my students, who are 5th graders, to create their own accounts.  After registering on the site, they have each created a private binder that will be used as their Digital Portfolio this year.  They all set the same "Access Word" to keep the binders private, but this allows me to access them as well as parents.  They each sent me the link to their Digital Portfolio Binder today through Edmodo. Nice!

  • I have decided to create several independent exploration activities each week for whatever Science Unit we are studying at the time. These activities will be due by the end of the week, and accompany many hands-on inquiry labs we'll be doing. Since my kids are in a true 1:1 program, they can work on many of these activities in the evenings if they'd like. The LiveBinder format is perfect for organizing the sites, games, and activities into week-long chunks of cool and interactive learning!  You can view this week"s Becoming Scientists Binder HERE.

  • My favorite of all, are our Independent Reading Binders. My language arts program incorporates Reader's Workshop. One of the requirements for each independent book my kids read is to create or add to a LiveBinder that expands the joy of reading the book. I created a class account (all the kids know our class username and password) where the kids create the Binders for their books. When we found out last week that we could all (29 of us) be in there at once creating a unique Binder, I literally jumped up and down clapping!  The kids thought I was crazy, but I know you 1:1 teachers out there understand the joy that comes with that! The kids learned how to search for kid-friendly websites that others might like to visit related to their book/topic of their book.  They learned how to create a new tab for each fun activity they found to expand the book. Today they worked on getting a picture of the book cover on the front of the Binder, as well as add an introductory tab which will include their name and which tabs they are responsible for adding to the Binder.  This will allow me to see who is adding tabs to the Binders so they can receive credit for their work.  Now the best part!  The kids will now be creating QR codes that will link back to the book's binder, They will print out and tape the QR codes into the backs of the books for other kids to find and explore!  They are so excited and I'm speechless about how well this is going!!  I've embedded our class shelf on our website, so you can check them out HERE without the QR codes!  Enjoy!  And remember, they are a work in progress, and may change often!!

So, here's a BIG SHOUTOUT to Tina and Barbara at @livebinders for the wonderful work they have done to give us such a fantastic educational tool!

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Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.