Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Treasures!

Wow what a day it has been! Today was our FOURTH day of professional development, meetings, AND "Pop-In" to Meet the Teacher (with popsicles of course!)I was so excited to see all of my new little friends! They were all smiles and ready to go! I even passed out this too cute poem and bag of "ready confetti and jitter glitter" I found on Pinterest (DUH!) and followed the link back to Heather's Heart where she was an awesome freebie! It tells about placing the jitter glitter and ready confetti under their pillow the night before school starts so that they are ready to go and excited to learn when they wake up! She has a great blog so go check her out when you're finished reading!  I can't wait for Thursday to start on a new learning journey!
Isn't is precious?! Thanks for sharing this great idea, Heather!

 Whewwww! NOW.I am so excited to share with you a few of my fav. "Tech. Treasures"
1 My iPod Touch and it's many color hats  Apps :)    When we first got the "touches" at school, I was caught in just having it and actually using  it. (after all, I always used my personal "touch" as a music player, to track my runs, words with friends, etc.) Then I played on iTunes and read some blogs! I have since discovered Class Dojo - an interactive behavior management tool that you can control on your iPod AND share on your SMART board. There are so many options to best suit the needs of your class, ie. instead of using names, you can assign individual avatars, assign points to both positive and negative behaviors. Then, are you ready? You can generate reports of the behaviors for an individual and/or class AND email them to parents! CHECK IT OUT! :) The kids LOVE it!

2.RAZ-kids   A reading site that incorporates the ever popular Reading A-Z books. Each student has their own log in (which can be their name, and icon, both..) and can be password protected if you wish. The site allows for reading practice on a child's individual reading level. Each 'main' level has about twelve different books of varying genres. (You can even print most of them for additional practice!) The books are interactive, animated and have three options to complete. The ear: the books is read TO the child with the text lighting up as it is read aloud. The mouth icon: the CHILD reads the book (with the option to record it to use as an assessment for fluency and accuracy). Then the quiz: checks for comprehension. The teacher can generate individual or class reports that show key skills missed! :)  How 'bout them apples ? AND there is more! There is an incentive program called RAZ Rockets when students earn stars for completing each book. They can use these stars to purchase items in the interactive space shop! I use this site in my reading  center and send home the link so that students are able to access it from home, a public library, anywhere with internet connection. This program is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

3. Last (for tonight... I'm tired he he he) is one of the really neat ones. Tagxedo. Ever heard of word clouds? Well, the website for Tagxedo calls them "word clouds with style". Pretty cool, huh? Here's what it is. You take a story, a poem, a child's writing, or THIS BLOG,for example, the copy/paste the text into the site. Tagxedo then arranges the words in really cool ways making words that are used more often LARGER and more prominent than words that aren't used as much in the 'pasted text'. This would be especially cool with candidate speeches. You would just copy/paste the speeches, and then you would be able to identify which words the candidate uses often, thus able to see the candidates 'focus' or 'platform.' You can even have your text placed in a shape. For example, here is a cloud that I used with our faculty's last names and various words that are often used in our school. Our mascot is a lab, so....
the words were used once each, thus they are about the same size :)

 I like to use it with familiar stories and nursery rhymes then have students try to identify and highlight high frequency words. Here is a  tagxedo using the text from this blog post:
Which words do you notice are used more often? used fewer times? :)
Alright, friends. I am going to try and rest (HA!) I hope that you have enjoyed learning about a 'few of my favorite [tech] things'. I would love to hear about what your favorite sites, apps, technology tools are! Until tomorrow...enjoy the Journey! :)

I'm linkin' up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Come along and join us!

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