Twitter in ES

Quite a few classes in elementary school here at ISM are using twitter as another way to communicate with the world. The classes that are tweeting are using one joint class twitter account and allowing the students in the class to take turns writing tweets throughout the day. The tweets focus on the learning happening both in the homeroom class and the learning that happens in specialists classes. Parents and others interested can follow the class tweets on twitter or by visiting the blog, where there is a twitter feed placed in the sideboard. see image below

We are finding that the students want to write on twitter because they know their words will be on the web for others to see. Having a real audience gives writing a purpose and gives the students  a voice.

Some thoughts:

-students write tweets, teachers handle the social aspect of following other tweeters

-gives teachers many teachable moments on appropriate language, spelling and grammar. We are also learning when and how to use ‘text speak’.

-many reluctant writers find writing on twitter less intimidating so they are willing to take risks with their writing

-we are beginning to connect with other tweeters across the school and across the world, including other classes & authors

Example of the twitter feed on an ISM blog:

Welcome to the HS Student Portal

To make learning and communication as easy as possible for HS students, I and David Collett developed the “HS Student Portal“. It serves as a one-stop location for viewing their teachers’ websites, teachers’ calendars they subscribe to, their Google Docs, and important information from the HS Office, CAS, ATAC and ISSBA – all in one location.

Additionally, we built in the functionality to view the ISM Portal, library resources, and even Powerschool.

Simple, effective, fun.

Below you can view the screencast that I created for students and teachers.


Science Prezi Power…and more

Looking for ideas on how to use Prezi as an engaging resource for students? Check out Mr. Highland’s most recent Prezi on Heat Transfer. You’ll find that is layout is organized and easy to follow.
[prezi width=”550″ height=”300″][/prezi]
Check out some other Prezi creations from Mr. Highland here: Transformations and Systems.
You can find even more by seeing the links while viewing one of his presentations.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher Vol. 2

Are you looking for some new ways to integration technology into your curriculum?  If so, there are some great resources included in Tools for the 21st Century Teacher Vol. 2 by Matt Zimmer.  If you didn’t see the first volume, be sure to check that out as well!  You may also be interested in following Matt’s blog, The Pursuit of Technology Happiness.  I found some great resources in this blog.

The Most Important Integration Blog Post Ever

Never have time to go to the Integration blog because there are twenty-five other things you have on your to-do list?

Have a niggling tech problem that you know know is easily solved?

Well, have the solutions come to you! Subscribe to the blog’s Email distribution list. You can see the link in the upper right of blog’s homepage, 

or simply click this link. Each time there is a new entry on the Integration blog it will be emailed to you. In an instant , you can determine if the post is relevant by viewing the short summary or if you can ignore the post.

You may want to  consider using this on your own site as well. Parents and students could subscribe and receive email updates as well.

Check some examples of how Email subscriptions to blog posts are working.

Via MenuBar

As a widget

As a button

An upcoming post will show you how to set an Email subscription to your blog posts.

Skype in the Classroom

How many of you have considered using Skype during your lessons?  Having conversations with people, outside of ISM, is a great way to enhance your lessons.  I’m sure you can think of something in your curriculum that could be enhanced through a Skype conversation.

Need some ideas on how you can use Skype in your classroom?

Now, you just have to find someone to Skype.  The links below will help.

If you need any assistance in setting up a Skype call, be sure to contact the integrator in your division and they will be happy to help.

Fotobabble- Talking Images

Fotobabble is a web tool that I picked up during the ISTE Conference in Denver.  This tool allows you to upload an image and record a narration.  Once you create your fotobabble, you will want to share it.  You can share it by using the web link, embed code or through other web applications.

This tool can be used in a variety of ways with multiple age groups.  I could see this tool being used for book talks, current events,  reflections, and a way for students to share their understanding.

You will need to activate the Additional Tags plug-in before you can embed the HTML code.

How could you use this with your students?

Change it up! Making the switch from iNove to Nelo

Nelo Theme in Blog Layout

The Nelo theme offers a variety of layout choices for your blog.  You want to make sure that you choose the layout that will meet your needs. In the dashboard, got to Theme Options, you have two layout choices, blog homepage or custom homepage. If you choose blog homepage for your layout choice, your posts will appear just like they did when you were using iNove.

The custom homepage layout gives you the choice to show only a custom post, recent post, or both custom post with recent post.

Custom Post

Nelo Theme Custom Post on Custom Homepage

If you choose to show only a custom post, the image and post you create will always be displayed on your blog homepage.
Think of it like a static page.  It may look like all of your content is gone- don’t stress! Your other posts are on your blog, but will have to be accessed through category links, tags, or pages.   If you want to change the image for the Custom Image and Custom Post, you will need to go to your blog dashboard, then Appearance, and select Custom Homepage

Recent Post

This setting will show your most recent posts on your custom homepage. The most recent post, will wrap around the custom image that you upload to your custom homepage.  The your recent posts will appear under the Latest News heading.  If there is an image in your post, it will be displayed to the left of the post summary.  The text of the summary will start at the left margin if there is not an image present in the blog post.

Custom Post with Recent Post

Use this setting if you want to have a static image and post appear on your homepage along with the most recent posts that you have added to your blog.  When using this setting, however, you may run into a problem.  If you have added images to your media library, the most recent image will be repeated.  So if you want to keep the custom post and show your recent posts without having a repeated image, you can just add a plain white image to your media library.  Then, the plain white image is repeated, but you can’t see it if you are using a white background.  I know it is not the most “technical” solution, but it works!  The Nelo Theme developers are in the process of fixing this issue.  We will let you know when the problem has been resolved.

Nelo is a great theme once you understand the difference between the blog homepage and custom homepage.  If you are looking for some inspiration on ways that you can use Nelo to set up your blog, check out the following elementary blogs.

Mr. McCallum- ECLC

Ms. Grabow- Grade 1

Ms. Juteau- Grade 1

Mr. Rea- Grade 2

Ms. McGrath- Grade 3

Ms. Hines- Grade 4

Elementary School Teachers Blog Too

It has been so wonderful to see how teachers across ISM are using blogs.  Currently, all teachers in the elementary school are using the blogs as a form of communication with parents.  The class blog serves as a “window” into the classroom.  In the past, every classroom teacher sent home a monthly class newsletter; the blogs have replaced this old form of communication and allow teachers to share events and learning as they happen.  The students are also learning how to interact with the blogs, and some grade 3 and 4 students are adding their own posts!  There are even some after school activities, such as Bamboo Shoots and Animarvelous, using a blog.  Below you will see a sample of blogs from across all levels of the elementary school.  We hope that this will offer a glimpse of all of the wonderful learning that is happening at the elementary level.  If you would like to see more examples of how teachers are using blogs in the elementary school, visit the ISM ES Blog to access links. 

Preschool                                 ECLC                                  
Grade 1                                         Grade 2                                
Grade 3                                   Grade 4                             
Art                                              Music                                             
PE                                                   ESL Grade 1        
Children’s Media Center Elementary ESL   
Bamboo Shoots                 Animarvelous