Thursday, May 31, 2012

a new discovery

I'm really enjoying the class I'm currently taking online at ECU...EDTC 6070 Digital Literacy for 21st Century Classrooms. The assignment we're working on right now is developing three projects, and I've found a lot of great sources and useful information from my classmates from blogs, links on Delicious, photo sharing with Flickr, and more!
I think my favorite find thus far is a site called ZooBurst. I honestly can't remember which of my classmates posted this link to their Delicious site, but THANK YOU!! :)

ZooBurst is a site where you can make interactive 3D pop-up books! A basic teacher account is free, but if you want access to the premium features, you'll have to pay. I really love Storybird, because it's along the same line - choose art, type your story, and publish. But with ZooBurst, students can search for characters and backgrounds, so they can mix and match while they're creating their pop-up book.
I think this Web 2.0 Tool is great, and I've already made an account and had fun learning and playing.

Here's a link to the first ZooBurst book I made. It's nothing fantastic because I was trying to get used to the site and format of making a book. But it was fun, and I think you should check it out!

Monday, May 28, 2012

one of my favorite obsessions

I've been somewhat productive this weekend. There was definitely the possibility of being even more productive, if it weren't for one of my favorite obsessions...

For anyone that isn't familiar, Pinterest is a social network and virtual pinboard that allows users to organize and share images and videos.

I find myself on Pinterest usually every other day, sometimes even every day if I have some unexpected free time. I'm addicted, and although it's probably not the best use of my time, I have found some great ideas, recipes, and tips.

Most of my pinboards probably won't interest you, but I wanted to share my "Teaching" pinboard because I've found some really great ideas and blogs from other Pinterest users.

I'm curious if anyone else loves Pinterest as much (or half as much) as I do? What are your favorite categories and types of pins? Have you found any great educational/teaching pins that are worth sharing? Feel free to share your link or username, and I'll follow your boards! 

Happy Pinning! :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lazy Saturday

I've read that if you fall asleep at night within 5 minutes of going to bed, that you're considered to be exhausted and severely sleep deprived. That's me....every single night. So this morning I decided to take advantage of not having anything planned, and sleep in! 
At noon, I'm still being very lazy, sitting on the couch, reading Real Simple, drinking coffee from my new "i <3 my aunt" mug (!!), and now, blogging! I hope the rest of my weekend is this relaxing!

I haven't blogged for a couple days, but I had my topic ready to go: blogs!
At the beginning of the school year, it's important to talk about internet safety, netiquette, and other related topics since a lot of our time in the computer lab is spent using the Internet. One of my favorite resources is BrainPOP, and I'm SOO glad that my school has a subscription! BrainPOP (4th grade and up) and BrainPOP Jr. (K to 3rd) are two wonderful resources that have tons of videos on almost any topic imaginable. And the videos are also supported with games, writing, word wall, and vocab activities, just to name a few. I love their technology videos, specifically the ones about blogs, because they're kid-friendly, while still being informative and detailed. 
Here are a couple screen shots that are linked directly to the videos I'm talking about!

BrainPOP Jr.


SN: Can I mention how much I LOVE that Blogger resizes your pictures for you, and then you can choose the size you want, S - XL!!! Being the webmaster at my school, and having to size, and resize, and tweak to get images just the way I want them, this is SO much easier, and much appreciated! Thanks Blogger!!

Anyway, those are the videos - and there's so much more available on the two sites. To have full access you do have to have a subscription, but all throughout the year, there are a number of videos that are free depending on the topics that are being featured on each site. Anyone else out there that loves BrainPOP/Jr.?!? It's made a huge difference at our school, and the kids love Moby! :)

Anyway, that's it for now! I hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

too much testing!

I feel like I'm torturing some of the kids at my school. Unintentionally of course! 
Last week was EOG testing, and next week is EOG Re-testing, so it would be a great idea to have a week of normalcy between the two weeks of stress and chaos. But of course, that isn't the case. My 2nd through 4th graders need to take the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) for the last time this year. I hate to have to submit them to yet another test, but we need the data for their records, and this is the last week I'm available to help and monitor them while they take the test in the lab.
I think I'm done complaining now.
Despite having to tackle another test, I have to brag on these children. They have been 110% focused, 120% serious, and 150% determined to rock this SRI test! It makes me so proud knowing that despite testing, remediation, and longing for summer, they are being excellent students by doing their personal best! 
I <3 my students! :)

I went on a rant about testing because it actually leads me into my next topic...Popplet.

I learned about the free Web 2.0 tool at NCTIES, and as soon as I made an account, I LOVED it. I've been working with my 4th graders to teach them how to use the resource to make a North Carolina Popplet.
I know my students love using Popplet just as much as I do, because a few students today were logging into Popplet to work on their project as soon as they finished their SRI test. Talk about dedication and excellent work ethic!

Here's a link to one of their popplets: CL's Popplet
I strongly recommend this tool to anyone, and everyone, that works with students and educators! 
Happy exploring and poppling! :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Getting Started

I created this blog a long, long time ago, but never really put it together to start using. So I finally just updated my profile, fixed the template, and now I think it's ready to use...sort of!

So...Hi! I'm Caitlin Alexander, and this is my blog! 

I'm actually not new to the world of blogs. I try to read blogs as often as I can find the time. Some of my favorites are Runs for Cookies, JW Illustrations, and Joy Is At Home. I also use blogs quite often with my older students, mainly third through fifth graders, in the computer lab to explore and discuss new and interesting topics. But now that I've revisited my blog here, I'm excited to begin using it for educational and professional purposes. Hopefully I'll be able to use this blog to share some of my favorite ideas, resources, sites, and more!

I hate to call it quits for tonight, but I'm sleepy. It seems the older I get (I just had a birthday two days ago...29....), the earlier my bedtime gets! 

I'll try to add something new and exciting tomorrow!