Thursday, November 29, 2007

Renew Your Spirit

Feeling overwhelmed? Watch this speech by Jimmy Valvano accepting an ESPY award in 1993. This will help to renew your spirit. Thanks to Chris Lehmann & Jen Wagner for sharing this on twitter, it made my heart swell. This clip will remind you to enjoy life.

*Be warned, it's a tear jerker.

One of my favorite quotes from the speech:
"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."

*Jimmy Valvano passed away a few months after this speech after a battle with cancer.

Gmail: Behind the Scenes - For TEAM

While surfing my google reader, I came across this video through a recent delicious post on Lucy Gray's blog site, A Teacher's Life. This video is a mashup of videos sent in by google maniacs to help us imagine how an email message travels around the world. All it took was a video camera, the Gmail M-velope ( ), and some creativity. This is a creative, open-ended request of googleites that received a great response. Google's guiding question asked people to imagine and create. Using this video as a guide, what question could you pose to students locally/globally that would illicit this type of creative response?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Fall Girl - Animoto Remix

My first Animoto

I'm a "Right-Clicka." What are you?

*Thanks to Ryan Bretag for sharing this video on his blog, The Four-Eyed Technologist.

What is YOUR ideal laptop? P.C. or MAC? What specs does it have? What applications could you not live without? What color is it?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Constructivist Learning Environments

Constructivist learning environments focus on giving students authentic, real-world, ill-structured problems to solve. As a teacher, I could easily administer constructivist learning lessons using the open ended structure of the Hannifin, Land and Oliver model. Or, I could pursue the prescriptive model of David Jonassen.

In my fifth grade classroom, technology is an integral part of all learning. To facilitate learning about the U.S. Constitution, I would begin with the Hannifin model, I would give them an online rubric of information pertinent to our 5th grade curriculum and NYS standards, scaffolding on the previous year's curriculum and successful IEP goals. I would set up a situation where the students are required to find out this information to post on their blogs, for our blog buddy classrooms. Our buddies in Canada or Latin America will be sharing their own government history on their blogs. Edited 11/9/2007: To make the activity more constructivist, I would apply this situation:

Dear Student,
Pretend you are a delegate at this time in history and that you are responsible for the order of first 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights prior to their placement in the U.S. Constitution. Pretend you dropped them on the floor and they are now all out of order. Research to find out what the first 10 amendments were, and re-order them by importance based on your opinion. Explain each amendment and then explain why you ordered the amendments the way you did. You may use the following resources in your research in addition to your textbook and class notes:

Videos/text on the Constitution:

Students could use the library or internet to gather the information they need to improve their understanding of the Constitution of the United States. However they choose to find the information and present it would be totally up to them, but here are some web 2.0 tools for them to consider for their presentations:
Using the Jonassen model, I would need to consider more complex learning structures for students, so they would learn from their failures rather than their successes. Opportunities for challenge via web quests or educationally appropriate video games meet the requirement for the Jonassen model. Debates with other U.S. schools via skype would also create learning opportunities with various cases and multiple perspectives. These were some online applications that I found:

A New Nation Scavenger Hunt
Constitutional Debate Webquest (Modified for Elementary Students)

While constructivist activities such as the ones shown above can be of a collaborative nature, the success of teamwork and collaboration can be negatively impacted by group dynamics. Collaborative teams should be made to reflect a delicate balance of experience, creativity, strengths and weaknesses.