Archive

Author Archive

Free Online Course – Open Content Licensing for Educators

May 12th, 2012 1 comment
OER Educators graphic

CC BY 3.0 Sunshine Connelly (WikiEducator)

Ten years ago UNESCO coined the term Open Educational Resources (OER). Since then, interest in creating, collecting, and curating open content for teaching and learning has spread around the world. As part of the tenth anniversary celebration, the OER Foundation will host another free course, Open Content Licensing for Educators.

The course runs from June 20 – July 3, 2012 and the organizers are hoping to break the record of 1067 registrations set in a similar course they offered in January. I was a participant in the January sessions and truly enjoyed the exploration of issues around intellectual property, fair use, and creative commons licensing.  The discussions were fascinating and helped me understand how my thinking about intellectual property and copyright was similar to and often different from the thinking of participants in other parts of the world. Registration and course information can be found at the OCL4Ed wiki site.

April 26 Webinar – Digital Tools for Improving Listening and Speaking Skills

April 23rd, 2012 No comments
Two girls with a tin can phone.

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Florian SEROUSSI (Flickr)

“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation,” said François de La Rochefoucauld. In our constantly connected society, some worry that we are losing our ability to communicate well through face-to-face discourse. While most of us recognize listening and speaking as fundamental literacy skills, sometimes these skills are given short shrift in our classrooms and are overlooked in favor of reading and writing.

In this week’s webinar, we will explore ways to use digital tools to give students experiences that will improve their listening and speaking skills and help them meet the Common Core State Standards for speaking and listening. We will take a close look at the CCSS to identify which skills are addressed, and we will share some ideas for using software and web tools to give students opportunities to practice and improve these skills. While the CCSS focus primarily on the skills needed for classroom discussions and presentations, we will also explore some digital resources we can use to help students learn to listen for information and enjoyment and gain confidence in speaking for an audience.

By the way, April is National Poetry Month and April 26 is Poem in Your Pocket Day, so don’t be surprised if we spend some time Thursday practicing our listening and speaking skills with some favorite poems.

I hope you can join us on Thursday, April 26 at 3:15 or 7:15. Please click on the Webcasts tab to register. We have upgraded to a new registration system, allowing you to register directly in Adobe Connect, making the whole webinar process smoother and easier! If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson. Click on the time you wish to participate in and you will be directed to an online registration form.  Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

March 15 Webinar – Using Social Media to Enhance Writing Skills

March 13th, 2012 3 comments
A collection of buttons with various social media icons

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Kexino

“Beware the Ides of March,” said the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, but in today’s world he would likely have tweeted that warning or written it on Caesar’s FaceBook wall. There’s no need for you to be wary of the Ides of March this year because that’s when we will present a webinar about how students can use social media to improve their writing.

In past webinars we have taken a close look at the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, focusing on the standards for reading literary and informational text. This week we will explore the writing standards paying particular attention to digital writing. Many of you have participated in past webinars on the writing process from the 2009 – 2010 school year and have a good overview of how our MLTI devices support all stages of the writing process. If you need a refresher, you can find links to all those webinar recordings on our archives page.

In this session we will look specifically at social media and how educators can help students become better writers and meet the writing standards through the participatory web. We’ll look at the opportunities social media provide for writing different types of texts for different purposes, for publishing to various audiences, and for conducting research.

Please join us Thursday, March 15 at 3:15 or 7:15. Please click on the Webcasts tab to register. We have upgraded to a new registration system, allowing you to register directly in Adobe Connect, making the whole webinar process smoother and easier! If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson. Click on the time you wish to participate in and you will be directed to an online registration form. Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

February 2 Webinar – Strategies for Reading Digital Text

February 1st, 2012 1 comment

As we discussed in our webinar on January 5, many schools in Maine are beginning to study and unpack the Common Core State Standards and are taking preliminary steps to align their curriculum. The English Language Arts standards are of particular interest to most teachers because they include literacy standards for other content areas. In the January 5 webinar we began a discussion of the reading standards, how the CCSS defines text complexity, and the prevalence of digital text in our MLTI classrooms where much of the reading students do is from a screen. We then explored ways teachers can find and evaluate online reading material and collect it into digital anthologies that will give students experiences with close reading of both literary and informational text. If you missed this webinar, you can find links to the recordings of the 3:15 and 7:15 sessions on our Webcasts Archives page.

a laptop computer held sideways to look like a book

CC BY-NC 2.0 by Ken-ichi (Flickr)

In this week’s webinar, we will begin to look at the CCSS for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, Grades 6-12. We will start with the reading standards and take a close look at how our technology supports students in achieving those standards, and we will investigate some strategies students can use in close reading of digital text. We will explore and demonstrate how software tools on the MLTI devices and online tools can be used before, during, and after reading to help students connect with, interpret, and use the text they are reading. Some tools we will look at include online surveys for anticipation guides, markup tools in Preview and NoteShare for annotating text, OmniGraffle for creating graphic organizers, and much more.

I hope you can join us on Thursday, February 2 at 3:15 or 7:15. Please click on the Webcasts tab to register. We have upgraded to a new registration system, allowing you to register directly in Adobe Connect, making the whole webinar process smoother and easier! If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson. Click on the time you wish to participate in and you will be directed to an online registration form.  Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

Categories: Common Core Tags: , , ,

January 5 Webinar – Finding and Collecting Digital Text

January 3rd, 2012 No comments
Open book with flash drive

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Beppie K

If you are an ELA teacher, you have probably already begun to study the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. You may also have suggested that your colleagues in other content areas check out the standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. In the coming months, we’ll be offering a series of webinars where we will take a close look at the CCSS for ELA 6-12 and discuss how our MLTI devices can support our students as they strive to meet those standards.

We will begin by looking at the reading standards for literature and informational text. In our January 5 webinar, we will discuss text complexity as outlined in Appendix A of the CCSS for ELA and share ideas for finding and collecting text on the internet that can provide the resources for reading experiences that our students must have in order to meet the standards. Many middle and high school teachers are finding that their reading programs include a lot of literature but not enough informational text. Fortunately we have the tools we need to collect text that we have determined is appropriately complex for our students. This text can be gathered into digital anthologies that are customized for our students, unlike the expensive, one-size-fits-all print text books that we used in the past.

Join us on Thursday, January 5th at 3:15 pm. or 7:15 pm. and learn how to create reading anthologies for your students. To register, click on the Webcasts tab above to view our winter-spring webinar calendar and find links to the registration pages. Please note that we have a new registration process that is required for entering our webinar rooms.

Dec. 1 Webinar – Assessment 2: Using Assessment to Further Learning

November 28th, 2011 1 comment

Stiggins quoteThanks to everyone who attended the first MLTI assessment webinar on November 17. In that webinar, we discussed summative and formative assessment and how they differ. We took a close look at a definition of formative assessment from Black and Wiliam and then examined their framework for formative assessment. We then turned our attention to collecting evidence of learning. We looked at Anne Davies‘ model for the triangulation of evidence and talked about ways the software on our MLTI devices as well as some web tools can help us collect observations, conversations and products. The discussion was lively with participants adding their experiences and ideas for improving assessment practice. If you missed it, you can find links to the recordings on our Archives page.

In this week’s webinar we will continue our assessment conversation as we discuss how we can use the evidence we collect to help learners make more progress. We will explore ways to clarify learning goals and targets and to establish criteria for success, including a demonstration of some tools for creating conventional matrix-style rubrics and branching rubrics. We will end with a discussion of evaluative and descriptive feedback as we explore ways to use digital tools for giving and receiving feedback and how students can become resources for each other.

Please join us this Thursday, December 1 at 3:15 or 7:15. Click on the Webcast tab above for more information about registering and accessing this webinar.

 

Nov. 17 Webinar – Assessment 1: What Do They Really Know and What Can They Really Do?

November 14th, 2011 No comments
Students taking test

CC BY 2.0 ccarlstead

When we think of assessment, often the first thing that comes to mind is a high-stakes test. Although the MEAs, the NECAPs, and the SATs play a part in determining how our students are doing, a balanced assessment plan has many other components. Effective teachers ask themselves, “What do they really know and what can they really do?” as they question, observe, and conference with students about their work every day. They also involve students in the assessment process by asking them to reflect on their own work and the work of their peers and to become resources for each other.

This week’s webinar is the first of two sessions in which we will explore summative and formative assessments and the role they play in a balanced assessment plan. In this first session, we will discuss the differences between summative and formative assessments and consider ideas from Ann Davies, Rick Stiggins, Dylan Wiliam and others. We will then take a close look at how we can use technology to gather evidence of learning and capture the learner’s thinking. On December 1, we will continue the conversation as we discuss how we can use this evidence to help learners make more progress.

Please join us this Thursday at 3:15 pm. or 7:15 pm. For more information about accessing our MLTI webinars or to register, please click on the Webcasts tab at the top of this page.

March 31 Webinar Notes: Vocabulary

April 2nd, 2011 1 comment
Scrabble game

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by dangerismycat

I hope everyone who attended Thursday’s webinars learned one or two new things about vocabulary instruction and can try out some of those ideas with students. Special thanks to Jill Spencer for adding her expertise to the sessions. Don’t forget to check out Jill’s two books, Everyone’s Invited and Teaming Rocks! Both books are published by the National Middle School Association and each has a chapter about vocabulary.

In the first part of the webinar, we talked about books, articles, and research Jill and I have read on the subject of vocabulary instruction and shared some of the practices we gleaned from that reading. Perhaps the most important idea is that the way we traditionally have taught vocabulary just doesn’t work. Students need more than dictionary definitions and memorization to learn new words. We also learned that wide and varied reading helps students expand their vocabularies but it’s not enough. Explicit instruction is necessary including these elements:

  • Making connections
  • Constructed definitions
  • Word Analysis
  • Repeated exposure and use
  • Discussions
  • Nonlinguistic representations
  • Word play

We looked at ways the applications on the MLTI MacBook as well as some online resources and tools can support vocabulary instruction. Please visit the recorded archives (mouse over the Webcasts tab above and click on Archives) to view these demonstrations and to download a copy of the slides with all the linked resources and the Bento template for creating a database for word study. If you use that template with your students, let us know how it goes and share any ideas you have for revising and improving it.

The chat pod was very busy, especially in the evening session, and participants shared a lot of great ideas for vocabulary study. I’ll list some of them here, but be sure to check out the recordings for more details:

  • http://wordsmith.org/awad/ will send the word of the day to your email.
  • Use wikis to collect words and images related to a unit.
  • Have students use text-to-speech when they come upon an unfamiliar word, combined with control-command-D for the pop up dictionary.
  • Becca’s “War of the Words” game where students compete to “own” the most words.
  • Word Ladder Wednesday with Tim Rasinski’s books
  • Have students create symbols, graphics, or pictures for new words.
  • Ask questions in book conferences that incorporate new words
  • Have students keep a running list of words they encounter that have the root or affix that is being studied.
  • Team members support each other and agree on root words to teach in all content areas.
  • Math word of the week and “Big Dog Word of the Day”
  • Use Frayer model for big concept words (sometimes with interactive white board)
  • Vocab words on exit slips
  • Two online tools for stickies: http://en.linoit.com/ and http://www.wallwisher.com/
  • The “I have… Who has…” activity based on this math activity
  • Vocaroo for voice recordings

Some books that Jill and I have read and referred to in this session include:

  • Allen, J. (2007). Inside words: Tools for teaching academic vocabulary, grades 4-12. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Allen, J. (1999). Words, words, words: Teaching vocabulary in grades 4-12. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Beck, I., McKeown, M., & Kucan, L. (2002). Robust vocabulary instruction: Bringing words to life. NY: Guilford Press.
  • Benjamin, A., & Crow, J. T. (2009). Vocabulary at the Center. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
  • Graves, M. (Ed.) (2009). Essential readings on vocabulary instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievement: Research on what works in schools. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

And finally, Tim Hart sent me some additional sites for word play and word games that your students will enjoy. Thanks, Tim!

March 31 Webinar – Vocabulary: There’s a Word for That!

March 29th, 2011 4 comments
dictionary page with magnifying glass

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by chrisjohnbeckett

Every teacher, at any grade level or in any content area, faces the challenge of teaching vocabulary. The traditional practice of having students look up the word, copy the dictionary definition, use the word in a sentence, and then memorize it for a test has been proven ineffective. How can we help our students truly expand both their receptive and productive vocabularies?

In this webinar we will examine some of the research on best practices for vocabulary instruction as we explore how we can use some applications on the MLTI MacBook as well as some online resources to help our students learn new words, make strong connections, and retain the vocabulary they need for academic success.

My special guest for this webinar is Jill Spencer, author of Everyone’s Invited and Teaming Rocks! Jill is a veteran middle level educator, consultant, and presenter with extensive knowledge of literacy instruction and issues. We’ll be discussing some of her experiences and creative ideas for teaching vocabulary.

Please join us Thursday at 3:15 PM or 7:15 PM. To register, click on the Webcasts tab at the top of this page.

Feb. 10 Webinar Notes – Technical Writing

February 11th, 2011 No comments
Old computer manual

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Michael Fawcett

Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s webinars. It was great to have some science and math teachers with us and I hope they use some of the ideas we discussed to give students opportunities to do some technical writing.

We began by talking about what technical writing is and what it is not and mentioned some examples. Some good resources for learning more about technical writing and for finding ideas for teaching it are:

We discussed how technical writing is addressed in the Common Core State Standards for writing and how technical writing relates to the 6+1 Traits. We then talked about the usefulness of templates for helping students use a consistent style and organization in their technical writing. I shared a Pages template students can use to write directions for performing tasks on their MacBooks. That template is available for download in the archived recordings of both sessions. The Pages User Guide is not only a good resource for learning how to make templates, but it’s also an excellent example of effective technical writing.

Including diagrams, illustrations, tables, and charts in technical writing pieces makes the text more usable for the reader. I mentioned the many applications on the MLTI MacBook that can be used to create illustrations, including Acorn, OmniGraffle, the SketchPad in NoteShare, and Numbers. Digital cameras are easy to use and readily available in most classrooms, whether it’s a camera you or your school owns, a camera on a cell phone, or the built-in iSight camera in your MacBook. A couple participants mentioned using cameras to take pictures of a science lab in progress and giving those pictures to the students to aid them in their writing as well as to be used as illustrations. Screen shots are also valuable as illustrations when writing about computers and software.

We took some time to talk about scaffolds and support for struggling writers, including word banks for vocabulary and using screen captures to get students started as they write directions for using their MacBooks. We also talked about giving students examples of professional and student technical writing so they can look at it critically and develop criteria for determining the effectiveness of their own writing.

Many of the tips we mentioned for using MacBooks for technical writing are demonstrated in our MLTI Minutes series. We hope you’ll check out all the episodes, but here a few that were mentioned in this webinar:

  • Episode 14 An Introduction to Painting with Acorn
  • Episode 21 Screen Recording with QuickTime Player
  • Episode 24 Making Floating Stickies

Finally, we took a look at some examples of technical writing that were done as comics:

Don’t forget that you can access the recordings of both webinars by mousing over the Webcasts tab about and clicking on Archives.