Wanna Gab?

I've been wanted to try out Gabcast ever since I heard about it and today I finally did. Gabcast is a free site that provides you a channel to record a podcast or audio greeting on your phone that you can then publish or paste in your website or blog. My first thought when I heard about it was how neat it would be to use for field trips or when moving around the school. With that in mind, I dialed up the gabcast number while waiting at the airport today with my kids. We recorded a short podcast about our mini field trip to the airport. The audio isn't the best, but that may have been the phone I was on, the noises around me or other variables...but for it's purpose, I thought it was a cool little tool to use and I definitely will be using it on our next class field trip. Enjoy!


A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time there was a teacher. She was a good teacher, who felt like she was doing the best job she could if she made a difference with the students inside her four walls. Students liked coming to her class and parents felt like their child was getting a great education with this teacher. She was happy, her administrator was happy and life was good. She probably could have continued this way for an unlimited amount of time....smooth sailing on a calm sea.

This teacher loves to read, she teaches her students to live the lives of readers. One day, in her online news reading...she stumbled across an educational blog. It was humorous. She connected with what the writer was saying and began reading this blog more often. The funny thing about blogs is they are like a Laura Numeroff book. You know...If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ...one blog leads to another. You begin liking what you read, so you notice to the side that the author of the blog has listed what they like to read and ....wa-la....with a quick click you are visiting those pages too. She begins thinking about how she would use a blog in her classroom and what voice she might personally have in the blogosphere.

She starts her professional blog during the summer and continues reading all of the blogs she can. Without realising it at the time...she was a blog stalker (reading, but not joining in on the conversations provoked). But you know, throughout her career that was how she did everything....watching and listening to make sure she knew how to take part and do a good job. But...it was time to paddle out and meet the wave. She began leaving comments on the blogs she read, noticing visitors of those blogs tracking back to read her blog and she noticed that many of these professionals that she was getting to know online were on something called twitter. What she has learned in the last six months is immeasureable.

When the school year started, the walls of her classroom came down. Students shared what they were doing daily in their classroom blog and produced their work through digital storytelling projects as well as learning through the online work of others. Many students started their own blogs at home as well as sharing what they learned with students in other classes...such as voicethread, google documents and other tools. As they leave this classroom, they may not remember everything this teacher said but they will be able to apply all they have learned to their future learning. Isn't that what we have all been trying to do all along?

As you have probably guessed, this teacher is me. What is your web 2.0 story?


Project Dilemma

My fifth grader was assigned a project to do with three other classmates where they were to research the way another country celebrates the holidays. They had to present their facts and artifacts to the class in approximately three weeks. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, any mom who has had kids with group projects can tell you...it's not. Trying to find time for four family schedules to mesh so you can get together is hard, getting the kids to focus and use time wisely is hard and keeping the kids happy and getting along can be a chore.

Riding to the rescue is Google Documents.

Each of the girls got online in the holiday project document on Google and typed their findings from the research. We got the girls together for one official meeting where they put together their artifacts. Wa La - project done - Google docs rock!