Spring Reflections
Posted by Alicia Wright on Monday, Apr 4th, 2011.
This time of year is bittersweet for me. I get to look back on the school year and take a moment to reflect while classes are busy with final reviews before testing. I get to think about all that the GenYES teachers have accomlished. And, I get to plan the last few meetings with the EETT Round 8 GenYES teachers. But, it also means that our grant is coming to an end.

I must say that I am so impressed with how far we have come in the past couple years. We owe a lot of our success to our technology department. It is because of their knowledge and willingness to listen to teacher requests/concerns that we have our wonderful website program. Without the new web program, I don't think we would have had such valuable trainings!

Here are some of the topics we have covered this round of the EETT grant:
* Podcasting
* Voice Threads
* Blogs
* Glogs
* Wikis
* Websites
* SMART Boards

Hopefully each site will continue the GenYES program and will find ways to collaborate about technology. I will, of course, keep sharing resources with the goal of keeping GenYES alive and pushing us forward in becoming a 21st century district!

Here is an interesting article that highlights the importance of teaching technology so that students are prepared to enter the workforce:

I am also attaching a few articles for those interested! Feel free to share your comments!
Journal Topic: Who am I?
Posted by Alicia Wright on Monday, Sep 27th, 2010.
For our October 5th training, we will be creating audio projects. As a starting point, teachers will complete a journal writing assignment and then produce an MP3 file of the writing using Audacity. Teachers will reflect and write in response to the following questions:

Who are you?
What makes you, you?!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If you were re-live your life, what one thing would you keep about yourself?

You can listen to my sample project below

 Adventures in Podcasting
Posted by Alicia Wright on Monday, Sep 27th, 2010.
On October 5th, GenYES lead and partner teachers will be taking the leap into Podcasting. We will introduce Audacity, a free audio software, during this training and will begin creating podcasts for use on this website. Of course, the overall goal will be for teachers to take this knowledge back to the classroom for students to begin creating Podcasts of their own.

So, what is needed to create a podcast? Here are the bare essentials:

1) Audio software - Audacity is a free download that works well with Windows.
You will also need to download LAME to convert your file to MP3.

2) Microphone - your computer must have either a built in microphone or an external one (most laptops have built in microphones that are suitable.)

3) A script - what are you going to say? Will you be creating a PSA (public service announcement), a list of teacher tips, reading a story or poem? The possibilities are endless

4) Patent & Royalty free background music (optional)

In preparation for this training, I will be creating samples for teachers. The first is a podcast series - Tips for Parents. Our first podcast includes 3 tips for helping with homework.
To Blog or Not to Blog
Posted by Alicia Wright on Tuesday, Sep 7th, 2010.
Whether you try the MJUSD blog page or Edublogs…one question is likely to enter your mind:

“To blog or not to blog?”

Traditionally blogs are used to an online journal for sharing thoughts. Recently, they have been turned into business webpages and social networking tools. So, where do blogs fit into education? Why use a blog instead of a forum? How often should I post on my blog? How often should I encourage students to use blogs?

The answer is not an easy one – it will depend on the set up of your class, your comfort level with technology and allowing students freedom using technology, and the amount of time that you have.

If you are not quick to jump on board – let me persuade you with a few ideas:

Use them as a center/small group activity
Have them available for extended learning
Provide a blogging computer for students who complete all their work
Allow students to complete homework in the form of a blog, but also allow students to turn in work the old fashioned way. (Not all students will have computers with internet access)
Get to know your students through simple blogging projects.
Post a weekly writing challege
Post a Math problem of the week
Post a History blog for students to respond to in the form of a journal – have students pretend they are time travellers and are sending e-journals home as they meet new people and experience events from the past.
Post a Science blog for students to share experiment ideas and reflect on labs
Just post weekly reflections about your class and life. Students and parents may be thrilled to follow your blogging adventures.
There are endless possibilities…grab an idea and go with it!

Tips for successful blogging with students:

Always read and approve comments before posting
Model appropriate blogging etiquette and uses
Give credit for blogging – even if they are just a few weekly posting points
Dedicate a time and space for blogging. Even 5 minutes a week is enough to get a routine going
Don’t give up – as with all new adventures, it takes time to get into a routine.
Returning teachers – what challenges and successes did you find with blogging?

New teachers – what are your concerns and fears?

All teachers – how do you plan on using blogs in your classroom?

Adventures in Podcasting
Posted by Alicia Wright on Wednesday, Mar 3rd, 2010.
It has been an exciting couple months working with the amazing GenYES Lead and Partner teachers. I am looking forward to seeing their work in action in the classroom. As they tackle blogs, websites, MovieMaker, and SMART Boards, I wonder if Podcasting has crossed their minds. On March 24th, NCWP will be providing a Podcasting course for participating teachers. What topics should consider covering in their personal podcasts? What about student podcasts? Should I start a sample one here? There are so many decisions to make and so little time!

Movies and Pictures in the Classroom
Posted by Alicia Wright on Thursday, Feb 11th, 2010.
Today teachers will be learning some basics of creating movies and picture slide shows using Movie Maker. I am always fascinated by the creativity and talent that teachers show when using this program for the first time. Students amaze me even more! I will be posting sample projects on the GenYES Scrapbook page - please check them out!

GenYES teacher training kick-off
Posted by Alicia Wright on Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2010.
GenYES Kick-off 2010:

With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, it seemed appropriate to use the analogy of a kick-off for beginning our GenYES teacher training events! Afterall, we have waited for this day for some time, have prepared to be here (well, we prepared lesson plans at least), and there will be lots of excitement coming our way. So, I kick the ball to you - reminding you to catch it and run with all of your might!

In the upcoming trimester, what changes do you hope to see coming to your school site? How do you think technology can improve your teaching? What fears/concerns to do you have?
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