Monday, February 18, 2013

Edcanvas Example

Here is my Edcanvas example:

My students are currently finishing up the geometry unit in math.  At the end of each unit, we spend a day reviewing before the test.  Usually we use a packet to review concepts before the test.  Some students don't need the review and are bored if we have to spend a lot of time on a concept that they already understand.  One way around this has been using the IXL website to practice their concepts.  My school has a subscription to the site.  I would provide the students with a list of links to the concepts they should practice.  This worked better than the paper review because students were engaged and practicing at their own pace.

I love the features of IXL, so I incorporated it into my Edcanvas example.  After each topic is reviewed, the students will practice that concept on IXL before reviewing another concept.  I put a sign-in slide in the beginning of the canvas to make sure my students are logged in and get credit for their work.  I can sign in to my IXL account and see the responses from each student.

I am excited to try this with my students this week.  I only have 15 students in my math class but they all work at a different pace.  This activity provides enough practice to keep all the students engaged.  If students finish all the review sites before time is up, they can go back to any of the IXL practice sites to continue reviewing the concepts.

I will have to test out the YouTube videos at school to make sure those work before sharing this activity with my students.  I have a feeling that the filters will still block the videos, but I will test it out as soon as I can tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


When searching for a Web2.0 tool to use for my class summary, I came across  I found it to be very easy to use.  You can add pictures, videos, and files to a canvas.  Files can be attached from your hard drive, Dropbox, or Google Drive.  Since exploring last week, 2 new features have been added.  You can now attach websites that are saved in your bookmarks or websites you have visited that are saved in your browsing history.  While creating the canvas for the class summary, I found that you can also create text only slides.  Edcanvas also has an audio feature but I haven't explored that yet.  When the canvas is complete and ready to be viewed, users click through it as a slide show.  It is very similar to Facebook photo albums where you can add comments and likes.  Files can be downloaded from the canvas.  Edcanvas can be shared with others, but only the creator of the canvas can edit it.  When Matt and I were creating the class summary, it would have been helpful if both of us could edit at the same time, but that was not the case.

I am still in the process of creating my own canvas to use with students, but I explored some of the featured canvases.  One of the featured canvases that I found interesting is about reviewing the parts of speech.  This person attached Schoolhouse Rock videos from YouTube.  After viewing all the videos, students complete a worksheet showing what they learned from the video.  I like the idea of this canvas, but will not use it with my students.  Some of the videos have been blocked by YouTube.  I also can't view YouTube videos easily at school.  My students would not be able to view these videos because they don't have a way to block the filters.

I will post my example when I finish it.  Very excited about a new tool!

Make Beliefs Comix - more exploration

I tried to find another comics site that I liked, but I didn't find another one that was easy enough for students to use.  So I spent some time exploring Make Beliefs Comix a little more.  I found some more features of the site other than what I noticed the first time I looked at it.  This site also includes already made comics that can be used as printables.  I know that this use of the site isn't exactly web2.0, but it is a resource that I will find useful in my classroom.  I am constantly searching for creative writing prompts for my students to complete during writing and during morning work time.  This prompts can be printed or displayed on the document camera.  This site also has already made comics that have blank speech bubbles.  Students could be asked to fill in the thoughts of the characters.  Again, I know it isn't web2.0, but another resource I would like to use.

This site provides lesson plans on how to use comics with students. One lesson I found is on summarizing stories. One strategy that is taught in elementary school is called "Somebody wanted but so". Students explain who the somebody in the story is. Then they tell what the somebody wanted. They explain what happened to change the original idea and then they explain what actually happened. Students can use the four-frame comic to show a picture representation of this strategy.

Another feature that I like is the teacher resources section. This has 21 different ides on how to use the site in the classroom. I like the idea of using a comic to practice vocabulary words. A big push with my students this year is vocabulary. Creating a comic to explain what words mean is interesting for students and an easy way for teachers to see if they really understand the words.

If students were working with other students on a tellacollaborative project, creating a comic would be a good way to introduce the students to each other. Each student could create an autobiographical comic to share with the other students they will be working with. They could provide information about their interests and their families. I think this would be a good tool to use to communicate with students that are learning English through a tellacollaborative project. Students that already speak English can provide information through comics to students that are learning the language. The site provides tools for writing in the following languages:
Students can type in their language and cut and paste to put it into the comic. Students that are also learning one of the other languages can practice their skills by using one of the sites before creating their comic.  They can use their comics to communicate with other students who speak the language or are also learning the language.

When I first found this site, I didn’t like it and wanted to find another comic site. After exploring more today, I found that I do like this site because of all the additional resources it provides.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


After exploring Timetoast a bit more, I found that there are many different examples of timelines that other people have made.  You can search by topics or browse recent timelines.  I would love to use this site with my students. Being able to show a variety of examples will help them understand what to do.  Since there are examples already out there, I can show those instead of creating my own.  It will take significantly less time for me to search for good examples than it would for me to create many of my own.

One example I found relates to the American Revolution.  I would like my students to create a timeline of an important person in history, so this example would be good to show since the time period is similar.  The example can be found here:

I noticed that the person that created this timeline had the same issue with the dates that I did.  This person just knew years, so he or she used January 1 for every year.  When showing this example, I can point out to my students why January 1 was listed for every event.  Another thing I noticed while looking at this example is that you can switch from timeline view to a text view.  This shows all the events as a list.  The timeline view shows some spacing between events depending on how far apart the events are.

Here is another example I found of a historical figure that one of my students could have researched:
This example is very basic, but it would give my students another idea of what I expect to see from them.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

playing around with Padlet

My students researched historical figures and then wrote an essay about their person.  I would have liked my students to use this tool instead of the paper and pencil they used to take notes.  The students could take their notes here and have an easy way of organizing their thoughts afterward.  Once the notes are finished, they can move the notes around to organize their information before writing their essays.  Most of the sites my students used showed them how to cite the resource.  The title of each note could be the correct citation so they could show where they found each piece of information.  At the end, they would be able to copy and paste their citations onto their works cited page.

After exploring more, I found that notes can include links to other pages.  This works out perfectly for my idea.  Students can still use the citation as the title, but can also create a link to the site used.  This way provides an easy way for students to return to the site if more information is needed.

My example is notes taken about Deborah Sampson.  I included information from 2 different sources.  My sites didn't have the correct citation at the bottom of the site, so I would still have to create the citation myself.  I was able to link my sources to the notes.  I set my wall to be viewable to people that have the link.  I also didn't want anyone to edit my work, so I set it to be viewed by others.  My example can be viewed here:

I could show my example to my students before they begin their research so they know my expectations.  Since the site allows people to create walls without creating accounts, I wouldn't have to worry about my students needing to create accounts.  After further exploration, I noticed that you can't edit walls after 24 hours if you are not signed in.  I don't think my students would be able to complete this task within 24 hours, so I actually would need to make sure they have accounts.  If I don't want to create individual accounts for all students, I could create one for every student to use.  I think you can create an unlimited amount of walls for each account.  I couldn't find anywhere that said it was limited and I was able to create at least 20 in my account.  The only problem with creating multiple walls for students under one account is students would have to make sure they are only editing their own wall.  When creating a new wall, you are given a wall name that is random letters and numbers.  Students can change that name to their own to make sure they are editing the correct one.  I think I would have to try it with students to really know how it would work.

This could be used for this project next year.  I will keep this tool in mind for further projects this year.  I would love to see how 5th graders would do using it.  It seems simple, but I will never know until I actually try it with students.

Padlet aka Wallwisher

Padlet is a fun Web2.0 tool that I found.  There are many uses for Padlet.  These are the ones that the site provides.  I'm sure we can all think of many more.

I like the idea of posting a word of the day and having students use the word in a sentence.   This gives every student the opportunity to participate in the exercise instead of just calling on a few students.  I especially like that teachers can give students immediate feedback on their sentences, as the teacher in this example did.  This would be useful to use with multiple meaning words.  Students would be able to see that some words have more than one meaning.  A requirement for this activity would be enough computers with internet access for every student to use at the same time.  In my school, this would probably require the use of the mobile lab because it would take too much time to walk to the computer lab just for this one activity.  We could use the computer lab if this was an introduction to another assignment.

As for using the site, it is pretty easy.  You can create a wall without signing up for Padlet.  I created an account so I could easily go back and edit my wall.  After clicking on build a wall, you can change the background and add different notes.  To start notes, you just have to double click on the wall.  That will give you the option of linking pictures, videos, and URLs.  You can also add your own files that are not found on the web.  There is even an option to add a picture taken from a webcam.

There are many different options on who can view and what the viewers can do.  The wall can be public, it can be accessed by people that have the link, it can be password protected, or it can be private.  The private option isn't completely private because it allows you to add people by email. After you choose the visibility options, you can decide what the viewers are capable of doing.  They can view the wall, write new posts, or can moderate any posts.

I think the site is easy enough to use with elementary students.  I will play around with it some more and let you know what I come up with as for a specific use.