Flickr Slide Shows

I created a Flickr slideshow entitled Campus Shapes.  The content of this slideshow aligns with standard 2.G.1 of both the Common Core State Standards and the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Framework.  To meet this standard students must, “Recognize and draw shapes having specific attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.”  To create this gallery, I walked around the campus of McDaniel College and photographed easily recognizable geometric shapes.  Each image contains at least one of the shapes that second grade students must be able to recognize, and as the slideshow progresses the photos have multiple shapes for students to identify.  This slideshow is a quick, and effective, way for students to identify shapes.

There are a couple of ways that I could use this slideshow in the classroom.  It could be an effective introduction to the unit.  Students could view the slideshow and identify the shapes that they see.  This would introduce students to the content and serve as a pre-assessment so that I could gauge the student’s previous knowledge of the topic.  This slideshow could also serve as a jumping off point for a class project.  I could introduce the slideshow as pictures that I took around my school, and then have students take photos of geometric shapes around their school.  Students could then create their own “Campus Shapes” slideshows on Flickr.  A Flickr slideshow allows educators an opportunity to create a visually appealing presentation that can be crafted to adhere to a variety of curricular standards.  It is also relatively easy to create a slideshow on Flickr, and this means that it could be used by students who are technologically unsophisticated.  This means that Flickr has great potential as a tool in the elementary classroom.

My Flickr Slide Show can be found in the link in the first sentence, or at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/willlinthicum/sets/72157630322095204/show/

Advertisements

Flickr Galleries

One of the monarchs we raisedMonarch egg closeupMonarch EggsMilkweed Plant SOOC  Macro taken with a Samsung L200 Mini Compact Camera SDC11274Hatch #4Monarch Catepillar
Monarch Butterfly Catepillarmonarch_catepillar_01Monarch Life Cycle — 9 of 20Monarch ChrysalisMonarch chrysalis Monarch Life Cycle — 14 of 20
Monarch Adult, day one, Pumping wingsMonarch butterfliesMonarch MigrationMonarch_MigrationMonarch MigrationMonarch, Blue & Purple

Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly, a gallery on Flickr.

Flickr is a image and video sharing website where you can upload your images and have access to millions of images that other users have posted.  Flickr can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways.  By creating a gallery or slide show a teacher could have an effective presentation tool.  This would allow a teacher to intermingle images and text to present a topic in an appealing way that engages students.  In an English class a teacher could pull up an image , or create a gallery or slideshow, and have the students write a story using the images as a guide.  In a Social Studies class a teacher could create a gallery or slideshow related to a specific place or event and create a virtual field trip.  Having students use Flickr for their own projects also allows the opportunity to teach about copyright and fair use rules.  Contributors to Flickr have the discretion to protect, or share, their images in the way that they choose.  Flickr has many practical classroom applications.

I chose to create a gallery that illustrates the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.  The life cycle of the monarch, at least from the caterpillar stage on, is part of the science curriculum for kindergarteners in Carroll County.  This process takes a couple of weeks and sometimes students have difficulty remembering what is happening, or what stage of the life cycle their monarch is in.  This gallery could be used as an introduction and closing to the unit, as well as a resource to refresh student’s memories.  The gallery could also be used to fill in the blanks if something changed in the monarch’s appearance over the weekend, or at night, when the students could not observe the change.  This Flickr gallery was easy to create and could have many uses in a class that was following the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

Blogging In The Classroom : A Look At A High School, Middle School, And Elementary School Blog

High School

If I was a high school student I would love to have a resource like the one provided by Mr. Murphy’s Classroom Blog.  Mr. Murphy’s blog is a running record of what the students in his classes are studying, what their assignments are, as well as providing resources, rubrics, and encouragement.   The online space created by this blog seems like an extension of the classroom.  I like how Mr. Murphy addresses his students in the postings, rather than just posting the content.  This helps add to the sense that this online community is just another part of the classroom.  A great example of what this blog offers can be seen in the post Ethos, Logos and Pathos.  In this post Mr. Murphy provides his students with a Power Point presentation to review the information covered in the classroom, as well as links to assignments, grading rubrics, and links to videos they watched in class.  This is a great resource for students who may have missed class, misplaced a handout, were distracted in class, or simply needed a reminder about what had been covered in the classroom.  Having this information online is so convenient because from time to time everyone will need a reminder of what they need to do, and all the students in this class need to do is get on the internet.  Even though the posts in this blog are directed at the students this blog is a great way for parents to stay up to date with the material their students are learning in class and what assignments they should be working on.  Using a blog like this gives the teacher the opportunity to extend learning beyond the classroom.  Hopefully, this type of access will help extend learning beyond the school to the home and into the community. 

Middle School

One of my favorite blogs was The Plugged-In Portable, which follows the journey in a classroom (or portable) that has a strong emphasis on integrating technology and curriculum.  In many ways this blog is a hybrid of a classroom and educator blog.  The blog extensively covers the progress of the class during their many adventures with technology, but Mr. Carruthers also uses the blog as a platform to promote the advantages of using technology in the classroom and as a place to reflect on his experiences integrating different types of technology and instruction.  While there are many great instances on this blog that illustrate the benefits of using technology in the classroom, the post Classroom in the Clouds is a great commentary on the positive impact of integrating technology and instruction.  In this post Mr. Carruthers makes observations about the way his students have been using Skype to work on assignments.  His students have used Skype to collaborate and take learning beyond the classroom, which includes working on a project while one partner is vacationing in Florida and requesting to participate in class via Skype on days that they miss school.  Technology is engaging students and allowing them to collaborate in ways that a more “traditional” approach would not allow.  On the right side of this blog there are links to blogs maintained by the students in this class.  Each student’s blog provides a platform to post their completed assignments for the class and their opinions on a number of subjects.  For instance, by clicking on Marley’s Blog you can find projects done using Prezi, claymation, Google Docs, and video presentations.  This blog provides an opportunity for Mr. Carruthers to connect with his students, parents, fellow teachers, and beyond.  Students are provided with the opportunity to connect with their teacher and classmates as well as share their work with the world.  This blog could also be used by teachers who are curious about the technology available to use in the class, or teachers looking for ways to incorporate technology in their classrooms.

Elementary School

For the elementary school blog I found Mrs. Shearer’s AM Class Blog, there is also a similar blog for Mrs. Shearer’s PM Class.  I was initially drawn to this blog because Mrs. Shearer teaches at Cranberry Station Elementary in Westminster, MD.  I was curious to see a classroom blog from a local classroom.  This blog is a place where Mrs. Shearer posts journal assignments, class projects, and other information about her class.  The blog has a Parent Page where parents can follow along with what their students are doing in class and important dates to remember.  I also like the post on Blogging where the rules about using the blog are laid out.  Students are given clear guidelines that promote proper digital etiquette.  The aspect about this blog that I liked the most was how the students participated in the post’s comment section.  It seemed that participating in the blog was optional, but many students really seemed to appreciate the opportunity to have a space for their class online (see comments on the Blogging post).  There were other posts where many students took the opportunity to post comments and provided thoughtful work, like in the post Values Modeled in The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Hugo.  This classroom blog illustrates many of the advantages that blogging provides.  This blog provided a forum for the teacher, students, and parents to keep up with what was going on in the classroom, it promoted the sharing of ideas, students were given an opportunity to use good digital etiquette, and use practices that will assist them in creating a positive digital footprint.

Conclusion

Classroom blogs are a great tool to enhance the learning that takes place in the classroom.  There are a great number of classroom blogs and they seem to have a variety of purposes.  Having a blog seems to be an easy way to extend the walls of your classroom, by creating a space online to communicate about what is taking place during school hours.  Teachers can use blogs to post assignments and review lessons, like Mr. Murphy’s Classroom Blog, thus providing the teacher, students, and parents with a place to follow the progress of a class.  Blogs could also be used as a forum for students to share their work and comment on the work of their classmates.  This is illustrated in the blog The Plugged-In Portable, where the students post their assignments online for the world to share.

While there are many classroom blogs, it is obvious that the vast majority of teachers are not using blogs.  I noticed that Mrs. Shearer’s AM Class Blog was hosted by Carroll County Public School Blogs.  Since this site exists I am sure that at least some of the staff at every Carroll County Public School is aware that this service exists.  It appears there is a certain process and procedure that is required if you are creating a classroom blog in the Carroll County Public School system.  Even though there is support from the CCPS system for classroom bloggers there are only 2 elementary school teachers, 2 middle school teachers, and 5 high school teachers with active blogs.  This would lead me to believe that many teachers are not aware of the possible advantages provided by having a classroom blog.  There are so many professional development topics for teachers that blogging must not be a high priority.  I would think that it would be extremely valuable for teachers to see a colleague successfully using a blog in their classroom.

While searching Google Reader for classroom blogs I found a number of professional development blogs that specifically focused on how to effectively use blogs in the classroom.  For any teacher that is curious about using a blog there are ample resources online that would help them to create their own blog.  I think that exposing teachers to professional blogs is the first step to seeing the positive impact of blogging.  Professional blogs are a treasure trove of information about important subjects like classroom management, technology, and instruction strategies.  Blogging creates communities and draws like-minded people together, the more an educator reads and comments on the blogs of others the more likely they are to venture out into the blogosphere on their own.  Prior to beginning this assignment I was under the impression that blogging would be much more difficult than it is.  Teachers should be made aware that the effort that it takes to begin a blog is negligible when compared to the positive benefits created by having a classroom blog.

Teachers Teaching Teachers about Teaching : 3 Great Educator Blogs

Stump the Teacher

The first blog that got my attention was Stump the Teacher.  This blog is authored by Josh Stumpenhorst, who happens to be the reigning Illinois Teacher of the Year (2012).  The blog provides an outlet for Mr. Stumpenhorst to share his opinions on issues that arise in regard to the profession of teaching.  A wide variety of topics are covered based on the authors experiences with issues that he encounters in the classroom, at professional development conferences, and in the teacher’s lounge.  Stump the Teacher also contains a great selection of Video Tutorials that demonstrate how to use a variety of innovative technologies in the classroom.

As I was perusing the postings at Stump the Teacher, a post entitled Teaching Mediocrity grabbed my attention.  The post addresses Mr. Stumpenhorst’s perception that the profession of teaching is gravitating towards mediocrity.  It seems that there are enough people to blame for the current state of affairs to spread the blame for this problem around.  The blog post makes it appear that this is a societal issue, with the media, administrators, unions, parents, kids, policy makers, and teachers all having a hand in contributing to the presence of mediocrity in the profession of teaching.  I appreciated how a serious, and quite distressing, issue facing the teaching profession was openly tackled by a passionate practitioner in the field.

The great thing about this blog is that it provides the honest, and often blunt, opinions of a successful teacher.  The opinions are well articulated, and chances are you will find yourself actively agreeing, or emphatically disagreeing, with the author.  Either way it provides an excellent springboard for open discourse involving issues facing many educators.  This would be a great blog to share with other teachers because it is presented from the point of view of someone actively in the trenches, and it tackles issues that transcend district or school systems boundaries.  Mr. Stumpenhorst addresses issues encountered by classroom teachers across the country.

So You Want To Teach

So You Want To Teach is a blog by a band teacher, but the information provided can be applied by teachers of all subjects.  The blog’s title grabbed my attention because I do in fact want to teach.  This blog is full of great tips about the journey from being a credentialed teacher to an actual professional educator.  The blogs owner tackles issues that all teachers face, and often allows guest bloggers to share their experiences with common classroom problems that they have dealt with in their professional development.  This blog has been “Providing Hope” to educators since 2007.

The post Questions That Will Save Your Career  provides an interesting look at several issues that any teacher will need to address.  The great thing about this post is that it provides the blogger’s opinions after his 5th year teaching (2007), and it has recently been revised to include his opinions about the same issues after the completion of his 10th year (2012).  This allows the reader to see how a teacher’s view of things change and evolve over time, illustrating the fact that the quest to become an effective educator is an ongoing endeavor.  Many of the issues addressed in the post revolve around classroom management, like How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?, How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?, How Do I Keep My Students Interested?, and How Do I Keep My Students Learning? , which is a great resource for teachers that do not have much classroom experience.  Being that one of my biggest concerns about teaching is classroom management I found this post very informative.

I wrote about this blog because it is the attempt of one teacher to share his valuable knowledge with other teachers.  I would find it hard to believe that any new, or aspiring, teacher would not find the information provided in this blog helpful.  The blog has a very personal feeling, while at the same time providing information that can be practically applied in the classroom.  From reading this blog you get the feeling that the blogger has a true desire to share the knowledge that he has attained through blood, sweat, and tears in the classroom with other teachers who may be looking for assistance.

Ask a Tech Teacher

From the title of the blog you should be able surmise that it is a source for information on technology in the classroom.  This blog is written by an elementary technology teacher, and focuses on how to best use technology in the elementary classroom.  The blog regularly recommends educational websites that are kid tested and approved, tech tips, Q & A’s, and reviews of the latest technology related classroom accessories.  This blog is a bonanza of information regarding the use of technology with elementary aged students.

I was drawn to this blog because of the post entitled How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6.  For my SLM 508 class we have been discussing internet safety, digital footprints, and how, and when, to introduce these things to school age children.  This post gives grade by grade suggestions on how to introduce students to the internet.  The progression covers areas like internet safety and security, digital footprints, copyright, and netiquette (internet etiquette).  There are many links included to direct you to appropriate activities to teach these concepts.  Even if your school system does not allow for the time suggested by the blog post the information provides a good guide as to what areas of online safety you should focus on with students in the elementary years.

Today’s students are so familiar with technology that any competent teacher must find ways to integrate technology into their instruction.  The only problem is not everyone is as experienced with technology as they may like to be.  This blog could be an invaluable resource for educators that are trying to keep up with the latest and greatest uses of technology in the classroom.  It provides simple, no nonsense answers to questions that many educators, or parents, will have regarding technology and their youngsters, and if your questions are not answered you can ask them.  This is definitely a blog worth subscribing to if you are wondering how to integrate technology into your instruction, or you need technology resources.

Conclusions:

I was almost overwhelmed by the number, and varied content of educator blogs available on the internet.  Educator blogs seem to have a wide variety of purposes, including sharing current research, addressing issues faced in the classroom, creative ways to vary instruction, or just as an outlet for frustrations.  All these purposes have a place in the blogosphere because these blogs are providing a platform for teachers to express what they are feeling and to reach like-minded people.  I am sure I only scratched the surface with regard to all the educator blogs that are available, but they seem to have many positive uses.  From my perspective, as a teacher in training, blogs are a great source for ideas on how to present content.  From the bloggers perspective it allows other to view your ideas critically, and perhaps improve them or build your self-esteem with a compliment.  Through blogging you can reach a group of people that will help you reflect upon and refine your ideas in order to make you a more effective educator.

Blogs also provide a way to allow your students to post their ideas, share thoughts with classmates, and display their work.  Students who are encouraged to use blogs will improve their communication skills, and a community will be formed that encourages collaboration and the open flow of ideas.  Having a blog linked to class work will also give the students a chance to display proper digital citizenship and practice methods necessary to creating a positive digital footprint.  Though blogging has been around for a while, I do not think that it has been widely encouraged for use in the classroom.  Many teachers probably view their plates as full enough without incorporating a new tool like blogging to take up more of their valuable time.  From my limited experience as a blogger, it seems like something that anyone could do.  I guess the question is how to encourage teachers to use blogging as a tool in their classrooms.  The first thing that a teacher can do is set a good example, not only for their students but their colleagues as well.  It would take very little effort to share useful blogs with your fellow teachers, and introduce them to the possibilities available.  I also think that reluctant, or oblivious, teachers would be more inclined to explore the benefits of blogging if they could see it being effectively modeled by someone in their school.  By seeing the positive benefits blogging could provide for the students, teacher, parents, and community may inspire someone to start a blog of their own.

Hello world!

My name is Will Linthicum, and I am new to the wonderful world of blogging.  I started this blog for a Learning Technologies class (SLM 508) that I am taking as part of the BEST program at McDaniel College.  Hopefully this experience will open my eyes to the possibilities provided by the power of the blogosphere.