Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Word of the Day: Philanthropy

I'm changing my bell work routine today. Instead of doing a daily think write (what my students call quick writes), we are doing word study. I'm just shifting it up in my instructional order during the class period. I'm using a new-to-me tool (the Educreations app) to  record, share and distribute the word of the day notes in order to make my teaching more transparent. Recording and sharing the lessons online helps students recover from an absence or a lack of focus in class--it gives them extra time to take notes or review work at home. Many of them need more time than we have in class.

Educreation's work space is essentially a whiteboard where I can import a picture, draw, or type and record audio as I make notes on the screen. It is easy to use, intuitive. A fellow teacher showed me the app. He works as a DJ at a popular Cuban restaurant on the weekends and he showed me a video he made explaining the DJ's soundboard. Very cool.

I like it so far. It is not complicated to use and it allowed me to create, save and share (via Twitter) in under five minutes (even with the web filtering road-block I ran into during the process). Amazing!  

I ran into two snags, none the fault of the program. For some reason, my district server would not allow me to tweet directly from the app or iPad.  I kept getting an error message and being asked to re-log in. When I was denied tweetability, I found a work around quickly by logging on to my Educreations ' profile online on my laptop. I easily tweeted the link from my teacher computer to my classroom tweet stream. This had everything to do with the restructuring and outsourcing of our web filtering process and nothing to do with Educreations.

The only other issue I had was with my ability to multi-task. Sometimes it is difficult for me to think aloud, write, observe students and spell at the same time. As I was talking students through the word I mispelled meanness. I felt it (the misspelling) as I did it. It's tricky to juggle all of those processes at the same time, especially while navigating and using a new-to-you tool in front of a live teenage audience. Still, it became a good talking point to debrief the process.

Happy Wednesday!
Lee Ann

PS: Philanthropy was our word today because it is time for AWESOME! The Project for Awesome begins December 17th. Will you be ready? Get the scoop from the Vlogbrothers.

PSS: Need more awesome? Time Magazine put's John Green's The Fault in Our Stars at the top of the top ten fiction books of 2012!  

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