BLOGS for Diverse Populations

Blogs can be used for Exceptional Individuals to communicate information about subjects I teach.

ELL

This is a great article about blogging for ELL students, titled Blogging for English-Language Learners. Blogs provide great opportunities for students to work on their communication skills in print.  ELL students could have the opportunity to write in English when they might struggle in communicating words what they are thinking. Students could write about a story they read and blog about it using both English and Spanish. Blogs are a great way for students with parents that do not speak English to see what students are writing. Students could practice writing with the vocabulary they learn.

Here’s another blogger I found with good ELL tips! http://lifefeast.blogspot.com/

AIG

AIG students could use blogging in my class as an activity that promotes higher learning. They could have an extra project that they research and then blog about.  Barbara Swicord writes in her blog Benefits of Online Education for Gifted Students, that online education can help students. Therefore, I think that having students doing online researchand blogging can help them interact together and enjoy collaborating. Blogging can create an online community if students have to respond and reply to each other.

Special Needs

If students have a disability that prevents them from speaking, writing their thought down can be helpful. However, if a student has dsylexia, it could be difficult for them to write. Therefore, I would make sure that they had a student that could work with them. Or, another option would be for a student to be able to record their voice and then post their ideas on the blog.

If I had students use blogs, I would have the site set up at the beginning of the year and have them write in it all year. That way students and parents could see their writing and progress throughout the year.

VIDEOS

I watched a video titled “Minecraft in School“, where students were talking to the camera about what they were creating (a toy shop, different houses, underground stores, etc.). The second video I watched titled, “World, Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievement“, shows a better example of 21st learning because the students are having to deal with political science (political, economically, socially, and militarily) and they have to use their thinking and imagination skills to think about how to solve world problems. The creator is hoping that through the thinking skills gained from this game, students can be potentially better prepared to help the world. Although they aren’t using technology like the kids with Minecraft, they were using higher-level thinking skills that will prepare them for being global competitors.

Online Programs

I checked out the following areas from this website. Some were good, some okay, some not so great for classroom use.

Animations & Comics              I think that the Animations and Comics such as GoAnimate!, which is a site where you can create animated videos. It is positive because it is more professional in its information. However, it costs money, so I would have to ask my principal beforehand if it could be bought for the class. Make Belief Comics is better since it is free and more kid friendly. Make Belief Comics is limited in its graphics, which is a con for any site that has graphics already embedded into it. I think I could use the Make Believe Comics in the classroom to encourage writing stories. Students would need to be

Instructional Videos and VideoSharing       There are lots of videos out there in the world, but you have to be careful what ads or other things are included in the pages. TubeChop is great because it allows you to cut videos into the exact section you want them in. I would use TubeChop if a video was too long, or to assist me in making sure the video popped up exactly when I wanted it to.

REVIEW on TECHNOLOGIES in CLASS

Since my last blog post, we have discussed many new technologies.

Interactive White Boards – I did not know that there were multiple types of IWB. Smartboards are just a brand. Mimeos are also used, and they are neat because you can attach them to a regular white board and make it interactive. However, it does not have multiple pens. Two positives of mimeos over smartboards are that 1) they are cheaper, and 2) you can have multiple people write on the board at the same time (since some students could use dry erase markers, and another student use the mimeo pen). I would use the mimeo in my classroom when I want to do an interactive lesson with students and want multiple students to write on the board at a time. This would allow for more students to be involved and the information to be written faster.

Spreadsheets – I have used Xcell lots of times before, but I did not know that you could create spreadsheets and import them into a document to make personalizing letters faster and more efficient.

To access this, you have to go under the tab MAILINGS –> Click Start Mail Merge –> then you press Select Recipients –> click Use an Existing List –> then you import the xcell file and voila! To insert the information into the text, you then press Insert Merge Fields. (it will show <<first name>>). VERY excited to use this in the future for my letters to parents and students! I could use this when writing report cards, making letters about information and just wanting to make it personal, as well as good record-keeping of my students and their grades/progress.

PodcastsThese are great because it allows you to record and save for later information! There are lots of podcasts available on the web that could be used for professional development, but they can also be created and used for by students. I am going to be making a podcast soon and will post it to my blog when I finish! I could use this in my classroom by having students record their project or books they read. Then we can share it with parents and keep a digital record of the activites occuring throughout the year.

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