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Showing posts from June, 2012


My first experience with podcasts and using them in the classroom was with Grammar Girl. She has some pretty hilarious podcasts and accompanying power point presentations that you can use when trying to spice up your sentence structure lessons. She is relatable and humorous and I promise you that even 8th graders will chuckle when she reads her example sentences! You can check out Grammar Girl podcasts here ! Other podcasts I have subscribed to in the past include the Reduced Shakespeare Company, but I don't really recommend them for middle school use. Some of their humor is a tad "mature" but I fun listen if you are a fan of the Bard! So, I went hunting for some new podcasts this week in an effort to beef up my lessons and here is what I found! CNN Student News: A video podcast with news for teens. I like that it is visual as I always feel like I need to compensate with pictures of something when my students listen to a podcast. Go figure, they lose interest whe

Using Twitter in Education

I use Twitter all the time, but usually only to live tweet during Monday Night RAW and WWE PPV Events! I follow a lot of education twitter accounts, but I don't really post about my teaching life or education on it. I do have @hergetdrama which I use to tweet information about upcoming shows, and I would love to have a twitter for my classroom! I think Twitter is pretty fantastic, because unlike social network such as Facebook where you really just talk to friends, you can use it to connect with people you haven't met before. I have gained followers in Ireland because of my wrestling tweets, and we talk about how Cena needs to turn heel, and how sad it is that Edge retired. I've met Dave Lagana, who used to be a writer for WWE in person at a Ring of Honor show because he invited us! But the point is, I never would have met these people if it weren't for Twitter. A few years ago, I saw one of the coolest things ever on Twitter. The Royal Shakespeare Company had a ca

Technology to Integrate

I have found so many different ideas on the internet that I would love to use in my classroom, but I always seem to run out of time or forget about them! Below are some of my favorite online tools that I would like to integrate into my classroom in the upcoming school year: Delicious- My main goal for this year is to have students use delicious in order to save websites for a research project. They can even link their visual aids or videos to their stack  and have one place to look when they come back to write their paper or presentation. Prezi- I had a few students use prezi this year as an alternative to power point, but I would like to do a prezi only project this year for a group project. My thought is to have them do a "connectivism" type activity at the beginning of the year and present it as a group using prezi. The open layout of prezi makes it really easy to create webs and graphs! Google Groups- I set up a google group last year, but unfortunately never had

Google Scholar

Has anyone ever heard of Google Scholar? I first saw it come up in a youtube video I saw two weeks ago, and I thought, "How have I never heard of this before?" Then I thought, why wasn't this available when I was in undergrad and got a little jealous of all the young whippersnappers who can magically pull information out of thin air without having to leave their futons. But oh well, enough nostalgia. Google Scholar is this amazing tool that pulls real research articles from professional journals and sources for you! It looks like this: I created a video tutorial, sorry no sound this time, that walks you through how to look up an article, and even find out if it's available at your local library! For schools that can't afford to purchase a database system such as EBSCO this might be a great alternative, and show students how to find actual articles as opposed to web sites!

Blogs I Frequent

The blogs I am reading currently are all about middle school, and my latest obsession, interactive student notebooks! My two favorites so far are "The Middle School Mouth" and "A Teacher's Treasure" but I also really like the Teen Reads Blog because I use it to let my students know about new and recently reviewed books. I would basically like to incorporate EVERYTHING that I have read on Middle School Mouth and Teacher's Treasure regarding ISN's into my classroom next year, and a colleague of mine and I already have a date set to review all of the links we've added on delicious and plan for next year! With the teen reads blog, I would like to have students next year go to the blog and write a response to one of the entries as practice. I think it would be a good experience for them and some "real world" writing.

Technology Burnout

I think I am experiencing a bit of technology burnout this week, especially because I've been introduced to so many new sites and programs for the first time. I spent the last two days trapped in my kitchen making cupcakes (viewable at if you are interested) which was a nice vacation from classwork but I will admit it has been wonderful today to sit on the couch with my laptop and surf through Delicious, Edublogs, and Classroom 2.0.  However, sometimes I get so excited about using new tools that I forget about all the other ones I'm using. Currently, my absolute favorite online tools to help me as an educator and in the classroom are: Google (all of it, sites, groups, etc...), Wikispaces, Delicious, and Pinterest. Pinterest, you say? Why yes. Just search for any activity you are looking to do and amidst all the pictures of delicious food and cute baby rooms you will find a plethora of ideas for teaching lessons, managing the

Finding Connectivism in our Daily Lives...

Connectivism was introduced as a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual. Connectivism proposes a perspective similar to the Activity theory of Vygotsky as it regards knowledge to exist within systems which are accessed through people participating in activities. It also bears some similarity with the Social Learning Theory of Bandura that proposes that people learn through contact. The add-on "a learning theory for the digital age", that appears on Siemens paper [1] indicates the special importance that is given to the effect technology has on how people live, how they communicate, and how they learn. (Wikipedia, 2011). Feel free to comment and add any way that you use connectivism in your daily life. Here are some examples my husband and I came up with when we were talking: 1. Finding inspiration for new things to bake through blogs and pinterest. 2. My husband is currently learning S


So in my class that I'm currently taking we are talking about "connectivism" this week. At first I had absolutely no clue what this was, until I watched a YouTube video and read a few articles that laid it out so clearly! I realized that we utilize this theory every day in our lives on the internet, as well as in person when we are at work. I "do" connectivism in the passing periods between classrooms with my fellow educators, and at home when I'm surfing through pinterest for ideas to use in my classroom. I frequently comment on posts from fellow educators on Twitter that I know personally, and connect with new people through hashtags and topics. I realized that having this network of people to learn from and share ideas with has made my career so much more effective! I can't honestly imagine working in a time period where I couldn't Google search "interactive notebooks" and come up with 100 results with blogs and pictures and articles to