Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordle is a way for students to display their knowledge in a fun way. Students can type words or cut and paste words into a text box. When they submit the words they appear randomly in different patterns. Words that are most frequently used appear larger in the pattern.
Wordle: Wordle

This Wordle is one created by one of my first grade students. The students learned about winter throughout the week. We wrote words on chart paper that had to do with winter. I took the chart with the winter words to the computer lab. The student each wrote words into their Wordle. I printed each student's Wordle to post next to a snowman art project and a traditional writing project. Additionally, the students blogged about what they know about winter, Winter Writing Blog.
Wordle: Winter

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Animoto is a video producing site. Students can use pictures and music and add text to make an amazing video. A variety of transitions and backgrounds can be used to make a video. This is an easy applications for students of all ages to use. Students simply upload pictures and arrange them in the sequence they wish them to be shown. They can add titles and sub-text to their pictures.

With my first grade students I worked one on one to help them learn the application. Each student read a expository story about an animal. They each then wrote their own story about their animal. The students sat with me to make their Animoto after their stories were complete. I taught the students to upload pictures of the animal they wrote about, add music, and write text from the books they wrote.

The following Animoto was created by one of my first grade students.

Google Docs

There are so many things you can do with Google Docs. I use Google Forms to create an area for students to write about things they are learning. In Google Forms you can add word boxes, text boxes, multiple choice bubbles, check boxes, choose from boxes, scale, and grids. You can see one way I use Google Forms at, Write About Apples


There are many different typing programs on the web. I chose a free kid friendly one for my 1st grade students to work on, I began the year with them practicing typing because many of the students I have may have never used a computer before. They quickly became familiar with the keys on the keyboard. I will continue using typing programs throughout the year to enable the students to become more adept at typing.

As students learned to type, I gave them opportunities to use their skills in authentic ways. Students were excited to write their stories on the computer. I had the students summarize themes we were studying in the blog. I sent the blog address out to other teachers and administrators to get others to respond to the students. Listed here are some of the posts from the students:
My Pet Dinosaur
I Can! Can You?
I found blogging easy to set up and easy for the students to use. I will continue to have the students blog throughout the year.

Voice Applications

AudioBoo and  iPadio are two voice applications. Both iPadio and AudioBoo are easy applications to use. I prefer using AudioBoo because of it's simplicity, but both are easy to use. You can download these applications to your phone and begin using them. Once you download and set up an account students can begin recording. You can listen to the recordings on your phone or from your computer.

I used these applications to record students reading their writings. Listen to what they wrote at, Other ways I will use these applications is to record students reading their leveled readers. They can practice fluency by hearing theirselves read.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Animoto Animals

Raccoons By Jael

Racoons By Mariah

Raccoons By Ireri

Flamingos By Janna

Flamingos By Kailani

Flamingos By Marco

Flamingos By Alyssa

Flamingos By Kendall

audioBoo Thanksgiving Break

user portrait
Go to to hear my students read their stories about Thanksgiving Vacation.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

nwpam10 General Session-Keynote Donalyn Miller

She had me at, "I hate writing. . ."

The Book Whisperer gave a inspiring speech on reading and writing in an elementary classroom. It was like she was saying all of the things I feel about writing. And all of the things I am sure my students feel about writing. She spoke of the struggles with writing and what a challenging task it is to be a writer. Donalyn Miller a great author, teacher, and speaker.

Donalyn's Suggestions for developing great readers:
  • Take your kids to the library
  • Self selection
  • Read with your kids
  • Read together
  • Read your own books
  • Converse about books
  • Books as gifts
  • Have lots of books around
  • Family Reading Time - Reading Matters
  • Don't force kids to read certain books

Other Featured Speakers

  • Sharon J. Washington, Executive Director of the National Writing Project
  • Yvonne Siu-Runyan, President-Elect of the National Council of Teachers of English
  • Pat Jones, Director of the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project
  • Ellin Nolan, President of Washington Partners, LLC

nwpam10 Inviting Families into Literacy Partnerships

JoBeth Allen, Red Clay Writing Project and Katherine McKay, Heart of Texas Writing Project presented on Literacy Partnerships with families.

The big idea was that we do a lot of things which include family, but are they for literacy or educational purposes? The group began by listing things we do at our schools that include parents. After we made our lists we numbered the list from 1-3 to show the level of educational purpose. Some of the things I listed were:
  • 1Partners in Print
  • 1Parent Conferences
  • 2Parent Club
  • 2Parent Volunteers
  • 2Open House
  • 2Back to School
  • 3Sporting Events
  • 3Awards Assembly
  • 3Carnivals
***The point made was that parental involvement does not always affect student achievement. Family involvement that is linked to student learning matters. Student achievement increases when families are involved in the academic aspect of their schooling. When parents are engaged in student academics at home students achieve at a higher rate.

Teachers need to build trust with families. Some examples of family involvement presented were:
  • Poetry Slam - Have families meet at a coffee shop to read their poetry.
  • WORDLE - Families again can meet at a coffee shop to read their WORDLEs. The parents can write their own and participate in the reading.
  • PhOLKS - Funds of knowledge photograph out of school life. Parents and students write an essay about a photograph taken by the student. Students can write about their picture. They write a caption for the picture. Then the parents write about the picture. Bring the picture and the two writings together.
  • Photo Poetry - Parents and students write a poem about something and books can be made from their writings. Ex. Alphabet book
  • Home School Journals
  • Family Dialogue Journals
  • Book Journal - A journal is passed from home to school. Students and parents read books together. They have a conversation about the book and note their conversation in the journal. The teacher responds to each entry.
  • Weekend Journals - What are the important things we learned this week. Students and parents write down what they learned for the week.
Suggested reading/site: Damion Frye - Home Journals
ABCya Kids Education and Technology Meet

nwpam10 K-12 Writing Centers: Transforming Students, Schools, and Sites

This sessions presenters were Denise Abercrombie, Connecticut Writing Project - Storrs, Rebecca Damron, Oklahoma State University Writing Project, Cindy Dean, University of Maine Writing Project, Denise Patmon, Boston Writing Project, and Jennifer Wells, Central California Writing Project.

This session ended up being something different than I expected. When an early elementary teacher hears "writing centers," we automatically think literacy centers. This session was not about literacy centers at all, but was instead about writing centers like those at some colleges.

The presenters discussed peer editing. There were three different levels: elementary; high school; and elementary.We were supposed to rotate through each of the presenters, but most people stayed with the presenters that were speaking about their specific grade level.

Rebecca Damron, Oklahoma State University Writing Project and Heather Corbett, 5th grade teacher, Skyline Elementary School, Stillwater, Oklahoma discussed the curriculum they are developing to teach Corbett's 5th graders to become writing coaches. Writing centers empower students to use what they learn. The writers work 1:1 with the peer tutor with the writing that comes to them.

Some things that can be done at my school might be:
  • Simplify the forms to train 1st grade students on peer tutoring.
  • Create a list of questions for my students to edit their own papers.
  • Train 5th/6th students to peer tutor with my 1st grade students.
I need to:
  • Read more about Writing Centers
  • Get out my 6 traits box and books
  • Develop a question page for 1st graders to edit their own writing.

nwpam10 Special-Focus Networks Minigrant Sparks and Poster Session

A little bragging now--This was my first NWP Conference and I was very excited to play a small part in the presentations. Kathee Godfrey and I presented on our first Tech Bootcamp at a SPARKS presentation. It was a five minute, 20 slide presentation. You can see the presentation and SJVWP representation in the NWP literature at the sites below.

Find other NWP Conference videos at:

I was featured as one of the bloggers on the NWP website. Check it out here:

Find my name on the list of presenters for the NWP 2010 Conference:

You can find me in the 2010 NWP Conference Program at (My name appears on page 27):

nwpam10 Student Publishing: Students Writing for Real Audiences

In this session the presenters, Pen Campbell, Third Coast Writing Project, David Ragsdale, Red Clay Writing Project, and Catharine Reeve, Southern Arizona Writing Project, discussed how they publish student work outside the classroom.

We began by doing a quick write of how we publish student work. Some of the things I wrote were, Encyclopedia of Student Animals, posting on the wall, Animoto, binding student writing to send home. We also wrote about the challenges of publishing student work. Some of my thoughts were time and money.

Each of the presenters introduced themselves and told a little about their projects. Table groups then discussed some of the challenges of publishing student work. There was a consensus that time and finances were the two major problems.

The presenters spent about 20 minutes with each table group discussing the publications their students produced. David Ragsdale discussed the Odyssey Newsmagazine his high school students publish each month. This magazine looked like something you would pick up off an end cap while waiting in line at the grocery store. It is a beautiful magazine that a lot of hard work goes into. He talked with us about the editing process. As students grow through the Journalism Program they move up the editing ladder.

Pen Campbell showed a couple ways teachers can publish their student work. One was The Wind-Up
school magazine. The other was a poetry book called Poetry Pals. Poetry Pals was a compilation of poems and art produced by fifth and ninth grade students. Each wrote a poem. They sent the poem to the other. The students then illustrated the other's poem. I thought this was a fantastic way to do cross-age instruction.

The final presenter, Kitty Reeve, showed the book Desert Living is Different! An Environmental Guidebook for Newcomers. This is a professionally bound book with full color pictures. The book guides visitors, to Arizona, through the desert. In my opinion, it is a the ultimate student published work.

After each presenter finished we discussed some ideas for publishing with our own students. Some ideas produced were:
  • Cross-age publishing
    • 8th grade/Senior Bullying book
    • Make PSAs
  • Explore something in history in your home town.
    • Publish something on the area.
  • Recipe book
  • School publication
It was suggested that business owners can help with the publishing of a book by writing the forward to a book. For instance, a chef could write something about their line of work in a book of recipes.

nwpam10 Reading the Research: Because Digital Writing Matters

This session was based on the book Because Digital Writing Matters. The presenters of this session were Seth Mitchell, Southern Maine Writing Project
and Jason Shiroff, Denver Writing Project.

Each table group began by reading a chapter of the book. At our tables we discussed the implications for our classrooms and what we thought teachers need to rethink. We also discussed the implications for our Writing Project sites.

Some of the points I made during this discussion were that teachers needed to let their students use computers as a web 2.0 tool instead of just as a web 1.0 tool.  In other words they need to let the students actively participate in web applications versus using the web passively.

Discussion also ensued about the need for teacher trust in using the web with their students. Many sites do not have access to a number of applications because of fear students will encounter something negative. Teachers need to be trusted to instill proper web use in their students just like any other rules they teach.

We then jigsawed our discussion by breaking out into new groups with people who had read different chapters. We listed the important points of our discussions from the previous groups.

We had writing time to reflect on what we learned. Some of the notes I wrote are as follows:
  • The implications of digital use in Selma: Teachers need to rethink how they use technology. They need to try to use something [a small piece of technology] and not be fearful of technology. Teachers need to stop thinking of technology as a 1.0 tool. They need to try 2.0 tools. Technology is part of every one's lives these days. Teachers need to embrace it.
  • Administration needs to trust teachers to monitor students' use of technology. Students need to be taught appropriate use and be trusted to learn through appropriate sites.
Some ideas presented:
  • Form a student technology team
  • On-going education for teachers
A quote from a attendee that resonated with me: "Here's a seed. Why isn't there a garden? There are computers to use. Why aren't teachers using them?"