Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thing #10

I learned several new things from this creative commons thing today. I did not know that the law had changed and that ANYTHING you write, photograph, or make audio/video is automatically copyrighted. I thought you had to go through an attorney or some sort of major license thingy to get a copyright. I also did not know anything about this CC where you could share, remix, reuse; however, I have often wondered how the original authors were able to contain their work with so much of it being shared on the web and illegally downloaded.

I have seen the CC symbol before on material and thought it meant something related to closed captioning (like on TV). lol.

This CC seems like it would be great for students as they learn more about technology and use it to their advantage on projects. Especially if they were able to go straight to one of the directories or do a CC search for the topic they were researching or doing a particular project. That seems easier than searching Google or whatever engine search they use and looking through several articles. Instead they can look for the ones that already know they will be able to share, remix or reuse. I have not worked with my dyslexia students in any sort of technological way, but think that it would benefit them in the regular classroom. Many dyslexic students are extremely creative and I feel they would soar with something like this given the opportunity and direction.

I am sort of curious if I have broken some copyright laws by sharing some things I have posted on facebook or on my emails. I didn't even think about it? I have shared you tubes, power points on emails, and some daily devotions as well. I will have to check into that and see if it's allowed legally.

One of the things I have done in my MTA class is show you tubes or video clips of famous dyslexics sharing their stories of struggles/success, Henry Winkler for example. That isn't breaking any laws because I didn't share it on the web change it at all.

The teaching materials I use are all copyrighted and I know exactly who owns the copyright and have asked her permission before to make a copy or share with parents. Some things she allows to be used, but many she does not. It's about keeping the rights and money made off of the materials.

Some potential negatives of using CC could be just like the ones with any research paper or similar projects, such as plagerism, or using too much of someone elses ideas versus coming up with your own ideas. However, maybe seeing others ideas could push one to create something even better, improve on something out there already.

I did the stretch activity and looked up a few dyslexia related items and was glad to see there are a few articles and sites out there to research, or classes offered for educators or parents.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thing 9

WIKI WIKI WIKI!!!!! WOW. I have to start off by saying that my Papaw calls me VickieWiki and has since I can remember. He is 93 now and still very smart and amazing.
So, how did I feel about this Wiki Sandbox experience? A little frustrated. I had already created a Wiki account a while back. So, when I played in the sandbox, and saved it, I couldn't find it and thought I had lost it. So, I went to my actual, real wiki account and re-typed the whole assignment as I had done in the Sandbox. I saved that version. Then went back to the sandbox instructions and re-read everything. I re-did all the steps and then had an idea to go to my History tab, and there it was! So, I went back to it and did the link page again to share my personal wiki with the sandbox class. I don't see it listed at the bottom with the other three that I can see on the sandbox instructions page, but??? I did it. You can find it twice either at my REAL account or the sandbox version.
I did a lot of going back to the cheat sheet and re-reading directions as I created the page, especially when it was for embedding a video or gadget. I never did get my personal photo which is saved in My Documents of my windows files to link. Maybe someone can help me with that.
I played around with looking at some other files, photos, even did some adding and removing of files and links.
I was thrilled that I was able to add the Voki and a you tube video!!! Yea.
I have to ask the veteran techies, does this get easier for us rookies? I'm spending WAY too much time on these assignments.
Looking forward to comments. Have a great day!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Nevermind - there it is. I kept previewing it and nothing showed up, but once I actually published the post, there it was! Good grief.

My Voki

Viki Voki Ok - I need help here. Maybe I can't put the VOKI on my blog site - only to my WIKI site. But, when I tried it there, I don't see it showing up. Guess I need to figure it out - but I've been trying to figure it out for hours. Someone who has this thing down and it's so simple, just tell this rookie. I read and wrote down the cheat sheet too - ugh.

Get a Voki now!

Thing #8 Stretch

I have used Wikipedia so many times in the past when I would google search a topic and one of the site options available was through the wikipedia. However, I had no idea that it was anything more than an on line encyclopedia until now. Wow. I didn't know there were discussions. When I clicked on the discussions tab, I was like, "wow, check it out."
Most of the topics of interest I checked out on the wikipedia I thought were well written, organized, valid and complete. Others however seemed to be needing more info, as if they didn't know a whole lot about it yet, or maybe there isn't much to know, I'm not sure, further research required. I did not add to any of the discussions, however.
I am amazed at how many links and other articles are available related to the topic on the wikipedia. You could spend so much time researching through them. For example, I heard a word I did not know the meaning of but had heard used before, so I looked it up on wikipedia. The word was panentheism and there was a whole series to the top right corner about God related topics.
I'm quite sure I will continue to use the wikipedia, and use it even more in depth now thanks to this class.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thing # 8

Do I think there may be a WIKI in my future???? Hmmm - maybe so. After reading Vicki Davis' blog I think I can certainly do one. I just have to make the time to get it done. I'm very interested. I absolutely loved the kindergarten counting book. I remember when I taught 1st grade and on the 100th day of school the students brought their posters of 100 things. We could have done WIKI slide show like they did. That seemed plenty easy enough. It would also be a cool way to share with the rest of the school and the parents on the school website.
I also fell in love with the Salute to Seuss Wiki project. I watched/listened to the kids reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Green Eggs and Ham". That is one WIKI I think I will begin with by having my students read the page of the book they illustrate to have a collaborative book reading. I teach students who have dyslexia and it is always amazing to me to see where they started out and what they are able to accomplish and overcome. The read-aloud on WIKI would be so special for the parents to hear and see.
I read every word of the WIKI on School in the Past. I don't consider myself to be that "old school" but I could certainly identify with several of the things written on the WIKI. No computers, no cell phones, walked to school no matter the weather, no music class or art class, but we did get to go to gym. Things have changed.
I particularly was interested in the Code Blue WIKI. My 8th grade son would LOVE this WIKI. The way it was organized made it so easy to just click to links and read whatever interested you about the human body (especially the YUCKY body functions link that kids would enjoy) with great visuals and charts. That is almost better than a text book.
There were some WIKIS that I found disorganized and hard to find what they were trying to show. The ones that were obvious or I could just scroll or click a link were much easier for me, a rookie, to locate and read.
As a rookie, I'm not too sure what I would change or do different or better except hopefully make it visually enticing, easy to read, easy to follow with accessible links and very user friendly.
Another WIKI I read and enjoyed was the Thousands Project. That seemed easy enough. I might start with a WIKI like that where I just put a question and have people respond to the question. It doesn't have to be 1,000 responses though.
My question is if it is open for others to edit, how do you keep the original writings and know who edited what? I think there were some articles about that which I need to read further into. I did look at the 7 things to know about WIKIS and some of the other resources listed, but I'm sure it will make more sense to me once I get in there and dabble in it.
I have been on Wikipedia many times, so, it's nothing new to me. But, I will look up something and post my next blog about what I found.
So, it's off the WIKI world for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thing # 7

I am a believer in the title of Thing 7 that we are creating community through commenting. I noticed that when I first joined facebook. It does bring people of interest together no matter the time or distance. That's what is so wonderful about it. Of course, we could do that before with email, but now we have all these other possibilities. I think it's especially important for this class that we keep in touch with other through comments because, for me, it helps me know I'm on the right track and doing these THINGS correctly. :)
I didn't know I was already doing some of the suggested ideas for commenting. I have already invited comments and asked questions on my blogs and on the comments I've posted on my RSS feeds. Hopefully I've been open-minded when giving my opinions. I haven't noticed anyone commenting on my comments yet, so, I will have to wait and see how that turns out.
Some of the edublogger etiquette rules were, in my opinion, basic to moral or ethical rules we should follow always, such as being gracious, humble and setting boundaries.
I will probably end up making a comment policy one day for my blog if I continue it beyond this class. (Which I most likely will).
I also liked the suggestions of moving your best blogs to the top.
I will have to check out the part of using "full text" feature on feeds though. Not sure about that.
There were a few articles I read, especially on some of the news feeds, that I could not find a way to reply or leave a comment. I guess not all of them do it or maybe you have to register and I didn't do that.
Sometimes I feel guilty for spending so much time on the computer for this class (especially reading the fun feeds of interest to me). It's another one of those things I have to make sure I keep in check and put first things first. :)

Thing 6

Technology is taking over. You really don't even need to pick up a newspaper anymore. You can get everything you need or want on line. Who needs to purchase CD's either when you can down load i tunes for free. Then, does anyone still use the library since you can read so many e-books on line now also. There's rarely a need for the post office because of so many options such as on line bill pay, email, facebook, e cards and on and on it goes. I have dabbled in these things I mentioned, but these news feeds and fun feeds to my reader could keep me busy for hours. I really don't want to get too much into it because it could take a lot of my time.
One of the areas on my personal interest feed that I chose was the yoga site. I teach aerobics and have for about 25 years now, but am fairly new to teaching yoga. So, I'm really enjoying the feeds I get on the Daily Cup of Yoga. This particular day the topic is staying cool during the heat of summer. Here in the heart of Texas, we should follow the advice. It's worth the read even if you're not into yoga. However, if you are sort of interested in yoga but afraid you can't do all those pretzel twisting poses you may have seen, no worries. Come check out my classes and I think you will be surprised at how wonderful yoga can be. You may email me at or comment on this blog for more info on the classes.
Another part of the article talks about listening to your body, be forgiving, patient, not competitive, and just flow. That's my philosophy. Letting go of all judgment, expectations, and competition in yoga as well as many things in life. We have this need to control because we think it gives us security. But what it really does is suffocate our soul and lead to anxiety and depression especially when you cannot control something or someone. It builds up resentment often times and steals your inner peace and joy. So, I'm really really really learning more and more each day to let go. I'm free to be me and you're free to be you.
So far, my experience with the google reader and the RSS feeds has been a great one. I'm learning so much. :)
Mrs. Vickie

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

thing 6 stretch activity

So I went to the google news and searched the health section and found this article about McDonalds. McDonald's is being threatened with a lawsuit because they lure children to buy junk food by putting toys in the Happy Meals. Oh my goodness. I'm not a big fan of fast food at all, but it's up to the parents to make good choices for the children. The kids are not the ones purchasing. The chain has come a LONG way in making the food better with the apples and juice or milk instead of fries and soda. But still, it amazes me the lawsuits that are out there these days. Wasn't it McDonald's that was sued for the person spilling the hot coffee on themselves. Good grief.
We need to become more of a society who takes responsibility for ourselves. Stop blaming. Grow up. If you don't like, don't buy it or don't go there. Just saying - that's my opinion. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

thing 5 continued

Here's another somewhat interesting read from one of my google reader RSS feeds. It's about finding the best parts of teaching. I left a comment on this particular post.
My question to you is what do you think of test scores in education? Have we taken it too far and made it too important, the end all? Assessment is necessary, but how much of the curriculum should be designed around raising test scores?
What do you Texans think of the new STARR test???
My thoughts are that Good teaching and Good learning go hand in hand. What do you think?

thing 5

I decided to see what's happening out there in newspaper headlines and this was one that caught my eye, the new Toy Story 3 movie. I have not seen the movie yet, but I absolutely loved the first two. My children grew up watching those movies over and over and over again. Now, my oldest will be a Sr. in high school. Wow. We still say "to infinity and beyond" sometimes. Another favorite quote is something similar to "you're a sad strange little man".
The article basically said that the writers went back to a cabin they were at when they wrote the first two movies in hopes of brainstorming a great new idea. They came up with the character Ken. And, of course, they made this one in 3D but admitted it is nothing like the drastic images seen in Avatar. They wanted to make it a little more lively but not overdo it. Since I haven't seen the movie yet, I have no comment on that. It is sometimes hard to make sequels as wonderful as the original. If you have seen the movie, tell me your thoughts. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

thing 4 second response to blogs read

The genre of the blogs I read were mostly educational. I love the fact that students are blogging. I read the blog from 5th grader Patrick called "Patrick's Update" and thought he was getting his point across very well - to not give up and always do your best no matter what people say about you. Then there was the blog from the 2nd graders who wrote the duck story. It was exactly something you would expect from silly second graders. The great thing is that they were writing - freely!!! So, those two were similar because they were written by students, but different in what they wrote. Patrick was serious. The 2nd graders were very silly.
The blog about no homework was very bravely but strongly written and that's what my previous post was about. I had a lot to say regarding homework.
Then the blog on teaching brevity was also wonderful. I totally agree that some people can say great meaningful things in very few words and others ramble on and on and say nothing.
So, those two blogs were very similar in the subjects of educating and what teachers could consider changing.
The other blog I read was the Stop Cyberbullying advocate. Way to go! Very well written. It is a subject that should be addressed with more emphasis and certainly shouldn't be made fun of in my opinion. There always have been and probably always will be bullies, but people tend to write their thoughts more freely and bravely than they ever would say them publicly.
I'm loving the different types of blogs. Some of them seem as if I'm reading an article in an educators magazine and others might be on an editors page in the newspaper. Some are just like what I read on facebook posts. Very interesting. The reader can take it or leave it, but the most wonderful thing is that the reader can respond immediately via web tools. If you were to respond to a magazine or editor it would take weeks before it was published, IF it were published.
The other great thing about blogging is that the grammar, spelling, etc doesn't have to be perfect. Just getting your thoughts out there in cyberspace or "blogosphere" is awesome. It most certainly facilitates learning. The more you read, the better reader you become as well as seeing the correct spelling written by others at least exposes you to more than you would have ever been exposed to without blogging or using any type of internet tool.
Lovin' it!!!!!

thing 4

"Why I don't assign homework" was right up my alley. I agree, and am glad someone has done a research paper to confirm what I have believed for so many years. The kids who don't need the homework are the ones that do the homework. Just like they are the ones who show up for parents conferences, PTA meetings, school events, etc. It's the ones that need it the most who rarely do the work or show up at any school events. So - what are we the educators to do about it? After all, it is still our responsibility to teach these students, no matter what is going on at home. We have to change what WE can, because we usually cannot change what is happening elsewhere.
Of course, we certainly need to figure out how to get a grip on classroom management, which each year, in my experience, seems to become more and more of a challenge. Then, we need to make sure we maximize classroom instruction and ENGAGE the students. We have to teach the way they learn best and differentiate the instruction to different levels of students. It is no longer (and really never has been) sit and get lectures that work best for students. It may be the easiest for the teacher, but not very effective in permanent learning.
I do like one of the bloggers comments on how he does his homework with the three parts of practice, regular, and challenge and all the students have to do the regular plus one. That sounds fair.
The main reason for the homework is to have the students practice, but all to often, the students don't have enough GOOD instruction to even know what they are doing when it comes time to practice for homework. They are still asking parents, who usually don't know either. So, that leaves friends. Many times they are doing the homework together or sharing answers on line. How much of it is really being done by the student alone for actual practice. But, at the very least, they are involved, socializing, creating networks, learning how to use the internet or other tools in order to get the job done.
Thanks for sharing this blog about homework. Interesting viewpoints.
Mrs. Vickie

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

avatar me

Yahoo! Avatars

Day in the life of Web 2.0 (thing 2 and 3)

Day in Life of web 2.0

I’m fascinated with all the latest, greatest technology. I’m thrilled to see schools using the available tools. As more teachers learn how to use and incorporate this technology into their teaching, successful engaged students will blossom. I believe educators will reach more students and help so many types of learners become more than they ever dreamed they could be because we are teaching them the way they learn best. More of the right brain, creative learners will come alive because they are being allowed to use their creative learning style instead of the typical old school left brain teaching methods.
I’m a little embarrassed at how little I have learned and used. On the other hand, without being told to, I have ventured out and discovered so many of the Web 2.0 tools already. I’m still a rookie, especially considering these tools have been around since 2006 and it’s half way through 2010 now.
I’ve been an educator for 20 years and have seen the greatest technological changes just this past year. My students made a power point of the pictures they took using the digital camera during the last week of school and put together a mini-presentation of their “favorites” sort of telling a story about the grade they were in this year and their memories. How awesome to have a flash drive to go share these memories with anyone, anywhere, anytime. I loved that new www definition: whatever, wherever, whenever.
I have students taking pictures with their cell phones and making you tubes of all sorts of things. Amazing!!
Personally, my nephew made a you tube podcast of my 93 year old grandfather singing “The Eyes of Texas”.
This is the way of future learning and educating. As teachers, we must get on board. So many educators complain about students’ lack of interest and involvement; however, if we get involved with how they learn and use the tools they already use (cell phones, my space, facebook, etc) then I believe we could see a great learning curve for the better.
Now, that doesn’t mean throw away all the good teaching that already takes place (don’t throw away the baby with the bath water). Just incorporate wonderful new tools.

Reflections on lifelong learning

I've read the book by Stephen Covey The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People and enjoyed the book. So, it's no surprise I also enjoyed the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners.
The habit which will be most challenging for me will be the fourth habit which is to have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner. I feel a little bit behind in the technology world. My confidence level is certainly not one of competent. However, once I put my mind to accomplish something, it will be accomplished. Therefore, I will have to use positive self talk and catch myself if I hear myself using negative, non-affirming words throughout this learning process and change them into positive, confident, affirming words.
The habit which I believe will be the easiest will be the sixth habit which is to use technology to your advantage. In the past few years since having internet access, I have used Google, Bing, Yahoo, and E-How to research almost anything I wanted to learn about such as recipes, how to repair a garbage disposal, or things to do in the metroplex. So, I certainly will use the tutorials and technology for any thing I need to learn about throughout this course.
The most important habit for me will be to view problems as challenges instead of complaining, feeling negative, or giving up. If we are open and willing, we can always learn and mature in life when we accept obstacles as an opportunities to learn and grow. My children were going through some tough times recently and at first, I was very stressed out about what we were all going through. However, I had to remind myself to ask what it was I was supposed to be learning throughout the circumstances I was faced with and to remember to take things one moment at a time and eventually overcome each obstacle. Patience is indeed a virtue, but one well worth obtaining.
I'm looking forward to playing with the web 2.0 tools and sharing them with others.
Mrs. Vickie