Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Lip Dub Experience in Grade 4


At the beginning of the school year, a teacher expressed to me that she had heard a very inspirational song and would love to have her class do something with it. Maybe, it could be used in a slideshow or some kind of presentation at a school assembly? And as we all know, school gets underway, things happen and plans sometimes go to the wayside. When I shared the #ETMOOC lip dub five months later, this teacher immediately emailed me excited with a new outlet of sharing the message of that song.

I can’t tell you how much the class must have practiced singing during Morning Meeting times, nor could this have happened without the meticulous organization on the part of the classroom teacher to equally divide up parts and manage groups. These groups were responsible for picking a location in the classroom for each segment of the song as well as choreographing any movements/actions as appropriate. This decision making gave them ownership and kept it authentic and true to a fourth grader’s work and interpretation.  It took us three forty-five minute sessions to record 56 short movie segments using an iPod Touch and then several hours for me to edit in iMovie, but the creativity and teamwork that took place to construct this finished product were well worth it.

Please enjoy our What Faith Can Do Lip Dub and its powerful message.

Digital Storytelling as a Morning Meeting Activity


Responsive Classrooms always are looking for morning meeting activities that are fun and energize students for the day. If the students can warm up and use their brains, too, it’s even better! Recently, I learned about Pechaflickr from Alan Levine‘s #ETMOOC session: Web Storytelling: 50 Ways, 5-Card Flickr & Pecha Flickr. The gist of the game is that random pictures will be shown on the screen and change at a certain pace. Players are to tell a story based on the pictures that appear. The challenge is that the story should flow together. Does this remind you of a chain story that you may already play with your students going around the circle? What makes this game exciting is the element of the random pictures as well as the timing constraints to compose the story. This activity looks like it meets the requirements of a good, rousing morning meeting activity.

How to get started:

  1. Visit Pechaflickr and set up the parameters:
    • You will need to choose a tag that will filter pictures at flickr. You will want to choose something that is appropriate for the age of your students. Maybe, there is a topic that you are studying that would work. Airing on the side of caution: I recommend trying out a tag a couple of times first on your own before going live with students.
    • Click on Show Advanced Options. This will allow you to set the number of slides/pictures and how long they will appear on the screen before advancing. This also will give you calculation of how long this game will take- important to know when you are sticking to a morning meeting schedule.
  2. Click Play!

OK- so you may be feeling a little nervous still about the element of the random online photo appearing on a full screen in front of your students? Understandable. Here’s another option: use iPhoto, PowerPoint, your computer’s screen saver or some kind of slideshow maker set to show photos at random for a specific amount of time. You can load in the pictures yourself to have more control, and your students can still compose an impromptu story. A good alternative? This also gets me thinking about how a teacher could use pictures from classroom events such as field trips, science experiments, etc. or pictures that review a topic in a random slideshow. Students would be asked to recount a story in the game’s fashion… another fun way to make morning meeting activities relevant to classroom content and to exercise those brain muscles!

So, fire up that mounted projector and have some creative, improv fun! I’m planning on giving it a try during a 4th grade morning meeting in the near future.

(And please send Alan Levine some feedback right on the Pechaflickr site. It’s a quick survey form. He’d love to know what you think about his tool.)

Five Card Story


Five Card Story: Willpower

a #etmooc story created by mssanderson_ITS

flickr photo by ncaramanico

flickr photo by Henriksent

flickr photo by cogdogblog

flickr photo by mrsdkrebs

flickr photo by cogdogblog

Mmmmmmm… yum.

Can’t I just have one? Or twenty?

I’ll need to wear out my sneakers to work that off.

“Blahhh…Go ahead, we eat anything and we’re fine!”

Fruit substitute: the healthier choice.


Are you ready to play Five Card flickr? Give it a try yourself.

The above story was my first attempt (as a part of #ETMOOC). Picture prompts are not a new concept, but the set up of this tool allows for some wonderful creative thinking. This is a great example of technology integration to meet a writing objective.

Learn more about Five Card flickr. Thanks to Alan Levine for sharing this tool.

Community-Sourced Project


The #ETMOOC lip dub inspired me to make a community-sourced Abbot School Pledge & Code of Conduct video. Staff were asked to submit a video recording of themselves reciting the pledge or code of conduct in a recent post and email.

Below is an excerpt from the original email:

I want to create a video of the Abbot Student Pledge and Code of Conduct being read by as many staff members as possible. However, it won’t be a unison group reading with all us huddled in front of a camera. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Everyone’s face needs to be seen.

I am asking that every interested staff member video record him/herself reading/reciting the Abbot Student Pledge and Code of Conduct. If this is too much of an individual risk, feel free to do it as a team or cluster of staff members. I then will look at each of the videos submitted and take a segment from each to compile a cohesive reading of the Abbot Student Pledge and Code of Conduct.

Why am I even suggesting this activity? Today, we live in a very connected world. Everyone has an opportunity for his/her voice to be heard and to share his/her thoughts, feelings and learning via online outlets. Crowdsourcing is a method of gathering information. In our case, we will gather everyone’s unique reading of the Pledge and Code of Conduct. We want everyone to have a sense of belonging and significance at Abbot. We have high expectations/guidelines that we ask the students to recite and then follow every week. Let’s show the students that we as an adult community believe in these expectations. Let them hear us saying the words and see the expressions on our faces. Let them see via this product that we all work together to make things happen at Abbot.

The video debuts at Community Meeting today. Please take a look: Abbot Student Pledge & Code of Conduct

Six Word Stories: A Few Ideas


I was introduced to the idea of the Six Word Story during the digital storytelling topic in #ETMOOC. For those who do not know, there is a legend that Ernest Hemingway once composed a six word story in order to win a bet. His winning story: For sale: baby shoes, never used. Today, there is at least one website and a Twitter stream dedicated to the creation of this type of story. I tried my hand at posting a couple of my own six word stories on Google+ and Twitter. Interestingly, people commented with – what else?! – a six word story! I then found myself composing a reply with another six words to continue the conversation. And the conversation did continue… it was actually kind of fun and very creative.

That brings me to: can this be used in the elementary grades?

I don’t see young kids getting involved with the above linked website or Twitter stream as there is no filter or content restrictions; however, I do see the concept of the six word story being used to teach students what the key points of a story are. What words can be chosen to hook a reader and make him/her want to know more? It also can make students think about what elements will elicit emotion. Perhaps, the six word story could be a challenge to report/summarize something that they have learned or an event that has taken place. In six words, retell the chapter that you have read. In six words, give feedback about how you are doing with a task or skill.

Of course, this type of writing can be extremely low tech or even no tech at all. Six word stories just can be written on an index card or a sheet of paper. However, what I enjoyed most beyond the challenge of writing a six word story was sharing it with others and getting a response. Maybe, this is a great way to do some paper blogging? Writing one six word story on a sheet of paper and having students put post-its on it.

Getting back to the tech, I certainly can see students writing six word story blog posts, and as a part of the assignment, visiting each other’s posts and commenting. The comments could ask questions or make observations (in the six word style or not- depending on how challenging you want to make the activity). The post author could respond (in six words or not?) to continue the flow of the conversation. Perhaps, adding another six words to the story based on the audience’s inquiries or comments. Or, maybe, the comments would serve purely as peer writing feedback, and the post author would now write a more developed story in its entirety. The six words served as an outline or plan. Moreover, it could be a ploy: the words were a teaser to get the audience wanting to know the entire tale.

I could go on about how the six words could inspire photographs or drawings to be created and shared. Furthermore, the teacher could prompt students with an image and ask students to compose a six word story about it. The six word stories could be made into a slideshow with any number of software applications.

Six words do not seem like much. Yet, they can be very powerful, depending on how they are used.

Teacher prompts. Students think. Learning happens.

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