Thursday, December 18, 2008

Laptops, Google Docs, and Grade 5/6 Social Studies Oh MY!!!!

I must admit, I had a wonderful lesson on graphing climate averages for ten Canadian Communities using the spreadsheets on Google Docs.

What made it particularly pleasant was the portability of the laptops; I could create small groups of 3 students per laptop and move them well apart from each other. This way, there were no other computers and students to distract group members from the task at hand. Three can cluster around a laptop and be totally involved.

We started with one of those S & S Learning maps which showed 10 communities all over Canada with their minimum and maximum average temperatures. Students had to create a spreadsheet with 3 columns: Communities, Average Winter Temperature in Degrees Celcius, and Average Summer Temperature in Degrees Celcius. They entered the data from the maps. (One group member could read as another typed). They then created a bar graph; winter temps for the most part below the zero mark in blue and summer temperatures above the zero mark in red. I then asked them to share the document with their two buddies so all had a copy. Too too cool. (No more, "The document is stored on his/her computer and he/she is not here.")

(As well, grade six has been studying basic integers in math; this ties in with integers and data management. Not bad eh?)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is blogging becoming passe?

I've noticed fewer and fewer blogs (mine included) - not only from LSKYSD teachers, but also from the formerly prolific bloggers to whom I subscribe? Is this because we have found new tools - Twitter, Yammer, Edmoto..... in order to communicate our peals of wisdon and insight, or do we have less and less to say? Have we lost our sense of wonder with these new tools, or are we being more judicious about what we do say? Are we just plain tired, or have we found our networks and are we sticking to them?

For me, I'm not sure I have as much to say. I am not directly teaching a technology class per se; however I am using technology to teach most of my classes. I'm experimenting with Edmodo. I'm using Google Docs for students to complete short historical research assignments in ArtsEd 9/10. My grade 5/6 social studies class is epaling with Epals, and teleconferencing using Skype. Of course, we are wordprocessing assignments! I've written about these already; how much more can I say? As well, like everyone, I'm "busy, busy, busy....".

We are still Skyping with a class in the states. I'd like to Skype with a class in LSKYSD. Anyone interested?