Communication Tools- Skype

21 Things skype IM message screenshot

This is a screenshot of my message to Melissa on Skype.

21 Things Skype call to Dan

This is a screen shot of my call to my son, Dan. No…he doesn’t really look like that! My desktop does not have a videocam so I usually make video calls from my iPad. I called his mobile in this screenshot.

Skype has lots of possibilities. I could see using Skype to connect to another classroom to work on a joint project or to share performances or learning. Our goals in first grade are learning about our school community and we do lots of work developing community within our classroom. It might be fun and enlightening to connect with another classroom somewhere else in the state, country or world who is working on the same goal. That would be the begninning of learning that community extends to bigger and bigger arenas.

Skype could also be used in our classroom to bring in “experts” or people who might inspire us. We are writing pattern books right now. Finding a classroom working on pattern books to share ours with would be a great way to celebrate and to get new ideas (for both the students and the teacher.)

Skype might be able to be used for conferences with parents if parents had the technology and know-how.

As I have thought about using Skype with my students, I’ve thought a lot about being thoughtful with technology and not just using technology because it is cool or to show administrators that I can do it. I really think it is important to remember that it isn’t about using technology. It is about teaching children. Yes, technology can sometimes do that very well but like Glasser pointed out, there are 8 intelligences. Technology isn’t the best solution for every lesson and every student. I think we need be thoughtful and purposeful with all of our planning and teaching.


Communication Tools

21 Things moodle chat participation


This is a screenshot of our backchannel chat during one of our virtual 21 Things sessions. I have also used Chatzy in the past. I volunteer as a customer service representative for a nonprofit. When we had more than one representative returning phone calls at a time, we used Chatzy to let others know what we were working on. We were also able to help each other when we needed more information for a caller.

I could see this tool being used during a Professional Development session between colleagues to discuss relevant ways to use new ideas and information. It might also be used in place of one of the many meetings that are planned to discuss a special needs student and revise plans for said child.

I know that they are many creative teachers out there who are probably using this type of tool with 6 and 7 year olds. At this point, for me, it seems like too much effort for an unclear outcome.

Collaboration- Google template

I worked with two Google templates. One of them was an upper level writing rubric that I converted to a First Grade Writing Rubric. When I sent it to colleagues and myself and even in “My Library,” it showed up as a spreadsheet rather than the template I worked on. I wasn’t sure how to fix that. When I went to “Live View” I could get it to show the template and somehow it showed up in one of the e-mails I sent myself. The other template was a lesson planning template. There were some changes that I was unable to make to the templates. I’m not sure how useful they will be, but I can see the possiblities in creating or finding templates that fill the needs that I have and being able to share them and work on them with colleagues. The writing rubric I tried to create used the items we already use but put them in a different format.  I sent both templates to colleagues but have not gotten a response yet. I included myself on the mailing and was unable to comment on one of them. I have more than one gmail account so I am not sure if it was requiring me to sign up for Google+ or if the comment section just wasn’t working. I will confer with my colleagues to see if they are having trouble with this.  I will post screenshots once I get comments.

How would I use this? The writing rubric was a simplified version of the one my colleagues and I already use. I like parts of the format but am not sure how it would function in use. Using Google to share it and work on it with colleagues seems like a great way to go about it. My feeling is that we might use this one as a beginning but create our own to suit our need more efficiently.

The lesson plan rubric again is a great way to collaborate and share different ways that we approach a lesson or a unit.

Collaboration- Lino board

The Lino board that I created uses sticky notes and a photo to represent some of the areas I am working on with my classroom this week. I used Lino as an organization and reminder tool. I listed materials I would need to gather and areas of study that I will be covering. I also used it to remind myself of projects that I need to work on and complete. I added a document (iPad schedule) but was only able to see the link where I have to download it everytime rather than just have it on the board to look at.

I realize that I am not truly collaborating in this case but it was an effort to try out this tool and get some ideas. I can see that it might be a good tool for grade level planning if we could share a board and add ideas, plans and links for weekly plans or units of study.

I think that with first graders I would have to use it for a more specific purpose. Some ideas- things that make up morning jobs (trade books, lunchgraph, bathroom, pencil sharpening) or reader’s workshop (find a quiet, cozy spot, get out my pile of books, look over the cover, etc.) or partner work.  I suppose they could use it in response to reading or learning but I’m not sure it is the best tool for that. If a board could be shared then perhaps we could collect responses. I’m not sure. I’m getting ready to try KidBlog for that. I’d like to see some examples of how it is used in early elementary by other teachers.