Digging Into Google Sites

Maybe I am just lazy, but I am liking how easy it is to create websites with Google Sites. They really get the simplicity down for users. And my list of sites keeps growing, as I added a place for all of my book and graphic novels reviews that run elsewhere first but needed a home under one roof. I have used Google Page Creator, but that seems more and more clunky and I think Google is phasing it out (although I may be wrong about that).

Want to see some of the Google Sites I have created?

And here are a few that I have created for my classroom or with students in other programs:

So, why does Google do it? Their philosophy, from what I have read, is that the more people who are online, the more people who may click on their advertising links in their Google Search, and the more money they get. I understand all that and I can live with that, as long as my sites don’t become home to a barrage of advertising.

Do you use Google Sites? (And see her for information from Google on using its tools for the classroom)

Peace (in building footprints),
Kevin

You Days in a Haiku

Some wonderful syllables came my way this week as we transformed Days in a Sentence into Days in a Haiku. Thanks to everyone who took the plunge. And here is a gift for all of you: a GeoGreeting, which spells out words based on images from Google Earth.

And now — your haikus:

Paul is seeking some company.

Found a hotel room
To NECC and DC I go
Split the cost with me?

Wow. sara actually had a student wonder about what is it like to teach (actually, I have a group of students planning a teach the teacher day(s) event and it has been interesting to listen to them talking about how a kid takes over the room).

twelve-year-old students…
“what’s it like to teach 6th grade?”
“like herding kittens.”

Ken gives us the gift of imagery. I imagine he thinks in poetic thoughts.

sun high in the blue
water sparks and squints past green
fields this is our land

Liza needs some respite. So do I. How come I doubt neither of us will be getting it anytime soon?

Crisp and cool fall air
Insane deadlines and too much work
I long for a break

Crazy busy people … all of us, right? Anne captures that in her haiku.

My week was crazily busy,
Simulating and fun,
Yet wearying and energy zapping.

Ahhh. Report card time? (We moved from trimesters to twice-year report cards, but I remember this time of filling out report cards all too well). Good luck, James.

Forever marking
Never finishing the job
Report card time’s hard

I love the sounds here in Eric’s poem.

Pitter, patter, rain
Overcast shrinking daylight.
Winter is coming.

Stacey feels as if she has gone overboard, but hey … it’s for the kids.

After school I went
to Attleboro and bought
too much for my kids.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Peace (in syllables),
Kevin

Bird’s Eye View of Rome

My gosh … this is cool. Google Earth with an entire replica of Ancient Rome. Man, just think of the possibilities if you teach this unit. And, if you are ambitious (which my math teacher and I hope to be later this year), you can even use Google Sketch-Up to build your own 3D buildings and place them on your Google Earth.

Here is some info about the Google Earth Rome Project.

And here is a snazzy video:

Peace (in exploration),
Kevin

My 2008 Edublog Award Nominations

The annual Edublog Awards (known as The Eddies) are underway again this year. No, it is not part of the Edublogs blogging network (although James is graciously offering up some of his Campus blogging suites as prizes). It’s a way to recognize some of the outstanding blogging that is going on. What I like is that when the actual voting takes place, you can follow the links to the nominees and discover all new worlds of blogs out there.

I struggled with nominations, but here are a few:

  • Best Resource Blog: I love Two Writing Teachers, which is a place to reflect on writing practice and also, to write as teachers. Ruth and Stacey really bring a passion to what they do and are so willing to share their best practices — you can’t go wrong. (Another blog that is a must-see is Larry Ferlazzo, but I am hoping that others will nominate him — actually, I am sure of that).
  • Best Individual Blog: I love to read Matt Needleman’s Creating Lifelong Learners, which shows us how to think about video and audio in the classroom — not as an add-on, but as part of the curriculum itself. This is so important and Matt has some great insights. In fact, I think his K12 Online presentation was the best one that I viewed this year. I learn a lot from Matt.
  • Best Group Blog: OK, so I have written for this one from time to time, but TeachEng.us is a great resource for the English classroom. The lesson plan and ideas run the gamut from elementary to high school classrooms. Plenty of good teaching ideas here.
  • Best use of Social Networking: Although I have been absent from discussions there (sorry), the Fireside Chat network is a place of rich discussions that move beyond the day to day of teaching and education. Connie has established a warm and inviting place to connect with others.
  • Best use of Audio: I think Teachers Teaching Teachers continues to develop as an outstanding home for quality discussions and topics, and the podcasts are a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on what is happening in the worlds of education, writing and technology.
  • Best New Blog: I like what Bill Gaskins is doing over at his Blogging on the Bay. He offers up reflections and insights and shows by example. I hope the teachers in his network are following his lead and moving deeper into technology integration.
  • Best Use of Video: I love what George Mayo is doing with video in his classroom, and how his students are becoming real movie producers of small movies. (Oh, my class is joining his stop-motion project). George is a real leader in collaborative projects.

That’s all I got for now.

(I hope you will nominate some of your favorite blogs, too. Go here for more information).

Peace (in resources),
Kevin

Joining the Longfellow 10: moviemaking

My friend, George, is up to something interesting again (last year, it was the inspiring Many Voices for Darfur project) and it reminds me that what goes around, comes around. Last year, George asked about integrating stop-motion animation in the classroom as my class was engaged in claymation projects. Now, he has a group of kids calling themselves The Longfellow Ten who are creating and producing stopmotion films around literary terms. And he asked if my students might be interested in joining his students, and possibly others, in building up a site of short stop-motion films on certain themes (George, can we do Math in the spring?).

I looked at my schedule, cleared out a few things and today, I began working with all four of my classes on stopmotion movies. I just let them play today and they had a blast, using the freeware (StopMotion Animator) and webcams and a few even made it into Moviemaker to start messing with titles. Tomorrow, we move on to the real lesson. They will be working in small groups to develop a short movie on a literary theme that is part of our curriculum:

Antagonist

Protagonist

Foreshadowing

Dialogue

Setting

First Person Point of View

Third Person Point of View

Plot

Characterization

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Here is a picture of them at “work” today.

And here is a little movie that I made with one of the classes to show how it is done.

More to come in the future …

Peace (frame by frame),
Kevin

Days in Haikus

I’ve been thinking in syllables this week (maybe some residual sickness?) and so it seemed natural to return Days in a Sentence to a former version of itself, known as Day in a Haiku. I invite you to boil down your week or a day in your week into a haiku (traditional structure: 5-7-5 or non-traditional) and share it out with us here at Day in a Sentence.

Use the comment link on this post to submit your words. I will keep them in a moderation bin until this weekend, when I will publish them all.

Here is mine (as podcast):

Macs for podcasting
then,  PCs for stopmotion;
Maps, too. We’re busy.

Peace (in verse),
Kevin

The Hero Journey/Google Map Project

I am putting the finishing touches on the tutorial I am going to show my students as we launch into the Hero Journey Project that I have been writing about. Take a look and steal from it what you need:

Peace (in journeys),
Kevin