Making Connections – Bonus!

internet_note_takingI love hearing and seeing what other educators do.  I am constantly reading others blogs and sites and saving ideas or forwarding them, but I never comment.   I’ve looked at many of the blogs that participants have done this winter and it has often inspired me to look further into the topic. This topic is forcing me to to take a more active role within the online community.  I tried commenting on a few sights by signing in with my WordPress account with no luck.  I switched to my Google account and was finally successful.  I still haven’t figured out what the problem was.

I viewed  Library Crazy, and thought she had some good insights.  I liked the entry about Mapping and Geolocation because I had done that topic too.  I like hearing how others use the same tools.    Bri’s Cool Tools Blog was interesting and I especially took note of her curation tools entry.  The Infographics info on Tech For Your Classroom gave me a quick insight into the topic without doing the whole thing.  I did play with but I haven’t decided whether I will pursue  the topic further.  I checked out Teaching and Learning in a High School Library and I think I would like to try Adobe Slate with my students.

I am sure I will continue to scour the internet for new and innovative ideas for my classroom.  I don’t know that I have converted to commenting on everything I see, but maybe by occasionally sharing my thoughts I will develop a more useful and satisfying network.


Mapping Tools – Thing 21

landforms_2When going through the Google Maps links I had that aha moment when I went “duh… I can’t believe I never thought of that.”  I could use street view as a virtual field trip in my classroom!  We used street view the next day in my 5th grade social studies class to explore Chichen Itza as we wrapped up our Mayan unit.  The students loved exploring on their own and were excitedly showing each other things they saw and relating it to what we had learned.  As we do other units I plan to have the students explore historical sites with street view.  They can also see how things have changed over time by looking at street views of modern cities where ancient cultures were located.

I loved the site Infinity of Nations.  I want my students to explore as we end our Aztec unit.  It will be a great review of that Native American cultures we’ve studies as well as an intro to the Incas.  I loved the map component that was part of the site.

I love the site.  I plan to use some of the timelines that have already been created to share information in a different way with my students.  The combination of narratives, timelines and maps is wonderful.  Eventually I would like to use it for students to do digital storytelling about a culture.  Since the students need to be 13 and have an email to have an account I can’t use it directly.  My students would have to use the Edmodo plugin.  I do not currently use Edmodo with my classes so we will have to learn that platform first.   I am excited to get started.  Collaborating with my librarian for this type of project would work really well.  I think the students might also benefit from working with partners or in groups to begin with.  The possibilities are exciting.


I Love My Feed Reader! – Thing 13

I was excited to investigate this topic because I had tried using an RSS feed on my class website but had been unsuccessful because I didn’t really understand how it worked.  After reading through Thing 13 and its links I set up a Feedly account and began looking for sites to follow.  I started perusing the Edublog Award winners blogs and found some that I loved and definitely wanted to follow.  I also searched by categories in Feedly and found a few more.  I did all this about two weeks ago and meant to write my blog about my experience right away.  The problem was each time I started I kept getting sidetracked by articles on the sites I am following. An hour or two later I would realize I still hadn’t put together my blog, but I had new things I wanted to try in my classroom instead!

Microsoft_clip_art-3As a professional development tool I love the feed reader.  I could not seem to create a tool that would work for my students, though.  In 5th grade social studies we have been studying Native American tribes as well as the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.   I was hoping to create a feed reader that would funnel current articles on these topics such as new discoveries or blogs on current digs but I could not find what I was looking for.  I also tried the same type of thing for my 6th grade students.  Hopefully I will eventually find what I am looking for.

Professional Learning Network – Thing 3

When I started this topic I came with an open mind but I must say the article Twitter is Studpid. (until you realize…) described me to a T.  Who cares what you had for dinner!  It opened my eyes to establishing a purely professional network (hence my title) that I may get much more out of and enjoy.

I began with lurking (which sounded kind of creepy) on Twitter, but did not feel I was connecting with as many resources as I hoped.  I already had a twitter account but I only used it for notifying parents when I updated my website.  So I started using it in a totally different way. I started following a few accounts.  I found that it takes and incredibly long time to truly find accounts that interested me.  Having hashtags explained help me find a few good nuggets.  I still have not posted anything myself except for a retweet.

I am not ready to use Twitter with my class but am looking forward to continuing to build a professional network.

Thing 1 – Blogging


I am Cheryl Toomey, a fifth and sixth grade social studies teacher in Fort Plain, NY.  It’s a small, upstate, rural school.  I love using technology with my students.  They get excited about any topic if I include technology into the mix.  About half of my students do not have internet or computers at home.  I have a SMARTboard in my classroom and two student computers.  I have access to a building computer cart with student laptops which is shared throughout the school.  The students will be thrown into a tech savvy world and they need to be prepared to use many different forms of it.  With my students having limited access at home to experiment, it is up to the school to introduce them to as many things as possible so they are comfortable navigating through whatever is required of them in the future.I am excited to learn some new tech ideas to add to my teaching.

cropped-cropped-internet_it_class.pngBlogging is totally new for me.  I want to start using it with my students after I get a good handle on it.  I already have a weebly for Education website that the students use and would like to add a blog page.  The post How to Start Blogging with Students I thought was especially helpful in breaking down how to introduce the process of blogging.  I especially liked the idea of doing it on a large sheet of paper with post-it notes first.