Fine and dandy

Connie and Steve asked us to vent about our day today on our blog because it appears that many people had one of those "full moon" days. I have to say that while I ended my day with a combined 8th grade Spanish class of 35 plus, it went well and my day went smoothly. What's up with that? I'm off to read your blogs now to find out just how lucky I was today! :-)


I tried my best

Perhaps today was a day where traditional teaching would've worked best for me. I tried to do the tutorials, but feel like I would've liked going through this together in a group. I am sure, however, that I would've slowed everyone down, so this would not be a good use of your time! I just feel that others got more out of the experience than I did today and I'm left feeling a bit behind.

My time with Slideshare was quite frustrating. After much searching, I still couldn't find any with sound or music, nor could I find any that would run themselves. I would just click on random topics, and then read the slides without really knowing how it all was intended to be tied together. I am a visual person, but I also need more than just slides. I need help making the connections. I obviously am missing something here and will need to go back to this tutorial again with a whole new attitude and outlook. I did attempt the PBS link with the Slideshare/Voice Thread and will try to head back there again. A new day, a new me.

I did decide, however, to head to Marvel instead of continuing to sit in frustration with Slideshare. I found this to be quite a resource and, because I had spent so much time dabbling in Slideshare (how many times can I mention this?!), I need to make time to return to Marvel. I searched Three Cups of Tea and conflict in Afghanistan and found some great things -- Cristin found tons more! I am very eager to go back to this prior to our interdisciplinary planning. I wonder if others on the team have tried it yet? I may just email them some of the articles that I found...or maybe I'll make a folder and then share the folder...there's a thought!

3-2-1: I'm Ready!

I am going to be honest with you and say that my mind is currently elsewhere. I have 150+ progress reports that await me and know that it will take some time to complete them. While I enjoy grading online, I have to say that it still seems to take me quite a bit of time to do. I will try to transition my thinking to class, however, because I know there is much to learn! And so, dear readers, thank you for "listening" to me vent for just a minute! Phew!

I am soon going to be asking for all 8th graders gmail addresses so that they can begin doing their daily starters through either google docs or a blog...to be determined! I'd love to attach pictures for them to describe and can't wait until I figure out the technology enough to do speaking assignments online, too! I keep being drawn towards Voice Thread for this, but need to research that/discuss that more.

Perhaps I've typed enough now to get me in the frame of mind for class? Thanks for letting us blog first so that we can shift gears from a busy day of teaching to a busy few hours of being the student! I'm ready to learn!


No pressure

After pressuring myself to come up with activities to immediately use in my classroom that would apply these new technology tools, I have decided that it suits me best to continue to practice at each new class, process what I'm learning, and jot down notes and ideas to go back to once I see what all is out there. I know for sure that I am drawn to blogging, VoiceThread, and Google Docs, but the "how to apply to make meaning" part is where I'm still struggling. I know it will happen, I just don't know when or how! Perhaps next week? Perhaps October? Definitely by the end of the school year!


Stay tuned

Once again, my mind is full with ideas of possible uses for yet another technology tool! I do definitely see huge value to using Voicethread in my classroom, but where to begin? With a picture that students will describe in the target language? With a vocabulary lesson where they also practice their pronounciation? These are fine (but simple) uses; I know there's so much more to do to get the most out of it and to not only make it relevant, but also add rigor. Many things we do in the classroom can easily transfer (and be made more accessible) via Voicethread and this is exciting to me. Once again, I'm left sifting, pondering, creating, thinking -- always thinking! To be continued...

Vincent la grenouille makes his blog debut

Here's my attempt to post a video on my blog. It appears to be much easier to do than I originally thought -- let's see if I remember how to do this later this week, however!

This is a video link that my 6th and 7th grade French students absolutely LOVE to help them practice the French alphabet. I find it funny just because Vincent la grenouille (Vincent the frog) doesn't seem to have much personality. I mean, does he ever blink or change his intonation? Does he ever speed things up? Oh well, for some reason it makes us all giggle and it does help them practice.


An attempt

Well, I'm trying to figure out how to add video, and it's just not working! Ugh! I want to post a fun youtube that I show in my classroom about verb conjugation. I can't seem to figure out how to place the video here directly, but I think I remember how to make an easy link for you to get there. Let's see if this works.

Conjugation Back

Will someone help me through the steps of adding video to my blog without the link? Thanks! I'm sure I'm missing something quite obvious, but alas...I just can't figure it out!

UPDATE! I learned how to post this as a video today and so, if you haven't clicked on the link mentioned above, no worries! Just watch now! Enjoy!


Finding the Joy!

While I cannot tell you where Waldo is located, I can tell where I am at this very moment. I am sitting on my screened porch (built by good old Charlie!) typing this quick little post from my laptop. That's right -- I am wireless! Woo hoo! I am one happy camper here! I'll post more later, but I just had to share the joy with someone out there. Thanks for all who helped me problem solve -- it worked!

Taking It Easy

Today I am going to try to relax, slow down, and just be kind to little old me. I realize that I've been expecting myself to not only understand these technology tools, but to immediately know how to apply them to my classroom. Guess what I learned? That is not possible for this girl! I need time to practice (thank you for giving us that!) and time to process. I definitely do have some ideas, but they're big and I'm thinking I should start small.

I hope to add more to my Delicious account today now that I have renewed energy to try it again thanks to Cristin. I also hope to go back to PortaPortal to do some more searching there, too. I know that I will find more and more information out there today and that I will be tempted to kick into information overload, but I will simply enjoy the search today and think about it more over the next few days. Breathe in, breathe out. Here I go...


Delicious and Cookies

I am unsure why I am having difficulty today, but I am. Perhaps it's because I thought that delicious would be an easy tool and that I would have 100 bookmarks by now. I am quite accustomed to using the "favorites" button on my home computer and then moving on. I do see the value in delicious, but I am finding that it takes quite a bit of time to combine tag words to find what I really want to find. I, too, am getting a bit overwhelmed when I do find a good site because then I click on those tags and well...it's an endless source of information that I feel I'll never be able to sift through. Does that make any sense?

Again, I am appreciative of this practice time and am sure that I will get the hang of this eventually. It's nice to have Henry here to send Spanish links my way, or to just check sites on his delicious account. Perhaps I should simply focus on French to make me feel less overwhelmed? Perhaps I should eat another one of Sandy's birthday cookies to turn it all around?

Connection Issues

Well, my hopes for today are to be one with my new laptop! After several connection issues, I think I'm finally on the web with the rest of you (now that it's 8:30!). Thanks, Steve and Connie, for helping me through this frustration. It is a big goal of mine to NOT use a desktop and to force myself to use a laptop...very uncomfortable territory for me! This may sound silly, but it's the truth. (It must be if I'm actually stating this in all of cyberspace!)

I also have another goal that may seem silly to most of you, but it is still a huge goal for me -- connect to the wireless at home. I tried last night, and unlike Debbie, I did not have success. I spent a good half hour fiddling around on this new laptop and tried to encourage myself to problem solve, but I couldn't connect. Today is a new day, so perhaps the planets will be aligned correctly and it will all come together nicely as I sit on my screened porch, listen to the birds, feel the breeze, and using my technology. Cross your fingers!

I ended up creating an igoogle page last night and cannot believe the hundreds of options that are out there! Did you create one yet? It's fun!



Three hours have passed? Wow! I began with the resources Connie and Steve made available on the home page, but then quickly went to the RSS Compendium referenced in Richardson's text. After seeing what this had to offer, I decided to search for Foreign Language RSS Feeds and found a great site called multilingual books . This site has a wealth of information in French, German, and Spanish and it will take me some time to go through it because it is not only organized by categories such as magazines, newspapers, video, etc., but also by country! While most of the sites are beyond beginning level language students, I do believe that I will be able to find many authentic sources here for them to view...it will just take time. (As an aside, I tried to gmail this site to Henry and well, let's just say it took me a bit of time to do that. Guess I have to get used to using gmail!)

I have set up a few folders on Google Reader -- education, technology, our blogs, French magazines and newspapers -- but still have more to do. I will also want to check the folders to see if I have too much to keep up with already. Right now the goal is to see what is out there, check the updates, and to see if I'm actually reading them.

Setting up my initial RSS Feeds is time consuming, but I appreciate the opportunity to search and apply what I'm learning immediately. Thank you!

Day Two Hopes (Without the Fears!)

After reading last night's chapters, I am hoping that we begin to set up an RSS Feed today. I am interested in learning how to organize it by categories and have been thinking about what types of information I would like to receive with continual updates. I am going to try to adhere to the advice that Will Richardson gave in his text which is to start with only ten that I would be able to read regularly, get used to how it all works, and then go from there. Good advice, especially for a person who is new to all of this!

I tried to check out the language blogs last night at home and found that I need to narrow my search because they were not classroom blogs, but rather language learning blogs, professional language blogs, etc. This is of interest to me, but not what I was originally seeking when thinking of blogging. So, if there is some extra time in class today, I may go back to my search.

I am also very intrigued in the power and potential of the world of wiki and how we are all able to create this together. The classroom references that Richardson mentioned were extremely interesting to me and I can't wait to hear more about it all today!


Fog in the Blogosphere

Maybe I took the blog entry on brevity too seriously, but I really do feel like the title of this post says it all. I also read posts on homework, ducks, and plastic bags. Homework, and ducks, and plastic -- oh my! Where are the language references? How do I apply what I'm reading to my French and Spanish classroom? I don't want to make a blog that simply asks students to answer writing prompts in the target language. Perhaps a culture blog? Perhaps a blog with video? Perhaps a blog with speaking practice? Is this even possible?

Right before being asked to post our first blog entry, Connie made a wonderful suggestion for me to Google search "foreign language:blogs" and voila, an amazing list of options appeared before me! I am very eager to start reading some of these in hopes that the "blog fog" will clear! Don't get me wrong--I am fond of ducks and don't use plastic bags, but I'm looking forward to finding blogs that are more content specific so that I can get these creative juices flowing!