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The more incredible education blogs I become addicted to, the more I am amazed by those educators who are able to make time to post so frequently. I’ve clearly fallen a little behind as I’ve gotten completely wrapped up in my most recent unit. I’ve taken David Warlick’s idea of personal learning networks that he fascinated me with at NCETC in March, and have adapted it into 8th grade objectives. Not only has it pushed me as an instructor both in design and implementation, but it’s also allowed me to be consistently wowed by what 8th graders can produce when given the tools and a little independence. Our MySpace discussion was just one example.

This week we’ve expanded our discussions to the wonderful world of VoiceThread. For those of you who have never heard of it, it’s an incredible online tool that allows you to build conversations around pictures and videos you upload in a slideshow format. The coolest part is that you can comment with both text and voice. So on many voicethreads you have actual conversations occuring. No microphone on your computer? No problem! Use your cell phone! The possibilities of what you can do with VoiceThread are limitless, with some examples being:

1) Documentation of school trips that allows students to add their own perspectives/memories for each picture.

2) Discussions around historical pictures/pieces of artwork.

3) Classroom videos that can be observed by other teachers for ideas, or so others can offer feedback and suggestions to improve instruction.

4) My most recent favorite… Dramatic readings of different kinds of poetry and plays. This is what we’ve been working on most recently in class. I’ve created a slideshow with three different photographs, each representing a poem (or scene) they’ve read recently in English class. Then students have the opportunity to record their interpretation of the poem as they perform it. I’m told you can embed VoiceThreads in blogs similiar to YouTube videos, but seem to be having technical difficulties with that recently, so I’ll just include the link. Hopefully I can fix that soon… Check it out and feel free to leave comments for the students! The more they realize they have an audience, the more I see the desire in class for them to improve their work, so feedback is MUCH appreciated 🙂

2012’s Poetry

Their thoughtful (most of them) comments generated around a collection of pictures

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One Comment

  1. This was my first exposure to VoiceThread and as a former teacher I could think of many classroom applications for this creative technology tool as well. Ms. Smith, have you ever done a progressive story (where each person takes a turn making up a piece to a story)? It would be cool to have your class try that around a picture!

    I took a lot of time checking out the VoiceThread Poetry link as well as the “When I see this picture I think…” link. I was impressed with all that I heard and read. I was a bit surprised that so many students recorded the poem with the picture of the grapes, but then I realized that was the shortest! So kudos to those who branched out beyond the grapes!

    While I enjoyed all the work, I must comment on some that stood out from the rest, starting with the poems:

    Javontae’s poetry reading…to quote Simon Cowell, “Javontae, you are the one to beat!”. You had such a creative and powerful interpretation of “This is Just to Say”. I admire people who take something they like and apply it anywhere they can in their lives. Using the beat was a great idea!

    Deontre, you had a great voice for “Where I’m From”. Very powerful and accentuated in all the right places…it made me want to keep listening.

    Johnnie, I must commend you for reading the “Poetry” poem. Not sure why you were the only one considering I thought it was such a beautiful, inspiring and thought provoking poem. I enjoyed your interpretation .

    I also want to share two comments I have from “When I see this picture I think” exercise:

    Justin, your thoughts were so observant! Have you considered CSI as a career? : )

    Natalie, I was really impressed with your thoughts on the picture. Not everyone has the ability to find symbolism in the world around them. You have the ability to really make people stop and think…that is awesome!

    I am really enjoying being a “part” of your learning…thanks for sharing!


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