Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Poor G

I don't know why, but g always gets picked on when people talk about handwriting. In the Mar/April edition of Good Magazine (what a minute, it's still January!), there is an article titled Stop Teaching Handwriting by Anne Trubek. She starts off lamenting how her third grade son spends much of his school day struggling to learn the letter g. Wow, now that is one tricky letter to master.

The Onion News (the news source with a twist) tells the story of a third grader who is anxiously waiting to learn the cursive letter g in her class. Her teacher states:
"Abigail has come up to my desk five times in the past three days asking when we would be learning G," teacher Ellen Honig said. "I told her we'd probably get to it sometime next week, but that I couldn't make any promises."

The young girl's anxiety caused by the letter g is only increased when her teacher adds:
"We should get to g very soon, but you never know," Honig said. "We could have a fire drill, or the multiplication-filmstrip series I ordered might finally come in."

Dr. Mel Levine reminds us that cursive writing can be a difficult task for a student. The inability to assign specific muscles at the right time during letter formation could be a contributing factor. What letter does he use in his explanation at workshops? You got it... the g! You see, the finger muscles responsible for rotation have to get fired up. As the letter changes direction, muscles responsible for descending strokes have to take over, then there's the loop combination and finally the opposite muscle action for ascending what word was I trying to spell? It's all a nightmare.

Can we possibly give everyone a buy when it comes to learning g, please? It might free us up to spend more time on MCAS prep.

Remember What You Learned In Kindergarten

One of the big lessons in kindergarten is learning how to "share". Sharing work on the Hosmer student blog gives wings to our students' creations. Given this opportunity, they soar!

For more student work, check out Hosmer student art on the Watertown School Department web site.

1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

This promises to be a great conference...instead of workshops, there are "conversations".
EduCon 2.0 is both a conversation and a conference.
And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is a School 2.0 conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we want to come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas -- from the very practical to the big dreams.

EduCon Conference

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fun and Follies

I noticed the stress level was a little high at work this week. It is helpful to remember we work with kids, after all.

We must all, in order to make reality more tolerable, keep alive in us a few little follies.

-Marcel Proust

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Play While You Learn...It's a Fact (multiplication)

While I was on Twitter, I came upon an interesting site. What is Twitter, you ask? Well that is for another post. Suffice to say that I get most of my interesting sites these days thanks to my Twitter network.

This one is from Jeff Utecht. In U Tech Tips, he writes about a math game called Timez Attack. It allows kids to practice multiplication facts in a video game format. People in the educational community have differing opinions about the value of video games. I personally would like to see students be creators and collaborators when on computers, but I can still see the value in making a task that requires automatization engaging for youngsters.

The Base version teaches 2s through 12s and is free. I would suggest kids giving this a try at home. Guaranteed they will not complain about doing this homework!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Talking Photos

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

Convert any photo into a talking character with PQ Talking Photo. Currently it runs on Windows XP/Vista, but a Mac version is expected sometime this year. Here is what it can do:
  • Create animated characters from any photo you want.
  • Easy to use. With simple mouse clicks, the animation can be generated in a few seconds.
  • Only one picture is needed to construct a realistic 3D face for animation
  • Animate any human or animal photos, paintings, drawings or even sketchs.
  • Automatically match lip movement with voice.
  • Support any spoken languges: English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
  • Create your talking photo album, live avatars on blogs, funny greeting card, pets talk show, etc.
Note: If you blog about it, they will send you a free copy of the software.

I was pondering the classroom applications of this fun tool before having an adequate dose of morning caffeine when I came across David Muir's post from his EdCompBlog. He has some great ideas:
I think there is great educational potential for animated talking pictures. You could get a picture of an historical character and put pupil generated words in their mouth... Or get pupils to talk in the persona of a fictional character... Or different pupils could record the same message but present it in different ways depending on the emotions shown by the person in the picture - in anger, in sadness, with resignation etc.

Fun With Photos

Winter break is over. It was a time for many of us to connect with families and friends. If you had a camera clicking the whole time, what will you do with all those images? Now you can get creative and have fun with your photos. Check out fd's Flickr Toys for some ways to express yourself and share your pictures.

This photo used the motivational poster feature. I can imagine some great posters for the classroom. At Hosmer School, we are "Respectful, Responsible, Hardworking and Successful". Maybe we will see some posters created by the students that reflect these traits?