Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prezi vs.Powerpoint

Okay I believe this vozme image is for the previous post...

Both programs are great presentation programs. Let's look at ease of use. I feel that both are easy to get up and running. The thing that I don't like about Prezi however is that you are not able to "undo" a mistake. So that if you accidentally make a change and want to go back and undo it to the original, you must start again. That can be very time consuming. This might be because I don't "own" Prezi and that "undo" feature might be available if I purchased it. With PowerPoint, I like how you can in the "thumbnail", switch frames around with little effort. Not so with Prezi...it involves having to renumber and wow that can be a real big job. Again, it could be from a lot of experience with PowerPoint versus Prezi. I'd like to give it the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, for Prezi, I do like the ability to create a background and use that as the theme of the presentation. I like how it allows you to zoom into portions of your picture or text. I do like Prezi for presentations because it forces you to think more in chunks. It's more global whereas PowerPoint is more linear. The thing that I like about Prezi as a requirement for my students is that it gets them away from "reading" from the screen and putting all their information on it. They must make notecards because Prezi is not designed for heavy text. I would say that is the biggest benefit. Both have their positives and negatives. Just depends on what the goal of the lesson.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Differentiated Learning

#1. Differentiated Learning Assignment. Before reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, it was necessary for students to understand the impact of racism in the 1930s.  Taking into consideration of the varying expectations and requirements for student responses, the class was divided into groups where each group was given a different topic related to the 30s. Each person in each group chose a "job" he/she felt would be suitable to his learning style and was responsible for teaching the class about a certain aspect of their given topic.  Although preparation of this assignment was a bit overwhelming, the payoff was worth the effort. Students worked well together to complete their task and were highly engaged. Minimal reminders to "get back to work" were unnecessary and product output by students was respectable. During actual reading time of the chapters, there were lessons where students had choices in their responses of either one prompt or another. A variety of methods were used in presenting chapters within the novel from "acting" out the testimonies of the witnesses (kinesthetic), then showing the "trial" for those students who were more "visual" learners. Additionally various outputs from journaling to creating poems, to creating editorial cartoons were expectations required of students for this unit.

#2 Diverse Learning Assignment. The use of technology in the classroom or even out of the classroom is invaluable. It is a tool that opens worlds for all students but especially for struggling learners. The talking text or text-to-speech site is especially enticing for my students who have much difficulty with decoding words which affects comprehension especially at the high school level when the pace of all subjects seem to fly at lightning speed for struggling learners. There is website called "Bookshare.com" that would be extremely beneficial for struggling readers. This site allows students to access a whole plethora of titles where students can listen while following along. There were other programs that I found nice that allows the reader to highlight a word and then hear it. There's no second guessing and what is nice is that the meaning of the word could be looked up instantaneously. This would help my students not feel as isolated and frustrated especially those who are in team-taught classes and need to keep up with the pacing of the general education curriculum.

#3B The content area I chose was the Reading / Literacy Support. One of the resources available for those who struggle with reading is a program called "Browsealoud". This program reads web pages aloud in a human sounding voice. It reads text in its original format and allows for confidentiality. You can also take the mouse pointer, highlight text and hear it read aloud, you can have text magnified, you can also choose voice you want to hear, choose language and have options on text color. Much personalization gives the reader much flexibility.

#4 Text to Audio Conversion Assignment. I accessed the VozMe site and input text from To Kill a Mockingbird using southern dialect. It was very interesting to hear the female voice attempt to use her southern voice with its dropped "g" at the endin' and the "gunna" and "ain't"...very interesting. I didn't think she did a bad job! This tool could be very helpful for students who need to "hear" directions read...nothing too lengthy because the voice is a bit stilted and there is a lack of intonation and inflection.  A student who is having difficulty with specific sections of text could copy/paste into VozMe to help get them through difficult vocabulary.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thinkfinity 2

An anticipation activity for The Crucible by Arthur Miller would be to have students first write in their journals a summary of a fairy tale they may remember when they were younger that included a witch. Then we would have a discussion about "witches" and determine whether they believe in witches. Talk about how one would go about identifying a witch.  Next, they would then research Miller and also the time period in which the Salem Witch Trials occurred.  The framework for this lesson can be found at:
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons/grade-9-12/Arthur_Miller_and_The_Crucible.aspx#Instruction

Thinkfinity

In the 10th grade, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, is one of the plays we read and unless students are clear about the roles of each character, it is easy for them to get lost and not know each character's contributions to the plot. To help reinforce and analyze characters, they will create trading cards for the major characters after reading Act 1.

Students will be divided into 8 groups and each group will be assigned one character where they will be asked to provide a description, offer insight on thoughts and feelings, conflicts, wishes, actions, impressions, and make personal connections.

Once they've created trading cards, copies will be made for each student to help review for the final exam.

They will do this by going to the following website:

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/trading_cards/

This lesson plan is from the "Read/Write/Think" site:
http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/exploration-crucible-through-seventeenth-30513.html