Monday, August 11, 2008

Jot, Remember, Done Article Summary

Sandra Hines, Director of Instructional Technology in Burleson ISD, has just published a great article for this busy time of year entitled "Jot, Remember, Done" in the Texas Computer Education Association's journal, TechEdge (volume 27, No. 4). By using my cell phone and three free web applications, I can keep my to-do lists at my fingertips anywhere at anytime. Basically with, I call a toll free number and leave up to a 30 second voice message for myself. Jott translates it and sends me an email and/or text reminder. However, according to the author, RemebertheMilk has more features than Jott, so she recommends joining both and setting Jott up to control your RemembertheMilk account. Here's a summary of her directions:
  1. Go to and get a free account.
  2. Enter your information, and Jott will send you a confirmation email with a link.
  3. Enter your cell phone number, and add any important people to whom you don't mind sending text messages or email.
  4. Get a RembertheMilk account.
  5. Return to your Jott account; select "Add Jott Links" and then select "Remember the Milk."
  6. Get a Google account and set up an iGoogle page if you don't already have one.
  7. After clicking on Add Stuff, search for RemembertheMilk, and add it to your Google page.
  8. Add Jott to your cell phone contacts.
  9. Call 866-568-8123 and answer the question, "Who do you want to Jott?" with "Remember the milk" and clearly state the item you are adding to your to-do list. State the date, day of the week, or tomorrow to set a due date for the task.
  10. In a few minutes, your item will appear in the gadget on your Google page.

Some of the author's ideas for administrators and teachers are,

  • Use Jott with one call to send messages to staff
  • During walk throughs, Jott awesome teaching strategies you observed.
  • Add daily assignments to RemembertheMilk and share the assignment list with students and parents who have added you to their contact list.
  • Organize collaborative projects through lists and prioritizing dates.

A few of Hines' ideas for students:

  • Create a list for the course and Jott important ideas learned each day. At the end of the unit, use the list as a review.
  • Create a vocabulary list. Jott each new vocabulary word and its definition. Use the list to review before a test.
  • Create a list call "confusing" and Jott any concepts that are unclear to them.
  • Create a homework list and Jott daily assignments.

What are some other ideas for using this in education?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back-to-School Tech Ideas for K-5

I'm headed back to school next week, and my three kids start back the following week. Let's just say that getting to school by 7:30 a.m. is going to be a challenge for us for a couple of weeks. When my husband and I asked our kids at the dinner table tonight, "Who's excited about returning to school" only one of our three kids replied, "I am." The other two complained that school's "too boring." Our kids (11, 12, & 15) are typical digital kids who have many of the latest gizmos and gadgets but return to school to "sit and get," do busywork, and prepare for THE TEST (TAKS). In my opinion, a must see video for all teachers before the school year starts is

We're all aware that we're in a time of rapid change and that we are still losing too many kids and wasting too much talent. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest and gather ideas from others on back-to-school integration ideas for teachers that will hopefully start the year off right by stimulating and actively engaging their elementary students the first month of school.

Another idea from Tammy Worcester's book is created acrostic poems with their names using Word Art and text boxes.

  • Have students create a newspaper clipping that summarizes their first week of school to share with parents.
  • Have students get in pairs or trios and create a two or three circle Venn comparing and contrasting each other. Have students do a gallery walk to share completed graphic organizers.
  • Let K-1 kids create self-portraits in TuxPaint (requires a free download) or Kerpoof's Super Doodle

    • Use or Kidspiration for brainstorming.
    • Use digital camera to take full-face and profile photos (mug shots) of each student. Students then create Wanted Posters using a blank PowerPoint slide (portrait view) that includes the student's name, description, interests, dislikes, reward, etc. This idea comes from the book PowerPoint Magic by Pamela Lewis.
    • Students could interview each other and create podcasts.
    • Use Google Earth or Google maps to find the distance from their home to school.
    • Have students create speaking avatars with Voki and embed in your class blog.
    • Create a student interest survey in SurveyMonkey for kids to complete online.
    • Many K-2 literacy resources can be found at Carl's Corner.

    I'd love to hear other back-to-school tech integration ideas.