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Save the Words

What it is: Save the Words is a site that celebrates words by “saving” words that are becoming forgotten and left behind in the English language.  I learned about the site today from @BookChook on her wonderful literacy blog.  The site has a simple premise, words are displayed graphically, when your roll your mouse over them they call out to you “pick me”, clicking on a word displays the definition, part of speech, and a contextual example of the word.  Signing up on the site allows you to adopt words.  I love the mission of this site, on the f.a.q. page they state that “Words are the cornerstone of language. The more words we have, the richer our vocabulary. Words allow us to communicate precisely.  Without the right word to describe something, well…we’d be speechless.”  So true, words bring so much color to language, it is a shame to use the same words over and over.  I am certainly guilty of this in my overuse of words like fantastic, outstanding, wonderful, amazing, great, nice, fun, etc.  in blog posts.  Surely there are many more appropriate words that describe the tool I am reviewing more precisely, but we become lazy in language and use words that are easy and we don’t have to think about. How to integrate Save the Words into your curriculum: Save the Words is a site with a beautiful goal, preserving words to keep language rich and powerful.  Most of the words on the site are new to me, but I was surprised at how many of them I could make an educated guess about  meaning based on what I already know about words.  Use Save the Words in your classroom (at any age) to enrich your students vocabulary, help them identify word patterns and meaning clues, and to help them appreciate words.  Choose a word to adopt each day as a class using a class account (adopting a word requires an email address).  Commit to using the word at some point during the day.  My elementary age students loved learning new words, especially words that they found out parents and other teachers didn’t know.  They become the experts.  In my class, I often had a secret word of the day.  I would casually mention what the secret word was at some point in the morning.  Throughout the day if I needed my student’s attention I would ask for the secret word, immediately students were silent with their hands raised to give me the word.  Save the Words would be the perfect place to draw those secret words from. Students could also keep a journal or word list of all of the words they have adopted, I could see this being especially popular with the Webkins age group.  The words are often difficult, but I don’t think that is any reason to exclude them from the classroom vocabulary! Today I adopted the word antipelargy: reciprocal or mutual kindness; love and care of children. Tips: You can sign up for a word of the day delivered directly to your email on Save the Words. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Save the Words in your classroom!

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A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 16-06-2011

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What it is: The Periodic Table of Visualization Methods is a brilliant collection of visualization methods for displaying, understanding and using information.  The periodic table is broken down into data visualization, information visualization, concept visualization, strategy visualization, metaphor visualization, and compound visualization.  Each “element” of the table includes information about the element such as if it is a process visualization or a structure visualization.  Each “element” also includes cues about what kind of thinking the visualization requires (divergent or convergent).  As you move your mouse over the table, an example of the “element” pops up.  As I said, brilliant!  The Periodic Table of Visualization is an excellent way to help students (and teachers) understand and explore visual literacy.

How to integrate A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods into the classroom: A Periodic Table of Visualization is a great place to start helping your students understand how to decode visual information as well as how to create visual representations of information.  I’m a HUGE fan of infographics, graphic organizers, charts, graphs, mind maps, etc.- definitely a visual learner!  Students often come across visual information graphics in their reading for the classroom.  Unfortunately, we don’t always spend time helping students understand that visual information because we are SO focused on the text.  The Periodic Table of Visualization gives you a one-stop-shop to discuss the different kinds of visual data, helping students understand how to “read” and decode that information.  These are great critical thinking activities because they ask students to process information in a different way.  Use the Periodic Table with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer to expose students to examples of different types of visual information.  Talk about each one and how information is being conveyed.  If you have interactive whiteboard software, use the annotation feature to “stamp” or keep track of the different kinds of visual data students come across during the year in their reading.  Make it a year-long goal to find an example of each type of visualization.  This will keep your students looking for and engaging with visual literacy.

Take it a step further and encourage your students to create their own information graphics and visualizations.  After some learning that was completed, ask students to choose one of the “elements” from the table of visualization and create their own graphic or table.

I love the way that a Periodic Table collects and organizes information.  Currently I am working on the first unit of inquiry for students at Anastasis Academy.  From first through eighth grade, all of the units are focused around community.  I thought it might be fun to create our own periodic table of community.  Each student can add an “element” that makes up community.  Instead of just pictures popping up on our periodic table, I thought students could add video, photos, text, or audio.  Each student will add to the community periodic table and we will use this as part of our school code of conduct.  Here is what I am thinking: Each student will learn about community and choose a method of sharing what they learned (video, audio, text, photo).  They will create their “element” using their iPad and add it to their online portfolio at edu 2.0.  I can easily access all files from one place (edu 2.0) and add the projects to a periodic table of elements that I create on Wix.com.  I’ll link from the Table to the student projects and voila, a Periodic Table of Community.  I’ll let you know how it works in practice :)

Another related idea: create a Periodic Table of Students during the first weeks of schools.  Add each student’s picture to the periodic table along with their class room number and initials as their Element information.  This can be printed out and turned into a bulletin board for the classroom or shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer with parents at back to school night.  If you have “star” students in your classroom (or VIP) you might add the student picture to the periodic table when it is their week to share and shine.

Tips: Thank you to my friend @artysteph26 for sharing this awesome resource on Twitter yesterday.  Thanks Steph!  **Reminder: if you don’t have a personal learning network on Twitter, I highly recommend spending some time on that this summer.  That small time investment is worth it’s weight in gold I tell ya!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods in your classroom!

Comments (2)

I love the idea of creating a community periodic table, and wix.com is amazing. Hope you share the end result! Would love to see it in action.

I will do that when I can Kim!

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