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Secrets from a non-tenured teacher- Guest Post

Guest Post by |Erin Klein| What I’ve realized from my brief, yet ever-exciting, career as a teacher is that there is so much that we aren’t prepared for as we sign our names on our much anticipated contracts.  My first year, I was laid off, or ‘pink slipped,’ and had to draw a straw in our elementary hall-way with the three other ladies that were all hired the same day as I was that year.  I drew the short straw, literally.  My administration reassured me that they would find a spot for me in the fall.  It wasn’t my first grade classroom that I had previously had but rather a newly created position at the middle school, funded by Stimulus dollars, in effort to support students needing literacy intervention.  Though we had intervention classrooms, Literacy Workshop was special because we infused the reading intervention into the social studies and science classrooms and monitored their progress throughout.  Well, because that position was only temporary, I found myself doing yet another unique role the following year, co-teaching.  Now, I’m curious as to what my role will look like for year four (2011-2012)… I often wonder if this evolving path has been a blessing or not.  Then, as I reflect, I realize that the biggest secret that I’ve come to discover is that being exposed to so many teachers, administrators, and opportunities only reaffirms what seems to often be forgotten: It’s not about the program, it’s about the teacher. Those words were actually told to me as inspiration to work in these new positions.  Having my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, I enjoyed researching and trying out new programs and strategies.  Of course I believe in strong programs, but as I’ve stepped into more and more classrooms, I’ve realized how the teacher delivers the program and engages his or her students is the more powerful tool.  So, I began to network with as many teachers as possible – trying to find out their inspiring ideas. By attending numerous quality professional development conferences and workshops, I became an intellectual sponge filtering and filing all that I could absorb.  My classroom became my work shop for taking those ideas and turning them into practice.  My students didn’t become sponges soaking up what I was delivering but rather my team for figuring out what was working and how to enhance what wasn’t working.  They were now the pioneers of their success, taking ownership of their learning.  Our team looked similar to Gregory House’s medical team, without the satire, bouncing intelligent ideas off of each other – turning to their guide to facilitate their learning.  Students were inspiring each other each day and growing exponentially.  Our lessons came alive, collaboration was second nature, and active engagement was automatic, not encouraged. Having a compulsive personality, I couldn’t get enough… I needed to extend my network without waiting for the next workshop or conference.  Thus, I turned to the Internet.  I was amazed with how many teachers were willing to share not only their ideas but also their resources.  After compiling a hub of my personal favorites that worked for my classroom, I decided to start my own resource sharing blog, Kleinspiration.  I wanted to share the inspiration that I had gained from web 2.0 sites, Apple applications, brilliant teacher’s blogs, and best-practice ideas; hence, Kleinspiration was born.  This blog is still in its infancy as it was started two weeks ago, but I work daily to update it with the best of what others are sharing and creators are designing along with how it can be applied directly to practice within your classroom.  With being a follower of Kleinspiration, you will find inspired ideas to bring to your class right away that are free, user-friendly, teacher tested, and student approved.  I look forward to collaborating with you soon. Thank you Kelly for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your site, one of the greatest resources I’ve come across, iLearn Technology.  Thank you for helping me to remember one of the greatest secrets in education, a network and support system of passionate teachers.  You’ve continue to inspire me each day! Personal Invitation to Join My Network, Kleinspiration: Follow Kleinspiration: click here and select ‘follow’ on the right hand side! Tweet with Erin Klein: click here to follow on Twitter ‘Like’ it on Facebook:  click here to be a fan of Kleinspiration

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Google Story Builder: Create a video story Google style

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Government, History, inspiration, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Subject, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 18-03-2014

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iLearn Technology Google Story Builder- Easily create short video stories

What it is:  I can’t help but love Google’s commercials. They are brilliant in their simplicity and weave together a story beautifully. In the past, Google let you build a story by way of a Google search. Now with Google Story Builder, you can build a video story that looks like it is being typed live between two collaborators in a Google doc. SO very happy! It couldn’t be simpler, any age could create a fantastic little video with this tool! Students create some “characters” for their story. These characters are the Google Doc collaborators. Next, students type text for each collaborator to add to the doc. Finally, students choose music to accompany their video. That is it! When students are finished with their video, they can share it via a weblink.

How to use Google Story Builder in your classroom: Google Story Builder is an outstanding little tool for sharing a story or learning. It allows students to demonstrate learning or understanding in a fun, easy way. A lot of tools can become THE focus of a project. You know how this goes, as soon as you mention that students will be creating a video project all of the learning journey goes out the window and immediately the focus is on the hilarious video they are going to create. The learning can become an after thought. With Google Story Builder, this isn’t the case. The outcome is going to look similar for everyone so the focus is the learning and story. Creativity comes through the story and the music chosen. This is the best kind of creativity, it requires students to know the topic or subject well enough to create a mini parody of it.

Students could use Google Story Builder as a book report. Students can think about major themes or the climax of a story and retell it through the collaboration the story characters in this Google Doc. How awesome would it be to have Romeo and Juliet creating a document together? How about Junie B. Jones and That Jim I Hate? The Little Red Hen asking for collaborators for her latest cooking project?

As students learn about major players in history, they can create a Google Story about those historical figures and their interaction if they had a shared Google Doc. For example students might imagine the writers of the US constitution drafting the constitution as a Google Doc. Or Galileo arguing with the “church” (the story I told in my video).

Students could personify any inanimate object or idea as a character in a Google Story. How about parts of speech arguing which part of speech is the best or should be used in the sentence being typed? Countries of the world telling all about what they are known for? Periods of history as characters? Science ideas (evolution vs. creation)? Math stories including characters like Odd Todd and Even Steven? The possibilities are as varied as your student’s imaginations!

Teachers can create a Google Story to help their kids with inference. Create a story between two characters and ask students to infer about context. What is happening? Do you think the characters are friends or foe? Why? What do you think they are working on together?

Tips: I created the Google Story above as an example. What will you use Google Story Builder for in your classroom?


Rodan + Fields Consultant

Comments (3)


its not working anymore? When I try your link or my own it gives error:

“Traceback (most recent call last):
File “/base/data/home/runtimes/python/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/webapp/_webapp25.py”, line 714, in __call__
File “/base/data/home/apps/s~docsstorybuilder/0-5-2.374820600079542031/app/pages/story.py”, line 50, in get
self.render(“story”, cgi.escape(values))
NameError: global name ‘cgi’ is not defined”

My name is Megan Long and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. Before this class, I never really explored all of the resources that Google has available for free. Now, I am using Google Mail, Google Drive, and Google Calendars. I have never heard of Google Story! I believe that this is a great resource for teachers to use in the classroom, especially for visual learners. I will definitely explore this resource more. Thanks for sharing!
If you would like to connect with me through social media: LongMeganEDM310.blogspot.com, Twitter @MeganElaineLong

Sad! It looks like it is currently not working :(

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