Great videos for teaching copyright

I used this post to demo for my students how to insert an embedded video into a post.

Thanks to a post at the Teacher Challenge by Tabitha from Learning to Share, I was able to use this video to teach my middle school bloggers about copyright:

I also showed the Creative Commons video below to give a brief exposure to this type of licensing for shared work like images:

I like the Creative Commons video below, too, also recommended by Tabitha:

Videos About Blogging

Last spring I created a project on blogging for a Chevron and county office of education grant. The intent of the project was to encourage teachers and students to use blogging in the classroom. When I was searching for videos on blogging back then, I couldn’t really find what I needed, as I was looking for videos to promote teachers and students blogging, so my students and I created our own. Unfortunately the entire project itself is posted on a county password protected site called Ed1stop.

Some of my 8th graders did a wonderful video about using blogs to express themselves. My student director, Anthony, used a green screen and tagxedo images of each students’ blog site as the background for the student speakers. He brilliantly used an advanced video editing program (can’t remember which one) to create the actual video. The file was huge, though, so hopefully this compressed version on youtube will do it justice. All videos posted here were compressed fairly easily using QuickTime Pro.

I created this short video called “What’s a Blog” using screenshots of blogs (with permission of their creators). I used Apple’s Keynote (like PowerPoint) to create the video presentation and royalty free music from Soundzabound.

I created two more Apple Keynote presentations, one for teachers and one for students to illustrate the growth of blogging and the benefits to students. The blogging stats were found on the web during May 2010. The music is again from Soundzabound. The first 45 seconds of these videos are the same, the later halves vary as the benefits are geared towards encouraging a teacher to have their students blog in the teacher video whereas the student video has similar benefits aimed more directly at the students themselves.

Here is the teacher video called “The Blogging Generation 4 Teachers”:

Here is the student video called “The Blogging Generation 4 Students”:

Using Blogs to Dream of a Better Future

My students have been working in groups on their first blogs. Basically we are learning to blog together.WakeUpAndDream_Oldphoto_4

As an English teacher I want my students to explore this world of digital writing (a future post). My vision was to use their dreams for the future as inspiration for taking the traditional research paper to the 21st century through blogs. My 8th grade students are creating blogs centered around global issues while my 7th graders are exploring environmental issues. We  used group discussion boards on School Loop to brainstorm their topics, share links, post their research and give each other feedback. These are all blogs in development, some more developed than others (see 8th grade blogs posted below).

As I learn about things like Avatars and Creative Commons licensing/image citation through the Teacher Challenge, I share with them creating tasks for improving their own blogs. Tomorrow my students will work on changing their images to those with Creative Commons licenses. I know some will be disappointed about having to delete great pictures, but who knows what better images are out there for them to post and cite correctly. I love the tip from a Teacher Challenge blogger about using the Google images more productively in this area by setting the preferences to only show licensed material by clicking on ‘Advanced.’

The image used in this post is one of my own photos filtered at Befunky.

My students would love visits and comments at their blogsites.

8th grade “global issues” sites (I’ll post my 7th graders environmental issues sites later this week):

Overpopulation: It’s a Very Small World

The Drunk Driving Epidemic

Social Networking

Cyber Bullying Tips

Think Before You Drink!: Teenage Drinking

Bully Cybering

MMXI: Alternative Resources

Why an Avatar?

I’ve often wondered why people have Avatars, thinking it seemed kind of pointless. Thanks to Edublogs Teacher Challenge, though, I’ve learned that Avatars are a way to create an online identity. For adults, they may use a picture or a created Avatar. A picture can help readers identify with the blog poster and create more of a professional identity. Created Avatars can also be telling about identity, but help the blogger keep some sense of anonymity. For students, this sense of anonymity is very important for online safety. The created Avatars allow students to still be creative with their online safe identity.

Jodi at imstilllearning posted several safe Avatar creation sites for students to use. I am grateful to her for this wonderful resources that my students will be able to utilize!

blessthischick-162x180I’m creating an Avatar at Bless This Chick. I’m feeling rather ambivalent about whether to use a picture or a created Avatar. What do you think should I use? I know if my 4 year old nephew had an avatar it would be an easy choice:

Lego Clone Trooper

Creating Categories

I keep telling my students they need to create categories to help organize their posts, especially as they develop more and more posts. So, why am I stuck with thinking of categories for this blog? Perhaps it is because I’m not yet sure of the direction of this blog. I started it as a way to explore using blogging with my students. I should probably have a student section, maybe split it into two with one category for Student Work and another for Student Voice. For my own ideas, though, hmmmmmmmm. Resources? Thoughts? Blog Post Inspirations? Blog Tips? Blogging Fun? Blogs and Writing? Okay, I’m going to start with the last three and include the student categories. What do you suggest?

Student Thoughts on Research: Paper vs. Online

I asked my afternoon class students what they think about writing a research paper for class or posting their research online through a blog.

Here are some of their thoughts:

Maddie: I think it’s easier to use paper, but online is better for the environment.

Noah: It’s more fun to do it online because that’s what we are probably going to do in the future.

Laura: I kind of like both, but online is better for the environment.

Chase: Online is better because doing it on paper is boring.

Katie: Papers get disorganized and lost when online gets more organized.

Jacob: Online is better because we don’t have an infinite amount of trees but we do have an infinite amount of how much we can type online and on the internet.

Nikki: I like online better because instead of just your teachers seeing your work, other people can view and comment on your work.

Meg: I like online because it is a lot easier to keep track of than all of your papers and stuff and it’s more fun to talk to people online because that is what everybody is doing now.

Nicky: I like online because you can easily copy and paste words and your teachers may miss small mistakes.

Mikayla: Why use paper when you get it back, you throw it away. Online you can just save it to your file, keep it forever, or delete it if you want.

What my students think about writing online…

My 7th grade students are just starting to create their environmental issues blogs. It’s our alternative to a paperless research paper. They’ve done their research within controlled discussion boards and have created their blog sites with themes. Today, before they did their first posts, I showed them how by creating this post. Soon I will post their developing blog sites.

Here’s what they think about this online writing opportunity:

Jack: I think it is a very fun project and you should do it with all of your classes.

Emma: I think it is a very good way to get students excited about writing. I like that we can control what the comments say.

Michelle: I think its fun, but just like anything it can sometimes turn out to be really frustrating.

Adam: It’s a great experience and more fun than doing other school work without a computer.

Kelly: It’s different than what I am used to, but I think it’s really fun.

7 Things You Don’t Need to Know About Me

1) Once my son and I took fire twirling lessons. I still have my practice balls to twirl, but never made it to the actual fire.

2) Last year was my first summer not working in my 19 year teaching career: I traveled to Maine and found meditation on a riding lawn mower, went on a cruise to Mexico and decided the best time on the boat is when everyone else is on shore, and spent time with family and realized how valuable time really is.

3) I shattered my shoulder riding a quad runner on the sand dunes of Cabo San Lucas. I’m lucky I shattered my shoulder rather than broke my neck.

4) Next month will be my first trip to Hawaii…and it’s free.

5) I received the Human Rights Award from CTA for the SF bay area.

6) Several evenings per week, I send a list to my best friend of the 5 things I am thankful for from that day. We’ve been doing this for a year. It started with watching Happiness 101 with Tal Ben-Shahar from Harvard. You can check out a trailer for the PBS video here.

7) Time stops when I am with the one I love!