Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas fun

We had an awesome Christmas holidays!

The girls have been spending a lot of time playing with Christmas toys and games and enjoying family time now that their daddy is home from work over the holidays.

Here are some Christmas fun pics...

NyGirl enjoying this HUGE Christmas tree (not ours, by the way!)

So we tried our hands at a gingerbread house...it wasn't too becoming :-(    But...it was yummy!

Chowing down on the gingerbread house...

After all the excitement of gift-giving, NyGirl decided she'd take it one day at a time with her gifts (playing with them, that is).
So by two days after Christmas she had finally gotten around to the box with the telescope in it. I can't remember what I was doing that made me so busy, but after her constant "Mom!!!! Can you help me put this together???!!!!" she finally bounced off to our office with the telescope box and set of directions, and fifteen minutes later, returned with her telescope completely put together.
Here she is enjoying the fruit of her labors!

And finally, we couldn't end the Christmas season without properly giving thanks to the One who came for us. Here are the girls holding our (battery-operated, of course!) candles which we lit for our family bible time the night after Christmas. We read from Luke about the virgin birth, about Jesus being born for all mankind, for our salvation. It was a wonderful family time and we enjoyed having daddy read us scripture pray with the family.

Finally, we sat in our home studio a few nights before Christmas and recorded some Christmas songs! Click on the link below to listen (be sure your browser enables popup windows).

I hope you had a joyous Christmas...and have a blessed New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Learning The Planets With VoiceThread

Finally we have put together NyGirl's power point presentation into our VoiceThread account.

I will add, she did this project completely on her own (after a few lessons from me on how to create the Power Point slides).  She also took off on the remaining voice narrations after showing her initially how to do the first one in Voice Thread.  It was a fun project, and I think we'll be doing a good bit more of these kinds of online presentations for our upcoming lessons.

Take a look (and don't forget to press the play button):


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Voicethread For Educators

Voicethread is an excellent tool I just found online, as I've stated in one of my last posts...I plan to use it for NyGirl's study on the Solar System to help her present her work.

Here's a video on the VoiceThread website which shows what it does: http://voicethread.com/#home.b409.i848804

Essentially, you can upload documents or images your student has created (or that you the teacher have created) into a sort of slideshow, and create a voiceover narration for each slide. Then others comment on your slides and documents either by voice or text.

I am so excited that I want to create my first VoiceThread right now, but I am waiting until NyGirl has created most of her slides on the planets in Power Point first. The cool thing about VoiceThread is that it accepts different formats of uploads, or you can find images through the New York Public Library (integrated already in the system).
The possibilities are endless for educators. We can have our students use it for online projects, helping them to develop presentations that get "reviewed" worldwide. We can use them as teacher-to-teacher education, creating content that teaches others how to do things...or we can create materials online for older students to learn as well.
We'll see if this is something we enjoy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Learning The Solar System With Power Point

NyGirl has really been interested in planets lately. We have a full unit covering the solar system in her Houghton Mifflin science book...but it is very limited when it comes to techie ideas (though the book offers a supplemental website with additional quizzes and games that accompany the unit).

So I decided to create our own unit.  I thought about lapbooking and then scanning in the images to create a slideshow...until i found VoiceThread.  So instead, I ended up creating our own Solar System unit in which NyGirl will create a complete Power Point presentation to upload and narrate via VoiceThread.  In the process, she is getting some typing practice (we use Sense-Lang.org for typing lessons), and a general overview on how to use presentation software and become familiar with computer icons, commands, and tasks.
So far I have taught her how to select slide templates and styles, add slides, add transitions and effects, change fonts, and add clip art.  The easiest part was typing  the information in for the planet Mercury.

This is going to be a fun project, I can already tell.

The thing is, once younger students are introduced to the concepts of productivity and presentation software, they can run with it and leave us in the dust.  I think it's hilarious when some educators scoff at the idea of showing children in the lower elementary years how to use these types of software.  It's perfectly do-able and absolutely equips them with ways to express their ideas and thoughts, making school projects all the more fun for them.

So that's it for now.
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