Monthly Archives: March 2015

Listening station online (and other ELA stations for Chromebooks)

I have always felt that listening skills continue to be important and can be strengthened with audiobooks/recordings. A popular activity for young learners is listening to a book while turning the pages. Long ago I took away the books so that children would need to focus on attentive listening.  In the classroom I have 10 iPod shuffles and 2 iPod Nanos devoted to audiobooks and podcasts. The goal is to listen carefully and either retell/recount or analyze. The children find it challenging!

In my efforts to integrate/blend technology skills, I’ve been adding digital options for our stations (“side dishes”). We will never rely 100% on digital options because I believe in a balance (and let’s face it…things don’t always go smoothly…) Still our tech tools have become just like paper and pencil… tools to get the job done! However, integrating tech to do work we are already doing in different ways allows me to integrate important digital citizenship lessons as well as how to use new software and platforms. The more I can expose students too, the more adaptable I believe they will be for the ever changing skills they will need in the future.

For now, here’s are the “how to’s” for our digital station options:

One modification: Listening Station. After finding out the safety filters at school were preventing access to the free audiobooks on the “LibriVox” site, I decided to create my own website for audio recordings. Now to ensure that I was not using recordings in violation of copyright/fair use laws (as I am trying to teach the children about), I started recording my own readings. I am working on a plan to have the students help create recordings as well. Even better…I’m loading our podcast archives on a page! (Mostly because I’m almost out of storage on our podomatic account and can’t bear to have those recordings disappear as I make more space for newer episodes!)

So I proudly am unveiling the GREEN ROOM listening station website! Already many of the children have asked if they can do this at home…and who am I to discourage them! (Just note it is NOT a requirement, as stations are considered in class activities.) However, I hope they will be interested in visiting often as the offerings grow!

#DLDay part 2

On Friday March 13, Digital Learning Day, I took advantage of an opportunity to let my students reflect upon how we learn in the GREEN ROOM and to teach them about using social media as a learning tool appropriately.
Earlier this week, I taught them about what a hashtag is intended to be used for.  (They had some misconceptions…they know about this stuff, so I told them I was giving them an “education” on the correctness…) I also showed them how I use Twitter to connect with other teachers as well as “companies” who provide the software/platforms/tools we use. I use Twitter to continue learning.  It isn’t just for “fun”! (Although I think learning new things is fun…)
After having each child write out what their favorite digital learning activity/tool was I composed their tweets and explained (and showed) how I would use 2 hashtags: #DLDay and #LovelandLearning.  Seeing the tweeting action live was a powerful learning tool. Check out the collection at:
While I was projecting the live tweets (they lit up when they saw theirs), I let them record video clips of the digital tools they use and how these tools are helping them learn. Then I pieced their clips together for one video.  This is what happens when you turn 9-10 year olds loose with a video camera!

I believe I gave the children a lesson in social media being used appropriately and safely.  I stressed how they shouldn’t be using social media yet because they are not old enough, but they hear all about it, so they should have proper and accurate info.  When one day they venture into that cyber world un-protected by us, I know instilling these lessons and values early will pay off!


Digital Learning Day is coming! Friday March 13th! Of course everyday is digital learning day in the GREEN ROOM! However, we are going to celebrate in a few special ways! First, I take advantage of every opportunity I can to teach my students about digital citizenship.  Yes they are WAY too young to have their own social media accounts, but not too young to know they are out there. Before they start to get them, I want them to be prepared to use responsibly! So today I taught my 3rd graders what hashtags are and why they can be useful. I shared with them that I am using Twitter to connect with other teachers and get great ideas or share information. It is a powerful tool when used for learning. Here’s how I explained hashtags:   Then I showed them how I can locate info with hashtags. (We searched #LovelandLearning…they saw that I’ve been bragging about the things they have been doing!) Next I told them I wanted them to consider their favorite digital activity in our classroom and write a short ‘tweet’ about it. I would then be sharing their ‘tweets’ on Friday AND we would create a video sharing the great digital learning we do in our classroom. Of course they know that I’ve stressed again and again…and again…that our devices are great learning tools and not toys. They have enabled us to have access to learning that we couldn’t have otherwise.  I believe very strongly in keeping the learning first. So…watch for our “tweets” from @mrsweberread on Friday!

Unleashing the power of video

It is no secret. When I put something on a screen I get (and keep) the children’s attention way better than I do “live”. And honestly, I prefer to use my “live” time with the children to answer questions, guide thinking, and otherwise be more of a “coach”.  This enables me to individualize and personalize instruction.

So if I have videos available for students to access leaving me “live” to be there for their individual needs, I’m going to take advantage of it! I’ve already created tons of my own video lessons. I am not starting to branch out and tap into other great resources out there (because I am not yet the best movie maker :0) nor do I have time to make all of the clips I know I want/need to be available.)

Recently I discovered EduCanon which allows me to customize a video clip and insert pauses and questions. This I can connect to Edmodo. Currently I’m playing with some great PBS media “60 second Presidents” for 4th grade and Pixar shorts for 3rd grade.

Another great Edmodo connectable resource is Blendspace. In this platform I can chose a topic and set up multimedia to help teach or reinforce concepts. I have built this one for 4th graders on point of view and narration styles: This one is also geared for 4th grade as we work on learning about using primary and secondary sources: Then for 3rd graders I am helping them consider point of view:

In the education world, this concept is called “flipping”. For more info check out: