Thursday, November 26, 2009

blue girl

Get a Voki now!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Frannie K., Our Hero

This is a quick podcast done on the fly in the summer about one of our favorite characters, Frannie K. Stein. I love the mad scientist antics; Solana loves Frannie's relationship with her dog Igor; we both love the humour. Solana seems to be shouting at the top of her lungs: we're still experimenting with the sound on Audacity. Along with Ms. Frizzle, Frannie K. Stein is one of the best science-related female characters out there!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Siegfried and Moongirl by Solana

Siegfried is a very beautiful cat and he's very big, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We have recently begun to reread Moongirl: it is a magical book and Solana is addicted to it. "She is a really good character because she lives on the moon," Solana said. We also recommend the short film.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

xtra normal

I had xtra normal filed in my delicious account, but forgot about it until I heard teachers talking about it at the Technology Enhanced Literacy Learning conference. It's much more sophisticated than voki or zimmertwins. Solana made this sequel to Moongirl. Can't wait to try it out with students!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Booktalk #3: Ivy and Bean

For Booktalk #3, I decided to show Solana how to edit in Audacity. I thought I would just let her push the "delete" button to be part of the process, but she got the idea right away ("Let me do it!") and quickly began to delete all of the long pauses on her own, hence the slightly choppy sound of this one.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinosaur Madness!

We were doing research for the "Dinosaur in Your Backyard" Magic School Bus experiment when we came across a really cool zip code dinosaur finder Discovery link. I think I was actually more excited about it than Solana: she thought we were going to go outside and start digging for bones and wasn't as interested once she realized that wasn't happening. Another book that has inspired us is Dinosaur Valley by Mitsuhiro Kurokawa. We've read a lot of dinosaur books, but this one has the most gorgeous illustrations as well as the theme of the mother protecting her babies that Solana loves.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Read to a dog!

Solana read Cackle Cook's Monster Stew to a dog named Zach yesterday at the local library. It's a great program that helps students with their reading fluency and confidence. Zach is the best dog ever-- a very mellow Great Dane and a good listener. He puts his head on his paws or lies down during the reading. He only groaned once and was briefly distracted by a buzzing fly. On our way out, Solana was already asking when we could read to Zach again. I couldn't find any online references to Zach, but I did find a website on kids reading to dogs.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ivy and Bean takes first place!

Solana and I have read and enjoyed chapter books and series such as Arthur, Junie B. Jones, and Ready Freddy. As an adult reader, I choose Ivy and Bean as my favorite. Solana says, “They’re new” and “They have a lot of interesting things like Ivy flushing a fossil and Bean sticking her tongue out and going 'Pbbbbt' and wiggling her behind at Nancy.” (You have to read Books 1 and 2 if that intrigues you!)

In Arthur and the other series, there are definitely fun moments. However, I always find myself getting annoyed by the author’s voice interrupting the flow to teach the reader a lesson or show us how cute their main character is. I’m also frequently noticing stereotypical characters. (Why do all of the above series have to have an obnoxious rich girl and a terrible bully? Kids can handle more complex characters!)

Ivy and Bean has an authorial voice, but it feels more like entering and enjoying Kidsworld. It’s about friendship, but it isn’t obvious and doesn’t beat you over the head with moralizing. Look for a future Booktalk podcast with more commentary!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Booktalk #2: The Magic School Bus

I see why it's best to do podcasting as a series. Solana was much more confident the second time around and actually kept on speaking several times when I tried to wrap it up.(She's very passionate about the Magic School Bus!!) Those are key points when doing podcasting with students in Booktalk form: enthusiasm about the book they'd like to recommend and doing a series of Booktalks so that they gain confidence and think more deeply each time. I like doing the Booktalk as an interview, since it helps push thinking further, but I can also see students who prefer to work alone doing one as a monologue. I'd like to work with Solana on adding an intro and ending with music or sound effects.
I'm having issues with the volumes in both podcasts--not sure if it was our mic?

Booktalk #1 Wayside School

Solana and I have decided to start a "Booktalk" podcast. I was a bit annoyed that I couldn't just attach the podcast in blogger as an MP3 file. (I had to use Moviemaker to create a movie first.) But the process was pretty easy and could add dimension to a student podcasting assignment. The teachers and I didn't realize that the saving process isn't self explanatory in Moviemaker, so we needed help with that. (Thanks, Joe S.!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zimmertwins reply

I heard back from Zimmertwins about the suggestion to offer more character options (see May 15). Here's what they said: "In the future more characters may be added, but the site is relatively new and we want to make sure new users understand the movie making process before we start adding more characters and scenarios. The site will always be changing and taking our users suggestions into account."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Made a movie with Moviemaker :)

Some teachers I'm working with are learning how to make videos on Moviemaker for a classroom project from clips of their students on the flip camera. (Thanks Darlene and Andrew!) I had some practice clips of Solana on my flip, so I made one, too. I'm sure IMovie is far superior, but not available in our lab.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Review of sites so far with classroom use in mind

Blabberize is great for elementary and pre-school age children and can be used for so many purposes. Designating the mouth of your speaking picture is kind of clunky, but worth playing around with. I used this site with sixth graders and their teacher for a response to literature assignment and students were asking me eagerly if we were doing blabbers the next time I came to the classroom.
The voki site can act up sometimes, but has a variety of options for customizing your avatar. It's great for all ages.
When I recently showed Toondoo to some teachers, we had trouble getting onto the site. It was a lot of fun for Solana and I, but it froze up on us several times. Some teachers commented that they don't like this site because there are inappropriate options such as bikini-clad women for some of the cartoon images.
Zimmertwins rules. The main criticism from me and teachers I've worked with is that the only choices for characters for your movie are two redheads and a cat. Nothing against red hair, we just wish students had more options to create characters that look like them. I commented to the site about this and haven't heard back.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I was taking a look at an article that I wrote in the fall for Bard College's Field Notes, and already it seems out of date. I kept writing about "incorporating technology into my work" and "technology and literacy" as if they were two distinct categories. The more I learn in this area, the more I see this as a naturally integrated part of my work. I think I'm slowly moving from "experimentation" towards "the search for meaning" and "integration" as I look at the "Stages of Change" graphic that I first saw on the 21st Century Learning blog this summer.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Our newest movies on Zimmertwins!!
Movie #1
Movie #2

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some of Solana's Favorite Books

Magic School Bus series, especially Inside the Human Body
Magic Tree House series, especially In the Time of the Dinosaurs

Knick Knack Paddywhack pop up book by Paul O. Zelinsky
Knock, Knock, Who's There? by Tad Hills
Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad by Shonto Begay

Blabberizing again--meet Nina the deer!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sheep jumping by Solana

Boowa and Kwala : Make your own sheep face
(Click on "I have finished" to see Solana's sheep.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's a beautiful spring day and we're...blabberizing!

Our favorite knock knock joke

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow.
Interrupting cow wh--

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Animals and People by Solana

Panda eats shoots and leaves. Monkey eats vegetables. Chimpanzee eats meat. Gorilla eats bamboo. People eat strawberries. Native Americans eat deer. Penguin eats fish.

The End

Blogger's note: I disclaim responsibility for inaccuracies in above post. The author refused to take several suggestions for revision.

Friday, March 27, 2009


By Solana

I love school
I absolutely do
I do

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Vokis!

Check out our vokis!