Thing 23…¡Adiós!

Wow! I learned so much in this course and have a ton of resources to use. I am planning to share my favorite “things” at a pre-planning faculty meeting this coming week, and I am excited to use new tools for myself, with my colleagues, and my students. Although I learned how to do cool technology stuff this summer, the best part to me is that I do see myself as a life long learner. Have a great year everyone!


Thing 22…Twitter!

I got a “new” Twitter account, because I used to use it more for when I taught online. I had my Twitter feed embedded into my course homepage, and would send reminders, thank yous, and course updates that way. Now I have a personal account, and I use it mostly to following running and music. I think it can be valuable in education, and not as personal as Facebook. I am going to work on tweeting more this year! Follow me @Jimenez_Holly


Thing 21…Google Maps!

This is so cool! I made a map using Option A, except it was a “running” tour instead of a walking one. I chose to map out a 2.7 mile run that we do about once at week during my middle school cross country season. The run is called “right-right-right” because it’s a loop with all right turns. I could use it for Spanish class activities, but it would be so useful for XC season, because it actually gives me the distances too. Here is a link to my map.

Thing 20…Google Docs!

I didn’t know that Google Drive could be so cool. When I used Google Docs while teaching at Georgia Virtual School, I thought they were kind of confusing and I had trouble finding things. It looks like the formatting has been improved, or maybe I’m just smarter now. 🙂 I had fun playing around with the document, and also the presentation feature. I would definitely think of using it. If my FL colleagues were on board, we could create a Google doc to upload different activities, homework, project ideas, etc. to share with each other. There are 3 of us who all teach Spanish A (beginning level), so it would be cool to collaborate that way, instead of just emailing something. I could also create a presentation and share it with my students…I guess they would all have to have a gmail though? Not sure on that one. Finally, I have used Google Docs in a practical, collaborative way. Last year, we had an 8th grade boy who was really struggling. The boys’ dean set up a doc that all of the teachers, plus his parents, could access. Then he sent us a weekly reminder and we would go to the doc and update his average, homework competion, and any other comments that we thought would be helpful for the parents. He DID pass 8th grade, so it worked!

Thing 19…YouTube!

YouTube is a great resource for teachers. You can find almost anything! In the Spanish classroom, I can find silly songs, examples of native speakers, videos of cultural events, and so much more. Almost all my classes begin with a warm-up activity called Para Empezar, which means “to begin” in Spanish. Students listen to one song in Spanish while they do some sort of review exercise that is on my Smartboard. YouTube has given me access to all types of music that I need, and it’s so much easier than buying/burning cds or even using iTunes. Here are the results of my hunt:

Content-related videos:  1. Irregular Preterite Verbs Song (to the tune of La Cucaracha)   2. El Arroyito, song by Fonseca…one of the songs I would play during Para Empezar

Student-produced video: This is a video of “DJ Pudge,” a robot created by a few of my students from my summer camp job (I taught Robotics). It was uploaded to our camp blog, and I taught our high school counselor how to embed it!

“How To” video: I coach track and field. This video is a step-by-step on how to get out of the starting blocks. They are used for athletes who compete in the 100m, 200m, and 400m open races, as well as the 100m/110m and 300m hurdles.

Funny video!: I absolutely love this video. This is slightly inappropriate for an academic setting, because it’s actually a commercial for Molson, a Canadian beer. I am Canadian and this video features “Canadian Joe” who highlights the differences between Americans and Canadians by mentioning common stereotypes that Americans have of us.

Thing 18…Screencasting

Screencasting is awesome! I used it ALL the time when I was teaching online for Georgia Virtual School. I also taught my colleague, the 8th grade science teacher in the room next to me, how to use it last year. She always uses YouTube videos to show the kids footage from storms, planets, and other catastrophic events. The annoying part about YouTube is that just when you plug in the cable and the computer screen is now projected on the board, YouTube decides to include an commercial for a movie, a car, or worse, some kind of feminine products. It’s distracting for a middle school teacher! Screencast helped her to just keep the snippet of video she wants, without the stuff she doesn’t. Check out my video I made when I was teaching online. It was a help video to show my kids how to get started in the course. Here is the link to mine…it was huge on my blog and couldn’t figure out how to shrink it. 🙂

Thing 17…Podcasting

My only real experience with podcasting is catching up on something I hear on NPR during my commute that I want to go back to, recommend to someone, or listen because I ran out of time! But I didn’t know how many free podcasts I could have access to through iTunes, so that’s pretty cool. I subscribed to Learn to Speak Spanish and Coffee Break Spanish, which are free online Spanish courses. I thought I might be able to share them with my students. The best use for podcasting would maybe to find something authentic and make some type of cloze activity for the kids. Oh, I also listened to a random podcast about the mom of the Olympic cyclist from Colombia who won a medal this week.

Thing 16…Social Networking

Classroom 2.0 was a completely new site to me. I have a Facebook, which is about all the social networking I do. I like it because it keeps me connected with close friends that may live far away, and I also have liked certain groups/people that are part of my hobbies as well as my professional life. As a middle school teacher, it’s a bit taboo for kids to even know that I have a Facebook account, so I keep myself as well hidden and private as possible. Because of issues with cyber-bulling, and the fact that my school doesn’t condone the use of social media for middle schoolers, I don’t think I would incorporate it into my own classroom.

I would however, use Classroom 2.0. I found a lot of groups that have various topics of interest for Spanish teachers. I also found some for coaches. The group “Teaching Spanish with Web 2.0 Tools” seems like a great place to go to share and learn. I also like the forum with the different topics. I read a post about a whiteboard app for the iPad and another about connecting with a middle school Spanish teacher in Maine to do collaborative projects. I think the most overwhelming thing for me is that we keep getting more and more awesome tools that I don’t know where I will go to sort them all out!

Thing 15…Diigo

I have taken a bit of time off, and now I’m back in Web 2.0 Land again! Today I set up my Diigo account and applied for an Educator upgrade. I had never heard of this type of cloud service, and I really like it. I added a few Spanish class websites to my account and then got the Diigo app for my iPhone. Ta-dah! All my sites were on my phone. This is awesome because I have some bookmarks in Safari on my laptop, some on Firefox, and some on my iPad and iPhone. There are repeats, and then sometimes I save something only to forget where it is. With the tags feature, I can better organize EVERYTHING! I also like the highlighting feature and the app for the iPhone where I can store pages to read offline. This is something I can also use in the classroom to give my students a list of sites to use to study. I’m going to keep playing!