Sunday, July 12, 2009

Using Podcasts as a Center!

New Ideas for Centers!

So how is podcasting relevant to education?
It is a powerful publishing platform that addresses different learning styles, is highly mobile, and can deliver content “just in time.” Think about some of these possibilities:
A teacher uses her cell phone to create a podcast with daily homework assignments and other classroom information. Parents download the podcasts to stay up-to-date on their children's school activities.
The district technology staff podcasts quick tech support tips for teachers to access as they need them.
Kids create a podcast about the Civil War to show what they've learned and share it with other classrooms.
A school board podcasts their meetings and special events as a way to increase community involvement in the school system.
A teacher records her class for students to download as a podcast. These podcasts are used by students who are absent as well as by those who need extra reinforcement or want to review.
A class takes a virtual field trip to NASA via a soundseeing tour podcast. The virtual field trip is broadcast in several formats, some designed for English language learners and others for GATE students.
The future of podcasting will bring even more exciting innovations. Some universities have already begun issuing all incoming students MP3 players and voice recorders and have found that this makes a significant difference in learning. A new development in this technology is the ability to podcast video — imagine students being able to download instructional videos or short “talking chalkboard” tutorials. Future podcasts may even include embedded interactivities so that learners can practice what they're learning, create an end product, or assess their learning.
So, what do you need to get started?
To listen to podcasts, all you need is:
A device on which to listen to the podcasts
Software for playing media
Podcast content
Podcatching software (optional)
To create your own podcasts, you need the above listed items plus:
A microphone
Recording and editing software
Music clip library (optional)
A way to publish your podcast

Listening devices
One of the best things about podcasts is that there are many different devices that can be used to listen to them. Some of them include:
Palm handheld computers
Windows Mobile handheld computers
MP3 players (include iPods and others)
Desktop and laptop computers
Cell phones

Software for playing media
To listen to a podcast, you need software to play the media files. Depending on what device you use to listen to your podcasts, a variety of software is available. For desktop or laptop computers, the most common media player programs are Windows Media Player, iTunes, RealPlayer, and Winamp.
All Windows Mobile handhelds are audio-capable and come with Windows Media Player Mobile, which can be used to listen to podcasts. Palm handhelds that are OS 5 or higher are audio-capable. Some devices require an SD card for this, while others can play audio from built-in memory. A variety of audio software is available for the Palm OS including Pocket Tunes and the RealPlayer for Palm.
MP3 players typically come with their own player software, which is built in to the device.
A word about file formats — Digital audio files come in a variety of formats. Some formats have encryption built in, while others don't. Different media players may play some formats and not others. For example, the Apple iPods play AAC files. Windows Media Player plays WMA, WMV, WAV, and MP3 files. One format that is broadly compatible across almost all players is MP3.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Small Group Math Center Idea

I know this is math, not reading, but still thought it was a quick and easy center activity to use in small group math instruction. This particular activity is multiplication, but can easily be addition for 1st and 2nd graders.

How to Play Count and Compare
A Set of Array Cards
1) Deal out the cards equally.
2) Place your cards in front of you with the array face up. (The product on the back is face down and used for checking purposes.)
3) Players place their cards in a stack in front of them.
4) Players draw the top card and compare it to their opponents cards.
5) The players figure out whose card is more, say the product of their card and explain their thinking, and then check the back of the card to make sure their product is correct.
6) Players record their multiplication facts on their recording sheet.
7) The player with the largest array card keeps the cards and places them at the bottom of their stack.
8) The game continues until all the cards are used in one players stack. Then, the cards are shuffled and redealt.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I would like to give you all a sense of who I am and what I'm doing here as Reading Coach at APS. My name is Wendy Clay and I'm here to help you help your students achieve in literacy and beyond. I believe my first job is to listen and learn-to get to know you, your interests, and your concerns. I believe we're all working for the success of the children at our school, and I look forward to being part of that effort.
Here is a blog created for us! I will post information and ideas that come to me through my new learning and training. I hope you enjoy and I hope it becomes a helpful resource!