Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can you think of a "L" Wordle

Some of you may recall that our oldest son was in speech a couple years ago and I posted about how I used podcasts to support his speech development (See Digital Audio to the rescue). Now our youngest child is in speech. I really think he developed his articulation issues because he was developing his language skills during the same time that our oldest son was struggling with speech.

Of course, we are running into similar issues with practice sessions so recently I decided to try an interesting tool known as Wordle. Wordle reminds me of the things we used to draw in junior high when we were bored in class. You know, adjectives about your favorite boy, the names of all your friends or whatever was most important at the time.

I like it for children because it gives them another opportunity to play with words. My son had to say each "L" word and then I typed it for him. Then, he loved to change the colors and fonts and, of course, each time we did he said the words over again.

I could see Moms using this with children who are reluctant to practice vocabulary or spelling, in studying for a test on synonyms, antonyms or parts of speech or just to pass time in a quiet, directed fashion.

As far as I can tell the tool is not that robust but it seems to be reliable and very easy to use. Here are the Wordles that Drew created:

L Sounds

Initial L Sounds

As always, it is fun to hear from others who have used these tools and/or ideas for other tools.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Glogster: A new twist on the poster

My first grader had his first poster assignment this weekend. The class is studying famous Black Americans (I still wonder about this; shouldn't we study these people year round?). I know the teacher is following the school curriculum and I know this happens in schools around the country so I suppose people with more knowledge than me feel it is the right thing to do.

Danny was assigned to research Willie Mays but unfortunately the books we found were at a pretty high reading level. Thus, we went to the Internet. We found some interesting images, videos and statistics. Then, we created a Glog using Glogster. The Glogster slogan is "Poster Yourself" and a Glog is essentially an online multimedia poster. You can embed images, videos, sounds, links and text. I am honestly not sure what Glog stands for; possibly "Glamour Log."

It is very easy to use and even has an EDU section where teachers can set up private accounts for each of their students. I think primary teachers may have difficulties managing a whole-class Glog project without extra hands, however, I think most Moms could easily support their children as they complete poster assignments. I seem to remember poster assignments throughout my K-12 education and I remember they got more boring the older I got. Glogster may be the answer. Youngsters can learn some computer skills, gain 21st century skills including creativity and digital ethics and possibly really enjoy an age-old school assignment.

You can see Danny's glog on Willie Mays. But, more importantly check out Glogster. It may just save you some headaches the next time your child brings home that poster assignment. Or, maybe you can save yourself some headaches on a rainy or snowy day.