Kathy Cassidy is a teacher who teaches first graders. She caught my attention right off the bat when she said she had not used technology up until the past ten years. I often forget there are teachers out there who are having to teach themselves how to keep up with their students. She said she started learning the different technology out there when she was given five computers to use in her classroom. She said they were very basic and had absolutely no programs on it, so she went hunting for things to keep her six year old students interested in learning. She started with how to make webpages, which led to blogging, and now that's what her students use! She made the comment that her students love to use the technology because it makes them feel like they aren't leaving it at home when they get to school.
Ms. Cassidy said her students use their blogs as an online portfolio. That intrigued me immediately. As a history teacher, I will have a lot of papers being going back and forth between the students so it would be easier if I had them place their assignments online. I could find them better and I wouldn't have to worry about misplacing them (or my dog eating it). The only problem I could see there is if I lose internet access, but hey, I remember my teachers always telling me they didn't get something graded on time! She said she uses Class Blog Mister for the students to put their work up. Her students enjoy putting stuff up for the world to see instead of handing in a paper for just the teacher to read. I'm not sure my high school students would care for their papers on The Revolutionary War to be publicized or not, but it's nice knowing I have the option.
She mentioned if you're interested in using video in your classroom to start using YouTube. I am on YouTube everyday looking at all kinds of different things. I have some videos bookmarked that I want to using to enhance my lessons. I have also went farther than that and found The American Experience. This is a website that has many historical videos available to the public online, and they add new ones all the time. It is also a television program on PBS. I receive emails from them already, and when I see a special coming up that collaborates my lesson plans I will assign it to my classes. Although I will probably assign it as a extra credit assignment. In high school you have to be more careful springing things on kids as a grade with short notice. Some students have extracurricular school activities, athletic events, and some simply don't have the resources to get it done with a couple of days notice. I'll make the decision according to the school and students I am teaching.
Also, I really appreciated seeing the snow! I have never seen snow before!