Friday, February 24, 2012

7th Graders Use YouTube Clips to Learn About Figurative Language

Yukon middle school students in Ricki Robertson's English class have been studying figurative language and finding examples of figurative language like alliteration, metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole in contemporary music. Recently one of Mrs. Robertson's students, Richard, used the website Prezi along with YouTube and Real Player software to create a compelling presentation about figurative language examples. Richard included video clips from songs by The Jackson Five, the movie "Beauty and the Beast," the Charlie Daniel's Band, and Bette Midler. The following 8 minute video is an audio interview with Richard and screencast of his Prezi presentation. Richard discusses his project, what he learned, how he used different tools to include video clips in his project, and why he enjoyed this opportunity to incorporate different kinds of multimedia into a class project.

This project is an outstanding example of the ways students are expected to use technology under the new Common Core State Standards under adoption by public schools in Oklahoma. It is also a great example of a student properly exercising "fair use rights" to incorporate limited amounts of copyrighted media works in a transformative, non-commercial product which includes the author's opinions and ideas. Learn more about media literacy and copyright/fair use specifically from copyright materials provided by the Media Education Lab (now at the University of Rhode Island) founded by Dr. Renee Hobbs.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lakeview Students Use iPads to Create Presentations

Gifted education students at Lakeview recently learned how to create narrated slide show presentations on the iPads using the iPad app called Explain Everything.  5th grade students will soon be watching the Yukon High School's production of Annie Get Your Gun.  Each group was assigned a specific person from the musical to research: Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, Buffalo Bill, etc. The students conducted research in the computer lab and wrote scripts highlighting important events in their assigned person's life.  The students then selected images from the internet on the iPads and took screen shots to use in their presentations.  The images were loaded onto the Explain Everything app and students read and recorded the information from their scripts. The students were able to time the slide transitions so they were synchronized with the information they were sharing.   The research, script writing, photo selection, editing, and recording were all done during one 2 1/2 hour gifted session.  
The finished presentations were posted on a website on posterous for parents to view at home and for the 5th grade classroom teachers to use to share the information with their classes before they attend the musical.  Some classes even brought the "in progress" presentations on iPads to the principal, music teacher, librarian etc. to share their new found information and technological skills. 
Since the fourth graders  needed to learn how to use the new app, but were not going to attend the musical, they had a slightly different project.  They followed the same steps as listed above, but they had a different topic.  They were allowed to selected any person in history that they felt was the coolest/most interesting person ever and their assignment was to give specific facts about that person's life that would convince anyone watching the presentation that they WERE the neatest person ever!  The variety of student selected subjects for these mini-biographies was impressive.  Students made presentations on Homer, Amelia Earhart, Houdini, DaVinci, Sacagawea, Neil Armstrong, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Walt Disney, and many others.

Check out these and other media projects by Lakeview students on the Lakeview Gifted Projects website on Posterous.

Creative Commons licensed image of Walt Disney from the Orange County Archives.

Friday, February 17, 2012

6th Graders Learn About Mummification

6th grade students in Kayleen Browning's social studies classes have been learning about mummies and the process of mummification in their unit about Egypt / Ancient Civilizations. To practice oral communication skills and further develop spoken fluency, students practiced and audio recorded written essays they wrote about their Egypt unit studies. Oral communication skills and safe online publishing of work are two elements required by the new Common Core State Standards adopted by Oklahoma. Here are two examples of student essays audio-recorded (using a hand-held digital audio recorder by Mrs. Browning) and posted on the free website AudioBoo. After listening to these two audio recordings, check out Mrs. Browning's interactive blog with more student work on

Brennah's Mummy Essay:
Brennah"s Mummy Essay (mp3)
Austin M. and Payton's Radio Show about the Mummification Project
Austin M. and Payton"s Newscast (mp3)

Monday, February 13, 2012

5th Graders Develop Problem Solving Skills with Lego WeDo Robotics

Some 5th grade students at Lakeview Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools are developing their problem solving and computational thinking skills using Lego WeDo Robotics kits. On February 13, 2012, fifth graders Cade and Thomas used the graphical, icon-based programming environment of the Lego WeDo Robotic software to control the motor of a Lego project other students created. In this two minute audio interview, they described what they are doing with Lego WeDo Robotics and why they enjoy learning how to program a basic robot.

Cade and Thomas Talk About Lego WeDo (mp3)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

6th Grade Parents and Teachers Provide Students Feedback on Writing

This semester, students taught by Debbie Callison at the Yukon Middle School 6th Grade Academy have been writing and sharing their poetry online using free, interactive websites hosted by All the posts written by students, as well as comments submitted by others to each website, are MODERATED by Mrs. Callison. Students have not only been working on the quality and content of their own poetry, but also discussing "What makes a good comment?" Students are identifying specific elements of poems to highlight and providing constructive feedback to each other. Online, student publishing and interactive commenting moderated by a classroom teacher is one specific element of the new "Common Core" standards for Oklahoma students which Yukon Public Schools is currently working to implement at the direction of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. One of the best things about students sharing their writing online using an open site like KidBlog is the opportunity it provides for parents to provide feedback, as well as teachers and students. Here is a specific example from Mrs. Callison's 2nd hour, sixth grade English class this week. This is a post written by Cooper last week, titled, "What is a Champion?"

Later in the day after Cooper wrote that post, Mrs. Callison shared some positive feedback as a comment on that post to accompany comments already moderated/approved. In addition, yesterday (January 31st) Cooper's Dad logged on to the class website. He also wrote a comment, providing feedback and encouragement to his son.

It takes practice to get better at anything, and Yukon middle school students are improving their writing skills with digitally-saavy learning opportunities provided by Mrs. Callison. Kudos to Cooper for sharing his poem, and kudos to his classmates, Mrs. Callison, and Cooper's dad for providing constructive feedback! We're living in times of change, and it's great to see this example of how Yukon Public School teachers are providing ways to extend learning experiences digitally beyond the "four walls of the classroom" and involve parents as partners in developing literacy skills.