Teacher’s Challenge – Embedding Video

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on February 13, 2011

Well, I am trying to catch up on the Challenges and as I have always struggled with embedding HTML in my blog it is terrific to finally learn how to do it.  I am just going to use the Chinese New Years video I took to make everything a bit easier.

Chinese New Year Video

Let’s Do Multimedia

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on February 12, 2011

There is so much to learn with this part of the Challenge so I am breaking it down into a couple of different posts.  The first one is going to have videos imported.

The Video is from You Tube and was taken at midnight on February 2, 2011 looking out my bedroom in Beijing.  I think the video speaks for itself except to say that while things were very frantic as it approach midnight and beyond in reality the show had already been going on for well over five hours and extended until about 2:00 am.  I hope you enjoy a bit of my life in Beijing.

Midnight in Beijing – Chinese New Year 2011

Another one of my favourite multimedia sites is Animoto especially as it is not blocked in China like You Tube and so many other sites.  There will be more about that and other tools next time.

Challenge with Images

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on February 12, 2011

I am continuing on with the Edublogs Challenge even though it is technically over.  I am learning a lot so I will keep moving forward. I need to learn these things.  I will follow the Student Blogging 30 Day Challenge but with having to use a VPN that limits how we approach the classroom blogging.

I chose a picture from Beijing where I currently live.  I love this picture because it doesn’t show the regular parts of Beijing that you so often see but it shows more of the real part of Beijing in the traditional style.  The red door is considered good luck and it is well weathered and may by our eyes look like it is falling apart but inside there could be a thousand different stories. I have learned over the years not to judge other people’s lives by my standards.  I have seen happiness amidst what I consider poverty and yet children play, people talk and take care of their business, babies cry and laugh, dine at their own special restaurants. Life goes on.

Photo taken by Trey Ratcliff licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Oh the fun we had with Avatars

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on January 26, 2011

We (meaning my great class, my co-teacher and me) have just had a great time in our IT creating Avatars.  The kids loved it and worked so hard to find something that represented them.

I used information I found under the following post by Miss W.

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2010/09/26/challenge-2-sept-2010/

to being my list and put it on our class website for the students to access.  After a few minutes of investigation the girls decided that they did not think that Hogwarts for girls or the Adventurer for girls was appropriate for their ages of 8 and 9.  We took them off of our class website.  It was so much fun to watch them create and to help each other out.  Super Heros, Bless this Chick, the Wimpy Kid and Mess Dudes were the favourite ones.

Each student made two avatars with different programs and we learned how to save them on the computers under the proper file so they can be accessed when we need them after the holiday.  We were also able to spend a bit of time discussing how to change the names of a what they had saved so it made sense to them plus the importance of using the proper suffix such as .jpg.

There were a few rules to follow such as the avatar should represent the student and the likes.  When it came to the Super Hero site I did a bit of editing on what the super heros were allowed to hold in their hands so everyone ended up with the light saber.  I did not want any snakes or killing weapons.

Ms. Ren, my Chinese co-teacher, was hard at work finding sites in Chinese that she could use to help develop language for her students.

I learned a lot and had so much fun listening to the students as they chatted away to each other and all of the laughter that kept erupting when they did something silly.  As always watching and listening to them help each other was the best part.

RSS Feeds and Avatars – oh my!!!!

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on January 21, 2011

The real me!!!!

The real me!!!!

I am really enjoying these challenges as I am learning many things.  This challenge is about RSS Feeds and Avatars. Well, I am happy to report that I have been using the joys of RSS for a number of years.  While I have read about a lot of different ones and looked at them I have stuck with Google Reader.  I don’t know if it is just the comfort of using all things Google or if I am happy with the service.  I hear a lot of bloggers write about the joys of  Netvibes but it seems a bit much for me.  So with so many other things to learn I will just stay where I am.

Now Avatars are a whole new topic, in a way.  The truth is that I do have an image, actually two on Gravatar.  I just changed mine to a personal that is a bit more updated.  Of course, now that I have read about this challenge I am trying to decide the merits of a real photo vs having created an avatar.

This afternoon I played around with creating my own avatar and it was a lot of fun. I used “Bless This Chick“. Going with my recent theme of changing up the things around me I am really considering using a created avatar instead of a picture.    I certainly like my creation but does it send the right image? (sorry no pun intended).

I thought my creation was fun.  I love the colours – vibrant and cheerful.  I use to love to wear hats though they have gone out of fashion. The clothes have a bit of drama and the additions are my loves – a cat and my computer.  I also added glitter to the whole avatar.  I showed the avatar to my class and they really approved.  Does that make it appropriate?  The question that comes up in my mind is whether this is a professional way to be represented.As I have mentioned previously I want this new decade in my life to be different and I think this avatar shows that.

So what do you think?

The new fun avatar!!!

The new fun avatar!!!

Mini Confusion but moving forward

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on January 19, 2011

As much as I hate to admit it I am being beat by technology at the moment.  Even with the great support from Anne I am still not able to get my Wordle into the previous post.  The code only appears as code in my post and I obviously need to talk to my Year 4 students for them to show me how to use MS Paint.   The fact that I move from working on PC’s at school to Apple at home probably doesn’t help with my level of confusion at the moment.

Anyway, I moved onto the next task of creating an “About Me” page.  I enjoyed doing this though it is just basic at the moment and I want to improve on it a lot more.  I also put in the picture from Christmas in Cambodia which was taken just before my 60th birthday (yes, that is a whole other story – you can read about my feelings on that at my personal blog – Life With Heather )

Putting in the page led me to another realization and that was how dark my blog was with the beautiful dark blue and waterlily.  Apparently, that is not where my mind is right now so I decided to find a different background.  I picked out about five that I really liked and then decided to bring in the experts, my Year 4 class, and have them help me decide.  The theme that is now being used was our choice.  Yes, it was our choice.  My class thought it was a great new blog for their teacher who has started a new decade and it also had “a bit of a Chinese look” which works well as that is where we all live.

I really like the new look.  It is brighter, happier and sort of quirky which is apparently my mindset these days.  :)  It is cleaner looking and yet gives me a feeling of pride when I log on to it.  I hope other people like it also.

The “About Me” page pops right there for all to see.

All in all, I am proud of the progress even if I am being stumped by Wordle at the moment.  :)

Life as a Blogger

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Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in TEACHER BLOGGING CHALLENGE 2011 | Posted on January 16, 2011

I have always loved the concept of blogging and intend as each month begins to participate but for some reason the month flies by and I have not written anything or at the most just a small contribution.  I have come to realize that part of the problem is that I am not sure what to write about and I am also, as much as it pains me to admit it, intimidated by all the great bloggers out there that have so many good things to say.  I am not sure what I have to say of value to add to the conversation.  But I have been a teacher for 37 years and am in love with all things IT so I must have something that I can say.  Maybe I am afraid no one will read the blog but when I read about how other great bloggers started they did it not for the conversations that have since developed but to find a forum to report what they were doing and trying.  Maybe that is the way I should look at it.  Maybe I should just figure that the only one who is going to read is me and write for me and if more people join then so be it but if not I will still be recording my world and what I am doing with my students and also my own professional development.

So here we are at the Edublogs Teacher Challenge and I have decided I will try to get focused enough to contribute to the process.  To say I am lacking in confidence would certainly be one way to look at this whole thing.

I have shown a definite lack of commitment to a location for my blog having started one of two other locations.  Of course, to add to the confusion, I have kept the same names for my professional and personal blogs and so there are times that I am even confused of where I am supposed to be writing.

Today to clear up part of the problem I went to one of the sites and wrote a final blog directing everyone (if there actually is anyone) to my site here on Edublogs.  I heard from a friend within a few minutes that I hadn’t heard from for a while.  I think there was a way on Blogger, one of my former hosts, to automatically send the blog.  I wonder if there is such a thing on Edublogs?

Regardless of the problems and past history I am going to try to begin to add to the conversation in an intelligent manner.  We have just had a New Year begin and I just had a significant birthday three days ago so while I do not normally make resolutions I am going to give myself a gift for my birthday and learn to blog consistently.