Tuesday, March 30, 2010


When I began this journey, I did not know what I was getting into! I did not know what web 2.0 was. I learned so much that my head is still spinning. The time was well spent and I would do it again if there were new things to learn, which there always are.

Especially in today's technological climate, we can not afford to be left behind. When I told my students that we teachers had homework that we VOLLUNTEERED for they said, "Why would you do that to yourself?" After laughing, I explained that we were trying to stay one step ahead of them, or at least, keep up with them. I think they appreciate the effort and like to be on the cutting edge of technology too.

This project was very enjoyable and we accomplished so much. I still do not know how to finesse my blog exactly, but I get by pretty well and am so proud of myself! I liked having the tech-coach/coordinators close by for questions or support if needed. Over Easter break, I will explore more sites and keep the flame burning.


Your Turn, My Turn (Writeboard)

Wow! there are so many web 2.0 applications that I don't know where to start. The names don't make it obvious as to what they do. Even with a search option to sort them out, I don't know how to predict what the tags words would be.

This site is a directory for differnet web apps: http://www.listio.com/
I searched "teach Spanish", "learn Spanish", "practice Spanish" and just plain "Spanish"; unfortunatley, I did not find anything useful for school. I found Spanishpod, a podcast learning program, but it's $9 a month.

I learned from Joyce about Writeboard when she sent the 6th grade team an email to go to her writeboard with the password and directions to help brainstorm a project that we are working on in advisory. She started with some ideas and we just clicked "edit" to add our ideas. Collaborating is such a good idea. No one person should have to do all the work. Good ideas can be born when when all put our creativity together.

It was SO simple that I got the idea that everyone in my family can use it! Every year we make tamales and a flurry of emails goes out about who is bringing what. The web sometimes gets tangled and our communication fails. I thought that a wiki would help to solve this, but I like this better because it's private and no one has to create a new account, except the creator (me). Here's my started writeboard for our big day:


Tweeting seemed really rediculous at first, but now I see how it can be a time saver, especially for the one posting the tweets. For example, Joyce's "Critter War" provides a play-by-play just one post that we can all access.

If someone is out of town, they could tweet some happenings on the trip so that people back home won't worry so much or just to keep in contact.

I did not find myself with any exciting news to post this week, but exciting life happens in spurts, so maybe some other week...

A new mom could have the dad post some things to keep the family up to date - that would be interesting!

I am amina28b on twitter.com, but I don't have anything earth-shaking to tell you about my life, sorry.

Presentations 2.0

Searching for presentations in Slide share was difficult because I could not narrow down my search. For example I looked for "Spanish expressions in the classroom" and all it came up with was Spanish presentations produced by companies selling their language learning programs. Maybe I need to add some punctuation to my searches, but it does not seem too user friendly. Or maybe, there are not presentations on this site that I am looking for.

I did find this presentation that I found interesting and useful for introducing the 5th graders' unit on culture of Spanish Speaking countries. I marked it as a favorite becuase it is simple, short enough and informative.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been searching for podcasts for my students to listen to so that they can reenforce what they learned in class. Most of the programs/podcasts I found that they are really slow and use people from Spain who speak with the ceceo (which sounds kind of like a lisp). It bothers me that they have to take a minute or more to advertise their program before they get started with each segment! Discover Spanish, the progam that I like to best so far is broadcast out of Miami, Florida and they sound more like me (for continuity). Johnny Spanish and Christina go back and forth and have the listener repeat or respond after explaining small phrases. They even have interactive lessons online that the listener can listen to on their website, but that costs $46, sorry.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


About two years ago, I started a new wiki just because I took a tech class on how to do it; but I never got my students in the habit of going there instead my school website. Mainly, it was just a tool used to posts links. Well, I thought of a good reason to use a wiki...I thought I could get my students to collaborate on a newsletter article so that one person wouldn't have to carry all the weight. Having more authors would include more perspectives and make the article more colorful. So far we/they have written about our trip to the DIA to see Latin American/Spanish artists and our flamenco dance lesson.

Having a wiki is great fun because it is a group project and it helps to build community. My students were so proud to be published and they were even interested enough to read the posts of their classmates, which was refreshing. A drawback that I found is that the wiki(spaces) doesn't have a spell check and the girls write like they are texting. I like having the blog too because it's kind of like a diary and I don't have to worry too much about responding to the posts. In my mind I imagine that no one is really reading this; I'm just thinking out-loud, which I love to do.

For my personal use, my cousins, aunts and I could organize our annual tamale making evening for Christmas mush easier if we used a wiki. Every year we send a flurry of a-mails around trying to see who is bringing which ingredients and cooking utensils for the tamales.


I have to say, I have been mentally blocking out the widgets on other websites while I am surfing. I never look at the additional, annoying stuff outside out what I am searching for. When I am shopping, Target has grabbed my attention to divert me from where I was, usually to a dead end. They are mostly a distraction and a nuisance. Even the one that I chose (hoping to discover a new artist) is too big and makes the page look a little messy. On the other hand, I like the surprise element of seeing something new every time I open my blog.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Either this was pretty easy, or I am starting to get pretty good. :-) I am learning! While recording my voice, I felt kind of rushed, feeling like I would be taking up too much time as I was talking, but it turned out fine.

This could be very useful to explain something that otherwise might have both the speaker and listener really frustrated. I could see this application being used for absent students, substitute lessons, or even a snow day. Just kidding on that last one. :-)

Voice Thread


This program, Voice Thread, seems very useful because everyone can have a say in the conversation. It could be very validating, to shy people, who are reluctant to speak in front of others. If they don't feel confident about how their comment came out, they can just delete it and record as many times as necessary.

Using this in my class to hear my students speaking individually would be a great use of this program. As class sizes increase, we are going to have to get more creative in how we go about giving students the individual attention that they deserve.

I will admit though, that it has taken me hours to do this week's assignments. For one, I had to figure out how to record because my microphone settings had to be changed not only in my computer's preferences, but in the program (Voice Thread's) settings. My 11 year old son had to help me, because I am not even sure which user name they were referring to when I was trying to post. I still have a lot to learn to become tech savvy. Once you get going in voice thread, though, it seems pretty easy to use.

The 25MB maximum video size was a deterrent to me uploading a video that I wanted to post, so I opted for a still image. I still need tech. some help to resize a video, making it web friendly.

You Tube

I love YouTube! Who doesn't? There is a lot of garbage out there, but that aside, the educational possibilities are endless. I can't imagine what is NOT on You tube. My son learns magic tricks on YouTube; I even learned how to fix a leaky faucet once. For all us visual learners out there, this site is very helpful and speaks our language.

This video about a famous flea market in Barcelona, Spain that I would like to visit someday. I chose to attach this video because my eighth grade is studying Spanish culture. Students love to see real examples of what they are learning. It speaks to their intelligences and they relate so much more easily to these mini virtual field trips.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shopping Web 2.0 Tools "Thing 12"

Many of the tools available seemed to be the same or similar to the ones I found on Mash Ups, but I did discover some new things:
  • PollDaddy could be used to survey my students on projects to find out if my "bright ideas" were really that all that great.  
  • Blabberize looks like a ton of fun to grab the attention of my students to introduce a lesson.  I tired it, but my microphone won't record for some reason.   I'll have to try again from another computer later.
  • Quizlet is great for students to create and share their own quizzes and flashcards.  
  • ToonDoo looks really interesting for students to create scripts in Spanish to practice dialog without getting hung-up on spending so much time on the artwork.  The only problem is that it does take a while to get to know the program and all of the options that are available.  I tried to make a cartoon and discovered that I could not write with Spanish punctuation or letters.  On second thought, this won't work for my students, but would be fun for art students.
There are so many possibilities to integrate technology into my lessons and to make them more engaging.

Social Bookmarking

Using tags is a good way to organize your bookmarks/favorites because I can never remember where I found an interesting site.  I found find sites that I had never heard of before via Delicious like the BBC, http://www.digitaldialects.com/Spanish/Food_audio.htm,  where students can play interactive games and hear pronunciation, http://www.livemocha.com/vocabulary/games/es-mx# where more advanced students can practice vocabulary with images, http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/COURSES/verbs/arrepentirse.htm, to access to common verbs in their conjugated forms,  and http://www.codyscuentos.com/2008/03/caperucita-roja-audio-cuento/, to hear Little Red Riding Hood in Spanish and other famous childrens's stories like the Three Little Pigs.

The biggest advantage of using Delicious is that I can access my bookmarks from anywhere and my students can see those links in one place instead of going to the school's homepage.

I see myself being able to use this in my professional and personal life because I move around a lot and I don't like to carry my tablet home every day.  I do a lot of work at home, then I have to email myself the link at work.  This will save me time and frustration - what a clever idea! I guess I'll have to open an account with Delicious.

Mash Ups

I wish I had more time to play and explore with Mash-Ups in Big Huge Labs.  I had fun playing with Photobooth, Mosaic Maker, and Badge Maker.  I figured out that I can make Spanish name tags that say, "Me llamo..."using Id Badge maker.  The fifth graders would love that for learning how to do introductions.

I still don't have access to my own photo library to show you products of my goofing around, but when I do, I will post them.


I think I could stay on this Flickr site all day looking at photographs other people have taken.  I appreciate how the images are edited and the quality is better than what you might find on Google images.

I thought I would spend some time just looking at places I would like to go and virtually take a trip.  Here are some images from Barcelona, Spain.

H-ousewine o L Ä

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Netvibes is pretty cool.  I had never heard of it before, so I appreciate learning something new and useful.  It is nice to have choices on which sites from which to draw my information for news.  It's getting pretty obvious that some news media sources are more slanted or biased than others, so  I chose to have n.p.r. and  Time magazine feed my homepage.  Of course around here in Michigan, the weather update is a must.

Students could find newsfeeds useful when doing research on a certain subject.  If they were concentrating on a certain subject area, they could have the experts on that subject right at their fingertips each time they open their computer to the internet.  It would be such a time saver, plus it woulds serve as a constant reminder of their mission.

Flickr uses in Wlang

After creating an account on Flickr I browsed around various groups and searched for subjects incorporated in units that I teach for Spansih.  I found some very beautiful, culturally diverse images.  When I did a search for "Madrid", I found some great images that I could use in a lesson.  I did a search for "corazon" (heart in Spainish) and some pretty creative images came up, like a bite out of an apple in the shape of a heart.  When I searched for some images to share with my photography class, I found some awe inspiring images too.  It's great to be able to tap into talent from around the world - Yay!

The most frustrating part of this photo sharing site is the amount of time it takes for the page to load when trying to view a full size image - boo...thumbs down!  Anyone who knows me knows that I move fast and don't have time to sit around wait for pages to load.

Since my home computer's hard drive just died, I could not upload any picutres to back up to flickr, ironic, no?  I will get the technical problem resolved and back up some of my images to flickr.  I just hope it doesn't take forever.  I'm thinking that since there are at least four ways to upload, one of those ways is faster than the rest.  If anyone out there knows which faster, please let me know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Wow!  This is overwhelming!  I am spending so much time exploring these sites.  I found this AWESOME gold mine of a link for world language educators:


I found a Ning with Spanish video blogs that I joined and will show to my class of this guy in Spain chronicling his days in Madrid.  My students will be able to understand him which will be encouraging for them.

I joined a photography Ning, but I have to wait for approval.  I am not sure why one would blog in a Ning and not use Blogger?  I suppose if I could create a Ning for my students some other classes could discover us and talk to us in Spanish.  I joined a Super Spanish Teacher (technoLanguages Ning)  in case I have some points to discuss later.

Got a comment

When  received my first comment I was pleasantly surprised.  Honestly, I forgot all about my post and didn't really expect anyone to really read what I wrote.  Yay me, someone is reading!

So, I got a comment, which was a question.  Problem, I don't even know how to respond to this question - sad, no?  I never really figured it out, but I did something...?  I'm sure, I'll figure it out eventually.  Please forgive me, Mathlete, I don't exactly know how to reply.


Surprise!  I found some connections (friends) that are "Linked In".  There was a photographer friend of mine that had a slide show link, so I watched that for entertainment.  Funny thing is, I talk to her fairly often and LinkedIn never came up.  I found both personal and professional friends and was glad to see someone I know out there in cyber-space.

This site could be valuable if more people were members.  I know so many unemployed people, that I am going to start recommending this to.  Praying is good, but this is really pro-active.

I have a facebook page to keep in touch with my family, but surely, it's better to keep the silly pictures of me dancing at a wedding private.  These two sites have completely different purposes, and are better kept separate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why am I Doing This? Cosa #1

The decision to enroll in this training was fairly simple. I wanted to learn new things in terms of my technical literacy, so I grabbed the brass ring! I like to learn something new every day to feel accomplished. My son asks me what I learned every day at dinner; now I will have some interesting things to say and maybe teach him something new in the process.