16 July 2010

How's this for optimism?

I continue to browse the internet for things that I want for my future classroom. Because I will have a future classroom, soon.  And I will have money, soon. That's a promise I've made to myself in the past couple of days.

And that classroom will be the best darn looking classroom anyone has ever crossed the threshold of.

And so, the list from yesterday continues:

1. I found this poster on teachersdiscovery.com. However, I don't think I would ever pay for it. It was created with wordle.net, which is free to use and very cool, and I've been using it for a couple of years now.  You can create these word clouds for absolutely anything, and you are in (almost) complete control of the content. It can be time-consuming, especially if you have a preconceived notion of what you want. From my experience,  a rough idea of what you'd like to see represented is good, but really only in terms of the words you want included and maybe some general size relationships between those words. With Wordle, you have to allow it to randomly generate word placement, but you can pick the general shape and color scheme of your Wordle. I've had a much more rewarding and exciting experience when I've just let things happen. You can  regenerate the same word cloud all day long until you reach something that you are satisfied with, and it's surprising how your own understanding of the content of your word cloud can be illuminated in new and interesting ways by what Wordle generates for you. Although I won't buy this poster, I will say that I had never thought of using Wordle in this way. I always saw its possibilities for a student assignment, but I think this medium could make a really interesting discussion prompt for the end (or maybe even the beginning?) of a unit.

 2. I really like this series of lit elements posters from teachersdiscovery.com, because they seem to be a little more visually interesting for older students (or more cool? Not so cutesy as some that I've seen). It also looks like they do a really nice job of illustrating the concept. I don't know why I seem to be gravitating so much towards this idea of being able to talk about visual representation and non-text messages, but I'm thinking these posters lend themselves towards that nicely.

I seem to be finding a lot of stuff to decorate a classroom and create those visual elements that can get kids thinking. That's all well and good, but I'm also trying to find practical things for my classroom, especially to help establish management procedures. So far, I've only come across callowayhouse.com as a good resource. What else is out there?

On a personal side note, I've become hooked on Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC. I think its entertainment value, for me, comes from its astounding capacity to dumbfound me.   Also, it is giving me some good Halloween costume ideas. For your entertainment (and mine), a Youtube! video of my favorite T & T moment, with commentary from the host of The Dish.

She's four. I was waiting for her to wallop someone upside the head with that pink wand thing she had in her hand. The most astounding aspect of this little girl isn't even in this video. The ridiculousness of her behavior is amplified most when she is frantically looking for her "ni-ni"--her pacifier.

I think all of our inner four-year-old selves kind of admire her a little, though. Only mine? Well, okay.

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