Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

In order to carry out my GAME plan I have found myself surfing the web quite often for what I felt would best fit my needs for my students.  There are two projects I plan to commit to.  The first project is using digital story-telling with my students.  In order to get this project set up properly I need to meet with my colleague to have her take me through the process she has used many times with her own students.  At this point in the school year, we have yet to meet.  We need to discuss what technology is necessary as well as how to use it.  One of my main concerns is the amount of time I saw her spending on her own projects in past years.  At this time, I do not feel that I have as much time available to devote (Everyone has different teaching strategies) as she did.  My colleague has a cart of laptops available which I will need to schedule use of around her schedule.  This lesson will teach my students to incorporate digital tools and promote creativity while learning relevant information. 

The other project I am currently looking at is student portfolios.  A few years ago I kept portfolios on each one of my students.  Now that numbers have increased, 29 binders sitting around the room is just too many.  When reading about portfolios in the course text, I fell in love with the idea of digital portfolios.  There are many ideas about how to create portfolios for free, but the one that felt right for me is called Share and I found an example on the following website:

I am in the process of ordering it and cannot wait to start using it with my students.  These portfolios will work as a wonderful communication piece with parents as I planned.  But, the most positive aspect of the portfolios is that I believe my students will love creating them.  Any time I can excite my students about what they are learning, I have achieved my goal for the day.  The website has provided me with a wonderful example that I plan to copy, but the rest will have to be trial and error.  I would like to have a scanner at my disposal.  One colleague of mine has a scanner, but I plan to ask my principal to supply me one for my own room. 

These opportunities both allow for as much creativity as a student chooses.  It allows for written, oral, and visual representation of their knowledge.  I am so excited to get started.


  1. Thank you for the link. I went briefly to the site and I agree, it looks great. I can definitely see my kids having a lot of fun creating these as well. It looks like it is very easy to use but has a lot of flexibility so that your students can decide how they want their portfolio to look. If you do not mind me asking, how much is it? Is it really expensive? Are you paying for it or is your school? I am anxious to see how it goes for you and how you like it. Please keep us updated.

    So that you can learn how to use it and teach your students at the same time, you might create your own portfolio along side them. That would be fun and your students would love seeing what "knowledge" you have to share. Just a thought. You might already have a plan.

    Once you have time to play with digital-storytelling I think you will find it really easy to use. I have used it a few times and our kindergarten teachers use it a lot. The program walks you through everything. Your students will catch on fast. I start off with letting them do a project about themselves as they learn how to use it. It is an easy way for them to learn the program while telling all about themselves, which they know a lot about. Plus they love sharing about themselves! Good luck!


    1. Daneen,
      It is a relief to hear kinders use digital-storytelling. If they can do then I can do it. As far as the cost of the portfolio program, it is around $36 for an individual computer. I have e-mailed for a costumer service agent to contact me to discuss it further. The site for Share has many other items for purchase which I am unsure whether I need them or not. I noticed that site puchases are available and discounts for multiple computers. I am a little confused about the whole thing right now (not as simple as I was hoping), but I will let you know what I find out.
      Thanks, Kelly

  2. I also checked out Tech4learning and found it to be full of information to help me and my students use technology in fun and meaningful ways. In the past students have made their own portfolios, so I can relate to the 30+ notebooks stacked in the classroom waiting for students to claim them after I have gone through every single page. I love the idea of an online portfolio but I had not found one that I could use at school as of yet. I am going to give it a try. Also, I wonder if there is a free alternative to Share.
    I agree with Daneen that creating our own portfolio alongside our students will help them and we can solve problems and answer questions as we all move forward.
    The digital story-telling is a great way to have students express their creativity. I have found that the more leeway students have with building a project or learning on their own terms, the more successful they become. They are certainly more engaged because they know the product represents themselves. Retention of knowledge would be a given as the project would be an authentic and meaningful learning experience.

    1. I too would like a free alternative to Share. Actually that is what I was searching for in the first place when I fell upon this site. The program looks so user friendly, which is really important to me. Some of the other things I was reading was you can use just about any program to create digital portfolios, but it was not coming accross to me as though they would be as animated and child friendly as I would like. Please share any free sites you find. I would love that much better of course. Also, I have not found out whether or not this software is allowed by my district yet either. Thanks for bringing up that point. I will add to my list of to do's!

  3. Kelly,
    I have lots of questions about portfolios. How often did you have your students contribute to their binder portfolios? What types of assignments did they enter? Did you choose the assignment or your students?

    I can definitely understand not wanting to keep that many portfolios in your classroom. If your principal will not purchase the scanner, do you have a parent committee that would help out? Our parent organization will often purchase these types of materials if the teachers ask. They might also be willing to pay for the subscription to the online portfolio. How often do you plan on having your students contribute? It might be nice to teach them how to use the scanner and upload their own writing. Otherwise, I can see it being a very overwhelming task for you.


    1. Christina,
      As far as the binder portfolios went, they were divided into sections much like the digital examples I have been seeing. I had a section for math, reading, writing, social studies, other, and behavior. Any time my students took any type of assessment, it would be added by the student after they had an opportunity to look at it. Also, project or hands on assignments like reports, essays, peoms, etc. would be added under each section. The other section was for work they felt they were successful at in which I may not have required. The behavior section consisted any processing forms, detention slips, and/or notes and e-mails received from other colleagues that service my students.
      As far as the scanner goes, we do not have a parent support team. I tried with one other colleague of mine to have a PTA for 3-4 years, but we were basically the PTA (The parent part was non-existing no matter what we tried). Anyhow, if my principal will not purchase it, I will try to use This is a wonderful site that often supports many wishes for your classroom. My colleague uses it all the time to purchase books, cameras, document cameras, etc. for her classroom. Recently she got a years subscription for NewsWeekly.
      Finally, if I do get all of the items necessary to run successful digital portfolios, I will expect my students to learn how to do everything on their own.
      Thanks for your questions.

  4. Wow! That is great that the students have so much to look back on throughout the year. I do not think I could keep that up all year long. Good for you!