This week I have been checking out other blogs and websites to get some more ideas for my own and to learn about the different tools that other people are using.  
Some of the blogs that I now subscribe to include:

Mrs. Grayson's Class - Through this blog, I was introduced to the program called Glogster EDU, which allows you to create custom and interactive online posters that include pictures, videos, text, audio, graphics, and links.  I wrote a blog post yesterday about Glogster and in it I included a sample glog that I made.  On Mrs. Grayson's Class Blog, each student made a glog research paper and I really enjoyed looking through all of them to get ideas for how I would use this program with my future students.  I also really enjoy this blog because each student has their own blog linked to it.  Each student posts stories on a regular basis and I am blown away by the level of creativity this class possesses.  

Children's Book-A-Day Almanac - I subscribed to this blog because, as the name says, it features a write-up on a new children's book everyday.  I think this site will be very useful to me because I am always looking for new books to read to the kids at the daycare I work at and I don't always have enough time to research and read up on new children's book at the library.  This way, I can just go to this site and quickly access new titles.  I really like the "Yesterday's/Tomorrow's" scroll feature on this page because incase you miss a day or if you want to look ahead to upcoming posts, you can!  

For the Love of Learning - I found out about this blog through the educational chat I participated in yesterday on Twitter with #elemchat.  Multiple people tweeted about Joe Bower's blog and how his teaching techniques are really progressive and challenge our 'common sense.'  After reading only one of his posts, I was hooked!  His writing is so fluid and I love his use of metaphors to make his thoughts clear.  You can tell he's one of those really special teachers that really cares about his students and the future.  One of my favourite posts of his is from May 15th - all it is is a caption that says "School should not feel like this" and a picture of a cheese grater... it doesn't need anything else.  Joe Bower's ideas and philosophy really resonate with me.  I think we all could learn a lot from this guy!   

Art Lessons for Kids - I chose to follow this blog because it, basically, makes me feel inspired.  The creator is a teacher who has taught elementary art in many countries like Bolivia, Turkey, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Bahrain.  Even though I really enjoy making crafts, I don't consider myself to be the most artist person when it comes to visual art so I think this site will be a great resource for me.  I particularly like two semi-recent posts of hers: one showcases art ideas for boys.  From working in the daycare, I know how challenging it is to maintain some boys' attention when it is craft time - they like to just get the activity done and go back to free-play.  One of the ideas is to have a salad decorating activity - not only does this idea think outside the box of 'traditional' art, it also allows for a healthy snack afterwards.  The other post I really enjoyed is the one from January 29th that lists all the household materials you can reuse for art.  I am a huge fan of recycling so I am definitely going to keep this list on hand to give to my students' parents.  

TweenTeacher.com - This blog sparked my interest because it deals with issues teachers are facing with emerging bilingual (ESL) students.  Last semester, I was in ELNG 200, a class focused on language diversity, and I found it to be very interesting.  One component of ELNG 200 was to volunteer with emerging bilingual students, which was very insightful and rewarding.  The latest post on this blog has 40 techniques to try with emerging bilingual students, many of which coincide with my teaching philosophy to allow students to represent their learning in different ways.  The author of this blog, who is an award-winning middle years teacher, seems to really be on top of the whole getting-connected-with-technology idea, too, which I really respect.  

Mr. Peterson's Blog - I'll be honest, I only looked at this blog because the author shares the same last name as me.  But after I browsed around a bit, I noticed that it was a blog I could really get on board with. He points out some of the paradoxes that surround technology such as how texting is one of the most powerful forms of communication today but yet texting decreases the amount we actually do communicate (i.e. verbally.)  Mr. Peterson also draws attention to how technology can be dangerous, which is good for a not-as-experienced user like me - because of him, I now know what "phishing" is!

Horizon Education Centres - This blog has tons of ideas for helping children develop certain skills and learn how to do certain activities.  It has tips for everything from learning math to falling asleep.  Some of the tips are what some might consider to be common sense, but, as teachers, we sometimes focus too much on the  end result than the process it takes to get there.  I would recommend this blog to any educator is just starting out.  It also has some great links for summer programs, which will really come in handy for me!  

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day - The author of this blog is a high school teacher from California that specializes in English language development.  Many of his posts contain ideas that I learned in my ELNG 200 class, which is really encouraging to see that there is consistency between Canada and the U.S.  He always links a site to support his argument(s), which I feel is also a very important aspect of blogging.  He has written several books on English-language acquisition that discuss how the success of learning English depends on the amount of support a learner receives from his/her family, teacher, and the community.  His newest book, "The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide", will be published this summer and I am looking forward to reading it.  I know Larry will be an excellent person to write-to for help when I need it with my students.  

Reception @ Hunslet St. Mary's - I found this blog through the Twitter hashtag #comment4kids.  I really like it because you can tell this school cares about parental involvement.  They regularly post pictures of school events that parents/guardians can look at to see what their child(ren) have been up to in and out of the classroom.  My one complaint is that you cannot comment on their blog because they have their privacy settings set to not allow outside(r) posts.  I follow them on Twitter, though, so if I have something to say about their posts I just tweet them.  
5/23/2012 14:34:06

Just wanted to give an update on the Reception @ Hunslet St. Mary's blog (http://hunsletstmarysr.primaryblogger.co.uk/) that I follow - I tweeted them and said that I like their blog and want to comment on it but their security features won't let me. They tweeted me to say that they weren't aware of this and that they had fixed the security settings and would like me to try posting again. I'm glad that I said something on Twitter to them because now other people can give them feedback too!

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