I have enjoyed working with my level 1/2 ESL students on creating a Weebly website & blog. For the most part they have enjoyed it, but it was very hard explaining the Creative Commons licenses to them when it comes to posting pictures. I used a great resource in being able to articulate the information I wanted to use from Bill Ferriter with his blog on Creative Commons Teaching Resources. However, I needed to weed through all of the vocabulary and I created a translation (thanks to Google Translate) of many of the important hard to explain vocabulary words. Feel free to copy and remix it if you would like. 

There are many reasons why I felt it was important for my students to create a blog and have an online presence. One of the reasons is that students need to learn how to be familiar with safe practices on the web. Many of my students also do not understand what it means to plagiarize and/or steal someone's work. Teaching them this was not the "fun" part of creating their websites, but it was an essential part! 

I also think it is important for students to share their work with others. Being able to write on their blogs and make it their own (versus in a journal in the classroom), many of my students have thrived! They enjoy being able to post and know that their opinion is not closed into the box of school. I even have one student who has started writing her own posts without an assignment. This same student, I could barely get to write last year. It is very exciting.

One of the biggest struggles I have come across with teaching my low ESL students about blogging is, for obvious reasons, their English. Some of them know how to use a computer and then end up tuning me out as I explain some things. Others have an extremely difficult time typing and refuse to use more than one hand and one finger at a time. For both of these reasons, I think it is important for me to continue with their blogs and I am grateful to my district for providing some laptops for technological uses to familiarize my students with them. If they are struggling being successful on the laptops in my classroom, then what would happen when they join a general ed class? They are already struggling with understanding the content, let alone the tool to access that content. Anyways, that is my small rant on some of the reasons why I advocate for using more technology in the ESL classrooms.
It has been a long time since I have written on here and so much has happened. Where do I begin? I stopped writing on my blog when I randomly received a job offer. One day last January, I decided to look for jobs online and I found one at the secondary level, which I loved, and applied. In less than a week I was in that position teaching. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting to get a job or really even looking. I was hoping to find a long term sub for the end of the school year. I ended up at Eagle Ridge Junior High in Savage and was ecstatic. I was blessed. 

However, I was thrown into the classroom very quickly because the new semester was starting and the students needed a teacher. Between this new job, where I taught level 3/4 reading, newcomers, science & social studies, and completing my capstone, I was overwhelmed. Who wouldn't feel exhausted and stretched to the limit? I let my perfectionist tendencies of needing to go above and way beyond slip a little for the sake of my sanity and I focused on learning my curriculum and students day by day. No matter how stressed I got through these spring months, I never felt more alive. My students were amazing and made it all worth it. I was learning new things each and every day. I was extremely excited to be asked back again this year teaching the same classes as last year. Now, there are still a lot of holes to fill (as I did not teach my curriculum in the fall), but I have a better idea of what the classes are supposed to look like and where I want to end up. 

I think I am going to document some of my curriculum planning that I am doing on here and I would love feedback. I am not a science teacher, nor a social studies teacher, but I am teaching English through these content areas and am trying to figure out what are the ELOs (essential learning outcomes). I also was given 6 laptops, mainly for the use of Rosetta Stone with my lower students. I am trying to incorporate 21st century learning and Google Apps into my classroom, even though most of my students do not have access to the internet or computers at home... and yes, 6 laptops is not enough. I wish I had 12, but we will get creative with 6! 


I Am From


I am from Grams & Pops house, from learning God is in control, to swimming in the pool in their backyard and feeding the ducks around the corner, to my arts and crafts corner and Pops reading the bible story on Christmas Eve, to making Swedish meatballs, Norwegian waffles and chicken parmagian, to playing Skip Bo and dominoes, to playing teacher and enjoying the Christmas village on the window sill, to boxes with letters of love in my closet.

I am from 9 Frog Pond Road, from rose bushes lining the yard, tree houses built from scrap wood, and a NY type of zoo (with snakes, bunnies, cats, dogs and hamsters), from babysitting in the neighborhood and biking to grams and pops house, to stairs in my bedroom, sitting in the middle of the street with friends, and walking to 7-Eleven.

I am from traveling around the world, to living in Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, Spain & Japan, to visiting 22 other countries, to seeing the world by train, to learning new languages and about new cultures, to becoming an EL Teacher with so much to give.

I am from the ocean, from seashells in the car, to fourth of July fireworks, to finding crabs, catching minnows and riding the waves, from getting stung by jellyfish, to making sand creatures and castles with my dad, to laughter & fun with family and friends.

I am from independence, from living at Tuscarora for summer work, to boarding school and staying in MN, to buying a house on my own, to becoming a missionary and getting my master’s degree.

I am from music, from Five Iron Frenzy and Superchic[k], to Newsboys and the Supertones, from Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith & Brandon Heath, to junior high with Dr. Dre & 2Pac, from seeing and hearing my world of memories through song.

I am from sports, from playing softball and basketball, to hating cross-country and loving fencing, from doing the unthinkable and becoming a cheerleader, to getting a job and becoming a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

I am from the Fawcett Family, from family vacations at Cypress Harbor and roaming the grounds, to always having large gatherings in my parents home, to family importance and love, from making kransekake and going to church every week, to smiles and tears, and 2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 sister-in-law, 1 brother-in-law, 1 niece, 3 nephews (and now many more people to love through marriage)!


Lindsay Crownhart
For those of you who do not know, I was born and raised in Huntington Station, NY. My entire family still lives there and the last couple of days have been crazy with Hurricane Sandy. I was actually supposed to fly out to Long Island on Monday, but my trip has been canceled and the runways are underwater. Everyone on Long Island had a rough time. It light of this, I am going to share a technology that may just be best for you and your family, versus using in school. On a side note, my family is ok. They have many trees down, live wires on my soon to be brother-in-laws house, a 60 ft tree through my parents roof and into their bedroom and my cousin's car was demolished by a tree. It is very sobering to remember how quickly life could have been taken from us and yet God kept my family safe. 

Now on Raindar: I love it. Time and time again raindar has predicted where the rain is and the severity of the rain/snow/etc. to a T. This summer I was in NY for the Fourth of July and we were expecting a storm. I checked raindar often and continually updated my family that the lightening and thunder we heard was not coming our way. It is a great way to keep track of the storm. Check out Raindar on your computer as well!

Below I have posted two links for websites that share GREAT apps for apple products and android products. Don't wait until it is too late before having some of these apps on your phone!

Other Emergency Apps for iPhone/iPad

Other Emergency Apps for Android

As always, please feel free to comment or ask me any questions below while keeping a professional demeanor in your comments!
I have decided to blog about my capstone as I progress through it. I will hopefully be updating my page every Friday for my capstone. I think writing about what I am learning will help me solidify what I am learning. So these entries will be more of my journey, versus technologies to help you in your classroom. I will share my struggles and joys with my project as well as any related information. I hope you will enjoy the ride as much as I am!

First of all, I am in the middle of my first class specifically on my capstone. I have begun researching and writing a little bit about it. I am at Hamline University for my Masters in Literacy Education and am planning on graduating in the spring of 2013. I already received my K-12 reading license from Hamline last year. Before I begin to explain what my capstone is, I wanted to give you an overview of what it should look like. A capstone is an research project that extends a thesis into ACTION. That is very exciting. I am also not trying to prove anything, but to learn from what the research tells me. A capstone has five chapters with an appendices at the end. Below is a break down of the chapters and their elements. 

Chapter One: Introduction 

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Chapter Three: Methods

Chapter Four: Results

Chapter Five: Conclusion

In this chapter I discuss my current position and my past experiences that have led me and motivated me to my Research Question (RQ).

In this chapter I need to read about 30 articles that pertain to my research question and find themes. I will summarize these themes and decide how to apply it in the classroom for my action research part.

In this chapter I can write a curriculum or do action research. I have chosen to write a teacher's guide to the basics of using social media in the classroom.

In this chapter I need to show my teacher's guide and the process I took in creating the teacher's guide. I need to give a reflection on what this means for the classroom.

In the final chapter I will review my literature, learnings, and findings and what the implications are for myself or others. I will also discuss any limitations in the research and future steps to be taken.

Lots of work ahead of me, I know! I have already written my first draft of chapter one and have formed my RQ. This might change a little but for now my RQ is: How does using social media in secondary education impact students' motivation and learning? I love my RQ and love the research I need to read! I find myself going farther and farther ahead. I am in the middle of reading lots of articles and determining themes for my literature review as I write this. I look forward to the process of my capstone and I am excited to share this experience with everyone on here. Thanks for listening! 

As always, please feel free to comment or ask me any questions below while keeping a professional demeanor in your comments!
I love prezis!!! I'm sure you could ask anyone I know in the educational world and they will agree. I used prezis 10 times more than I used PowerPoint with my students. A prezi is an online presentation tool that is similar to PowerPoint. I believe prezis are much easier to teach students how to use and it gives them the ability to be as creative as they want, or have time for in class. Also prezis are free!!! Anyone can create their own account, or you can be accepted as a teacher with your school account to make prezis private. Students with school emails can do the same! I have also used prezis in my own schooling. Below is a prezi that I created for a class (before I was married, so note my maiden name) to describe my autobiography with New Literacies. I would like to start this post off with my autobiography to give you a sense of A - what is a prezi and B - get to know me a little more!
What to Pre-Teach:
  • First - YOU the teacher need to explore prezi and create one for yourself. This is a great way to create an example for students!
  • You should introduce the idea of a prezi, creating accounts, and how to use it in a class period and let students explore a bit. 
  • Don't forget the cheat sheet to make for students when they forget how to zoom, frame or create a path!
  • What is the GOAL of the prezi? Make sure students know this at the beginning so they do not get off task.
  • Rubric on what your expectations are of the prezi and their time spent on the computers! It isn't always just about the finished product!

Ways to use Prezi:
  • An assessment of a story. I have used Beginning Middle and End with younger grades, up to a summary and or important parts of a story. Why write it on paper when it can be done in a creative way where students will be more likely to remember!
  • Presentation on a subject or idea: I have used it with wild weather, with students ranging from almost no English to level 4 ESL.
  • An autobiography
  • A resume
  • Make a quiz with it.
  • ENGAGE STUDENTS during a lecture

Helpful Websites: 
Webinars for prezis 
Learn more about prezis 

Helpful Prezis:
First off I want to say sorry this is a day late! I wrote the post yesterday and ended up distracted with my husband going to Atlanta last night, that I forgot to post it! Please enjoy. :)

Per request, I am talking about iMovie today! I am excited to share what I know and the great resources I know of for using iMovie. To start this off here is a fabulous iMovie Tutorial on Youtube by a student for students! Take note that the students sound includes the iMovie sound.
Things to Pre-teach:
  • One thing that is very important is to have a "To Do List" for students. They need explicit instructions on what is next and how to do that particular task. Here is a GREAT example of teachers who gave their students explicit tasks. Create something like this (doesn't have to be on paper) for your class BEFORE you introduce iMovie. Use it as you show the kids what to do. Then when you are finished showing your students, you can refer them back to the handout to try and figure it out first. This diffuses a lot of early questions and gives you time to focus on the students really needing help.
  • Have them sketch on a storyboard what they are going to write/talk about and EDIT before they even touch the computer!
  • Teach terms if necessary: upload, double click, drag, save-as, publishing, etc. [side note - this is especially important if you work with English Learners (ELs) or students who are not familiar with computers and their terminology]
  • Teach students how to do the basics first. Take a day or two (depending on time), to JUST TEACH iMovie. Don't even focus on the content at all. Make sure that every student knows the basics and go through it together. This way when they are working on their project, they all have a start point. Some students will expand above that, and some will need that help immensely!
  • Teach Creative Commons search on google - public videos/photos that students can use legally.

Things to do with iMovie:
  • Movie Trailer of book read in class
  • Create a story with pictures, words and video
  • Interview professionals and display it through iMovie
  • Research project in science or social studies with all documentation on iMovie instead of or along with a written report.
  • So Much More!!! Be Creative!

iMovie '11:
I am going to end this blog post with a great tutorial for iMovie '11 if you already know and understand iMovie '08. He is very concise and to the point. Enjoy!

I am excited to start off this new column today! I thank all of my Facebook friends who helped me come up with the name! Every Tuesday I plan on posting about a different technology and ways that it can be used in the classroom. I hope you enjoy learning with me and implement some of these technologies into your classrooms!

Today we are going to learn about backchannels. What is a backchannel? It is when people are listening to a presenter or teacher lecture and they want to discuss what they are learning or anything else on their minds via internet. It would be the equivalent of passing notes back in 6th grade. Seems backwards right? You might ask, "Why would we want to know that information? As teachers we have worked really hard to stop the chatter and passing notes in our classrooms. Students have even moved on to texting each other and now we add in this?!" This is exactly why we need to create productive backchannels. It will help motivate kids and give you, the teacher, instant feedback on where their minds are going. When you have this instant feedback, you are able to more quickly address the needs of the room. I just want you to think about that time you presented on a subject in your room and all of your kids were nodding along... then when it came time to implement it, they had no idea. If your students were on the back channel talking to each other and saying that they were bored or didn't understand, as the teacher you could stop and re-explain or answer questions the students might have. Think about what that could do in your classroom! 

Ok, I get really excited about these kinds of things, so I hope you are getting excited too. So now here is the best part - implementing backchannels is one of the easiest ways to incorporate social media into your classroom! There is the caveat that each child (or group) needs to have access to the internet though, so I understand that might be a struggle. However, if that is not a problem in your building but adding in technology makes you feel as if there are way too many things to do already, here is where I would begin. 

I am so excited to announce that I applied for the Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Mountain View, CA. I learned about the GTA on Tuesday afternoon while creating this new website and browsing on Twitter. I noticed some people that I follow talking about it and it intrigued me. I instantly began to do some research and I learned lots. GTA is a 2 day intense conference where the attendees become Google Certified Teachers (GCTs). 

After the GTA, GCTs are expected to:
  • Develop a "Personal Action Plan" outlining a project they will complete
  • Lead at least three local professional development activities over the course of 12 months.
  • Successfully deploy one school on to Google Apps for Education.
  • Actively participate in the GCT online community.
  • Share the impact of their work with other Google Certified Teachers through mid-year and end-of-year reflection.
In addition to two free days of training, GCTs get:
  • Access to the GCT Online Community.
  • Opportunities to give feedback to Google on educational uses of tools.
  • Invitations to join Google at special events.
  • The right to post the GCT web badge on their website or blog. 
(taken from http://www.google.com/edu/teachers/google-teacher-academy.html)

Attending the GTA is no easy task, only 50 people are accepted to each academy and you need to create a video for your application. Now, I only had two days for my application and after speaking with my husband, we decided that GTA is where I belong. It fits in with my goals for my career perfectly. So if I do not get in this time, I can still apply again. Wish me luck and enjoy!
As I begin the adventure of a new life as a married lady, I have decided to change some things around. Most notably, I have switched to a new website! Please bear with me as I begin to update this site and add in information. I plan to blog at least once a week, so please add me to your RSS feed. 

First of all, I am in love with the new name for my site. I cannot take credit for it, though. A new friend, Karyn Keenan, that I made this spring at the MN ESL/Bilingual Conference came up with it when she found out my new last name was going to be Crownhart. She is also an extremely fun techy teacher too! Check her out here: http://www.thetools4school.com

The adventures of my life right now are all so new. I have quit my job as a full time teacher to pursue being a technology consultant. My wonderful husband has been a pivotal part in this change. I am not sure I could have had the courage without him! I do know that I love sharing with and helping teachers understand technology and social media more, but to give up a full-time job... scary! I am also subbing in school districts 196 & 197 to generate some income. However, most of my time is spent on grad school and my capstone action research project.

I will finish my Masters of Literacy Education (MALED) this spring and I am really excited about my capstone that I am in the middle of writing. As of right now, my research question (RQ) is: How can high school teachers integrate social media into the classroom to create critical thinkers? I am sticking with high school right now, as there are so many other barriers with younger grades (i.e. lots of social media sites do not allow students younger than 13 on them). I will share my experiences on here as I complete my capstone this year. I look forward to sharing my life and passions with everyone!


    Lindsay Crownhart

    Teacher & Technological Extraordinaire


    Capstone Corner
    Social Media
    Teaching Tech Tuesdays