Top Teaching > Christy Crawford

Six Steps to a Successful Back-to-School Night

BacktoschoolExtracurricular teachers — those who teach art, music, or technology — fight for parents' attention at curriculum nights and parent/teacher conferences. For tech educators who want to increase traffic to their room, help is here! Read on for six steps to attract parents and begin a substantive conversation that will last throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

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Start the Year With Super-Easy, Tech-Savvy, Six-Word Memoirs

Second graders shoot their digital six-word memoirs!How do you get the Twitter generation to write a memoir? Start with Hemingway and six words. Novelist Ernest Hemingway didn't tweet or text, of course, but he's inspiring students to write and share their life stories online. Reportedly challenged to write a story in just six words, Hemingway wrote: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." True or not, this legend lives on thanks to SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word Memoir project and a series of books, starting with Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith's Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

You can use this pithy form of the memoir to get students to speak with confidence and build community, and to quickly set expectations for digital projects throughout the year. Read on for a short video excerpt and to scroll through a few of my students' favorite six-word memoirs dealing with issues ranging from divorce and death to self-image.

Above: Isaac, a 2nd grade director, and Emma, a 2nd grade cinematographer, shoot their six-word memoirs.

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No Money, No Time? No Problem! Five Fabulous Ways to Integrate Technology!


This kind of technology is a laughing matter!This fall, I will be teaching 280 tech-hungry students in a building without interactive whiteboards, limited electrical power, limited Internet access and just 10 Apple computers. Nonetheless, my students will learn to safely navigate the wild, wild Web; produce digital products (e.g. blogs, movies, podcasts) and take control of 21st-century communication tools such as Skype and Twitter. Read on for five fabulous quick fixes for teaching 21st-century skills in a low-tech classroom.  

My colleague laughs at the equipment in our new "technology" room! 

 

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Greetings from Top Teaching Advisor Christy

Crawford_Christy_Promo_xlg Greetings from the Big Apple!

I am Christy Crawford and this is my 10th year of teaching in New York City. I’m teaching technology at P.S. 51 (The Bronx New School), a small progressive K-5 school of 280 students from all over the world. My technology class was recently awarded $10,000 from Microsoft for our movies about social issues. Previously, I taught 2nd and 3rd grade — two years in Harlem and four years in the Bronx. I have also served as an adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York (CUNY).

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How to Throw a Fabulous Year-End Celebration

P1020895Have you ever seen a 3rd grader accept an award for an Excel spreadsheet as though it were an Oscar? Have you seen a 5th grader pose on the red carpet for their first animated film? If not . . . the time is now. The next Bill Gates or George Lucas could be tinkering away in your tech class. Accomplishments in technology class should be widely acknowledged and celebrated by school staff, parents, and peers. When you celebrate potential, students are encouraged to mobilize technology, make their voices heard, and/or discover new worlds.

Read on to see how project-based learning takes center stage at a multimedia tech celebration and to discover for tips on throwing an over-the-top kid party that will rival the Oscars. 

The cast of "Stop Smoking!" poses for the paparazzi after receiving the 2010 Techie Award for Best Social Issue Cinema.

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Technology and the Great Outdoors

Bronx New Schoolers explore the great outdoors with digital field guides! This summer, rather than venture outside, many students will succumb to television-induced comas or play an endless series of video games. Research shows that today's students spend almost eight hours a day looking at some sort of digital media indoors. Author and naturalist Richard Louv says that kids today spend half as much time outdoors as they did twenty years ago! Louv calls the phenomenon "nature deficit disorder."

But contrary to what many critics are hollering, technology doesn’t have to be Mother Nature's enemy. In fact, technology may be her best PR person! Educators have used technology to make social studies exciting, to bring vocabulary to life, and to virtually eliminate school absenteeism. Now read about four fabulous ways technology can get your students outside and get them moving.

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How to Make a Music Video in Five Simple Steps

Dominique and her mentor, cinematographer and parent A. Carlton, shoot a music video. Do the names Willow Smith, Selena Gomez, or Justin Bieber pop up in class discussions? Are the folders or book bags in your school plastered with images of singing/dancing Disney and Nickelodeon stars? If so, you are not alone. Today's students have been raised on a streaming media diet of MTV, BET, and other channels that promote prepubescent superstars. American Idol and overnight YouTube sensations like Justin Bieber plant dreams of stardom in young minds. Thus, it is inevitable that students will ask, “Can we make a music video?”

Use that curiosity and taste for fame to unlock hidden talent, skyrocket self-esteem, and discover the work involved in producing a music video. Read on to view videos produced by a group of talented Bronx youngsters and to note helpful tricks for moving students from passive media consumers to critical, powerful music video producers.

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Poetry in 140 Characters!

Try Twitter Poetry!Using Twitter in the classroom? Combine Haiku with Twitter and you've got engaging and easy poetry for your digital natives. Haiku is approximately seventeen syllables of traditional Japanese poetry; Twitter has a 140-character format. Combine the two to make "Twaiku." "Twaiku" is fun for kids and adults. And yes, there's an application for it. Check out Tweeku on iTunes!  

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Digital Poetry — Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room!

Bronx New Schoolers recite "Sugar Cookies" by Dominique and Sharlene.All you need is a computer, projector, and an Internet connection to give students the power to make their words larger than life. Digital poetry can turn a typical school poetry slam into a multimedia event. Read on to captivate the most tech-savvy wordsmiths, grab links for your interactive whiteboard, and partake in some 21st century word play.

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Cartoon Curriculum — Top Techie Sites for Digital Storytelling

Marvel's Super Hero Gallery Assigning your students an essay or book report? Rev up their interest with cartoons! If you grew up in the '70s or '80s, you jammed to Schoolhouse Rock! and learned lessons from Sesame Street's animated shorts. Animation-lover, you know that cartoons and comics can educate and entertain. Use this kid-friendly form of storytelling to reinforce concepts, simplify confusing topics, and perfect students' sequencing. Read on for my favorite sites to get stories started, to create super heroes, or to awaken the digital artist in the classroom.  

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