Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Networking and Collaboration

This is a cross post with my new and improve edublog

It's time to walk the walk. I keep silently listening to all the ideas about using technology to connect to one another, or network. I connect in a way that I am a silent observer but I have been more empowered to speak up and reach out to people. So as a starting point, please join my wiki at and add any ideas for math journal prompts. I am looking to ask the right questions. Not the regurgitate ones and not the ones that ask them to come up with a problem and solve it. Something on a higher level that will force them to articulate a concept and realize that they really do understand it or they don't understand it to the level that they thought they did.

I am using Gmail and asking students to reply in Gmail to slowly start getting them used to this. I hope to work on their voice and articulation by doing this. Then I will progress to blogs maybe next year until this type of reflection becomes habit for them.

I am excited to see what we can put together and I hope something may inspire another teacher out there. Please let me know.

P.S. If you haven't worked with an RSS "reader" yet, check out and then set up a reader with google and subscribe to your favorite blogs (like mine!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Elementary Math Lessons

I've decided to post some of my recent lessons with the kids at Central Elementary. I've been focusing on using the SMARTBoard to create interactive lessons that engage the students with related CPS "clicker" assessments. I've included some 3rd through 5th grade SMARTNotebook lessons on Geometry and Measurement along with some CPS Clicker Assessments related to each.

4th/5th Grade Geometry

4th/5th Grade Measurement

3rd Grade Geometry

3rd Grade Measurement

CPS Clicker Assessments

(these are all the assessments I've used from grades 3-5 this year, CPS seems to clump them all together in the same database)

SMART AirLiner

I've been using a SMART AirLiner with my students the last few weeks and it's been a great asset to student learning on the SMARTBoard. The AirLiner is basically a wireless digitizing tablet specially designed for the SMARTBoard and its software. It enables you (or your students) to write on or manipulate anything on the computer wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. As an elementary math teacher, I have found it very useful to have the students write problems and solutions from their desk using the AirLiner and allowing the rest of the class to see the work projected on the SMARTBoard at the same time. It's a great motivator for students to finish their work and be able to "show off" their solution in a hands-on, cool way for the everyone else to see. Of course, the SMARTLessons are then saved and posted online for the world to see, which they love. The AirLiner also allows me, as a teacher, to walk seamlessly around the room as we work through lessons on the SMARTBoard. With no wires, I can carry it around the room and monitor behavior, notetaking, and self-work problems while still being "connected" to the SMARTBoard, web, videos, activities, etc.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Classroom 2.0, Edmodo and Twitter

A goal I have set for myself this spring is to build myself a network of teachers, including Global Learners, to engage in student-led projects with other teachers around the world and to share ideas. A year ago, this goal would have seemed impossible... but within the last few weeks, I have been making some connections with extremely smart, creative educators. I thought I would share...

Classroom 2.0 is a social networking site for educators. There is a post where you can introduce yourself and then subscribe for responses to your post via email. I have received four responses since Saturday, including one who knows our exchange teacher from Melborne, small world indeed. They have posts organized by tool, flickr, podcasting, wikis etc. They are also in the process of organizing "live" events, one coming up in San Francisco. There is a teacher at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted in Boulder who has volunteered to do one there.

From Classroom 2.0 I received a introduction from Jeff O'Hara who is developing Edmodo which is advertised as a free web service to connect schools, teachers, parents and students. It is still in development and you can add your email to receive updates, they also have a blog. The cool thing about finding someone like him on Classroom 2.0 is you can be stay in touch with the development process and provide input.

Finally, I am back on Twitter and amazed at the networking possibilities. I don't have very many followers but have found it to be a great impromptu meeting place for educators discussing, not so much what is happening right that second, but what ideas are crossing their minds and what challenges they are grappling with. I didn't see its value when I was introduced to it in August, now I do. Also my class is tweeting and it is embedded in our blog.

Anybody have experience with these tools they would like to share?


This online media album looks like a good tool for students and teachers. It holds all sorts of media (images, video, documents) and does allow commenting in a host of ways. In this example I used audio and doodling, you can also create and comment using video with your webcam. Voicethread is educator friendly offering k12 teachers a free "pro" subscription. With the pro account you can create "entitities" for your students. You can see a great project using voicethread here. It will be a great addition to use with the smartboard.

I will be trying this out with 2nd graders later this week.