Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exploring technology...

It sounds like I am in total agreement with a couple of you in that I can't imagine a classroom without technology being a part of it! I enjoy the tools at my fingertips and look forward to continuing my exploration with them. We use the smartboard on a daily basis in class, have been blogging with 5th graders, and have explored Commerce City/Denver with Google Earth and even traveled to Scammon Bay, AK where our classroom pen pals live. Yet, I feel like I am only at the tip of the iceberg! There are so many things and so much more our learning community can do and explore! Our adventure continues!

One thing that occurred to me today while visiting with other Global Learners was that I need to focus more within lessons while using the Smartboard. My routine in Math has been good, and that has been what I feel to be a stronger utilization of it. In literacy, I use it for various lessons but not always consistently. As a result, I'm going to refocus and utilize it more often to develop consistency within the block.

September Post

I have dedicated a lot of my time working with my smartboard and creating lessons that allow me to make good use of it. The days of the chalkboard are long gone for me. Although it takes more prep work I have found that my time in the classroom is being used more efficiently. There is less time wasted transitioning between activities and more time getting work done. Also I know it may sound crazy but I think that just by using the technology it helps my students stay focused and interested in the material that we are covering.

One other point I would like to make is how grateful I am that I took the time to set up a classroom website. We spent time going through it's features at the beginning of the year and I think that this helped my students get into the routine of checking it and using it on a regular basis. In fact, if I don't update quick enough there will always be a student that tells me (and it is usually a different student everytime which lets me know that they are all using it). My next step is to try and set up a class blog and attach it to my website. I will be sure to let you all know when that happens so that you can check it out.

Vendor Contests for Classroom Technology

Atomic Learning and einstruction have announced contests for teachers and students to win some pretty nice classroom technology. Go to the links to find out the contest details. Remember you can't win if you don't play. For those of you who may go for the einstruction video contest I can help out with cameras and training.

Boundaries within Technology

So... with the advent of all these social networking sites, and the interest with students communicating with teachers, I'm wondering how much is too much? I communicate with my students via Glogster which works out really well as they can post questions to me and I can get right back to them. But now the students all want me to get a MySpace page or they are trying to friend me in Facebook. Which leaves me with "Where does Ms. Edwards end and Kristin begin"? I feel like if I am online with my students I will be Ms. Edwards all the time. And that is frankly exhausting. Also, I know what is appropriate content in the technology world.... but do they?

So I post this question to all of you learned scholars... where is the line and how much is too much?


One question I have and am trying within my schedule of teaching is how do we find the time for blogging with our children. I have 40 minutes of computer time where our elementary technology person is teaching his curriculum. At the moment, we have no computers other than mine to work with (until January when our students get their own. How are some of you finding the time to have students blog, get on home web pages etc.

Promethean boards are great. Don't know how we got along before them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Promethean Planet

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share the address for Promethean Planet with you. Promethean Planet offers lessons (flipcharts) across grade levels and subject areas. Although I'm not sure how well the flipcharts work with SmartBoards, at the very least this site may provide new or alternative ideas for lessons on the SmartBoard.

I have found some great flipcharts and resource packs to use in my classroom. My students really enjoy working on the Promethean Board. They often refer to or ask if we can revisit a flipchart that we have used in previous lessons!

You can find Promethean Planet at

Adventures in blogging...

We just began blogging last week on classblogmeister! It was definitely chaotic, but the kids are loving it so far. I even had some blog from home and some even figured out how to leave comments (I hadn't gotten there yet). I'm excited about using it throughout the year in all areas of the curriculum. We will be posting our collaborative math project on each student's blog next!

Also, not sure how I ever lived without a smartboard....

Blogging Anxiety

Finishing up with my classroom blog and I'm feeling excited and anxious. Does it look right? Will the kids like it? Did my welcome post sound inviting. When am I going to have them post? I'm still trying to figure it all out but I am so happy that it is a start. I'm really finding that I am pushing myself out of my own comfort zone with using technology and I thank everyone for sharing websites and resources to ease my anxiety.

Infinite Cloner

Hi all.
Infinite Cloner came up recently in a conversation with Melissa and Michelle. It is such a fantastic feature. Basically you can right click on any object, drawing, or word and select infinite cloner. From then on, any time you click on that object, you drag away a copy of the object. You can do this as many times as you like (which you figured out with the name and all.) If you want to move or alter the object, you first need to unclick the infinite cloner.

Many of you already knew that, so this is a reminder about all the great ways this can be used. During phonics we build words using infinite cloners on letters. I was going to post a picture of my screen, but I'm having trouble with that this evening. I know other second grade teachers (Jon and Sara) that use infinite cloner on coins and base ten blocks.

How have you used infinite cloner or what ideas do you have?

Technology is GREAT!!!

I am very excited about using the technology...I will never be able to teach without it again. I am struggling to find the time to implement it all. My students are experts on the Promeathian Board, which at first I was nervous about them using it but they know how to use it very well...maybe even better than I do (ha, ha).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ideas for Using Weblogs in the Science Classroom

Hi -

I was parousing the NSTA website looking for some ideas to engage my students in the earth science unit coming up. I found this great article about using weblogs in the science classroom. Even if you don't teach science, there is some excellent ideas here! (The title of the article is "Using Weblogs in the Science Classroom" and the author is Staycle C. Duplichan.)

Here are some examples the author gives of how to use weblogs:

Current event Ask a classmate Book club Report
• Students are required to post a summary of a current event, such as global warming, for each grading period.
• Students post a question for other classmates to answer. An example of a possible post is, “How can I remember the difference between interphase and prophase?”
• Students reflect on their favorite science book.
• Students are assigned a subject to research. Each student or group could
be assigned a scientist, theory, organ, kingdom, or disease to report on.

Creative writing What if Debate Online reading
• Students write how a cell is like a factory. Each student posts one example.
• Students write a complaint letter from the heart to the cholesterol molecule.
• Students write a love letter from the lungs to an oxygen molecule.
• Students are asked if their life would be different if their knee joint became a ball and socket joint. Each person posts one example and responds to others.
• Students are asked, “What if pollution killed all of the earthworms?”
• Students are asked to reflect on how the Earth would be different if the temperature rose 20 degrees.
• Students are asked, “What are the legal ramifications of DNA testing?”
• Students are asked, “What is your opinion on using animals for testing
• Students are asked, “Should stem cell research be allowed?”
• Students are assigned to read an article from Google Scholar.

Visual aids Lab report Study habits
• Students post digital pictures of lab setups.
• Students post digital pictures of pictures of lab procedures.
• Students draw steps for any lab procedure.
• Students draw and label a key scientific concept.
• Students post their lab results.
• Sutdents post their data for comparision.
• Students post how they remember vocabulary or facts.
• Students give examples of how they study for tests.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hi all. Although not really appropriate for high school level science, I thought I would pass this on to you. Kind of like glogster. Looks like fun for lower elementary grades.

from the website:

"Thanks for visiting Kerpoof and for visiting this page to learn more about Kerpoof. The information that follows won't tell you all about Kerpoof, but it will tell you what Kerpoof is all about.

What is Kerpoof? The answer to that is not so simple. Kerpoof is all about having fun, discovering things, and being creative. Here are just a few ways that you can use Kerpoof:

  • Make artwork (even if you aren't good at drawing!)
  • Make an animated movie (really! it's easy!)
  • Earn Koins which you can trade for fun things in the Kerpoof Store
  • Make a printed card, t-shirt, or mug
  • Tell a story
  • Make a drawing
  • Vote on the movies, stories, and drawings that other people have made

Check out our What's New and How-To pages to learn more about what you can do with Kerpoof. Kerpoof doesn't come with a manual or a directory or a map. If we've done our job right, then finding your way to the various nooks and crannies of Kerpoof will be half the fun.

In addition to being a lot of fun, Kerpoof has many educational uses. Visit our educator page (with ideas and lesson plans for how to use Kerpoof) or read our flyer for educators if you are in a hurry but want to learn more.

If you are a parent, you may also want to read our for parents page."

Enjoy, Doug

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tweet, Woof, Squeak!

We've all heard of Twitter; some of us are even on Twitter. The new and interesting online "toys" I've come across recently are Woofer and Squeaker. Woofer is macroblogging: it requires a minimum of 1400 characters before it sends; Squeaker requires exactly 14 characters before it sends. Both of these are a lot harder than it sounds (try it!), but could be an interesting tool to use in the classroom with students.

The downsides to this are that it's on the internet, so it's not as controlled and private as might be preferred; the other is that the students are required to have a Twitter account to utilize these. Both might preclude elementary usage, but for secondary students, it can be a great way to work with them on precision in writing. Try them out and tell me what you think! :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What fun technology is!

I am so excited to use all the new technology I am learning about. The even better part is that I have no working computers in my class for my students to try it out. :) But... I am learning to be incredibly patient and we are finding creative ways to still learn in innovative 21st century ways! So far the SmartBoard has been a huge success and the NLVM for math is so helpful. Here's to more engaged learning!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Smart Board Activity websites

Here are a few sites that I have found to be very helpful when using the Smart Board. It has saved me a lot of time not having to "reinvent the wheel". Hope you find them useful as well!

Every Grade Level

3rd Grade Math

First online collaboration!

Finally got to do a collaborative project with Mary D. and Lisa G. Since the three of us all have at least one sophomore level class, and since at least one of our class periods overlap, we decided to do an inter-class live blog on Coveritlive around an excerpt from an essay that all of the students read. Because two other teachers also teach sophomore level English, they were included, so we ended up with four sophomore level classes plus an upper classmen American Literature class and several teachers all participating throughout the day!

Prior to the discussion, we introduced our students to Bloom's Taxonomy and Costa's Levels of Inquiry and then worked with them on developing higher level questions to use during the blog. I had my students submit the questions to me via a Google form I posted on my class webpage. Google forms are my new thing so far this year; I've been having the students submit a good bit of information that way, and I can see the potential for having them take quizzes that way as well, assuming I can get them on individual computers that day. I've decided that I really would like to become a Google-certified educator... I hope they do another training in Boulder soon!!

It seemed to go well... the blog went live just before the start of school and stayed live until the end of the day; the longest blog session I've ever done. Aside from some technical glitches with getting others signed in, the day seemed to go well, especially once everyone got the hang of it. The students in my room were highly engaged; one remarked that he wished we could do live blogging every day because he was learning so much that day.

The most intense part of it was keeping up with the posts. I have the controls set so that all posts must be approved by me or by another producer (the other teachers involved), so when there are something like 80 kids or so posting, it gets pretty crazy. I've posted some other thoughts on it here on my teacher blog... feel free to check it out and comment if you'd like.

Atomic Learning Customized Resources

Global Learners,

We are up and running with our Atomic Learning Portal. All Adams 14 certified staff have had personal accounts created and Principals were asked to forward the invitation to login to Atomic Learning. We will be rolling out Administrator and students accounts shortly.

As you may remember the AL Portal gives us the opportunity to create and share lessons, activities, and tutorials. We are ready to do just that. Below is a link to Jon Fisher's Smart Notebook "Place Value" lesson for 2nd Grade Math.

The links will take you directly to Atomic Learning where you can log in to view Jon's lesson.

I urge all Global Learners to submit to me lessons, activities, and/or tutorials that can be shared on the Atomic Learning Portal. Please contact me with any questions you may have.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Should Teachers Follow Business Media?

What is the teacher's role in keeping abreast of technology advancements that are shaping our society? Should teachers follow business technology blogs and magazines? I follow some blogs, some educator technology groups on Diigo:,, and and subscribe to Wired magazine. Some weeks I'm too overwhelmed to read all that comes my way. What is our responsibility in this regard?

Monday, September 21, 2009

the evolution of a smartboard user...

When I first became a global learner in the Summer of 2008 and got this thing called a smartboard and I really didn't know what to do with it. In my first year of glearning, I spent time learning how to blog, use clickers, google sites, etc etc. The smartboard became a digital vis-a-vis for powerpoint presentations... Wanted to really learn how to use the smartboard but other time constraints didn't lend itself to it...

In the summer of 2009 I had the opportunity to become a certified smartboard trainer through support of Joe and Dave. Along with Tonia, Dlo, Kelly and Dave we received 3 days of training thanks to the district's support of the idea that "if you plant a seed a tree will grow"... Although behind the others in use and knowledge, something began to start and continues for me this day...and that is that the smartboard is an essential tool in the classroom.

I now find the smartboard something I use daily in class. Whether to annotate notes, use the notebook for flash files or to have students interact with it in front of the class, the smartboard is always there. As I continue to find gems within the gallery or lessons located through the smartboard exchange I am pleased to know that daily lesson planning is done in conjunction with the smartboard as another way to engage students.

Although not as proficient as other glers such as Jon and Kelly, I do feel that my knowledge and confidence in using this tool continues to improve.

I have attempted to send other ACHS staff examples of notebook files and gallery flash pages. I am happy to report that some of the teachers are asking for my help in learning how to use it. To that end, I have myself available to the staff afterschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is generating some interest and hopefully it will continue.

"Plant a seed and a tree will grow..." Perhaps the unofficial slogan of our group?...

So, thanks to the gler comunity for the opportunity to do something differently and hopefully this will improve students achievement over time.


capturing internet videos to your desktop....

Here are four add-ons to browsers to capture videos in flash or wmv files. I have been using downloadhelper but am trying out ant which also looks solid... Hope this helps...





Hi - Who we are!

Hi there - We are part of the 5th grade Vikings in Mrs. Trujillo's (Mrs. T.'s) Class. There were 18 of us but we are down to 17 now. One of our students moved. We live in a rural agricultural area where most of our farms are potatoes and alfalfa. There are also beef cattle. Mrs. T. raises some goats. She has Nubian goats. We are each going to send you some information about us and what we would like to be. Join us and send us some of your information also! Can't wait to meet you on blog!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Student Self-Assessment

We have been having fun in music with our recorder lessons, which, by nature tend to be very noisy and often squeaky! I've discovered a fun way for the kids to be able to hear themselves and give a self-evaluation on their performance. I am using a digital recording program to record them playing and then we listen to it. I then have them put heads down and give their performance a rating from 1 to 10 with their fingers. They really enjoy it and I am letting the students take turns running the program on the computer. It's really beneficial for them to be able to hear what they sound like and it makes it fun to play with the recording software, like we were "in the studio".

First time using clickers as a teacher...

...feels like I'm really behind the times, but these were never really a resource that were made available / something I thought of until yesterday...

Really powerful. I wish I could have some of my own to use every day. :)

Yesterday was really a break-through day for me thanks to the clickers. Enough to make me post to my blog for the first time in nearly a month!

Check out my blog at for the reflection post.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I discovered a new website: for using AudioPal. It seems like an easy and free way to record your voice and embed your recording to web applications. I am going to try it out with my students for our first collaborative project. Has anyone used it before? What do you think?

VoiceThread Motivation!

Hi everyone! I wanted to share our first VoiceThread of the year. Last year I ended the year working on VT's and this year I'm using VT as a jumping off point to get our class blog going.

My students wrote to tell an audience about their favorite animal (one sentence as this was completed two weeks ago - next we'll be adding at least one more sentence!). Anyway, I loved how respectful my students were to one another as they presented their writing. We'd listen to the feedback as a class and let the student decide if it was their best voice. The class would then clap and give positive feedback to each student! So cute - I should have recorded that too!

If you're thinking about getting started, go for it! One thing I recommend is planning 2-3 separate recording sessions as sometimes the restlessness can interfere - breaking it up guarantees success! The completed VT is not only online, but the student pages were combined into a laminated book to keep in our class library.

Feel free to leave any comments!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Global Learners.....HELP

I need to identify strategies and tools to help ELLs to access content.....

Language Poverty students need specific scaffolding and strategies in order to access the required content. At the secondary level, content is accessed through language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. English Language Learners (ELL) require more focused attention on listening and speaking than native speakers. However, children who live in poverty have had less access and exposure to literature and rich vocabulary. Therefore, students who live in poverty and students who do not natively speak English enter school with a deficit of language. In order to access the content presented them in the secondary classroom, these students require additional support.

I believe the greatest support these students of "Language Poverty" require is through vocabulary instruction. This vocabulary instruction must be contextual. It cannot be separated from the content. Students must experience a concept: hear, see, taste, touch, smell, and manipulate it. As children, when we learned a new word/concept it was through our experiences. We did not take notes on a word! In addition, we compared the word to concepts we already possessed.

My nephew, for example, upon being presented with a grape for the first time called it a, "berry." He CATEGORIZED it as being sweet, small and red, therefore it must be a berry. His mother responded, "No Kia, its a grape. Can you say, grape?"

To learn a new concept we compare it to what we already know, our SCHEMA, to truly grasp the concept so that we can use it.

How can secondary teachers offer meaningful experiences to students inorder for students to access the content THROUGH the concept? How can we do this through the medium of 21st Century Tools?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Elementary Morning Routine

Here is my Smart Notebook Morning Routine. Please share any SmartBoard slides or Promethean flip charts you've created!

Slide #1 and #2 could be used for a variety of vocabulary ideas. I currently use them on Mondays to choose our transitional word of the week. The words on the sides are supposed to be made into pull tabs. Let Dave, Doug, Dorothy, Tonia or I know if you want to know how to make them!

The Pledge of Allegiance is included as slide #3. Sometimes we are so efficient with our schedule, we get to complete the Pledge of Allegiance twice (We complete it together and then the students begin over the intercom after we're done with our morning routine)! Who says First Grade is too young to understand Civic morals???

The calendar helper completes the magnetic calendar we keep all day while the Meteorologist completes the weather for the day. Students are diligent about keeping pace and making sure both calendars match. They have quickly realized how many sunny days we've had compared to cloudy or rainy. I plan to recreate the weather calendar monthly and refer back previous months occasionally (bar graphing anyone?)!

At the end are visual/written songs we sing. They love the Days of the Week song which is sung to the tune of The Addams Family.

In the past we would also count numbers using a hundreds chart. We still work on this skills, but I've moved it to our math time. The students LOVE being the number counter and using the finger pointer to flip the squares on the interactive hundreds chart!

Please share any SmartBoard slides or Promethean flip charts you have created for your morning routines!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Virtual Mentoring

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has published some excellent resources on the virtual mentoring process. I found the information valuable and pertinent to our Global Learner Project Mentoring. What do you think?

Tips On Virtual Mentoring Relationships

Setting the Ground Rules

Mentoring and Coaching Skills

Giving\Receiving Effective Feedback

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jenny's Kindergarten Sites

I've been working to create and manage my blog! I am addicted to getting on my blog and seeing who has been there! It is also a goal of mine to find international blogs for my kindergartners to follow, so far I have found two in New Zealand! While I haven't offically rolled the blog out to my kindergartners, I have gotten some really good ideas from other classroom blogs as to how I can incorpate students on the blog! Some teachers use quotes, pictures, and work samples. I plan on using all three! Please visit our classroom blog; I'm hoping to incorporate it into writing as a form of communication! Our blog address is:


Friday, September 4, 2009

Remember Vokis? I just rediscovered this avatar-creating site and I have embedded one into my blog and another into my book wiki to introduce the sites to visitors. I recorded my own voice for the voki on my blog. Check it out...These are WAY too much fun!

Your Opinion Matters! What Makes a Great Virtual Mentor?

Mentors and Mentees,

The success of the Global Learner project and Mentor Program is going to depend greatly on Virtual Mentoring. The questions of the day is What Makes a Great Virtual Mentor?

Please share your thoughts, tips and ideas on virtual mentoring. Have you been a virtual mentor or the recipient of virtual mentoring in the past? What has worked well? What challenges did you need to work through?

One thought - Mentors (and mentees) can share a small technology or lesson idea as a closure to e-mails (when appropriate). For example, yesterday my students loved taking pictures of their work. Later I will use their photographs to upload a classroom book to VoiceThread. Later this week we'll finish the book on the SmartBoard for the class to see.

I look forward to reading more ideas and thoughts on What Make a Great Virtual Mentor!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Elementary Smart Board Lesson on Place Value

Here's a lesson I created for math last week:

Grade Level Essential Target:
1.1c Use objects and pictures to represent whole numbers including odds and evens from 0 to 1000
1.2.c Group objects by ones, tens and hundreds according to place value (for example: given 9 ones, 5 tens and 4 hundreds the student can write the number 459; given the number 459, the student can show 4 hundreds, 5 tens and 9 ones)
ISTE NETS Standard 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments (2a: design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity)

Student friendly objective: We will use objects to show numbers up to 1,000. We can use place value to help us group and count large numbers of objects.
Language Objective: We will use language that helps us work as a team. We will use writing and speaking with math words and numbers to show our answers.

Resources needed: Smart board, straws, rubber bands.

Open the lesson by reviewing counting by tens.
Begin by telling students that when we get a lot of things to count we need a good way of counting. Bring a bag of M&Ms, a deck of cards and some other items that contain many objects. Ask the students to discuss with their elbow partner something that contains a lot of objects. Give students a sentence starter: One thing that contains a lot of items is…. Put students into groups of five and dump a bag full of straws (at least 50) on the table. Tell them they will need to use complete sentences to ask questions and to help them work as a team. (“I have x straws. How many do you have?”) Ask them to work together to count the straws. Observe how the students work together and praise any examples of teamwork. After a few minutes, bring the students back together and tell them that if you have numerous objects it is easiest to count them in groups rather than one by one.
Now break out some rubber bands and start to group the straws into bundles of ten. Ask students to use polite language such as “Could you please pass me a rubber band? I need five more straws. Could we share to make a bundle?” Show the students that we will group exactly ten straws for each bundle, and then we can count by tens. Leftover straws do not get bundled. Let the students return to their groups and circulate to check with students as they proceed.

After the students have counted write the numbers for each group while counting the bundles. Review the concepts of tens and ones with students. Tell the students that if we want to count all the straws from each table group together we might even want to put together 10 bundles to form groups of 100. Use the Smart board to show place value boxes. Practice writing a variety of two and three digit numbers and call on students to identify the number of ones, tens, and hundreds. Have students use precise math terms such as, “There are x hundreds, x tens and x ones.”
Then use the blank base ten chart in the place value folder of smart board under “Mathematics”, then “Number Concepts and Operations” or search by keyword. Type in labels for the chart then from the Place Value folder use the ones, tens, and hundreds blocks to represent various numbers and have the students write the numeric value for the blocks chosen on white boards. I posted a video to show how to set the lesson up on the Smart Board:

Differentiation: The lesson offers tactile and visual forms of learning. Because of the ease of manipulating the smart board manipulatives the number of place values being taught and assessed can be increased or decreased to work within a variety of zones of proximal development.

An additional lesson based on counting candy can be found here.