Friday, April 30, 2010

BrainPop Jr.

This year I have encountered a lot of new resources to add to lessons. One site that I use often is BrainPop Jr. This site has short video clips, word walls, activities, online quizzes, and more. There are many ways to use this site. One of my favorite options on this site is the online quizzes. On a few occasions I have had my students take the online quizzes using Activotes. While this site requires a subscription, there are some free activities that are offered. I recently found an activity that is all about Internet Safety. Follow this link to BrainPop Jr. and check out the activities connected to Internet Safety.

Teaching others to create Promethean Flip Charts

We have been meeting as a group twice a month, all year.  This second half of the school year has been very hectic and we've also added the training of the rest of our colleagues on how to use the Promethean board.  This is done through the creation of flip charts.  We had some really good work come out of this process from all grade levels here at our school.  We have all different ranges of abilities here, but everybody is grasping the bull by the horns and hanging on.  I look forward to seeing this develope into a great thing as the flip chart training evels increase as the abilities increase.

It's scary how fast the end of the year is approaching.  It makes it hard to keep up with all the requirements.  Hope everybody has had a great year!!!


We have been very busy this last month. Global Learners are meeting with other teachers and giving lessons on things they want to know more about. We are creating flipcharts. I have created a couple of flipcharts that I use with my class. Also, I have put my reading templates on flipcharts that I am using during my literacy block time.
Tita Martinez

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kindergarten Health!

This past week, my class was afforded the opportunity to have Eric Bengston come to visit out class and talk about health! He spoke to us about green-light, yellow-light and red-light foods! We now know that we need to eat as many fruits and vegetables as we can! We also learned that you can either pay now, or pay later! We think that it is very important to eat good, healthy foods!

Student reflections on Earth Day 2010

As you know, Earth Day was last week. In science my biology students are discussing the human impact on the environment. As part of generating awareness, I had them write a short "note" to Earth. Some interesting student thoughts can be read here.

Thanks to Kristen Edward at ACMS who had some of her students post also.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Smart Board Revisited

It is so funny, I haven't used the Smart Board for a lesson in a while and I did today. I created a short division review. I forgot how much it really does increase engagement. The students really solved the problems because they wanted to be able to go to the board and put their answer on it. I even heard comments like " oh that's cool" and "this is fun". It was also fun for me to create. Go Smart Board! What a fantastic addition to enhance learning!

Prezi for mind mapping!

I'm sure that I'm late to the party on this site.. but I just tried using it and I'm giggling like a little kid at all the possibilities. This site is cool because it allows you to create a mind map about a topic and then run through it like a PowerPoint. You can add graphics and video. And the best part of all is that its free for educators and students!

I can see lots of different applications for this ~ end of the unit project, KWL, introducing a topic, and having students create one as a summary project. I'm going to try to get my AVID students to do one for presenting their book reports.

I worked up one here for fun.... You can navigate through it by clicking on the "play" button at the bottom of the frame.

So... just a little something to play with. I can see it being really fun on a smart board!

Probability Lesson

Probability is one of the state standards for 2nd grade. What a better way to teach it then with the Smartboard? I have 3 lessons that I have used and the kids love it. Some are with rolling a dice and some are with spinners. We have die to use in our classroom, but not spinners, so the Smartboard really helped to show the kids what spinners are and how they are used. If there are any 2nd grade teachers out there that need lessons on probability, hit me up!

Reflections on Digital Storytelling

Letting my students take control of their film projects was a harrowing experience. They did it all on their own. I only helped them edit and compile their films. I am very proud of their efforts! It was hard for me to sit back and let them take ownership of the process, but it was the most valuable way for them to become filmmakers.

Most of their time was spent writing creative stories. I thought that if we started with good stories these stories would make better films (I'm not sure it worked). Then I read all of the stories to the class (without revealing the authors) and allowed students to vote on their favorite five to make movies from. From there students got to choose which movies they wanted to work on.

When students met with their film groups they had to transform the story into scenes to film, gather and create costumes and sets for themselves, and finally film the story. Most groups used Flip video cameras which were very user friendly. It was a bit crazy the days we filmed with groups running all around the school working on their projects. We submitted our films to the district film fest and are excited to see them on the big screen at the theater in the new high school this Wednesday at 6:00 pm. I hope to see you there!

Ms. Arnold's class is finishing up their films and we will be meeting with them to have a film fest of our own to celebrate.

I learned that it does work to give over control to your students. It might be messy, but it is more empowering. I also learned that next time I need to start earlier and have more time. Here are our films:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Parent Gallery Walk

Can we get any busier? I think so. We just completed our student-led conferences and I'm sad to say I'm a little behind in our classroom projects. In the past our animal research projects were completed in time for conferences and the kids showed their learning to their parents. Not this year - conferences came up too quickly. My solution is to have a gallery walk and invite parents to visit between an afternoon 3:00 and 3:45. Has anyone tried this? The kids are in partner groups, so I think I'll be able to borrow enough computers. We'll keep you posted on our date! I'm thinking a few weeks because we have MAPS testing beginning next week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

March in April

March flew by and was filled with lots of technology and fun for my students. I ventured into new territory and created my first Voicethread with my ELD group. They summarized and illustrated the story "Lost". This story is about a girl's adventure trying to find her lost beagle. They did an amazing job and look forward to doing it again.

The next task in March was to dive into Atomic Learning. I modified and math module called Smart Money. I especially liked this activity because it tied literature to math. The students were required to read the poem "Smart" by Shel Silverstein, then then show their comprehension via math using money. I will post a link to a student example soon.

Finally, Jen Lindberg and I guided our math classes in creating a fraction challenge for each other's class. The challenges and results can be viewed on our perspective classroom blogs.

One of my fondest memories from March was how cool my ELD group thought is was when they saw how many people had viewed their Voicethread and that they could watch a video of someone else complimenting them on their work.... very cool to watch their faces glow!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

VoiceThread Math, Project-Based Learning, and Assessment

Here is the long awaited VoiceThread math project. Feast your eyes on the splendor of the -Oh, heck! Who am I kidding? Sometimes technology projects are down and dirty and sometimes they just should be. I like the idea of leaving the glamor behind and just going for the functional.

Anyway, I'm taking a course right now on assessment and we were recently asked to complete a survey of the strengths of our current assessment system. Some of the questions ask if my assessment system:
Provides interesting, active, exciting experiences?
Examines students within the context of their natural learning environment?
Puts emphasis on student strenghts?
Treats each student as a unique human being?
Engages the student in a process of self-reflection?
The survey (from -link no longer active) goes on and I paraphrased a bit but I realize many of the assessments we do give students do not meet any of these criteria. The assessments that come closest to approaching these are the ones I do in conjunction with technology rich lessons. The project-based lessons I have been implementing more frequently are a step in the right direction. I'm trying to use more Universal design in my lessons. I'd like to hear from other teachers implementing UD and your thoughts on assessment.


I read some the blogs and a few felt March just flew by. I feel just the opposite! HA! But one more day till Spring Break I can make it!

Anyways, I have been doing research reports with my 3rd graders. We are finally to the publishing stage and they are typing them into Word. It has been such an experience because they have NO typing skills. In 45 minutes most of them had three sentences. YIKES! With all the great technology I never even think of good old-fashioned typing skills. It would be wonderful if we did have time in the day to work on that too! I guess will try to provide more opportunities the rest of the year! It does increase their enjoyment of writing-so that's a good thing!