Friday, May 28, 2010

Next year...

As I reflect on my first year as a Global Learner, I feel SO much more comfortable with technology than when I began back in August. Some things I've accomplished/learned:
using the smart board, clickers, Photo Story, Blogger (embedding), flip cameras, and movie maker. I certainly don't feel like I'm an expert in any of these, but I believe it will make life much easier as I begin to plan lessons and activities for next year! Thanks to all the GL team for your support and guidance this year!

Collaborative Project with another Global Learner

Our first graders spent the last 9 weeks of school learning about animals and insects. We made a K-W-L chart to introduce the unit to the class. Then the students picked an animal that they wanted to learn more about. The children went to the library and picked out a book about their animal. Some got on the computer and googled their animal; others found information off of We spent most of our Science time reading about our animals and finding facts about their animal that they did not know anything about. The children then were given a format where they wrote at least 6 facts about their animal, they had to write a conclusion for their report, and they had to list the references where they got their information.
I took their papers home to check and edited their work and then they had to re-write their report and draw a picture of their animal. We had an author's tea where the parents were invited to the classroom to listen to their child read their reports. I found pictures of their animals off of Google and took pictures with the camera and projected them on the promethean board while the children were reading their reports. For example, there would be a picture of a Bear and the caption read, "Bears by Carlos." As the child was reading his report, the pictures would be up on the promethean board so that all parents would know who was reading and what their report was about. After our tea, we served cookies and punch to our parents. It was a good way to get parents involved, especially at the end of the year. I found it very exciting for parents who had not seen the promethean board in action. The parents were truly amazed. It was a great way to end the year! I worked with Melissa Garcia, 2nd grade teacher, on this project as her students were also learning about animals and writing a report. With Melissa's help, I was able to post one of the students' work on and record a fact about his animal. Melissa commented on this child's work.
Tita Martinez

To the future...

As I look ahead to next year, I am excited to continue to work with all the resources that we have been introduced to throughout the year. I want to continue using ones that I am familiar with, but I also want to continue to find new resources I haven't used yet. I know I feel more confident in myself; but also in my students that we will all be able to handle this. It might not always be smooth, but everything gets better with practice. Take this year for example where I felt like as time progressed we all became better at using the resources and ran into less problems each time.

So this is my electronic signature to promise to continue to implement technology into my classroom next year and in doing so will better prepare my students for the future! Who's with me?!!

Reading Reflection

Check my reading group's reflection on their year. They modeled many of the fantastic things we learned and did this year! Check it out on my blog.

Collaborative Project

This is one area where I wish that had done a little better and I plan on making this a goal of mine next year. I will be honest and say that it was hard for me to find partners to work collaboratively with. It seems like I never knew what other teachers in my building were working on; however, my school is transitioning into an IB school and one of our requirements will be to work more collaboratively and complete more interdisciplinary projects.

We are actually creating a large bulletin board in the copying room where teachers will post what topics they are covering which will make it much easier to find out where we can work together to create a deeper understanding of the concepts being covered. I believe that if students are exposed to interdisciplinary learning then they will take their education more seriously and it will be more meaningful. It will no longer be just a Math concept, or a Science concept, or a Communications topic; instead it will now be an opportunity to make meaning of what they are learning throughout all the content areas.

Also, it will allow our students to be more focused on what they are learning which will lead to a better understanding. I feel like our students are being thrown new material in all of their classes almost every day and in part this leads to more confusion because they are never sure what to expect when they enter the classroom.

As for my collaborative project this year, I worked with another algebra teacher in my building. We ran into a lot of obstacles though. We were trying to have our students take more ownership over their learning so the plan was to have the students create their own problems about the concepts we were covering. They would post them in the blog and then have the other class solve them and discuss if the problem was created well, if there was any information missing from the problem, as well as rank the difficulty level of the problem (from easy to extremely difficult). Lastly, the kids would that created the problem would have to grade the other students work.

Well in theory this seemed to be a great idea; however, when we were implementing it we ran into a lot of problems. First the other teacher only had half the amount of time with her kids as I did (we were on a block schedule and she was working with periods) and every time that she was going to have her kids work on the computers something came up. One time she couldn't get the internet connected, another time when she finally got the kids on the computer they didn't have email addresses so they couldn't post, a different time she couldn't even use the computers because the school was MAP testing and all the computers were reserved. It just seemed like we were running into problem after problem with the computers and we were losing a lot of teaching time so what switched up the plan. What we ended up doing was the kids would exchange problems on paper, solve them, reflect on them and then return them to the other class to have them graded. It was literally more leg work for us, but in the end I felt like it did give the kids more ownership over their learning. I saw them take their learning more seriously and they were more excited to solve problems created by their peers rather than just solving problems that I gave them.

I plan on working more collaboratively with my fellow educators next year, both within and outside of my content area, and I am thankful for the technology/resources that we have because I believe it will make it much easier!

Fairy Tale Summaries

First and third graders had a wonderful time reading and writing summaries of classical fairy tales. Kelly and I enjoyed watching the collaborative effort between the two groups of students. The groups were very balanced and each student was motivated to complete the project. Check out the top five photostories!

The Princess and the Pea

The Spider and the Beehive

The Three Little Pigs

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Martina and the Cockroach

Brianna and Kelly

Technology Reflection

Hi everyone,

This has been my sixth year teaching and with the addition of the new resources I have been introduced to it feels like it was a year where I grew the most as an educator. As I reflect back, in my first two years of teaching I learned a lot about how I wanted my classroom set up and learned a lot about classroom management. However, this year I learned of new digital 21st century technology that I believe has helped me become an even better teacher; and not to mention has helped with my classroom management as well!

The kids truly enjoyed the projects that we worked on throughout the year. They were extremely focused and determined to figure out how to make the best glogster poster, or the best video that they possibly could. It was amazing and in all actuality it was relaxing as well. To look out into my classroom with all of my students working on computers, helping each other learn new things, it really made me felt like my students had taken complete ownership over their learning and this is when I truly believe that learning is taking place! Of course, we hit some road blocks, and I helped out whenever and where ever necessary, but overall I was really impressed with my students ability to problem solve and overcome the obstacles that they encountered.

Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me become a better educator as well as helping my students become better learners! The 2009/2010 school year has been an educational one for all of us!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thoughts heading in to summer...

Looking back, we have grown exponentially in the classroom. The class blog is a testimony to that . We have shared lessons, projects, and strategies. However, as I end the year, I find myself not so much reflecting on what I did last year, but more about what I can do for the upcoming year. We watched a slide show today in class of pictures that I had put together throughout the year. As I watched it and enjoyed the memories with the class, I found myself critiquing the show and planning how I would do it differently next time. Every lesson involving technology sparks an idea to connect it to another one in a different content area. I'm looking forward to the summer to plan and prepare and enhance. Thanks to all of you who share your ideas and experiences here! Its such an exciting group to be a part of, and you all have such a wealth of knowledge and skill enhancing your own classrooms with technology. Thank you for the inspiration! See you in the Fall!

Blogging with the High School Students

This semester my students had a great time contributing to Mr. Abshire's IB/MYP blog.

Our most recent posting was around Earth Day. The students really enjoyed discussing our letters to the Earth. So many ideas were generated and we were able to post some of the most popular ideas.

The students had a great time reading their answers along with the high school students ideas.

This is definitely something I plan to continue next year.

Thanks Doug!!

Summer Renewal

Howdy folks!

Happy Summer!! I hope you all have a wonderful rest after a truly overwhelming year! I am so excited to spend some time this summer laying out and letting all this years trials and tribulations leak out my ears on a California beach. Then I'll come back rested and ready to reflect on the year and all the ways that I can incorporate technology into my lessons for next year. One of the things I am going to continue to use is the Prezi site. My students loved it! I piloted it with my AVID students as an end of the year project for their book reports. They spent so much time on them and are really proud of the way they turned out.

Check this one out to see what they're like.

Hope you all have a great summer.

See you next year!

Google Earth

We finished the year with a story about a cross country road trip. The family makes six stops along the way, from Ohio to California. I marked each location with a select view that matches the pictures in the story. I added routes and recorded a "tour" for the whole trip. It was fun and easy to make and the kids loved it. A little while later, I was able to take my reading class into the computer lab and show them all how to use Google Earth. They looked up their own houses and they looked at South Korea, the setting for another story. Google Earth helps these kids get a sense of how big the world is. It's much more effective than me trying to hold a globe in one hand and point to two different locations with my other.

[Sorry for the late posting. I wrote this a few weeks ago and forgot to go back and post it.]

I hope you all enjoy your summers!

Collaborative Project Review

This year has been an exciting journey for me as both a teacher and a student of technology use in the classroom. As May comes to a close, I find that the end of the year is bittersweet. Although it is always hard to say goodbye for the summer, it is always comforting to reflect on all the progress the students have made throughout the year.

As we finished the last few weeks of school, we were able to wrap up a few collaborative projects that we had been working on. In addition to the collaborative projects we completed in March, we completed a few more projects in April and May. These projects included:

  • Parts of a Plant (with Ms. Lopez’ Kindergarten class) For this project the students illustrated pictures and wrote about what they learned about plants. Ms. Lopez created a video with her students and posted it on her blog. A few of my students then responded to the video by leaving comments on her class blog. I also had a few students create a podcast about the purpose of each part of a plant and post it on our class blog.

  • Information Paragraphs (with Mrs. Martinez’ 1st Grade class) In order to introduce this project I created a flipchart using ActivInspire and used resources from The students then researched and wrote an information paragraph about a given animal. The students then published their paragraphs using Microsoft Word before posting them to our class blog. For her part of the project, Mrs. Martinez took pictures of her students’ work and then recorded her students reading their work using Audacity. She and I worked together to create a few podcasts.
  • Friendly Letters (with Mrs. Waheed’s 2nd Grade class) Mrs. Waheed’s class began by creating Voicethreads of their friendly letters to my students. My students then responded by posting their own friendly letters on Mrs. Waheed’s class blog.

In order to manage all of these collaborative projects I chose to divide the work and allow the students to choose if they would like to post a friendly letter to a blog, create a podcast, or post a comment to a blog. By allowing the students to select the type of technology they wished to use, they were able to review and help each other complete the assignments.

Why I Use Technology in my Science Class

This past year as a Global Learner has been an exciting one. I have tried things I have never tried before: creating blogs and wikis, using digital photographs, created many lessons using my SmartBoard, and collaborated with teachers at ACMS and ACHS. For my last blog post this school year, I will try to answer the question, "Why do I value technology as a science teacher?" My response is based on the growth I have seen in my students this year.

Why I Value Technology as a Science Teacher
1. Inquiry becomes more relevant when I use technology in the inquiry activities.

2. Technology allows me and my students to do what would be difficult to do without technology (ie. look at a real-time video of the active volcano in Iceland)

3. Technology helps me engage my students. It not only increases student participation and interest in science, but it also gives my students more respect for me. They see that I am not technologically illeterate. I am a participating member in our technological society, and I want them to become proficient not just in my content, but in their 21st Century skills.

4. Many scientific ideas are complex and abstract. As a result, I often see many misconceptions that my students have. Technology can help me address the misconceptions of my students, and make complex content more accessible to them.

A Word of Advice
To any teacher reading this and wondering if there is any basic advice for how to implement technology in your class, I leave you with this:

Focus on the science content and not on the mechanics of the technology. Definitely plan for some time with students just exploring the new technology. Then, when students' curiosity is satisfied, teach your lessons.

Thanks so much to everyone for a great year!!

Online Assessments

This year, I was one of many teachers that began to explore online assessments by using the Galileo program. As a member of NSTA, I researched best practices with online test programs to see what research exists.

Here are some best practices and some findings according to Taryn L.S. Hess and Sherry A. Southerland in their article, "Online Assessments and Hearing Students Think About Science" (2008).

Best Practices

1. Create a variety of questions that address higher-order thinking.
2. Make sure the problem sets are randomized.
3. Make sure that the feedback provided by the system is meaningful to your students and serves to shape student thinking.
4. Use the system to its maximum flexibility so that it can be adapted for all students' needs.
5. Assign online assessments as class work rather than homework.
6. Model how to approach the questions and their answers several times before students attempt it on their own.
7. Be willing to "stick with it" and ask for support when needed.


1. Teachers that took advantage of the timely feedback provided by online assessments saw the dropout rate of students decrease and found less students cutting their classes. These teachers added their own comments to the reports from the online testing system.

2. Some teachers targeting students based on the immediate feedback generated by the system by creating after-school study groups or small groups in class that could focus on the students' needs.
These teachers not only saw student achievement increase, but surveys showed that students felt that these teachers cared about them.

3. According to Morrissey, Kahsy, and Tsai (1995), online testing systems initially increase a teacher's workload. However, after you create the initial problem sets and become used to the system, your workload is reduced.

My Notes
I started using Galileo in January and continued to use it all spring. I liked how I could create my own questions and I found that it was a great tool for formative assessments. However, I found that I had to supplement my tests on Galileo with some essays, labs, and other projects to get a full picture of the science knowledge of my students.

Using Digital Photographs to Teach Earth Science

I have found that one of the hardest things to do when I teach earth science is build background knowledge. One way to build background knowledge of geologic events is to use digital photographs. I found that many free images can be found on the web that allow student to see natural objects that they cannot be able to see firsthand.

Here are some resources that I used this year:

Volcano World
This website shows volcano photos from Earth and on other planets.

Erosion: How Sediment Moves
These websites show that rocks and sediment get moved from their original locations. They also show earth building up in some areas and other areas where there is sediment loss.

I found 2 websites with awesome fossil images.
Fossil Image Galleries from the Virtual Fossil Museum

I found that by using the images I found on these websites, my students were more engaged and their knowledge of earth science was enhanced.

Using Computer Simulations in the Science Classroom

There are many concepts in science curriculum that are difficult to conduct experiments to prove. A great way to conduct experiments is to use computer simulations. In a simulated environment, time changes can be sped up or slowed down; abstract concepts can be made concrete and forces that cannot be seen because they are deep with in the earth or microscopic can be seen and relationships between variables can be formed. Teachers can also focus students' attention on learning objectives because the real-world environments are simplified. Students can also easily see causal relationships between variables.

Here are some good simulations on the web:

Learning Science:
Visual Elements:
Virtual Chemistry Lab:
Physics Education Technology:
Cell Biology Animations:
Interactive Human Body:

Using Geotechnologies in the Science Classroom

Geotechnologies, like Google Earth, can provide a great way for students to collect data. As I explored using Google Earth this year in my science classroom, I collected some research. I would like to share that research with you.

I found out that the GIS company called ESRI, Inc. have K-12 programs. You can go to for programs. Also, Northwestern University has created a GEODE Initiative ( and they have also created a GIS specifically for K-12 student.

Two of the more common GIS geographic data explores are Google Earth ( and ESRI's ArcGIS Explorer (

Educational Research that Supports the use of GIS in the classroom:

I found that the National Academies Press publication Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in K-12 Curriculum arues for the inclusion of spational reasoning through the disciplines of geography in science. In this report, spatial thinking was identified as the "cognitive tools...that allow for a constructive amalgam of three elements: concepts of space, tools of representation, and process of reasoning."

The Department of Labor has sited the geotechnical industry as one of the three fastest-graowing technology industries. As science teachers use geotechnologies to support and extend inquiry exercises, they will be mimicing the field techniques of scientists in various fields and also engineers.

According to a study done by Kerski (2000) and another study done by Olsen (2000), when geotechnologies are used to support inquiry or problem-based learning, students attitudes toward science improved, and the abilities of students to conduct scientific investigations also improved.

From NSTA: Best Practices for Using Geotechnologies
1. Prepare students to use maps and spatial tools effectively.
-Explicitly teach map reading and analysis activities prior to using geotechnologies.
-Hang vegetation, migratory, geology or hydrology maps on classroom walls. Mark interesting or unique points on the map with transparency markers.
-Have students find their home, school, and popular hangouts on a map or image of their hometown.

2. Plan for a phased-in instructional approach when using GIS to support inquiry.
-Presentation: use your Smartboard to show maps from a website to the students. The teacher presents the map and presents the map to the class. This sets the context for learning.
-Exploration: Students begin to play with GIS software and data. Students turn data layers on and off, make layers active, and add/delete layers.
-Analysis: These are constructed activities prepared by the teacher. The teacher sets up activities where students compare and contrast data layers. Teachers can also have students make relationships between data sets. Other analysis tasks include: identifying what's inside, outside, or nearby another object or class of objects.
-Synthesis: Teachers creative activities where students create new data layers. Another activity is to have students recombine data layers into new patterns. For example, students may crate a new layer from three environmental factors (ie. elevation, precipiatation, temperature), in an attempt to create a single composite data layer.
-Visualization: Teachers create activities where students search for new patterns within the data layers. In other activities, students can manipulate the way map data are represented. Three- and four-dimensional modeling and animations can also be used.

3. Teachers guide students through inquiries that are focused on local issused. Teachers can also bring in collaborators.
-By creating inquiry investigations that link to students' communities, teachers make learning relevant. Students also develop a sense of ownership in the problem and solution.
-Teachers can find that local county mapping offices can provide data and create poster-size prints of maps.

4. Scale the technology with your personal comfort level and the school's technical capacity.

For more information of how to implement GIS in your classroom, visit Happy mapping!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Student made PPT's

I am sorry to be posting a second post but I hit the wrong buttons last night.  Any way this might help catch me up on my log entries.  I had my students do two PPT's (one in Science and the other in Colorado History) to be presented to the rest of the class using our Promethean boards and if you follow the following link you can look at some of them .  They are not perfect, but works in progress.  I learned a lot about doing this.  I found out that having a few example to show and spending more time in the beginning processes would drastically increase productivity and quality.  I also need to allow more time for research and encourage the students daily to follow their Rubric and Expectation pages.  These two projects opened up a lot of good dialog between the students an also between my students and myself.  It opened up dialogue like the importance of citing work, why good grammar is important, and many other topics.  Over all the students learned a lot and got a lot out of the process.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wrapping Things Up!

What a month May has been! Wrapping up everything has been wonderful and stressful! Thanks to my GL team it has been so much easier. I have been so fortunate to have such a wonderful team. We have met every other week on Skype to collaborate on lessons, get advice and share. I will truly miss those conversations.

Similar to Lisa, my class used Google Earth to map the route of a family going on a vacation from our shared reader's theater. I had never used it before, so it was a learning experience for all of us. It really helped them visualize the selection and was very engaging. Then, we mapped it out on individual maps. This week we are going to perform each scene in small groups.

I just wanted to also say thank you everyone for a wonderful year!

May wrap-up

The end of the year has brought many fun learning times for my students and I. Many of our recent activities can be seen on my blog: voicethread, math challenges, fraction activities, glogster, etc.

One project in specific that we worked on was a collaborative project with Sara Zaleski's 2nd grade class at Dupont. Together Sara and I created a Venn Diagram for our science groups. In our Venn, we compared and contrasted insects and dinosaurs. Our students provided us with the learned knowledge of our respective topics, then it was presented to the other classroom. My students had a great time learning about insects and did a fabulous job finding traits that insects and dinosaurs have in common.

This has been a fun technology filled year! Thanks to everyone for your ideas, guidance, and support!

Have a great summer everyone!!

Well the end of the year is here.  I've been working on checking out for the summer.  I've enjoyed working with everyone throughout the school year.  I was finally able to do my skype video conference with Emily's class.  We had our students present a piece of work that they had written.  My class did mostly poems in which they read to the students in her class.  The technology worked great and we were able to watch & hear her students read their chosen work.  I've enjoyed working with Emily.  She has been a great help and Mentor.  Dave has also bee a great help and resource.  I want to wish everybody a safe and relaxful summer!

Geography with Smart Notebook

In second grade we read about a boy in South Korea who wants a bagel from New York. He writes an order for a bagel, ties it on the leg of a pigeon, and sends the pigeon to fly to New York. Naturally, my students have no idea where either of those places are, or how far a distance it is. To build background, I used resources from Smart Notebook, Google Earth, and United Streaming. The South Korean flag, the outline of the country, and an outline map of Asia are already in the gallery of Smart Notebook. There are outline maps for each continent listed in 'files and pages.' There are outlines of all the countries of the world under 'pictures.' The sizes of the country maps match the continent map exactly. I placed the colored shape of South Korea onto the large map. I did something similar for a biography of Gabriela Mistral from Chile. Certainly, there are many other possibilities for these map outlines and shapes beyond story settings. Has anyone else used them?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Class Research and Power Point Presentations

My class has been working on research projects the last couple of weeks. Each student chose a person or animal. We used both books and the internet to find information about them, organized it, and then put a power point presentation together complete with pictures we searched for using Google Images. We've had a fabulous time, and my afternoons have been of 100% engagement! This is one example of the finished product. They are all so good it was hard to choose just one to share!

Friday, May 21, 2010

a repository for web 2.0 tools ....

Hi GLers. Here is a neat website with links to many web 2.0 tools and/or applications. Also, here is a link to their blog. Tons of new apps which I will look into over the summer break. Enjoy the break and see you next fall! ...... Doug

DeRoin's Dioramas

Hey All,

Some fourth grade students in April DeRoin's class here at Rose Hill spent many hours learning about and creating research projects (including dioramas!!) of the biomes of the world. Check out there awesome work!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Newseum Is So Cool!

Hey Everyone,
Here is a great site that allows you to find front page news on a Global Level. It is so easy to use.
All you do is put your mouse on any city in the world, and the front page of the local newspaper pops up. When you find one that interests you, double click and it gets larger.
I think it is a great site to teach students what makes something newsworthy and compare how different areas define news and who covers what.
So, any great ideas how to use this site?
Copy and paste this address and check it out.

March Math Madness!

I'm alittle behind in my post, but in March, my Math class traded fraction problems with Sarah Feaster's Math class. We had another fabulous experience both creating the problems for her class, as well as solving the ones they sent for us. My class really enjoys this activity, and the engagement is the added bonus!

You can check out our class blog at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Project Wrap-up(s)

I think I began wrapping up projects at least a month ago. It seems like it has been about that long. We are working towards completing all of our collaborative projects (4 total) by next week so we can watch presentations during the last week of school.

We are working on:
1. Collaborative Symmetry lesson with Ms. Lopez' Kindergarten class in Center - The focus will be students demonstrating their knowledge and creating questions for the other class.
2. 1st/3rd grade Collaborative Fairy Tale Project with Ms. Sealy's class - Students had to summarize and retell the lesson they learned from various fairy tales. Students are completing their photo-stories this week!
3. Plant and Animal PowerPoint Presentations - These are taking more time due to our access to computers, but the kids have been really patient and have remembered their learning. I'm going to post my PowerPoint outlines for both the animal presentation and the plant presentation on Atomic Learning - feel free to use and adapt as you see fit!
4. Academic Language Development - I'm challenging my ALD kids to create fiction stories with a plot. The challenge is not coming up with the plot, but for them to make every sentence include details and/or a robust vocabulary word. They have really enjoyed the challenge thus far. We will begin publishing via photostory, kidspiration, or another avenue next week. Let us know if you have a new technology tool to try!

End of the year review!

  • I wanted to find some fun ways to reveiw math skills at the end of the year. SO, I am having students take on the task. I assigned groups of students to review an important third grade math skill using a power point presentation and creating a worksheet or activity for them to practice. We are still in the creating process, but they are so excited to teach theBulleted List class next week!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Global Learner Online Quiz

At the Global Learner Reconnect Day, we started talking about surveys. Emily mentioned she was going to make a survey for her students to take. Then it occurred to us that a survey could also be an online quiz. I created one on survey monkey. The free account gives plenty of options, including question types and page setups. Usually these surveys are anonymous so I put in a required text box for a respondent's name. If anyone uses this as a quiz in the future, let us know if you have ideas on ensuring students are not cheating for each other.
Click here to take the quiz

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comic Life

While browsing Atomic Learning yesterday, Aimee, Jenny and I discovered a program called Comic Life by Plasq. This program allows students to create posters, comic strips and other digital productions, and is very simple to use. The only problem I'm having at the moment is not being able to download it to my classroom desktop because I don't have admin privileges on that computer. But once I work that out, my kids will be making comic strips and posters like the one above. I'm excited to try it with them :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We can S-P-E-L-L !!!

As the students were completing their work in January, Gerardo wanted to share his ability to spell his name...with his eyes closed! Go G-E-R-A-R-D-O!!!!!

Sea Monkeys!

Leilani asked if she could bring her Sea Monkeys to school. Being that I am teaching early childhood, I thought it would be a great way to intrinsically motivate the students to create rich language opportunities, enhance writing skills and enable the children to ask questions and learn about new ideas.

Before Leilani shared the Sea Monkeys with the children, the students wrote predictions about what they thought the Sea Monkey looked like.

Leilani shared that the Sea Monkeys love the sun. She feeds them algae to crave their hunger and to keep them healthy.

After learning about the Sea Monkeys, the children returned to their seats and wrote about two things that they learned about the Sea Monkeys.

Thanks to Leilani for sharing her treasure!

My first digital filmmaking experience!

Last week my class completed our second collaborative project! The project began with my students learning about creative writing through Write Source curriculum. We used the writing process to write stories that could ultimately be turned into films. Students published their stories, presented them to the class, and voted on the three best stories. These stories were then written into a script and students were able to create costumes, props, backdrops to turn them into films. After filming, we learned (together) how to edit the films on Movie Maker. We celebrated by having an Arnold/Taylor film fest!

The kids LOVED this project and it was a learning experience for all of us. With the help of Ms. Taylor, I was able to learn the basics of how to use Flip cameras, Movie Maker, and convert the films to RealPlayer. We missed the deadline by about a week to enter into the Adams 14 Film Fest, but am excited to try this project again next year (starting a bit earlier)!

They are posted on my blog if you would like to check our films out!

Photos by Students

Back in March we studied geometry in second grade. To encourage students to notice geometry in the world around them, I gave cameras to groups of students and told them to find right angles and take pictures. I posted a slide show of the photos on our class blog.
I decided to have students take pictures only of their right angle and hand. This way, the right angle would be large enough to see. I also did not want to worry about posting kids' faces online. Many of the students photographed the right angles. This meant I could pick the pictures that were in focus and reject others. When I showed the slide show, students recognized photos they thought they took and I didn't have to worry about making sure I had photos from each group.

Global Learner Project Survey

Please click this link to take the Global Learner Survey on Zoomerang.


Interactive Powerpoint!

Just got some info on this... great way to make Power Point presentations interactive and all a teacher needs is a set of wireless mice. Best of all, it's free. You need to go here and here to get the software you need.

Atomic Learning

A few months ago I tried a lesson from Atomic Learning called How Big is a Foot?
I thought I had it all figured out but when I tried it in the classroom it didn't work. After listening to Dave today, I realized I must not have chosen the correct year. So, lesson to be learned....make sure you have the correct year!
One thing I found beneficial was to have my laptop home when I listened to the tutorial on my home computer. That way I could listen on one, and type/set up on the other. This is especially helpful when you are unfamiliar with an application.

April Activities

The month of April brought many fun things and great learning in my classroom. Take a quick look at my blog to see what we've been up to.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Wow!!! Is April already gone? Here at Haskin Elementary we have been working hard to train other teachers with the Promethean Boards and ActiveInspire. It has been a fun experience for me because I enjoy using the Promethean Board for lessons and my students enjoy using it independently during centers.
Also, the Kindergarteners in my class are getting more and more practice using our classroom camera.

Here is a picture one of my students took at our Alligator Farm field trip.

Voki Poetry Fun

My students have been publishing their poetry using They have really enjoyed creating an avatar to present their work. Next we will begin listening and responding to each other poems on our classroom blog. Check our our work here:
Here's one about the color blue:

Get a Voki now!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I am still alive

I am so sorry for having gotten lost this semester. Busy I have really been. I took on an extra added mentorship for a new teacher when one of our other ones resigned and I had to do that also. 5th grade has about snowed me under with the busy year..... Yet no busier than most I am sure.

I along with my global learner partners here at Haskin, have been busy training and troubleshooting our other staff and their boards. It has been so exciting to see where the new people at our school have gone and where they are headed. I have helped arrange for a drive on our server to hold our Promethean Flip Charts. That is so cool to see all of the staff members flip charts and be able to use them also if they fit our curriculum. There is a new teacher on staff who has created the best geometric flip charts that are interactive. I am blown away by all of the creativity.

My class is using Photo story right now creating the movie of all of their baby pictures for recognition night next week for the 5th grade. They have picked their music and putting pictures in the order that they want them and creating a cover for the presentation. It is so fun to watch them wander their way through the process, from scanning to moving pictures and now on to learning how to add sound. Their movie will be played for all parents, friends and family, school board, superintendent and principals for each of the three schools (elementary, middle school, and high school. We estimate an audience of about 150-175 people.

My class has designed flip charts and is able to do designs that I would not think about doing. Isn't this what education is all about, learners for all and teaching for all. Such a two way street is really opened up for all involved.

We have been using our Promethean Board approximately 4-5 hours out of every day.

The other great news is we finally got our student computers and have been high into research, composition of poetry, T charts, note taking, test taking etc. And the list goes on and on forever. I love it when they jump up to share their learning both on the Promethean board and the computers.

What I have really experienced this year is how the learning has changed for these students. They are more involved, more willing to discuss, not as willing to put others down. They experience how hard it is to put themselves out in the open by getting up in front to put their writing down. The Promethean board seems to make them willing to go to demonstrate their learning but then they become more afraid of error. That is something we have had to work through. It seems that the board is more intimidating that a plain white board.

It has been a wonderful year. It has been busy and great.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Recycled Fashion

Check out this dress from our 1st Annual Rose Hill Recycled Fashion Fashion Show! It is made entirely out of recyclable plastic bags and pop can holders! Our 5th graders created outfits out of recyclables and walked down the runway, accompanied by compositions made by our 3rd and 4th graders. I was so impressed with their creativity and ingenuity.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ant problem?

I can't believe it is already May and I am still talking about April! My grade level team was just wrapping up our big Insect Science Unit and we were so happy that our ants arrived after Spring Break. We would have plenty of time to watch them build their tunnels and students could record their observations about how they work together. But, after the weekend we came back and our ants had died! We didn't tell the kids and quickly ordered a new batch. They wouldn't notice and we would be extra careful with these ones so we could teach the unit. Well those died too! There was no hiding this one! We couldn't order a new batch, so my TC and I thought we could use a virtual ant farm. We found one at The kids loved feeding their own ants and watch them build tunnels using laptops. They even asked us if those were our ants?!

My class also worked on a collaborative project with Melissa Garcia's class. We were working on writing friendly letters and thought we could use Voice Threads and post them on our blog and Melissa's class could respond to them. We looked at Melissa's blog and the kids were really excited to correspond with them about what they wished for in third grade! I am still in the process of posting them to my blog at

Without a Smartboard!

Dear SMART Board,
I love you so much! You make my teaching engaging and the kids love you! I enjoy making creative Storytown and math lessons. I love that you don't care that there are 10 million grubby little hands all over you everyday! I wish more teachers would just believe me, when I say, "The SMART board is the best invention EVER!" We are working to get more of you into the hands of teachers, along with the appropriate training! SMART board, you and I have had some really good times together this year.
Do you remember when we taught our kindergartners how to log-on to the computer, click on FireFox, type in , navigate to Word World, and together helped kids to become better readers? Or how about the time when I created interactive, kareoke type lessons to go with our math songs? I know, I'm just as sick of them as you are, but our kindergartners LOVE them! Do you remember when the Walk Through Team came through and gave us ALL 3 check marks for student engagement! That was thanks you to SMART board!
I also better give a shout-out and many thanks to your friends the projector, lap-top, and printer! Oh projector, we couldn't have done all of it without you! Lap-top, you made a critical role in the development of the spectular SMART board lesson, blogs and websites that were created and maintained this year! AND printer, you showed everyone that you can have accountability with technology!
Thank you technology for making my student 21st Century learners this year! Thanks again!
Jenny Ceretto :)