Thursday, September 30, 2010

Response "Clickers"

Hi all! I need some advice/help!
My 2nd graders are using their clickers more (I'm shooting for twice a week) and I would love to get some feedback on how you are setting them up in your rooms.

Are you giving them a time limit to answer each question?

What do kids do when they have answered and you are still waiting for a large portion of your class to answer? This seems to be a management issue for me.

Are you keeping them in desks or in the case?

Finally, have you used the 'instant' response question that is available? I feel like it's a good tool, however you'd have to record the correct answer somewhere, because you are not setting it up beforehand- right?

Thanks for your input, I can't wait to read the comments!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

blogging up and going.... can't say the same for the SPED collaboration website!

The month of September has been exciting for both my students and I! We now use our SMART board every day in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade groups. The good news is... all of my students are still AMAZED by the magic pen!! STILL! My 5th graders are also up and blogging. We have posted once so far. They wrote about their favorite things to do on the internet since our first Language unit centered around computers and the web. Something I am very excited for is the installation of SOLO on my computers! Using word prediction while writing our blog will be an awesome accommodation for my students and make typing that much easier on them.

The other project I am trying to get up and going is my Adams14 SPED collaboration website. I've had meetings between Dave, Kelly, SPED admin, and I, now I just have to wait until the next Learning Specialist meeting to launch it! I (and many of the other Learning Specialists who have heard the rumors) are incredibly excited for this website to officially launch so that we can all stop reinventing the wheel and share resources efficiently! yayy! Anyways, check out my kiddos' blog and/or the SPED website! Talk to you all soon.

Photo Story

Last week my students created a photo story. Before the students were allowed to get on computers, they had to write a “script.” The script made the students decide which pictures, text, and voice would be on each slide. Since the students all finished the script at different times, they all began finding pictures at various times. I soon realized the students took forever looking for just one picture. Next time my class uses photo story, I will put a timer on and everyone will have a certain amount of time to find any pictures they need. I found it helpful to tell the students to type a color into google so they could have plain colored slides. The students loved this project. It allowed them to show me what they learned from unit 1 and was a good writing assignment.

My class has also begun a blog website. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want it to look like but the students really enjoyed the first time we blogged. I plan on posting a question twice a month and each student will need to answer it on the website. I read for the math content as well as the structure of their writing. I was surprised how many students didn’t know to put 2 spaces in between sentences when typing. I’m going to have my friends and family get on the website and comment on the students’ entries. I hope that students will get excited that other people are reading their blogs. Also that it will encourage them to improve the quality of their entries as well as get their parents to go on and see.

vernier probes and real-time data collection

Hi all. Thanks to the generosity of the Adams 14 Educational Foundation, we (Emily Klein, Kristen Edwards and I) received Vernier probe sets to assist us in real-time data collection. Students in IB biology are measuring oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide release for germinating peas in a variety of conditions.

Thanks again to Dave Tarwater and Joe Miller for supporting the GLer project and Gordon Sandeman (with others) representing the foundation.

How cool is science in the 21st C?


Smart Response Clickers

Users of Smart Response clickers,

I have uploaded a Smart Notebook file explaining the various testing properties available for the Smart Response system. Soon I will also add a Smart Notebook file explaining data exports and reports. If anything in the files is unclear or missing, please let me know and I'll edit as needed. Please consider sharing your expertise in implementing Smart Response in your classroom!

Global Learner Site - Smart Response PE page

SmartBoard and Blog

This has been our first official first "full" month of school. My students love the smartboard. Everyday when I say we are going to use it, they cheer! It is also helping me keep the students engaged, which has been a challenge this year. We have used the smartboard everyday for math,grammar, and many days in reading.

We just finished Theme 1 and I am going to have my students blog about their favorite story in the the Theme, so watch for updates on my blog.


Technology Successes

This month has been a month of implementing technology for me in my classroom! I have used the clickers in a couple different ways, such as giving math quizzes, tickets-out-the-door, and spelling tests. I have had the greatest success with using them for quizzes and tickets-out-the-door, but the spelling test was a bit rough in the beginning. Kelly came into my class to help me give my spelling test using the clickers. We were about half way done with the spelling test, and we had already spent 25 minutes on it! Needless to say, not a good use of class time! However, we then started timing how long it took the students to type in a word, and the whole class got there time down to about 45 seconds, which was a huge improvement. It showed me that I had to be willing to give up the time in the very beginning to train the students in order to implement these clickers in various ways. My students love completing their spelling tests in this way and always ask when they can do their test now. Fifth graders asking to do a spelling test? Unheard of!
Kelly also came into my class to help me record my class doing their Storytown Reader's Theater using the webcam. This was awesome! I had the class divided into four groups, and each group had their opportunity to perform. What they didn't know was that we were only recording pieces of their performance. We taped the first fourth of the play performed by the first group, the second fourth performed by the second group, the third fourth performed by the third group, and the last fourth performed by the last group. Each section was then imported to make a movie, I made a quick title and credit page, and showed the movie to my class. They loved it and wanted to watch it over and over! Definately going to do this every time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Smartboard Center Up and Running......kinda. :)

So the past few weeks have been some intense teaching and reteaching and reteaching, did I mention, reteaching of my literacy centers. I really do enjoy setting up and watching my students be active and independent in centers. It also means that I get quality time in small reading groups! I really wanted the Smartboard to be a consistent center this year. It was a scary task as the enthusiasm of the students can quickly turn into frustration and chaos! With the patient help of my student teacher, we were able to fail and succeed 3 or 4 or 10 times in setting up this center but I think we've finally got it! Using a list of names for each center team (this minimizes the fighting over whose turn it is) and a very kid-friendly word building lesson (provided by an amazing teacher who posted her Smartboard lessons on the Resource page), the students can now independently learn their spelling words in a MUCH more engaging and fun way than paper and pencil! They love it and so do I!
I am now in search of a 2nd Smartboard activity to use in this center. I would like to design a lesson for sight words. However, the current ones I have found (while amazing) are not as effective in actually teaching the words because the kids aren't hearing the word if they don't know it. So my next task is figuring out how to put some audio on the sight words! To be continued........
Hope everyone is enjoying their Smartboard experiences and some fresh fall air!

September Blog/Taking More Steps

Now that we are closing in on the end of September, I reflected upon the additional steps I have made in technology this month. I am anxious for my kids to fianlly try out my wiki space that inlcuded the Theme 1 assignment, where the children will post a paragraph after reading three biographical web pages on people who have made achievements in our world. I am going to implement this into a center during my reading block. I know it will take a while, because only one child is allowed on the wiki page at once. We will see how it goes!
Additionally, I talked to my enthusaistic mentor this month, Emily Taylor. We have decided to use Photo Story to illustrate and narrate our first major writing assignment, a narrative essay. We decided that we would share them in a Literary Celebration. My class will also be posting on Emily's blog as well to comment on their writing.
I am continuing to use the smart board in my literacy block, and even more so in Math. Pulling up graph paper and showing children how to draw Multiplication models to demonstrate an equation and product really helps the children understand multiplication and square numbers. I also used the Launch Number program as a center in math last week. The children loved the independence of working on the smart board.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

White Boards are Engaging!

I am so thrilled with my recent purchase of whiteboards! That's right, I broke down and purchased a class set of whiteboards because the kids were getting bored with me showing them how to make upper-case and lower-case letters for a solid ten minutes! With my new system, the kids eagerly watch me model how to write a particular letter while the sit next to their individual whiteboard and pounce on the opportunity to create their own letters! The kids are having a great time practicing how to write each letter and I am excited because they happily write and erase each letter! I can't think of a better purchase for the newly created writing block!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Great Webinars from Classroom 2.0 at

I wanted to give all my Global Learner colleagues a heads up to some great webinars on technology in education. These webinars (short learning seminars) are great interactive sessions on anything from where to get great online resources to the latest web 2.0 tools and emerging trends in 21st century learning. These live, interactive sessions from Live Classroom 2.0 are hosted by, a social learning network. The platform for these webinars is Elluminate which is a collaborative web conferencing tool that we should look into for our own web conferencing and future trainings.

Anyway, there are always good webinars there. Some of them for this week are:
Tues. 5:30 MST Supporting Differentiated Instruction and Technology Integration
Tues. 6:00 MST Interview with Charles Fadel (Cisco) on 21st Century Learning and STEM
Wed. 6:30 MST Ripple Conference with Cathy Moore: Action Mapping (visual approach to instructional design)
Wed. 7:30 MSTMath 2.0 Series (on the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives)
Thurs. 5:00 MST Edublogs Fine Focus - LIVE & PAPERLESS with GoogleDocs (a teacher shares how she uses google docs with her students)
Sat. 10:00 am MST Global Education Conference (Steve Hargadon, Lucy Gray, and Julie Lindsay talk about how to get involved in the upcoming [November] virtual conference)

Check out these and more in the calendar of events over at Classroom 2.0.

Cross posted to

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How the Internet is Making us Stupid

Okay I admit it I love a provocative title for a blog entry. But I must admit it wasn't mine. This one is the title of an article I ran across the other day How the Internet is Making us Stupid.

In short this article could probably be summarized as too much information leads to the loss of the ability to focus on deeper thought, and we the scientists are deeply concerned.

What amazes me is that any teacher that has used the web for classroom activities could have probably have saved the researchers a lot of money and time because we have all seen this firsthand. I remember when I first started running webquest activities, I would watch the students skim webpages so fast that they would miss the reason I wanted them to visit. When they couldn't find the answer to a question I had posed in the first few lines of the page, they were off to Google searching for the question directly. It was really frustrating trying to figure out a way to "Google Proof" my questions so that they would have to take some time and read through the sites I had given them to construct an answer (rather than copy it).

Now this post isn't just a vent session or a told you so post, but more of a reflection on and issue we as Global Learners need to be able to confront. We have to make the commitment to use technology in a way that will foster the deeper thought we hope our students develop. We have to make sure that our activities have a focus and target and are not just another way to waste time on the internet and look engaged. We have to use our developing skills to foster intellectual development, rather than to just reinforce mental "laziness".

The final paragraph of the article scares me somewhat so with that I will end my post as it speaks for itself

The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. What’s disturbing is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself — our preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the net’s treasures, we have been blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture.