Monday, January 31, 2011


Our classroom received new laptops! Our school made a decision to distribute the computers that were apart of the laptop cart! Now, each classroom in our primary hall has at least 2 or 3 little laptops that are perfect for little fingers! I was nervous when we received the computers because I wasn't sure if the kids could use the touchpad on the computer. However, I was really surprised to find that the kids were able to use the touchpad on the computer! I'm beginning to think that kids are pre-wired to use technology!

Goals for 2011

So, I've heard that the best thing to do when making long-term goals is to make them public. What better place to do that than this blog??
Here are my (school and technology-related) goals:
1. Use my Smart Response clickers at least three times per week in math.
2. Use the clickers once every two weeks in reading during an independent center.
3. Use the newly forming Monaco computer lab with my ELD students to create comic strips, photo stories etc. to enhance their reading comprehension.
4. Increase my students' blog postings to twice a month- hopefully with more independent blogging.

My goals are attainable and realistic for my classroom of 27 students and I am excited to get started on them!

Writing Letters Via the Collaborative Blog

As we are quickly approaching CSAP, writing has been identified as an area of weakness at our middle school and something that we would like to do more of in the content classes.  Since I started the collaborative blog with Doug last semester, it seemed natural to make this the vehicle for the wring in my own class.  It is definately a work in progress, but I am really enjoying the use of the blog as a way to solidify science knowledge and as a writing support vehicle. 

The latest two entries to the blog are both letters to a third party.  The first blog entry was a persuasive letter to the rulers of a mythical planet explaining how seasons work (to convince them to alter their tilt so they would enjoy the benefits of seasons as well).  I don't think I set this one up very well, so the writing is weaker and any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

A Tilted Planet

The second blog is an expository letter designed to teach younger students about the phases of the moon.  I think I did a much better job with creating a graphic organizer for the writing and modeling the process, but I need to figure out a way to make the writing more fluid.

A Month of Phases

Feel free to comment on any of the posts as the students have loved to get feedback from other teachers and students.  Also, any ideas or thoughts would definitely help me to refine my blog use in the classroom

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Using centers and student choice

At this point in the year, my students are trained and confident in uisng Moviemaker and Powerpoint. I taught this explicitly uisng the Storytown Theme 1 project using the movie maker,and the Theme 2 project uisng powerpoint. For Theme 3,the students were able to choose from either.In the theme 2 project, the children had to pick a historical event. I used Kidspiration in small group,where the children made a graphic organizer using questions to guide their research.
On Theme 3,the students explored different geographical locations and were responsible for telling, in their technology project, how it was formed.You can check these student projects out on my wiki.(under student projects)
I am not sure how to post power points on blogger. Let me know if it is possible. Since it is a weekend, the rest of the projects are still on the computers at school,but I will try to get the rest of them up on the wiki by Monday.
Overall, I am proud of the progress the students have made.I feel that technology is very present in my room,and has been integrated successfully in centers. This will be a great help when the children start preparing for their IB exhibition presentations.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Continuing to learn and improve....

Hello there... Since the last blog, I have implemented a few new features to my classroom regarding technology. The first addition being a "blogging checklist" for my fifth graders. Instead of a free for all blog that is grammatically incorrect, I wanted my students to get a little more independent at blogging and publishing. Now, blogging can be an independent activity without me checking in too much. They each get a checklist with 4 things: 1. check for capitals and punctuation 2. check spelling 3. Have a partner read it 4. Are you proud of your work? My kids have gotten pretty good at following these steps and blogging more independently without me standing over them.

Another new thing I tried was "". It's a part of Since I am a learning specialist and between our team, we share a budget, the other learning specialist and I decided to share a membership. On this website, we can assign students e-books of various levels. The website reads the books to the kids, lets the kids read them alone, gives comprehension quizzes, and even allows the kids to record a running record with a microphone for us to listen to later. So far, we have seen that it has been a great independent activity for our students. We frequently lack independent work at our students' ability levels. Our students love it... and my student with autism is making so much progress due to the engaging and visual nature of the e-books!


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Digital Divide of Usage Instead of Acces

About two weeks ago, I was working with my English language arts class on a literary analysis essay they were peer editing. One student's partner had to leave class early, so I encouraged the two of them to work together at home electronically via email or some other program; one of the students replied, "Yeah, no problem, we can just do it over Skype."

Right about that same time,this article appeared in the Denver Post in which it reported on the use of the internet by minority populations. Even though the article focused on race, I suspect there is a certain amount of socioeconomics that factors in as well, particularly since it refers to the use of smartphones and the like to access the internet which are much less expensive than a computer, particularly if given the choice between a phone with internet access included or a computer with internet access as a financial add-on. While a smartphone can get you online, you can still do more online with an actual computer, and that seemingly small difference is actually pretty huge.

For the rest, click here

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking for 2nd Grade Friendly Websites

I am looking for any 2nd grade-friendly websites that I can use in my classroom. I have tried Glogster and would like to try something different. Any ideas?????
I would be having my students that are already at grade level working on this during our reading center time, or at least a portion of it.
I have had them use the Smartboard and blog, but would like to try something new.
If you have any ideas, they would be appreciated!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Class room jobs - past, present and future

I came across this interesting article about classroom jobs and thought I'd share it. The blog posting (found on reminded me of many of the Global Learners who have tried, or want to try, blogging. Why not make it into a classroom job? Creating a classroom job out of blogging can help pen pals, parents, families and schools stay connected with classroom progress and activities. Combine the classroom blog job with the classroom photographer, and you could have the classroom news published in no time! If you try it, or have tried it, let us know your progress.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ACHS 9th graders make New Year's Resolutions

Returning 9th graders recently reflected on themselves, family / friends and work / school. Resolutions have been posted on the class blog which can be accessed here.