Monday, February 28, 2011

March 1st Happenings

My ELD class read the story, "How the Elephant Came to Be", which tells the story of how the elephant became the elephant. While reading the story, they answered questions and proved their thoughts with information from the story.
After, they partnered up and drafted their three frame comic strip. The instructions were simple, create a comic strip that had three frames, had three captions and overall, included the beginning, middle and end.
The kids LOVED creating their comic strips, using ToonDoo.
Tomorrow, they are going to draft a blog post about their feelings of the project.
I'll post some comics soon, when I'm on my other computer.

Another TenMarks Convert

So.. I saw a few blog entries by Jesse about tenmarks and thought I would check it out as well.  I teach 4 science classes and one math intervention and after reading some of the posts about it, I thought I would get a class up and running as well.  I have been using it for about the last 2 weeks or so about 2-3 times a week and I really like how the whole system works.  I have found that it is really easy to get the kiddos up and running on it and get them independently working on their own.

The way I am using it right now is to assign kids 10-20 problems from a particular strand giving them a goal of 80 percent proficiency.  Once they have reached that goal, they are assigned another strand.  I have my math gurus in the hallway giving me the strands that best review what they will see on the CSAP, and I am also assigning their work based on the learning continuum in TAAT

If some students are struggling with that strand, I am pulling small groups of students to work more one on one, while the most of the class works independently.  I am pretty amazed at the amount of review I have been able to do in such a short amount of time (wishing I had jumped on board earlier).  Most students are able to use the systems built in video and hints to help them relearn/review topics and I am able to spend the bulk of my time with students who need the more one on one approach.
This month has been spent really gearing up for CSAPs. I have been using for 30 minutes three days a week. I was having trouble holding students accountable for the work they were doing. In order to help me keep track of this, I created a simple recording sheet. It has spaces to record ten problems that a student works on from a particular skill set, a place to indicate whether they got the problem correct or incorrect, and a space to record their reflection if they did not answer the problem correctly. I call it a reflection because that is something they are supposed to be doing for IB. It really seems to have helped hold the students more accountable for their work. Also, I have given the students the option of taking a sheet that can track 20 problems in lieu of the daily homework. I have only had 4 or 5 students consistently choose tenmarks over homework. I have had a number of students who are now working on tenmarks at home. Overall, the students need help reflecting on the reasons they are not answering questions correctly, but more are investing time to watch the instructional videos and putting in some extra effort in order to get the problem correct so they do not have to write a reflection.

Check out our Blog!

A few of my second graders blogged about their favorite story in Theme 4 and what they learned. Check it out!
There are only a few that blogged, as I used this as a reward for students that were working hard. Another reward that I used was Students had to create a toondoo about the story The Life of George Washington Carver. I will have those posted on our blog as soon as I can figure out how to do that. If any of you have posted Toondoo's to a blog, let me know how to do it. Thanks!


Lesson Plan 2 Anne and Jesse

Glet: Read, interpret, and draw conclusion from a line graph, bar graph, circle graph, and frequency table.

Objective: Students will be able to accurately determine information about other students jumping jacks ability when given a line graph displaying this data.
Vocabulary: X-axis, Y-axis, Title, intervals, labels,
I Do: Teacher will review reading line graphs giving multiple examples and stressing vocabulary

We Do: teacher and students will practice reading line graphs. Students will be shown a line graph and asked a question about some of the data (What was the high temperature in Denver on Monday 2/23). Students will click in answers. Teacher will address confusion until 85% of students are answering correctly.
Teacher will then walk students through the process of posting their graphs from previous days lesson in a power point document and record audio. Students will have 4-5 slides and they will post their graph on each slide.

You Do: Students will create 4-5 questions that ask the reader to interpret their jumping-jaxs graph. They will write one question on each slide. Students who finish before other students will record themselves reading the question.
Students will then be given 5 min to move to another student’s computer and answer one question about their graph. Students will record their answer on a sheet of paper to be turned in at the end of class.
Assessment: students will turn in their answers to each other’s questions.

Just got a document camera

My classroom now has a document camera. I have figured out the basics of it. Right now my students are studying graphing. I have used the document camera to show the whole class a few of the student’s graphs. It made it very easy to show a graph with a correct scale, labels, and using the majority of the space available. Students feel important when I use their work as an example and the rest of the class enjoys seeing real work rather then something I got from a workbook or a worksheet online.

I really enjoy using a document camera but I know there is a lot more I can do with it. Please share any ways you have used the document camera in your own classroom!

Graphing Lesson 1 --Anne and Jesse

Part 1 of a 2 day lesson

GLET: Read, interpret and draw conclusions from a line graph, bar graph, circle graph and frequency table.

Objective: Students will gather data, create a line graph, accurately label all parts on the graph, and create questions that analyze their graph

Vocabulary: x-axis, y-axis, title, intervals, labels,

I Do:

1. Demonstrate how to collect data.

2. Demonstrate how to make a line graph on excel

We Do:

1. Collect data (Students will have made a table for this on notebook paper)

a. Students will count how many jumping jacks they can do in 15 seconds and record

b. 30 seconds and record

c. 45 seconds and record

d. 60 seconds and record

2. Make their individual graphs on excel. Save so they can use it tomorrow.

You Do : Answer:

1. Label all parts of the graph

2. Create 2-4 questions that would have to be answered by reading their graph

Assessment: The graphs created with accurate labels and questions created.

Resources: Computer for each student, timer, data collection worksheets

Toon Doo!

After reading the "The Three Little Pigs," my kindergartners practiced summarizing the story using a beginning, middle, and end graphic organizer. First, students drew and labeled pictures using a paper version of the graphic organizer. After my students perfected and finished up their writing, it was time to present their work to their classmates! Throughout the week each table group shared their work during "Author's Chair."

At the end of the week I decided to practice summarizing during whole group instruction. As a class we used the website to create a comic strip-graphic organizer of the story, "Three Little Pigs!" The students loved retelling the story, picking out graphics, and brainstorming ideas for the text! Above is what we came up with!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

slide rocket

According to the website, "SlideRocket was founded in 2006 with the vision of building a better presentation experience, one that provides for every part of the presentation lifecycle and helps you make great presentations. SlideRocket is committed to providing the best presentation experience to individuals and businesses around the world through innovative and compelling software-as-a-service."

As written about in PCworld, "SlideRocket packs a powerful punch with a beautiful interface and top-notch features.
SlideRocket is a secure and fully integrated suite of online tools offered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis from any Internet-enabled laptop, PC, or handheld device.

You can create slides with either your own content or material gathered from a comprehensive online marketplace that offers themes, cartoons, photographs, data feeds, video and audio clips, illustrations, and other elements. You can import existing PowerPoint slides and include them in SlideRocket, and insert plug-ins as well.

You can also include dynamic data from Google Spreadsheets, Twitter, and other Web sources to keep presentations current and up-to-date. Collaboration tools let colleagues work in sync. In addition, SlideRocket provides a raft of extra services such as graphic design, copywriting and editing, coaching, printing, and binding.

When you finish a presentation, you can share slides securely by hosting a Web meeting, publishing them to a URL, embedding them in a Web page or blog, giving users permission to forward them to other people, or printing them for distribution. You can export presentations both to PowerPoint and PDF, though SlideRocket warns that some features may not be preserved. You'll also find an offline presentation player.

Particularly notable is the fact that SlideRocket offers metrics for you to measure the effectiveness of presentations. On top of adding polls to presentations, you can track who viewed them and where, how much time a person spent on each slide, and what follow-up actions they took, such as click-throughs, form submissions, or forwarding to other users. Viewers can leave virtual comments, too.

In the mobile realm, SlideRocket allows iPhone and Android users to attend remote meetings, play presentations, and view embedded presentations. Videos, audio, transitions, and builds work with HTML5-compliant Web browsers.

Hands-on: SlideRocket has a beautiful interface for getting a new user up and running quickly. Importing presentations from PowerPoint was no trouble, though existing slide transitions were not preserved.

SlideRocket is an extremely powerful service, and everything felt intuitive while we worked on a presentation. We encountered a few very small lags--as seems to be typical with online software--but the option to incorporate dynamic content from sites such as Twitter is great, as is the built-in ability to look for images and videos quickly and easily on Flickr and YouTube. Both features feel like a natural reflection of the way Web-enabled users work today.The new library of free, premade presentations is impressive and can be a nice source of inspiration, while the metrics capabilities could be a real asset for anyone using the software for business purposes.

All in all, SlideRocket stood out as the most comprehensive, full-featured package we looked at. Note, though, that the free version lacks a significant portion of the functionality of the two paid versions, including many of the collaboration, analytics, offline presentation, and export capabilities. Most business users will probably want to go with a paid version.

Price: Free for a Lite version with up to five multiseat accounts; $24 per user per month for a Pro version with up to 25 accounts; enterprise pricing for unlimited users is set separately

Import/export: Import from PowerPoint and Google Presentations, export to PDF and PowerPoint

Unique features:

  • Beautiful interface
  • Metrics to let users track the impact of presentations
  • Excellent collaboration and security features
  • Content gallery includes customizable, ready-to-use presentations
  • Plug-ins for Flickr and YouTube
  • Capability to include dynamic content, such as from Twitter
  • Offline presentation player
  • Some mobile viewing capabilities
  • SlideRocket app is available in the Chrome Web Store

Best use for SlideRocket: A flexible offering packed with features for even the most demanding users, SlideRocket is our favorite of all the contenders we tried. We can't imagine any user being dissatisfied. If anything, it might be overkill for some users."


It is kind of cool! Worth checking it out. Doug

Here is a link to a chem teacher who is having his students create google sites, wikis and slide rocket apps.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More collaborative blogging between HS and MS

By blogging buddy and colleague Jim Haynes at ACMS has been using his blog with me as a means to promote electronic interactions between his 6th graders and my 9th-12th graders.

Jim's suggestions given in an email are highlighted below.

"The first is a letter to a planetary leader explaining the benefits of a tilted planet to a planet without a tilt. They were supposed to describe seasons and explain how the tilt causes seasons in effort to persuade the leaders of this planet to either change their tilt or leave it alone. I don’t think I did a great job with this one, so the letters need work. It is supposed to be persuasive so if your students comment, have them focus on that piece of the writing."

"The second is a friendly letter to a younger student describing the phases of the moon. There is no persuasive piece in this one, just a simple 10 sentence paragraph that describes each of the 8 main phases of the moon. If your students comment on either of these, have them focus on the descriptions and details."

His post to the gl blog can be accessed here

My students are given the Jim's suggestions as well as my guidelines for replying:

1. address the student by his / her first name
2. write something positive about their blog post
3. critique / suggest something for improvement
4. "sign" your reply wit
h your first name and last initial

Most students respond appropriately but for those who don't, then COMMENT MODERATION helps!

Thanks to Jim, his students and mine for this continuing interaction with ACMS and ACHS!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Voice Amplification

I am so excited that I recently received a REDCAT classroom audio system. This is a voice amplification system that allows my students to hear my voice regardless of where I am standing in the classroom.

Students also love getting a chance to try out the microphone for themselves! During English language development class, students have the opportunity to speak in complete sentences using the microphone. Students will begin with a sentence frame, "My favorite food is________ because _________." Students will take turns speaking and responding to each other. In order to ensure 85% engagement while one student is speaking into the microphone I have all the students repeat what was said using the child's name in front of their sentence, "John's favorite food is _______because_____." The students are very excited to speak in the microphone and to hear their friends!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

During the month of January, I have been using something new in my classroom. It has quickly become my favorite piece of technology. The website is called . It is free math website that allows teachers to create a class. Once the class is created, you pick a grade and they have a predetermined list of skills based on six math standards: number sense, algebra, measurement, fractions, geometry, and probability (this may be different for different grades). Each standard is broken into sub-standards such as number theory basics, decimals, fraction concepts, addition concepts, introduction to algebra, foundations of geometry, area and perimeter, and many more. Each sub-standard is further broken into individual skills like angles and their classification, triangle classification, quadrilateral classification, decimals and factions, equivalent fractions, and so on. On the free account, the teacher is also allowed to pick a few more other skills. I chose addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division concepts from earlier grades for my students who still struggle with those skills. Every skill has over 30 practice problems that focus on that specific skill. The problems are all multiple choice. For every problem there are two or three hints for the student and the student also has the option of watching a video that explains step by step the concepts involved in solving the problem.
Each student receives a username and password and they are able to log on from any computer that has access to the internet. As they work through the problems, they submit their answers. From the teacher portal, I am able to look at the work students are doing on each standard, or each sub-standard, or each skill. I can view this as a class overview or just look at individual students. The report is also color-coded based on the percent of questions the student has answered correctly. Every week, I am emailed a report that tells me how active the class has been and the average number of questions answered correctly. Also, you can add parent emails to each students account and they will receive weekly emails with their student’s information.
I have found this to be incredibly helpful in assessing and organizing students into flexible groups for math content and small skills groups. Also, I have contacted many parents and if they have access to the internet, their struggling students can receive extra practice on specific skills that they are struggling with. I have many parents worry that they do not have sufficient math knowledge to help their students, but now they can watch the videos with their students and help them with the math.
While there are so many benefits with tenmarks, there are a few things that I would like to see changed. Because every question is multiple choice, I do have some students who are simply guessing at the question even though I ask them to show work on paper. Also I do not have enough headphones for the class and I have found that students are embarrassed to watch the videos when the whole class hears what they are struggling with. It takes a motivated student to really work and learn from the website if they are struggling with a skill. Also, the website itself is not one-hundred percent reliable. There are times that we are unable to work on it because it is responding so slowly and I have not been able to access student results for weeks at a time. Over all it has helped me focus in on my students needs and on what my students already know and keep all that information organized. I feel this is a huge benefit for me and my students.

Monday, February 7, 2011

January Blog

This January, I decided to have my students publish their three week writing project as a PowerPoint Presentation to share with their parents during conferences. They loved it! They had to complete their rough drafts, revising, and editing prior to being able to publish, of course, and it really excited them through the entire process. I had students who normally barely write in class taking their writing home and completing it for homework just so they could have more time to complete their PowerPoint.
I began the PowerPoint istruction with the bare minimum. I let them pick a slide design, and they then had to type all their writing into certain slides. (I had a break down ready for them as to what part of the paragraph(s) went on each slide.) Once all the typing was complete, I allowed the students to add on the "bells and whistles", such as font, pictures, and animation. They all worked so hard, almost every student was able to add these things! My students wrote some of their best writing, and their enthusiasm was unparalleled. It was fantastic to also watch them present to their parents as well. Now, I have them asking to create presentations for every project we do!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

January Blog--Math Website

I have had my class working on the website This is a website with many different computer activities that students can complete on their own. All you do is create a class and give each of your students a number. There are activities for grade 2 all the way up to trigonometry. This past month we have worked with the geometry sections. I really liked the geometric transformations. Most of my 6th grade students could recognize a rotation, translation, and reflection before I did any formal teaching. These computer activities extended their knowledge of the 3 math terms and definitely challenged all of my students.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Smart Slate

So I have begun tackling the Smart Slate! I really enjoy using but admittedly struggle a bit with my hand-eye coordination. My focus tends to shift completely to the board vs the students BUT luckily they are so engaged with watching my "magic" on the board that my lessons have still been successful. As I approach proficiency with the Smart Slate I am eager for more ideas on how to integrate it into more lessons. I will post more as they come but please let me know how you have been using Smart Slate in your room!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January and beyond

Yikes- where has the month already gone? I have been thinking about my goals for technology in my classroom for the remainder of the year. I am sad that one of my goals has been my goal since October, but I still haven't figured out how I best want to use my class blog. Is it still a great idea to have students post or better to just post student work? As of now it has been just a place to post (and not as frequent as I want at that). I guess we shall see where the year takes it. Another goal is to get better at using the smart response clickers in my classroom. I have teamed up with a teammate and we have been doing every weekly reading test on them. I would like to use them for math assessments as well as get fast enough to create quick formative assessments to help drive my small groups more. I guess my last goal is to maintain and increase my use of our new computer lab with my class and my use of the smart board. I still think the smart board is such a great tool for student engagement, I do, and we do instructional times. So look forward to seeing how my technology goals pan out for the rest of the year!