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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Start of another school year

I have not posted lately.  Lots of new year stuff to do.  My presentations for the technology conference this year are: Glogster, Smartboard toolkit, and my favorite web 2.0 tools.  Should be interesting.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bloomin Peacock  Check this out for a terrific list and representation of tools to higher order thinking.


Friday, August 27, 2010

A Teacher’s Field Guide to Parents  Very well put.


I don’t think that this is true of most of the teachers in my district but I can see why Mr. Rogers might feel this way.

‘In my school a teacher who attends free pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment dur­ing the sum­mer is either crazy or has too much free time. But this is not how I view it. I am a teacher. A teacher sees the world in a par­tic­u­lar way, and it is not only when he is in a school. I am a teacher all the time. This is dif­fer­ent from a per­son who teaches. A per­son who teaches punches an inner clock, even if that clock counts time out­side of the class­room, all the while think­ing what will I get for this time rather than what will my stu­dents get. I real­ize now that I can never help those who only teach, and I will con­tinue to be frus­trated if I try. But I am going to do my best to find all of the teach­ers in my dis­trict. So which one are you? Are you a teacher or a per­son who teaches?’

I definitely think that there are teachers in my district that are just clocking time and do not see the true value of each of our students.  I find it hard to listen when these teachers refer to our students as those kids from ‘insert town’, like they have no aspirations.  I don’t care what each of our students want to do with their lives.  They may not be college bound and who says every one of them needs to be.  The value in giving each of them my best is that they are all thinkers and individuals of worth.  Therefore I have spent all summer again rejuvenating myself to be a better educator and frankly a better person.  How I motivate myself carries over into the classroom and this year again I am full of ideas to inspire the students that will walk through my doors in two weeks.  I too, have decided to let go of the frustration of trying to drag along the nonbelievers and to focus on the other educators that think like I do.  I know that I do a great job, that I inspire others, and that I am a teacher that I want my own children to have.  It has taken me years to stop apologizing for myself.  No longer.  I may not be perfect but I am who I am.  I continue to learn and find new inspirations for myself.  Not to toot my own horn but my students are lucky to have me and I AM LUCKY TO HAVE THEM.

Tech News Sept. 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

10 ways by edsaid

What are your 10 ways to improve yourself?


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Essential question

Where do we fit?

How would life be without structure?

What would happen without structure?

How do scientists know things?

How are natural phenomena represented?

What will happen if I let go and let the students be the classroom leaders?  I have been working on this for years and this summer I have learned some new skill to let this happen.  I am going to challenge myself to be even more of a facilitator and not the sage on the stage.  I cannot be concerned with how the other teachers in my building are teaching.  My classroom needs to be unique and I need to be me.  The students will engage and find their joy of learning.  I promise this year I will not let my frustrations overwhelm my goals.

Monday, August 9, 2010


tech what is

I have spent the summer reviewing, learning new, and experiencing new ways to use technology in my classroom this summer.  When I saw this, I am once again reminded it is not about me but about my students.  As the new school year begins I am going to keep this in the forefront and not just do things because I think they are fun.  Even though fun is appropriate some of the time.

I am going to twitter. I am going to glog. I am going to blog.  I am going to create students pln’s.  I am going to mentor others.  I am going to collaborate with other educators and have my students collaborate with other students.  I am going to learn, unlearn, and relearn and be a 21st century educator.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

SEE Calgary

smart at the falls Wow, what can I say about the SMART Exemplary conference in Calgary, Canada.  First of all they treated us like we were the most special people in the world.  Second I made fifty new friends.  Third I got some new tools for my classroom. Fourth I have a new project to work on.  Fifth I reaffirmed my 21st century goals.  Lastly I can say that I am going to spend this year reaching out to others and trying to share my knowledge on how to use technology to inspire the students in their classrooms.

In my district we live in a bubble.  I learned from the other SEE’s that in my district we don’t have to be afraid of the students knifing us but we also do not have a unified vision of how technology should be used in the classroom.  I hope to help foster this with my fellow teachers.  Our students want it, need it, and deserve it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

SEE conference day 1

Here are my take always from the first day in Calgary.

1. It is nice to be in the company of like minded educators and experts.

2. The goal is to make the classroom experience magical, innovative, creative, and vibrant.

3. Are we asking our students to be extraordinary?  Can they articulate the secret to their own success?  Are they an eager learner?

4. Are we asking students to be combiners of ideas so that they can be inventors and innovators?

5. Can I get the students and teachers in my building or district to share my vision?  How are we transforming education?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Winter Resources

I have been hard at work on my resource google site for my school chums.  Let me know what you think.  This is my attempt to give back and hopefully entice my fellow educators to take a chance on using resources outside of the textbook.

Great quotes for us all to ponder[Web+3.0,+Networked+L]

“Teach kids for their futures not our past.”
“Kids are no longer on the web but OF the web.”
“You get out of the web what you put into the web.”
“Teach learners TO BE not simply TO DO or TO KNOW.”

“This is a PEOPLE revolution, not a technology revolution.”


21st century learning

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Information Technology Syllabus

Information Technology Syllabus

But, but, but! How do we turn the but’s around?

Don’t Forget Your Audience! 5 Ideas To Connect with Real Audiences

Please take the time to read this post from Lisa Nielsen.  She highlights some of the difficulties that can occur as we are trying to change the culture in our schools and move all of the stakeholders into a 21st century education.  Publishing our materials and getting feedback is essential to our growth.  We need to gently pull the ‘but’s’ along with us.  Show them a positive road map to follow with easy directions.  I learn something new from The Innovative educator every time I  pull up her blog.  Put her on your must read radar.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Lesson snips is a resource that provides reading comprehension lessons for your students.  These can be used at all ages for differentiation.  I am going to use them to have my students practice for the state’s 8th grade reading and science test.  Since one of my goals for this year is to help them improve their test taking skills I think that these will be a good resource to use.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Virtual Summer

This looks very interesting. Thanks to Mike Fisher for putting all of this together. I know that I will be learning something new this summer.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Winter Resources

It is the first part of July and there is no sunshine in Oregon.  So I have finally started myself imposed project, ‘Winter Resources’.  The overall goal is to put together resources for the teachers in my district to access.  Sometimes having a web address is not enough to get you to go to a site and experience it or to see if it would be helpful for our students.  My goal is to at the very least include a picture and hopefully a little blurb that might entice them to visit the site and incorporate it into what they are already doing.

Remember that this is a work in progress and I have just begun. 


Thursday, July 1, 2010

I need to read this!!!  I signed up for this.  It looks like it will be useful.  Try it out.

What is a 21st Century teacher?

I did not go to the Denver and attend ISTE, but I have been following along the blogs of my PLN.  I hope that they publish more of their notes and thoughts as the weeks of summer wane on.  A couple of things have already stood out to me.

1. The keynote did not go over well.  Something for me to think about and revise how I make presentations.

2. We can laugh at ourselves and our situations.  I do this already and most of my collogues and particularly outsiders do not think I am funny.  Oh well, I think that I will continue to do so and retain my sanity.

3. I need my PLN.  I have never met these people but I know that they are amazing.  I still want a local face to face PLN group, though.  So if anyone out there is interested let’s meet once a month or so.

4. I have finally found a definition of what a 21st century educator is that I really like.  I have tried to articulate my thoughts and ideas to others and I just get stares and rebuttals.  But now I have the words to use.  Thank you to Beth Hertz.

21st Century Educators/teachers are really contemporary teachers.

“A contemporary teacher is one who maintains relevant content and delivery and allows students to explore content through whatever medium or pathway that is appropriate for the task, whether it is using technology or not. A 21st Century teacher is a contemporary teacher, integrating technology seamlessly with content, transforming lessons and building global citizenship amongst his/her students.  S/he is an advocate for his/her students, s/he connects with like-minded educators and never stops learning.” Hertz

Like Beth, I too, think that teachers today need to take the time to transform their lessons so that they allow for the students to think outside of the classroom.  I want to be a risk taker and an innovator.  I need to seek the opinions of others so that my students are networking and growing.  I want to be with other educators that are seeking out their own resources or even creating them.  I actually need the teachers of my own children to be as committed as I am.  I admire those that spend extra time thinking of ways to to challenge my kids and finding resources to use beyond a textbook.  I would rather present a project that challenges students and have it fall flat than use the tried and tired old stand bys.  I have found that students learn a lot more even when something fails than if I just cookie cutter out my lessons.

So, can we slowly but surely change the minds of the system that we live in or should we just change our own little corner.  I am for speaking out or even shouting out and making a scene.  Let’s get everybody to to realize that students really can get excited to be in the classroom.  Technology is not the answer but sometimes the use of technology can be the hook that grabs a student and excites them.  I say it is not really about the facts and figures that we must test them on but on how they can reconfigure the material into something new.  It’s the process.

I am finally getting excited for the next school year.  I am going to blow up and change up what I have been doing.  I have a dynamic and creative classroom already but when I think of the possibilities I almost begin to shake with excitement.  I teach in a district that is technology rich, with an amazing tech person for a resource, I have terrific students, and a budget that allows me to do what I want.  So it seems to me the ball is in my court and I can have a fabulous new year.

I am a contemporary educator, are you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What a fun Guy?

ani-bot So, one of my goals for this summer is to organize my lessons and create a Google site for my students to use to enhance their studies. Another goal is to set up a Google site for the teachers in my district of web sites they might find useful in the classroom with their students and to for them to use to grow as educators, and my final goal is to get together with other teachers and be a mentor for them.  I am going to meet with a teacher next week and I am very excited.  We are going to look at how she can use her smart board and cps system in the 3rd grade.  If anybody else would like a personal mentor for a day, please let me know.  I am free and willing.

I have also decided that my students are going to focus on reading comprehension in science and interpreting data next year.  So I am beginning today to set up lessons and activities that will focus on this.  One day a week is going to be spent on these activities.  As well as math in science.  I think that I already do this but I am going to make it a focus this year.  Hopefully, this will help them on the 8th grade state test.  We will see.  I make myself these promises and then I get side tracked by all the other fun things that I want to do, like model building, labs, group work, and projects using the web.  I want to blog, glog, and google site it as well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No edtech for me

At the end of the year, this is how I feel after many discussions with the other educators that I work with.  I know that they have little time for a life, I know that new tools are hard to explore and figure out how to use and incorporate, and I know that they are essentially dedicated teachers.  But when I hear them say that they can’t teach math at a certain level, or that they need their new textbooks to teach with or the students will be lost, or that they never use their computer at home for school work, then I am mystified about how they can ever really become great educators that students can follow and identify with.  I am inspired by Ms. Francisco on many levels.

She has identified my frustrations but she has also inspired me to use these tools to create instructive materials for my students and to have my students create with them.  I have passed on her information to aspiring students that want to be teachers and I my goal is to inspire at least some of the teachers in my district to explore edtech and its uses with students, parents, and their own personal growth.

People should explore her blogs and I know that they will be inspired by the things she relates and the people that she is connected to.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In September and In June

How do I feel in September.

I am hopeful, excited, and eager.  I have spent the summer learning, researching, and planning.  I cannot wait to collaborate with my peers and students.  I look forward to seeing the lights go on as my students learn and explore.


How do I feel in June.

I am tired, lost, and alone.  I pray that I can make it through each day.  I don’t understand why they don’t bring a pencil, paper, or their work.  I want to scream, wake up, is anybody in there, and why don’t you care?  Did anybody learn anything this year?  Why am I the only one that cares?  What is wrong with me?

Luckily this summer I am going to relax, refresh, and regain my perspective.  I am going to refine my style and learn something new.

I am going back to school in September a new and improved me ready to engage my students and provide them with a terrific example of how to be a life long learner.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

web 2.0 and 21st century education

Check this out.  I hope to write something similar this summer and I am inspired and motivated to get cracking.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I found this at .  I intend to share it with my 8th graders on the last day of school.  I hope that it makes them think and maybe inspire them to find their own creative ‘beast’ over the summer.  We give them so many rules and definitions for the first eight years of school and then we are shocked when they cannot think outside of the box.  I even found this to be true this year with college students.  They want to know how to get an ‘A’.  Therefore, they do just the bare minimum and do not renegotiate the terms of what needs to be done.  As an educator I am looking for the essential elements in any assignment that I give but I am also looking for the new and exciting twist that shows personality and creativity.  This might just be using color on a poster, adding a different element, or whatever to take the project to the next level.  Very rarely do I find students excited about what they turn in.  When a student is excited by their final project then I am too and it gives me hope that we have not killed off all of their creativity with our list of essential knowledge we think that they must have.  In any year there are a few, however that inspire me and they are not always the straight A’s.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Test Scores


Image from

This week at our school we are taking the ‘No Child Left Behind, test for the third time.  We make all of the students do it three times even if they excel the first time.  As you can imagine middles school students begin to shut down and see no relevance in a test that does not impact their classroom grades.  My own personal child, that is a Senor this year, has taken A.P. Calculus, Chemistry, Physics,History, and English but has not managed to pass the ‘science test’.  What do I say to her?  Wow, what a failure you are!  Or do I suggest that online testing is not for everyone, or ‘hey it is not the end of the world’ and even I an exemplary educator, whose job depends on the students passing the test, see no relevance to it.  Move on with your life.  She has stated that she knows that all of the other parents will be pointing and laughing at her because she will be one of the ‘stupid’ students without a special tassel denoting that she has passed all of her NLB tests.  She says this and laughs but I wonder if she really does care and sees herself as ‘stupid’.  If so then I have done a terrible job parenting this smart, beautiful, caring, dependable, hardworking, sensitive, and funny young lady. 

I know that in my classroom I focus on the learning process.  Yes, there are certain concepts, facts, and vocabulary words that have to be presented and regurgitated by the students.  As a parent and an educator I have the overwhelming need to have my own children and my students learn to be learners.  I want them to participate in their lives and not just watch them go by.  If I can just get a few to be thinkers, leaders, and committed learners then I will have had a successful career.  So far I have been successful on the home front and I know that I have actually reached a few middle school students as well.  Therefore, as of this minute I am patting myself figuratively on the back and I hope to go to school tomorrow on another Monday and start the process all over again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Going To Calgary

I am going to the Smart SEE convention in July.  I entered the Smart SEE contest and luckily was just informed that I will be attending the conference with 50 other educators in July.  I am extremely honored and excited because I use my smart board 8 hours of every school day and I spend a lot of time developing interactive lessons with the tool kit.  I try to share with the other teachers in my district and hopefully I will learn a lot of new things this summer.

Is anyone else going?  If so, what are your expectations?  How do you use the smart toolkit?


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A fantastic organized list of tools

JMS Technology has organized a fantastic list of tools for both students and teachers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teachers as Master Learners

“What I want are master learners, not master teachers, learners who see my kids as their apprentices for learning.”

I enjoy my day with the students best on days where they are the active learners and they are mentoring each other and me.  It reaffirms why I am a teacher when I see students ask questions, make connections, and then teach another student.  When we model being life long learners then we are fostering the future.  Most days in the classroom are fun and learning takes place but on those special days when you can see the gleam in a students eye as they discover something for themselves and they are able to communicate it to someone else then I know that I am in the right profession.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

great idea for IWB screensaver

What a good idea.  You should check out what she is doing.

The possibilities are endless! Here’s how to do it…

  1. Make a slide in PowerPoint as normal
  2. Save the file as a Device Independent Bitmap
  3. Click to save every slide
  4. Go to Display in the Control Panel
  5. On the Screen Saver tab, click My Pictures Slideshow, and in the Wait box, set the amount of time you want to elapse before the screen saver is displayed.
  6. Under Screen saver, click Settings. Under How often should pictures change?, set the slider at the interval you want between pictures
  7. Under Use pictures in this folder, browse to the folder in which you saved the presentation or slide and click ok!


I wish I had one of these for the classroom.

My summer goal is to be artistic and creative and make one of these for my classroom.  Wish me luck.  Maybe I can even get my students to create me one????????


Periodic table my students need

One of my goals as an 8th grade physical science teacher is to show my students that the elements of the periodic table are not just symbols.  I spend a lot of time sharing with them the ways that the elements are used in their lives.  This is a poster that I do have in the classroom but now my students can have access to it online as well.  Hopefully, I am making science real and when we move from memorizing the symbols for the elements into discussing the common compounds in their lives they have an appreciation for the materials that they continually interact with.  I like to think that they find it interesting that gold, silver, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen are not the only interesting elements in their daily lives.  A little Na in the car airbag, As in LED’s, and Zr (almost a girl’s best friend).  Every teacher at every level would benefit from sharing this resource with their students.  Use it in English to write an essay to convince the board of a company to keep this element on its shelves, have students use the symbols to spell real words with (COW-carbon, oxygen,tungsten), how many words can they come up with.  Use your name and write it in elements (Alice- Al, I, Ce), and simple math games what is the sum of 2C and an O).  I could go on and on.  Have fun with this by jinging the elements and making trading cards at bighugelabs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reasons to Use SmartBoard and the toolkit

During the class (Tech221) I shared with you why I thought using smart board and the smart toolkit was a useful tool for classroom teachers.  I recently came across the following list put out by Vanessa Cassie, Jan. 2010 ( ), where she very succinctly and much more elegantly then I can or did, outlines the usefulness of smart board as a classroom tool for every teacher. 

1. Capture on the fly note: I will print notes for SPED students or those that have been absent, or with broken arms

2. Show a video: digital streaming has become the only way that I show video content anymore, especially in short clips

3. Model a skill or an experiment: using a ruler, a microscope, organizing an essay

4. Add a bit of magic: fading in and out, using the toolkit to add sparkle

5. Conduct the lesson from one locations: quickly jump between applications with touch screen: I don’t have to run back and forth to my computer to change screens

6. Provide good visuals that can be manipulated: pictures big enough for everyone in the classroom to see

7. Organize all the elements of your lesson in one place (add attachments and url’s), embed all of the pieces: I don’t have to try to remember where I put something that I know I want to use in the lesson

8. Page record the lesson for absent individuals or replay as needed

9. Just to operate in the same medium as the students.  Interactively.  Of course, the best is when the students are manipulating the board, playing review games or demonstrating something that they know

180 tech  I can’t believe that I have never run across this site before.  Many of the tips are very basic but I have found after working with teachers in my building and other regular folk that sometimes it is nice to have access to a resource that can quickly answer your most basic questions.  This site does just that and I highly recommend teachers signing up to get the daily tips. You never know when you will find one that will provide you with an answer to a questions you didn’t know you needed to ask.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Readfresh is dead

Unfortunately, one of my favorite web tools, Readfresh,is dead.

I have been using it for about 5 months and having shared it with lots of people I am sad to say that it is closed.  I don’t know what happened and I am not sure what tool I will use to access my favorite blogs.  I liked this tool because it let me easily see the pages and not just the url’s.  I could click on each page and be instantly directed to that site.  I know that there are other tools out there but readfresh was easy to use. I am extremely sad at its demise.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Student Wish List

Here is a site put together by 8th grade students on what kinds of web 2.0 tools they would like to use in their dream school.  What would you add?

Originally posted by

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Podcasting with fotobabble

fotobabble is a fun and free tool that lets you podcast a short message that is attached to a picture.  You can then embed it in your blog or on your wiki.

I think that I have found a new tool that will let me send messages to my parents.




Death by ‘Power Point”

From Arizona K-12 center:

Most of the teachers that I know are still using power point to give lectures with and to have students produce projects.  It’s not that I still don’t use it but it is my starting point and not the end.  Recently I made a power point on cyber bullying for a presentation that I have to make to our middle school staff next week.  I made the power point, then I saved it as jpgs and put some of them into a glog.  I then made a video of them with photostory, and I made a presentations as well.  My goal was to show my fellow teachers how to take a simple power point and change it up.  Students could easily accomplish these alternatives once they have their power point, then they could get feed back from people outside of their own classroom.  Plus it just adds a lot of fun to working on a project.  At least I think so.

Plus I came across this at the Arizona k-12 site and found that it makes all the points that I wish I could have said so creatively.

Life After Death PowerPoint from EMT Media on Vimeo.

Classification Alphabet Project 2010

Classification Alphabet project 2010

The students were to make a poster that represented an animal that started with a particular letter from the alphabet. Then they were to find its classification from kingdom to species, plus add a picture, and a few other pertinent details.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Glogging and Blogging

Okay, I think I have become a little wacko.  It is 5 a.m. and I am blogging about glogging.  I have been wanting to have my students do a project using  After introducing to Tech221 and asking them to try it out I made a couple of glogs myself.  I am addicted.  I have spent all night dreaming up projects that my 7th and 8th graders can do. 


I have also decided on a new classroom mantra. Fun, Fun, and more Fun.  After listening to the teachers at my school that went to ISTC last weekend and their discussion of one of the sessions on the ‘reasons to have fun’ in the classroom, I realize that I am a closet ‘fun teacher’.  I do think that if students can equate fun and excitement with learning than we will have life long learners on our hands.  So when the statement was made in the lunch room that mass murderers come from households that did not have any fun time it home that even though none of my students will ever be mass murderers I need to make sure that we have fun in the classroom just because.  Therefore, even though I normally daily try to inject a sense of fun everyday with my general demeanor in the classroom I am going to find activities that allow students to have more fun.  Some of the ways that I do this already is to use smart board games for review, to make sure that in my chemistry unit we burn stuff up, and now I am going to include making glogs.  Glogster glogs are my new fun addiction.  I am old (over 50) and if I can have fun and be inspired by such a simple concept what will my students think.  I know.  They will LOVE it.

The first thing that we are going to do is to film ourselves doing chemical reaction experiments and then put them in a glog.  I can’t wait to share them with all of you.  I encourage everybody to become a glogger.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great for kindergarten  Check this out.  I got this from my blogging group.  ( This has been the best PLN group that I have connected up with.  It is really the only one but I am thrilled that Ms. Tenkely has taken pity on me from ilearntechnology.  I am learning new things nightly.


twitter handbook for teachers

Should teachers use twitter?  Here is a twitter handbook for teachers.   Check it out and see if you learn anything that you can use in the classroom.

News for tweens

Another great resource.  Up-to-date news for tweens.  Easily accessible for students and interesting too.

Example of Using a glog


This is a must visit glog.  Very interactive and well done.

I bet the students loved doing this and the parents must

have been excited to access this to see what their students

were doing at school.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

teachers that use technology in the classroom

These are blogs of teachers that use technology tools to enhance learning in the classroom.  Check out what they are doing.

Check out the following wiki for relevant guides on “How to’s”

Using wallwisher in history.

Interesting Websites for Tech221 to investigate

I was reading through my favorite blogs this weekend and I came across these websites that I thought you might find interesting and want to add to you library of tools.

Have fun.

High School  This site is amazing.


Middle School and

Elementary The stars read stores online to students.  Streaming video.


Smart board Resources

Music Resources


Just for fun  Sketchpad  Olympic Science

Saturday, February 13, 2010

PIMPAMPUM :: Phrasr .:.

PIMPAMPUM :: Phrasr .:. : be content

Visit this site and see what you think of this.  Could you use this
in the classroom?

My periodic table glog

Access my glog here.


Below is an example of glogster.  An interactive poster.
It was fun to make and I think that students would enjoy
using this tool to create and publish with.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Try this quizlet vocabulary list.

Visit this livebinder to view alternative search engines.
Set up a livebinder account and make some binders.
Embed one in your blog.
View some binders and save them to your personal account.
Do you like this site?  How could you use it with students?
 What do you think?  How many of your classes are like this?

Math Review Jeopardy Template

Math Review Jeopardy Template

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Games in education.  Does playing games in the classroom promote learning?  Can an activity like the following be useful for students?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Using Smart Board to create Lessons

Last week in week 4 we looked at creating lessons in smart board using the gallery and the tool kit.   I am impressed with the lessons that you came up with and I think your comments on using the toolkit were valid.  It might have been overkill to ask you to look at premade lessons and to create 3 lessons with 10 pages each at different levels but if we do not practice using something how can we get a feel for it.  I appreciate that most you you were willing and able to accomplish this goal. 

My reasoning behind having you do this was to give you and authentic experience.  Most of you are not in a classroom yet and I am sure that the tools that I am sharing with you this term seem useless and pointless.  But I absolutely believe that the use of smart board in the classroom can enhance most lessons.

By creating lessons I find myself reordering how I want to teach something in the classroom.  I am able to see the flow of information that I want to present to the students.  It makes me present the information in smaller pieces, with constant review and reinforcement.  Plus I see the lesson from the perspective of the students and so I can hopefully see how they are going to be able to interact with it.  Not every lesson that I present in using the toolkit is exemplary and some may seem repetitive and tedious but I see the value of the lessons when I am able to engage my low level learners at the same time as my TAG students.  I know that I am on the right track when I see the student that never participates waving his/her hand to access the board or use a computer to complete a project.

I am reinvigorated as an educator when I know that I have engaged and promoted learning for a short time in everybody that day.  I know there are days that I am a boring, homework giving, droning, and another rule creating individual for some of my students so when they are smiling and engaged in learning (which is the norm in my classroom) then I am a ‘happy’ teacher.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Technology in the classroom - Teacher interviews

I am finding your teacher interviews and your responses to them insightful.  There is a mix of teachers that embrace the use of technology in the classroom as well as those that are reluctant users.  The same thing can be observed in the district where I work and at the schools that my children attend.  In my district at the very least teachers must use the computer to communicate with staff and parents, take attendance, do report cards, and access streaming video.  We use the computer to access tools that come with our textbooks and we hopefully produce presentations that are shown through our projectors.  We are lucky to have a technology specialist that is up to date with the latest research about technology tools that create a positive learning environment for all of our students.  Something as simple as a classroom sound system that projects the teachers voice to all corners of the classroom can improve the learning of all of the students and help with the overall stress and health of the teacher.

From the comments that some of  you have posted I sense that you do not see the advantages of using technology in the classroom at all ages and levels.  In this I do not mean that you have to stop doing all of the traditional learning activities and throw away the pencils, color crayons, and scissors.  Student creativity cannot be lost or suppressed.  Just the opposite should be happening.  The use of technology in the hands of the teacher or the students should increase the levels of learning and creativity in any classroom.

Web 2.0 tools are on the extreme or cutting edge of technological use.  But every teacher needs to embrace using their personal computer to communicate, research, create, and share information with all the stakeholders in their community.  Educators that remain in their classroom using only the textbook provided for them are short changing the students in their care.  Technology is just another tool to use with students.  For some it will be a bit blase but for others it will be the only way that you can get them to be interested in what you are doing. 

Since I started working in my current position I have been blessed with an abundance of technological tools.  I realize that I am lucky to be in this situation but even when I did not have access twenty years ago I still looked beyond the classroom to find resources and tools for my students.  The local library, pen pals, television documentaries, and/or local community members were able to provide extra resources that I used to enhance and build exciting and motivating curriculum for my students.  I have found that technology tools, whether they be hardware, software, or internet based have allowed me to expand the activities that I am able to ask my students to try.  Are we always successful?   No, but the experience is always worth having.  Do I think that technology will replace a good classroom teacher?  Absolutely not, but I do know that a teacher that does not embrace the use of technology at some level is short sighted, not adventurous, and not preparing our students for a successful future.

Everybody uses technology in today's society.  Communication, tax filings, job hunting and applications, let alone at your jobs, and for recreation.  We do not want our students joining the work world without exposing them to all the tools that they will need to be successful.  Reading, writing, math, thinking, listening, and collaborating are all skills that have been taught forever and need to be continued.  Twenty-first century education is not about changing the essential tenants of education but in expanding how we deliver what we do teach. With the use of technology students can move beyond their local community to observe, comment on, relate to, and interact with the world much more easily. 

I personally believe that students learn best when they are the creators and not just the sedentary receivers of information.  Due to the technological interactions that students have outside of the classroom we risk losing their attention if we do not take advantage of the technological resources available to us when we construct our lessons within the classroom.

Please, please be open to new ideas.  Please be willing to talk about and experiment with using technology with your students.  Technology is here and we cannot ignore it.  Be adventurous in all aspects of your teaching.  Please be a leader and not a follower.  Yes, it takes time and yes it does not always work, and yes
sometimes it is hard but the results are worth it.  My students return to me year after year thanking me for incorporating all modes of learning and letting them learn to learn in a fashion that meets their individual needs.
Even if I am uncomfortable or not the expert I have to remember it is about them, the students, and what they need to be successful and not about what is familiar and easy for me. 

If I provide a model for my students as a life long learner hopefully they will also become life long learners and pass this on to future generations.  It is obvious to me that all of you are willing to use technology in your everyday lives so accord your students the same privilege.  Choose carefully what you will do, talk about it with other professionals, and be adventurous. 

If you were my child's teacher this is what I would want from you.  As a parent I need you to be forward thinking.  I need you to challenge my children.  I need you to prepare them for future interactions with the world.  I need you to give them alternatives to standard lecture, notes, and textbooks.  I need you to show them the world. I need you to inspire them.  I need you to let them use the tools that they are using at home. Luckily, we are at a time in history where we have tools to do this.  Take advantage of them and make these tools work for you in the classroom.

Yes, I have ranted on a little too long and I have an obvious bias.  But I am a classroom teacher.  I have children in the school system. I am a life long learner. I am a citizen of the world. I am willing to change and grow.  I am willing to blend the traditional with the new.  I look forward to working with you if you are also willing to grow and learn and change as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

teachers that use technology in the classroom

These are blogs of teachers that use technology tools to enhance learning in the classroom.  Check out what they are doing.

Check out the following wiki for relevant guides on “How to’s”

Using wallwisher in history.

Poll by

Are you learning anything new that you can use in your future classrooms?

Tech news

Tech News Vol 3 Jan 2010I created this in power point and then saved it as a pdf and then I uploaded it to and then I embeded to by blog.  What do you think of using this tool?  

Story bird

Moving through my membrane............. Passive and Active Transport by mwinter on StorybirdStorybird is an online publishing tool.  This would be fun for students to create with and then publish to a blog so that others can enjoy their work.

Digital Natives by mwinter on StorybirdHere is an example of and digital story telling.

What do you think of this tool