Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Photo Story

I created a photo story using Slide Rocket for my mom for Christmas.
I think one could easily do something similar with their students.
Slide Rocket is fast becoming my favorite presentation too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Semester Reflection

Monday, October 22, 2012

Khan Academy - Math Enrichment and/or Remediation

It has been a few years since I have had to teach math, but this year I am once again teaching all subject areas to my fifth graders. I am quickly becoming reacquainted with a variety of mathematical struggles my students face every day.

I have been trying to take a closer look at the individual student difficulties. Some days it seems my brain is on repeat with a constant inner dialogue. "Why can't they get it? What is holding them back? Why does it seem they understand it one day, but the next day they have to start all over again?"

The underlying causes often seem to be a crack in the foundation so to speak. A student will struggle with long division if they did not master multiplication, subtraction, and place value. Some students might be able to mask their struggles by memorizing algorithms, however, if they don't understand why the standard algorithm works, they will not be able to identify if their calculations look wrong, and frequent mistakes are made. Their problem solving skills are hampered by their lack of understanding "why".

Once I identify the problem, the inner dialogue loop begins again. "How can I address their individual needs? There is only one of me, and 24 of them. How can I teach them what they need, and what is required at their grade level?"

I have recently begun to use as a Remediation Tool. During the 30 minutes of morning time, I have assigned several of my students to the laptops. They log in to Khan Academy using their Google accounts. This gives them individualized instruction on a remediation level appropriate for them . I plan to implement an enrichment plan as well for students who just fly through the math. I highly recommend checking out Khan Academy.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Literature Discussion - Character Traits

  After reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio, students worked in small collaborative groups to create character posters about each of the characters in the story.  When they were finished with their posters, they used the information they gathered to create wordclouds about their group's assigned character.

We then put the wordclouds into a collage using Picassa as a photo editing tool.
Posted by Picasa
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Activity

Since weather is a topic 5th grade covers in NC, I decided to take advantage of my new classroom technology on the second day of school, as students jumped right in, tracking and documenting information about Isaac.

Students worked collaboratively in groups to track some of the details of the hurricane.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Google Presentation / Digital Writing Journal

I have been toying with the idea of using Google Presentations as an ongoing science/social studies digital notebook this year for my 5th graders. I like how easily accessible Google Docs are in general, and having used Google Presentations with my students in the past. I believe it will be an easy transition for them, as well as increase their interest. (using technology of any kind tends to be a hook)

As I plan out my implementation strategies, I began to think of additional applications of Google Presentations and decided to experiment.I am lucky to have guinea pigs (test subjects) of varying ages to experiment with during the summer. My three kids tend to be the taste testers of all my classroom ideas. My seven year old has hypotonia which impedes her fine and gross motor skills. She does not like writing because the process is exhausting to her. Although she needs practice with hand writing in order to develop coping skills, I wanted to find a way for her to express herself without the physical exhaustion that accompanies the act of writing. Mya went to the beach with her grandparents and cousins earlier in the summer and I thought if I gave her a photo, it might inspire her to write. This is the first time she has ever used Google Docs. I was impressed at how quickly she learned to navigate through the slides. I set up the presentation, helped her select the pictures she wanted to use, and showed her how to drag them into the slides. She added the text for each slide. After she was finished writing, she helped me select the transition animation, giggling as the text and images slid into place. I believe Google Presentation has a great deal of potential for students at any age. I expect as the summer progresses, Mya will be able to create presentations entirely by herself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 is a very cool online notice board and has a lot of potential applications.  It live and can be an excellent collaboration tool.

The only kink I could find was once I embedded the final board, I found that it continued to be live and therefore could be manipulated.

This is a screen shot of the notice board. Check out some of the other cool tools I learned about this week.
Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flipping Blooms

The "flipped classroom" could work. It allows for creativity in solutions, true understanding of topics, and gives control and therefore responsibility back to the students. Students who take an interest and ownership in learning, are more likely to develop skills that will carry them through life. Rote memorization does not give anyone the problem solving and innovated mind required for a successful future. However, too many students rely in memorizing for the test. The ability to not be daunted by problems that beset you is a gift. Flip blooms, and watch students develop those "outside of the box" critical thinking skills.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

21st Century Teacher

I know this term is tossed around an awful lot. It is mentioned in several spots on the yearly teaching evaluation forms we all see. But, I am not sure that everyone truly understands what it means to be a 21st century teacher.  During a Pinnacle training session, an article by Josh Stumpenhorst entitled Being a 21st Century Teacher, really helped clarify those expectations. His main points link not only to being a master of technology, but also being connected, reflective, and an advocate. The article makes some great points and is worth the read.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Are we teaching in the digital age?

Does your school meet expectations?

I don't think we are there yet, but awareness of expectations may help us. 
Looking at it objectively, I believe we are on the right track. 

What's in a Name? - Prezi

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
pay_attention_ title=

What About Me?

Monday, June 25, 2012

21st Century Students

21st_Century_Students title=
Friday, April 27, 2012

Google Docs / Pinnacle Project

Using Google Docs in my classroom.

Throughout the year I have tried out several Google Docs applications, including Forms, Documents, and Presentations. By far the most useful tool for my students was Google Presentations which they used for book reviews and summaries. Google Presentations was an easy to use tool for student collaboration. In small teams students worked together to summarize novels. All team members were able to actively participate in the making of the presentations at the same time. Students found that it was easier to work on the presentations if they split up the assignment into parts and worked on different slides. Do to some lag time, it was sometimes confusing if they were working on the same slide simultaneously.

I used Google Forms for peer evaluations. They rated each project on a scale of one to five for each requirement of the project. The peer evaluations were part of their final project grade.

We used Google Documents to create class projects like our poetry unit, where students each added a poem to the document. Students found the collaboration difficult until I added a table where each student was assigned a specific slot for their poem and/or picture.

Once students were used to the logging into Google and using several of the applications, it required less and less of my input. The class became more student centered and driven.

There are few examples of my students' work using Google Docs. After looking through the examples posted, use the link for the Second Semester Pinnacle Evaluation.

Thursday, April 26, 2012
Students used Google Presentation to create book reviews of the novels we read in class.

April is Poetry Month - Part Two!

My students made Spine Poems today in the library.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
April is National Poetry Month! I love to write. Creative writing is one of my favorite things to teach, however it takes a great deal of time. It is difficult to instill that desire to write which sometime makes me want to pull my hair out. We have a wonderful Media Specialist at our school (Angela Newton). When she found an "Instant Poetry Forms" website and asked me if I was interested in trying it out with my students I jumped right in. I have to say, that even before introducing the website to my students, Angela and I were sucked into the website, laughing hysterically at some of the poems we created. After about half an hour, the students meandering in and out of the library stopped watching us skeptically and ventured over to investigate. We especially liked the One Inch Tall form.
The kids were hesitant about writing poetry at first. Once they started navigating the website and experimenting with the different forms, they became more confident. Angela and I were very impressed with what our students were able to create in a short period of time. Now, several times a day, students ask me if they can get on the computer and write some poetry.

Forget It

Forget it
You must be kidding
the monster will tear it up
I can’t sit down for a long time
I will forget what i wrote
the teacher will say it is a boring poem
it will get it dirty my tiger will eat it
I will fall asleep
my book will eat it
Time's up? Uh oh!
All I have is a dumb list of excuses.
You like it? Really? No kidding.
Thanks a lot. Would you like to see another one?


I am a butterfly
Orange and red as a peach
I eat nectar
I like nectar
I can fly
I can be beautiful
I am a butterfly

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Google Forms - Peer Evaluations

After students completed their group presentations using Google Docs Presentations, they evaluated each presentation using a simple rubric created in Google Forms. The peer evaluation counted towards a portion of their final grade.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Google Docs - in classroom

I have been using Google Docs with my class for about a month. My students love it and have responded well.

Makes collaborating easy! Multiple students can work within the same document simultaneously.
Any updates made after publication automatically update the publication as well.

Google Docs does not look as polished as MS Office documents.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spell With Flickr

w wburg rubber stamp letter i letter C Rubber Stamp Letter k letter E letter D

C Christmas Sparkle letter O letter o letter L If you go down to the woods today...

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Author: Samantha Penney,
Sunday, January 29, 2012

ClassDojo Homework Points Video

Using ClassDojo:  I use ClassDojo for behavior management in my class everyday.  My students earn points for completing homework, and participation in class discussions.  Students are given a point goal at the beginning of each month, and if they reach that goal by the end of the month, they earn their reward.  
(usually an extra recess) 
Students can also lose points for class disruptions.   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Online Flash Cards

I have been trying out several different interactive flashcards my students can access online. I have not decided which ones I like best, but in my search I've found several cool possibilities. is an online, user generated flashcard set. There are two subscription options, basic (free) or Quizletplus ($15 per year). If you are interested in just trying it out I would suggest you try the free version. It is very easy to use, both for teacher set up and student access. I think Quizlet is better for those who want to have complete control over the what appears on the flashcard. (term and definition) The account holder is required to enter in all the information. The free version limits you to eight groups of flashcards, so if you fall in love with it, and want to flood your students with flashcards, you may have to fork over the $15 for the QuizletPlus version. offers flashcards to account holders also. I have been using Spellingcity for several years now and have been very impressed with their services. The database they have built continues to grow, and includes words, definition, parts of speech, and the words used in a sentence. Recently they have added the option to add your own definition or sentence, and the site has lots of interactive games and assessment available. There are two levels of subscription (free and premium) I have found it worth the money to purchase the premium subscription for the past two years.

I love Google Chrome! And, I am constantly trolling around the Chrome Web Store for educational games and tools. I found a cool flashcard app that I love. There is nothing fancy about the app, but there is something I find appealing. It definitely for in-classroom only, as maintains the information of the Google account logged on. My kids use the app on the SMARTBoard as one of their literacy centers. Students with Google accounts could easily set up their own flashcards to serve as a study tool.


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