Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Computer Lab is a fun place to be

Have you often wondered how to tame the "ROAR" of the computer lab?  Do you think, "There is only one of me" too often?
I have used a system that has worked very nicely to quiet that roar.
Remember when TY beanies were a must have.  I still have my children's collection of the miniature size.  They have found a new home in our computer lab.  These animals sit patiently waiting for the next class to visit.
When students enter the lab they are each handed an animal.  This new friend sits quietly on the keyboard when all is well and everyone is happily following directions.
When the students have a question or need help, the animal is placed on top of the tower.  This lets me know that help is needed and the students know that help is on the way!

The small animals also help me to assess how the lesson is going.  I will often stop and ask for the animal to be on the tower if they have logged on, or have completed the lesson, etc..  The use of my collection has been an endless resource in our "quieter jungle".


Friday, September 28, 2012

Parent Seminar

We recently had Parent Seminar at our school.  It is such a fun night to meet all the parents of present students as well as catch up with parents of former students.
I was thrilled to see so many teachers this year using our newest technology during their presentations.  Every classroom now has a laptop, a smartboard and many have a document camera as well.  I am so proud of each and every teacher.  We had 100% of our smartboards on that night.  For some this was a big risk but they willingly welcomed it. 
One of my personal favorite activities is to have the students sign the board during the day to show their parents.  And then I ask the parents to sign the board to surprise their child the next morning.
Students' signatures

Parents' messages
 We are off to a great year!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The iPads have arrived!  It has been so exciting exploring and using the iPads.  I'm not sure who is having more fun---students, teachers, or me! 
The sixth grade has been studying biomes in science.  We met in the library last week for an introduction to the iPads.  We first talked about usage and responsibility.  It's fun to ask how many students have experience with iPads.  Our school librarian pulled all the books from the shelves for the students.  Groups were formed and research began.  I created a portal for the students to use which helps narrow the search while staying on safe sites. 
(This can also be found in the student resource section on this blog). 
It has been thrilling watching the groups interact cooperatively to complete their assignment.  The integration of technology has been seamless with this group of sixth graders. 
We have a few tricks up our sleeves for the completed projects.  Stay tuned.
Julia taking notes while using the portal to research.
Fourth Graders had fun exploring with the iPads.  They logged on to IXL for some extra math practice.
Anders working on a math problem.
Third Graders have also had an opportunity to use the iPads.  We used the free app educreations to become creative writers and artists.  This app has become a favorite of many students.  We plan on creating student presentations in the near future.  Students also had a great time with the camera on the iPad.  What's more fun--taking a picture of yourself, your friends, or your teachers?
My good friend Stephanie helps me with her third grade class. 
This picture was taken by a third grader with the new iPads.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Just as I love to wear jewelry with every outfit, I also love to add accessories to my teaching. When I teach I love to use many types of technology to compliment my teaching.  The smartboard has become my favorite method to engage students in the curriculum on a daily basis.  Accessorizing with a document camera enables me to display the students' work, show experiments, text books, and anything else I would normally hold up to the class for display.  The newest version has a microscope built in as well.  The ability to take a picture and insert it into a smart notebook amazes the students every time.
Document Camera
 The use of a wireless mouse lets me move to the students' desks and still interact with the interactive whiteboard.  The students love to use the mouse from their seats.

One of my students' favorite accessories is my collection of pointing hands.  These help students move things on the whiteboard.  I also use them as a pointer for daily work.  I often choose the one that best matches my outfit that day.

On my wish list is a wireless presenter with a laser. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First Day Pictures

Welcome Back to School.
I love September.  To me it is the start of new hopes and dreams.  New clothes.  New school supplies.  New bulletin boards.  New smiling students eager to learn.
In September take first day of school pictures. These pictures are a source of many fun activities, as well as a picture of growth for the end of the year.  Time does go by quickly.
Ideas for Pictures:
1.  Portfolio labels- Insert the student's picture in a word document and add their name for the label on their portfolio/writing binder.  Use a column layout to make this easier.
2.  Lunch Count and Attendance magnets- print a small picture, laminate and add a magnet to the back.  Students move their magnet each morning.
3.  Writer's Workshop Chart- Pictures give you a quick view of the stage for each student.
4.  Smartboard lessons- Students love to see their picture in these lessons.
5.  Bulletin Boards
6.  Writing Assignments- Add the picture in the about the author section. 
7.  Speech Bubbles-  Insert a picture in a word document and give it a speech bubble.  This can be used to share thoughts and dreams for the year.
8.  Groups of students- sort pictures on the board to show groups for projects.
9.  Class Picture- Display for students
10.  Blogs (be sure to have permission to post students' pictures)
Best Wishes for a fun and successful school year!