Monday, November 18, 2013

Behavior Management

Oh wow, it's been SO long since I've posted!  I started a new job as a kindergarten SPED para and I have basically just gone to practicum, work, home, then sleep!  I am two weeks into this new job and I absolutely love it.  It's exhausting and challenging beyond belief, but when a student has a really great behavior day it makes it all worth it!

So the school where I work uses ClassDojo.  The aim is to give points to students who are behaving well and/or on task.  There is a school-wide goal of, I want to say, 50,000 points.  When the school as a whole has a great week they get special rewards.  This Friday was hat day and it was so much fun to see the children wearing their hats.  They LOVED it!

An awesome thing about ClassDojo is that it's free!  You enter in your students' names and each student is given a little monster avatar.  You can have the page up all day so the students can see it.  When you see a student doing something good you can give them a Dojo point.  I like to think of it like House points in Harry Potter.  It is a really great positive reinforcer.

I do think I'll use ClassDojo even if the school where I work doesn't.  The class can set goals daily, weekly, monthly, etc. and have rewards when they hit their behavior goals!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently

Okay, this is not related to technology in the classroom, but I love Farley's Currently SO MUCH I had to join in!

Listening:  I'm watching my 2.5 year old nephew who {LOVES} Mickey Mouse.  He's watching a Three Musketeer Mickey movie on Netflix.

Loving:  As I sit here typing I can see my neighbor's front yard.  There is a beautiful red tree.  If the light was better I'd take a picture to share.  I must say that fall is my favorite season!

Thinking:  Oh yes, I've started Christmas crafting.  I'm making a chalkboard stocking holder and a card holder.  Too bad chalkboard paint has to cure for 24 hours...I don't want to wait!

Wanting:  My sister-in-law is due with their second son, Henry, any time now.  I think they'll be heading to the hospital soon!

Needing:  I cannot wait to meet little Henry!  He needs to hurry up and get here!

A Yummy Pin:  I pinned this Nantucket Cranberry Pie recipe from Pioneer Woman a couple of weeks ago.  I recently saw fresh cranberries in the store so I think I should make this soon.

It looks too yummy!

Well, I've had fun with Currently.  Time to think about technology now!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Using Technology to Teach Science

I'll go ahead and admit it:  Science was not my favorite subject in school.  I didn't get it and I wasn't interested.  It wasn't until recently that the field of science has really captivated my interest and imagination.  (Thank you Doctor Who.)  I don't want my students to have the same experience with science that I had.  I think the more students can have the opportunity to witness science before their eyes and explore it hands-on the more they'll gravitate to that subject.

Enter:  Digital microscope.  You hook a digital microscope up to your computer and can view the images on the screen.  If you can connect your computer to the class projector then the whole class can participate in looking at the magnified objects.  I found this digital microscope on Amazon for around $45.

I also found a list of iPad apps from How Stuff Works.  If I am so lucky to have iPads in my classroom this will be a great resource.

I'm off to explore the sun and moon on my iPad...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Using Technology to Teach Social Studies

I've heard students say that they don't like history because it's boring.  Let's face it, listening to historical facts and figures doesn't appeal to everyone.  I need to find a way to make history exciting and real to students.  One way to do this is to actual *show* them where events took place and how areas have changed over time.  Insert:  Google Earth.  This is a remarkable tool.  You can look at maps of how the colonies looked during the American Revolution and look at battle sites from the Civil War.  How awesome is that?

I saw this lesson that teaches students many different aspect of social students.  It's called The Amazing Race.  Each group represents a region of the United States and is responsible for researching political, economic, land form, and vegetation regions within their region.  The group will create a digital poster and post an "artifact" to the class wiki about the regions.  The groups then present their findings to another class.  One way to create a digital poster is to use Glogster.   I plan on doing a post on Glogster a little later on.

I'm sure there are a ton more ways to incorporate technology when teaching social studies.  When I find new ways I'll be sure to post about it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Using Technology to Teach Math

I've decided to focus this week on using technology to enhance lessons for particular subjects.  Today we're going to take a look at math because I am teaching my formal lesson for my math internship this morning.  Wish me luck!

Anyway, a requirement for the internship lesson plans is the integration of technology.  While looking for online activities I came across the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website Illuminations.  You can search for lessons that align with Common Core.  I liked looking through lessons because it really got the gears going in my head.

The activities section has some really great online activities for students.  I think I would use this for enrichment to give students extra practice.

Calculation Nation is a section of online games where students can challenge other students from all across the world.  It is free though students would have to register to play.  The games are designed for upper elementary through middle school students.

I am bookmarking Illuminations because I can see myself using it in the future.  Students can play the games and do the activities at home.  It would be awesome practice when students have been out of school for a while for breaks....yeah, yeah, hopeful thinking, I know!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Trailers

Let me just start by saying I LOVE TeacherTube!  It's YouTube just for education.  I can spend a lot of time watching videos and I find it is a huge source of inspiration.  While I was perusing TeacherTube today I came across this book trailer for Pete the Cat made by an elementary class.  I thought it was a good way to introduce new books to students.  Then I found this trailer, and this one, annnnd this one.  (P.S. I am very partial to the Harry Potter series.  Those books taught me to love reading.  I can go back to them again and again.  After all this time?  Always.)

So I got to thinking:  What if students made book trailers of the books they've read in order to persuade their classmates to read the books?  It wouldn't be a book report so no need to put a ton of detail in.  In fact, that would defeat the purpose; the creator of the trailer wants to draw the audience in so that the audience can't wait to check the book out.  I found this site that talks about the main items to include in a book trailer.  It would be very important to review this with students.  I would say that the trailers should be one to two minutes, maximum.

Most computers have movie making software already installed so students can make this at home or the school classroom or library.  Remember that post about Evernote?  That would be a great place to save images and music students want to include.

Wouldn't it be fun to have a book trailer "party" where the class watches everyone's book trailers?  A screening party, if you will.  Oh, I will definitely be using this in my classroom regardless of the grade I teach.  If the students are old enough they can create their own trailers; for younger students we could do a whole class collaboration.

Time for me to go watch more book trailers...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I just found out about Wonderopolis the other day.

Each day a new "wonder" is posted.  This wonder can be about anything, from what the smallest state is to where last names come from.  There is a video along with each post that relates to the topic.  There is also an explanation of the posted wonder and words that may be unknown to students are underlined.  If you run your mouse over the underlined word a definition will pop up.  Comments are encouraged.  From what I've seen there is one class who comments every day.  They will comment on what they thought about the wonder, a connection to their life, a prediction, a WWOTD, which I believe is "Wonder Word of the Day" where the student will list a word and definition they learned in the post.  If you click on "Explore Wonders" on the right side you can find all the wonders that have been posted.  There is even a search area to find wonders that align with Common Core for grades and subjects.

I have been in classes where the teacher will post a brain buster of the day and I think this is a great alternative.  I think Wonderopolis would be a fantastic tool for morning work or even to have students search for topics for a project.

This is a site I can see myself using in the future.  I believe students will enjoy it and it is meaningful to their education.