Wax Museum

Wax Museum
Vistors listen to students and view keynotes at the "Wax Museum."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Technology Everywhere

Today students used digital cameras to take pictures of fractions; then they wrote sentences about their pictures. The sentences had to state an example of the fraction. This was a hands on way for students to understand that a fraction is part of a whole group.

Later students completed a scavenger hunt on the heart at Kids Health. http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/heart.html

Finally, students typed up their scary Halloween stories using pages.

Students spent three and a half hours today using technology, reading, writing, and doing math across the curriculum.

What a great learning day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Math Technology

I use technology across the curriculum. Students used the Promethean board today to learn about ordered pairs. I used a lesson I downloaded from Promethean Planet.

I also made arrangements with the music teacher to work on multiplication facts by using the computer. Student wrote songs for various facts using familiar tunes; such as Old McDonald.
They will record the songs using Garageband next week; then save them to itunes. I will put the songs on our ipods, so students can listen to them later. I will play one song a day on our sound system to share student work.

This is a great example of using technology,reading, and writing across the curriculum. Students are engaged and learning is embedded into young minds. Those who are struggling with math facts will soon learn them.

Oh how I love technology!

Reading High Tech

After our regular reading lesson in which we read 4 chapters today, students went to http://www.history.org/kids/ At this website they read about colonial people. They were particularly interested in the role of the apprentice since the main character in the story is an apprentice to Capt. John Smith.

They also started a story elements web using inspiration. This will be finished and posted when we finish the book. Next week, student will participate in a webquest at http://www.sites4teachers.com/links/redirect.php?url=http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/education/projects/

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Integrating Reading and Writing

I believe that reading and writing go hand in hand. I can't teach one without the other, so today's assignment overlaps reading, writing and technology.

After reading students used Pages to make postcards from Jamestown. Students had to write a postcard from Samuel's point of view to a friend in England. They were not allowed to say anything negative about the new colony-Jamestown. (Chapter 9 stated that the Virginia Company would not let the colonist write any negative letters home.) Students were allowed to put one picture on their postcard, and a picture of a stamp on it.


Today students examined their blog post. I showed them my personal blog as well as other online blogs. I pointed out specifics about blogging. I made a point to show them that blogging is not texting, and that formal language is always used in a blog. (I did this because many of my students were using texting in their blog post.)

After reading chapter ten silently, they were assigned to summarize the chapter in five sentences on their blog post today. I will use this posting as a grade for students. I will grade students on content and their use of formal language. My goal is to teach summarizing and for students to realize that blogging is not texting.


On Monday and Friday my students work in skill rotation groups, during reading. We focus on skills that are on our state assessment. I have two other teachers that come into my room at this time. Students are divided into three random groups. Each teacher teaches a mini lesson, or works on a skill. Sometimes each station is a different skill, but if students are struggling with a concept; we will all work on the same skill by using different modalities.

Whenever possible I use technology in my rotation. One management tip is to have the first group sit up their computers and log on to the site we will be using that day. Those original computers stay at my station for the entire time. This makes rotations go seamlessly. Students do not have to stop, get out computers, and log on each time they rotate. Here are just a few of the websites I use during this time.




I have established a portal http:/guest.portaportal.com/tgilley313 that my students use in class or at home. The portal allows for easy access to websites and an online bookmark storage for me. It is much easier to tell students go to the portal; then it is to spout off a URL. The portal also elevates students having to type the URL.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Students blogged about the theme of the book today using our 21classes blog. The question I ask them was what lesson was Capt. John Smith trying to teach Samuel when he made him stand on one foot. I will view responses today and allow. During our next lesson, students will view comments made by their peers. I required formal written language in the blog post.

The ripple of excitement spread through the room as students were blogging. They love this because it makes them feel grown up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Integrating Reading and Technology Into the Content Area

After students read chapters 1-3 today of their novel and checked out the author bio online, they went to Social Studies for Kids: http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/13colonies1.htm
At this website they read about the 13 colonies. Students opened an inspiration document and completed the concept map template while reading. Students had to compare the upper, middle, and lower colonies in the areas of food, school, church, and farming. This activity took forty five minutes. Students spent a total of two hours and thirty minutes today reading. One hour and thirty minutes of that time was spent online between reading the author bio and the Social Studies for Kids website. They were totally engaged!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Create a Classroom Blog

One of the first things that I did to improve reading and writing skills while engaging students is create a classroom blog. I use http://21classes.com it is free and protected. Only my students and myself can see this blog. Since I teach elementary students, I don't want everyone in the world seeing their blog post. The great thing about 21classes is you must preview and allow all post before students can see them.

This improves writing skills because it is public-everyone in the class will see your post. I do not allow students to use informal language in this format. Blogging also requires the student to reflect on his or her reading.

Here was the blog post that students had to reflect on today for chapters 1-3 of "Blood on the River Jamestown 1607": Was it right or wrong for Samuel to steal his mother's locket from the pawn shop? Explain your answer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Technology Improves Reading Skills

Last year, my students increased their reading skills by thirty percent on the state reading assessment. The only change that I made in my classroom was integrating technology. Over the next few weeks my classroom will be reading the Novel "Blood on the River Jamestown 1607" by Elisa Carbone. I will post activities and projects that my students complete on this site, so others can see how technology is used in a tech rich classroom.

One of the first things we will do is visit the author's website and read her bio. http://www.elisacarbone.com/bio.html After students read the author's bio, they will write their own bio. I will model this before students write their own version. Then they will read chapter 1-3 in the book.

Why use technology in the classroom?

Let's face it today's students are digital learners. They have grown up with computers, MP3 players, flat screen T.V.'s, ipods, and cell phones. Because of this their brains are wired differently. Using technology is just a part of their everyday life. When students come to school; they quickly become board with paper pencil task. So why not use what works for them-technology.

The advantages of using technology in classrooms are student engagement, leveled playing fields for all learners, and increased problem solving. I have learned by experience that students are on task and engaged by technology more so then traditional teaching methods. In addition, the technology provides the ability for all students to create a neat, organized project. This gives students that are not neat nor organized a learning advantage; therefore, their projects receive grades that are equal to their peers. Technology increase problem solving skills because students have to figure out problems as to how to use the technology to create specific projects and task.

It is my belief that technology should be available to all students in the 21st century because it is now a way of life. In order for our students to be productive citizens in the future, they will need to be able to use technology to survive. Educators and legislators have got to find a way to provide students with the best technology tools and skills in order to maintain the status quo.

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