Wax Museum

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Computers as a Tool

Students need to learn that computers are a great tool to be used for everyday things. Today students used their computers to look up unknown words they found in their reading. They had the choice of using www.dictionary.com or their dashboard dictionary on their Mac. When writing, I often have them use these tools to enhance word choice by using dictionary.com thesaurus.

In addition, students have started a research project on leadership. They have been assigned a leader; and are learning how to research using the internet. We discussed valid websites earlier in the year, so they know what to look for. This type of activity allows students to learn social studies skills while practicing reading and writing skills.

One key concept to keep in mind is most elementary students aren't ready to do research without guidance. Therefore, I prepared them with a folder and cards before turning them loose on the internet. They have specific items to research; for example, childhood history, leadership qualities, and interesting facts. Again they have been give a time limit of three days to complete their online research. Also, I am on my feet and walking the room while students are researching. They need to be aware that the teacher is watching and paying attention to what they are doing.

Guidelines, preparation, time tables, and teacher monitoring help elementary students achieve success while completing an online research project.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Creating a Podcast

The first step to creating a podcast is to write your material and practice reading it. Once again we're working on writing skills with a little reading fluency sprinkled in just for fun. We have paired up with another class this time since they are working on some of the same skills we are.

Students were put into groups and assigned to write a podcast on the circulatory system, respiratory system, or how to keep the systems healthy.

After writing and practicing, students will record podcast using garageband. They will be allowed to add a few pictures to their work. Finally, podcast will be shared with iTunes and put on classroom ipods. Students will be given four and one half science class periods to complete the work.

Often when using technology, students must be given a time limit for project completion. This keeps students on task, and provides the ones seeking total perfection a cut off time.

Reading, writing, science, collaboration, and student engagement all in one lesson. That is smart teaching!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Plain Fun

Some days students think technology is just plain fun. Today students used science websites to reinforce concepts learned and to discover things that they would never discovery otherwise.

Students used the following website to review concepts on the human body. http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/systems.html

They also used Ed heads to conduct virtual surgery. http://www.edheads.org/ This is as close as they will get right now to conducting real surgery. Maybe someday a few will grow up and work in the medical field. It was extremely humorous to watch this activity. Right away you know who could handle a medical job in the future and those who can't. However, all enjoyed the websites and thought them to be just plain fun! Check it out for an amazing experience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Using Interactive White Boards

In my opinion every technology rich classroom should include an interactive white board. It is just one more avenue to engage students in learning. They can be used in all subject areas, and are extremely easy to use.

This week I made a Tic Tac Toe game for reading; then used it in a small group situation. I could have very easily used it with my whole class as well.

Students reviewed text structure today by using the Promethean Board and the activotes. I divided the small group of six into two teams. Students took turns reading the text. As a team they had to decide the text structure; then they used the acitvotes to select their answer. My rule was everyone on the team had to have the correct answer before they could put a game piece on the Tic Tac Toe game. If one team did not get the answer correct, the other team could vote on the answer and steal a turn. Kids loved using the activotes and moving the game pieces on the borad.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Scavenger Hunts

On Tuesday students completed a scavenger hunt. I find sites on the Internet that relate to our classroom curriculum; then I create a scavenger hunt worksheet that goes along with the site. These worksheets include directions for navigating the site and comprehension questions. I always create the questions in sequential order related to the text students will be reading.
This week they used the site at Kids Health to learn about the heart and how it works.

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