Wax Museum

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Integrating Technology Into the Math Curriculum

The challenge this year is to integrate technology into the math curriculum. It seems harder for teachers to integrate math and technology. It dawned on me the other day as to why when a teacher ask "What am I suppose to do throw out the textbook?" Good reading teachers learned long ago you don't have to use just the textbook to teach reading. They pull resources from everywhere-novels, magazines, newspapers, websites and etc. However, that's not been the norm for the math curriculum. Most math teachers follow the textbook exactly; with the exception of skipping around in the book to get the curriculum taught by state assessment time.

This made the light bulb come on for me. Why don't we teach math like we do other subjects. There is math in our daily newspapers, shopping carts, and households. It is a given that math and science go hand-in-hand; many teachers do teach math as part of the science curriculum. If you don't, that is a great place to start extending the math curriculum.

My friend MacMare and I created a wiki related to one math topic-the metric system. This is a beginning for some teachers to integrate technology into the math curriculum. http://metricssixth.wikispaces.com/ Along with the wiki, I have created Moodle courses on fractions and problem solving. It's a start. Hopefully, teachers will begin to use technology as part of the regular math routine; as well, as begin to integrate math and technology into project base learning units.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New School Year, New Job, New Responsibilities

I'm off on a new technology adventure this year. I am now a Technology Rich Classroom (TRC) Facilitator. That means I go into the classroom and help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum. In addition, I help them find resources.

This year I will try to focus more on integrating technology into the math curriculum.
To get started here's a great website for my readers. Enjoy it!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cyber Bullying and Online Safety

I am now a cyber bullying and online safety trainer now. If you would like for me to come to your school and give a presentation to your students on this topic leave me a comment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


One of the final activities we did this year was skype with our epals in Indiana. This was our first skype experience as a whole class. To prepare for it I skyped the teacher the day before to make sure everything was going to work.

Students began the session by introducing themselves to their epal partner. Then they discussed the novel "Sign of the Beaver." From there the discussion evolved into the students sharing information about their home states. Students learned a lot about each other and the regions we live in.

If I had this to do over again, I would have students skype earlier in the year so they could see their epals face to face.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adding A Little Twist To An Old Experiment

Most of you have probably heard of or done the egg drop experiment with your class. You know the one-students design a container to protect an egg when dropped from a high place.

To introduce this investigation, I found several excellent video clips of the experiment on youtube.com. Here is one of the videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb1uduZcvY4
I shared this video with my class; then let them design their own investigation.

As students dropped the eggs, I had other classmates take pictures of them with the digital cameras.

The new twist was integrating the technology. Not all technology integration has to be a huge event.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Desing A New Room
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Design A New Classroom

Now that the year is almost over, we can have a little fun. However, I always want them to continue learning; so one activity we did was "Design A New Classroom."

I had students measure the area of our classroom, desk, cabinets, closet, door ways, windows, the sink and anything else that I could think of. Then they drew a picture of their desired classroom to scale on graph paper using the dimensions of the items they measured. Next, they used the internet and catalogs to look up the prices of everything. They put the data into a Numbers Document and calculated the cost of their model classroom.

For fun students used cardboard or foam to create their version of the model classroom to scale. This part students found fun and challenging. Since it was the end of the year this was a good activity to review math skills we learned while having fun creating a model. It took students several days to complete the activity. They were astounded when they discovered the actual price of these model classroom.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


During our last chapter of the social studies textbook, students used the following webquest to learn about the Underground Railroad. http://www.greece.k12.ny.us/ath/library/webquests/underground/default.htm

When students finished the webquest, they shared their keynotes with the rest of the class. It was one of the few times this year I let the class view each individual keynote with the whole group at one time. Usually to share or celebrate a finished product, the class did a Walk About Review.

During a Walk About Review, students sit their computers on top of their desk while students strolled quietly from computer to computer observing the work of their peers. This type of sharing is much quicker then watching 23 keynotes or projects for an entire afternoon. It still allowed the class celebration time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's 5th grade doing now?

Now that state assessments are over, it is time to continue our learning and have fun. Over the last week students have made a keynote about their favorite book that they have read this year. They are recording their voices in this keynote which is something new for them. It is harder to record your voice in keynote because you can't cut out mistakes like you can in Garageband. However, students have created some beautiful products. We will share our work with the rest of the school by displaying our keynotes on Obee T.V.

Also, we are using Pages to create a response journal for the book Holes. In addition, we created a chart using Pages to record literary devices as we read.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Big Cache

Today was wonderfully exhausting. The students were so excited about going to Dillon Nature Center to go geocaching. Mrs. Frazier, Mrs. Worthing and Mrs. Clark planted our caches for us the day before in the freezing cold. I planned the caches which was called "Mystery Numbers." They were math problems that I made up. Each cache had a math problem to solve and a sheet to sign. Mrs. Frazier made the guide sheet for students. It included what the students were to do: take pictures of nature, take pictures of your group, take a picture of a cache, and the geo bug. It also included the coordinates and a place to record the answer to the math problems.

I've never seen such a bunch of excited students before. They couldn't wait to get to DNC; the bus ride was a buzz there and back. They listened carefully while Mrs. Fraizer and I gave instructions; then we set them off with their adult in charge to find the caches. Every group I saw was smiling, working hard to solve problems and find caches.

The curriculum areas we covered in this event were as follows: Math, geography, technology, and physical wellness. Also, thanks to all the parent volunteers. We couldn't have done this without your help monitoring each group.

All I heard on the ride home was Mrs. Gilley that was so much fun when do we get to do this again. What a memorable experience for students. I was exhausted after following five excited girls around the Nature Center all afternoon, but it was a wonderful feeling.

Our thanks to Dillon Nature Center for letting us plant the caches there and to Mrs. Clark, Mrs Frazier, and Mrs. Worthing for all their help.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Geocaching at DNC
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Preparing for State Assessment

I have to admit I haven't been blogging much lately. I've just been too busy preparing students for state assessments. So how am I using technology in this endeavor. I am using several websites that can be found on my portal. One that I really like for math is Mr. Anker http://tinyurl.com/cq46sq

I also found this page with many links to test prep activities. http://www2.redmond.k12.or.us/mccall/renz/mathsites.htm#5

In addition, we have been playing many, many teacher made Jeopardy games. Jeopardy is a fun way for kids to practice the skills they need while having fun. I usually divide the class into teams and assign a score keeper. You can download many Jeopardy games and templates online.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Today my class and I discovered the wonders of geocaching. I have to admit, the first time I ever experienced geocaching I couldn't imagine how I could possibly use it in the classroom. However, today I used it for the first time and will most certainly use it again.

I placed the caches around our schoolyard. Then students were given a paper skeleton with missing bones; the caches included the missing bones. Students were divided into groups of 4 and 5. Their job was to use the coodinates and the GPS systems to find the missing bones of their paper skeletons. Since the skeletal system was taught earlier in the year, this was a nice review activity.

Some students struggled with using the GPS systems at first, but most quickly figured out how they worked and successfully found their cache.

The best part of the whole activity was the aftermath of the event. After our excersion with GPS systems, we took our third common math assessment to determine if students had reached benchmarks in math. The result were amazing. Students scored higher on this assessment then any other they've taken this year. I really do believe stimulating their brains and bodies before taking the test had something to do with it.

I can't wait to use geocaching again. Our next event will include a geocache at a local nature center. It will be on a much bigger scale.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Voicethread Example

As promised I have uploaded an example of one our voicethreads. My students love voicethreads and so do I. We hope you enjoy this version of Judith Vorist poem "If I Were In Charge of the World." This poem is a great model for students to practice their writing skills.

Teaching High Tech

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Comic Life Fun

I just love integrating writing into every subject across the curriculum. It was even more fun integrating it into math today. Students used comic life to write acrostic poems about perimeter, area, and volume. Students were very creative in their thinking, and this was a quick assessment to see if students really understood these concepts. Here is a short example of student work:


A-Area is a covering of a space
E-Everything has area like walls, carpet, and gardens
R-When it rains an area is covered with water
A-Amazing LxW=A

I would say this student has a good understanding of area.

Google Earth, Math, and Geography

What excitement in the classroom today, when students used Google Earth to fly around the world to find 3-D figures in real life. We have been studying 3-D figures in math; so students were given the assignment to think about how these solids were used in real life. They came up with things like The Great pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, skyscrapers and the Pentagon.

Then students used Google Earth to fly around the world and locate 3-D objects. They placed a marker on the location; then told how many faces, edges, and vertices the object had. Students had a wonderful experience with this activity. They were applying math skills, a little geography, and writing was involved too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

3-D figures using Comic Life

Yesterday, I introduced 3-D figures to my class. After using a wonder Promethean lesson on the topic, their assignment was to discover real world uses for 3-D figures. Students had to show a pictures and tell what type of 3-D figure was used in their Comic Life project. Some students included the number of faces, edges, and vertices each figure had.

Friday, February 13, 2009


This is a website that my technology facilitator showed one of my students. Today that student came back to class and showed all of us. We wrote poems for Valentine's Day. At http://www.festisite.com/ you can also upload your own poetry, put your face on a playing card or a 1,000,000 dollar bill. I loved the poetry and writing aspects of this website. I also loved the fact that the student was sharing her knowledge of technology. I completely let her take over the instruction here because I didn't have a clue as to how to use the website. (Of course I remained in charge of the classroom and facilitated.) She did a great job of teaching us all. This also gave her self confidence and pride.

After writing their quick and easy poems, I let them explore the cards and money. They loved it because it was fun. However, one must keep in mind we are at school; so their has to be a learning application involved. Therefore, I am trying to figure out ways that I could connect the money to a practical application. These are some ideas I came up with: use the face of a character from a book and write about the character using the party printer, have students uses their faces and write about themselves to introduce themselves to the class at the beginning of the year, and use the playing card and have students place two character's from a book on a card and write a compare contrast paragraph about the character. Another use might be to put faces of explorers on different types of money from a country they explored; then write a list of reasons as to why this explorer found a million dollar discovery. If anyone else has an ideas, please feel free to post a comment.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Creating a Flip Book using pages

Today students used pages to create a flip book on the Three Branches of Government. The outcome was for students to learn what the Three Branches of Government are and their functions. Student had a good graphic in their social studies book; so they used that as a starting point for their information. Then students used the website Ben's Guide to the Government for Kids: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/government/national/legislative.html to find more information.

After exploring the website; students created their flip book. First, they had to set a vertical ruler on the side of the document. You can find this under pages, preferences, enable rulers. Next, they used the shape tool to make a line at 3 inches and 4 inches on the first page of the document. (No line is placed at the bottom of the document.) They had to create a new page to place their last line at 6 1/2 inches on the new page. (Tip-if you hold down the shift key your line will be straight.) After all lines are in place, students made textboxes and placed labels of the three branches in the boxes. These boxes must be placed just above the lines, so the labels can be seen when books are put together. Finally, students had to place pictures and write a short paragraph about each Branch of Government and its function on sections of the document that were marked off with the lines. One student made a wonder graphic on the title page by placing her pictures inside a shape.

When students were finished, they printed their work and cut the document apart on each line; then layered the book and stapled it.

There you have it a flip book created on pages. You can make flip books for any subject area. Other examples may include but not limited to are 3 types of rocks, plot line in books, or 3D solid figures in math.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making a Vociethread

After reading the poem If I Were In Charge of the World by Judith Vorist, I wrote my own version of the poem as a model for the students. Then they wrote their own versions of the poem.

We are in the process of turning our poems into a Voicethread. This seems to be taking more time then I had anticipated, but students are really enjoying this activity. When finished, I plan on posting our examples on to this blog.

Students can upload pictures to the Voicethread or make a keynote, and take a screen shot of each page; then upload it as their pictures. Using keynote is one way the students can add text to their Vociethread.

I love this activity, and students can really get creative with it.

Finding new ways to use the Promethean Board

I am experimenting with new ways to use the Promethean Board. Today I showed a Brain Pop video on erosion; then used the activotes to take the quiz. This is done by bringing up the Promethean software and activating the activotes to take the quiz. Students seemed to enjoy the experience the first few times I did it a couple of weeks ago, but were a little board with it today.

I also scanned a math worksheet last week; then placed it into a flipchart to make it interactive. This was a way for students to practice problems in a more active manner. Students were engaged by this which surprised me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum

Wow! What a week we're having in 5th grade. We are completing so many exciting small projects. First, we celebrated the Inauguration by decorating the room red, white, and blue. I made cupcakes for the class (in the same colors) to enjoy while watching the Inauguration Live on television. An old technology, but one that served its purpose today. Before watching the Inauguration, I used a wonderfully made Promethean lesson on the Inauguration. (It was one I downloaded from the website.) It included a compare contrast of the president and vice president, pictures of past Inaugurations; as well as a video.

The following day, we read the 2008 Year In Pictures Time for Kids. I discussed visual literacy and using captions. Then students created their own version of this kid friendly magazine by doing a 2009 Inauguration in pictures using pages. I showed them how to use the shapes and put the pictures into the shapes and how to place a textbox under the pictures. Some students quickly figured out the reflection tool on their own. (How exciting when they make their own discoveries, and they teach me something new too.) My expectation for a thirty minute activity was to include four pictures with captions and a title. They exceeded my expectations very quickly. Hopefully, some students will save these for future references.

Later in life they can say, "I remember watching that on T.V. in 2009."

The other exciting project we completed this week was sending our first epal emails. I began this last week by introducing students to epals and letting them email several emails to classmates. I used their examples to teach formal language in writing. When they emailed each other, they used texting type language; such as "waz up," lol, and etc.

I quickly pointed out that this was not the type of language we use in emails. I showed them an example of one of my emails and an example of a formally written email by a student. Yeah! No more texting in our emails. When student emailed their epals; they did not using texting language. I am so proud of them!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Using Garage Band and Keynote in Science

This week students are using garageband to develop a production on the water cycle. Since students have been introduced to the water cycle before; our focus is a deeper level of thinking about the cycle that includes difficult vocabulary. They took notes over the water cycle vocabulary words while watching a unitedstreaming video. Some of the vocabulary words include: evaporation, transpiration, percolation and sublimation.

Next, they found pictures that showed examples of each of the vocabulary words. Then students narrated the pictures and gave definitions of each word the picture was portraying. After editing, their work and saving, they placed their work into a keynote document.

These make quick and easy presentations that students can share with others including parents at conference time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me

I've been tagged! Rosemary Miller has tagged me so now it is my responsibility to tell the world seven things you don't know about me. So here goes.

1. I'm a quilter. There is something about just touching the cloth that calms my soul. I've made many quilts, but have given most of them away. You know you are very dear to my heart, if I have given you a quilt.

2. I have a strong faith in God. He is my rock and foundation. My husband tells me I'm one of the strongest people he knows. My strength comes from believing in God and reading his word daily.

3. This is a very well kept secret and something that I don't brag about. I sing in church. I enjoy singing, but am not an expert. In addition, I have written several songs; yes, I do sing them at church in front of an audience.

4. I waste no time! I can put a meal on the table before my husband can take a shower. It is often a race in the evening to see who can finish first. I always win!

5. I like to write. My goal someday is to write a picture book for children.

6. My grandmother is my inspiration for life. Even though she had many trials and tribulations in her life, she was very caring, loving, and happy. She too had a strong faith in God. She died when I was forty five years old. During those forty five years, not one time did I ever hear her say one bad word about another person. I want to be like that!

7. I am resilient. When I decided to go to college, my mother told me I was wasting my time and I'd never finish. I smiled and thought to myself-watch me! Four years later she was taking me out for a steak dinner and paying the bill.

When my husband beats me in a game of Dominoes, he proudly states, "I am the king."
I quietly reply, "let's play another game."
When I win, I scream, "I am the queen!"

Tag-Becky Mullins your it. It is now your turn to tell the world seven things they don't know about you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Intel Visual Ranking Tool

We are finishing up our imovie projects by using the Intel Visual Ranking Tool. We are only allowed to use six of our imovies on our global "Life Around Here" project; therefore, students are using a rubric and voting on which movies we will use. First, students are viewing our eleven videos and rating them using a rubric that I created. The rubric includes items such as audio quality, picture quality, and content. After scoring the movies, students will rank them in order using the tool. From this data the top six movies will be chosen for our project.

Later before viewing other videos in the project, students will use the Visual Ranking Tool to predict what life is like in other areas around the globe. This will help them to compare and contrast their thoughts about other parts of the world. Hopefully, they will learn that life in other parts of the world may not always be the sterotype that we think it is.


Integrating Math Curriculum

We have been using our computers and the internet to make graphs this week. Students created graphs today using http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/ You use this site by clicking on the graph icon at the top of the page; then click on the type of graph you want to make. After that, enter your data, and print your graph.

I had students make graphs the old fashion way-on graph paper the first day. Several students left labels and titles off of their handmade graphs. However, when students used the website and their computers; not one student left off the labels. Amazing!

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