Monday, February 14, 2011


Today we had a "Technology Tidbit" before the Faculty Meeting. I introduced (or in the case of some 're-introduced'), three web sites. (click on the site names to link to them)
INTO THE BOOK: is a Reading Comprehension Strategies site for K-4 students and teachers. It focuses on eight research-based strategies: Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and Synthesizing. 
UEN INTERACTIVES k-2  or  UEN INTERACTIVES 3-6 - both of these UEN pages have dozens of activities for you to use in your classroom with the entire class, individually in the lab, or with small groups and partners.
And the one that we didn't get to was ReadWriteThink. This site is huge and amazing. Today I just wanted to show you the interactive part. Go to the Navigation bar on the left and REFINE by grade level. Some really effective activities for Language Arts.

Thanks for all of your input with the Technology Survey today too. We have lots of folks who are having sound reverberation issues after last week's power issues. We are working on a solution.
The remaining Document Cameras are in the District and will be delivered soon. The longer cords  for the Document Cameras are on their way, after a short 'paperwork detour'. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday's Faculty Meeting

Sorry for the bit of personal business at the top of the Blog. Just couldn’t help it… he’s too darned cute. And several people had asked “What’s with the “Seven of Them” fish thingy?” at the right. There’s the explanation. By the way, the fish will follow your cursor and you can feed them. Great little therapeutic time-waster!
OK… back to business. As per usual, all of us are overly busy; extremely stressed; have too many meetings…yada, yada, yada… So the Technology Committee thought we could take a bit of time before the Faculty Meeting to present a few ideas for you to use, and make attendance at our presentation optional. As promised, I will include this information on the Blog also… after the Faculty meeting.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Sound Piece of Advice:

Most of us do NOT teach solely “by the seat of our pants”. Occasionally, yes. But most of us are ‘planners’. We would not dream of walking into our classrooms day after day, and say “Gee, wonder what I should teach today?”
And yet, I run into situations where the user of the technology has not planned, or practiced, using the technology for the lesson that they so vigorously had planned. Or worse, waits until the last minute. (As in “Hey, I could show an online video for this lesson” or “I remember hearing about an interactive site a few weeks ago. I could use that in my lesson today!”)
Then we are frustrated when something goes wrong. The sound won’t work. The video doesn’t go with the sound. There are pop-ups of half-naked women in the middle of the presentation (that doesn’t happen too often anymore- I remember that from my Middle School days). Your email spam folder opens when you turn on the projector. The video that you thought was 25 minutes is really a 2 minute clip. That interactive site is 3 grade levels over/under what you actually teach. Someone has inadvertently pushed the projector mute button: no projection. A plug/wire has wiggled loose somewhere.
Technology is incredible [amazing, wonderful – throw in your own superlative]… when it works. But when it does not, people tend to get frustrated and will back off of technology. It is likely that they will try again later. But for now, that magic of the animated story that you wanted to share with the kids; or the reenactment of Abe giving his Gettysburg Address is lost.
If we would all just take the time to practice, AHEAD of time, using these tools, that we are not quite familiar with or comfortable with, things would go much more smoothly.
Of course this is not to say that it will all work, all of the time ~ it doesn’t. That is when PLAN B comes in. But that is a discussion for another time.


Richard Byrne’s Free Technology For Teachers this week: (Mr. Byrne is a Blogging Teacher who shares so much. Each week he publishes a “best of the week” Blog).  I’m passing this one along to you :  17 famous art museums all under one site for you to browse or use as a resource in your classroom. Here’s a video about it:
Here are my Sites of the Week:
go to Pioneer online (Go to Grandschools website; in the left navigation bar click on RESOURCE LINKS; then click on Pioneer Library) If you are at school it will allow you in directly. If you are using an off-campus computer you will need to use your UEN log-in, or the guest log-in and PW. I cannot put that here but I will email it to you, or you can get it from SandyF.
Once you get to Pioneer Library there are a number of Resource Links. Go to eMedia. Here you will find full length videos and video clips. Everything from full programs of Reading Rainbow to Bill Nye. You can download these to your computer (This is best) or watch them directly from the site.
PBS TEACHERS online: Wilson and Ditch Digging America: two “Jim Henson” Gopher-Muppets tour various parts of the USA. Great information and video ~ lots of fun!     s
PBS Teachers Online has bunches of other resources too!

More GRANT Information

Grants are one way to get money for things in your classroom that you want but there is never going to be money for. Depending on the type of grant and where it is coming from, getting a grant is as easy as simply signing up and telling why you want the money, or they can be lengthy and difficult to even complete the paperwork.

This week SherrieB sent out information regarding two grants. One was for a grant from Target for help in paying for field trips. This is something that would be helpful to most of us because if you try to take a field trip anywhere besides our regularly scheduled field trips with Outdoor Ed or Youth Garden, you must come up with Bus Funding.
The other grant is from Beyond Question and is for a huge "discount grant" on a classroom set of 'clickers' or student response systems. Go here if you don't know about this incredible tool for the classroom. Clicker sets usually cost around $1000.00 but this grant will get you a set for $399.00.
Clicker sets are easy to share within a Block and are amazing to use. If you and your Block have any funds left from Out-Of-Pocket you could each kick in $100.00 and get a set.
Both of these grants are fairly simple to complete.  I have information on both.

I have two other sources for grants that are fairly easy to complete also. The very first entry for this Blog was information on a grant. (you have to scroll to the bottom of the entries). This grants gives teachers money for having a pet in the classroom. I do fish and toads. They are fun. The kids enjoy them and they are not too much trouble.
The other grant source is DonorsChoose. This source is relatively easy to use and you can get a decent amount of money for anything from art supplies for your class, to a gathering rug. I got  MP3 players for the kids to listen to stories and podcasts with. The kids love them.
If you want to try to get a grant and want help... give a shout out.