Monday, June 11, 2012

Classroom Technology - Old and New

The last weeks of school are a great time to pull out the a few fun ideas that you haven't had the chance to get to.

First the 'new':

Data projectors and document cameras have replaced a lot of overhead projectors in our school district (if not all of them) but I get questions all time on how to make more effective use of them. There are so many possibilities... one thing I like to do with my students is show them some "Howcast" videos. You can find them online, but it is challenging to show them with all of the advertising (you never know what the content will be.) TIP: ALWAYS use the "Freeze" button on your projector to freeze the screen while you preview an upcoming web page if you are unsure of the content. I have two favorite Howcasts that I got from iTunes as podcasts. Saving them in your iTunes library is more reliable and the content will not change. I show them "How to Make a Tissue Paper Flower" and "How to Make a Clay Animal". We go over the materials needed, the basic steps, and we create some great opening sentences and closing sentences. They complete a graphic organizer, and then write the directions including an opening sentence, the materials needed, and a closing sentence. Here they are working on their projects. Having a project at the end of the writing is a great motivator for the kids to dig in and get it done. Now the 'old':

The last few days of school can find the kids a little restless. It is a great time to bring something out they have never seen before. When we think of technology, we often consider the newer more cutting edge technologies that are new to our classrooms. Often our students have not seen the way things used to be. I have an old Dukane film strip projecter. The kids are mesmerized by the pictures and the cassette tape narration. After seeing a few over a couple days, I like to choose a story, put up the slides one at a time, and have the class help me write the narration for each slide. Their ideas are priceless. After we have completed the narration, I make copies for them and we read it together along with each slide. Of course we include the famous "beep" before advancing the slide.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


... That's me coming up for air. I apologize for neglecting the blog world for a while. The end of the year craziness got the better of my time (and the blogging is what had to give.) I look forward to sharing some of the end of year fun we had as well as what I have in the works for the summer. Stay tuned I promise to be more attentive to my blog.