Archive | October, 2011

How-To Queries

25 Oct

I would like to spend the next couple of posts on an instructional endeavor.  I would like to choose a project, break it down into incremental and doable steps, and explain each one in detail.  My hope is to provide a “How-To” manual in small achievable chunks for our staff.  By the end of a series of posts, hopefully, you will have learned something useful for in your classroom.  Let’s use the comment field beneath each post as a place where you can ask questions.  I can respond with more specific directions if possible.  First, however, I would like to ask about which specific tools, apps, items, you’d like to know more.  Please fill in the poll below.



Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology | Edutopia

18 Oct

Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology | Edutopia.

Edutopia does it again with another stellar article for teachers.  The article is short and sweet, informative, and it includes videos that help explain the article’s objectives.  Consider this a cheat sheet while planning your replacement lessons/units.



QR Codes Abound

18 Oct

Keep your eyes peeled for QR codes (Quick Response Codes) throughout our building. According to Wikipedia, “A QR code is a type of matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data (e.g., binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols).
Created by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional bar codes. It was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.”
Personal learning devices can be used to scan the codes, and they often lead to websites, pictures, documents, or plain text. Their usefulness in education is just now being assessed and leveraged. The next time you see a code, use an iPad or laptop to scan it, and see where it leads you.  Red Laser is considered to be one of the better apps for this purpose. Chances are an enriching video, song, picture, or text will appear to bring additional meaning to a related or nearby item. Enjoy! I’m interested to see how you can use these in your classroom.

QR Code from Wikipedia

Questions to consider:

1. How can QR codes be used to engage learners?

2. How can teachers use these codes to easily transmit information to parents, community members, or students?

3. How do I do this??????  Follow this link for a beginner’s guide to QR Codes:

Real World Relevant

17 Oct

Here is an example of an activity from Mrs. Noboa’s class, that makes the students’ learning real world relevant.  Signs were posted across the building referring to a lost mouse, based on the popular book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.  A mouse, fake of course, was hidden in various places in the building, students throughout the school read the posted signs to gather clues about where the mouse could be.  The students were excited, engaged, ready and willing to read the information and spy the mystery mouse!  Thank you Danette and Caitlin.


Learning By Doing

13 Oct

Here is an example of a simple use of the smartboard. Various letters of the alphabet remain on a line, and students take turns completing the alphabet in order. Mrs. Lynch used this activity as one center of many–a simple yet effective use of the Smartboard.


Technology and Teaching Children to Read

12 Oct

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Technology and Teaching Children to Read

The charts above provide a number of different ways we can utilize technology to improve our reading instruction.  There are no resources listed, but it provides a direction.  Perhaps even more importantly, it breaks down specific skills within each of the 5 areas or reading as recommended by the National Reading Panel.  There is nothing “mind bending”  or “game changing” listed in these charts, maybe just a good, solid reminder of all the things we do when we are teaching children to read.

Have a great day!


YouTube’s Teacher Channel

6 Oct

YouTube has provided a couple of great ideas for teachers.  The screen shot below shows, perhaps, the most useable idea for primary teachers.  It may take a little work up front, but it will pay off with engagement.  You can spend time searching for applicable videos that may work the way you would like, or you can create your own, with some bravery of course, customized to your classroom needs.  Despite popular belief, you can create a secure channel on YouTube that only those you choose can access.  It seems that perhaps YouTube is realizing that it may need to compete with iTunes U and Vimeo.  Good Luck!

Video Troubles

4 Oct

This happens every so often to the best of us.  I’m having video embedding problems.  So instead of clicking the link or watching the embedded file, the following steps will lead you to the video of choice, perhaps you’ll even find another appealing video.

  1. Open iTunes on your desktop
  2. In the navigation bar on the left side of the screen, click on iTunes Store
  3. Once in the iTunes Store, put your cursor in the search bar at the top right corner of the pane.  Search for the term “Apple Learning.”  Look for this icon:

4. Click on the picture you see in iTunes, and you’ll see about 5 different webcasts.

5. Choose the Language Arts Webcast.  Click on it.  If you are short on time, proceed to about the 14 minute mark.

6. iTunes U is a great resource for “How To” lessons.  It merely takes a little time to search and explore for webcasts of interest.  Many are very short, too.

7. If you search for “Learning Snapshots,” you may find a plethora of other examples that may help you plan for classroom instruction.

Apple’s LA Webcast

4 Oct

Apple Learning – LA Webcast

Click the link above to view a webcast produced by two Apple Distinguished Educators.  The video is approximately 55 minutes long.  At about the 14 minute mark, there is a portion that is very pertinent to primary school.  It contains some very valuable “How To” lessons for a couple of different apps.  There is a focus on the iTouch device, but the apps are virtually interchangeable for the iPad.

I have forthcoming videos that contain similar lessons and examples for how to incorporate individual apps into your classroom routines.


Language Arts Webcast from Learning 21 on Vimeo.