Conceptua Math

Thursday, May 13, 2010 0 comments
Sometimes in the middle of a unit with my elementary students, I find a website so cool that I have to take a class period to show them. Today, I gave my 5th graders a break from learning about Excel functions and had them do a worksheet over fractions. Now, fractions are exactly the most fun math concept, but the middle school math teacher said that they need some extra practice adding fractions with uncommon denominators. As I said before, I feel that my job as a vocational teacher is not only to teach student about different technology, but also how to incorporate technology into their educational lives. So - I grab any opportunity that I have to help my core classroom teachers.

So today, I did a google search for fraction worksheets and found several from and printed two that included mixed numbers and uncommon denominators.

Then, I had my students log onto Conceptua Math (I had already posted the link on their Edmodo site for easy access). They choose the free tool Adding with Uncommon Denominators.

This free tool was exactly what they needed to help them finish their worksheet. They could manipulate each fraction to find the common denominator. Pictures were located next to each fraction to help them visualize the difficult whole/part issue with fractions. The best part was that the could check their answer before they wrote it down on their worksheet - this means that every student's work was perfect before they turned it in!

Not only did my students work hard on their assignments, they also help each other! Once someone figured out how to manipulate their denominator they were excited to help their neighbors!

Only problem I had was they students all used my username that I created. I wish this website would allow for a teacher/student account options under the free version. The premium version offers much more, but our school cannot afford it.

Social Networking in the Classroom

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 2 comments
I love Facebook. I will admit it...I log on several times a day to check up on old friends, classmates, and colleagues. Without Facebook, I would not have kept in touch with many of the people I grew up with, and I would not be able to share my life with so many people.

But...does Facebook have a place in the classroom? Personally, I believe that Facebook has too many distractions (pictures, games, applications, etc.) to be useful in a structured classroom environment. However, I do believe that social networking can be a wonderful addition to classrooms using technology. My view of social networking is any website or application that allows for communication and collaboration.

Edmodo seems to mirrored after Facebook in look and design. I have used it with two different classes this year, 5th & 9th grade. I upload assignments, files, events, links, and even reminder notes. Students can download files that I have posted and then when they are finished with their assignment they 'turn-in' or upload their finished work. I like this much better than getting assignments e-mailed. They are more organized and are ready to be graded right on one page. Students like this website because they are able to post their picture and communicate with their friends (all publicly on the home wall). My 9th graders were great at sharing helpful website links and resources with their class.

Additional social networking website that I think could be useful in the classroom would include: Ning, Zonkk, Moodle, & Twitter. I also believe that Google Apps could be used resourcefully in a classroom.

What Can You Do Instead of PowerPoint?

Friday, May 7, 2010 0 comments
I have promised myself that this blog would be a positive place for educational tools and ideas, so I will not go into how much I hate dislike PowerPoint. But, I will present to you some different websites that could replace PowerPoint presentations in your classroom.

Glogster is an online poster or blog that students can use to organize information and share ideas. What I love about this website is the educational setup. I am able to add students to my account and they can see their classmates's glogs. This way students can independently view other projects that are school related and appropriate. In my technology class, I've integrated education into my projects by having students create glogs about science terms such as magnets, plant life, and recycling. They are able to add definitions in word bubbles and videos using SchoolTube.

Animoto creates unique professional looking videos with your files. Students upload videos, music, pictures, and text while the Animoto team does the production work for you. This could get students to focus more on the information they find and not on how the presentation looks. I always try and explain to my students that even the flashiest effects and techniques won't overlook bad information.

Prezi is most like a PowerPoint slideshow, but it consists of one organized page that allows you to zoom in on the information you want to focus on for each slide. I believe that the production of a Prezi presentation is a little difficult at first. The over all effect looks great, but students will find it hard to start on a blank canvas.

Using Technology Correctly - Integrated with Learning

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 0 comments
This semester the elementary teachers taught their students in computer lab once a week. It has been hard for me to let go of control. Some of them have found some great websites, but it just isn't anymore than what I was doing. My administration really wanted them to expand on their curriculum while in the classroom.

But - today, the 3rd grade teacher did a really great lesson with her class! She found these flipbooks on Nasa's website and went along with her students while they read about each planet and wrote down specific characteristics. The students were really engaged and seemed very interested in participating!

Road Trippin'

My 6th & 7th grade students are on a road trip! They have been to almost 8 different states and are keeping themselves very busy. Instead of doing more bookwork and tutorials, I decided to let them teach themselves and their peers for the final quarter of the school year. They are learning so much more about what PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher can do that any lecture or book would tell them. They are sharing ideas and really helping each other learn! I've also been able to implemented different websites and applications that I've wanted to use throughout the year, but have never had time. (Glogster, Aviary, Picnik, GoogleEarth, Picasa, etc.)

When starting my road trippin' project, I decided that I was going to have the students do an educational assignment as they traveled to each destination. I feel that as a vocational and/or elective class, I should help other core-subject teachers by focusing not only on my objectives, but also by reinforcing theirs. And - I truly feel that as a technology teacher sometimes I am missing content for my projects. Student can only do so many 'about me' PowerPoints within their lifetime. By using ideas and topics from the state the students are traveling to, I am able to implement a new technology skill as well as a math or reading/writing assignment. I feel I am truly implementing education into technology!

Check out the projects my students have created so far:

I want to Integrate Education into Technology

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 1 comments
I want to blog, I really, really want to blog...but I don't know how. How do you keep updating something with unique and helpful information? Will I run out of ideas? Even though I do not know if I can keep this up, I am going to try. I have been teaching K-12 computers in small private school for 2 1/2 years, and without the help of other educational blogs, I would not have been able to engage my students with educational websites and activities! I have learned so much from other blogs, and now I am ready to help other teachers.

Recently, I did a field study project for my masters class that integrated technology into the school wide curriculum. I organized and developed over 20 different technology enriched lesson plans for teachers in my building to use. After finishing this assignment, I was frustrated. I am not very good at integrating technology into education. I am a technology teacher - I know how to use and learn with computers and other technology. I was having trouble coming up with the 'education' part of my paper. I want to integrate math, science, english, and reading in my the technology curriculum.

So - that is what I am going to try and do. I am going to explore and share different ways I integrate education into technology classes!