Monday, February 25, 2013

How I'm Getting Ready for the Smarter Balanced Assessment

The Smarter Balanced Assessment for Language Arts / Literacy requires students to read a passage and then type in a response in a text box.  Students also have to use details from the text to answer the questions.

In order to get students used to this type of assessment, I created a Google Site with a Google Form embedded below the information on the site.  Take a look:


Since this will be a little different than what my students are used to, I will model first, guide with practice and then gradually get students to feel comfortable doing this type of assessment independently.  

Click here if you would like to view my entire Google Site on the story we are reading.

In the future, I would hope to see these type of resources available from publishers.  





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Here is a phenomenal K-5 site of interactives that work very well projected onto your SMART board.  This site was created by Karen Ogen, an IT Specialist in North Carolina.

The site is organized by tabs across the top.  The topics cover a large variety of subjects.

One thing I have done in the past, to use interactive sites like these, is to create QR codes for the sites.  I then place the QR code at the top of a piece of paper with a few questions that students could answer after viewing the site.  Students scan the QR code with the Quick Mark download and then answer the questions.  

Take a look at some of the great opportunities from this site:





I would like to thank Karen for putting this site together (notice it is made with Weebly!) Check back often since she adds new sites to the Weebly often.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vocabulary Sites to Help Teach Common Core

This week my reading group will be diving into a fictional story with some very challenging vocabulary and text.  Throughout the week, I plan to use some vocabulary activities to aid in building background knowledge and understanding.


The Common Core State Standards require students to work with vocabulary in many ways.  Take a look:
To make sure my students are able to meet the standards, I am planning on using the following sites to help them develop the necessary skills:

#1 Wordsift - This site will create a word cloud from text and then adds imagery to build knowledge.  It can also sort words by subject area and has a work area to create a "word poster".  I have made a video tutorial showing how I plan to use this site:


#2 Clean Dictionary - This site has a simple interface for quick reference.  I like that if a definition includes a word that students don't know, they can click the word to see its definition.

#3 Word Hippo - I am in LOVE with this site.  Look at all of the options:

I will be using Literature Circles and assigning roles to the students throughout the book.  If a student is assigned the role of vocabulary finder, this site will come in very handy! 

#4 Wordia - is a free games-based learning platform - built on the foundations of a dictionary - that blends word-based learning games with interactive video vocabulary.

Students can play games with random vocabulary words in single or multi- player platforms.

Students can search for a word, compete in games and teachers can track their students' progress.

Teachers can make games with the vocabulary words they choose.  It takes just a minute and the game can be shared with students.

I made two games for this week.


The teacher made games are simply students typing in the words on the screen, which is good for exposure to the words.  Games made by Wordia are more in-depth with meanings.

I hope these vocabulary resources are helpful to you as well.




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Students will LOVE These!

Here are some Valentine's Day Activities for your enjoyment.

Check out these 20 Valentine's Sites from Ask a Tech Teacher

Here are some sites from old blog posts for you to check out.







Check out this Livebinder by KB Konnected on Valentine's Day.



Click here for some printable Valentine's Day Cards.





 InTec InSights has some great resources.

Word Hearts  -make a heart filled with words.


Text Layout - make your text in a heart shape.
















Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Would You Like to Create eBooks on iPads?

Are you interested in making ebooks on iPads?  We did this last week and I wanted to share how we did it.


First the students had to research a bug of their choice.  We used the Power Knowledge Life Science site.  We wrote our articles collaboratively in Google Docs.

After this we found some images to go with our stories and uploaded them to Dropbox

Next, students used the Book Creator app on the ipads to create the book.  The students used the Google Drive app to copy and paste their text into Book Creator, which made the process go so quickly.  They then used the Dropbox app to access their pictures and added them to the stories.  

Students also played around with background colors, fonts, and adding audio to personalize their books.  I then emailed the book to myself in the form of a PDF.

Finally I uploaded the books to a site called Issuu. This site worked wonderfully.  Uploading was fast and it provided an embed code for sharing.

Here are some of the ebooks embedded below:




I highly recommend giving Book Creator and Issuu a try!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Some Great Ideas for Your SMART Board

The day has come.  I'm ready to share my health unit SMART board lessons. It really feels good to finally share these lessons.  

If you are a 5th grade teacher who teaches the systems of the human body, these lessons can be projected on your SMART board and used to teach the content.  You may wish to supplement with your own assessments and activities following the lessons.
As you may know, I started creating these lessons three years ago and it has been a work in progress.  Each year I work to improve and spice up the lessons to make them better.  Now that the lessons are of a quality that I am happy with, I have decided to upload all of my lessons to the SMART Exchange site so that they can be available to anyone who would like them.  I am also sharing them via my Weebly site where they are available to download.  (Check back often as more lessons will be added each week.) 

Here are some great posts I have come across lately that are also sharing some great lessons and techniques:

Math Active: Resource for Flipping Math WITHOUT Video





The Whiteboard Blog - Widget to embed HTML codes!  







SMART Notebook QuickTip: Grouping and Pull Tabs










Also, remember to check for updates to keep your SMART Notebook software working to its optimum performance.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

DLD Was a Success!

We had a wonderful Digital Learning Day!  Each school used a Wallwisher to post the different types of technology being integrated throughout our district.  We sure have some wonderful educators who are integrating some amazing technologies.

Take a look!
Barlow Park Elementary School



Murray Park / Quest Elementary Schools



Middle School / Catalyst Middle Schools



High School / Lumen High Schools:




Thank you to everyone who participated.  What a great day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Digital Learning Day 2013

Digital Learning Day is meant to celebrate teachers and showcase successful technology integration in classrooms across the country.  

Educators all across the nation will be talking about what they plan to do for Digital Learning Day.  Each of our schools are using the site Wallwisher to share what we are doing today.  I hope you have time to share your plan with your colleagues and celebrate your students' engagement through technology integration.

This video is about Mountain View, WV, the school that inspired Digital Learning Day:




Here's my plan for Digital Learning Day:


We will begin the day making Prezi Presentations in our Reading class.  Last week we read non-fiction text and took notes about what we read.  We then wrote summaries. Now it's time to use our 21st Century Skills to think critically, be creative, collaborate and communicate our knowledge!



Next, my students will show what they learned from watching my Flipped Math Video by solving math problems together and using their "math talk".



In the afternoon, students will log in to participate in our online hybrid spelling class.  They get all of their practice, work and assignments from the website.  I often make video tutorials for the spelling class to guide students through their learning.





For Tiger Time (RTI) my students are making ebooks on the media center iPads.  Last week we wrote our own articles about bugs and created storyboards for turning these into books.  Now it's time to put it all together.




And in Science class I will present the interactive SMART board lesson I created for delivering the Circulatory System content. Complete with video, audio, games and assessment.  

You might think that all of this would tire me out, however, I feel more energetic and enthusiastic than ever.  The students are working harder than I am, and they are experiencing a very rich technological education.

Happy Digital Learning Day everyone! 





Monday, February 4, 2013

This Video Just Makes Me Happy

It's that time of year when we hold meetings to inform parents about the choices they have for their children.  In our building we have two choices for the students.  One is a project based Charter school (Quest) and the other is MPES (Murray Park Elementary School).  Both schools offer different learning and teaching styles.

As part of this meeting, my co-teacher and I decided to put together a video showcasing what 5th grade at MPES looks like.  We sure had fun putting the video together and it helped us to step back and celebrate our students and how much they do each and every day in our classroom and in our school.

Take a look:


MPES 5th Grade Parent Video from Deb Norton on Vimeo.

You can really sense from the video how much our students love learning at MPES.  I feel very fortunate to teach in the Ripon Area School District and in particular at Murray Park Elementary School.