Sunday, September 16, 2012

Technology for Teachers

I love technology! Finding ways to use it in my classroom and to make the job of teaching more fun and manageable is the greatest thing in the world. This year I am looking for more ways to integrate technology into both my teaching and management.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be awarded a grant to purchase SMART Response Clickers. They are awesome. I used them a little last year, but I am going full force this year. The kids have a great time using them and I love the instant feedback I get right on my computer. I use question sets I find on the SMART Exchange website as well as question sets I create to go with what I am teaching. My favorite thing about my SMART Response Clickers is that every kid has to respond, every time. No one gets skipped, no one can hide and there is no pressure to answer before your neighbor.

My iPad 2 is another one of my favorite tools to use when I teach. I love my SMART Board, but don't enjoy being tethered to it. I tried using an Airliner tablet, but never really got the hang of writing on it and not having a frame of reference of where I was on the board. I took advantage of an inservice opportunity at the Orange County Department of Education last year and learned about an App that has made my iPad an invaluable tool. It's called Spashtop. Using Splashtop allows me to mirror my computer screen on my iPad. I can hold my iPad and operate my computer and SMART Board from anywhere in the room without wires. It is awesome! I can move around, interact with students all over the room and make lessons dynamic. Check out their website and see if this would be a good solution for you and your teaching.

Pinterest came through for me again! I found a pin for Remind 101 and I am singing it's praises. This App allows me to use text messages to communicate with my students' parents. In this day of instant communication, using text messages helps parents and students stay updated and informed quickly and efficiently. I like Remind 101 because it keeps my phone number private and makes texting easy. I can schedule texts for future delivery, too. I am looking forward to using this a lot this year!

I am hoping to use our school's new N-Computing system this week with my students. Six computers running off of one tower. So far, I love it. The clean design and lack of hardware and cords everywhere has really improved my classroom decor. After we have a chance to use them this week, I'll weigh in on how they function.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's Been A Wild Ride

Wow, what a crazy start to the year we've had. My class hasn't changed much, but everything around me was in flux until today. I started the year with 33 bright and shiny third graders on my roster. Thirty-two arrived ready to learn with one no show. Now, after hiring a new teacher and creating several combination classes and moving about 70 students from one class to another, I have 28. This is the smallest class I have taught since the days of true class size reduction. It is a dream. There is floor space in my room once again.

So, after all of this movement and turmoil, Back to School Night is tomorrow. To say I am behind on my preparations is an understatement. I just finished my presentation, have to make copies in the morning and still have lots of things to hang in my classroom. I am confident pretty sure that it will all get done. How's that for positive thinking? 

Even with my nerves about the event, I am excited about Back to School Night. I worked hard this summer to decorate and prepare my classroom. I have gotten wonderful feedback from parents and students alike.  I can't wait to stand up in my beautiful, organized room and talk with all of my wonderful parents about my plans for their students this year.

I'll post pictures soon... after I get it all together.