Builder tools in action

builder tools

I am just so excited!!  For the better part of two years I have been talking to my teachers about using the DE Streaming teacher tools.  I have explained – they are easy to set up, students will really be engaged, I promise you’ll like it – to no avail…until this week!

KUDOS to Mrs. Mitchell, Ms. Hammil, and Dr. Hunter-Lowe who all jumped in the deep end this week.  Mrs. Mitchell and Ms. Hammil have worked with me to create a DE Streaming assignment that requires research, note taking and videos to crete a Wordle on civil war leaders.  Dr. Hunter-Lowe used a DE Streaming writing prompt to help her students prepare for the writing test. 

The kids are all excited.  The teachers are pleased.  The level of technology implementation in  the building continues to rise.

21Things Post #11

I am forever getting great stuff from folks in my PLN.  Two websites that I was introduced to recently are interesting:  This first one – Kidblog looks promising and will need to be sanctioned by OITMS before anyone uses it.  The premise is the same as classblogmeister – simple safe blogging for students. Instructional blogging – like writing prompts, journal entries and literature circles.  The interface of the Kidblog platform is clean, slick and updated.  I haven’t played with it at all to see if it has the same features as the blogmeister.  We’ll have to see…


The other site is – it’s a math game.  It’s very cute and just for practice in basic math facts.  The only part that is free is the addition part, but I played and had fun.  “competed with two other kids” and even had a progress report and achievement certificate sent to “my parents” email address.  I think there may be some real use for this in a classroom setting.


Orchard in front of the Room


I know many of you think about Orchard for remediation – and it’s a great tool for that.  But Orchard is also a wonderful tool to use for whole group direct instruction.  It talks to the kids and has games as well as “powerpoint” type of presentations to use for both language arts and math.

But this post is not about Orchard really, it’s about Mrs. Rowson and Mrs. Armstrong who have decided that they will make the best use of the technology available to them.  You see, this dynamic duo used to be in a second grade Promethan interactive classroom.  They had activotes and a slate and made me come in to co-teach on a regular basis.  Then they were moved to third grade and a room with only an MCPS setup.  They made a decision early on about how they were going to handle it…they got activotes and a slate and are making me come in to co-teach…

We worked on Author’s purpose yesterday using Orchard for whole group instruction.  Orchard has a reading and writing skill builder which can be cucstomized depending on the SOL you are trying to address.  So we set up the activity so that all the questions could be used a discussion prompt on Author’s purpose and then we used some test taking strategies to answer the question.  We did have a bit of fun.

Let me know if you are interested in doing something similar…

Add “Watch TV” to your homework assignment

 Electric company

The Electric Company is back and it’s better than ever…I just found out that WHRO will be airing the Electric Company at 5:00pm weekdays.  The show is perfect for 2nd grade and struggling third grade readers.  Far from the classic that I watched when I was a kid, the updated show has all the bells and whistles that attract the current generation.  I ran across an interview that the new producer did and she explained some of the changes… .

In addition, the show has a really cute website that helps students to practice some basic second grade word study skills.  I would add this site to those that students use in the computer center:

Ever Hear of BookWink?

Ok…so my PLN has a lot of great folks and they always share great stuff.  Today NedraI shared a site called BookWink.  It’s great!  Video booktalks on a variety of subjects.  I’m thinking of a host of uses for it in language arts and Library classes.  Take a look for yourself and see, and if I’ve emailed you with a link to this post you better believe that I’m thinking of using this site with you…   

Podcasts anyone?

You know, I get on a lot of mailing lists…I’m not sure if I signed up for all of them, but this one seems to be a good one.  I just got an email from Shell Education about a new podcast that they have released.  It’s on teaching idoms…so I went to the site and they have a few good podcasts that would be helpful to all of you teaching language arts.  So go check out Shell Education Podcasts – each podcast comes with a handout for you to use with your students. 

I’ve got a new convert…I think…

Today was a great day!!  I went to Ms. Brockman’s class to teach reading.  Two weeks ago (maybe three) Ms. Brockman emailed me asking if I would do a reading lesson for her.  She didn’t have the topic yet, but wanted to make sure that she got a spot in my schedule.  (I am only at Victory Elementary once a week, so I get booked real fast.)  We just had the projectors installed and Ms. Brockman wanted to get started using it.  She’s shown some United Streaming, but wanted to take things to another level.   So after my Kidspiration inservie, Ms. Brockman decided that the reading lesson should use Kidspiration.  So at 9:30 this morning, I took my laptop and headed down the hall.  I did my usual introduction – “I’m here to teach your teacher, we may have to stop the lesson to answer her questions, that will not be your signal to talk” – but I knew we wouldn’t have a problem.  Ms. Brockman is one of the good old fashiond teachers who uses classroom management as the cornestone of her class climate. 

 So we used the Kidspiration template that I brought to sort words with the “oo” sound (too, juice, blue, group etc.).  It was great.  My focus was on demonstrating how to introduce the technology: Kidspiration and the wireless keyboard throught the lesson.  She jumped right in teaching the lesson, “How do you spell ‘oo’ in that word?” “Let’s give him a firecracker cheer…” by the end, both Ms. Brockman and the majority of her students knew how to use the wireless keyboard. Then we sorted facts and opinions as a review again using a Kidspiration template.  We talked about grading the sorting activity and allowing the students to complete it on their own during center time at the computers in the back of the room.

Of course there were problems with my templates – the print was too small, the colors were plain etc.  Ms. Brockman wanted to make beter templates for next week.  So during her planning time I came back and Ms. Brockman and I worked together to create templates for the next story making the changes that she had in mind.  It was a great learning experience for both of us.  She learned about Kidspiration, and I learned about the second grade reading curriculum.  The repettitive nature makes it a great place to try out different types of technology.    We’ve made some preliminary plans to create graphic organizers for use in a retelling activity for additional reading comprehension and writing practice.  I look forward to working with Ms Brockman and her class again.