Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trading Card Creator

I follow Richard Byrne's blog, "Free Technology for Teachers," like a stalker. He consolidates and posts education resources he finds online there and they are always outstanding. This past week, he posted about Read Write Think's Trading Card Creator on the web.

The Trading Card Creator is an excellent way to have students show what they know.They are able to create a trading card about a historical person, fictional charcter, current figure, event, or concept.

If a student, for example chooses to highlight Ben Franklin, they should download a public image from a site like Then, research Franklin and use what they find to create the trading card.Another nice feature of this tool is that students can download the card when they are finished! No account or email address is needed :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

3rd Grading Period Symbaloos

Here are the links to the 3rd grading period Symbaloos! Remember, these can be shared on blogs, sent home to parents, or used in whatever way fits your students' needs. All linked activities are interactive, TEKS based, and correlate with the curriculum for each grade level. Blue is math, green is science, and red is ELA. We have also sent these to your CTA and requested that they please place them in Student Share so that students will have access to them throughout the building (student computers in the classroom, computer labs, science labs, etc).

Thanksgiving Resources

Scholastic has put together a phenomenal collection of resources to teach your students about the first Thanksgiving. Take your students on virtual field trips where they can explore the Mayflower, compare and contrast the daily life of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, and learn about the Thanksgiving feast. There are also great resources for teachers as well. They have lesson plans, videos, ideas for arts and crafts, and even book lists for various grade levels. 

Check it out HERE.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Digital Citizenship Made Easy!

If I asked you to define 'digital citizenship', could you? More importantly, could you to a student? Would you be able to not only define what it is but teach those same students about it. Have no fear, I have the PERFECT resource to help you out! 

Common Sense Media has create a Scope and Sequence with lessons on all the various aspects of digital citizenship. It has topics that cover internet safety, cyber-bullying, information literacy, copyright and MORE. There are 8 topics in all. Their collection of lessons also span from kindergarten to twelfth grade. So, even our wee-little web users can be knowledgeable when they browse. 

Just an FYI for you: Common Sense Media's mission statement is: "Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology." 

You can browse all of these lesson plans HERE

Monday, November 5, 2012

Safe Online Searching

I wanted to let you know about an online resource, provided by the FBI, called Safe Online Surfing. I have taken a brief look at some of the presentations on the website and think this will engage students at most any elementary level. There are games for the students to play set in cool island scenes that allow for fun creativity. There are support instructions for teachers as well so take a look. Also, if you need CIPA support, this might be something you could use if you don’t already have something in place. It’s very ‘user friendly’. Anyone can use the site, but grades 3 through 8 have specific islands. An exam is available for each level if a teacher signs up.

Here is an article about the site.

TCEA1011 Conference

Last Saturday, Region 10 and Region 11 came together to host a technology conference. The conference was called, 'Teach Me: Teaching Using Technology' and featured tons of great presentations. 

Hundreds of educators from across Texas showed up for the collaboration and learning opportunity. There were sessions on everything from flipping your classroom, Pinterest for educators, PBL, Google Tools, and even more. Edtech celebrities were there sharing their innovative ideas on implementing technology. However, don't fret because you couldn't make it. Many of these great presenters can also be found on Twitter, sharing bits of great thoughts at any time. Here are a few that were in attendance that day:


Some other more familiar faces in attendance were Jessica Branch (@Jessica_Branch), Stacey McGough (@smcgough), and myself (@AngelynCheatham).

So proud of our Garland teachers taking time out of their weekends and absorbing this phenomenal professional development on their day off! Way to go ladies!!! Can't wait to see the great things you are able to do with all that you learned. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Spy a COW in the classroom!

No, not this kind of COW...

The kind of COW (computers on wheels) that allows teachers and students to go beyond the boundaries of the classroom and explore while learning. This is what this COW looked like...

5th graders at Davis Elementary were using laptops with their math lesson in Mrs. Hodgkins class. Each student was able to log into his/her account on EnVision (our digital math textbook) and review the math topic of the day, practice guided and independent problems, and then reinforce their understanding with the accompanying activity. While each student was working hard solving these problems at their own pace, the teacher was able to work with students one-on-one for further help. The combination of technology and pedagogy during this lesson allowed for authentic differentiated learning in math. KUDOS Mrs. Hodgkins!! 

COWs are an excellent tool to use in the classroom. Here are some other ideas on ways that you can use laptops in the classroom:

  • use with Britannica Online for research
  • allow students to work on Tech Apps Projects from the curriculum
  • practice skills using the TEKS correlated Symbaloos
  • student-creation & publishing
  • Web 2.0 tools like Voki or Blabberize
  • district resources like Tumblebooks or EnVision as seen above
Are you ready to go beyond the walls of the classroom with a COW in your classroom? I can help! Please let me know if you would like help setting up, getting going, or teaching a lesson with laptops and your students. I would be happy to help!