Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Classroom Technology

This class has opened my eyes to numerous technological tools and functions that I can use in my classroom. Prior to this class, I had heard about the world of blogging, but had never experienced a blog of my own before. This class forced me to get out of my technology comfort zone and open a blog and twitter account.

Now that I have been blogging for a few weeks now, I see how I could use the blog within my classroom in a variety of ways. One way I could use a blog in my classroom is to communicate more efficiently with parents. I could use my blog to share what we are doing in the classroom, what we are learning, upcoming events, and I could even have students reflect on what they had learned that week to share with their parents. Another way I could use a blog in my classroom is to communicate with my students. We could discuss books we are reading in class, something we learned in a subject at school, or even have students take turns writing a discussion question that the other students would respond.

I look forward to integrating the world of blogging into my classroom in the future.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Software Evaluation

While searching for a piece of software that would enhance my students’ ability to create projects to show what they have learned after reading a book on their own, I found a program called TuxPaint. TuxPaint is a free program that can be downloaded to any PC or Mac computer. If you do not have the time to download TuxPaint it can also be purchased on a CD for $6.99. It is geared for students between the ages 3-12.

This is an example of the TuxPaint main screen.
Image used with permission from

This piece of software allows students to draw, create pictures, and add sound effects with a multitude of drawing tools. This program even has its own mascot, Tux, to give students helpful hints, tips, and information about TuxPaint. Another great aspect to this software is teachers/parents abilities to alter TuxPaint behavior by using a graphical interface.

After reviewing all the information and reviews about this software and using the two evaluation forms in module 4 as guidelines, I feel this software would be a great addition to my school. Students would be able to use it in a variety of ways for many different projects. I can already see many students getting excited about created a project using TuxPaint after reading a book independently.

For more information about the TuxPaint go to

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Assistive/Adaptive Technologies

As I was watching the video of Dr. Amy Staples and researching more about assistive technologies, I have realized that I have made several adaptations for students by using different assistive technologies without even realizing it. Simple things as in giving a student a different gripper, allowing them to use different programs to help their reading and writing skills, highlighter tape, and even talking calculators. After learning more about assistive technologies, I feel like I have a better understanding of different programs and opportunities out there for me to use within my classroom for students who need some extra help.

New ideas/applications/opportunities
One new application that I have learned about it is Write:OutLoud. This program has many different features that allow the struggling student to type what they are thinking without having to worry about spending too much time sounding out words and getting words spelled correctly. I think this would be a great addition in the lives of a few students that I had this school year. This would allow them to focus more on the story they wish to write than the actual process and their spelling. Eventually, this program will help to improve their writing and spelling skills. For more information about Write:OutLoud go to
Image used with permission from
Another application that I found was a device called Coin-U-Later. This device has realistic looking coins and a dollar bill on it. This allows students that struggle with money sense an easier time counting and adding money. In addition to its ability to be like a calculator, there are also a variety of games that you can play on it to allow students more time to practice their money skills.

Locations for Attaining Adaptive Technologies
One website I located while researching was our AEA’s website. There is a page dedicated to numerous resources and websites to go to attain not only information about different assistive technologies, but also some different websites that will let you order, borrow, and download software and other technologies to assist your struggling students. Prior to researching this topic, I had no idea our AEA had a person whose specific job was assistive technologies. This has opened my eyes to a whole new world of helping students by using technology. The website is

Another website I located while researching was enablemart. This website sells a variety of assistive technologies that can be used with students within the classroom. As I was looking around at all the different assistive technologies that they offer, I was completely surprised at how many programs, devices, and softwares there are that will assist students in a variety of ways. The website is

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wikipedia and What is to Come of the Written Word


Prior to reading Chapter 2 in our Literacy 2.0 book, I had never used Wikipedia before for classroom or for personal use. Like many people, I had viewed Wikipedia as an unreliable source due to so many different people being able to post, edit, and add anything they want about any topic. As I was reading chapter 2, I was surprised when Frey et al (2010) mention, “But a study published in Nature (Giles, 2005) suggested that the entries in Wikipedia were only slightly less accurate than those in Britannica” (p. 34). This statement along with others from this chapter has changed my feelings on Wikipedia, and I feel I am more open to using it both for personal and classroom use.

This chapter gave two examples of how teachers use Wikipedia in their classroom. One teacher, Mr. Franklin, used it to model a lesson of how to check to see if sources are reliable. Another teacher, Magaret Santori, used it to show how people can communicate their disagreements without putting other people down. I thought both of these teachers did an excellent job of modeling and using Wikipedia in their classroom. As a second grade teacher, I don’t foresee myself using Wikipedia like these two teachers within my own classroom. I feel Wikipedia in these two manners is far too abstract for my students to fully understand its purpose for research. If I had older students, I think it would be beneficial to use Wikipedia in my classroom.

Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Gonzalez, A. (2010). Literacy 2.0: Reading and writing in the 21st century classroom. Indiana: Solution Tree Press.

What is to Come of the Written Word 

Internet, eReaders, and other technologies have become prominent within classrooms and even within homes. As a person who loves to read and owns numerous books, I have always been partial to the traditional print world. However, as I am becoming more and more comfortable with the three dimensional reading and writing technologies, I am opening up to the idea of owning an eReader in the near future. As technology continues to improve and evolve, better products will be introduced to help enhance our students’ learning of reading and writing. I don’t think traditional print will ever be completely phased out, but I do believe we will begin to see less and less of it within the classrooms.

Images used with permission from and

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AEA Resources

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While taking a look at all the different resources that AEA will have available for teachers in the coming school year, one stuck out at me as something that could work very well within my classroom. BookFlix is being offered by AEA for the next school year. BookFlix pairs up fictional video storybooks with nonfiction ebooks. This service helps to reinforce reading skills and help students to develop real-world knowledge and understanding.
I can see how beneficial BookFlix would be within my classroom. It would be a great resource to use to help student not only get motivated to read, but also to help them relate what they’ve read to real life situations. I think BookFlix would be a great addition to my classroom because of the variety of ways I could use it. I would be able to use it for whole group lessons by projecting it from the projector. Also, I would be able to use it for small group and individual lessons by having students access it from a computer while I am working with other students on other skills.

I cannot wait to play around with this new service and watch my students enjoy it as well!

For more information about BookFlix go to -BookFlix

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Learning is Noisy

In chapter 2 of the Teaching the New Writing book, Marva Solomon writes, “Online writing is not quiet... All the children had strong physical reactions to the multimodal elements they added to their pages” How do you feel about a noisy classroom?

A noisy classroom to me means that the students are actively engaged in their learning. This will allow the students to be more involved in what they are learning thus retain the information for a longer period of time. A noisy classroom is not something that educators should be afraid of. Instead, they should embrace the noise as a sign that their students are a part of a rigorous and relevant learning experience.

Too often educators are afraid to let the noise levels rise within their classrooms. They worry that they will not be able to regain control of the classroom. The key to having a successful noisy classroom is to teach the students what an active, noisy classroom looks and sounds like. This will help the students know what is and isn’t allowed during these “noisy” learning periods. If students know and understand what to expect from the teacher and their peers during these times, they will be able to be more actively involved in the learning experience.

A website that I found called The Noisy Classroom,, gives some information about why noisy classrooms are necessary for learning.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gaming and Education

As a teacher of second grade students, I know how much they love to be involved and active while learning or practicing skills. Last year my school was able to purchase a mobile lab that housed laptop computers for teachers to check out and use with their students throughout the course of the day. I knew I wanted my students to be able to use the computers in an effective way that allowed them to grow or expand on a skill. I decided to focus on the area of math facts since that seemed to be an area that my students were having some trouble with. I came across a game called Tugboat Addition from This game allowed students to not only work on their addition facts, but also to compete against their classmates. The competition aspect was a huge motivator for students who were struggling with their math facts more than the other classmates.

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Another great aspect to this game was the fact that I could strategically group the students into various groups each week, so those that were struggling were not constantly playing against the students who knew their math facts very well. I could tell the students really loved playing this because they would often beg to play it on days that we did not have the mobile lab.