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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ten Web 2.0 Backchannel Sites

I always like to have feedback that is immediate and easy to use.  I do not have time to do much set up for all of my classes.  So I have put together a list of my "Top 10" sites I use to collect data from my students that are easy and FREE:

  1. Today's Meet--This site is so quick to use and easy that the student's actually love it.  You set up a meeting and give the students a link to your room.  They sign in and type--all responses are label by the student's name.  You can then turn this into a PDF if you want to grade the responses and keep a record.
  2. Edmodo--If you haven't heard of this classroom management site you need to check it out.  It allows student to give you feedback and you can grade it on this site and leave comments.  You set up the class and give the students a code to join--NO WORK!  
  3. Google Presentation--I start it and share it with the class and they all have to make their own slide with their part of the JIGSAW from the material or they share their thoughts.  Original thoughts get more points than repeated thoughts.
  4. Padlet-- the old Wall Wisher sight.  It is a fun site to collect brainstorming ideas and it is also very visual for the students to use. 
  5. Twitter Doc--Have the students tweet with a specific hashtag you have created and collect those tweets in Twitter Doc.   You can then turn them into a PDF and share.
  6. Chatzy--This site allows you to set up a classroom or a quick chat.  All students need is the address to participate.  It's quick, easy and free--try it!
  7. Socrative--Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.  It handles specific questions set up in advance.
  8. Poll Everywhere--Collects specific information you set up in advance.  It is good for gaging student understanding.
  9. NING--this can cost but I asked for a sponsor and I have a corporate sponsor to pay for mine through the site.  It is like facebook for the classroom.  The students like it and it is easy to add discussions and read responses.
  10. Blogger--They have to add comments to a posting I have posted.  I also let students create blogs for a class and add postings about what we are studying.  I like them to respond to my postings better because of their comments are all in one place.  Checking everyone's blog takes time--something I don't have a lot of.
Honorable mention is fun brainstorming site that makes participation fun.  It takes some practice to get great results but it's a type of mind mapping so there are times it works the best in small groups.  The students like the mind mapping activities and it is a great critical thinking skill.

If you find this post helpful--let me know!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Literacy Across the Curriculum

My School--Clayton Ridge Community School District has a lazer focus for our Professional Development of increasing reading scores.  We have an early out every Wednesday at 2:20 and we work in our Professional Learning Communities on how to increase reading proficiency until 4:00.

My Professional Learning Community is Teacher Driven Professional Learning!~~Awesome!  Teachers decide what we need to learn and invite experts in to work with us to develop or find activities that would fit our curriculum and our teaching style.

My PLC started by looking at the data on reading comprehension.  Our next step was to interviewed the students and asked what they thought . . . was the problem for their poor reading scores.  Their answers gave us insight in how to progress forward.

Student's Views on why they feel they do poorly on the reading test:

  • Too big of vocabulary
  • Too much reading
  • I gave up years ago
  • Why are these tests important?
  • I don't even know where to start?

What my PLC decided to focused on . . . 

  • Teach test taking skills
  • Teach test taking vocabulary
  • Reword unit test questions to be more like the standardized test
  • Do more reading activities with our text books
  • Simply have the students read more--by adding novels to our classes!
  • Reading more!
  • Have reading activities in all chapters--give them a reason to read.

Books I have decided to use in my Business Classes are:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad~~Marketing
  • Lawn Boy & Lawn Boy Returns--Intro to Bus
  • Lester Thurow Speech--Intro to Bus
  • Midas Touch--Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich--and Why Most Don't--Sm. Bus. Mgt.
  • Disney 2012 Annual Report--Parts in Marketing & Accounting
  • Textbooks in Computer Classes

We also focused on Test Taking Skills

  • Teach using standardized assessment vocabulary
  • We use the website to practice assessment skills
  • We teach strategies for reading test-- Examples:
  • Skim read the questions first
  • As you read write down the main idea of each paragraph
  • How to figure out a word you don't know by using context clues
  • Iowa Assessment Vocabulary
  • Graphic Organizers & Activities

You can follow along in the handouts--more activities are on my Website--

Two Suggested Resources to buy for your classroom

A few of my favorite textbook graphic organizers we use from Sue Beer's books

This livebinder contains resources for my novels:

Summative Assessment I like to use is to:

  • Create a book jacket 
  • Include artwork
  • Bio of the author
  • Summary of the book
  • Write a book review

Summative Assessment is creating an Infographic

Three Ways to create them: OR Paper, glue, markers and they make one on their own


Five frogs are sitting on a log.  Four decide to jump off.  How many are left?


FIVE--Why?  Because there's a difference between deciding and DOING!



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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Differentiating Instruction Using Web 2.0 Tools

Differentiating Instruction Using Web 2.0 Tools

Why is it important?

  • Our Classrooms are full of diversity!
  • There are fundamental elements that all learners need to succeed!
  • To feel positive about themselves!
  • You can achieve this my teaching them about HOW they learn!
  • "Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day: Teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime."
  • Link to Learning Style Quiz

Musical Rhythmic

Verbal Linguistic

Logical Mathematical

Body Kinesthetic




Sources and Great Reads

  • Gregory, Gayle H., and Carolyn Chapman. Differentiated Instructional Strategies, One Size Doesn't Fit All. Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks, 2002.
  • Tilton, Linda. The Teacher's Toolbox for Differentiating Instruction: 700 Strategies, Tips, Tools and Techniques. Shorewood, MN: Covington Cove Publications, 2003.
  • Billlmeyer, Rachel, and Robert J. Garmston. Strategies to Engage the Mind of the Learner: Building Strategic Learners; Volume 2. Omaha, NE: Dayspring Printing, 2003.