ETSC Featured Teachers
Kindergarteners Engage with Digital Learning
Posted: Sep 27, 2010 (ESD 112)
In kindergarten, it seemed sufficient for the students to learn how to use the mouse and practice math and reading skills. But I always felt this was a weak area in our kindergarten program.
Then I applied for the Reading in the Sustainable Classroom grant. All I knew was that if I got this grant I would get a document camera, projector, and a Promethean Activboard. Oh, and a laptop too! I had never seen an Activboard. I had heard about them as I researched using technology in the classroom while working on my national board certification. A “smartboard”, as most people referred to all interactive whiteboards, seemed to be the premier classroom technology tool.
The icing on the cake was training through the ESD. Not only would I receive all these cool things, but I would also learn how to effectively support student learning especially in the area of reading instruction.
Well that was then and this is now! Two years later, these tools are fully integrated into my classroom. Projecting books, pictures, or modeling under the document camera has increased student engagement as it is easier for all students to focus on my instruction. Leaving samples projected during work time aids all students in successfully completing their work by allowing a sample to continuously refer to.
I use the Promethean Activboard daily for initial instruction, practice, and remediation. It truly is the “premier” classroom technology tool. With over 200 lessons downloaded from Promethean Planet or created by myself or colleagues, my students have a wealth of activities to help strengthen their skills and meet the kindergarten standards. I have taught my students how to use the board independently so they can use it at choice time without my help. We often make the most of a learning opportunity by searching on the internet when questions arise. I no longer have to say, “I am not sure about that. I will check it out later.” Now, as a class, we look it up!
The intrigue of the board never wanes. For 2 years in a row, all students clamor to have a turn during group time, or use the board independently when it is their turn. The quiet, the shy, the academically challenged, the students that used to be reluctant to take a chance, now rise to the challenge. The Activboard provides a safe tool, where incorrect answers can be reset or erased, and success can be felt for all learners.
I applied for the Peer Coaching grant so that I could share with my colleague what I had learned from my ESD 112 instructor, Tanna Colwell. Tanna inspired me to want more for my students. I wanted my teammate’s students to have the same opportunities to be inspired through increased use of technology as mine were. This grant allowed her to receive the same equipment and now I am the coach.
Through the Peer Coaching grant I received a video camera and still camera. My goal this year is to use these tools to showcase my student’s progress in reading and share this visual portfolio with parents. My students love to be video taped and are excited to share their success with their parents. This is a work in progress but that is ok. Like my students, the intrigue to use the technology to support student learning is so great, I am willing to try new things whether they work or not. I can always reset or erase, and continue on until I am successful.
Kelley Smith, NBCT
St. Helens Elementary Kindergarten Teacher
Three Pieces to Using Technology with Students
Posted: Sep 27, 2010 (ESD 112)
Using technology to improve student learning comes in three easy pieces...
Improving student learning through Peer Coaching:
My consultant-coach position as the teacher-librarian for our school gives me the opportunity to “grandmother teach” with technology. Just thinking about this is exciting! Not only can I teach students directly, but I can give our instructional leaders tools that will energize and streamline facets of their teaching. Each time I coach a teacher in a one-on-one collaborating session, I teach a student through the teacher. A teacher needs only to talk with me so that we can schedule meeting times.
I can also coach them formally to help them feel comfortable in using technology to improve student learning. Offering clock-hour credit workshops facilitates teachers in the district to have time to toy with new applications or online databases or student response remotes, with my consultation as needed. “Tech Time”, offered for ten to fifteen minutes during our professional development time, gives me an opportunity to present quick technology snippets about helpful websites, new databases, application tips or new technology. Email tips are a quick, easy way to share technology skills. Teachers can use or round-file electronically, based on their need.
I enjoy passing on information about technology web applications that will assist our instruction staff. Ning offers free, formatted group sites to which the administrator can invite others to participate. Ning could be used for coaches, librarians, principals, book study groups, or student leaders for informal forums using Ning’s blog, events,email and forums. An example below is Ning (http://lcreview.ning.com/) of the Lower Columbia Review Group of WLMA (Washington Library Media Association) from which I organized our region’s business and book review group.
Many times our staffs just need to be informed of services already available within the school or the district. One that our teachers like is the storage of handouts and assignments on the district server, with teacher write rights, and student read rights. Folders on the network for homework delivery are slick and easy to create. If you want to try those, be sure to talk with your district technology staff about setting them up with the proper rights. I save the procedures so that teachers can review the steps needed to use the service with ease.
Have you used Delicious yet? (http://delicious.com/about) Look at the youtube video introduction to Delicious at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1pOsYjCvE8) and learn how to save your bookmarks so that you can access them anywhere you roam digitally. The icing on the cake is that you can share your Delicious bookmarks with fellow teachers, grouping bookmarks into folders and tagging each with common topic tags. Do not want to share all of them? No problem, as you can mark ones for private use only. Using Delicious in our peer coaching sessions and sharing with my coachee has helped streamline our communications. I suggested sharing our Delicious bookmarks on the Washington Library Media Association listserv and now share bookmarks with many librarians across the state of Washington.
Even though website creation is part of the Web 1.0 world, there is great value in having one as a web portal for student learning. Creation of the Robert A. Long Library Website is a portal for purchased online databases, the library schedule, links to other school websites, specialized search engines, search directories and portals, senior seminar help and teacher course pages. Teachers have so little time for creating web pages that any way I can assist them is time well-spent. Included on their pages are website lists, documents for downloading, lesson syllabi and pathfinders.
This is the Robert A. Long library page from which all databases, course pages, search engines and directories are found:
Having a one-stop learning portal assists our students in finding the pathfinder or hotlist or database that will help them succeed in their schoolwork.
Improving student learning through my student instruction:
The second piece is instructing my high school students. Not surprisingly, my roles in teaching them are exactly the same as collaborating with teachers. I work one-on-one with students, facilitate them as they work, and formally teach technology skills for access of information and ifor advanced search strategies. I have noticed that despite their “texting land speeds,” students have not had much experience in Web 2.0 usage beyond cruising through Wikipedia for a quick answer or totalling up friends in their MySpace accounts or amassing Youtube videos.
Case in point: After an initial week of frustrating “googling it” for senior project research, our senior seminar teachers scheduled time, for their seniors, for a lesson in advanced web searching with me. Since the seniors were ready to receive help, they absorbed tips on advanced searching and on usage of the purchased databases that are not filtered. They listened. They applied the information. They thought I was the “information goddess.”
Teaching with my electronic teaching slate, an Airliner, has freed me to wander among students with waning interest in content. “Student response remotes” increase participation and accountability through some easy record keeping, after the initial class roster setup. Having a demonstration of these two simple, relatively inexpensive and effective technologies would give teachers a chance to see how they might be used in their classrooms.
I create a book recommendation blog to promote reading, links to other YA lit bloggers, book drawings, author blogs, book cover images, and music… for a complete experience. Students are encouraged to read and comment at http://whattoreadwhattoread.blogspot.com/. The blog gives them a chance to have more information than the online library catalog provides for book selection.
Improving Student Learning with 24/7 Access Wikis & other Web 2.0 Apps:
The third easy piece is to take advantage of wiki sites created for educators to make a “class/course central.” I have created a wiki for my library science class where I can create assignments, save world wide web links, and save any image or file for students to access at school or at home. Students can comment, ask questions, carry on a dialogue about class topics or upload homework; in other words, fully participate in the class via the wiki. All comments are seen by me and all members of the wiki/class. I use http://rallibsci.pbworks.com/ for our wiki. Another that can use in our district is http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers.
Twitter can be used to create succinct 140-character topic sentences or summaries. Facebook or MySpace communities for Math-letes or Forensics teams or Knowledge Bowl participants could be fabulous usage of these Web 2.0 social networks. Our own Mainstage Theater has a Facebook group.
In conclusion, use a technology that fits your needs. Use a technology that will be fun for you! You will know “if the glove fits,” and you will wonder why it took so long to try on a technology for student learning in your classroom. Go ahead, it comes in all sizes.
Joan Enders, Teacher-Librarian & Educational Consultant
WLMA Lower Columbia Region Chair
Robert A. Long High School, Longview, WA
Healthy Technology: Technology Integration in Personal Fitness Classes
Posted: Sep 27, 2010 (ESD 112)
I teach Personal Fitness to 9th graders and Weight Training and Fitness to 10th-12th graders in the Kelso School District. Each class begins in the gym with students answering an engaging question written on the white board; they answer using wireless responders [clickers]. This process allows me to not only find out who understands the daily question, but to take attendance as I can see which students have answered. The use of wireless responders saves time and gets the students moving right away. Another way we use wireless responders is for assessment in Weight Training and Fitness; I immediately know which students need review and who is ready to move on. This allows me to help them personalize their workouts more effectively.
The ipod Touch remote application affords me a way to control the music and manage classes while I’m in the middle of the gym. I can be mobile and not locked to the computer while still controlling it. The heart rate application has been an invaluable replacement to the personal heart rate monitors. Students check their heart rates during activity time and then adjust their workout intensity accordingly. The iworkout application has a pedometer that students use to measure (track) their distance on walking courses. There are also several workout apps where students can get ideas and watch demos to plan their own workouts. This app helps students get to the next level of personal fitness by setting their own workout goals and hopefully developing a lifetime fitness plan. I also use my 4 ipod Touches to project exercise videos either in small groups during Fitness Grid or for whole class instruction.
We use the web-cam to capture images of the team winners/champions in activities such as tug-of-war and arm wrestling. I then print out the photos and post them for motivation, recognition, and team camaraderie.
Finally, we use the class Wiki to log workouts, get information and share links. This information can then be downloaded to each student’s own computer and synced to the ipod Touches in the calendar program.
Kelso School District
iPods Help Kids Read
Posted: Sep 29, 2010 (ESD 113)
In the spring of 2009, I was fortunate to be awarded a Microsoft Peer Coaching Grant. I applied for this grant on the advice of a teacher librarian colleague I went to school with, Lori Whybark. She couldn't say enough about the professional development opportunities, how the program was succeeding with her own staff, and the generous monies available to implement a technology-based project. I chose 2nd grade teacher, Matt Burtness as my collaborating teacher for the project. He is always ready to try something new, and although he is relatively new to teaching, he is well liked and has earned the respect of our staff as a competent teacher and excellent communicator.
We had three targets in mind while brainstorming a project; it had to be engaging for the students, it should connect to more than one essential academic area, and of course, it had to be viable at the primary level. We narrowed our focus to reading and writing, and decided to begin with reading fluency - essential for primary students as they learn to become better readers.
We purchased nine iPod nanos and outfitted them with over 50 audio books purchased through iTunes. In addition, we bought the original print versions of each audio book title so students would be able to read along as they listen. Matt modeled how to use the iPods, how to read along with the stories, then helped his students practice, practice, practice. The students in his classroom are able to use these materials multiple times a week as they develop their skills in book choice, pronunciation, and fluency. Through the engaging narration of the audio books (voiced by various prominent actors and authors), students also practice reading with expression, or using their "movie star voice." By giving students a new way to practice their daily book reading, Matt has been excited to note how much more all his students love reading. They love using the iPods like their older siblings and parents, and the engaging, helpful narration keeps them on track. The audio/print format combination especially helps his struggling, emergent readers, and his more reluctant readers who may not regularly experience the joy of having a story read aloud, to experience the excitement that comes with cracking open a new book. In addition, this format models proper pronunciation of age-appropriate text for his English Language Learners.
To increase the amount of books available to students, we have recorded staff, friends, and older students reading additional classroom books with Audacity—an audio recording and editing program. This allowed us to make the most of books that cater more to the variety of reading levels in the classroom. Our next goal in this piece of the project will be to have each student in Matt's above-level reading group practice reading aloud a book of their choosing until they are fluent. They will then record themselves narrating the story and have it added to the iPods for other students to use and enjoy.
In order to integrate more writing opportunities that connect with what they are reading, we began using an on-line "message board" called WallWisher that I learned about in one of my Peer Coaching trainings. Matt posts a weekly question relating to the books they are reading, and the students post their responses on what looks like a sticky note. Topics range from discussing a favorite part of a book, to describing specific characters or problems characters may encounter in that book. Students first prepare their responses by writing what they plan to say (using a sentence starter) in their personal journals. Once a student has finished writing and double checked for capital letters, punctuation, and whether or not it makes sense, they are then able to type out their response on the message board. This published writing, which is now shared with families through Matt's classroom webpage, gives students a desirable purpose to write.
Matt's classroom webpage was created using WikiSpaces. We decided it was necessary to make sharing of the WallWisher posts simpler for families, who were sent long URLs in the weekly newsletter. The general welcome page gives visitors an idea of what we're doing with the project, while also linking them to our WallWisher pages. This classroom page is linked to our District's Website which serves another purpose; it familiarizes the second grade families with the site they will be using more and more frequently as their students get older, for example, to check online grades.
As you continue to read this article, you may be remarking, "Well, this sounds good and the students seem to like it, but does it actually produce any measureable results?" Happily, the answer is yes. By using some of the regularly administered school-wide assessments, we've been able to see considerable growth from the class as a whole. After examining the results of two different school-wide assessments, and comparing Matt's class with another 2nd grade class—a control class that didn't have access to the iPods or audio books—we noticed that Matt's students showed a greater amount of growth between the Fall and Winter tests. On the Fall Reading CBM, 36% of Matt's class was able to meet the expectation of fifty-one words read correctly in one minute. Then, on the Winter CBM, 45% of the class was able to meet the increased expectation of seventy-two words read correctly in one minute. The results of the San Diego Quick sight-word assessment were even more telling of the impact of the project. In the Fall, 32% of the class was reading at the 2nd grade level. However, when we received the Winter scores, they showed that 59% of the students were reading at grade level.
In addition to this concrete data, Matt has also observed a number of his more reluctant readers gaining confidence when it comes to reading a book by themselves. He has also noticed that students have become more skilled in choosing books that they can read successfully. It's exhilarating to see how students are discovering new titles, and especially series of books through the audio narratives, like Magic Tree House, and are seeking out similar books during their school library time.
Written by Sara Hippert and Matt Burtness
(Sara Hippert is a teacher librarian at Brookdale Elementary School in Tacoma, WA)
Middle School Design & Technology
Posted: Sep 27, 2010 (Puget Sound ESD)
Sandy Gady is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches Science, Design, Engineering and Technology to 7th and 8th graders at Pacific Middle School in the Highline School District. Three years ago, she was approached by her principal to create a Design and Engineering elective to provide their students with the opportunity to experience a high-level applied Math/Science/Technology course. There was no existing curriculum and no funds available through the district to support the class, but through her research, personal commitment and Peer Coaching grants, she was able to bring the program to life.
Projects are the central theme of her classroom, and range from Growing Animals (where students measure mass and graph growth over time), to Pull Back Cars (built from scratch, with students writing procedures for construction and then analyzing and diagramming the system of energy transfers and transformation that occur in the car), to Lego Robotics. Technology used daily in her classroom includes TI-83 graphing calculators, Qwizdom student response systems, an interactive whiteboard, projector, document camera, Flip video cameras, and even scroll saws and belt sanders. New this year is a set of HP netbooks, allowing for high levels of daily student access to computers and use of Web 2.0 tools such as Google Docs.
One of the main goals for the year is to capture evidence of student learning in a digital format, culminating with students creating a digital portfolio of their learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The portfolios have been used this year to share with parents at student-led conferences as well as interviews for Aviation High School, a STEM magnet school in the district.
One indication of the success of the Design and Engineering elective is that it has grown from its first year with 30 students to currently serving 90 in three class periods. In the coming year they may expand to a full schedule of five sections with up to 30 students in each class.
Another measure of impact is the test scores of participating students. 88% of those students enrolled in Sandy's Design and Engineering elective met or exceeded standards in both Math and Science. Of those not meeting standard, all but 8% raised their proficiency one level. Students immersed in the Design and Engineering curriculum achieve in Math and Science at a rate close to double their peers that do not engage in her course.
Pacific Middle School is an ethnically and economically diverse school, and Sandy's students include many from populations that are largely underrepresented in the technology and science fields. On the average, 25% of her students do not have a computer or Internet access at home. Her classes provide an opportunity for many students to be introduced to technology in the school environment.
"My vision includes all students being empowered with the ability to utilize the technology of today," Sandy writes, "While preparing them for their dream of tomorrow. These tools include not only the internet and the methods that allow students access to that information, but also include tools that require them to be able to problem solve in a world that is constantly changing."
Professional collaboration is another of Sandy's practices. She was a No Limit Math and Technology coach at Puget Sound ESD before teaching at Pacific, and has continued to actively seek partnerships and share her experience and resources with her colleagues. Her door is always open to anyone that wants to visit and see what her students are accomplishing today.
One of the best demonstrations of the impact of this course on Sandy's students took place at the statewide Future Cities competition, a competition that is part of National Engineers Week and is sponsored in our region by Puget Sound Energy. Three teams of students from Sandy's program participated. The project begins with students using Sim City 4 to design a city in that is at least 150 years in the future and has a population of at least 50,000. Students must choose a section of their city and build a 3-D scale model of that area. The model must be made of recycled materials and contain at least one moving part. As they build the model, they need to represent technology of the future while integrating GREEN elements, addressing transportation, water, energy and pollution, making the city energy efficient while meeting the needs of its inhabitants. Students also write two essays. The first one is a research essay on the topic "Providing an affordable green living space for people who have lost their home due to a disaster or financial emergency." The second is a narrative describing their Future City's key features and design attributes. This essay highlights the unique aspects of their city to give the judges a quick overview of the Future City's infrastructure and its public services. All three of Sandy's teams finished in the top ten!
The Wax Museum
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 (ESD 105)
Six years ago several teachers met one day and decided that they would like to have a culminating project for 8th grade social studies. Thus the wax museum project was born. The 8th grade
With the integration with
- Publisher 2003
- Powerpoint 2003
- Word 2003
- The Hat (to picking students names and character)
- Dreamweaver (for developing the webpag)
- Adobe Acrobat 9
Eric has been teaching for 16 years at Lewis & Clark Middle school as a special education teacher. He also has been a peer coach for the last 3 years and a TRT (Technical Resource Teacher) for the past 15 years. He also maintains the webpages for Lewis & Clark Middle School, , Nob Hill Elementary school, Nob Hill PTSA, Lewis & Clark PTSA, and Yakima PTSA council. He currently does trainings for staff in Mimio and
Eric believes that integrating
- Puzzle view
- Study View
- Bridges to Algebra
- Math Amigo
- CPS Remotes
- Mimio Interactive Whiteboards
- Gyration Mouse and keyboard
- Document Camera