Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Teacher's Toolbox

Sometimes when things aren't working, you have to grab your toolbox and find a new tool. They say a hammer can't fix everything. 
As a teacher, I have found this to be entirely true. There is no "right" way to teach everything, and there is not just "one" way to teach everything. Every student has their own needs that must be met, and every class has a different personality. Sometime what works in one class...doesn't necessarily work 88 minutes later in my next block. 

So that's when I have to pull out all the handy dandy tools I've acquired over the year. 

Yes, my ActivBoard presentations and flipcharts are exciting and colorful and grab their attention, but sometimes I like to spice things up and use a prezi to add a little variety. 
For example, I created this prezi when we studied Memoirs. While they sometimes are time consuming to make, they are a huge production and an overall success. Not only did the students enjoy it, but it allowed them to take notes in a different fashion.  

Memoir Prezi Presentation

Pen and paper also gets boring after a while, so does posterboard, and creative foldables. My students have really enjoyed making online posters on postermywall - a web tool that allows them to create posters (for FREE!), print them, and share them. They have the ability to add all sorts of images, text, and word art - and much prefer to complete an assignment here than in their notebooks.

In continuing with the Memoir Unit, my students also made "Six Word Memoirs" for which they not only wrote a memoir, creatively presented it on a sentence strip around the room, but then used it to pair with an image on a Google Presentation. 

Below are screen shots of some  of their Google Presentations....

The use of technology in the classroom has greatly expanded my students learning, and desire to learn. They are proud of the work that they do on the computers and I can see it impacting their daily lives and decisions. 

While I feel as if I have incorporated a lot of technology throughout the year, I know that there is only room to grow. I think both the MixBook and StoryJumper programs look like they could be great to incorporate in the classroom, as well as allowing the students to make Animoto videos for book trailers. 
Using my knowledge and their expanding knowledge, I know we will only begin to find more tools for my Teacher Toolbox.

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