Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pre-K Butterfly Blog: Part 3

Today was our final day making our video! The students had so much fun and learned a lot. We used multiple intelligences to maximize learning and the results were obvious. Students were a part of every process and loved the responsibility. It was fascinating watching these young students take charge of their learning! Their blog really reflects the hard work they did.

Because I have had practice with Destination Imagination, I am good with questioning. I know how to ask questions to make the lesson worthwhile for students and it really worked. They are creative enough without me, but guiding them to where they needed to be was where the work was. Plus, the students are so bright, it wasn't even work!

To make our video, we used both pictures and video clips taken with my digital camera. We utilized PowerPoint and Windows Live Movie Maker to put it all together. An instrumental version of the song "Mermaid" by Train was used for the credits. Pictures and videos were captured before, during, and after our learning so we could watch the process unfold. One time my battery wasn't charged completely so better planning could have helped me out there, but other than that things went smoothly. Different lighting could have helped me as well.

I am so proud of my students for getting this together, learning, and having fun while doing it. They did a great job making their video, too; please watch and tell us how we did!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Assisstive Technology

As a special educator, assistive technology is crucial. Everything is modified and accommodated specifically to each student. Assistive technology is especially important when it comes to students with special needs. Different examples of assistive technology include wheelchairs, prosthetics, and reading equipment. Corpus Christi Independent School District has teachers come up with plans for what they need in their classroom and send them off for review and acceptance.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the International Reading Association's 58th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas. There, I was able to speak with Mr. Doug Rosette about the a program called "TextHelp". TextHelp is an assistive technology program that helps with reading, fluency, spelling, and language. There are five programs that include features such as text-to-speecch software, highlighting, spell check, text and picture dictionaries, and word prediction. This program works on computers, phones, and notebooks. I was able to preview some of this program and discovered what a fantastic tool this is. I would definitely use it in the classroom because I know how much my students with special needs would benefit from something like this.

Assistive technology comes in all forms, but it's what and how we use it that changes our student's lives.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pre-K Butterfly Blog: Part 2

Because I am working with four year olds, I had a little more control over research than what would typically be expected. However, these students knew what they wanted and knew what they wanted to see! Through our KWL, we searched for answers to questions we had and learned all about caterpillars and butterflies!

During the process, I explained what I was doing and why. We discussed functions of a computer and students helped come up with their thoughts of what to do next. Most times, if I modeled students would catch right on and were able to tell me how to do it the next time!

These students are so smart; I can't wait until next time!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pre-K Butterfly Blog: Part 1

Eight students and I began learning about the life cycle of a butterfly! It was a wonderful experience working with such young, fresh minds and hearing their thoughts and ideas. They have so much to say and they know so much! We created a blog for them focusing on the preliminary parts of our unit.

Leading them through inquiry-based learning was not as hard as I thought and I'm so glad to have had this experience. These students are so brought and were able to fly through a discussion and questioning even without me around!

parent letter was created for this class and I'm glad to have this created. This may be used in my future classroom and it's already done and out of the way!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Copyright Issues

Because the internet makes resources so available, there are many copyright issues. As soon as something is on the internet, it is copyrighted. However, most people do not know that just because it is on the internet does not mean it is a free for all; credit must be given where credit is due. If something is found and you want to use it, it is only okay to use if you have permission.

I learned about a ton of amazing resources to make my time as an educator one free of copyright infringement! Copyright Clearance Center finds licenses of works on the internet and lets viewers know what is acceptable in regards to that specific copyright. I had no idea that there was an advanced search on Google images to view only “free to use or share” files. This is incredibly helpful because I would like to use images others are okay with me using!

A great resource that handles copyrighted information exceptionally is TeachersPayTeachers. This is specifically for teachers and contains lesson plans, lesson ideas, clip art, images, and more for others to use either free of charge or for purchase. When downloaded, there is a required page from the “seller” to talk about themselves and include the copyright information. Every page is handled specially so the seller never loses credit.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Spreadsheets are CRUCIAL in my classroom! They have been important all my life! I love using planners and spreadsheets to organize my thoughts and schedule and have been using them since I was a child. This obsession organization technique has helped me greatly so far in the classroom! I use a spreadsheet daily to track what my students are learning about and how we are doing with their lessons. I use a spreadsheet to track their grades and students are responsible for using a spreadsheet to track their own grades and incentives.

Students do daily "Mad Minute Math" sheets as a warm up for their math lesson. They are to complete a set amount of problems in a certain time. If they finish, they grade it and record the grade in their spreadsheet. If they don't finish, they take a blank copy for homework. Another way they use spreadsheets is to record their incentives. Throughout their lesson if they are doing a good job, staying on task, following along with the reading, etc, students are able to earn "chance cards". At the end of the lesson they are to record their grades in that spreadsheet. Students catch on quickly and use these daily.

In my third-grade co-teaching math class, students have a hard time with tables. We use a spreadsheet to create the tables and have students fill in the blanks where necessary. They are working with these and the progress is eye-opening. It is amazing to be in a classroom and watch students "get it". I can't wait for more opportunities like this to come!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Science Video

It is time for our movie debut! Students worked together to learn about character traits and incorporate them into science and health goals. We used the 7 elements of digital storytelling when we filmed. PowerPoint was used to create this video, as well as a Windows Live Movie Maker, a digital camera, and a song from iTunes. While this was a smaller video, this lesson could have been expanded. Currently, schools use the trait posters shown in this video throughout the yeart o surround students with positive examples of ideal traits.