Monday, December 15, 2008

Marzono's 9 Best Practices - Cooperative Groups

A bit of pedagogy please. A renown educational guru, Robert Marzano came up with 9 instructional strategies to help students learn. (Since it is mostly teachers who read this blog, I'm sure this is not news to you). One of my assignments in my Digital Classroom Study is to take a strategy and go techno on it. Well, I found a web site: But I didn't think that would get me the grade I wanted, since the assignment was to use it in my class... problem, this assignment is due in two days, and I am now just looking at it. But the angels are looking down upon me, becasue as I scroll down the web page of Marzano's practices I come across this Cooperative Groups. For the past month my students have broken up into different reading groups, going through level animal novels and doing all of thier assignments on the wiki. Here are just a few of the assignments:
  • On Kidspriation students created a setting plot for the story Poppy and uploaded the image as a jpg on our Wiki.
  • Students took different characters from the novel and found different pictures that represent that person's character traits.
  • Students wrote summaries together about the chapters they read.
  • Students started discussions on some of the issues brought up by the novels. Other students commented.
My first Wiki adventure is not as polished I would have liked it, but it was fun, and I am very glad my class entered into this adventure with me.

Go check it out!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Great Sites for Kids and Parents

I spent the weekend in the south (south of OKC that is) and I was talking to my aunt whose son is in the third grade. I introduced her to some great computer programs, and it made me think, maybe others would benefit from these sites as well.

Spelling City (

Okay, this might be a program that has been talked about some, but its still worth mentioning. This site has a option for students, parents or teachers. I use it some as a teacher for the practice aspect, but I think students could use this site to just practice spelling in general. It includes games, practice tests, different lists and more. Go check it out.

Big Branz Time Attack (

This is a game you download onto your computer. It is a real video game designed by the same people who create some of the high end play station games. A little troll goes through this castle and he has to "conquer" all of the multiplication facts to move on. It is a game that lends to conceptual understanding as well as reviewing the "facts". My third grade cousin really got into it. After playing it for a while, you can save the game and go back to it. Try with student struggling with multiplication and see if it helps.

Until next time, this is your Tech Rich Classroom Teacher going on to find ways to make teaching easier.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Classroom Wiki

Okay, this one I need lots of help with: My Classroom Wiki. I have started with reading; all of our reading groups and their assignments are on the wiki. It's actually really cool. They are embedding photos, starting discussions, and creating their own pages. It is just beginning, but I want to do more. Help me gang. Please comment and tell we what you are doing to your wikis and tell me how you are doing it. I just want to get better and better.

Fishing in Technology

It has been about a month since my last post. I have been dabbling in e-pals, diving into my classroom wiki, and helping students create voice threads. On the other side of life I have been preparing for a Thanksgiving household of 15 people. Which brings my rambling to the point to this post, technology fishing.

Did I lose you? We simply don't have time for everything. Since my last post I have been to some technology meetings, I have gained several technology ideas, and have read loads of blog posts on what others have done. The problem is, I am still trying to really get the hang of what I started working on way back in September. I credit Tammy Worcester for this piece of advice: Technology is like a fast flowing stream. We just need to get in there and catch something. The key word here is something. We can't get it all, and we can't use it all, but what we catch we use, and then go back for more. So keep blogging and reading blogs. Keep working on your wiki and joining wikis. Keep using tools like e-pals, visual ranking, and voice threads, but don't sweat it if it doesn't all happen at once... there will be more tools, better updated versions, and improved projects. No we can't do it all, but we can do ... something that is. Catch technology when we can and then go back for more when your all done.

Thanks for reading my post... now go fishing.