Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘Educational’

Smartbored? Never!

I recall years, and I mean years, ago when I was introduced to the Smartboard.  I was excited because this was a board you could touch and make things move! Wow!  First, we had portable Smartboards that were shared by the staff.  I was one of the few who was willing to drag it  into my room,  Eventually, we were able to get mounted Smartboards, and our principal awarded them to us based on the content of a 100 word  essay. That Smartboard is still mounted on my wall,  still waiting for the projector to be mounted, but I digress.

However,   I had come to the point, where, I believe, I was using the Smartboard  as a giant projector.  The past few weeks I’ve spent my time learning about all the cool features that Notebook 10 software has to offer, and I’ve fallen in love with my IWB again. I’m taking a class where I am learning about features of the Notebook 10 software that I didn’t know existed. How is it possible to have something for so long, yet know so little about it?

 Our facilitator is great, and the ideas that are being shared are amazing!  I am now at the point where I am creating lessons, even though I still take advantage of SMART Exchange, I mean why reinvent the wheel?   One of my homework assignments was to create a list of “Top 10 Cool Tools that I had learned about in this class. What a productive use of my time, all the cool tools have already been applied in my classroom.  I have taught them to my students, who are my willing guinea pigs.:) Today, I left my colleague glued to his computer, after sharing the wonders of the IWB.

My favorite new tool is the Random Word Generator. I inserted my students’ name in the generator, press “Generate” and Voila, it selects a student to read, come up to the board, etc…. My kids watch the board as it flicks through their names, “Pick me, pick me”, they chant softly. And when it lands on a name, they all call out the person’s name. It makes me laugh every time. 🙂

I know there are those who believe this is just another” tech tool”, but it’s not the tool, it’s what you do with it. I know what I do, I engage my students, and involve them in the learning process every day, using my SMARTboard.

Why Can’t Johnnie Read?

It’s scary out there! More and more, teachers are being held accountable for low test scores, low test scores from students who can’t read. Back in the 80’s, you had a small group of students in the “low” group, and the rest were average or excelled. Flash forward to 2010, and those “low” students are now the majority. Why can’t they read?!!! I have been struggling with this question for the past few years, it is so frustrating.  I have tried a multitude of  strategies, refusing to give up.  Is it the lack of books at home?  Is it just that they don’t care?  Is it the lack of conversation and the almost nonexistent vocabulary?   Is it …..?????  What do you do with students who, year after year, program after program, show no progress, literally, none! One parent asked to have her kid tested, she is frustrated as well because her daughter has been pulled out for reading groups for years. 

I volunteer to read to 3 and 4 year olds once a week.  Some of them are so enthusiastic and they can point out numbers, shapes, colors,etc…, they follow the plot of a story. While others, can’t form a single word. One of the parents came to pick up her son, and I overheard the teachers telling her he was using the word “f$#@”.  This same kid couldn’t form words and wouldn’t read with me the following week. Hmmmmm……… 

Today I had the kids that failed the reading test take it online, while I read the questions and choices aloud, they still chose the same wrong answers, while looking in the book for the answers! I tell students my  students every day, “There is no magic reading dust that I can sprinkle on you, the only way to become a better reader, is to read!” If only they would listen. Or better yet, maybe we can get Tony Danza to teach them! 🙂

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