Thursday, April 25, 2013

Google Docs Journals

Google has so many great apps for education. Miss Utley, Middle School Special Education teacher explains how she uses Google Docs for journals, "Every day, the students in my 7th grade small-group language arts class begin by writing in their journal. I found it difficult to lug home notebooks every weekend to grade and comment on, and it was difficult to read some of their handwriting. Now, I use Google docs. I have a document called "Daily Announcements" that I have "shared" with each of them that includes the daily objective, the agenda, and the journal writing prompt. As soon as students come in the room, they log in, read the daily announcements, and write in their journal, which is "shared" with me on Google docs as well (it's one document that they add to each time they write). It is so much easier to grade them now! Plus, since I come from the other end of the hallway for that period, it means students can get started right away even if it takes me an extra minute to get there."

Here is an example.

I love that Miss Utley is using this piece of technology to streamline instruction that is already happening. I have found that the most successful ways to integrate technology is to take something that you already do and then apply some sort of technology that makes it easier, more efficient or that enhances it. 

If you have a lesson you would like to share, I would love to post it! 

Using Finale & Sound Cloud for Music Instruction

Mrs. Benschneider, middle and high school music teacher creates piano accompaniments for her singing groups using a software called Finale.  She explains, "From the Finale file I can create a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) file which I then play on my new digital piano.  I am then able to hook a microphone up to the piano and record the students' parts to the songs onto a flash drive.  I then post  all audio files to a web based music sharing site called SoundCloud.  The kids can go to this site any time from any computer and listen to my singing their parts for them.  Its a great way to practice their music when they are at home."

Thank you so much to Mrs. Benschneider for sharing this with us. I think it is a great to see how other teachers are using technology to enhance instruction. So many students have smartphones, tablets, iPods and Mp3 players and this is an excellent way to get the music to them to study. SoundCloud can be used online or downloaded as an app on both Apple and Android devices. This would work nicely with a foreign language classroom, the teacher could record speaking and then upload it for students to listen to using a simple microphone.

Mrs. Benschneider explains that this process has definitely helped them learn their music faster and better than ever before! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5th Grade Book Trailers

So proud of our 5th Graders who made Book Trailers as a part of Language Arts with Mrs. Welch and my computer class. View our prezi that was presented to school committee a few weeks ago about our project.

Here is a playlist of the trailers.

PowToon - a new presentation tool!

This fun new presentation tool. PowToon allows you to login with your google account which is great for districts who subscribe to Google Apps for Ed. Users can create animated presentations with provided images. Looks like a lot of fun. I haven't tried it yet, but will soon!

In the classroom: Teachers can create a video to introduce or reinforce a subject. Students can create a PowToon for a project. An alternative to PowerPoint and Prezi!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Alternative Assessment Choices in Algebra 2 Honors

Giving students choices for assessments often results in work that goes above and beyond our expectations. Ms. DeRosa gave her Algebra 2 Honors students a choice to show how they understand Linear Functions from Algebra 1. She was thrilled with the work the students passed in, they went above and beyond her expectations.

The Assignment

Linear Function Project

Honors Algebra 2 and Advanced Algebra and Trig

In this project, you must demonstrate to me that you know the following topics:

1. Graphing linear equations on a coordinate plane

  • Given Slope-Intercept form
  • Given standard form
  • By finding x and y-intercepts

2. Graphing linear inequalities on a coordinate plane
3. Graphing piecewise functions
4. Graphing absolute value functions on a coordinate plane
5. Finding Linear equations:

  • given a slope and a y-intercept
  • given a slope and a point
  • given two points
  • given a point and a parallel line
  • given slope and a perpendicular line

6. Solving systems of equations by graphing
7. Solving systems of inequalities by graphing
8. Solving systems of equations by substitution
9. Solving systems of equations by elimination
10. Writing linear equations into Standard Form

You can demonstrate your knowledge in whatever way you prefer.

You can write a term type paper, and give examples to support your writing.
You can use an app such as “ShowMe”, or “explain everything” to demonstrate your knowledge.
You can make a YouTube Video explaining your knowledge
You can make a song to show your knowledge and support it with examples.
You can make a Power Point Presentation or a Prezi to demonstrate your knowledge.
You can make an illustrated children’s book on the topics
You can create an animated video on the topics at
You can make a poster.

You will be graded on how well you explain the topics, the thoroughness of your explanations, and
on your creativity. I will be looking for you to cover all of the topics listed above. If you would like to
get my feedback on your project, you can bring it to me after school on Tuesday, March 5 and I will be
happy to give my input.

This was Ms. DeRosa's Example for the students:

Some finished products!

Website:  Http://

Some students made scrapbooks, Power Point presentations, essays, posters; whatever they felt comfortable doing.