Classroom Website (Sample by Dr. Hofer)

I created a classroom Web site using wikispaces to host all the course information for Designs for Technology Enhanced Learning. I wanted to create a Web site to provide easy access to all the course materials and facilitate communication and collaboration. I wanted to create opportunities for both myself and students to add to the pages and help build the content as the course progresses. I chose a wiki to host the site due to the ease of posting to the site as well as the ability for multiple users to add to the site. I also like how the tool allows users to upload files to the site and link to them locally. It also allows for easy integration of videos, documents, etc. The sample I've created offers a detailed example of how the course is set up along with the kinds of media that may be incorporated.

Classroom Newsletter (Ginny Hutcheson)

This newsletter would be sent home with children every day. My cooperating teacher uses a similar newsletter to communicate with parents in her kindergarten classroom. The newsletter conveys information about upcoming events, school-wide and classroom specific announcements, show and tell, and homework assignments. Each newsletter has the teacher’s contact information at the top to be accessible and encourage parent-teacher communication. Simple homework, like handwriting practice, can be copied onto the back of the Daily News to save paper and to maintain consistency. The sentences at the top are composed by students during the day, and they serve several purposes—to reward children for good behavior (only well-behaved students are called on to write sentences), to practice writing (spelling, punctuation, handwriting), to practice sounding out unfamiliar words (the students must read the sentences each night), and to keep the parents informed about what the students are focusing on in school. In this sample newsletter, the sentences are about the chick eggs that the class received and will be studying for several weeks—something the parents would definitely want to know about. The newsletter is also illustrated by a different student each day, again as an incentive for good behavior.

Because the newsletter is created in Microsoft Word, it is very easy to update. There are only a couple things to change each day, like the date, specific homework assignments, and the “Daily News” sentences. More must be updated once a week (for example, that week’s show and tell theme), but the format remains the same so it is not difficult to update. In addition, because most computer users have Word, the teacher can email the newsletter to parents of absent students and they will know about homework assignments, announcements, and what they missed during the day. Finally, by collecting all of the pages (either hard copies or the digital versions), the teacher can keep a record of her classroom’s activities as a keepsake, as a record of student progress, and as a planning tool for future years.

Kidspiration Activities (Ginny Hutcheson)

Kidspiration files:
I am especially interested in available reading/language arts technology resources, because it seems like my kindergarten children do almost the exact same thing every day in language arts. They get packets every week with new sounds—either single letters, or blends like /sh/—and they have to cut out pictures (for example, a sheep) and glue them into the correct column. I understand that this is an important skill for kindergarteners. They need to understand the sounds that each letter makes, be able to associate them with the written letters, and be able to connect them to sounds within actual words (usually beginning sounds at this age). The activity is also useful because it helps children develop motor skills through cutting and gluing. However, they develop these same motor skills over and over again multiple times each day, leaving other skills undeveloped. Some of them have experience with the motor skills necessary for computers, especially clicking, dragging, and double clicking, but also rudimentary typing; most do not. Therefore, I decided to create a technology product that would practice the same phonemic awareness skills while honing different motor skills and providing a change of pace.

I think Kidspiration is a great resource for elementary school children of all ages, but the premade activities that come with the program are mostly geared toward older children. They did have an activity that I liked that had children drag pictures into boxes with different beginning letter sounds, but there was only one activity, and therefore, only three letters. In addition, the activity allowed the use of all of the pictures in all of the libraries. There are so many pictures, and so few that start with the desired sounds, that the children would grow frustrated very quickly. Therefore, I created activities with only two super-grouper boxes (to simplify down from three), each with a beginning word sound. I then customized the picture libraries available for each activity so that they only contained pictures that started with those sounds. I only made two sample activities for the letters “A” and “E” and the sounds “SH” and “CH,” but those could easily be modified for all the other letters and sounds. Children completing the activity will very simply be able to drag pictures into the appropriate boxes; they will know they are done when they have used all the pictures in the single library.

I think the most beneficial thing about this technology product (compared to doing it the paper and glue way) is that Kidspiration can read the directions and say the name of each picture as the child mouses over it. Sometimes the pictures are too small, too confusing, or have too many synonyms for the children to know what to do with them. With paper pictures, the teachers must remind the students over and over again what each picture is, but on Kidspiration the children can do the activity all by themselves. They can also save the activities (or the teachers can save them for them) so that the teachers can have a lasting record of the child’s progress that is easy to store with no clutter. With the paper versions, the assignments go home after the teacher checks them, so there is no permanent record of achievement. The Kidspiration versions can still be printed so that the children and their parents can see what the child did. Finally, children view using the computer as a treat, so they would be much more motivated to do this activity than the same old paper one. They would view it as a game rather than as work.

I also noticed that Kidspiration did not have any premade activities for sequencing events in a story, which is another language arts activity that kindergarteners work on frequently. I created another activity with four boxes titled “First…” “Then…” “Next…” and “Last…” and instructed the students to drag pictures into the boxes to describe what happened during the story. This is another activity that the students normally do on paper (usually by cutting out pictures and ordering them, sometimes by drawing or writing sentences) that would be more fun for the child to do on the computer. I gave this activity access to all the picture libraries, so the students could be creative about what they wanted to say, instead of being bored by the paper activities that are too easy for most of the students. This activity is also easy to modify for age level and ability level. I included text boxes in which students could write what happened at each stage of the story in addition to adding pictures, but for younger or less able students, those text boxes could easily be removed.

Kidspiration is a great program that is easy to use for both teachers and students. Teachers can make activities fairly easily that can provide a great advantage to students by providing a change of pace from the regular activities. Students could do these activities a few at a time at computers in the classroom, or as a whole class activity in a lab.

Life Cycle PowerPoint (Erin Rainey)

My first product is a PowerPoint presentation with images of the chicken life cycle . The presentation is fairly short, relates to the third grade science SOL on life cycles as well as the common kindergarten and first grade activity of hatching chickens in the classroom, and has a variety of possible uses in the classroom. My initial thought was to have it play before I start describing the life cycle, to get the kids engaged and put images in their heads to match with the description. As I was putting the slideshow together, however, I realized that I could very easily describe the life cycle while the presentation is playing, adjusting timing as needed. I also thought about using it for review, since my third-grade teacher brain is in SOL mode. I could go through the slides and have the students describe, either in discussion or on an individual written quiz, what they know about the life cycle. This could also work as an assessment during the original unit, to make sure students understand the main stages of the life cycle. One of the things I like best about this presentation is that, because I only used images, it can transfer across grade levels very easily. I could use the same presentation with kindergarteners, third graders, and maybe even sixth graders, and just change what I say. This is an easier adjustment than reinventing a content-based presentation when I change grade levels. This science concept is key is most grade levels as well, which simply adds to the presentation’s versatility. It would be engaging to the kids, but not distracting, and would actually add to their understanding of the concept by incorporating a visual component. It is also easy to use, and it only requires a computer and projector, making it easy to transfer into classrooms that do not have many technological resources, such as the inner city schools in which I plan to work.

Weekly Newsletter (Erin Rainey)

My second product is a classroom newsletter using a template from this teacher website: I have created a hypothetical newsletter for my first week as a teacher, assuming I was in a classroom similar to the one I am placed in now. My Cooperating Teacher sends home a weekly newsletter in addition to posting it on her classroom website, and I’ve used them for my teaching in the past and found them very helpful. Because I believe that much of a child’s educational experience is tied to the family, I will try to emphasize parent communication as much as possible when I am teaching. I also realize the value of having an existing framework for things like a newsletter before I start teaching, because I know I won’t have time to create them in the midst of lesson plans and grading! This newsletter is easy to update; I could set aside half an hour or less after school each week to update the information in it and then move on with my day. I would send the newsletter home with my students every Friday afternoon to announce things for the upcoming week. I would include the topics we would be studying, any major assignments or tests, as well as just general news about what is going on in the classroom. I would also use the newsletter for student and parent reminders, asking parents for help with field trips or class activities, and to recognize outstanding students.

Monthly Newsletter- Jenny Gonzalez
For my first product, I made a template for a monthly newsletter. This newsletter is designed to inform parents what is going own for that month and promote parents involvement with their children’s education. Each month this newsletter will be sent home. It will inform students of upcoming events, give suggestions of different books, and even provide for a brainteaser that parents can complete with their child. Every month there will also be a student of the month that will be honored in this newsletter. The student of the month will be chosen based on his/her accomplishments from the previous month. This will encourage the students to do well in the classroom and show the parents the many accomplishments of the students. It really important to maintain good parent/teacher communication and I think that a newsletter is a great way to do this.

Voice Thread Project- Jenny Gonzalez
For my second product I made a voice thread PowerPoint. The students will view/listen to this PowerPoint on their own and comment on it to answer the questions asked. I think that this is an excellent tool for kindergarteners because it does not require reading, yet allows the students to build on their writing skills. It also helps the students to get familiar with using technology by themselves. I think that I will give the class a different voice thread every week for them to comment on. This will allow me to evaluate how well the students understand the information and what their thought processes are with regards to different concepts.

Nesli Monroe- Classroom Newsletter

I created a monthly classroom newsletter on a website. The newsletter will provide parents information about the classroom so that they can be a part of their child's schooling. The newsletter will contain information on the current unit we are studying, materials needed for particular lessons, upcoming field trips, etc. The first newsletter that I have posted is more of an informational newsletter on my philosophy of teaching, guidelines and expectations of the classroom, student objectives, and other information related to my teaching and the learning of their students. I believe this type of communication between the parents and teacher is very important so that parents are involved with their child's learning. Here is the link to my website:

Nesli Monroe- PowerPoint presentation
I also created a PowerPoint presentation on a kindergarten lesson on coins. At the end of this lesson, the students should be able to identify coins and their values. The PowerPoint contains pictures of the 4 different coins and their value, songs to help the children remember each coin, and then a game for children to guess the value of the coins. The PowerPoint provides the students with a great visual aid and to learn the coins and allows for a nice instructional tool for the teacher. The presentation has many different colors and effects to keep the students engaged and having fun during the lesson! coin presentation.pptx

Twitter Page-Andriana Hench

I decided to make a Twitter page for my class so that parents can find updates about what is going on in the class. I would only use it for the class, and it keeps messages short and sweet. It is a nice tool because you can update it from your computer or from your cell phone, so if, as a teacher, I remembered something I forgot to say in class, I could post it whenever, wherever. If my students didn't all have internet access at home I couldn't rely on it as a main mean of communication, but I think it would make some parents feel more involved in the classroom happenings. If parents became followers and had their own twitter pages, I could have a better sense of my students home lives as well.

Pandora Station-Andriana Hench

I created a Pandora radio station page to use in my class. I have different stations to use for different activities. One page, Spa Radio, has calm music to play in the background while students are working independently. It will be good for RTI time when I work with students one on one, and hopefully keep talking to a minimum. I also have a Raffi and Peter, Paul, and Mary page with fun songs. There is a school house rock station with fun learning songs, and my favorite, a dance station. The dance station is great for times when we need a quick break and need to move around, we can have a one song dance between lessons, or whenever the students are antsy. We talked about the benefit of students moving around while learning, so I thought the stations could also be incorporated into active learning games or activities. I edited most stations as much as possible to eliminate songs that were not appropriate and encourage good songs. A great thing about Pandora is that you can tell it what you like and what you don't like, and it adjusts. The longer I use the program, the more precise the songs are to my taste.

Class newsletter -- Kelly Eaton

I created a newsletter for my fictional third grade class. I think this will be very useful for me to keep in touch with parents, and for students and their parents to keep in touch as well. I created it using PowerPoint because of the fun clip art and interesting format things you can do. I included important information, such as upcoming school events and a brief note from me about what units we are about to start in social studies and science. I also included a couple fun things for the students, like student of the month, a reading corner, a section on birthdays, a quote of the month, and a little extra information on me because as a student I was always curious about my teachers. I want my monthly newsletters to be something students can bring home and read with their parents. When I actually begin teaching, I plan on posting the newsletter on my website as well as handing out hard copies to my student. Here is an example of my class newsletter:

Kidspiration -- Kelly Eaton
I made a concept map that I would use in a kindergarten unit on the five senses. The end product looks a little bit overwhelming, but we would start off in the beginning with one sense a day, and then connect them all in the end. I would use kidspiration in this unit with a Smart Board as well. On the day on hearing, for instance, I would have the nose up there as the center concept. Then to the side I would have all the different pictures (except the eye, mouth, hand, and ear) and at the end of the day a few students would go up and attach the pictures they associated with smelling to the nose. I included a few pictures I thought the kids would find really fun, like the jellyfish and the toilet. We would continue in the manner through sight, touch, taste, and hearing until the final day, when we would connect them all together to show how we don't just use one sense at a time. This works not only as a fun exercise for the kids to think through their knowledge of the senses, but it also works as an assessment to make sure my students are learning what they should be. Here is my end result: 5senses_kidspiration.jpg