First 6 Weeks of School Resources

For thoseImage of you who watched my Webinar on BrainPOP, I’ve included the slides in PDF format for you here. Check out what participants had to say about it! For those of you who missed it, you can watch it anytime in the BrainPOP archives.



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The First 6 Weeks of School: This Wednesday at 4:00 on BrainPop

ImageCheck out my webinar this Wednesday at 4:00 on BrainPOP about the First 6 weeks of School. A must see for valuable tips and tricks of the trade for the first 6 weeks that will lay the groundwork for the next 32 weeks of school.

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iPad iLearn | Association for Constructivist Teaching

Kate Chechak of IntegrateTech is a contributor for The Association for Constructivist Teachers blog. Read what she wrote about constructivism and technology.

iPad iLearn | Association for Constructivist Teaching

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How to turn your iPad into a Smartboard

Many schools are skipping the Smartboard and using the iPad instead. Here’s what you do: Get a projector and hook it up to a computer. Download the Doceri App onto your computer and onto your iPad as well. Turn the … Continue reading

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What is so special about a learning specialist?

In short, they specialize in learning! A classroom teacher may know a lot about classroom management and the content pertaining to the specific grade she teaches, but a learning specialist has in-depth knowledge about multiple grade levels and instructional tactics to bring the learnin’ out of all types of learners. Learning specialists work in small groups or even one-on-one with students. This allows them to personalize each child’s learning experience, and guess what? Learning specialists are beginning to use the iPad in all sorts of ways to help their students even more.

Why is now a good time for technology and individualized instruction? The concept of the personal computer, one intended for individual use, began in the 1970s, as opposed to the earlier mainframe computer which was one large processor shared by many individuals.  Much like our “One Size Fits All” education system, the Main Frame computer, was not interactive and mostly an output system designed to give information to large amounts of people.

Fast forward to today when the iPad has taken the classroom by storm. In the technology world, one does not get a more personal experience than with an iPad. In the education world, students do not get a more personal experience, than with their learning specialist.  Can learning be anymore personalized with a learning specialist and an iPad where the only thing between knowledge and your mind is the tip of your finger?

Recently, I spoke with Head Learning Specialist at Brearley, Linda Boldt. She talked about her concerns regarding computers in the younger grades. She was an early adopter of apple computers at her school and always forward thinking; however, she is first and foremost an educator and didn’t feel computers in the lower grades would be the kind of interactive experience conducive to learning. However, she is thinking differently now about the iPad and its potential in grades K-2.

Why? Because it can individualize the learning of her small group instruction.

Using iBooks or Kindle on the iPad allows her students to upload any book, increase text size, read the word aloud, look up a definition even search for images and content on Google. Looking for practice in a specific skill for one student or a small group? With some research, I found some apps that fit even her most specific requests. As they say, there’s an app for that!

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Did you know? Tech Professional Development is Imperative

A few months ago I saw this movie, and thought – we have got to get on board and update our schools! Recently I looked at it again with a different perspective and thought- we have got to use the technology that we have and teach our teachers how to use it!

Yes this movie is true that we are spending less now on technology than we were a decade ago, but we are spending even less on professional development. The technology that is in our schools now is not even being used to half its potential. A phrase I hear from some administrators is, “Just get the teachers out of the way and let the kids do their thing. They know how to use this stuff.” This is correct and incorrect. Yes the students know how to use technology and can figure it out very quickly, but no it’s not enough for teachers to just get out of the way. They need to craft lessons and introduce tools that add value and further critical thinking. They don’t need to know how to use everything nor must they master a new tool, app or device completely before they use it in the classroom, but they need to use the tools meaningfully and with purpose. This takes a certain expertise and one that needs to be developed. As a teacher I have been on countless professional development sessions  every time a new initiative was introduced to our schools. I am a certified Write From the Beginning teacher and coach; I have been to multiple Math in the City sessions. I am even a certified Moon Handler! Yes I can receive parts of the moon from the government and show them in my class- don’t ask! How is it that continued professional development does not accompany the most expensive investment like a 1:1 iPad initiative? Administrators and teachers: insist that every time your school invests in new technology that at least 1/4 of that money is also provided for continued professional development. Oh yeah and check out this movie if you haven’t already…

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Two Reading Apps for Big Kids

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I guess I’ll blame it on the holidays. It seems that what should just be a few days of celebration is an entire month and a half of planning, preparing, packing, gifting, receiving, returning … Continue reading

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