Category Archives: Technology

Elementary Schools Understand Technology Integration

As I worked with 2 elementary schools this week, I wanted to shout from the rooftops about the fantastic teaching I saw.  These elementary teachers and administrators understand the need for movement, sharing ideas, and engagement in the classroom.  I wish that other educators could observe the learning that takes place in these classes.  I wish that colleges and universities could see the skill level of our students and the lessons that teachers are designing that fosters creative thinking and problem solving.

I liked to share some of the most amazing lessons that I witnessed this week at Welcome Elementary School and Monaview Elementary School.  I saw a K4 teacher using Evernote to keep a digital portfolio about each of her students. Students used iPads and laptops to read books using Raz-kids and the HMH App.

Teachers designed lessons in Explain Everything and posted the lessons on their blogs.  They were using Discovery Education TechBook to create assignments for students and posting the links to the assignments on their blogs.

Here is a sample video showing the students in Mrs. Rahn’s class compiling research about Grasslands for their Digital Storytelling Project they will create in MovieMaker.

First graders were using to type their spelling words and rhyming words in a Word Cloud. 4th graders were using the website: to create comic strips to show cause and effect as they studied Native Americans.  Then they inserted the comic strips into Word and wrote about the causes and effects of killing buffalo.

Teachers designed screencasting videos in Explain Everything to post on their blog and share via Edmodo.  They captured the heart of learning.  Here is a sample of a few of the digital lessons.  Keep it up teachers!

Common Core Research Projects for Elementary Education

Common Core Standards:

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Range of Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Here are a few ways our students are conducting research in the classrooms.

Science Stations in 4th Grade

Research: Edmodo and Ask3

Graphic Organizers

Popplet Lite and Smart Art in Word are great tools to use to organize information and essential facts required for the research project.

My favorite website to use for research is Instagrok. You can change the reading level of your searches by sliding the bar at the top of the page, which is helpful and you can build your own Journal to share with students or they can create their own journals of notes.

Another favorite research tool is SC Discus.  Students can create workspace projects as they conduct their research.

Students using iPads have enjoyed using the App StoryKit  and Book Creator to create their own textbooks using photos, their own paintings, recordings of their voices, and typing their findings on each page.   Edutopia ideas

Publish Student Work

Register for a Schooltube account tutorial

Upload videos to Schooltube tutorial

GCSD Blog publish video tutorial

Websites for Research   Use Firefox or Chrome, not Internet Explorer     SCDiscus  Ask your PTA to buy a school account, no ads

Photos:  Library of Congress


 Book Creator  iMovie  StoryKit  SockPuppet  Popplet

QR Code Generator for FireFox

PDF QR Code Generator for Firefox

QR Code Movie: How to Create a QR Code

T Search Research Graphic Organizer

How to Create a T-Search Research Tshirt SCAN-ETS3327_000


Fun Research Projects


Photos for Primary Sources 

Parker’s Blog

Sara’s Blog

What Constitutes Good PD?

What Constitutes Good PD? via @zite #edchat

— kim powell (@powell4thgrade) July 23, 2013

Reading this post on twitter this morning validated the role of Instructional Technology.  We are striving to provide meaningful professional development for teachers that focus on student-centered learning.  This begins by creating a shared vision between our staff, administrators, instructional coaches, teachers, support staff, students, parents and community.

How will we provide PD that focuses on Common Core standards?
What technology projects could we integrate that will support higher level thinking?

I found this summer at UTC13 and ISTE that my favorite workshops were those that were designed with the goal of networking with others.  Sharing ideas, best practices, sample lessons, classroom management tips, online resources, and logistics of projects provided the most meaningful PD over the “sit and get” lecture type classes.

What constitutes good PD for you, your school, your district?

Lessons Learned at ISTE 13

How can I process all the great ideas I gleaned from ISTE 13?  I’ll begin with the highlights of my trip:  Meeting Alan November
and getting to see Kathy Schrock’s presentation about teaching with iPads. I was encouraged by Alan November’s way of thinking about student learning and felt affirmed as we share the same vision. His presentation motivated and inspired me to encourage teachers to post their students’ projects and screen recordings on their blogs and possibly on iTunes U for a global audience to see and learn from. Thoughts to ponder:

  • Teachers should talk less and listen more.
  • Students should create videos to teach students.
  • Unlearn locus of control.
  • Teachers who want to control entire curriculum every day, let them retire.
  • Who learns the most from creating the videos? The student replied: I do.
  • Make tutorials for homework instead of a quick 7 minute check off.

I was thrilled that I was able to present how the 1:1 iPad Initiative at Welcome Elementary School transformed learning at the SIGTE Playground.  I found that I enjoyed the attending the playground sessions much more than the regular conference type classroom setting.  I was able to walk around and hear fantastic teachers tell how they are using technology, see examples of student projects’ and hear a variety of presentations in a short amount of time. Some of the sessions that I enjoyed were at the  SIGDS Playground.

It was wonderful listening to Gwynneth Jones share her passion, great ideas,  and view the plethora of workshops on her blog and wiki, thedaringlibrarian, The Apple Distinguished Educator who talked about iTunes U and posting her units of study there for other teachers and students to view encouraged me to do the same with the teachers in GCSD.

The Ignite sessions were inspiring and affirmed my devotion to the teaching profession. Here are a couple of quotes I heard that I loved:  “Adults need to have fun, so children will want to grow up to be one.” Also, “Common core is not in books, it’s how you use the books. High interest trumps reading level every time, ”  by the author Vicki Cobb.

Finally, the closing session of ISTE was amazing with Adam Bellow  You are invited to change the world is a must see video to motivate you as you prepare for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

Good luck teachers as you enjoy your time to relax and rejuvenate this summer. You are much appreciated for all you do for your students!

Monaview Elementary Technology Showcase

I was so proud of the Monaview Elementary Staff and Administration during the Technology Showcase on April 19, 2013.  District staff was invited to tour the school and visit every classroom to see how students are using technology on a daily basis.  A form was created in Google Docs and sent to the district staff as an invitation to the showcase.  This event was planned in August 2012 by Sharon Dowell, the principal, Rhonda Folmer, the Title I Facilitator, and myself, Fran Mauney, Instructional Technology Facilitator.  We knew that the teachers and students were doing a fantastic job using the Promethean Board, ActivExpressions, and interactive websites so we decided to market how well the school integrates technology and came up with a plan.

Several workshops were designed that showed how to use 1 iPad in the classroom, by using Educreations and ShowMe to create screencasting videos, by using the iPad on the Promethean Board to play interactive games, and to use as a center activity.  I led several workshops after school about the 1 iPad classroom, then proceeded to show how to set up a classroom using 4 laptops for student projects.  We talked about the accountability piece and teachers made several Learner’s Contracts for students to use to record their progress while on RazzKids, Compass, and, IXL.

Teachers invited me into their classrooms to model how to effectively integrate technology using a wide range of technology tools. I demonstrated how to use Self-Paced tests using Question Generator with the ActivExpressions. I modeled how to use the iPad for screencasting and gaming on the Promethean Board, I showed how to do interactive websites such as, and helped set up student accounts with Edmodo.

Next, we did several planning period workshops where I showed how to create QR codes and how to upload videos to School Tube. When the teachers learned how easy it was to upload to School Tube, the fire for using videos in the classroom was ignited.  They uploaded so many great student projects and made QR codes for newsletters, bulletin boards, class blogs, class websites, and more. They used QR codes for book reports, students reading their own books, presenting research projects, webquests, Educreation books with children’s voices reading the pages, and explaining how they solved problems. Here is an example of a student’s research about Poachers.

One way that Monaview was able to get the teachers involved in implementing technology integration, was they planned Curriculum Carousel agenda  days where teachers taught teachers. The Instructional Coaches, Casey Woods and Kathy Paige-Griffin, created the agenda and awarded points for attendance. The after school workshops were led by the in house experts and teachers chose which workshops they were most interested in to attend. Giving teachers choice and voice for their professional development was very powerful.

Parker Rowland, a phenomenal 4th grade teacher and in-house expert, has really impacted instruction at Monaview Elementary over the last 2 years. He is quite talented with technology, understands curriculum, and relates well to his students. He uses the laptop cart almost daily and has been more than willing to spend hours working with teachers if they are having technical difficulties and helps them solve problems.  He stays late and uses his planning periods to help teachers make QR codes, set up School Tube accounts, explain Edmodo, set up ActivExpression questions, work on Promethean Boards, you name it, he’s done it. We are all so thankful for Parker and all the work he did to prepare for this day.  He made an amazing movie that shows how students use technology and a tech showcase brochure   explaining how Monaview builds strong minds. Having a strong teacher leader at a school is a must for a successful technology integration plan!

The students and teachers enjoyed showcasing their classrooms as special guests walked in and out of their classes. Students were able to explain their learning and tell about their projects, visitors were able to see students working in stations while teachers worked with small groups,and teachers were able to demonstrate how effectively they integrate technology into their curriculum. Here are my Notes for Technology Showcase about the learning taking place in each grade level.

It was a fantastic cumulative activity for an exciting year of learning using technology. I hope we can do this again next year.

Teachers: Give up Control, Let Your Students Use Technology

David Jakes makes a really good point in this article about iPads.  This statement is so true: “Devices themselves do not transform classrooms.  They just don’t.  What device, or technology for that matter, has? The mightiest technology of them all, the Internet, hasn’t even transformed learning, at scale, across K-12 education.  And I offer a walk down any school hallway as evidence.”

Here is the link to his article:

Food for thought, as we begin to use iPads more in our schools (with certain select teachers and classrooms) how do we get those teachers down the hall to let their students touch the computers and go on the internet?  That is the reality we face daily and that is our goal as a team: let the students use the technology they have available…….Refresh is bringing more and more laptops and technology into the schools, we have to get the technology in the students’ hands.  Teachers need to give up control.

Here is an interesting article my co-worker just shared with me after reading this post: Mooresville School District, Mooresville, NC

Please watch this video to show you what students think about their learning:

Click here to view a Voicethread by Shasta Looper’s Class about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Students Using Technology on PhotoPeach