Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

January Onward

School has resumed in Greenwood after our holiday break and I am very busy this week. I have spent a lot of my time re-teaching my students long division and multi-digit multiplication. I have given my students about four quizzes now using the student response clickers and it has really helped me identify those students that need extra help.

It is also very easy to determine to who paid attention in my technology classes. Fifth grade is working on their annual website projects for social studies. Pairs of students work on creating websites about an explorer. These are old-fashioned HTML layout type sites created using Microsoft FrontPage. I’m not a fan of making a website using things like Dreamweaver or FrontPage, but there is no better way of teaching kids about what elements are common to websites until they have to make one from scratch and not a ready-made blog service or social network page. It becomes very clear to me who was paying attention when I taught them about tables, formatting text, and importing photos. By the way, if anyone knows of a good replacement for FrontPage that is simple enough for elementary students, I would be happy to know about it.

January also feels like the halfway mark, and it happens to be when we have most of our testing. I have a long and time consuming round of vocabulary tests coming up. They require a student to read a book and then orally describe the meanings of words to the teacher. Scott, the 6th grade teacher, has developed a way to do this through Moodle, similar to how I would give the students running records, where the students record themselves on the computer. I may have to do this.

On another note, I am working like crazy to get my professional development plan submitted to the state. My goal in this plan is to prove to the state that I have integrated technology into my instruction. I know that I have grown, but it’s the proving part that is tiresome. Just another straw on this camel’s back. But after that is over I look forward to getting more things accomplished in the coming year, like a gifted and talented reading enrichment program and a field trip for students in the school paper.

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