Modern Chalkboard is a SMART Choice

Download from our large collection of professionally created SMARTBoard Notebook files for teachers. Most activities are common-core aligned. We have math, ELA, science and social studies lessons. Members have complete access to all files on the website. Please explore our … Continue reading 

Are Your Students Rocking the Lab?

Classroom teachers are my heroes. I can’t think of anyone else who is more dedicated to the overall well-being of 23+ children on a daily basis. They wear every hat in the book and I am in awe of how … Continue reading 

NEISD Technology Spotlight: Kelly Miksch and James Hoyer

For the past 2 years, NEISD has implemented a huge SMART Board installation initiative, followed by endless hours of best practices professional development, model/co-teach opportunities and cohorts to ensure each and every SMART Board was utilized to its fullest potential. … Continue reading 

What Will You Create Today?

The biggest obstacle teachers face when trying to integrate technology is time. There aren’t very many opportunities during the day to explore new tools, think of ways to use them with the curriculum, or actually sit down to write a comprehensive lesson plan. Plus, the implementation of Standard V just adds to the already existing high levels of stress. Fortunately, higher levels of technology integration promote student choice, which means less planning on the part of the teacher. Over the summer, I worked on some computer lab posters that will help guide students in choosing the right tool for their project, and support teachers in their efforts for easier ways to integrate. I chose the theme of a graphic novel (created using Comic Life) to bring a little adventure into the computer lab. The first poster is attached to the door of the lab and asks, “What will you create today?” This represents the cover of the graphic novel. When they enter, each page of the novel gives them ideas and tools to use to accomplish their task. I encourage all teachers to bring their mobile devices to the lab each week, as adding the component of a camera adds to the diversity of projects students have as options. 

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Many teachers may find this amount of freedom somewhat daunting, especially if they are unfamiliar with how to use the software, web tool or app. This provides the perfect opportunity to bring collaboration into your lessons. Allow students to work together to figure out how the tools work, and then let them teach the rest of the class. You can also utilize a QR code tutorial section where students can view videos for quick instructions. I’ve included a link below to the PDF version of the posters. There are some that are very NEISD specific, but hopefully they will inspire you to create more personalized versions for your own students. I’ve also included directions for printing them poster size.

printing poster

Tool of the Summer: Bulb

I’ve been a busy little bee this summer creating PD classes for the new school year. One of the tools I’m using to gather my resources is Bulb. Oh, how I love this site! Bulb allows you to organize content into collections, making it very easy for the user to separate content into different sections. I like it because you are not overwhelming the participant with lots of information at one time. This also makes the perfect tool for flipping lessons or collecting work for student portfolios. You can learn how to get started by visiting their Bulb for Teachers and Students.

I’ve seen many differentiated resources on the Internet lately and decided to make one for an App Smashes and Flows class I will be teaching in August. I created a Bulb with 6 different sections. The idea is to introduce the concept of App Smashes and Flows, explain the differences between the two, and then allow the participants to choose their tasks based on their comfort level with the iPad. Bulb is the perfect tool for this purpose. 

app smash and flow

I’m not the only NEISD fan of Bulb. Sue Carlson, NEISD Instructional Technology Specialist, also used Bulb to curate her resources for our district’s What’s New in Office 2013? professional development course. Sue was able to create separate pages for each of the different software titles within the Office Suite. Participants are able to return to her Bulb for quick reminders, if needed.

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Check out some of my other PD courses I’ve created using Bulb:

Interactive Sites for Your SMARTboard

When creating Notebook files for teachers, I usually structure the lesson with the following 3 components: introduction, guided practice and checking for understanding. There are many sites that provide free content for each of these components. Study Jams! is a free site by Scholastic that provides interactive multimedia lessons to support Science and Math concepts. You can find over 200 topics and each works great on the SMARTboard. Click here to download an example Notebook lesson that supports area and perimeter.  Below is a slideshow of the class I will be presenting at the SMART User’s Conference in June of this year (more information will be provided later). Each page contains links to interactive sites that support the curriculum for that particular area. Many of the websites featured are free and easy to use. Some are more complex and require a user guide for site navigation. You can find links to video tutorials and user guides in the attachments tab of the Notebook file. Click here to download the complete presentation.

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