Friday, December 30, 2011


I have recently started using Pinterest as a method for organizing pictures found on the web.  Most importantly, it has given me a very graphic pleasing way to view apps that I have used in my classroom.  I like the way a comment can be quickly added to each picture.

I have created a couple Pinterest boards that are useful in education.

With the discovery of Pinterest, I am certain that I will be using it more as an organizational tool!
I am also considering how I can use this with students other than blog posts.  My first thought is to have them create their own Pinterest account during a problem or project so that they can organize the pictures they find.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10,000 & Counting! 10 Months & Counting

March 2011!  A great month in my educational career as my application for a 21st century model classroom was accepted.  Before diving in to buy all students one digital device, our school district decided that it would be beneficial if several teachers implemented different devices throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

I was able to have the incredible iPad2!

Upon learning that I was selected, I decided to document EVERYTHING that would happen on this journey.  It was my hope to demonstrate the effective use of these devices, the wide variety of learning activities, and the fun that would be experienced throughout the year.  As I sit back and breath during my Christmas vacation, I thought it would be helpful to reflect and evaluate my "Best Of or Most..." categories along with effectiveness of activities and see how this changes by the end of our school year, May 2012.

I am also thankful that so many people have visited the iPaddiction blog for what hopefully has become a useful tool!  I would have never dreamed that over 10,000 views would be associated with this blog.

So, without further ado, my mid year awards!

Most Effective Professional Blogging Tool
My iPad2 camera and YouTube:  (387 videos and counting!) I knew that I wanted to document everything, but also knew that I couldn't type everything.  Ironically, as I sit and type, I wish I would have just turned on the iPad2 and recorded me and my voice describing all of this!  Video and the ease of posting to YouTube has allowed me to quickly share the events and activities from my educational setting.

Most Beneficial Activity and Blog Post
Integrating Technology In Education:  It frustrates me when so many great app lists come out.  It's one thing to find a great app or tech tool, it is another thing to incorporate effectively in an educational setting.  This was an idea that I had to showcase how technology should be incorporated into a 45 minute lesson.  As my technology integration director stated, "I'm not sure which is more amazing!  The fact that you incorporated so many tech tools or the fact that you filmed it all!"  Not sure either, but the process and now that it is documented is the best teaching tool that I can have to show others how I do it.

(Two) Most Successful Use of the iPad2 Camera
Writing Process and Digital Devices:  Best thing to come from this was a student telling me, "This activity made me feel smart!"  Amen!
Personalized Comments for Assessment:  This allows me to have each student receive the specific corrective teaching that they need.  It does take about 45 minutes to complete, but is well worth it!

Best of Google Apps
Raiderville:  Hands down the most in depth activity involving all of Google that we have done!  Student had some incredible positive feedback!

Best Student Comments
What I Like About School:  Speaks for itself!

Most Popular Blog Post
QR Code Check Out: Amazing!  I have really relied on a number of apps and services for professional development during this process.  The people of Twitter have helped a great deal!  It was with one Tweet that changed my productivity and effectiveness of the process for students to check in and out during team study or study hall.

Best "I Can't Keep Up With" List
Apps List:  this grows all the time and at the end of the year, I will print out a list of all the apps that have been used in the classroom.  Right now, I post a new app to Twitter when I add it to my class set of iPads

Best Use of QR Codes
U.S. Historical Documents and QR Codes with Videos:  Our curriculum requires us to teach famous U.S. documents.  Instead of just giving them a list of the documents and reading about them, I attached a QR code which linked to an additional video.  It is one thing to read about MLK's great speech, but to hear and watch it is another.  Great tool at a great time!

Most Fun
Teaching Digital Citizenship & the Process:  Lip Dub!  Our team decided that digital citizenship needed to be discussed and taught throughout our journey.  Students have really free access to so many digital tools that we wanted to teach them and not ban them from the devices.  We created a lip dub and the results speak for themselves!

Best App for Productivity:
Tactilis:  with the ability to document step by step, hand written notes, diagrams, and thoughts, this FREE app is easily the best note taking app.

Best Creative App
Animation HD:  Students loved it and hey, it's fun!

Best Advanced Math App
Graphing Calculator:  The color is outstanding and helps to understand all information.

Best Drill and Practice Math App
Math Drills HD:  Allows for students to have an individualized account for keeping track of success.

Best Tool With Textbook
PaperPort Notes & Whiteboard App:  Allows students to directly write on their textbooks!  Students have been doing this for years!  Now I don't need to tell them to erase it after marking it in their books.  Awesome!

Best Public Relations Tool
YouTube Channel:  A great way to allow parents and administration into my classroom.  Grandma in Chicago was able to see what we are doing!

Best Non Digital Tool
Collaborative Whiteboard Learning Areas:  I would probably have not created these if I wasn't in the 21st century model classroom mode!  These are amazing learning environments.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Teaching Digital Citizenship & the Process

So we wanted to continue to emphasize responsible digital citizenship and we wanted to create a lip dub!  We accomplished both!

The entire process took four days.  However, our resource teacher, Mr. V., spent numerous hours writing the scrip and stating the process.  Also, a huge thank you goes out to the other members of our 8th grade team for providing additional students during taping!

Our Story Board

Some Direct Instruction

We walked through the scrip with a video shown to students.

All 47 students were given specific tasks to create props for the video.  Students worked together for two days to create signs that are seen in the lip dub!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Class Work On Google

Student discovers that when searching for "Growth Triangle", a mathematical concept, that our classes' previous work from the beginning of the chapter posted online was found by Google.

See her reaction!

Pic Collage App For ReviewIng Math Concepts

A collage of all the students and their Chapter 4 Math review as a pic collage.

Apps like Pic Collage really engage students to the point that time flies!  Price: Free

I have found that using apps that create items is a great way to review concepts.  See how we used the app and the features of Pic Collage.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creative App Carousel Day

Students have a problem:
How can they stress responsible digital citizenship to a specific audience in a creative way?

Today we allowed students to explore eight suggested creative apps for use in their upcoming presentation on responsible digital citizenship.

See The Specific Activity

A major reflection piece in this activity was to rate the apps that they were exploring. I used a Google form to acquire their opinion.  See The Form!

View the day's activities below:

We also introduced them to six Web 2.0 tools.

Solving System of Equations

We formalized the concept through this classroom learning environment:

Groups chose any method to present their work and their answers.

Short video clips of the presentations:

Reflection:  During the entire day and one half lesson, I was moving throughout the groups giving small group direct instruction and guidance.  I really like this method of teaching.  It allows for leaders to lead small groups and for constant discussion of the concept with students.  I also like the end product where the students need to become the teachers.  Had we had more time, all students should have been involved in the presentation.  I also wish students would have used more creation apps.  Next Time!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Administration Visit

When implementing technology so many people want to "see how it is done".  I welcome that!

To date, over 300 teachers, community members, parents, and administrators have entered my room to see the activities.  It is important to "not do anything special".  What's meant by that!  If an educator does something out of the ordinary then it is not using the tech as a tool.  It is putting on a show!

We structure our lessons when people visit the room the same way we do when there is no one in the room but students and teachers.  We intertwine the tech as a tool combined with many other tools!

See what we did by  Viewing Our Activities While They Were Here

Some video of their visit!  Anyone is welcome at anytime!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Digital Citizenship

Think Before You Post
Picture Source 
Due to our iPad implementation this year, we have made it imperative that we teach students proper etiquette while online.

We are in the process of creating a final digital citizenship creation and this was our cooperating teachers one day direct instruction presentation.

All credit for this creation goes to my team teacher.  He made the entire presentation!
Get The Presentation!

More videos to come on our student's creations!

Friday, December 16, 2011

TRULY Interactive Whiteboard Activity

Because of this presentation and @benjaminfriesen at TIES11, I created this...

I realize it is simple, but it isn't just a slide of writing, and it is a start!

Students are working on it here:

We then incorporated the Algebra Touch Intro App into the lesson for practice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Student Video Production

As part of the 21st Century Model Classroom concept, our district is creating student produced videos highlighting the learning atmosphere.  These videos will contain footage of events occurring in the classes and interviews of students and teachers.

Today was our day to be video taped.  (Not sure why we use video taped, it is all digital media)

The students were great and really showcased what we do on a daily basis!

Setting The Stage With an iPad

Our problem is quite boring with black words on a white paper.

The iPad (and really any device) allows us to do some 20% time of learning.  We investigated what the Iditarod  is all about prior to us attacking this problem.  There were no limitations.  I just emphasized with the students that I knew nothing about this race.  Students found maps, videos, past winners, distance, and many other items.

It definitely was my hook toward getting their attention.

Students were able to share their findings by having their iPad mirror to the large screen so that all students could view the information.  Great discussion.

We continued with three additional problems, followed by the students creating their own intersection of two equations.  We used Screenchomp to create.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

QR Code Check Out

Because of this tweet, I created something new in my classroom.

See how it works:

Students were always writing their names on the board which while working with students is difficult to view.  Now I will have the spreadsheet of the checkout sheet as a tab that I can quickly reference on my computer which is right next to me.

UPDATE:  I have added another QR code so that as they return to my room they scan it and complete a quick form so that I know the exact time they returned.

QR codes were created in Google URL shortener.

Love the fact that the form gives a time stamp.  No more taking time to write that down!

The QR code goes directly to a Google Form that I created!

Students loved it!

PLN strikes again!

Monday, December 12, 2011

QR Voice Memo To Students

I used QR Voice producer to create a message for my students about respecting students.  The students will use another iPad2 and scan the QR code.


Digital Lesson Plans For The Substitute Teacher

Once again, as I am creating tasks that need to be done this year, the question always pops in my head.
  • "There must be a better way to do this!"
As I created my lesson plans for the substitute teacher, I decided to go digital.  I created my instructions using my iPad2 camera and uploaded them to YouTube.  As with everything this year, I have reflections below which will make the product better for the next time that I do this.


  • I need to slow down.  Originally, I thought I would directly email them to her.  This would have limited me to 50 seconds as emailing video from iPad2 only allows 50 seconds.  
  • I eventually uploaded them to YouTube and placed them as UNLISTED.  This limits the number of people that can view them, but provides a lengthy opportunity to explain details.
  • Needed to have substitutes email, which I obtained from the sub list.
  • In the email, simply included the link to the YouTube page of the video.  The thing that I love about YouTube is that it doesn't matter if you are on a Mac or Windows, have QuickTime or Windows Medio Player, usually all computers will play YouTube videos.
  • I know that the work the students are doing looks "old fashioned", but with a blog post, it is the easiest way for me to ensure that some learning will take place during the days that I am absent.
  • In addition, I sent an email to the students explaining that I am not on another planet!  They may contact me with questions at any time and I will respond to them.
  • Overall, I believe this is a much more visual way to present lesson plans to substitute teachers!
Try it!  Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Writing Process With Digital Devices

IMPORTANT: I know the post is long, the REALLY good stuff is at the bottom!

With the help of our cooperating teacher and our language arts teacher, we concluded our thirteen colonies unit prior to assessment with compare and contrast, four paragraph paper.

The Process:
A GAFE email sent to students yesterday.  We had two, two hour blocks.  We focused on following directions.  Where it says "Check In", teachers held a one on one session with the students to help with ideas and editing.  We did not help with directions.  We did write on paper, so that we could use the iPads for recording and listening to the edit and for publishing to G Docs.  We'll work on that in the future.

Today, in class you will be given some independence to follow this list of directions. Do not copy other students because directions may vary. Please complete these tasks in the following order.

  1. Read through ALL the directions and information in this email! (Return to this email if you have questions about what to do. Teachers will be helping with writing- NOT DIRECTIONS! ANY questions not about your writing will cost you points!)You will be writing a 4 paragraph paper comparing and contrastingTWO (2) COLONIAL REGIONS (Pick any TWO- NEW ENGLAND, MIDDLE, OR SOUTHERN COLONIES)  

The structure will be THE SAME AS THE WAR COMPARE AND CONTRAST PAPER (see below):

(Introduction paragraph) Attention getting sentence. Topic Sentence about the entire topic.

(Second paragraph) Topic sentence about similarities OR about differences OR about one topic. Followed by three main ideas about the similarities, differences or topic WITH EXAMPLES and TRANSITIONS.

(Third paragraph) Topic sentence about ANOTHER similarity OR difference OR one topic. Followed by three main ideas about the similarities, differences or topic WITH EXAMPLES and TRANSITIONS.

(Conclusion) 1-2 sentences to sum up and bring closure to your thoughts.

  1. Take out a clean sheet of paper. Title your new document- “Your Name’s Compare and Contrast: American Colonies” 
  1. Begin by writing your introduction (FIRST) paragraph- an attention getting sentence about your topic, followed by your topic sentence for ENTIRE paper check both sentences off with the teacher (Follow teacher direction to make your writing better).
  1. Next, when your introduction paragraph is checked off, write only the TOPIC SENTENCE for the SECOND paragraph and flip the paper over to write the TOPIC SENTENCE for the THIRD paragraph. (Check off both at the same time by your classroom teacher- BE READY to explain the main ideas and examples you will discuss in both paragraphs).
  1. Return to your desk and complete BOTH paragraphs using complete sentences, transitions and correct punctuation.
  1. Once they are written out, use a flip camera or iPad within your homeroom to video/record a reading/editing of your paragraph OUTLOUD- making notes of editing that is needed while you read. Watch video again to LISTEN and LOOK for errors or confusion. Ask a friend or your homeroom teacher questions. IF YOU ARE CONFUSED ABOUT TO DO- PLEASE SEE EXAMPLE TITLED “Editing Monster” on Room 2025. 
  1. The video and your editing need to be checked off by your classroom teacher. 
  1. Once editing is complete, write 1-2 sentences for your conclusion (FOURTH PARAGRAPH) of your ENTIRE topic and check it off with your classroom teacher.
  1. When your writing has been completed, open your Google Docs, create a new document titled “YOUR NAME’s Compare/Contrast: American Colonies” and SHARE it with Mr. Reisler, Mr. VanSchyndel and Mrs. Schwittay and after you are finished writing, POST it to your professional blog. 
  1. When this is completed please read your DEAR book or study for Social Studies Assessment on Friday options for study are available

Break will be given at the bell between 8th and 9th hour…DO NOT ASK TO LEAVE BEFORE OR AFTER. Ladies will be dismissed from class for break first, and after ladies leave, boys you may go. DO NOT get out of your seat before the ladies have left the room!

Grades will be given based on completion of tasks (4 check offs x 3 points each =12 total points), following directions (15 points- are lost when you have not read clearly and followed direction laid out in email), and ON TASK behavior (6 points-are lost only when you need redirection to task).

One of the teachers in our house, allowed Frank to explain some information!

Student Comments After The Process: (GET READY FOR THE TEAR JERKER!!!"

Student #1: "Mr. R, I had fun doing this writing process."
Student #2: "This is the FIRST time that Student #1 has ever said FUN and school work together"

Student #3: "This activity made me feel smart!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Student Teachers Using Screen Chomp

This may have been one of the greatest learning experiences in our room!

I discovered...
  • that students loved using the Screen Chomp app as one student said, "This is better than regular math."  
  • that while assignments were done correctly, once students needed to explain it, some struggled.  I was then able to help them.
  • that students loved seeing their video tweeted!
  • students adapt and understand tools in apps very quickly!  I did give a small set of direct instructions!
  • students realized how difficult it is to teach as some had to "start over" with their production.
  • Screen Chomp will be a great way to share screen casts by students
  • that the possibilities are endless!

IMPORTANT: Once sharing on Twitter, Screen Chomp will save password.  Teach "Signing Out" after posting to twitter!  SEE THE WARNING 

The Process: (Playlist Link For iPad Users)

PRODUCTIONS: Future Professional Educators!  
World of Awesomeness #1
World of Awesomeness #2
World of Awesomeness #3
World of Awesomeness #4
World of Awesomeness #5

The Day After:  More Discussion!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

21st Century Model Classroom PCSD School Board Presentation

Tonight: We had the awesome opportunity to share our first accomplishments with our school board and many community members.

Our Theme:  How is our learning environments different since acquiring technology tools for our classroom?

PSCD School Board: Thank you for committing to this endeavor.  I believe that we are truly doing what is right by taking one year and seeing which device fits which need.

Invitation: All community members are invited to any of our classrooms at any time to see the amazing student learning experiences.

This video is created with the REEL DIRECTOR app for the iPad2.

To see the entire presentation activities, click HERE!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Simple Mind + App To Summarize

After a two day lesson of discovering the connection between Algebraic rules, patterns, graphs, and tables, our students Tweeted the MVP of the two days.  In addition, we blogged about the connections using the Simple Mind + App.  This app allows for great color and idea organization!  It is FREE!

Twitter MVP (Most Valuable Point)

Through a post, I learned of a teacher using Twitter with the MVP concept.  Have students tweet the Most  Valuable Point that they learned during the lesson.

See below...

Added to our discussion is this great tweet: T.W.I.T.T.E.R.

Twitter = (T)weet (W)ith (I)ntegrity (T)o (T)hen (E)arn (R)espect

Cursor Direct Placement on iPad - Student Discovery and Teaching

Awesome!  I learned something today!

Student driven learning and teaching!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Collaborative White Board Areas

How does a teacher make a classroom of 24 students and 1 teacher into a learning ratio of 1 teacher to 3 students?

By implementing whiteboard collaborative spaces!

We have implemented whiteboard collaborative areas in our classroom this year.  This is an update as to their use.  Students are really starting to use the tools in the areas.  The small whiteboards are cut from a 4 x 8 piece of shower board from Menard's or Home Depot.

One of my favorite aspects of these areas is how much positive learning conversation is generated while students are in these groups.  In the old days (5-10 years ago), two people always dominated the classroom conversation: the teacher and the student that was called upon.

While these groups are in session, I am always taking pictures of students' work and sending it to our classroom blog.  You can set that feature up on your classroom blog by completing the posting section as an email.

Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Playlist of Videos Link (needed for iPads)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Integrating Technology in Education

I can remember a time when we "went to the computer lab".  I am SO thankful that this is not the case in my educational setting.  Many people have viewed how we "use iPads in the classroom".  Today, I have written an entire educational opportunity on our classroom blog.  This demonstrates exactly how technology tools along with paper and pencil and varying conversation are intertwined in a learning experience.

From beginning to end, the students are 

in and out of technology.
in and out of camera use.
in and out of the web.
in and out of a Google Form.
in and out of an iPad2 app.
in and out of a calculator.  
in and out of collaborative whiteboard areas.  
in and out of direct instruction.  
in and out of an intellectual conversation with an adult. 

Partly viewed lesson on blog

Videos of Today's Lesson (iPad2=No Play List-See Channel For Details)

**Raw footage taken by me while teaching.  The video is a playlist of 23 videos. Enjoy!

The lesson really went well because I am seeing how students use their tech tool of choice.  I am certainly NOT standing in front and lecturing.  I especially liked how it flowed smoothly.  I do wish students would have tried the SimpleMindX app.  Maybe next time.

Students Teaching Students Google App

A new strategy to continue the education of a Google App among students.

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