Resource List #3: Project Based Learning-Grades K-3


This website is great for teachers who are trying to incorporate Project Based Learning within their classrooms because it provides all the necessary tools that a teacher would need to ensure success. Buck Institute for Education, BIE, is a program that focuses on the improvement of teaching and learning by providing knowledge and products that will create effective Project Based Learning. They provide many tools for teachers who want to begin, or improve, their PBL adventure: books, free materials, workshops, instructional coaching, and practically everything else that a teacher would need to make PBL work in her classroom. This resource meets all of the NETS-T standards because it really provides everything within their one website, helping educators and providing all necessary tools to successfully incorporate PBL in the classroom and to be a more effective teacher.


Edutopia provides a great website for teachers who want to learn more about Project Based Learning and for those who may know nothing about it. This website clearly shows just what Project Based Learning is and provides the research that explains why this way of learning works. Along with this, they present articles and videos, which talk about and show how Project Based Learning has been used in various teachers’ classrooms, and an abundance of information that will help a teacher to better understand and improve the use of PBL in her classroom. NETS-T #5 is met because teachers are demonstrating their use of this learning in the classroom.


PBL online is a great place to go when wanting to create a project. Much like Edutopia, this website provides all the resources that are necessary when creating a PBL project or lesson. They present research and provide many examples from numerous teachers and researchers as to why this method works in the classroom, they give strategies for effective teaching, and allow for teachers to view others’ projects and discuss which ones were most effective. This is really the website to go to when one is looking to find anything about Project Based Learning. Teachers are creating and designing their own projects so this would meet NETS-T standard #2.


Internet 4 Classrooms is a great website to use when wanting to find online learning sites for children. This website provides practically any learning tool that can be found online for students of all ages. Teachers, parents, students, and anyone else looking for educational pages on the Internet are able to use this site. It’s a great place to go when looking for a last minute lesson, or one to incorporate within the classroom on a daily basis. This website is able to provide online tools both at schools and at home, which is always a beneficial thing. Again, I think this resource could meet all of the NETS-T standards because it provides all aspects necessary for implementing this method within the classroom. 


Lesson planet is a website for teachers that provides lesson plans that have been reviewed and used by other teachers. This site has over 400,000 articles, lessons, and worksheets for teachers to use after signing up and also provides the standards that are required for grade levels K-12 and even for higher education. It is also very helpful that this page provides reviews and comments on each lesson plan by credentialed teachers themselves, so that other teachers will know if it is an effective lesson or not and will be able to choose the best one possible based on reviews. This would meet NETS-T standard #2 because it allows teachers to develop their own projects.


This website provides all the necessary tools and equipment that will create a successful lesson plan for teachers. Providing free lesson plans, examples, and ideas, they make sure that teachers are on the right path to ensure the best lesson plan for students. Lesson plans which pertain to math, science, language arts, and social studies are offered through this website. This also could be NETS-T standard #2 because it helps teachers to create and design their PBL lessons.


This website explains exactly what PBL lessons are and provides checklists that both students and teachers are able to use. The checklists help students to track their learning and help the teacher to do so as well. This website provides checklists for various subjects and allows the teacher to alter and customize her lists to the best fit possible for her classroom. Providing checklists with PBL lessons ensures that all students are on the path for success and helps to keep each on the right track. This represents NETS-T standard #4 because students will be working on and are responsible for their own PBL project.



This is just a blog that is very helpful to those teachers and even others who want to learn more information about Project Based Learning, and practically anything that a teacher would want to know. This website is dedicated to providing information to teachers. They display many links to websites that have examples and information about PBL and also allow readers to comment and provide their input and opinions about Project Based Learning, which is always helpful to other teachers when input is provided from peers. This meets NETS-T standard #5 because teachers are continuing to learn and are showing their use of PBL in their classroom.



This website provides short videos that provide information to teachers about project based learning. A kind of basis to help teachers learn how to effectively use project based learning in the classroom and to give a refresher if ever necessary. This website consists of animated tutorials and audio dialogs that help to explain the concepts of project based learning and ensure greater interest in incorporating these lessons within the classroom. This website meets NETS-T standard #5 because teachers are learning and exploring the new technology.



High Tech High is a school that actually uses Project Based Learning in their classrooms. They were given a $250,000 grant towards incorporating PBL in their school and began doing so in March 2005. Since then, they have found many successful projects and have documented those that are the most beneficial in their school so that now, others will be able to take the information they provided and use it towards their own classrooms to create the best lesson possible. This could meet NETS-T standard #5 because these teachers are showing leadership, and others are learning from them. 


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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Week 9


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Week 9: Article Review – Elementary Students Grades K-3/ Project Based Learning

Learning Medium: Project Based Learning

Learner Level: Elementary Students Grades K-3

Journal Article: Project Based Learning for Children With Mild Mental Disability

Author(s): Yildiz Guven and Hulya Gulay                               

Source:  International Journal of Special Education, v22 n1 977-82 2011

Peer Reviewed: YES

Participants: 7 elementary ages children (4 boys and 3 girls) all of whom have mild mental disability

Review: The theme of the project was “Patisserie” (A shop where French pastries and cakes are sold) and its purpose was to determine if Project Based Learning provided benefit to students with mild mental disability.

The article begins with a reminder from our authors that students learn more when they are responsible for their own learning and that project based learning emphasizes educational opportunities that are student-centered, collaborative, and integrated with real-world issues. They go on to define project based learning as a deep investigation of selected topics that are relevant for both learner and teacher. 

The decisions in regard to the project itself, the method by which the process and learning will happen and the various pathways for interpretation of results are often easier for “mainstream” students than they are for Special Education Students.

This study found the researchers and the teachers selecting the topic based on the interest of the students and the availability of a patisserie which was located close to the school.

Parents became involved as they sent supplies which included menus, receipts, pictures and photographs of visits to the patisserie, as well as providing their own child several opportunities to visit the patisserie together.

Conclusion: The post-test given at the end of the unit provided key findings that evidenced student growth and learning as to the details of a patisserie and it was conclusive that the project based learning involved provided this benefit. 


While I realize that this article did not include technology other than in the form of photographs, I chose to address it because it got me thinking about the many different things/places that my own students may never get to experience first hand- a french pastry shop for example. I wonder about the amazing influence technology can have as I “take” my student to places around the world.

Key NETS-T Standard:  Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity with a direct emphasis on students exploring real-world issues an solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources. 

Key NETS-S Standard: Communication and collaboration, specifically the contribution to project teems to produce original works or solve problems 


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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Week 9


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Week 8; Article Review – Elementary Students Grades K-3/ Project Based Learning

Learning Medium: Project Based Learning

Learner Level: Elementary Students, Grades K-3

Journal Article: Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future

Author: Stephanie Bell

Source: Clearing House, Jan2010, Vol. 83 Issue 2, p39-43

Peer Reviewed: YES

Review: Project Based Learning is an approach to instruction that some teachers take in an effort to motivate students to actively participate in their own learning, to engage student interest and to provoke students to encounter- and struggle with central concepts and principles.

This method of learning is synonymous with learning in depth and teaches students 21st century skills as well as content. It is a systematic teaching method that engages students through extended inquiry process that is structured around complex questions and carefully designed tasks.

Project Based Learning is student driven and teacher facilitated.

This article points to several studies that include both Project Based Learning and direct instruction where content knowledge is the focus of the unit. In these studies it was found that greater achievement in both learning and motivation to succeed was evidenced in the Project Based Learning environments.

In one British study, over the course of three years, students were taught using traditional math programs
at one school and Project Based Learning at another school. Three times as many PBL students achieved the highest possible grade on the national exam than the students at a traditional school.

In another study, elementary students in three Iowa schools that used Project Based Learning Instuction raised their scores from “well below average” to the district average in two schools and to “well above the district average” in another school.

In all situations considered within this study, Project Based Learning Results were leaps and bounds ahead of traditional models of teaching.

My Response: It is obvious, as I read the results of these studies and think about my own classroom, that Project Based Learning around a project that motivates and interests students is much more effective at gains in student learning than is tradition stand-and-deliver instruction.

In addition to being motivating to students, Project Based Learning has several phases that must be passed through for the full benefit to be achieved:

1. Learning to be Self-Reliant through Planning and Organization- Careful planning is essential to the flow of the project and the success of the student.

2. Social Learning Enhances Collaboration Skills- Children practice and become proficient with the twenty-first-century skills of communication, negotiation, and collaboration

3. Differentiation Provides Intrinsic Motivation- The element of choice is worth its weight in gold.

4. Technology Enhances Creativity within Parameters- Project Based Learning allows students to use computers in very advanced ways. It is crucial, however, that we remember that they are still children and need guidance to use technology safely and effectively. but we must remember that they

The children of our future will not only be judged on their performance of a task but they will also be evaluated on their collaborative, negotiating, planning, and organizational skills. through Project Based Learning Instruction, we are creating  and preparing students to meet the 21st Century with the skills they need to be successful.

Key NETS-T Standard: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and creativity with a direct emphasis on students exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

Key NETS-S Standard: Communication and Collaboration, specifically the contribution to project teams to produce original works or solve problems. 

References: Thomas, J. W. 2000. A review of research on PBL. Research.pdf (accessed February 28, 2009).


Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Week 8


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Resources List #2 Elementary Students K-3/Video

1. Open Court Resources

Open Court is one of three reading programs used in the Lebanon School District. All of the resources on this site are free and are directly linked to the reading programs given to multiple classrooms throughout our district. However, it is not necessary for a teacher to be teaching from the Open Court basal to find resources that her own students might use.

The site is organized by grade level and unit and are intended to appeal to students of multiple learning styles as well as English Language Learners.

The Open Court website also serves to utilize technology in to the curriculum with power-point  digital video, and the internet.

The site provides resources for promoting literacy as well as lesson plans, CLAD chants, powerpoints, movies, picture files, phonics instruction techniques, recommended literature, and a complete sight words teaching system.

While I don’t teach specifically from the Open Court System, I have found myself utilizing the site for other purposes including vocabulary instruction and themed stories that align with my current curriculum map.

The key NETS-S standard that is addressed while utilizing this site is Research and Information Fluency with a direct emphasis on locating, organizing, and using information from a variety of sources and media.

2. Spelling City

What a great resource for students to practice their spelling/vocabulary words! This site allows the student to enter his/her list of words and then to enjoy countless hours playing games, completing tasks, finding the correct spelling, alphabetizing, and manipulating the words while learning their spellings without every realizing it! It is a total game-based site with literacy skills as its mission!

I have used this site several times in my own classroom and have found a direct link to its use and improved  spelling retention. The kids are motivated to work with their new list of words and it is certainly less tedious and boring than simply writing each of their words a dozen or more times.

The key NETS-S standard that is emphasized when utilizing this resource is Research and Information Fluency with a direct tie to selecting information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

3. Edhelper

This site costs to be a member, but let me tell you firsthand, I couldn’t do what I do without it! This site is a collection of educational tools/resources for immediate teacher use.  It is created by teachers and is for teachers.

Like SpellingCity, Edhelper allows the teacher to input words toward the creation of practice pages that will utilize that exact set of words.  The kids can then have the practice necessary to commit the words to memory or to further expand on their definition/use in a sentence.

Additionally, writing prompts, math word problems, poems, and reading opportunities are all available with specific teacher influence.  For example, if you wanted a particular story level, with a particular theme, and vocabulary words, you would simply enter that information into the appropriate areas and instantly your resource would be made available for you to download.

I absolutely love this site and have been a member since discovering it during my third year of teaching.  What’s really great is that your lists are saved from year to year so that should you decide to repeat a unit of instruction, your lists of words are there waiting for you.

The key NETS-T standard that is addressed when utilizing this site is Model Digital Age Work and Learning as I collaborate with my peers and transfer current knowledge to new technologies and situations.  Additionally, I am effectively using current and emerging digital tools to use information resources to support student learning.

4. Dance Mat Typing

What a great site to inspire student’s keyboarding skills!

We all recognize the importance of keyboarding skills in this, our digital era, this free site allows students a game play layout for learning how to type correctly and efficiently.

Records are kept and levels are available for learners of all abilities and the colorful characters, animations, and music inspire kiddos to try again and again.

I love watching my own students work with this program and I will often hear them talking to each other about how great they are getting at typing words.

The key NETS-S standard that is emphasized when students are granted opportunity to work on this site is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. There is a direct tie to this standard and its subtitle, managing activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

5. Accelerated Reader Book finder

This book finder resource is perfect for families, students, teachers, parents, etc. to find books that have been A.R. leveled to match the ability of specific students.

This site allows the user to enter the title(s) of books into the appropriate area and to then learn the exact A.R. level that the book is at.

Knowing this is extremely important as it is key to the development of the readers ability to work with their Zone of Proximinal Development (ZPD) This zone is characteristically three months below to three months above a particular student’s ability and therefore promotes reading acquisition that will enhance their learning.

For example, if a reader has an ability level of 3.7 (3rd grade, 7th month) than their ZPD would be 3.4 -4.0.

The A.R. Book finder allows the levels of books to be learned so that the student can be assured that he/she is reading within their level.

Most of the books in our classroom are labeled with the A.R. book level and even the library has started labeling all of theirs!  If, however, a book does not have a label, the kids know how to find it with bookfinder!

The key NETS-S standard that is utilized is Research and Information Fluency as students evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

6. Google

Even eight and nine year olds know Google as the go-to search engine for needed information!  I cannot tell you the number of times one of my 3rd graders has announced to the class the he/she was going to ‘Google it” to find the answer to a question either them or the class had posed.

How incredible it is that just the name itself is enough to know that an answer/destination is on its way to the would be learner.

I like to send my kids on Goodle searches as they work hard to find information from the largest land animal to the smallest country in the world. They love being the scientists in the discovery and especially love sharing their learned information with peers.

Of course it is up to the adults in that child’s world to teach them information evaluation skills and such, but for now, while they are just beginning, what a celebration it is to get to the information desired in the first place.

The NETS-S standard that is at the center of learning when students utilize Google is Research and Information Fluency with a direct tie to locating, organizing, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources and media.

7. Cash Out!

A superior opportunity for students to practice money skills! Not only are they adding the costs of the items they wish to buy, they are finding the change back from a determined payment amount!

Making change is one of the most difficult skills that students must master-This site allows a fun way to practice for free!

My kids beg to play this and I will often plan an hour or two each week for partners to work together in the solving of the problems that come at them.  Partnerships must carry with them a clipbard, paper, and pencil and the the “thinking and figuring” that happens in their heads must be put on paper for me to see. Watching this in action and experiencing the positive results and skills gained is so exciting for me as a teacher and I am sure even more so for my students.  I highly recommend this site.

Key NETS-S standard addressed when utilizing this site is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making with a direct tie to managing an activity to identify a solution.

8. Fun Brain

The BEST site for free educational games, online books, and comics!  This is the go-to site for students of so many ages. It is safe, engaging, motivating, and high interest!

Funbrain was created for kids from preschool through grade eight.  It offers more than one hundred fun and interactive games that develop skills in reading, literacy, and math.

Additionally, the site offers children the ability to connect to favorite stories including Diary of a Whimpy Kid, Brewster Rocket, and Amelia Writes Again.

This is another site that my own students ask for again and again and it is often the first place they go to during free choice opportunity! Highly recommended!

The NETS-S standard that is emphasized while on this site is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making while specifically managing projects and solving problems.

9. Starfall

Electronic Talking Books with highlighted text and digital pages that “turn” are the focus of this site.

Starfall is recognized and highly rated by experts. The Reading Teacher named one of “Five Internet sites too good to miss” (May 2006). In 2005 and again in 2008, recognized Starfall as one of their top five educational websites. Starfall was the first Internet site to be recognized by Children’s Software & New Media Review as the highest rated product in their Early Elementary category, Spring 2004.

The site allows readers of all levels to learn to read through motivating music, illustrations, animations, and music.  It is relied upon in my own classroom as an intervention source and has assisted in many of my students increasing their reading skills quickly and effectively. Don’t miss this site-its a gem.

The NETS-T standard that is the focus when this site is utilized is Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments with direct ties to teachers evaluating authentic learning experiences  by incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning.

10.Lebanon Community School District

This resource is provided from my district and is the central location for all things communication and curriculum based.

It is the site I go to for calendar information, email, student/staff resources, staff pages, phone directory, Common Core State Standards expectations, shared storage links, photos, community events, etc.

My list of resources would not be complete without Lebanon Community School Districts Website included. Like other district websites, this is the place I go to most often when questions come up that need to be answered.

I love knowing that the things/resources I need are all there, in one tight space that I have gone to a million times!

The NETS-T standard that I utilize when I go to this site is Modeling Digital Age Work and Learning. My own students have seen me go to the Lebanon Home page countless times and they know too that it is the place that tells us the direction we are going and it gives us the answers to the questions we are trying to answer like, “What’s for lunch a month from next Wednesday?” 🙂

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Week 7


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Week 7: Article Review – Elementary Students Grades K-3/ Video

Learning Medium: Video

Learner Level: Elementary Students, Grades K-3

Journal Article: “Making Time” for Reading: Factors That Influence the Success of Multimedia Reading in the Home. 

Author(s): Grace Oakley and Jenny Jay

Source: Reading Teacher, Nov2008, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p246-255

Peer Reviewed: YES

Review: Electronic Talking Books, or ETBs as our authors Oakley and Jay refer to them can encourage and help children to read. These ETBs are texts on CD-ROM or the internet that contain not just the written word but also multimedia elements such as narrations, music, video, and animation. While huge variety exists among ETBs many include text highlighting to help readers follow the narrator’s reading and hot spots that activate animation and response. 

With the realization of students’ love of computers, there has been a lot of speculation and research around how educators might take advantage of that interest to facilitate learning. ETBs are the case in point of this study and the interest in learning if sitting alongside a traditional textbook, the ETB would encourage the reluctant reader to engage in increased at-home reading.

Oakley and Jay recognize the research that suggests that reading at home is linked to higher achievement in reading (Allington, 1977, 2006)  and they were curious to learn what the students, teachers, and parents involved thought about the ETB option for home reading, what barriers were perceived, and what factors appeared to facilitate the implementation of the program.

Participants/Location/Duration:  41 upper primary and middle school reluctant readers/Three schools in Australia/Over a period of 10 weeks. 

Data Collection: Reading attitudes were measured at the beginning of the study, interviews were conducted around reading behaviors, parent surveys around children behaviors and attitudes was also included. No pretest on the use of ETBs was given. 

Parent feedback forms were collected weekly to monitor how the students were using and enjoying the ETBs and to learn the amount of time their children spent reading at home with the ETBs.

The end of the ten weeks found a repeat in the surveys/interviews of both the students and the parents.

Results: Participating students indicated increased enjoyment in the act of reading and had read more than usual during the ten-week project. 10% of the participants read all of the stories on a CD-ROM each week, which adds up to at least two hours weekly. Two of the students quadrupled their rime spent on at-home reading. 

The study reports that the students were not always reading in the same sense that they would read a traditional book however.  Instead, they were often listening to the narrator or only viewing the pictures/illustrations on the pages that were being read to them.

There appeared to be no direct link to the enjoyment of ETBs and an increase in motivation to read traditional books and the study concluded that there were multiple findings of both facilitative and inhibitive factors that may be used to inform an ETB intervention program. The study found both pitfalls to avoid and positives to gain from. 

Factors that Facilitated the Implementation of the ETB Home Reading Program: 

1. Students’ ability to manipulate the software and its ease of use.

2. Family attitude played a key role in the increased amount of reading time.

3. The school attitude and its ability to “sell” students on the ETBs.

Factors that inhibited the Implementation of the ETB Home Reading Program:

1. Discomfort in holding a computer instead of a book.

2. Families not keeping track of the time spent reading. Lack of ability for family to allow quiet/structured reading time.

3. Lack of involvement from classroom teachers.

My Response: I was so excited by the title of this article and very interested in maybe finding a way to reach my reluctant readers.  I am always on the search for that magic trick to motivate and for a while I thought I had found it.  

I recognize that the ETBs are used differently than traditional books, with more interaction and certainly more motivation to pick it up, however, it wasn’t until I read the section of the study that informed me of no direct link to the ETB use and an increase in motivation to read that I realized I wasn’t really on to the next best thing.

While I get that the motivation to pick up the ETB might be there, there would still be the missing motivation to pick up the traditional book. Perhaps if the study had found that children gained reading skills while using the ETB maybe that would have provided the security/confidence for those same students to pick up a traditional book.

I may still find ways to put my kids in front of ETBs as both a source of motivation and as a reward for reading success. I may pay closer attention to those who are reluctant to read traditional books and maybe I can encourage them to do so by allowing them to “play around” with The ETBs when the traditional book has been at least looked at, appreciated, attempted, discussed, or whatever we can get from that reader.

Key NETS-T Standard: Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences with an emphasis on the using digital tools to promote student learning. 

Key NETS-S Standard: Creativity and Innovation with the emphasis on generating new processes using technology. 

References: Allington, R.L. (2006). What really matters for struggling readers: Designing research-based programs (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Week 7


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Week 6: Article Review – Elementary Students Grades K-3/Video

Learning Medium: Video

Learner Level: Elementary Students, grades K-3

Journal Article: Pre-service teachers: are we thinking with technology?

Author(s): Aaron Doering, Doug Huffman, and Joan Hughes

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 35.3 (Spring 2003): p342. From General Reference Center.

Peer Reviewed: YES


The article addresses a study that was conducted in an effort to both understand how a group of pre-service teachers envisioned the use of technology in their future classrooms and to assess the pre-service teacher’s ability to identify content-based technology uses for their anticipated teaching positions after completion of student teaching. 

Our authors point to the history of research that indicates that pre-service teachers are inadequately prepared in educational technologies.  Doering, Huffman, and Hughes site multiple of examples of statistics that find newly licensed teachers themselves feeling “behind the times” even as they enter newly appointed classrooms.

The authors go on to report that school districts across the nation, once willing to spend resources on technology advancement, are reconsidering this choice based on the perceptions/opinions of new hires and their own self-assessment of inadequacy where the use of technology is concerned. 

The study consisted of ten pre-service teachers, all of whom were enrolled in a master’s degree in education program. Of the ten, six were women and four were men. Ages ranged from 22 to 35 years. 

Each participant was interviewed both before and after student teaching opportunities, with the responses mostly qualitative in nature.

Patterns in responses were analyzed and the results are as follows for participants prior to the student teaching experience:

1. Dismissing technology as an option in the classroom.

2. Argument that students should learn content without the use of technology before being allowed the use of it.

3. Envisioned technology’s primary use as record keeping and information retrieval.

4. Evidence of fear that technology might malfunction.

The following lists the greatest four responses after the student teaching experience: Note that seven of the ten participants perceived themselves to be unsuccessful in integrating technology. 

1. Eight of the teachers noted that access to computers/technology was a hindrance and struggles with software and the running of the technology was an issue.

2. Classroom management issues increased with the use of technology.

3. Often, the technology experience of the student teacher was directly tied to that of the cooperating teacher. 

4. The number of classrooms that used technology that was smoothly integrated into their curriculum was far smaller than the number that did not. 


The participants in the study were able to consider the use of technology in varying degrees, but unfortunately, nine of the ten who participated were unable to generate new examples of technology integration within their content are of teaching. 

The most positive part of the study, it seems, is that each of the participants at least spent time considering the use of technology in their classrooms and all developed a thinking with technology perspective. 

My response:

I chose this article and was interested in the topic because I graduated just two years after this study and like the participants, I too felt inadequate to handle the technology in my own classroom.  I did not feel that I had been properly prepared to teach children using 21st century technology skills and I often found myself backing away or shying from the use of such methods of instruction. 

Like the authors, I agree that it is imperative that teacher prep classes match the teaching of technology with the needs our students will possess. After all, these kids are being raised in a tech world and we owe it to them to keep up. 

Key NETS-T standard: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity- Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

Key NETS-S standard: Communication and Collaboration- Students will be expected to use digital media and environments to communicate and to work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. 

References: Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 35.3 (Spring 2003): p342. From General Reference Center.



Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Week six


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NETS Standards:


Mind Mapping is a visual strategy that students can use to organize their thoughts, information, and ideas. Mind mapping is defined as a diagram that visually represents a concept. These mind-maps are also called graphic organizers and concept maps.

The link that I have attached provides multiple mind-maps that are available for immediate use. I found, as have my students, that these maps are an invaluable tool that helps all of us to be more successful in the learning that is happening in our classroom and at home.

Additionally, there is an app available for iPad, iPhone, and  iPod Touch called Simple Mind, that allows the user to create, on the spot, mind-maps.  The ease of color coding, tap-and-drag, and creation of multiple sections adds to the simplistic layout and convenience this app provides.

The key NETS-S standard that students will be utilizing throughout the process and creation of mind-maps is Creativity and Innovation which specifically addresses the construction of knowledge and the creation of original works as a means of personal expression. The students may use models (the mind-map) to explore complex systems and issues.


This amazing program is one that can be utilized both in the classroom and at home.  The 24 students in my classroom own their account, tracking record, game board, ribbons, and medals that accompany this motivating  math practice software.

My school, specifically the Title program, pays for the students at Pioneer to use IXL as a means for improving math scores.  IXL levels are aligned with both State and Common Core standards and has the ability to allow both students and teachers to access the site via the internet. This ability, allows IXL levels to be assigned for homework and also allows for diversity in the assignments students receive.

In my own classroom, I have most of my population working at grade level but have also been able to allow two of my kiddos to work at the previous grade level because that is simple where they need to be right now.

IXL allows the parent to receive notification as to the progress their student is making and it allows parent involvement in the completion of homework because the parent always knows what is expected. The program explains the process and shows the correct answer when a wrong one is entered and it provides a point system that motivates students to reach the expected 100 points in order to receive a medal for that level

IXL provides students with confidence as they progress through levels and it encourages completion as levels are color coded for mastery and needed improvement.

The key NETS-s Standard accomplished as students work toward math mastery using IXL is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. This standard specifically addresses critical thinking skills to solve problems using digital tools and resources. IXL is a great digital tool/resource.

3.  Google Docs

Google Docs is a free, Web-based office suite and data storage service offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.

The students and teachers in my district are able to utilize Google Docs under an umbrella called Mesh. This means that there is safety within the sharing of documents created under the umbrella and allows students, teachers, and parents the privilege of utilizing the documents in a safe and secure environment.

For those of you who may not have used Google Docs yet, you must know that the ability to create/work on a document from different locations at the same time is mind blowing! I will never forget the first time my kids collaborated with kids from across town on a share doc, they were so impressed that they could see the other kids typing right there on the same screen they were typing on!

The key NETS-S Standard that students will be accomplishing is Communication and Collaboration  as they use digital media (Google Docs) to work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support their own learning while contributing to the learning of others throughout the process.


Brainpop is a free educational site that motivates student learning through rich illustrations, colorful characters, lively music, interactive design, and engaging content. The kids can’t help but want to spend time answering questions and solving problems as they engage in lively game play.

This site is often a “free choice” activity in my classroom and will often find students sitting in partnerships playing-and learning-together.

The key NETS-S Standard that students will be utilizing is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making as they work in a fun way to solve problems using digital tools/resources.

5. is a free online dictionary that provides definitions, spell check, word origins, example sentences, audio pronunciations, and Word of the Day.

Students in my classroom use as they work to produce writing and when they take on the role of peer editor. It is the expectation that 1-2 “new to us” words be used when students create a new piece of writing. allows this to happen for my 3rd graders easily and it is often that the minimum requirement is exceeded as they love to discover new words to use.

The key NETS-S Standard that students accomplish while using this site is Research and Information Fluency as they apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Specifically, students locate and analyze information-words.


This site provides, school districts, administrators, and teachers with quality assessment and reporting options. The RTI process is enhances as this site offers solutions at every tier. Progress monitoring and Benchmark assessments in reading and math for grades k-8 is a basic feature and the ability to sync accounts, merge student records, create class lists, and maintain student records from year to year further enhance this software’s ability.

easyCBM in Lebanon finds the students taking full assessments in both reading and math three times each year.  There is provided research on their site that supports a direct correlation between meeting OAKS scores and low risk assessment results for CBM.

Additionally, easyCBM has enhanced its capabilities by providing reading assessments for 3-8 and math assessments for 6-8 that are directly aligned with Common Core Standards. These new tests are not nationally normed as yet but will be before the first of the year.

The cost for district wide use is $1.00 per students in comparison to $14 per student for MAPS

The key NETS-S Standard that students will be utilizing is Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making as they work within a digital environment to solve problems and make informed decisions.


This amazing and resource filled site is a literally an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials!

In a world where time is of the essence and the field of education is constantly changing the lens in which it views teaching and learning, what better way to “borrow” the thoughts, ideas, work, creations, and leg work of others.

Currently, my district is moving in the direction of and putting much emphasis on the Common Core State Standards.  TeachersPayTeachers allows educators to gain from the work of others for often a minimal fee to purchase original work.

Just recently, I purchased Common Core posters at the 3rd grade level for all contents that I will be able to simply slip into the pocket chart I have hanging in my classroom. When I stop to consider the amount of time saved in not having to write out all the standards on new sentence strips, I am thrilled! My time can now be better spent on developing the lessons to support those standards.

The key NETS-T standard that is the focus is Model Digital Age Work and Learning as I collaborate with my peers and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success  Additionally, I will be modeling my effective use of emerging digital tools to locate and use information resources to support my student’ learning.

8. Facebook

Facebook is a social networking website. This site is hugely popular and allows the user to make connections and join multiple groups. It connects friends, co-workers, and others who share similar interests/background, and enhances communications via photos, updated status, mapping, and shared friends lists.

Facebook has created simple ways to locate people using email addresses or the friends list of others and the format and layout design is both attractive and intuitive for easy movement on the site.

While I don’t encourage or utilize Facebook in my own 3rd grade classroom, I can imagine student use at the upper grades and high school level.

The NETS-S standard that students accomplish when utilizing Facebook is Digital Citizenship- learning around the practice of safe, legal and responsible use of information and technology and student understanding of human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

9. Powerpoint

Powerpoint is a presentation program that consists of individual pages or “slides”. These pages may contain text, graphics, movies, objects, or graphics that can be arranges freely to fit the desires of the creator. The presentation can be printed or projected depending on the needs of the audience.

Powerpoint software provides ready made templates for the user and the simplistic means for creating the slides encourages learning at all levels of understanding.

My own students utilize Powerpoint in their research projects and many find movement withing the program easy and intuitive.

The key NETS-S standard that is accomplished is Creativity and Innovation as students create original works as a means of personal or group expression. Additionally, the student applies existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.

10. Renaissance Place

Renaissance Place is an educational software program for k-12 schools. The content area applications available are reading, math, language acquisition, and early literacy.

The main purpose of the program for teachers and students is for assessment, task management, and progress-monitoring tools.

I utilize Renaissance Place for its assessments programs, Star Reading and Star Math. Both of these assessments allow students to answer questions based on their ability and then adjusts to the needs of the students based on the response. For example, if the student answers correctly, a harder question is asked, if the student answers incorrectly, an easier question is asked.

In the end, the program provides me, the teacher, a diagnostic analysis of the both the skills and struggles each of my students is facing.  Additionally, it provides me solutions and tasks that will serve to enhance each student’s learning.

The key NETS-T standard that is utilized when providing students this assessment program is Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments with a specific emphasis on the technology-enriched learning environment, access to goals and progress, and the use of digital tools and resources.

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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Week Five


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