Today, I learned to make my own ScreenCast usingScreen Shot 2013-09-28 at 2.23.16 PM which was surprisingly easy to use.

I can see how using this could be helpful in my math class as we often do rotations in which students move from station to station to complete a particular task. Often one of these stations is a game that students have to play to practice a skill they have learned. Most people  myself included and my 5th graders  do not like reading directions. Often I spend time up at the front of the classroom explaining directions to the whole class, but by the time the last group is at that rotation they don’t remember any of the directions that were explained at the beginning of the lesson. I can see how using a screencast and having students watch the video before they begin playing will be useful.

So here is my screencast on how to play Factor Captor and EverydayMath game which allows students to practice the skills of factoring numbers.



A 21st Century Teacher


Today I read an article that explained 36 things that 21st Century Teacher Should Be Able To Do and after taking this tech class I feel more confident about using tech as a teacher, but there were definitely things on this list that i am still clueless about, so I began exploring.

* Sending large files —– something I still struggle with, but I have to admit Google Drive and Dropbox have helped me with this. Although the upload time varies depending on internet speeds, I have been able to upload movies amongst other things.

* I can definitely know how to take a screen shot because I can add images like this:

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* I honestly had know idea what a meme was until I did a little research..I have to admit I had a few laughs the last few days and I can completely understand why students might think this is funny. I definitely need to create one of these in the future. I also think that it is important to continue to ask our students to create new things.

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* I have started to create a professional network through twitter and blogs and I am excited to share stuff I find with others. Technology is transforming learning and I think my own learning has changed. I am developing my own professional learning network and excited to share things I find with others. Hopefully inspiring others to embrace using technology as well.

* Digital Citizenship is something I have become more aware of and as teachers we should lead by example. So as such I have been making sure to cite sources of images and media that I use so that students become more aware of this. This way they start doing it to. We don’t need to have things sourced always the “right” way, but acknowledging where it comes from is important.

* I am not sure I know how I would effectively use Game – Based Technology in my classroom, although I do know that it exists. I also am not sure how to connect students to communities using project based learning. But I have to say I am now curious and want to know more.

Although I have not addressed all of these things I should be able to do, I know that I am a little further along then when I first started.

A Very Techie Birthday

Armed with two Starbucks coffees, and a sugar high from cinnamon rolls and cupcakes I was ready for class on my birthday. The all knowing Google also knew it was my birthday, which came as a pleasant surprise this morning.

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I have to admit this was pretty amazing! Thank you Google. Browsing on the internet on your birthday is especially fun because I know that the fictional character Doogie Howser from Doogie Howser, M.D was also born today.

So the learning continued with creating a podcast using GarageBand. Although I have used this program before to combine two audio tracks, I didn’t realize how much you can actually do. We recorded our voices, edited, added an audio introduction and just used the time to learn more about this program and its possibilities in our classrooms. (Podcasts with problems of the week, students creating podcasts to teach others how to solve problems, and even creating their own songs to go with a math lesson or to learn new vocabulary….).

So here is the  podcast:  “Math Talk at ISM”  – A teacher discussion on ways to engage students in a math class!

Happy Listening! (Click on the picture of the “world renowned Math teachers”)


I am a Scholar???

It wasn’t that long ago that I was searching in the haunted stacks in the Emory University library to find an obscure scholarly journal so that I could finish one of the many research papers assigned. Don’t I wish Google Scholar existed back then. I was amazed to learn about this great search engine and I am feeling relieved that I can explore this as I begin doing my research project for my masters.

What makes this search engine unique is the fact that you can see who else has cited a particular article as one of their resources. Once you click on the link  you are directed to the the other articles that are probably related to your topic. This makes researching scholarly articles much less stressful and complicated than before. Perhaps some of these articles will come in handy while doing research.

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Is your classroom a Dojo?

Today I explored the app called ClassDojo for my 5th graders. Although I would not say that my classes are unruly, I decided to try out this App and website to better monitor students behaviors both positive and negative. This app is easy to use as you can set up your classes and the behaviors you are looking for. As you walk around your room you can monitor your students behaviors. 

I liked this App because it is very visual and every student is assigned an avatar. Students gain points for positive behaviors and loose points for negative behaviors (which you have created). At the end of the class you are able to see a pie chart which monitors the whole class or even an individual student. You can share this information with parents and students. Through this they can become more aware of their own behavior and are able to get feedback. 

I can see using this app useful when students are doing Math Rotations. This way I can walk around the room and monitor student behaviors quickly and efficiently. Previously I have used paper and my clipboard to walk around to make notes about the things I liked or ways students can improve. However, I often lost these notes or failed to share them with students or parents. I am hoping that using this will help me become more efficient and effective in the classroom. 

I hope my classroom will become a Dojo as I become more skilled at using this tech tool. 

May The Force Be With You

Presentations styles vary from person to person depending on the audience and the message you want to convey. Most PowerPoint presentations are all very similar, slides that have bullets that display information and a speaker that explains the slides. Creating presentations like these seem commonplace and very standard for most of us in education. I didn’t really know that other kinds of presentation styles even existed, until I was shown this: Pecha Kucha. Pecha Kucha is a presentation design that limits presentations to 20 slides that only show for 20 seconds. At first this doesn’t seem very complicated, but as I started to create my own Pecha Kucha, I became fascinated in the design process.

After doing a little bit more research I came across this interesting article, “A long time ago, before death by PowerPoint”  which brought me to what would Darth Vader’s PowerPoint look like compared to Yoda’s.  Since I have a slight obsession with Star Wars I was fascinated by the idea that less is probably more. As such I have decided to think more carefully about the images I choose to include in my own presentations.  Do bullets really take away from the learning? Do people spend more time reading a PowerPoint presentation and less time listening? Does one even need an image, or is eye contact (the Yoda stare) enough? So as I put together my own Pecha Kucha, I am reminded that visual images should enhance a presentation and not take away from what you want your audience to learn. Keep it simple.  With that in mind, “May the Force Be With You” when you are planning your next presentation.


Photo Credit: <a href=””>JD Hancock</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Tweets…. and more Tweets…


Today, I explore the world of TWEETs and the amazing possibilities of learning and sharing that can come from Tweeting. I learned that #DidYouKnow has some amazing science facts like “Ants can survive the microwave because they can dodge the waves”… perhaps a possible science experiment? As I start tweeting I realize the importance of amazing things that can happen with using it in my classroom.

– Starting discussions about a topics and asking questions

– Learning from others

– Inspiration… and we all need a little inspiration.

Technology makes us grow, change, and learn. I want to use it the same way I want my students to use it.

Follow me @melwanik

Picture:  William M Ferriter on Flickr

Aims …

What do I want to get out of this class?

I remember hearing the sound of dial-up internet when I was in Middle School and waiting anxiously for my chance to get onto the desktop computer.  Mostly to get onto ICQ, because chatting with friends without using a phone seemed like the most incredible invention at the time. It is amazing to see how much has changed in the last 20 years. Nowadays kids are on IPads before they can even walk, we can have Video conversations with people in the International Space Station and we can find the directions to almost every location without ever needing a map (which are way harder to fold).

Technology has changed the way we teach as it has shaped the way the kids learn. I love experimenting with new technology and learning how to use it in my classroom. Through this class I hope to learn more about different IT  tools that will maximize student learning and enhance my teaching.