Week 12

Essential Question: How will I demonstrate impact on student learning as a result of my differentiated lesson?

I will demonstrate the impact on student learning by using the iPad app Show Me. Before the lesson, the students will attempt to solve a double-digit addition problem using the iPad app which allows for not only the recording of their work on the screen but a verbal explanation as they are solving the problem. I will not give them any instruction as to how they are to solve the problem. During the lesson, we will explore several ways to solve a double-digit problem. The students will get the opportunity to use the method(s) that works best for them. In the post-test, they will again use Show Me to solve a double-digit problem. It is my hope that my medium and low students will be able to show and articulate how to solve the problem. I already know that my high students will be successful from the beginning. I might challenge them with a double-digit equation where one addend is missing but they are given the total. 

I am trying to decide if I want them to solve the same problem or a different one. At the moment, I am leaning towards the same problem since it will be an “apple to apple” comparison. However, I also realize that it should not matter the problem since by the end they should be able to solve ANY double-digit addition problem. 

I have consulted with my PLN about how to go about this. I think that I am on the correct track.


Week Eleven


Essential Question: What technology will I use to allow students to demonstrate they have met the standards targeted by my rubric? What are the classroom management considerations that I must address?
I plan on using the iPad Show Me app. This app will allow me to have students “show me” that they can figure out a double-digit addition problem. I will give them each a problem on the iPad. They will solve it any way that they can figure out. The app allows for them to talk while they are writing. I will then teach the class about double digit addition and provide several ways for the students to practice. I will then have them solve the same problem by using the new skills that they have learned. Both sessions can be recorded and saved with this app. I think that the students will enjoy seeing the before and after.
As I work with students, I will have the other students working on other work. It needs to be relatively quiet so I will have then take turns during our stamina reading time. I have at least 30 minute blocks of time where I can work with students while the other children are reading quietly from their book boxes. This allows for both quiet and classroom management of the other children.
I have talked with my PLN about this app.

Week 10

How can I differentiate through student product in my classroom?


In a week or two, I will start introducing the students to double-digit addition. At various times in the year, I have briefly introduced this concept. The first time they will all solve the same problem. They will record their work, answer, and verbal explanation of how they arrived at their answer on the iPad using Show-Me. After I have taught the concept and they have had time to practice it, I will again have them solve a double-digit addition problem. They will again record and explain their response.

Three standards:

~Add using numbers up to 100 including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number

~construct arguments using concrete referents such as objects, drawings, diagrams, and actions

~justify conclusions, communicate conclusions


Add double-digit up to 100 Construct argument with objects, drawing, diagrams, etc. Justify and communicate conclusions


Can add triple digits or higher with accuracy Can construct arguments on triple digit or higher equations Can effectively communicate conclusions on triple digit equations.


Can add double-digit equations with accuracy Can construct arguments for double-digit equations. Can effectively communicate conclusions on double-digit equations.


Can add double-digit equations with some help Needs some help constructing arguments for double-digit equations Needs some help communicating conclusions.


Beginning understanding of double-digit addition Needs a lot of support in constructing arguments for double-digit equations Does not understand how they arrived at the conclusion.

I consulted with my PLN on a plan. It took a lot of twittering to figure out what I was exactly supposed to do so hopefully I understood everything and did it correctly.

Pearltree is to the internet as a Disneyland Visa is to credit cards

Question of the week: How can I use Pearltrees to differentiate content in the classroom?

I have spent the last day and part of my dreams wracking my brain as to how Pearltree can help me in the classroom. I have come up blank. It’s not because I don’t understand how it operates, haven’t consulted my PLN, or am just being stubborn because I am not happy about having to sign up for one more site.* I truly cannot find any reason to use it in my classroom.

I suppose an educator could have students get on a computer and add their own pearls on a given topic. I teach first graders. Enough said. I suppose I could form a pearl so that the other five first grade teachers at my school and I could add ideas to it. However, we already have a spot for that when brilliance is in the air. I suppose a teacher could sit in front of a computer and search pearls in order to find ideas. However, I do not go home, after working 9-10 hours at school, and turn on the computer to view teaching websites. I would rather walk, play the violin, sew, shoot arrows, check on my tomato plants, write letters, read real books about bees and chickens, or anything else that does to have to do with technology and teaching. It is important that I have my free time to do what interests me and to get a break from school. It’s called balance and I need it.

You are probably wondering what in the world I mean with my title. I will do my best to clarify. I know that having to sign into internet sites is not going to go away. However, just because that is a reality, that doesn’t mean that it has to be my reality. The best analogy I could think of was credit cards. There are many types of credit cards that a person could choose to sign up for. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to sign up for every one (although they all would want us to). If we choose to sign up, we need to pick the one that works the best for us and won’t lead us to the debt collectors. Just because one card is the best for me, doesn’t mean that everyone else HAS to sign up for it. They need to be free to pick and choose what works best for them. Pearltree is like a credit card. Some people sign up for it and get lots of “shopping points” out of it. In fact they may even sign up for a bunch more depending on what they want to (l)earn. Others find no use for a plethora of cards or sites. I am among the latter. I do not wish to be inundated. I only need a couple and will use them until I find another need, which may be never, for something else. Therefore, Pearltree and Disneyland have no place in my life at this time. Hats off to the people who can use them and thank you for allowing me to choose. Happy typing and swiping.

*Do not be ashamed if a sudden image of Sharon with her ears back, heels digging in, and braying loudly in front of the word “technology” comes to mind because that is mostly the truth.

Week 8: How might video games enhance my students’ learning?

It is very hard for me to type about “video games” that I should allow in the classroom on a regular basis. I don’t believe that they have a permanent place in a first grade classroom. It is much more important for them to learn together and work on their social skills then have their face in a screen. However, I did learn on twitter and talking with people about some that my be useful on a limited basis in the classroom or when the students are home and it is dark and cold outside.
The first site is known as ixl. The site seems to provide engaging ways to help a child learn different math concepts. If a child gets an answer incorrect, it provides immediate feedback and a way for them to look up and or learn the answer. It seems that this site would help most children learn the skills that are targeted in the content area they are practicing.
The second site is Raz-Kids. This is a reading site that also helps a student work on vocabulary and comprehension. Most students enjoy having the option to do this in the classroom. The books they listen to, read, and then answer questions about are at their independent level. The teacher also has the option of turning on Raz Rocket. The students earn points for reading and answering the quiz correctly. They can then buy items for their rocket and planet.
The last site is Sheppard Software. This site also provides different games for math concepts. The child receives immediate feedback if they calculated the incorrect answer. It can be very easy for the child to just click answers until they get the correct one though. For some children, this might work well though because they will recall the next time which was the correct answer. I think that most children would stay engaged with the content. The nice thing about this website is that there are quite a few concepts that a child could use for practice.

Week 7

What tool did you learn this week to assist you in differentiating the learning process for students?

The Promethean Board is a great tool in the classroom since it projects what is on my computer. I like this tool for several reasons. The screen is very big and available for those visual learns. I love to show short concept videos from BrainPopJr because the students hear and see a concept in a different way than what I just talked to them about or we practiced. When we come across a new word or something they don’t see in their everyday lives, I can show them a picture from my personal travel collection or from google. This is especially helpful for my English Language Learners.  For instance, we had a story that talked about a Baobab Tree in it. I was able to show them one from a trip to Africa. I have also used google to find pictures. I would caution teachers to turn off the screen while searching. One time I wanted to show them what lace looked like. Fortunately, I turned off the Promethean screen while I searched on my computer. I am glad that I did. I am not sure that I would still have a certificate if I hadn’t.

I tried to upload to pictures. One is using of the Promethean Board and the other is the book where I got the material. I can’t figure out where the pictures went or if they even attached.

Week 6

What does it mean to differentiate the process (content, strategies for instruction) in the classroom?

Once again I feel most comfortable falling back on my Kagan training where I did not spend hours in front of a computer researching, but with living, breathing human beings. We interacted in flesh and blood, used books, giggled, laughed, groaned, aha’ed, and connected without wireless internet. I know, what an old-fashioned way to learn something new.  I do not enjoy learning by staring at an impersonal computer screen for hours. However, some people thrive from the online world. All this to first bring home the point that everyone learns differently, including educators.

Differentiating in the classroom means providing a variety of methods for students to master the learning objectives. I attended a Kagan conference last year about Brain friendly teaching. It was a powerful kick in the rear because I realized that I was mostly teaching my way of learning or what I thought was the most efficient way to learn. It bothered me greatly that I was neglecting any student who did not learn like me. I was not allowing for those brains who remembered concepts by doing something artistic. I was only explaining things one way instead of several different ways. I was not allowing for math conversations or time to process what they had just learned. 

Now I strive to teach a little differently. I give choices on how they wish to learn or practice a new concept. For instance, when we are learning how to spell our new word wall words, they may choose the materials (pencil or colored marker and paper, dry erase marker and board) they use to practice the words. At times they may choose to spell the word out loud and move, write with their finger on their arm, in the air, etc. If we are working on counting money, they can choose to write out the money on their dry erase boards or have play money in front of them. Sometimes, I use BrainPOPjr to further explain a concept. My students love this website and ask daily if they can watch it.

One last nugget of information that I have learned, is that students need time to be able to think before they give an answer. I know that this may be old news for some teachers, but I did not realize this because I was one of the ones who generally knew an answer right away.  It is my job, as their teacher, to allow some think time so that more students have a chance to answer correctly. There are also kids who like to blurt out. I fulfill the need for blurters and longer thinkers by having a signal that tells the students when they can blurt out. It kills two birds with one stone, so to speak and everyone gets a fair shot at answering the question.

I, by no means, have completely mastered how to teach to everyone effectively but I strive to differentiate my teaching every day so that I provide the best learning environment possible for my first grade sponges.