Saturday, October 1, 2011

Being SMART in the Classroom

Whew! What a week. It was jam packed full of ball games, meetings, and parent teacher conferences. With the parents that I met with at conferences this week, we discussed the normal list of topics: the student self evaluation form, L2J charts, some positives, and any concerns that we may have. What was different this year is that parents were asking me what a SMART Board was and how it helped students learn. This is where the conferences became fun for me.

I jumped up and practically ran to the board. I hooked up my computer and opened up some of the accounting notebooks that I had created this summer. Before I knew it, I had one father manipulating the accounting numbers and dragging them into debit and credit parts. The smile on his face made it evident that he was hooked!  I explained that one of my goals this year was to make my accounting class more interactive and engaging and I was using SMART Technologies to help me accomplish this.

One parent said, "What if we could have had this back when we were in accounting class!" We laughed together and dreamed for a bit. The students at Centura are truly fortunate to have a SMART Board available to them in every classroom. The teachers have the privilege of using this tool to help engage  students in his/her learning. And our parents should feel assured in knowing that their child gets to gain knowledge in a better way than we did.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beautiful Centura

As I was traveling down Highway 2, heading for my second day of school, the sky caught my eye. Surrounded by clouds, dark sky, and patches of rain, was an area where the sun was shooting through the clouds; what looked to be right over Centura. I thought to myself, Beautiful Centura.

A quote from a former administrator popped into my head. He had told me that every morning, as he was winding through the hills on his way to work, once the school was in his sight he said to himself, "Beautiful Centura".

Centura is beautiful. Inside and out. As we are getting ready for kids to flood through our doors next week, I find myself thinking more about the inside beauty, particularly my classroom. In my business/technology instruction, I'm constantly working to integrate technology into my curriculum. Below are some of the additions I've made for the 2011-2012 school year.

One of my personal goals was to start blogging. You are reading my first blog, I used It is also important for the students in my classes to read, think, and respond to certain topics, I have a class ready to begin blogging using is a site that one of my students already used this summer to create a website for a local business. This is an FBLA project that she got a jump start on. Weebly not only has standard options, but some free advanced options too. My careers class will find themselves createing electronic portfolios using this program as well. is an additional avenue to assist the high school students with networking and making job and career connections. This is a social network that the students can use to showcase themselve's professionally.

Information technology class will be creating an online portfolio of their classroom accomplishments using Voice This is an awesome site that allows collaboration between students, teachers, and hopefully, parents. is an animation site. Students in entrepreneurship and careers classes will be utilizing Doink to create animated vocabulary definitions.

This summer I experimented with, a webquest maker. You can create one webquest without having to pay a fee, which I did. Then I explored many webquests pertaining to digital citizenship. I found several to utilize in my 7th grade keyboarding class.

And finally, to help with management of the many projects that the students in computer media class will have, I've created a class wiki using One of the many features that I'm excited about is the Google calendar that is now found on each project page of the wiki.

Chances are that many of you have already experimented with one or more of these websites. Please feel free to let me know what your thoughts are and how you have utilized the site(s) in the classroom.

I think it is evident that I'm excited and ready to begin the 2011-2012 school year at Beautiful Centura! Wishing you the same as you begin the school year.