Friday, November 30, 2012

Hot Topic Friday! MindMeister

technology, mindmaps, brainstorming, Heidi Befort, Globicate

While collaboration, engagement, and 21st Century learning are the buzz words these days, have you ever thought what does it take to really be doing all of this in the classroom with limited resources and technology.  Well I struggle with it everyday as I try to challenge my students to work together think outside of the box, and become global citizens.  The first step for everyone is the most difficult.  I can tell you it probably won't go the way you want, but smile and laugh with the students, and you'll be surprised how much everyone will learn, collaborate, and be engaged as they learn alongside you to become global students.

Try one thing at a time!  I find when I work with teachers they try to do to much all at once and then get frustrated and give up.  Find one thing that you can use in your classroom and work with it until you feel like an expert, and then move on to something else.  With that being said, the first step for many teachers is getting students to think about what they know about a topic, brainstorm for a writing piece, or collaborate with a group.  Here is a great tool that you can accomplish all of the above with in just a short amount of time.  It is called Mindmeister and it's free! The best part is that your maps are stored in the cloud, so it can be accessed anywhere, and can be that collaborative piece you want your students to use.  Once completed, it can be shared globally.  So you've met all of the criteria above.  Give it a try, and you can take mind mapping to a new level.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hot Topic Friday! XtraMath

technology, math practice, Heidi Befort, Globicate
Do your students need a little more reinforcement with basic math facts and automaticity that comes from repeated practice?  Check out XtraMath for an easy and quick way each day to encourage math fact practice with your students.  XtraMath can be set up within minutes.  Students can practice both in class and at home, and each day or week, you can view their progress.  I can tell you that my students spend about 5 minutes each day and I've seen huge gains in their fact recall.  You can even set up your class computers and they can rotate through the program without a whole lot of disturbance in the class.  Check out XtraMath and watch your students grow!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Curriculum Confusion

I'm really interested to see how many of you out there use an adopted curriculum?  We adopted one 2 years ago, and I keep wondering to myself who wrote these lessons?  Teachers? Administrators? Writers? College Professors?  Just fess up, and I won't hold it against you, but do you really think about how a 4th grader is going to understand what you are trying to teach them in the order you are trying to teach them?

For the last couple of weeks, I've been teaching division.  I looked at the curriculum and lessons before I started, and I knew it was going to be rough. It is such a difficult and abstract concept to ask students to work backwards from multiplication when they don't even know their multiplication facts.  So to say the least there were some struggles and some tears.  We have managed to come out the other side with smiles, and confidence, but not after a few frustrations.  We used our whiteboards, our journals, the curriculum, and technology to help us understand.  Here are a few good sites I've found to help the students be successful. Let me know if you have any to add to this list or any good suggestions you have that have helped you in the past.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hot Topic Friday! BrainNook

Common Core Standards, Technology, Heidi Befort, Globicate
Have you been to BrainNook yet? Well, BrainNook offers you the opportunity to set up a teacher account and classroom in minutes.  This site gathers information about your student's performance as they practice both math and language arts in a game format.  You can create a friendly competition amongst the students as they play against each other to reach the top of the leaderboard. You can obtain  detailed performance data for each student to understand the areas in which they need practice, and all games are Common Core aligned. So, check out BrainNook for concept reinforcement and a fun way to learn. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Science Experiment - Pop Rocks & Soda

Have you ever heard the rumor that if you eat Pop Rocks and then drink soda, your stomach will explode?  Many students have heard this before so we decided to do a little research to see if this was a myth or if it was real.  Now, of course we didn’t test our experiment on human or an animal (even though one of my students willingly volunteered to be a test subject).  Instead, we used soda and a balloon to represent a human stomach.

First we gathered 3 different types of soda: Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. We made sure we used bottles of soda instead of canned soda.  Then we filled 3 different balloons with an entire package of Pop Rocks.

Our class made predictions about what they thought would happen.  All of the students figured out that we would witness some type of reaction, so I had the students vote on which type of soda they thought would create the biggest reaction.

Then we tested our hypothesis.  We chose 1 type of soda to test first. Very carefully (and in the sink... just in case), we placed the opening of the balloon over the mouth of a bottle of soda.

Then when we lifted the other end of the balloon up, the contents inside fell into the bottle of soda.  We waited and recorded our results.

After a few minutes, we noticed the balloon filling up with gas and expanding.  Then we did the same to the other 2 types of soda using our remaining balloons.

The students were able to conclude that while consuming Pop Rocks and soda wouldn’t be detrimental to your stomach, it would probably make you pretty gassy.

We concluded the experiment by watching the soda and Pop Rocks candy reaction under a microscope.  First we took a small granule of the candy and placed in on the slide.  Then we watched through the eyepiece as I used an eyedropper to slowly add soda to the granule.

Here are some pictures of what the reaction looked like.

The purpose of completing this activity was to get the students used to using the Scientific Method.  You could also use this to teach about gas, chemical reactions, or carbon dioxide.  All in all, this was a wonderful experiment that I will make sure to do with my students every year.

To view more information about this experiment visit

For more ideas on how to use candy during experiments (especially your leftover Halloween candy) visit

The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Thursday, November 1, 2012

This Just In...

This past week our school celebrated Grandparent’s day.  The students decorated our room with activities to show off to their special guest.  One of the activities I had them complete was a writing sample, showcasing all the fun things they like to do at school.  The students revealed their answers through a newspaper article.
Here are some samples:

If you would like to have your students write a newspaper article, you can download a copy of the   template I created by clicking here.
The Resourceful Teacher Blog

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts