Tag Archives: glogster

Back to School: Boot Camp

Let’s get back into the school mode. Off that beach chair, it is time to hit the desk. Better finish that summer reading requirement soon. Get your school supplies together and start packing your backpack.

In some states students and teachers are heading back to school in the following weeks. In the state that I live in students will return to school on September 1st and a few others will be returning after Labor Day. What can teachers do differently to kick off a positive school year? Below are some suggestions for activities that I plan to do the first few days of school to get to know my students and get students energized for the new school year. I do not focus on content or classroom rules the first week of school. My objective is to build community and engage in a few team-building activities that engage students.

1. Executive Marbles & Command Performances – Many teachers engage in the classroom scavenger hunt which is always fun but also very common. I found this one scavenger hunt at a leadership conference I took my students to many years ago and have adapted it to use with my students. It is not the “find someone who was born in the same month as you” scavenger hunt. Rather, every students has a number and students have to compete a specific task with another student. Every one of the scavenger hunt question is a preview or pre-assessment what we will cover in class over the course of the semester. For example, “Do a high five with student #5 and tell this person the career you thought you wanted to have when you were six years old” and “On the back of this handout, have students #12 list the top 5 careers s/he would absolutely not do, under any circumstances.”

2. Product in a Box – In October of 2004 I brought a group of female students to attend a conference about economic empowerment for girls sponsored by Independent Means. All the participants were put in small groups of fifteen and were given a box filled with random recycled materials. The girls had fifteen minutes to create a product out of the materials in the box and also complete a business plan about the product they created. This is a great team building activity and it inspires creatively and positive energy the first day of class. Students then present their product and business plan to the whole class. To order your own product in a box you can visit www.independentmeans.com


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Technology and Teaching

My students know lots of things when it comes to technology. My colleagues, know a handful of things about technology. We are both immersed in technology, but different technologies. My students carry their cell phones with them all day in school even though the school policy requires them to keep them in their lockers during the school day. As soon as last period ends the hallways are a buzz with students on their phones, texting, talking, gaming, listening to music. Students try to hide their ear-buds and listen to their I-pods during lunch period or when class seems boring to them (more often than not). They spend their nights rushing through homework so they can get online and play games, I-M their friends, watch their favorite TV episodes online or create their own videos.

If our students are immersed in technology then why not utilize these tech tools in the classroom as teaching tools?

Technology in the classroom allows young people to demonstrate their tech savvy skills and apply them in a way that highlights their understanding and learning. Technology allows for creativity, inquiry and collaboration. Students can complete a web quest which emphasizes critical thinking skills and integrates media literacy. Why compete with technology and young people? Rather, use technology to highlight the strengths of young people and help invest them in the material we are teaching.

I strongly believe technology is vital to help students learn best and in turn, for my students to show me their understanding and learning. There is an infinite amount of ways to integrate technology in the classroom. When people asked my how or why I use technology in the classroom I show them what I have done. Then I list the skills we are building when we use technology in the classroom: Connecting to Prior Knowledge, Questioning, Predicting, Inferring, Summarizing, Supporting Claims and Providing Evidence, Synthesizing, Build Vocabulary. Retelling in Our Own Words, Sequencing, Monitor Learning, Foster Sense of Inquiry, Making Real World Connections, Creative Thinking, Collaboration, Listening and Reflecting, and Analyzing.

Books and technology both belong in the classroom. I cannot and would not pick one over the other nor would I be willing to give up either one. If students want to read on their Kindle or other device, I would say, “Go ahead.” As soon as something else emerges I figure ways to blend them into my teaching and classroom practices – mobile surveys, Google Docs, Glogster, Wallwisher, QR codes, the list goes on and on.

Anything to help my students learn best.

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So, You Want to be a Glogster EDU Ambassador

Have you glogged lately? Glogs are online multimedia posters that allow a person to add text, images, videos, audio and data attachments to a graphic blog or poster. Glogs are a great classroom tool for teaching and at the same time, can be utilized by students to showcase their learning and understanding. The EDU portal of glogster is both teacher and student friendly.


For those who are already using Glogster EDU in your classroom, why not apply to be a Glogster EDU Ambassador? Glogster EDU is looking for innovative educators and dedicated teachers to participate in the Ambassador Academy. If accepted, Glogster Ambassadors will receive a free one-year license to Glogster EDU Premium, an Ambassador Certificate, free product training and invitations to Glogster EDU events as well as educational media recognition for you and your school. What do you have to do to become a Glogster EDU Ambassador, you ask? The application entails creating a Glogster, explaining your contributions to the Glog, and answering seven extended response questions about using Glogster. Successful applicants will then enter a two-month Ambassador Academy and must also meet the graduation requirements. For more information and the application go to Glogster EDU.