Posts Tagged education

Power Point in your classroom

Teachers and Educators use Power Point in hundreds of different ways.  Many educators use it simply as a visual aid and this is why Power Point was originally created.  Power Point took the place of other types of visual aids—hand-drawn or mechanically typeset slides, blackboards or whiteboards, or overhead projection. Some teachers use it simply as an interactive experience – with or without an interactive whiteboard.


I always try to include both features in my Power Points.  The beginning of most of Power Point Maniac’s Power points feature visual aids and clipart so the teacher can lecture and give the students information.  At the end of most Power Points is some sort of interactive activity. It may be something simple like a true/false quiz where the student comes to the board and touches the correct answer.  It could be a quiz where the students come to the board and circle the correct answer or picture. Here is a free example of what I am talking about! If you have never used Power Point interactively you should think about trying out some hyperlinks and quiz features.  What sort of ways do you like to use Power Point in your classroom? Let me know in the comments section!

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iPod Touch In Education

I have had the privilege of having a classroom set of Apple iPod Touch to use with my students this year. I’m going to be blogging about our experiences in the next several weeks but before I do, I thought I would cover how YOU could possibly get some for your classroom. Already you may be thinking, “Yeah right!”  So instead of a classroom set, lets start with trying to get one or two!   I have a couple ideas on how you could manage this.

1. Scholastic Bonus Points

For the first time this year I received some significant book orders and bonus points.  Significant enough that 3 weeks ago I ordered an Apple iPad 2 from the bonus points catalog!  Twice a year Scholastic offers 6,000 bonus points with a 200 dollar order. (Usually September and January) I stumbled across Laura Candler’s fool proof way to get a 200 dollar order and it worked! In my classroom, I actually get both Lucky and Arrow catalogs so this year I sent out  the Lucky catalog in the beginning of January and got some orders and put in about $40 to make sure it was $200. (6,000 bonus points) Then I sent out the JANUARY Arrow at the beginning of February. (usually there is a 3 month ordering window) I again had to order some with my own money to get it up to $200, but that brought me over the 19,999 bonus points for the iPad 2. It should be here soon!

2. Donors Choose website

Have you visited this awesome website yet? is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations. I have had several projects fully funded this year and the chorus teacher at my school had her project fully funded which happened to be two iPod Touchs. You can then buy the headphone jack adapter to hook up to 5 headphones into one iPod. (10 bucks at Kohls!) It is very easy to get started and they do most of the work for you.  After the project is funded you are expected to post some pictures and send out some thank you notes.  I know a teacher from North Carolina who has had over 15 projects funded!  Go for it!


I don’t know how things work in your district, but in my district the technology department does not just show up with expensive toys for the fun of it!  We have to ask.  If you don’t ask, how will they know?  This is how I managed to get my iPods.  We have a specific site on our school website where we make requests and ask for things.  I asked for threeyears in a row for a classroom set of iPods.  Before you ask however, do some homework.  Tell them HOW you will use them, explain how the students will be engaged, Tell them why they may improve test scores, talk about the standards, maybe even how you could collaborate with them. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Check out my iPod Touch morning routine worksheets on TeachersPayTeachers!

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How to get students to behave!

Most teachers have a good handle on behaviors and classroom management in the classroom.  The problems sometimes happen however when the students are out of the classroom, on the school bus, or when a substitute teacher is in the room.  I have had some luck with this and I wanted to share.

I Allow Tattling

Ok, not really! I see many teachers completely brushing off an issue when students come to them. Saying things like, “Just go play somewhere else.” or, “Stay away from her.” I don’t do this.  The students are allowed to tell me things but they know that my first question will always be, “What did you do about it? Did you use an ‘I’ statement?” The students are required to say something to the effect of, “I didn’t like it when you _____ because it made me feel _____.”  This can resolve so many issues and has been very effective.


“What happens at specials stays at specials”

Another common trend that I see is that teachers will not listen to a student tell them about something that happened outside of the classroom. They may say something like, “Did you tell the cafeteria aides? Then I don’t want to hear about it.” I always find out what was done about the situation.  If it seemed appropriate and was taken care of then I explain that to the student who is telling. Every week I randomly pick a super kid to be the classroom helper.  This student runs errands, waters the plants, takes the lunch money, and is the eyes and ears of the classroom when I am not around.  I tell the class when I need to step in the hallway, or out of the room, the super kid is in charge.  They don’t say anything to the student misbehaving they simply write down their name and I take care of it.  This works amazingly great. Even the students that have behavior issues do a great job as super kid. If I have a substitute the super kid knows that if the substitute takes care of an issue  then they can’t write it down.  If the substitute did not appropriately take care of an issue they are allowed to write me a note.


Why Reward them for Something you Expect?

A few teachers use a rewards system for behavior. It usually looks something like this: The students behave at specials or the cafeteria, the teacher puts some sort of marble or button in a jar, and when they get enough marbles, they get a reward.  I don’t use this in my class.  I don’t want the kids to think, “I’ll behave so I can get a prize.”  Anytime they ask, “Why can’t we get a marble?”I tell them,  “I don’t want them to behave because they might get a reward, I don’t want them to behave because I might be mad at them.  I want them to behave because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!” (I do frequently reward my students, but it is usually when they least expect it!)

Try It Out!

I get many great compliments from specials teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria staff.  I had a college student  who substitute taught in my room ask to come in and talk to me.  She said, “This is BY FAR the best behaved class I have ever sub’d in.” Give it a try and leave me a comment!

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Don’t be like the Groundhog!

If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter-like weather will soon end. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow, get scared, and retreat back into its burrow. The winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Check out more in my Groundhog’s Day Power Point Lesson

Of course Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on Feb. 2 in the United States and Canada. So yesterday I was thinking about the silly groundhog and I was thinking about some of my students and their fears.  Fear of failure.  Fear of rejection. Fear of being wrong. Fear of critiscism.  I’m sure there are others!  Many times they are just like the Groundhog.  It’s just a shadow. Smoke and mirrors! Ignore it and take a chance! I talk often about the hockey player on a poster in my classroom.  The caption says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”  Every year we pick two students from each class to be in Student council.  In third grade I pick the two people.  In fourth, any student who is interested writes a paragraph about why they might be good at student council and reads it to the class.  Then we vote. This year one of the students who would have been phenomenal at it wrote the paragraph, went up in front of the class, and then froze, changed her mind, and sat down.  I was flabbergasted! I had no idea what to do. The question is, how as educators and parents do we get students past this? A safe environment? Lead by example? Reassurance?  Do we force them? What are your thoughts on this?  Write me a comment!

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4 Year Old Artist

There is no greater joy in the world than being a father.  Someone who looks up to me and thinks I’m always right.  He has this assurance that I’m always on his side, and always looking out for him. I love it.  My son has also heard me talk a good deal about teaching, my students, and watches me create  power points and lessons, and even practices making them himself on his “Smart Board”. He also notices my logo “the Power Point Maniac” dude.  The other day he was very interested in drawing him.  I could not believe what an amazing job he did so I took his picture…

Here is the PPT Maniac that is all over my site!

And HERE is my son holding his Power Point Maniac!!!

Great Job Wesley!

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Grand Opening Sale


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Podcasting with a twist!

Anyone interested in using podcasts in your classroom? I have a classroom podcast on my school site. I really wish more parents and students would see it and subscribe to it.  If anyone has any ideas on how to get more parents to see it, let me know!

Recently I heard about a pretty innovative project called, What’s the Truth, George? A teacher is creating short podcasts on historical topics like the Mayflower, but the twist is that the podcasts contain errors. Students have to conduct research to correct the errors because George Washington cannot tell a lie! She’s looking for teachers to help her field test the lessons and activities. If you are interested in this project, click on the link.

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