Using film or videos is a great way to engage students. Movies can be used as a pop-culture reference as not only a way to engage, but relate and teach information to students at their level. I can remember a lot of times where portions or all of movies were watched in school that related to a topic we were learning. For example after reading Alice in Wonderland, we went and watched the movie in theatres. For government and economics we watched portions of Hotel Rowanda and in A.P. Literature we watch parts of the Lord of the Rings.

I love when connections are made through multiple means. This semester I have shown YouTube videos to my students. There are parodies of songs that are turned into multiplication facts that the students listen to and memorize. Sometimes they enjoy it and other times they think they are ridiculous, but none the less they are engaged and are memorizing their math facts.

Another way videos can be used is to show student work. Leanne and I recently have done out poetry unit and displayed the poem we wrote as a class through Animoto. This is a video slide program where music and images can be displayed. Similarly to our digital poetry done in this class we have shown our “so much depends upon” poem here. The students loved it! It inspired and motivated them to keep writing!

As I am learning more about the different types of technology, the more I want to incorporate them in my classroom. I am looking forward to the other artifacts my students create.


The benefits of teaching technology.

Teachers do not always have to incorporate technology within their classroom. Like on our technology heuristic, there is times where using technology is appropriate and effective and other times where it may be better to use other materials. In this generation, however, I think it is detrimental to not use technology regularly. In most, if not all work fields there are elements of technology and they are increasingly becoming more complex. There are many reasons and ways to incorporate technology in a classroom. The website here gives ten reasons that using technology can benefit a child.

A teacher can teach collaboration, extend learning about diversity, and keep students engaged. The students can also learn how to look up information. This is important, because anything can be on the internet. Websites that are not research based can look convincing. A tool a teacher can teach is how to know if a website is research based and factual. They can also teach the difference between a blog post that is an opinion from the writer versus a scientific study. Students will learn independence and responsibility by caring for the technology provided.

There are many benefits to teaching how to use technology and the students learning from it. I am continuously learning new ways to use technology and seeing the results from it.

Age Appropriateness.

I am all about being age appropriate. I get that in ninth grade you do not want to be ready Junie B. Jones or in seventh grade reading sentences like “I have a doll” and “I have a pear” with little pictures next to them. Not only is it humiliating and can separate you from your peers (which is the last thing you want in middle school), it often does not reach the student because it is not engaging. It is much cooler reading about the Hunger Games than it is apples and oranges.

But here is another problem.


It is so difficult to find high-interest low-readability books in a school. It is for sure difficult to find some that can be read throughout the entire school year. I know that some teachers go on ahead and give students the “coolest” book at the lowest reading level possible, but care more about their ego than them reading. Other teachers just give them low reading text and hope that they understand and make it through to make progress as quickly as possible to start reading more age appropriate text. It is a difficult task and you definitely want to read with the student at their instructional level (wherever that be) and be as age appropriate as possible.

For students who are very low, emergent level readings, that are in the middle or high school – I think that Tarheel Reader is a great resource. The teacher or student could make books that interest the student based off of a topic that he/she likes. The sentences would be very simple, but that is also where the student is at and what they need to learn before they can move on. The other books already there are also a great place to explore and have a student read over and over. I could also see an older student enjoying the process of making a book. None of their peers would know that it is a pre-primer text level because it is on a screen.

Overall I think it is important to think of a student’s confidence and to see them as mature students, but I also think that you are treating them falsely if not truly believing they are capable of reading if not starting from the beginning.


Sensory Technologies

Sensory. Sensory. Sensory.

This is a word you hear a lot in the adapted special education world and it is being used in other fields as well.

There are children who will do repetitive movements or tasks that satisfies a need they have. It fulfills something inside of them and they are content. There are many ways to allow students to get their sensory needs met. The website given discusses six ways a teacher can give students options within a classroom.

The options are for many types of situations. You may need the student to be quiet or maybe they need larger more intense movements. They may need to be used outside or at their desk.

These sensory technologies are small gadgets that meet a need of a student and can often drive instruction. For example, if a work box is created to put yellow pipe cleaners into a small box, that works on fine motor skills and placing fries in a box.

A bumpy seat may help a student focus to pay attention to the teacher’s instruction. Some other sensory technologies could be the use of a digital device and pressing on the screen. There are limitless options and ideas to incorporate in order to teach children who need more than straight lecture (which I would argue is everyone), but in particularly students with disabilities.

Teaching Technology and Literacy

I heard a story once that was heartbreaking.

An elementary school class was in the computer lab doing an activity about a holiday. The students were having fun working away at the activity, except for three little boys. They were talking and doing stuff off task. The teacher began to get mad at them and started to take away their computer privilege. The teacher got frustrated at the boys off task and said something along the lines of, “My kindergartners can do this, why can’t you?” Immediately two of the boys got back to work. The third boy sat their frozen.

Come to find out, the third boy did not have access to a computer at home, much less internet. Humiliated by being compared to a kindergartner, he had his head slumped the rest of the day. The teacher said he already has a low self-esteem and has difficulty in school…and home, that was the last thing he needed to have heard or be told in front of his classmates.

After hearing that story, I started to think more about teaching technology literacy. Some students will amaze you by the amount of knowledge an quick skill they have on multiple technologies. Others have no idea and the difference between a phone, PC, or Mac will confuse them even more. The article I have attached to this gives 10 tips on how to integrate technology centers into a class. It teaches content and also has useful ways to allow time for the students to get used to the technology. I love the variety of ideas it offers.

Digital literacy is important to teach like in this blog written.

Understanding students, where they come from, what prior knowledge they have and teaching from their is very important. School is a time to teach. It is a place for students to learn how to become technology literate among all other subjects.


Technology in Writing Workshop

Coskie and Hornoff incorporate five main principles that impact the ways in which digital and media technologies are used for writing workshop. The five principles go like this.

EEmbed Technology in Writing Content

We often can imagine elaborate projects and the use of complex technology; however, this aspect of the acronym discusses the simplicity and type of technology that makes since and will be used often.

My technology infographic includes sections on what technology is accessible, age appropriate, and how practical it is. This aspect of my infographic allows me as the teacher to assess what would be manageable and useful for my students.

B-Monitor Tech Use: Busy Does Not Mean Purposeful

The teachers noted how motivated the students were by technology, but also had to be keenly aware of how they were using it and if the students were on task focusing on their writing or engaging in another off-task behavior.

My infographic includes a question on student interest and discovering why or why not they are in that piece of technology. I did not consider off-task instances in my infograpahic.

E-Keep a Critical Eye: Understand Potential Problems and Power

As teachers, we need to be understanding of the pros and cons of the technology we use. This includes knowing the quarks of a type of technology and knowing when its use is appropriate.

This is an interesting point brought up in the article. This is something I had thought in my mind, but have not put included in my technology infographic yet. I did not include this because I thought that I would obviously not choose bad pieces of technology 😛

S-Promote Social Interaction

It can be tempting to hold on tightly to control in the room when students are doing independent work on technology, but in this article it discusses the benefits of having an ‘expert’ in each group to help with some of he processes like downloading images, moving files, etc.

This principle is during the use of the technology. All of my infographic is prior to the implementation, so I will need to incorporate this because this does include setting up ‘experts’ or at least organization to have the students socialize while using the technology to write.

TTeach Technology Explicitly

Depending on the technology the students will need to be taught how to use it. The article would include a ‘Tech Tip’ occasionally in class to teach a skill for example, copying and pasting.

I have used this in my infographic, as a way to consider if the technology needs to be taught to the students prior to using or even during.

The article begins by aligning its values. These principles are well considered, thought out, and applicable; however, the underlying goal is for students to develop their writing skills in “stamina, ideas, voice, and craft” (Coskie & Hornoff, pg. 54).


Coskie, T. & Hornoff, M. M. (2013). E-best principles: infusing technology into

the writing workshop. The Reading Teacher. 67(1), 53-58.


If you would have asked me what my dream job was a couple months ago, I would have said in an adapted classroom one-hundred percent. Now that I am teaching in a resource classroom I have grown fond of it as well. I enjoy teaching my kids and learning how to teach them better every single day. It’s not that my passion has changed, but that it is broadening. The more I am learning about being an effective teacher who uses best practice while building relationship with the kids gets me more excited and I look forward to going to work each day.

An aspect of my job that I am figuring out now is my relationship with the general education teachers. I am learning my role in how to teach the students when they are with me and how to support them when they are in their general education courses. For a group of my students they use two pieces of technology to support them in reading. The first is an iPod. The iPod has a recording of the book, so that the students can listen to the audio while following along in the book. The students really love this because they can stay focused with the head phones in their ears and get the added context with the voice inflections and accents. The second piece of technology they use is a Kindle. Their is audio for it as well; however, we were seeing some complications where it would skip over words or mispronounce some large words. It would confuse the students. When I asked the students which technology item they preferred, they all said they liked the iPod.

There are pros and cons to both types. The iPod is wonderful in that the students can listen to the book independently and have great audios. The iPods are getting old and the students would need to have a hard copy of the book as well. The Kindle is beneficial because there is an uncanny amount of books that can be on the Kindle and no one would have to know what grade level the students are reading on. The cons are that the audio may not always read the words clearly. Both are a helpful piece of technology that is helping the students in the general education setting.

I am enjoying getting more familiar with the technologies accessible at my school and their impact on the students’ education. The iPod and Kindle are just a couple of the resources I have seen positively affect their time in the general education setting.

Is my classroom inviting?

Walk into almost any classroom and you will most likely see a word wall of some fashion. It may be a list of sight words, spelling words, labels, challenging words, or vocabulary words. You will most likely see posters with a famous inventor, artist, or leader on it. Alongside the picture will be a paragraph all about who they are and what they did. There can be a lot words in a classroom and it can be overwhelming if not purposeful.

I have been reflecting on classrooms and how inviting they are to students who have difficulty reading and writing. I have not only been thinking about what are on the walls, but what activities and lessons are being taught. Are they using paper and pencil? Their computers? Voice translating devices? Are there rules they have to follow?

I think often times we as teachers feel overwhelmed ourselves with the amount that is expected of us. At least I can say as a new teacher that there are many ways I would like to improve my practice; however, for now I am doing my best with every area I am being pulled. It is easier to lower your expectation of a student than to find the resources to help them engage.

The other day in Dr. K’s class we talked about many resources to students and effective ways to implement them in your classroom. There are many spelling predictor apps or programs, voice technologies, organizers and many others that invite students to write. The end goal is to help students who have difficulties write, so id paper and pencil is too large of a barrier or too stifling, teachers should search for a new avenue to help students grow.

I hope to continuously invest more in my students to teach them in the most effective way with effective practice. I hope to create an environment for them to feel invited and be a part of the learning community.

How to Inspire?

I have a bulletin board up in my classroom. I made it look like a bi envelope. It has a white piece of paper as the background and then has blue and red alternating slanted rectangles around the border. There is a black line that runs down the middle. In the top right corner there is a stamp. On the bottom right side, where the address would go is three black lines. On those black lines it says,

“What you write

might just change

the world.”

When I think about all of the students I have had, which includes everything from mild to profound disabilities, the first thing I want to do is build a relationship with them. The second thing is that I want them to have a meaningful and purposeful life. This includes learning how to read and write. Reading and writing is so embedded into our daily lives that many of us take for granted. It is communication, job skills, and a voice. Reading and writing, also going back to my first goal, is a way for me to get to know my students.

In class and through articles we have read this semester I have been learning a lot about how to teach through using technology, especially when it comes to reading and writing. Technology is motivating to students. Having E-pals to write to or using apps that teach phonemic or other skills are effective ways to practice or interact with students to help them learn the foundations of reading and writing. Investing the time to help children with disabilities to put their thoughts down on paper, or on a screen, will open up who they are and change their, but also other people’s lives.

As mentioned in the blog post before, I grew up with limited technology and always learned them a little later than most of my friends had in the states. Now as I continue to learn about technologies more rapidly and am having more access to it, I hope to incorporate them more within my classroom, especially to help my students develop the skills and passion to write.

My Technology Experience in School

I grew up in a small school that averaged around 100 students in first through twelfth grade. It is an international Christian school that represented about twenty nationalities. It was an apartment building that they turned into a school. It originated as two home school families and grew into what it is today. Having said all of this, it is not a wealthy school and does not receive funding from the government because it is a private school.

The technology in my school changed overtime and considering its situation, stayed fairly current. In elementary school we had a typing class. We used a program that had lessons you had to pass to go onto the next. To pass you had to type at least at a certain rate and with a certain amount of accuracy. There were also fun games that made it more entertaining. I loved it when our computer teacher gave us free time on the games. We had a computer in each classroom and would use digital cameras or other smaller forms of technology for projects.

In middle school we had to get our International Computer Driver’s License. This is a seven part program that had modules for each aspect of Microsoft. This computer class was more intensive and we had new computers that were flat screened.

In high school, out projects involved using the internet for most research. Each classroom also had a projector in the classroom, which the teachers used daily for instruction.

When I got to college I started hearing about how my school got SMARTboards and a case of iPads for teachers to check out.  I was introduced to all of the newer pieces of technology in college. I was taught how to use some aspects of technology for instruction, but not enough to feel proficient at the task. I tell you about my exposure to technology growing up to set up my future blog posts about my experience with technology as a teacher in the classroom and what I am learning about its advantages and possible disadvantages in the classroom.