About Me

My photo
Heathrow , Florida
I'm Ashley! I am a teacher to 20 precious second graders, and I love my job more and more everyday. I am engaged to my highschool sweetheart and will be getting married in February 2017! We have two dogs - Tank, our Boxer and Colt, our Mali-Shepherd Mix.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Using iPads in the Classroom

If I had twenty iPads in my class, what would I do with them? How would I use them to help my students learn better and help me teach better? Perhaps a better question is what would I do with them that I could not do with other tools that are available and cheaper?

The iPad has a number of unique features that provide for interesting possibilities in teaching and learning. These are some of the benefits I feel that iPads would bring into my second grade classroom:

• Classroom Apps
There are countless apps available for teachers and students, and many of them free, to tie into ANY subject area.

• Ease of Use
This might be subjective but overall iPads seem to be extremely easy to use right out of the box. There is a very streamlined, organized feel; you have everything you need, and it works!

 Kid Friendly 
Students these days use tablets and mobile devices from an early age, some as early as 1 or 2 years old! By the time they are in school it’s second nature to use a tablet or mobile device or an iPad in the classroom. The iPad will keep their attention and resonate with students by aligning with how the new mobile generation wants to learn and communicate.

Now, I am not saying that throwing 20 iPads into an elementary school classroom is going to cause a big improvement on student’s learning. I feel that having iPads in the classroom can be very effective if the teacher is properly trained on how to use it for educational purposes.

How can we use the iPad to facilitate better instruction? How can we engage our students more by using the iPad? How can I use these iPads to enhance the learning of my students with special needs?

What is your opinion on the use of iPads in the elementary classroom?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Digital Story Telling Example

Digital Story Telling Example: The Ocean Habitat

I created a digital story telling example on the one of the animal habitats, the ocean. My curriculum page is based on a science unit taught in second grade. The unit is on animal habitats. The students goal for this unit is to understand the differences between the basic needs that all living things need to survive. They will also understand that living things are found all over the Earth, but each is only able to live in habitats that meet their basic needs.

During this unit, one of the projects my students work on is researching about one of the habitats. Either the ocean, the desert, the rain forest, the arctic, or the freshwater habitat. It is the goal of the project for students to learn how to research using books and computers as well as take notes on the information they have gathered. For the presentation of the project, students are required to take the information they have learned on their habitat and make a poster to present to the class.

Instead of my class doing poster presentations, I thought it would be a good idea to turn their research notes into a digital story telling project. This way students can use technology during their project for more than just research, and they are able to be more creative with how they present their projects.

My digital story telling example on the ocean habitat is what I would envision one of my student's project to look like.

Here is the link to my Wiki Curriculum Page (Still a Work in Progress)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Digital Story Telling

Digital Story Telling 

Digital storytelling is an excellent way for students to express their creativity and to share their work with others.  It is engaging and fun for students. Digital stories allow students to take a series of events and turn them into a media experience. It encourages them to communicate, collaborate, and research as well as to infuse media into the process. Many tools and apps exists to create these projects, and all of them enable students to gain a deeper understanding of history as they explore the most effective way to retell their stories.

In two weeks we are starting our Native American project in my classroom leading up to Thanksgiving. For this project, each group of students gets a different Native American Tribe that they must research facts about. Usually what students do is take all of the information they have gathered and researched and turn it into a poster presentation. I thought it would be a good way to introduce digital storytelling by having them create a story as if they were the Native American’s and they were telling a story about their lives in the tribe based on the facts they learned. The students would be putting themselves in the Native American’s shoes and telling it from their point of view. Students would be able to use expression in their digital stories and turn a poster of facts into a meaningful story of a piece of history.

Some more tools that I found for storytelling in the classroom...

Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. They curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories. Note that while making, sharing, and reading stories on Storybird is free, printing them or downloading them have various fees that are clearly explained with each option.

ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D popup books. ZooBurst books “live” online and can be experienced on your desktop or laptop computer, or on your iPad via the free ZooBurst mobile app. Authors can arrange characters and props within a 3D world that can be customized using uploaded artwork or items found in a built-in database of over 10,000 free images and materials. The basic, free, account allows you to create 10 books of 10 pages each.

How Else Can Students Use Digital Storytelling In Our Classroom?

Students can create a virtual tour of an historical place in our social studies curriculum.
Students can simulate an interview of a historical character.
Students can create a storyline on specific topic (changes of matter, the constitution, fairytales).
Students can create a presentation based on images of local artifacts and architecture.

Below is a great website I found with A LOT of information on Digital Storytelling, examples, tutorials, videos and so on.


Friday, October 14, 2016

SMART Technology

SMART Technology in the Classroom

SMART boards are a sophisticated replacement of the traditional overhead projector. Over the years, this innovative technology has proved popular for students of all ages. The interactive board turns a typical classroom into a fun learning environment. It enriches classrooms in several ways by providing hands on collaboration and creating the perfect learning setting.

I am experiencing using SMART technologies for the first time this year in my classroom. Our school purchased a new SMART board for every classroom at the elementary school I work at. I am still getting used to using it because they have just recently been set up. I started thinking of how using my new SMART board has been beneficial.

My SMART board provides flexibility in my classroom. It allows many different forms of media – including photos, illustrations, maps, graphs, games, and video, to be displayed. These tools not only enrich the classroom experience but also help to expand the nature of content that can be used in learning.

The SMART board enhances my teaching and my student’s learning. SMART Boards provide new ways for me to teach, and my students to learn. These tools support a wide variety of learning styles. For instance, visual learners can watch me use the whiteboards to project visual elements, whereas audio learners can listen and have discussions. On the other hand, they come with touchscreen capabilities that allow my tactile learners to touch and interact with the board.

There is access to online information and tools on my board. SMART boards allow teachers and students to easily access a rich database of online resources. I can use the wide variety of online information sources such as knowledge databases, online video and news items to reinforce my students.

Although I am sure there are more benefits to using SMART technologies in the classroom, I feel that so far, those are the benefits I have noticed.

Overall, incorporating SMART Boards to the classroom environment is likely to change the way teachers impart knowledge to students and at the same time simplify the learning process for students. Students will find it easy to engage with lessons and gain a better understanding of the overall lesson. It is an ideal tool for any classroom setting. The education field needs technology like this for students, learners, and educators to continue to grow in their field.

Has anyone else had the opportunity to use a SMART Board in the classroom? What are your opinions on teachers and students having access to such a innovative piece of technology? What benefits do you think the SMART Boards have in the classroom?

S. (2016). SMART Learning Suite. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ7Z1OU_-Ck

Tuesday, September 20, 2016



BYOD simply means, “bring your own device”.

BYOD (bring your own device) is where you allow your students and staff to use personal devices on your school wireless network. BYOD can be implemented in schools for many reasons. I know that at the school I currently work at in Seminole County has a BYOD agreement if students choose to bring their personal device from home to school. It is optional, not mandatory, and because we are a technology school, we have plenty of devices available for our use in our classrooms. Some schools that implement BYOD might simply do it because of budget cuts and with the high expense of purchasing tablets or computers, it may be easier for a school to tell students to bring in their own personal device from home. Schools must consider everything when deciding if they are going to implement BYOD.

This is the statement on my school’s BYOD agreement…

We have implemented a Bring Your Own Device program enabling students to bring several types of wireless devices for use in the classroom. At home, students are actively using wireless devices to do homework, research projects, read, and communicate with friends, etc. The opportunities to use wireless devices are almost limitless. Students wishing to participate must follow the responsibilities stated in the Acceptable Use Policy as well as the following guidelines”. 

I know in the primary grades, seeing personal devices brought from home for educational use is not that common. But, the upper grades have a large amount of students who want to bring in their tablets and/or personal laptops but they must have a BYOD agreement signed and turned in in order to do so. On the agreement there are guidelines that students need to follow I order to bring their own device. If the student violates the agreement, it may result in the loss of them being able to bring their own personal device.

I read an article by Ashley Wainright, and she focused on the pros and cons of students bringing your own devices. She listed 20 pros and 15 cons… Below I only listed a few to discuss:

What are some pros of BYOD?
--Students are already familiar and comfortable using their own technology so they can        focus on actually learning with them than learning how to use the device.
     --It’s a cost-effective way to save schools money on technology.
     --BYOD allows more opportunities for more personalized learning where students can excel   at their own pace.

What are some cons of BYOD?
·      --All these mobile devices can overload your wireless network.
·      --Parents may not be happy with the idea of paying for mobile devices for use in school.
·      --Students may be more easily distracted while working on their own mobile devices.
·      --Students forget to bring their mobile devices.

(Wainright, 2016)

What will the future of classrooms look like for BYOD? When going through and reading the list of pros and cons, I agreed with both sides. As far as the cons go, I feel as though the biggest one that jumped out to me was about parents being unhappy about paying for them. More in depth of that, I think that there are many parents that are unable to pay for them at all. How will students who come from families who can’t provide that type of technology for them be able to participate in the program? Because our school is optional with BYOD, and we have technology provided for us already in class, we don’t have the issue of that. But I know if our school tired to become a full BYOD school, we would have a big percentage of students who would not be able to bring their own device. I am sure there are possibilities for potential grants or scholarships to where students could get a device, but then how would the parents feel who are buying the devices? There is so much to consider.

Does anyone else have the BYOD policy in place at his or her schools? How do you feel about it? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are?

Wainwright, A. 20 Pros and Cons of implementing BYOD in schools. September 20, 2016, http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How are we Using the World Wide Web in our Classrooms?

When I think about technology in the classroom, I think about all the different resources available to us to use, including the Internet! I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some different ways that the World Wide Web is currently used in our elementary schools. What is effective and what is not effective? Is the new trend of the classroom using technology to supplement or enhance teacher instruction? 

Some of the major programs we use in my classroom are:

I-Ready is built for the Common Core; I-Ready combines a valid and reliable growth measure and individualized instruction. There is a single K–12 adaptive Diagnostic for reading and mathematics that pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level, and ongoing progress monitoring shows whether students are on track to achieve end-of-year targets. It provides rigorous, on-grade-level instruction and practice with additional downloadable lessons to help meet individual student or small group needs.

I-Station is an online comprehensive reading and intervention program for grades K-8 that delivers research based individualized instruction and provides teachers and parents with the information, resources, and materials needed to help students become successful readers. We use this program in our classrooms for our English Language Learners.

TumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they'll love. TumbleBooks are created by taking existing picture books, adding animation, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic picture book, which you can read, or have read to you.

eCampus is Seminole County Public Schools version of Canvas. We use this as our classroom webpage. Students are able to communicate with teachers and parents can as well. Teachers can put important information, links, and assignments on their page for student access.

There are SO many more available resources to us to use, but I find that these 4, are the ones that I use most. I feel these websites are the most effective when used. I-Ready is what my students use as another source of explicit instruction based on their needs.

My students are telling me of websites that they find all the time. Kids these days are so up-to-date on the current trending websites, it is exciting to see when they find an educational website on their own that they are excited about!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Do Schools Have the Resources to Keep Up With Technology?

Technology is consuming our everyday lives.. Computers, iPads, Smart Phones.. Classrooms are a big part of that as well. Whether it is computers or iPads for student use, or Smart Boards/TVs for teacher instruction and student use, technology is everywhere. And our question is, are we able to keep up with it? Do we have the necessary recourses to keep up with all of the trends being used or being required to use in the classroom?  

This is a section quoted from the article We Don’t Have Resources to Keep Up with Technology": 2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes Talks to EdSurge: 
"Technology has changed teaching. You have access to unlimited resources that are right at your fingertips. And one of the challenges we have at my school is that we can’t keep up with technology. Oftentimes, my students are walking me through programs that our IT department hasn’t even gotten yet. We purchase computers or equipment, and two years later, it’s outdated. (Madda, 2016)"

This is what stuck out to me the most and I couldn't agree more. Now and days, kids know more about new programs than us a teachers do or our technology department. While I do work at a technology magnet school, we do have technology that is outdated to the new trends in the world. Our school just got Smart Boards for each classroom, and while they are amazing, by the time we got them, 2 newer versions of the Smart Board had been created. 

There are so many resources that are currently available to us in the classroom, BUT, are all teachers properly trained to use the technology provided to them effectively? 

Another quote:
"But teaching does not look like what it did five years ago. I can take my kids on a tour of the Smithsonian from my classroom; I can Skype into another educator’s classroom and share resources or watch them teach. (Madda, 2016)" -- She is right in the fact that teaching is much more technologically advanced then it was 5 years ago. Is that a good thing? Or a bad thing? I think educators can argue both sides of it. 

Today in my classroom, I use technology daily. I use a Smart Board to show videos, teach lessons, have interactive instruction, and use many programs or apps for student learning. We also use laptops for students to do independent math and reading online lessons. We have iPads for student use as well. But some are outdated, some don't always work, and some don't have the updated software that is needed for certain programs. So I think what Hayes was explaining in her interview had some truth to it. Not all schools, teachers, classrooms have the proper resources to keep up with today's technology. What can we do to fix it when there is low funding? 

Madda, M. (2016, August 02). We don’t have resources to keep up with technology”: 2016 teacher of the year Jahana Hayes talks to EdSurge. Retrieved September 01, 2016, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-08-02-we-don-t-have-resources-to-keep-up-with-technology-2016-teacher-of-the-year-jahana-hayes-talks-to-edsurge

EME 5050

Hi EME 5050!

I started this blog a few years ago when I started teaching, but I never had the time to keep up with it! I am hoping after this class, I will continue to use it! :)