Not sure if any of you have noticed this, but we seem to be being asked to do more and more every year...teach more "stuff", learn new curriculum, assess more, report more...and much of what we are being asked to do is really good "stuff"--REALLY good!  However, if you are like me, you may also have noticed that they have not added a 25th hour to our day (YET!), so somehow we need to get better at adding "stuff" to an already crowded day.

I have been working hard to find ways to be efficient with my teaching...I connect my reading and writing wherever possible, I try to incorporate informational texts and nonfiction instruction with my content areas, and I try to work math into ANYTHING we do!  One thing I would like to get better at doing is teaching technology skills meaningfully.  We teach keyboarding intensively at the beginning of the year to help the students be better ready to navigate the other things we do.  I teach a series of word processing lessons so they can effectively communicate their ideas.  This year one thing I did was to teach some word processing skills in a review of our electricity unit--and you can see a few of the products below.  The students had a blast, loved helping each other, "oohed and ahhhed" over each other's ideas--and learned a lot of tech skills in the process.  

How did I do it?  Simple...I showed the students how to do the following by modeling how to:
  • insert text boxes
  • insert "shapes"
  • draw different types of lines
  • make shapes transparent
After the minilesson, we headed to the lab.  The only direction?  

"Using what you now know, make a representation of a complete electrical circuit."  

Best 45 minutes in the computer lab this year--hands down.  So...when we feel overwhelmed with how much we have to do, let's put our brains together to think about how we can accomplish more than one task in meaningful, engaging activities.  Work smarter, not harder, right?  Anyone have any other successful tech/content ideas to share?  I'd love to hear them!

One of my struggling students came up with this beauty!
These were too great to not display!  The kids were SO proud!

This kiddo found the arrows and used them as part of her labeling system.

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