2007-12-06 / Youth


Cool tech stuff at school!

I received the Education notes schedule from Superintendent Billy Wiggins back in August and got my yearly planner right out and entered all the due dates for my articles. Next, I assigned the teachers their due dates and here we go. Things rock along very smoothly and my first article is right on schedule. Things continue to rock along and then boom -- life happens! Took two days off this week to help with my five-week old granddaughter while her older sister (2 ½ years old) had a tonsillectomy. I came back work somewhat sleep deprived and guess what? I had another e-mail from editor Mary Judson and, you guessed it, my next article was due.

What did I do? What all principals do - go to your teachers for something to write about. I didn't want to write about TAKS again. The Monster Mash is over; tutoring for reading and math had been written about. Our fundraiser was phenomenal, thanks to Anne Denton and her troops, so I decided to write about all the new technology I am seeing used at the elementary school.

The kindergarten teachers Carly Carlough and Katy Brennan are excited about their new LCD's. They are having so much fun using this as teaching tool with the students' pictures as part of the lessons. The students love seeing themselves on the screen.

Heather Collins, a first grade teacher, uses the LCD ceiling mounted projector for her writing prompt every morning. She has also used it for many Power Point lessons for science and social studies. She has found good literacy games from the Internet and has been able to show her students sites with things they likely would not otherwise experience.

Dana Scott, a third grade teacher, uses her ELMO for all subjects. Whatan ELMO? It looks like a weird reading light that you put your books, papers, lesson, text, manipulatives, etc., under, and the images are shown on a large screen easily seen from anywhere in the classroom.

Clare Adams, who teaches fourth grade, also uses her ELMO on a daily basis as well as her overhead LCD projector to project Web sites on the large screen. I observed a wonderful social studies lesson with her class about the Mayflower voyage. The sight had many visuals of the boats as they were back then, and the students could experience this lesson through modern technology.

Gina McKeever, who also teaches fourth grade, uses her LCD projector for science and reading using animated Web sites for teaching lessons such as the water cycle and photosynthesis. Many scientific processes are available through the animated sites and many are also interactive.

While Julie Findley also uses her LCD projector frequently, she also enjoys having the students use the microscopes in the science lab - with one digital microscope for viewing on a large screen. Her classes and her birding groups use the binoculars for field trips.

"I don't know how I taught without the ELMO projector/camera before," says Rhonda Burger. "It is fabulous, and it makes it so easy for a teacher to demonstrate or follow an example on worksheet. You can enlarge a book that you are reading to them and share the pictures with the entire class."

Burger got her ELMO from an Education Foundation grant as did the other two teachers. "As a teacher, constantly use it in direct instruction," Burger said.

Technology abounds at the elementary, with much thanks to a district that supports and funds cutting edge technology and an Education Foundation that so generously funded many grants for technology for our teachers and students. We are also very lucky to have great tech support with Leif Johnson and Jeff Moss.

Sylvia Buttler is principal at H.G. Olsen Elementary School.

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