Thursday, September 14, 2006


What can you do with a School Pad?

I am enjoying learning how to use my new Interwrite School Pad. I bought mine with my National Board money, but now my school system is planning to purchase one school pad and a projector for each school. Teachers that are interested have been asked to apply for a grant. I have had four teachers ask me for ideas for their grant application, so I thought I would take this opportunity to brainstorm ways to use this cool tool in the classroom. Any comments and suggestions are welcome! Here goes...

  1. You can run a PowerPoint from anywhere in the classroom. The great thing about this is that you are not tied to the front of the room. I guess this would be an expensive replacement for the little remote control that came with the projector, so it's good that there are other ways to use this!
  2. You can write on your PowerPoint as you are making a presentation. The students think this is so cool. You can highlight, underline, annotate, illustrate, and otherwise embellish your presentation on the spot.
  3. The annotations you make do not change the PowerPoint presentation, but they are saved as another type of file that can be accessed later if needed.
  4. The SchoolPad comes with software that contains hundreds of images that are educational. My current favorites are gridlines and the coordinate plane.
  5. I project onto my whiteboard, so I can draw on the board on top of what I project. I keep forgetting that I can also draw with the SchoolPad.
  6. You can write on a blank page from anywhere in the classroom and save for later. It reminds me of when I had an overhead projector that had a roll of transparency film that I advanced as I used. If I did a particularly good job on the transparency from one class, I could roll it back and use it again.
  7. This is also a high-tech way of using two transparencies...I used to write a long problem on one transparency and then lay another on it to solve it so I wouldn't have to rewrite the problem for every class. Now I can put the problem on my computer and solve it with the SchoolPad. My work can be saved, but I can also start fresh.
  8. I don't have to clean transparencies any more!!!!!
  9. My hands are clean at the end of the day!! No more colorful hands and fingertips from overhead markers! (I used to be embarassed to go anywhere after school because my hands were always so dirty. Not anymore! I'm sure this would NOT be impressive on a grant application!!! )
  10. You can hand the pad to a student and let them write on it from their seat. Variety is the spice of life! My students love to write on it. It takes some practice and coordination.
  11. It turns an ordinary whiteboard into an interactive board for a fraction of the cost, and you don't have to be standing at the board to use it. It is portable, so I could take it to another classroom.
  12. Wouldn't it be fun to have two in one room! Students could compete to solve problems.
Does anyone out there have ideas to add to the list? I have noticed that I have had several visitors to my blog who are searching for Interwrite and/or SchoolPad information. Share what you know with me because I am definitely a beginner with this.

Monday, September 11, 2006



I cannot get it all done! I am doing nothing well!!!! I have spread myself too thin!!! I need to rest!!! I don't go to bed at a decent hour because I am trying to get it all done!!!!

The clickers take a lot of setup and prep time that I feel like I should be spending teaching my students how to listen. The technology has not engaged them in the manner I was expecting. They just want to play, even though I gave them a little time for free exploration at the very beginning. My grades are horrible because they are not doing their homework. Progress reports go out tomorrow, and then the endless round of conferences begin. The behavior in my classes is worse this year than it has ever been. There are a few children with serious behavior issues that have given this group of students a bad reputation. The non-troublemakers have become whisperers...they are not disruptive, but they do not pay attention as they should. Then they don't learn, and then they become "helpless handraisers" who would prefer to grab my attention one-on-one than listen when I am explaining to the group. I am so tired!

And then I come home to three children (ages 13, 8, and 3)who need their mother to be both mother and father during the week. I never cook, the house and van are a mess, homework is not done well, teeth are never brushed, and my youngest will probably still be in diapers when he starts kindergarten!

Today I feel as if teaching is sucking the life out of me. I'm sure I will feel better soon, but it is going to be a long week...or month...or year.

Midnight update.....
I spent the better part of the evening calling parents of students who are failing. Surprisingly, that made me feel better! All the parents I talked to were really nice and supportive. I took a closer look at my grades, and I have more A's and B's than D's and F's. In fact, I have almost as many A's as I have D's and F's. That should be encouraging to me. I can do this!!! (I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....)

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