Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Reflection on Managing a Station or Center


I have been assisting in a grade 3 classroom every Friday for the past month. My job: train students how to go through the steps of an iPad math creation station. The goals: 1) the current math student learning objective and 2) independence!

In reflecting on my time in there, I think it has been successful, and many students have achieved the goal of working on their own… and here’s why:

  1. We took the time to set expectations and to show students the process step by step. There were no assumptions that the students just should know what to do. They were shown slowly, and those that completed steps quickly became helpers.
  2. Students were empowered. Not only did we ask students who caught on quickly to be helpers, when appropriate I would be flexible and give a next step tutorial to them. Once they completed the steps, I asked them to lead the overall demonstration when other students were ready. This modeled what should be happening at the station: help each other out without doing it for someone as well as seek out friends or “experts” if you are struggling.
  3. The creation task was broken down into logical steps with a checklist so that students could keep track of their progress. Furthermore, a direction sheet for a specific app was available as a support to remind students of details. These resources have been excellent ways for me and the teacher to redirect students who come to us with questions. (Did you look at your checklist? Can the answer be found on the direction sheet?)
  4. The classroom teacher created an example each week. She showed this example to students as a part of her preview of each of the stations in the room. This preview gave students an opportunity to see expectations and ask questions like they would any of the other stations before actually being at the station. The heads-up is great for relieving anxious students, too!
  5. The teacher gave time during the week for students to do a little prep work, if necessary, such as cutting out shapes, jotting down notes, etc. so that they had the necessary materials at the station. Creating on the fly is an important skill; however, it was bogging down the station.
  6. Coordinating with support teachers to be available to work at the station with specific students has helped a lot. Students who struggle with multiple steps and reading are having their needs met, and we have found that they now are shifting toward more moments of independence at the station.
  7. The teacher did her own prepping for the station. Taking time to consult with me about any adjustments with a focus on keeping it as consistent as possible, learning how to make copies in her Google Drive in her math folder, making a physical binder for students to keep the direction sheets, having clipboards out with the latest check list and thinking about the best groupings of students to visit the station first have been extremely beneficial to the success of the station.
  8. The procedures and apps used have remained the same each week. I talked with the teacher about how the technology was not the focus. Finding a good app(s) and sticking with them was crucial. The only thing necessary to change was the objective each week. Some worry that the students will become bored. Nope… we haven’t seen that yet. A consistent workflow with no hang-ups about procedures and learning new apps is demonstrating what the students know in math. This aspect is very important for those students who struggle with multiple steps and reading, making the acquisition of the routine much easier. The station is math formative assessment at its best!

I’m sure there are many more things that haven’t even been realized yet. I am very encouraged by what I am seeing in this classroom. I feel like I am more of a coach at the station now, identifying kid’s specific procedural areas of weakness and clearing up confusion so they can get on the right course.

I hope my thoughts are useful as teachers work on setting up guided math and stations in their classrooms. Please share any of your own experiences in the comments!

BTW- this is the iPad workflow (for those who are curious):

  • Plan and create four talking avatars about the math learning objective using Chatterpix Kids.
  • Put the four videos into a media collage using PicPlayPost.
  • Share your media collage to the teacher’s assignment in Google Classroom.

A big congratulations to Mrs. Kelly and her students for an awesome job in getting this Station Rotation Model to work so well!

How to Schedule Meetings… Without Playing Email Tag


Tired of playing email tag when setting up meetings?

This 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver from SimpleK12 is what you need to watch!

And I can give a testimonial: Doodle is very easy to use and efficient! It’s well worth a try.

Google Drive Folders – Get Acquainted


I’ve been on a kick about organization… the New Year, I guess, is my motivation.

At the end of 2016, I shared some thoughts about teams and a shared folder in Google Drive. Well, recently, EdTechTeacher added an excellent resource page on its site about Getting Started with Google Drive Folders. They have some great video tutorials on the basics that will get you (and your Team) organized. The tutorials range from creation of a folder, to renaming it, getting files into it, storing it in more than one place and even color coding folders. Go ahead… get acquainted.

Perhaps, you’ll end up organizing your Drive before you even put away all those holiday decorations left over from December? Or definitely, before the spring cleaning, right? 🙂

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Google Classroom Basics Resource


I have had some requests about Google Classroom basics. From “How do I get started?” to “What can I have my students use it for?”

Good news: EdTechTeacher has put together a page to help.

This resource explains how Google Classroom works and the basic terminology. There also is an FAQ section, plus video tutorials. Even using the Classroom app on iPads is covered for those who are heading in that direction.

Be sure to bookmark this invaluable resource as I’m sure that it will be growing. Google Classroom is still in its infancy and will continue to evolve as teachers & students use it, sharing ideas that will change its boundaries.

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AirDrop – An Efficient Way to Share from Your iPad to Your Computer


So you have photos or videos on your iPad and want to get them to your computer?

You could use email; however, files can be too large to send. Also, maybe, email is not configured on your school iPad?

You could upload to Google Drive. (Or Dropbox or some other storage service.) Unfortunately, let’s say that the Google Drive app is not on your iPad. Of course, the app could be installed, but you don’t have admin privileges to load apps at this moment… and you can’t wait for someone who manages the iPads to help you out… you need a work around, like yesterday, right???!!!

Solution: Use AirDrop.

Below are some video tutorials I created to help you with this solution (if you prefer not to read step by step directions from Apple). [And on a side note, I learned how to screencast and record on an iPad to do this blog post! Thanks, iPad Apps for Schools! See…I’m always learning, too… 🙂 }

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

(As a follow-up to my Playlist post, here’s a playlist of the videos!)

Hopefully, you find AirDrop to be useful to share from your iPad… and of course, you can share from iPad to iPad as well… opening up collaboration opportunities with students, but that’s another blog post at some point!

And I have to say “thank you” to Mrs. Mulholland for pushing me to explore this solution for her math iPad Mini. 🙂

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