My students received their netbooks on Friday, so this week begins a new adventure in learning for us! The kids will be adjusting to a different style of instruction as most everything I do in the classroom is supported by technology through my wikispace. In a blog last year I wrote about the purpose my wikispace would serve.

 Here is an exerpt:

I wanted my wiki to be a hub for my students, an online spot where they could find resources, link to extended activities, post responses, and interact with classmates and me. I sent home an email to parents letting them know about the class site and what it had to offer. The response was very positive. So many times parents feel as though they don’t have all the information they need about their child’s school work. Now, they were able to access my wiki and find a wealth of information.


I still feel that the purpose I wrote about then is the same one I have in using technology in the classroom this year. But I want to add that my main goal in integrating technology in the classroom is to provide students with the necessary skills to be competitive in our society. They are, after all, growing up in a technological era.

Monday in Language Arts

To give you an idea of how Monday in 6th grade Language Arts looks, I’m giving you a snapshot of class today. Students entered the classroom and logged in to their netbooks and then accessed the class wiki. BHWIKIWORLD. They clicked on the link to Warm-Ups under their class period and read the instructions to begin class.

Planning in the Agenda

Students at Barbers Hill Intermediate use agendas to record homework assignments and learn planning and organizational skills. The warm-up activity required them to use the online homework calendar on our wikispace to record the week’s plans for Language Arts. Students and parents are also able to print out this information straight from the calendar if needed. This week my students recorded that on Tuesday we would have a journal assignment, library day on Wednesday, computer class on Thursday, and a spelling test on Friday.

The Lesson

To introduce the first spelling unit of the year, I had students open up Microsoft Word and type their list of spelling words for this week. After everyone was finished, I taught them a mini-lesson on copying and pasting from one application to another. Students copied the spelling list they had typed and then pasted the words into an online program called Spelling City for lesson extension . Spelling City is a free site site I like to use with my students. This site allows them to input their own spelling words and practice spelling and identifying those in a variety of games. I find this a much more effective than having students write their spelling words three times each.

After they had worked with Spelling City, I reviewed the word list with them on my overhead projector. Students were encouraged to ask questions and clarify any misunderstanding they had at that time. My own Word document, with the correctly spelled list of words and parts of speech, was then posted on the Spelling Lists link on wiki for students to access at home.

My students are adjusting nicely to the expectations of using netbooks in the classroom, and I’m confident they will take care of such a great privilege and learning opportunity in the days to come.

As always, if you have questions or comments about my blog, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at

Until then…



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Comment by Janet Abercrombie on September 16, 2011 at 3:05am

Congrats! My 5th grade students love having computers and use them very responsibly. For reading comprehension, you might try bookcasts. We were able to do these using Microsoft technology (before the school went to Mac).

Comment by Melissa Johnston on September 16, 2011 at 11:33am
I've never heard of bookcasts. Thanks for the idea. I'll be checking it out.


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