Interactive Whiteboard

Interactive whiteboards are an essential part of any modern classroom.  They completely out-do traditional whiteboards.  No longer is there the mess on students’ hands or expensive markers!  Oh yeah, and projectors…are finally a thing of the past.  But, the interactive whiteboard is not just an all-in-one hardware piece.  It is also a door to new opportunities that the old technology did not give us.  New ideas are thought up every day, so be sure to search around the internet and see what is out there.  Here are a few that I have thought of or have found.

  1.  Group Note Taking-  As students pick through subject material, leave an empty template open on your interactive whiteboard.  Then, as students find helpful hints or noteworthy facts, have them come up and write it in.  By the end, you’ll have pages full of notes to easily print off.
  2.  The online community of users is probably one of your best friends.  Each interactive whiteboard comes with software that already has a user base.  Each different company has an online medium for you and other teachers to share lessons and activities.  PUT THIS TO USE.  Even if you want to create your own, there are lots of good ideas out there.
  3. Interactive whiteboards allow for a whole new kind of review.  Students often struggle to understand what they did wrong or how they started to think a certain way.  Whiteboards give teachers the option to record what is happening on the board itself.  With this feature, you can literally show a student what they were thinking and help them unravel their preconceived notion.  I haven’t had the chance to do this, but I imagine it would be very helpful with math.

This is just the beginning of possible uses.  Be creative and have fun with it.

Meme Skill

I had never made a meme until a few weeks ago, but I’ve really fallen in love with them since.  Memes are a great way to connect with students.  My favorite part of creating memes is the social connectivity that comes with the finished product.  The images used for memes are always culturally-significant, or very recognizable, and therefore draw attention easily.  Meme creation sites are so easy to use that anyone can create something in just a few minutes; not to mention, there are a million of meme creation sites out there.  Teachers can use the popularity of memes to really connect with students of all ages and backgrounds.

Here are a few ways to use memes in the classroom:

  1. Have students make a meme every morning that expresses their emotional state. Over time, the students can use this as a mood journal.  This can be used to relieve anxiety or increase the self-awareness of one’s mentality.
  2. Personally, my favorite way to use memes is for class rules. In classrooms across America, there is probably a really boring poster that is meant to look like an old piece of parchment with the class rules on it.  But, using memes really draws attention to the rules.  The image combined with the words really helps to reinforce that particular rule.
  3. Using memes around the classroom can really reinforce important historical dates, artwork, singular scientific concepts, etc.

Screenshot Skill

Screenshotting is a wonderful tool at our disposal.  It takes a still frame of whatever is on your screen.  It can be used on cell phones, tablets, laptops and computers.  Mostly every operating system has the screenshot ability but there are lots of apps that increase this tool’s capabilities, such as Screenshot ++, Tailor, Snag It, and Screenshot Journal.

There are many ways that this tool can be used in the classroom.  For instance, screenshotting can be a real time saver.  If a student is going to be absent from school, a teacher can easily snap an image of the homework or project and send it to their parent’s phone in an instant.  Normally, it would take so much time to get everything compiled and faxed or emailed out.  The same can be said in reverse; if a teacher will be out for the day, they can easily get the materials to a sub in no time.  Screenshotting is also helpful to students who struggle with attention in the classroom.  Screenshots are always timestamped and we can use that to show students how much progress they have made versus how much time they have put in.  I regularly hear teachers asking when a student started on something or how much they have accomplished.  If we can get inattentive students to screenshot the bookends of their in class time, we can help them understand what is going on and how to correct it.  Another pro for using screenshotting is that we don’t have to download media off of sites.  Sometimes viruses are attached to images on the web.  So, instead of downloading that image to your computer, a teacher can simply screenshot the image and then email it to themselves.  Screenshots can also be helpful when playing online games with the entire class.  Instead of having a timer, or having students write down a score or accomplishment, they can use screenshot on their tablet and just send it to the teacher.  There are so many ways this can be integrated into the classroom.

Here are some instructions on how to use this tool on popular operating systems.

For Macs-

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

  1. Press Shift-Command (⌘)-3.
  2. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

How to take a screenshot of a selected portion of your screen

  1. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  2. Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, and then drag to select an area.
  3. While dragging, you can hold Shift, Option, or Space bar to change the way the selection moves.
  4. When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.
  5. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

How to take a screenshot of a window

  1. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  2. Press the Space bar. The pointer changes to a camera.
  3. Move the camera over a window to highlight it.
  4. Click your mouse or trackpad. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you click.
  5. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

Any questions (

For Windows 8 & 10-

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

  1. Push down the Windows button and the Print Screen button at the same time.
  2. The image will be sent to the folder in the Pictures Library called Screenshots.

How to take an adjusted screen shot

  1. You can search for the Snipping Tool on the Start screen in Windows 8 or in the search field next to the Start button in Windows 10.
  2. Open the menu that you want a picture of.
  3. Press Ctrl + PrtScn.
  4. Select the arrow next to the New button, choose the kind of snip you want, and then pick the area of the screen that you want to capture.

Any questions (

These operating systems are constantly being updated and changed.  However, this feature has gone through little change in the last few updates.  If you are unsure of how to use screenshotting on your device, check out some of the links I’ve posted or search for your device’s screenshotting options on a search engine.


Pinterest is a free social media website and app.  Individuals use it for a variety of reasons, but its main purpose is to share creative projects and ideas for others to try.  I had no idea what Pinterest was until I joined the Education program at Washburn University.  People kept saying that they had gotten their idea from Pinterest or would ask me if I had checked out Pinterest for something I was looking for.

Eventually, I checked it out and saw what all the fuss was about.  Even though it has become a totally cliché thing, there is a reason why: there are so many good ideas on there!  There is everything you can think of on there.  Teachers will find an endless amount of ideas for lesson plans or art projects on there.

Pinterest can have a major impact in the classroom.  Both students and teachers can use Pinterest for a wide variety of things.  Just to name a few, I found classroom lesson plans and templates, step-by-step art projects, education-enhancing music, video tutorials, DIY board games, and everything in between.  Not to mention, there are blogs on educational topics that are very helpful.  I saw topics such as technology integration, simple and effective differentiation, STEAM integration, and health tips for teachers.  After cruising around for a bit, it is easy to see what all the fuss is about.

Pinterest is a very effective way to share and receive ideas and projects.  If I made a pros and cons list for Pinterest, there would be very few cons.  However, there is one con that I do see.  Many of my peers turn to it for everything.  While that doesn’t seem like a problem, it bothers me to only have one source.  The Pinterest community is a large one, but we can’t rely too heavily on any one thing.

Information Literacy

Information literacy is how an individual uses and deciphers information.  However, that is a very general definition.  In fact, there are many parts to the term “information literacy.” Students have to be able to know where to look for specific information or when any resource will do, and the difference between the two.  They will also have to understand how to convey the author’s message, with credit given.  Also, with every piece of communication, there is an intended message and an unintended message. So, how could we sum up information literacy?  In general, critical thinking makes up a big chunk of information literacy.

Information literacy could not be more important in the twenty-first century.  Think of five hundred years ago.  To us, that seems like forever, but in the life of the human race, it is a split second.  In that day, information was kept in books exclusively and books that were often chained down because of their scarcity and cost.  Today, we have access to all the information the human race has at our fingertips.  Information access has turned on its head completely; we now have an unlimited access to an abundance of information and a zillion information mediums.  We don’t even have to research anymore; most search engines will give answers to direct questions.  Information literacy’s importance will rise in tandem with the integration of technology into our lives.

So, why and how do we emphasize this in the classroom?  The classroom needs to be reflective of the outside world.  The purpose of school is to prepare students for the problems of the future and integrate them into our society.  Technology has entrenched itself in our lives and we need to show students how to use it effectively and properly.  If we are going to have students interacting with technology at a young age, we need to tell them the ins and outs at a young age too.  The same information literacy lessons that I was getting in high school should be taught at elementary schools.


The SAMR model is all about technological integration into the classroom.  SAMR is an acronym that describes the four ways a lesson can be changed with technology.  The “S” is for substitution, the most basic form of technological integration.  The “A” represents augmentation.  Those first two are considered to enhance what can be done without technology.  The next two rely on technology and cannot be done without it.  The third level is modification which seeks to drastically change how a task is performed.  The last level is redefinition, this level of integration creates whole new tasks that were not even possible before.  (

The SAMR Model and the Beginning of the Revolution


Options for using Substitution on a lesson over the beginning of the Revolution are endless.  I could have them type up a plea for help as if they were one an American or a Loyalist under attack or print out my presentation for them to follow along with.  Substitution is great for exposure or to help enhance the lesson I’ve already made up, but it isn’t always best.  History is notoriously squishy and multiple sides means multiple perspectives.  In an introduction, I would want to give an overview of the history first, to ensure objectivity, rather than set them loose on the web.


Augmentation of this lesson can be done in many ways as well.  Rather than me print out every historian’s passage about the first shots of the American Revolution, I can allow them to explore them freely on the web.  This would allow them to flip through them much faster to find the ones that resonate with them the most.  Then students can use presentation software, like Prezi, to show how they differ and what the perspectives have in common.


Modification requires the technology.  For this lesson I want students to use Google Earth to explore the areas around Lexington and Concorde.  Battle tactics, location and geography can explain a lot.   Using Google Earth and physically seeing the area makes students connect in a whole new way, a way that reading historical summaries cannot give them.  The information gathered can be used to support or oppose the professional opinions they have gathered.


The Redefinition part of this lesson would be fully interactive.  I would have the students break up into four groups and use Skype to talk with 4 different people; an American historian, a British Historian, and an American and British citizen with no professional historical experience.  All of these would be prearranged by myself.  Without technology, this kind of social studies experiment would not be possible.


The concept of Newseum is two-fold.  The first is the physical museum in Washington D.C.  Newseum, the museum, was built to honor the First Amendment and the five rights (religion, petition, speech, assembly, and press) that it guarantees.  It is considered unique because of how interactive the exhibits are and how much media and history is in one place.  Newseum is also proactive and alive in the way they host debates and programs over today’s issues.  Their website ( lists the future of investigative journalism, the tensions between national security and privacy, and the role of religious freedom as their target subjects.

The second part of Newseum is an online educational program, appropriately called “Newseum ED.”  Newseum’s goal is to make “history, civics and media literacy relevant to students’ lives.” ( Which, in my opinion, is a top priority in this day and age.  As like their parent-museum, this site uses the First Amendment as the avenue to talk about the obstacles our democracy faces.  The youth of today are faced with the opposite problem that we had growing up.  Our generation, and so many more before us, had a lack of information, or had to go through many hoops to get certain data.  That is now inverted; kids today have an abundance of info.  They have social media , countless websites, newspapers, and magazines telling them what is true and what isn’t.

Now, more than ever, we need to teach children how to sort through this.  What is a reliable source and what isn’t.  I think we need to teach how citation works, what peer reviewed means, and give them access to scholarly work at a younger age.  Facts are slowly becoming irrelevant in today’s world.  The next generation needs to know how to think critically about obtaining facts and how to use them.

Using Memes in the Classroom

Our educational systems need to be reflective of the world outside, especially when it comes to technology.  Our students have to see the real world in the classroom and we can do this by using up-to-date popular culture.

One great avenue to connect with kids is memes.  It might seem silly to us but social media has become a huge part of the lives of younger generations.  Surprisingly, memes can be used in the classroom in many ways.  We can use memes to: reiterate class rules, first day introductions, highlight main themes of a lesson, for artistic lessons, as messages to other students, learn new vocabulary, emphasize a historical event, fun extra credit assignments, as an ice breaker to a difficult concept, act as emotional relief, or as a means of expression, increase digital citizenship and awareness, showoff a book assignment,  art projects, and whatever else we can come up!

One of the best parts about using memes is that the generator websites are super easy to use and there are many of them out there.  Powerpoint or Google Slides can even be used to create a series of related memes.  I can see memes being used in my classroom by helping connect historical images with the date or a famous phrase, such as; a “La Mort de Cesar” by Jean-Leon Gerome meme (depicting the assasination of Julius Cesar ) with the title, “The Ides of March” or March 15th and then something that will help them remember.  Students will recall the information because of their customization and the photo it is attached to, and hopefully have some fun as well!