The 12 Days of Christmas…

SMARTBoard tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 12-9-2012

…or should I say the “12 Days Games of Christmas”?

The Timed Educational Supplement (TES) is a weekly publication that began in 1910. It served as a resource primarily for school teachers in the United Kingdom. Its support site is and it has been a huge resource for educators worldwide.

It is interesting to peek around the website, forums, and to search through the job vacancies that are world-wide.

Technology has been a huge component as educators all through the UK are encouraged to include its use and adoption within their curriculum. You will find this site has a lot to offer in that department, as well.

So today, I invite you to take a look.

You might want to start with this page of Christmas games that is offered as a free resource of 12 seasonal games that can be played both on the computer and on an IWB*.

So even with the rain, today might be the day you can stop and spend some time on your front porch, which is where I plan to be decorating, or if you really have it together, curl up with a cup of tea, coffee, or beverage of your choice, and enjoy the lights of your tree and the spirit of the season…

Have a great week!

*Interactive Whiteboard


Prompting Needed

SMARTBoard tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-2-2012


For some of our students, this is difficult at best.

“How long does it have to be?”
“Does this count for a grade?”
“How many words do I have to write?”
“Does this have to be in cursive?”
“Does spelling count?”

In my classroom, journaling often began with a struggle,
but it was the one writing activity where I could see student growth.

By the end of the year, I could hear their voices,
but it was only as I read what they had written,
because while they were writing,
the room was completely silent.

Sometimes Shannon and I would provide assigned prompt suggestions,
and if these did not fit their needs or feed their imagination,
we would include suggestions from which they could choose.

I saw this “Imagination Prompt Generator” tweeted last week,
and after looking at it,
I knew it was something I would use.

The only problem was the advertising and “peripheral” distractions around the outside edge.

With that, I thought of a perfect example of how to use the new “SMARTBoard Internet Browser” element that was added in Notebook 11.

By adding a “frame” to cover the distractions on the webpage,
students can focus on the prompt and the task.

Feel free to download this Notebook file I have attached,
and tweak and change it as you wish.

Start out your first hour of the new week with a ready-made slide to bring on the “quiet”.

Stay dry,
and rest.
We love the 3-day weekend anyway we can get it!

Two Timely Tips

Conferences iPad2 SMARTBoard tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 11-20-2011

Shannon and I were on the road this week presenting at IETC in Springfield and at the Triple-I Conference in Chicago.

We did three sessions in Springfield that included iPads, SMARTBoards, and our favorite web tools.

In Chicago we enjoyed the opportunity to co-present with Dr. Voltz as a team with “Dueling Apps”.

While waiting to present in Springfield, we grabbed a little “down-time” to sit in on a few sessions. Two helpful tips we picked up that we felt were worth sharing apply to our favorite technology pieces, the SMARTBoard and the iPad. (LOVE the iPad!)

We usually toggle our iPads to “airplane-mode” while traveling to conserve the battery when we are working without the Internet. A tip provided by Ledith Whitehall was to use this toggle (found in your settings) as an alternative to rebooting your iPad. It saves a ton of time shutting-down/restarting your device.


Here’s a tip for our SMARTBoard users. If you use the “Random Word Chooser” in the Lesson Activity Toolkit, and you find that it makes the choices in the same order, look down in the lower right corner and choose “Reset” and your choices will, once again, be random.

As we begin another week,
we want to take a minute to let all of our friends know how much we appreciate the opportunity to work with you at our workshops and in your schools.

It truly has been a blessing for which we are thankful.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we wish you the best as you “unplug” to spend family time together with those you love…

Nancy & Shannon
The Recess Chicks

Math Live…

Math SMARTBoard tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 9-26-2011

Math Live makes math come alive.

This little website was a frequent resource in my classroom and is perfect to use on your SMARTBoard. It provides excellent reinforcement to math lessons, and is appropriate for grades 5 and above.

Math Live was developed under the direction of the Learning Technologies Branch of Alberta, Canada Education.

The four strands of math presented are:

Patterns and Relations,
Shape and Space, and
Statistics and Probability.

The lessons are presented in “real world problem-solving” format with videos that include a cast of animated students.

Lessons included are:

Place Value
Multiples, Factors, Primes and Composites
Proper Fractions
Equivalent Fractions
Comparing and Ordering Fractions
Comparing and Ordering Decimals
Addition and Subtraction of Decimals
Multiplication of Whole Numbers
Division of Whole Numbers
Multiplication and Division of Decimals
Area and Perimeter
Area and Perimeter of Irregular Shapes
Slides, Flips, and Turns
Ordered Pairs
Displaying Data

The presentations include interactive components, along with parent and teacher notes, and assessments.

The only drawback we can see is that this is a flash-based website, so it cannot be viewed on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod.

This is one of the websites to which I often linked within my SMARTBoard lessons making it a quick reinforcement or review.

We both love this site, and we hope you find something useful on it, too.

You Just Have to Play…

SMARTBoard tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 7-4-2011

This past week we hosted our Summer Series Workshops with a room filled with participants wanting to learn EVEN better ways to use our SMARTBoards interactively.

Our favorite session is our SMARTBoard “Make and Take”.
We show examples, and attendees spin off from those even more ideas and ways to engage and motivate the students. 

A huge resource is the Lesson Activity Toolkit and its templates.
These little flash files are fun for the kids, and we are always amazed at the different ways teachers find to use them to fit their curriculum. 

As I was helping one participant find just the right template, I came across the “Image Select”‘.  

Neither Shannon nor I could remember anyone using this template, and decided it was because nobody really understood how it works, or what it is for. 

After a bit of experimenting and “playing”, we found its use and decided its worth has been either unknown, or under-rated.

I put together a little “YouTube Video” to show how easy it is to use this tool, and we hope you can see a huge value in adapting it to many lessons.

Better yet, let your students design and make lessons to share with their classmates.
As teachers, we already know one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it!


Here is the link to the video on our  YouTube Channel if you would like to see it in full-screen.  

Remember, we strongly encourage teachers to use “real images” in place of “clip art”, and our favorite source is Microsoft Clip Art.  

Happy Fourth and have a GREAT week!

SMART Updates

SMARTBoard tips Turning Point

Monday Morning Message ~ 6-13-2011

After a week of workshops, we have seen some significant updates in SMARTBoard Notebook 10. Included is a calligraphy pen, and several new templates in the gallery.

A quick tip:

Go to the “Gallery Tab” (second tab down) and click on the “wrench” icon next to the search box “magnifying hand lens”. Choose the bottom option, “Check for Updates…”.

I checked for updates to the Gallery Essentials and the Lesson Activity Toolkit 2.0.

Even if it looks like you don’t need an update, click through to next, if the buttons are available, and you should still receive some additional templates.

I tried to watch carefully as they updated, and two that I saw were question templates.

These can be used with the SMART Student Response Systems®, or the TurningPoint® PollAnywhere®  Systems.

Don’t wait for the scheduled calendar to tell you that there are updates. Summer is a great time to look and play.

Another “tip” is to make a few new lessons to close out the end of the year.
We are always concentrating on the start, but the final weeks are those filled with deadlines, and a little less motivation as the year comes to a close. Use some summer time to make and remake a few lessons that will make the end a lot more enjoyable!

Random Word Generator

classroom management SMARTBoard tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 4-4-2011

And it’s free… 

This is a quick way to randomly choose students.

If you have a SMARTBoard, we suggest you use the “Random Word Generator”.
Add your students’ names, and save it in your “My Content” folder within a sub-folder labeled “Management”.

If you don’t have a SMARTBoard, we suggest a website called
This is a free resource, and you have a choice of two “generators”.

With the “Fruit Picker”, a name is chosen and you have the option of removing it, after it is chosen.

With the “Typewriter” generator, you do not have that option, but it also eliminates the “Casino” theme.
Once your names are typed in, you can save it to your desktop as a shortcut.

To watch a quick video for each of these…

Add some fun to your week!

Splitting the Text

SMARTBoard tips writing

Monday Morning Message ~ 1-24-2011

We have found a great hidden tool within the SMART Notebook 10 Lesson Activity Toolkit. Called the “Text Splitter”, it will split up sentences into words, or words into individual letters.

After you have placed this little tool onto a new page in your Notebook document, simply highlight text from a document or from the Internet, copy it, and paste it onto your page. Next, drag it into the text splitter window. Choose to split it into words or letters, and your text is instantly interactive.

Do you already have spelling lists typed in a Word document? Now you can drag each word into the “Splitter” to instantly separate it so your students can respell it.


For another idea on using this tool in a Language Arts lesson, watch this quick little video. To get the “big picture” we suggest you watch it in “Full Screen” mode.

We welcome any comments to share how you might use this new “BFF”.

One Busy Week

Conferences SMARTBoard workshops

This week is going to be a super busy one! 

 We will be at the ROE in Charleston on Wednesday for an evening session.  Mom and I are going head-to-head for a Web 2.0 Smackdown!  Don’t worry, I will keep you posted on who wins.  If I had to predict, it would be me.  I might have a little competitive streak in me.  Just a little.

Friday we will be getting EARLY to head to Springfield for the IETC conference.  A SMARTBoard session is in order.  We have put together 10 Ways to Get SMARTer.  It was SO hard to decide what to include.  I wish the session was longer than 50 minutes so we could include more.  Including something for all levels of SMARTBoard users along with subject areas, and grade levels was a challenge, but I think we have managed to do it.

After the conference on Friday, we are heading up to Chicago to join @principalspage for the IASB convention.  While we have been attending this conference for quite a few years now, it will be the first time to present there.  We are teaming up with Dr. Richard Voltz for a Top 10 Technology session in which we will count down our favorite ways to incorporate the use of technology in our classrooms.  Dr. Voltz will be presenting his Top 10 and will explain how they apply from an adminstrator’s point of view.  We will present ours from the classroom perspective, obviously.  Can’t wait!

Updates will be posted once we have time to catch our breath.  It has been a super busy fall and I can’t believe that we have neglected the blog for as long as we have.  It is time for that neglect to come to an end.


Christmas in August

reflections SMARTBoard workshops

Cross-post from yesterday’s 365 Blog

Shannon and I have been hitting it hard on the road for nine days straight.
And have we mentioned that it is hot?
And that tomorrow is my first day back to school?

So, this morning when we arrived in Fairfield for our second day
providing SMARTBoard training,
one of their wonderful teachers met us with a gift to welcome in the new
school year.
We have never received a gift from a participant before, and we were
delighted with her thoughtfulness and generosity.

We wanted to share her gift with the rest of you, and to let her know
how much it is appreciated.

To all of the teachers who have shared summer days with us,
from Shannon and me…

Thank YOU for your
willingness to learn,
willingness to share your ideas,
your love of children,
and your love of teaching.

Have a great year and make it fun…

8-12/365 ~Nancy