Archive for the ‘Technology Coaching’ Category

Comment on: I Don’t have Time to Teach my Students how to Use the Program

March 8, 2017

This is my personal observation and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of those with whom I work.   I do invite debate and would love to hear from you about how much we need to demonstrate to our students.  For me the teaching includes safety, ethics and consideration for others.

From time to time I talk to teachers who say that they like the games in SMART Lab and in the Table Activity Toolkit but they just do not have time to show the students how to play them.  Let’s consider this.  When was the last time an adult sat down with their child to show them how to use an electronic game?  Often it is the other way round!  The child shows the adult.  I remember when an enthusiastic, 7 year old Minecraft player tried to teach me the ropes.  It caused him to be more articulate and to slow down!  I could almost see the wheels turning as he tried to figure out how to explain it all so that it made sense for someone else.  As for me, I was blown away by his understanding of the intent, rules and strategies and he had learned either by himself or by soliciting advice from his brother or friends.

Chances are that when you put the students in front of any of the games, they will figure them out, or they will ask a friend and that friend just may learn how to teach others effectively.  Additionally, if they do not play in the way it was intended, does that mean that they are not learning?  Sometimes they use the game in a way that teaches them something they need to know.  The fun and learning just may be in the challenge of figuring it all out.

What are your thoughts?  Comment below or email me at


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom Signature


The perks of being a teacher – a true story

February 13, 2013

Sometimes there are things that can tug at the heart.

A teacher told me that she had a student in her class who had never communicated with anyone.  When she got her SMART Board the young boy obviously wanted to write on it.  He took the pen and wrote yop.  The teacher took the pen and wrote boy.  She said, “I think you mean boy.”   He wrote yop again.  The teacher believed that there was a breakthrough.  He was spelling incorrectly BUT this was the first time he had ever tried to communicate with anyone.

The teacher told me that she was so excited about this first step but little did she know at the time that there was a bigger surprise to follow.  The next day, the student approached the teacher and pulled something out of his backpack…  a bottle of YOP, the yogurt drink.  OH my goodness, she shed a few tears that day.

What are your perks for being a teacher? Looking forward to hearing your responses!

Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom

Many learners… many learning styles

August 1, 2012

SMART Notebook lessons have the ability to reach many learners and many learning styles.  In order for the lessons to meet the needs of a variety of learners, we need to keep in mind this particular acronym V.A.K..  The “V” represents the visual.  The “A” represents the auditory.  The “K” represents the kinesthetic.  On the SMART Board we can be very visual, auditory, and kinesthetic  by drawing from the resources available in the Gallery (over 5000 pictures and close to 400 interactive and multimedia resources), creative commons sites, interactive websites, video clips and podcasts.  The kinesthetic aspect can also be incorporated by building moveable objects into your Notebook file for your students to physically manipulate on the SMART Board. I am always cognitively aware of this acronym when I look for Notebook files online as well as when I create my own Notebook files.


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom

Student Centered Learning – Part 2

July 11, 2012

I am a big advocate for using the SMART Board in my classroom as a student centered learning tool.  I offset the responsibility of creating SMART Notebook content to my students, so it is not my sole responsibility to create student centered content.  If we are to see the gains that research has proven by having SMART Boards in our classrooms, it is by having the SMART Board as a student-centered learning tool.   Allowing your students to create content that they share with their peers is very rewarding for them to do and incorporates many higher order thinking skills in the process.  I will often take my students down to the computer lab, where we have Notebook software installed on all the computers, and they will either create a file from scratch or they might modify or edit a template that I have them pull from a shared folder on our school network.  This is a huge piece to the puzzle when we look at taking the SMART Board from a teacher directed tool to a student centered one.

Student Centred Learning

July 4, 2012

I want to reinforce the importance of using the SMART Board as a student centered learning tool.  I have come across many articles that downplay the use of SMART Boards in classrooms and most often than not, the SMART Board is being utilized only as a teacher directed tool and not a student centered one.  The students must own the SMART Board, own the software, and own the content of the Board.  I will have my students use the software at school or at home to create student centered activities that they then share with their peers back at school.  It is hugely rewarding for the student to share their content with their peers, as students are all about posting and sharing their pictures, their videos, their writing with the rest of the world and receiving international feedback.   Allow your students the opportunity to use the software to demonstrate their knowledge using a technological learning tool to do so!!


Happy Learning!

Mrs Blossom

Collaboration on Several Levels

February 22, 2012

Collaboration is a wonderful thing and I always marvel at the quantity and quality of sharing present during my SMART integration workshops.   When one educator demonstrates how he or she is using features of SMART Notebook software to engage students, someone else chimes in with a strategy for extending the activity.

During a recent workshop, one participant showed how she was using the infinite cloner, shapes and grouping features of SMART Notebook software to help students develop their vocabulary.   All the letters of the alphabet were placed on a page as infinite clones, with the vowels and consonants in different colours.   One student chooses a word from a list; the other students drag the letters into a box on the screen to correctly spell that word.  The teacher has created a simple hands on activity where students were able to collaborate!

The attendees at the workshop spontaneously decided to extend this activity.  They added a Google link to the page so students could easily find the meaning(s) of the word, and collect one or more images to represent the word.

What started as a simple vocabulary activity quickly grew to encompass higher order thinking skills.  I can envision students trying to agree on the correct meaning and deciding which images best represent the word.

It took about 15 minutes of brainstorming and discussion to develop a SMART Board activity that is open ended, adaptable to any grade level, encourages collaboration, and has a kinesthetic component.   I always marvel at the willingness of teachers to share ideas and encourage and support each other for the benefit of students.

Happy Learning.

Mrs Blossom

Am I Up to Date?

September 14, 2010

Sometimes I want to find out if SMART has updated the Gallery or the Lesson Activity Toolkit just in case I missed something.  I found out that if I clicked on the Gallery icon, there is a picture at the top right of a little wrench.  If I click on it, I can look for updates for both items.  Even in my school, the techs allow me to install these updates!

Happy Learning!

Mrs. Blossom

How Mrs Blossom Helped me After my Lesson

August 30, 2010

The final word from Laura Macnamara, who teaches Year 1 and is the ICT Co-Ordinator at Berrycoombe Primary School, Bodmin, Cornwall, England, today she shares how my help has made life after the lesson is over much easier as well.

“Not only has Mrs Blossom helped me with planning my lessons, interacting with the children during my lessons, but she has also showed me how to use my SMARTBoard to do post lesson assessments and evidence. Assessment isn’t just ticklists anymore, a much more holistic approach is needed. The course conveyed this well and gave me some ideas about how I could use the files I created and the notes made on them during lessons for assessment purposes. Mainly I could see how I could look back at the files in order to inform my planning for the next lesson.

Happy learning!

Mrs. Blossom

Shades in Tables

August 12, 2010

I just love putting screen shades into my table cells.  After making a table, I just right click in   a cell and add a screen shade.    However, at first when I used the activity that I made, I was   perplexed because there didn’t seem to be a fast way to get the screen shade   back after clicking it.  Then I found   that if I used the undo button, I could get back as many opened screen shades   as I wanted.  NOTE:  This may not work in a saved file.  If it doesn’t, right click in the cell and   in the drop down menu, you can add a screen shade.


TechTeacher PodCast

August 11, 2010

A pair of teachers have teamed up and are creating podcasts that relate to teaching and technology.  You can also subscribe to their podcast in iTunes. Download the podcasts to your mp3 player and listen to them while driving to work!