Sunday, September 21, 2008

Text to Voice Lesson

I tried a matching sound lesson with my class this week. It went really well. I gave a problem like 3x + 5 -6x - 4. I made eight sounds altogether of which there were 4 matching pairs. For instance, one of the sounds was the word "coefficients". Another matching sound was the words "three and negative six". Remembering that they can't see these words. They have to hear them. I think they even have to visualize the numbers. This to me reaches a whole different set of students that are auditory learners in a visual classroom.
Structurally, I picked a student at random to come to the Smartboard and to pick two of the sounds. The student would play each sound twice and then return to their desk. I would then pick another student from the class at random. They would do the same thing. Eventually, the matching sounds would be discovered. A student would then be able to pick the pair and put them together. Success! Students were called up until all four matches were found. Give a try and let me know what you think.

I have a podcast on Smartboard Lesson Planning called Teaching with Smartboard. It is a site trying to help teachers with the integration of Smartboards into the classroom.

I last posted about a site called Since this post, the site has added a clip at the end of the MP3 file that advertises their product. This doesn't work out well in the classroom. I have found another site that I'm now using called It works great. Let's hope this site will continue to be free without the added advertisement.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cool Site
A colleague showed me this site and it is awesome. You just paste in some text to the site and it will change the text to a sound file in MP3 form.
You can change your text to a male or female voice (Mike or Crystal).
I see a variety of educational uses for this. Specifically for me, I can use MP3 sounds in SMARTBoard software.
I can't wait to make a lesson involving sounds with my Smartboard.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Brain Breaks

I think we all need a break from whatever we are doing at least every 25 minutes. This keeps us fresh and engaged. I know myself that I get antsy when I sit too long. I usually get up and take a walk, or find a couple minute distraction. In my classroom my students can't just get up and do that. I feel strongly that I need to create a brain break every 20-25 minutes.
I first heard about these breaks from Jean Blaydes Madigan. She has a lot of ideas about movement within the classroom. She came and did a workshop at our school and it was excellent. Since then, I have just heard of different ideas that I can use in my classroom. They have come from colleagues, speakers, or blogs. I want to hear about other peoples brain breaks so I created a website that we can do just that. It is called Brain Breaks. It is at Check it out and you can write a post as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Do Hard Things" a book by Alex and Brett Harris

I have been reading an excellent book by Alex and Brett Harris called "Do Hard Things". The idea is that we have low expectations for teenagers and usually they fulfill them. However, I have been challenged in my own journey by this book to take a leap of faith and Do Hard Things. The section that I'm currently reading is "You can't get to success without risking failure". This is how we often are paralyzed by the fear of failure into doing NOTHING. I certainly can relate to that. The amazing thing about this book is that these guys are actually teenagers themselves. They are (were) 19 when they wrote the book. They are twins.

So get the book, and then Do Something Hard this Week!