Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Special Education Institute @ Schreiner University

Hey there folks!
You can download my presentations by clicking on the links below.  They will download as Notebook files.  You must have SMART Notebook to open.  Email me if you'd like for me to email you a PDF version of the presentation.

SMART Ways to Engage Learners

Tools of the Trade

If you have any questions, email me.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SEE Summit Video Contest!

Hello all!
I need your help.  I need less than two minutes of your time.  Please follow this link.  Find my name (John Mein). Vote.  That's it!  The videos with the most votes earn a trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to SMART's world headquarters!

So please- I beg you- vote for me.
John (Mr. Smart Trainer)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TCEA 2014

Just a short post to get my presentations out. Click the workshop below to download the presentation file!  Please feel free to share!

Content Creation Seminar

SMART Boot Camp 2.0


Friday, July 19, 2013

Smart Calendar

I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer vacation thus far.  We've been very busy this summer, between summer camps, family reunion road trips, and hanging out with my family and friends, it's crazy to me that July has almost come to an end.  We all know, with the end of July comes the beginning of August and Back to School Bonanza starts gracing the aisles of Walmart again. Ugh, lesson plans... is there anything more mundane?

The only thing worse than having to write lesson plans is having to reteach after students have been sick, on vacation, or are in an alternative education placement. You have to come up with new examples that break the flow of the current lesson you're trying to cover.  If only there was a way to effectively keep track of every day of the school year.  You could reteach using the same examples in the same way that everyone else was taught.  You could even post those lessons online to be viewed, or reviewed, by your students that need at-home remediation. They could download the lessons posted to a class website or blog, and they could open them using

With this in mind, I created a Flash-based calendar that should solve just this problem! This is based on a model that I have used in my district for the last three years, and I have found it to be highly effective. The only reason I haven't shared it worldwide up to this point is that it was through SMART Notebook, and it wasn't logistically possible for me to set the links in a manageable way.

The general idea is that it works very much like a daily organizer.  You select the month and then the date, and a NB file for that date will be automatically downloaded to your computer.  Everything you do on that day will be saved locally on your hard drive so you may refer back to it when needed.  When you have a student come in that has been absent, you can print out the presentation, you can save the file to Dropbox and post a link on your class website, or you can email it to the student/parent that has requested it. Each day is formatted in four areas: warm-up, guided practice, independent practice, and interactivity.  This provides for the needs of all grade levels.  The beauty of the calendar, itself, is that I don't have to create a new one every year because it is formatted by date- not by day.  It is live now, and it's ready to be utilized.

This was my first Flash venture, so more than likely there will be some hiccups.  If you manage to run into one, please send me an email or make a comment in the thread.

Run Smart Calendar HERE. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Frog Brainteaser

This is a fun brainteaser to keep the minds of our students sharp as we head into testing season.  I got the idea and images from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  They have some other fantastic riddles and brainteasers.  Download my SMART Board version of this brainteaser here. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SEE Summit Reminiscence

Hey there, Mr. Smart Trainer followers,
Nothing new this week.  I was just reminiscing last summer's SMART Summit in Calgary.  Thankfully, one of my SMART friends uploaded some of these images to our shared photobucket.  I just wanted to share some of the SMART fun we shared at SMART World Headquarters.

Mr. Smart Trainer with Royal Mounted Police in Banff
 Mr. Smart Trainer, official Calgarian
 Outside SMART World Headquarters
 Our awesome, "ideal classroom" group

Mr. Smart Trainer as SEE Spotlight, presenting SMART Games

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SMART Bowling

Did you think I forgot about you?  In the whirlwind of a year I've had, I have neglected my game-making.  I do apologize, but hopefully this will make up for it.  In our weekly #smartee chat on Twitter (Tuesday nights, 8pm CST), @gallagher_tech challenged me to create a game to simulate bowling for the SMART Board.  What a terrific idea, @gallagher_tech!  In this fun, kooshball-style game, you throw a ball at one of the pins, launching the question page.  Edit/answer the question, and "bowl" your ball to reveal the answer.  You can either remove or "X" out the pins that have been chosen.  You will know which have been bowled over because each pin and question page pin is numbered.  I'm really excited about getting back in the swing of things.  Just to give a peep at what's been going on in the life of Mr. Smart Trainer- I am Texas English teacher.  My state assessment is next week (cross your fingers for me!), so we've been preparing for the big days (Yes, DAYS, plural- my test spans two days of testing).  In addition to this madness, I have started my Master's of Education program at Schreiner University in the hopes of becoming the most hated man on campus, the principal.  Five weeks ago, my wife gave birth to an amazing little fellow, Thomas.  This has been a very blessed and busy year for Mr. Smart Trainer, so please bear with me.  Hopefully more Mr. Smart Trainer activities will be coming your way soon, but I need ideas from folks like @gallagher_tech, that get my creative juices flowing.  Help a Smart Trainer out!  Now for what you're here for- I give you the launch of my newest game, an instant classic- SMART Bowling! Click here to download your copy NOW!!!  As always, if you need additional instructions, shoot me an email. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, February 8, 2013

TCEA 2013

TCEA 2013 has come and is now gone, dormant for yet another year as teachers take the time to implement new ideas and technologies into their classroom routines.  I have to say that after my fourth year at TCEA, I had quite a valuable week.  I presented a SMART Boot Camp, which you can download here.  I had a wonderful audience that asked lots of great questions and hopefully had a valuable learning experience.  Of course after every training I facilitate, I do a postmortem assessment of my training on what went well, what didn't go well, and what I could have done better or forgot to do.  I woke up in the middle of the night, realizing I forgot to give my direct contact information to my attendees.  That information is in the last two slides of the presentation.
It was terrific to see some of my SEE Summitteer friends in the downtime throughout the convention, but it was also nice to make some new connections.  I hope your time at TCEA was as rich of an experience as it was for me.  If you have any questions about SMART Boot Camp, please feel free to email me.  I'll be happy to line up some training for your faculty and staff.
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Want That!!!

The question of "What will SMART come up with next?" is always running through my head when I see their products.  Take a minute to watch this video on how our classroom can change through collaboration and a lot of help from SMART!  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Notebook 11 Service Pack 1 Now Available!

Today is a very exciting day for me.  I received an email from Dave Milford from SMART Technologies.  He told me that Service Pack 1 for SMART Notebook 11 is now available to download from SMART's support page.  This is what I love about SMART- While attending the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit in Calgary this summer, we had the chance to visit with the creators of Notebook 11 to discuss quirks, bugs, and annoyances that we had with the update. One that I had is that when the switch over to NB 11 occurred, the links in many of my activities were removed.  This drove me banana-sandwich crazy!  In creating my activities, the thing that is most tedious is setting the links to send you back and forth to the proper place.  I am very pleased to say that with this update, all of my activities are up and running as they were intended!  I love that SMART took the time to listen to my problem, kept in contact with me through the process of getting it fixed, and then emailed me personally to let me know that the update was live and should fix my problem.  Way to go, SMART!  Download your upgrade NOW!!! Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SMART Activity Challenge!

To all of my terrific visitors that have come through Mr. Smart Trainer, I would like to thank you for giving my activities the opportunity to shine in your classrooms.  Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, it has been quite a while since I have posted any activities.  Well, I have been diagnosed with a horrible case of creativity loss.  I have not been able to come up with ideas for new activities in quite some time.  So, I have a challenge for you... or rather for me.
I challenge you to send me ideas for activities that will be challenging for me to create.  Either comment your ideas on the bottom of this post, shoot me an email, or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.  I will do my best to do your idea justice and will post them here on Mr. Smart Trainer.  So, think of something you will be teaching in the near future, perhaps a holiday theme idea, anything that may give my creative juices a much needed jumpstart.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 1, 2012

One SMART Summer

This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of summer- in like a lion, out like a lion.  First of all, my district started summer staff development off with a BANG!  We hosted an unconference “techpalooza” where we created the schedule for the conference as we went along.  My duties were to cover SMART and technology interactivity in the classroom.  We took a quick glance at Notebook 11, checked out some of my interactive games from Mr. Smart Trainer, and then found a few other interactive flash-type websites that I frequent.  This is a great model to follow to kick off summer staff development and a great way for teachers to get their “earned-off” days.  For the next two weeks, I hosted SMART professional development, covering just about everything I know about the SMART interactive whiteboard, from Basic and Intermediate Training to SMART Games.  The short vacation portion of my summer started in mid-June and ran through very early July when I started to prepare for the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit at SMART’s world headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 I got to spend the most amazing week with 49 of the world’s most proficient and powerful users of SMART products as well as the amazing SMART staff (SMARTians).  We got to share how we use SMART, collaborate with others to learn new tips and tricks, and built an amazing personal learning network.  Most of these people I have talked to several times since the summit via Twitter, Facebook, or email.  We stayed at University of Calgary’s Hotel Alma, and got to see a lot of what Calgary has to offer.  SMART took us to murder mystery dinner theater and to the Wild West Events Center for line-dancing lessons as well!  Headed by our fearless SMART Exemplary Educator leader (you have to be fearless to head up a group of 50 strangers!), Deena Zenyk, did an amazing job coordinating the event to make sure that we were all in the right place at the right time.  Her support staff also did a terrific job to get us where we needed to go and fed us extremely well.  We had the opportunity to participate in a soft launch of Gold Star SEE, the SMART Exemplary Educator gaming platform, to track our SMART participation.  If you are a SEE and haven’t checked out Gold Star SEE yet, you better get in the game!
It was bittersweet leaving SMART’s headquarters, but 7 days away from my expecting wife and 8-year old little boy is tough.  I knew I was coming home a lot SMARTer than when I left.  I had lots of ammunition to finish out my SMART summer with two more weeks of SMART professional development for the staff of Kerrville Independent School District.  At the end of my last two weeks of workshops, the cherry on top was getting to train the faculty of pre-service teachers at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi on their brand new 800 series SMART interactive whiteboard. 
We are four weeks into our school year now and it amazes me how quickly time has flown by.  September 20th marked the one-year anniversary of my blog-writing attempt on Mr. Smart Trainer.  I ended the year with just under 21,000 visits.  This is quite an amazing feat for just starting out, but I will continue to create and share everything I find and make with the SMART community.  Make sure to stop by and see me at TCEA this spring in Austin, TX, and hopefully in San Antonio at ISTE, or stop by Mr. Smart Trainer and say hello.
Thanks for stopping by,
John Mein