Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Go Hunting!

This is a spin on the original Nintendo's Duck Hunt.  The idea is simple- shoot the ducks and answer the questions that are asked.

In my classroom, we use a suction cup Nerf gun to shoot the ducks on the board.  It doesn't have enough power to transition to the question slide, but does add a challenge to the game and the darts will stick to the board so you can easily identify which duck has been hit.  Then, type your question and answer on each page and group your question and answer to the pull tabs.

After answering the question, tap on the dog to take you back to the main screen where you can cover the answered duck with a dead duck form the left-hand side.  Click the scoreboard in the bottom right to keep score.  Tap on each bullet to keep track of turns.  My sixth graders have a lot of fun with this game and I hope your kids have fun with it too!  Click HERE to download your copy of Duck Hunt today! Enjoy!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Good to be the King

Sorry Ohioans! Though he still has no bling on his ring finger, Lebron is the King.  This is a fun kooshball-style game.  You need to use some sort of a ball with a 'SPLAT' feature.  Tennis balls, stress balls, etc will not work with these games because there is not enough time to make the contact required for the transition to the question slide.  Personally, I use the Monster Ball by Toysmith.  I've found the balls will last a long time if the students don't spend the majority of their turn squeezing the ball until it pops creating a disgusting colored mess all over them, the floor and myself!  With this game, you will select one of the players from the Heat, and type your question where prompted.  For the answer, open Lebron's mouth and pull out the smiley face.  You will need to ungroup the answer piece.  You can do this by right-clicking the item, find Grouping, and select Ungroup.  You will then be able to double-click the text to edit it.  When you are done, selct the text, smiley, and background, and group them (right-click, Grouping, Group).
To post this game, I am using the Public folder of my Dropbox.  This is something new for me, so let's give it a shot.  CLICK HERE for the Heat game.  Hopefully that worked!
I hope you enjoy my game.  Give me some feedback if you find the time.
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballpark

The great American pasttime?  The SMART board?  Why not have the best of both worlds?  Bear with me- this is my first attempt at posting a game that I have made.  HOPEFULLY (fingers crossed) this will work.  I created this baseball game, which can be found on the SMART Exchange, to make sure that my students' attention is held throughout my entire lesson.  The rules of baseball are widely known, and that makes this game all the easier to play.  You choose 4 different levels of questioning (single, double, triple, or home run) and come up with a handful of questions for each.  I used a hide/reveal technique for the questions and answers.  There are no tricks to this game and no need for any grouping, locking, etc.  Just plug in your questions and answers and enjoy!
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QR's Cont'd

So playing with QR's some more, I found a really neat, in-depth QR generator.  http://www.qrstuff.com/ The green QR on the left will send you there.  On the right is my contact information to schedule your SMART trainings.  Enjoy!
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QR Codes- Pretty Snazzy!

I've been interested in QR codes since I've started seeing them everywhere.  This is actually the QR code for my blog!  I generated it at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ . What a quick and neat way to get to where you need to go without having to type in a search engine.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Generation SMART

Well, everyone is blogging these days so this is my attempt to join everyone with a blog of my own.  I don't intend on this being a place for me to make gobs of money or a movie like Julie and Julia.  I'd just like to share with you an interest, nay, a passion of mine.  If you haven't figured it out already, that is the SMART board. 
I am a sixth grade teacher in Kerrville, TX.  For those of you that don't know where Kerrville is, we are that town you drive through on I-10 on your way east to San Antonio.  Yeah, the one with the car dealership and the giant bronze cross up on the hill.  There isn't much to our little town, but it's home to me.  I grew up here, moved away for a spell to go to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, and here I am again.  I teach at BT Wilson Sixth Grade School in Kerrville Independent School District.  This is my fifth year teaching, and my fourth in Kerrville at BT.  Kerrville does a phenomenal job of providing technology for the teachers to use, and I am one that takes full advantage of every piece of equipment I can get my hands on.
One of those pieces is the SMART board.  My SMART board was mounted in February of 2010.  With the exception of standardized testing days, there have not been many days that I haven't use it.  In fact, I depend on it.  I found out how much I depend on it when my projector went out one day last year and I was forced to use the most outdated piece of equipment in my room- the whiteboard.  Luckily in Kerrville, we have an amazing IT department and I had a new projector by the following week.  That fast-forwards my story quite a bit so I'll go back a tad...
So this thing is on my wall that I have been waiting seemingly for months.  I had touched one once in college (I have been told that Texas Tech's College of Education now offers courses in Instructional Technology with SMART boards as one of the tools that students are taught to use), and had a brief encounter with one that another teacher on my campus had.  Our district rolled them out to most of the classrooms in one swoop and so we were all infants with a new toy that we didn't know how to use.  This was a sink or swim moment.  Now that I'm blogging about it, you can guess which one I chose.  I played with it, starting slow- turning on the projector and seeing what happened when I touched it.  If you were a student in my class, it probably seemed like most of the stuff I did was for the sake of being able to do it, which was in fact not far from the truth.  I taught myself what each button did, what was offered in the taskbar, what happened when I right-clicked on something on my screen.  I fell in love.  Lucky for me, the one SMART trainer we had in our district was moving away.  I sat through her Train the Trainer session before she left that summer, and I had an epiphany- 'I can do that.'  Early the next year, I asked our CTO about the possibility, in the future, of me going to the official SMART training to become certified.  There is a pretty hefty cost ($1800), and I figured I would get an answer in the ballpark of "We'll look at next year's budget and talk about it," but instead I was told "Give me the dates."  About a month later, I found myself in San Antonio becoming certified.  What a certifiable idea!?! 
The Certification training was much like the Train the Trainer workshop I sat through that summer, and not to toot my own horn, but I would consider myself the class's valedictorian.  Later that year, I was accepted as a SMART Exemplary Educator and then inked my name on the short list of SMART contract trainers.
Since then, I have become very well acquainted with the SMART Exchange and have posted several of the activities/games I have created.  Just type in 'mrmein' in the search engine and see what pops up!
I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity work in a place that makes technology like this available-  A place that opens doors for me to branch out and do something that I love to do.
That is what this blog is about.  Not just the experience I have had with the SMART board, but also to share with all of you some helpful hints that will make you a "swimmer" rather than a "sinker."  So that is my first SMART Nugget, the SMART Exchange and the games that I have posted for you to use in your classroom.  There is no sense in recreating the wheel when one has been made for you.  Please let me know what you think of my games.  I really hope to see followers start popping up!
Let's get SMART together!

John Mein
Mr. Smart Trainer