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

Help End Cyberbullying

Several organizations are doing their part to increase the awareness of cyber bullying and cyber harassment.  SMART Technologies is one of those companies.  Where many people that put these presentations together charge a fee to view the content or to participate in a conference or webinar, SMART's solution on the SMART Learning Space is completely free.  This is a great presentation to do at the beginning of every school year with your students or in professional development.  Cyber bullying is wild and rampant and needs for responsible digital natives to put an end to it rather than participating in it.  For more information and to view SMART's presentation on Cyber bullying, visit the SMART Learning Space here.  Help put an end to Cyber bullying.
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September SMART TX Virtual User's Group

Today I will be participating in the SMART Texas Virtual User Group webinar that is hosted several times a year by SMART Educational Consultant Heather Lamb.  Today's topic is not reinventing the wheel when creating SMART content.  Most often I hear the phrase, "Work SMARTer, not harder."  This is the focus of my portion of today's presentation.  I hope to see you all there!  You can download my presentation here!
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Been a Great Year!

It's hard to believe that one year ago today, I wrote my very first blog post! I didn't really know what I wanted to get out of writing a blog. I just wanted a place that I could share some of the cool things that I have created or found with other teachers around the US and maybe the world.  I am absolutely blown away by the number of people I have had visit my website.  20,661 people is an astronomical number to me, and I have to do a double-take when I see that number on the screen. I am ever-so-grateful for those of you who I have had the pleasure of sharing my SMART Story with.  I will continue to share my SMART content here with all of you.
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summertime is Ocean Time!

Our example for games this morning was creating an ocean-themed game.  I saw lots of creativity from Kerrville ISD teachers!  Click HERE to download my ocean game. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Notebook 11 Links... SORRY!

Hey there!
Today I'm working with a terrific group of teachers in Kerrville ISD, creating games!  One thing I have found with Notebook 11 is the death of links in many of my game templates.  Please be patient as I work to correct these links.  Thanks!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Baseball Ancient Rome Review

This is one of my baseball games, downloaded on the SMART Exchange, edited, and then sent back to me to by Gail Cannata in Norton, MA.  Great use of the baseball game, Gail.  For those of you that would like to check it out, click here to download this Ancient Rome Review Baseball game.  Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Student Art Inspires on SMART Board

I'll make this one short-
I had a terrific idea to interest my students in what was happening on the SMART Board- use their own drawings to create terrific content.  This is my trial run with my students' artwork, but hopefully this is something I can get others in our district and others in the SMART world using.  I know how cool it feels to have people from all over the WORLD using my resources, but to be a sixth grader and have my drawings on SMART Boards around the world would be quite a treat.  Anyway, this is a koosh-style game.  On the question page, move the butterfly to reveal the answer.  You need to ungroup the answer from the butterfly to edit your answer, then regroup to move as one.  Hide the answer in the tree for a little added magic.  Thanks to my student, Kathryn, for being my drawing guinea pig on this one.  Download it here.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Get Twitterpated!

I have an announcement to make- I, John Mein, whom you all know as Mr. Smart Trainer, am completely Twitterpated. The Urban Dictionary defines this as "an enjoyable disorder characterized by feelings of excitement, anticipation, high hopes, and giddiness." I have had this feeling quite a bit lately. I have to admit I've had an awful lot of metaphorical "carrots" as of recent. The long road to the STAAR test finally ended as did 11 weeks of after-school tutoring. My students worked incredibly hard to prepare. I learned that I would be one of fifty in North America chosen to participate in the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit held in Calgary, Alberta this summer at SMART's headquarters. My resources passed accreditation on the SMART Exchange. These are all sources of pride and twitterpation, if you will.  The place I choose to share this information is here, on the Mr. Smart Trainer blog, but I also share this on Twitter.
I will be the first to admit that, until about 7 months ago, logging on to Twitter was furthest from my mind.  I was perfectly happy with Facebook, I was getting used to Google Plus, but something about Twitter didn't really appeal to me.  It didn't really fit my needs.  It was much easier and more appealing to me to post any of my "news" on Facebook to my family and friends that would like to hear what was going on down here in Kerrville, Texas.  That was until I started writing this blog.  My CTO stopped by for a software update and I asked him why nobody was visiting my site.  I asked him how to get the most traffic without spending any money.  He told me to use Twitter.  I learned what a hashtag would do.  What an awesome tool!  So, I found some great ways to route traffic through Mr. Smart Trainer, but this is my hobby- not my job.  My job is teaching middle school students to read and write.  Could Twitter be used for that too?  I quickly found that it could be. 
I found lots of hashtags that give great insight and ideas for the classroom.  You can retweet to bookmark the posts that you want to go back to.  You can post your own resources and ideas to share with others.  Follow people that give great resources and input.  For those of you that are hesitant, take some time to check out what happens through the magic of the hashtag.  Below are a handful of hashtags to check out.  If you get the chance, follow me @johnmein.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Activity Builder Rocks!

Mr. Smart Trainer games are getting a little bit of a face-lift with the addition of the Activity Builder feature built into the new SMART Notebook 11 software update.  I've been exploring the software to see some cool new things and Activity Builder is at the top of my list.  It's a cool tool to use and cuts down on a lot of the workload of a normal activity that uses multiple pages and links.  The first one I would like to share with you is a Star Wars activity.  You pick a topic, such as "Prime Numbers," and then edit the "Example" and "Non-Example" objects to be either prime or composite numbers.  The student will drag each item to either Luke Skywalker if it is an example or to Darth Vader if it isn't.  Should they drag and drop the answer in the wrong place, the answer will pop back to where it was, indicating the answer was incorrect.  Try this out with a number of different topics and/or subjects.  Being able to identify non-examples is just as important as identifying true examples.  Click here to download the Star Wars Activity.

Is there anything bigger than The Hunger Games right now?  I don't think so.  This Activity Builder game is a little more complicated than the Star Wars game in that it can take up to 8 different categories.  This means that your students will need to be able to disseminate which items belong in which category.  The example shown is for Parts of Speech.  The first page of the Activity is a template to manipulate for whichever content area you are teaching.  This works just as the Star Wars game works in that you drag and drop the word or object to the place where it belongs and it will either disappear if it's correct or it will bounce back if incorrect.  Feel free to download The Hunger Games Activity here.

Please let me know what you think of these activities as they are the first two I have created.  Also, please note that these activities will only work if you have the newest update of the SMART Notebook software, which is Notebook 11.


Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

EdCompass Magazine Feature!

More exciting news from Mr. Smart Trainer!  I have been featured in the Notes from the Field section of the EDCompass Magazine that was released today!  Please read my article on Professional Development.  Don't judge the photo- it was a last minute change!  I would absolutely love the opportunity to visit your district this summer to train your faculty and staff in one or more of the training offerings I have prepared.  I have rates listed here.  My rates are a fraction of the cost of other PD providers.  I'm happy to adjust them further to fit your needs.  Please read and enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mr. Smart Trainer Hits the EdCompass Blog!

Hello there Mr. Smart Trainees!  I have some big news this weekend- My first blog post has been published on SMART's EdCompass Blog!  Check out the posting here!  Keep your eye out for the EdCompass Magazine this month as I will be featured in the Notes from the Field section with some great insights for SMART Professional Development.  Please read and enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dunking Booth Makes a Splash on the SMART Board!

Our state tests are over.  Let us all celebrate with a nice long sigh of relief. 1....2....3.... Aggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!  We had a very busy weekend in Kerrville after our tests were completed.  We had our big fundraiser weekend with the Splish Splash Duck Bash dinner and auction, then the Kerrville Public School Foundation Great Duck Race and Family Fun Day on the beautiful Guadalupe River.  If you were there around 1:00, you could have seen me in the dunking booth!  At about the same time that a little boy was running up to hit the button after his throws missed, the idea of a dunking booth SMART game hit me!  This took an awful lot of trickery, but I think I've pulled it off nicely.
I'm very proud of this game as all the parts were my own illustrations (Don't judge me!!).  You start by throwing a ball or bean bag at the targets on the menu screen.  After you've hit a target, there will be a question prompted at the top of each question slide.  Have the student throw the ball again to reveal the answer.  They must hit the target to reveal the answer.  You can then click the sun to return to the main menu.  When editing this template with your own questions and answers, type your question, hit the target, and then edit the answer.  Before saving your file, go back through each slide to make sure that the screen returns to cover the answer.  With THE TEST over, hopefully I'll be able to get back in the SMART-Board-Resource swing of things.  Download your copy here from the SMART Exchange.  Enjoy!

 Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Accredited, Baby!

 Last week was the week of the greatest news for Mr. Smart Trainer since becoming a SMART Certified Trainer on the SMART Board.  In one week, I was accepted as an Accredited Content Creator on SMART's resource sharing website, SMART Exchange.  This recognizes Mr. Smart Trainer resources as being credible for usage with SMART products. So keep an eye out for the Mr. Smart Trainer logo when checking out different resources.  I plan on keeping my prices more reasonable than anyone else's- FREE! If I'm going to take the time to make it, I'm going to take the time to share it- that's my philosophy.

The second, and comparably the biggest news that came out of last week was that I was chosen as one of fifty to attend the SMART Exemplary Educator Summit, located at SMART's headquarters in Calgary, Canada this summer!  I felt like I won the lottery when I read the news.  I actually high-fived each of my students!  This is such an incredible opportunity and I am so grateful for the chance to see where the pioneers of the interactive whiteboard develop their amazing products.
Lastly, this is not new news, but it is big news- the release of Notebook 11 software!  I had a chance to enter the beta testing late, but participated all the same.  The new look of Notebook 11 is terrific.  So much has been streamline and made more easily available.  Things I have said in the past that need to be "tweaked" have been fixed.  I am very excited about the Activity Builder application as well as the use of widgets and in-slide web browser.  The crayon tool is pretty neat, but one of my favorite new settings is the ability to make the calligraphy pen the default setting for writing!  This really is a great new addition to an already-awesome software.
Don't worry, I won't leave you stranded.  Go to SMART's website, download SMART Notebook 11, and then open my Star Wars Activity Builder activity.  As always, enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mr. Smart Trainer Games in Action!

Through correspondence with different teachers and staff members nationwide, I have had the privilege and joy of hearing how people are using resources they have found on my blog.  Troubleshooting different resources makes up a lot of the emails, but it gives me great insight on the number of people using my games.  Seldom, though, do I get the opportunity to see final products from teachers using Mr. Smart Trainer games... until recently.  One teacher that I have had pretty steady dialogue with since presenting at TCEA in Austin is Angela Zumwalt, a campus tech and teacher at Gonzales Elementary in Gonzales, Texas.  She has sent me some terrific resources she has modified from my templates for various subject areas and has allowed me to post them here.
The greatest way to master something with limitless potential, like the SMART Board is to share our knowledge and efforts with others. You can download all of Ms. Zumwalt's resources here.  Below is a list of the resources included in the download.
 Easter: Author's Purpose
Treasure: Compare and Contrast
Baseball: Division/Multiplication
Baseball2: Division/Multiplication
Dr. Seuss: The Lorax
Duck Hunt: Equivalent Fractions
Fraction Number Lines
Frog Game: Fractions on a line
Fish: Graph
Star: Harriet Tubman
Team Vampire: inferring
GuacaMole: Reading tables
Flies: Rounding Up
Doors: Synonyms and Antonyms
Shark: Telling Time

Please share these resources with those that might use them.  I wish you all a very happy and safe Easter holiday.  Enjoy your time with family and friends, and rest up for the sprint to the end of the school year.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter is almost here!

The Easter Bunny asked Mr. SMART Trainer to help deliver Easter eggs. Can you help by getting your answers correct in this kooshball style game? Click here to download your copy to help the Easter Bunny drop off some eggs in your classroom.
Thanks for stopping by,
Mr. Smart Trainer

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SMART Exemplary Educator Summit 2012

The SMART Exemplary Educator program has started accepting applications for SEEs to be selected to attend the SEE Summit in Calgary, Alberta, Canada this summer.  There is an application requirement as well as a video entry requirement.  I put together screenshots from most of the games I have created for the SMART Board and created a music video.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  I will be submitting it by the end of the week. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mr. Smart Trainer App for Android!

That's right, folks! Mr. Smart Trainer is now an app you can download to your Android devices!

This is my first attempt at doing anything like this, but it will be a very easy way to keep all of you updated on posts to my blog, comments I make on Twitter, or contacting me in person to schedule professional development for your school or business.  Because this is a test-run for me, I have not yet paid the $25 to have my app put on the Android Market, so this is the only place you can get it!
Here is what you need to do:
1) Hop on your Android device, and visit my blog:
2) Find this blog post, and click HERE to download the Mr Smart Trainer Android App.
3) Once downloaded, click Install
4) Check it out! That's it! Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy President's Day!

Did you think I forgot about you?  No way!  I have been so swamped lately preparing for TCEA and then attending the convention itself.  I was overwhelmed by the number of attendees in my presentation.  Hopefully you all learned a thing or two, or at least some great resources to find some activities to use in your classrooms.  I enjoy hearing from those of you using my resources in your classrooms and I love answering questions (that means you are using my resources).
With President's Day on Monday, I thought what better game to make than one memorializing our past presidents!
So, here it is- a President's Day SMART board game!  This is a pull-tab style game.  That means you will need to use grouping to "stick" your answer to the very expensive pull tab.  Type your question on the top (I suggest using white) and use the silver dollar to send you back to the menu screen.  I believe our presidents, past and present, would be very proud of students using them to learn a thing or two.  If you have any questions, please send me an email.  Download your copy HERE! Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank you, TCEA

I would to say thank you to the countless behind-the-scenes people that made TCEA 2012 so terrific. I would also like to thank those if you who attended my session on SMART games and resources.
To my favorite new friends- those of you from the SMART Exemplary Educator program, it was nice meeting all of you and I look forward to hearing from you throughout the year.
Some of you have asked if I take requests for SMART Games- my answer- HECK YEAH!  So please leave me a comment with some ideas.
I'll see you all again next year!
Thanks for stopping by,
Mr. Smart Trainer

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TCEA- 2012

As I've previously posted, I will be attending and presenting at this week's TCEA Convention in Austin at the Austin Convention Center.  I'm looking forward to seeing and meeting you.  I'm really excited to try out SMART Notebook 11!  My presentation information can be found below.  For a copy of my presentation, CLICK HERE!
Presentation Information:
SMART Games, Tips, Tricks, and Resources
Session #122745
Thursday, Feb. 9
1:15 - 2:15
Room 18C

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, January 13, 2012

OLH Hawks

This game is for the wonderful students at Our Lady of the Hills Regional Catholic High School located in the heart of the Hill Country, Kerrville, TX.  With an all-star staff, these kids will certainly be some of our leaders some day very soon.
This hide/reveal style game allows you to open doors- something OLH has been doing in our community nearing a decade.  They opened their doors in 2002 and have boast 100% college readiness.  Good Luck to all you future Hawks!  Download this OLH game here! Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Take My Survey!

Take my survey! I found Urtak while doing Cyberbullying training from SMART's Learning Space.  This is a really neat way to create a survey and get results.  If you have a second, take a look at my first attempt to create a survey:  Mr. Smart Trainer Survey
Thanks for stopping by,

Arrgghhhh!!! Find Me Buried Treasure!

Help a young pirate find his lost booty!  Follow the map to the treasure, answering questions along the way.  Make it from the ship, through Parrot Haven and Smuggler's Cove, up Dead Man Creek and keep your eyes peeled.  If you reach Blue Lake, you've gone too far!  For other questions, click on the other items on the map.
Ask a question on each page and pull the treasure out of the chest to reaveal the answer.  The grouping command is necessary for this activity to attach the answer to the gold.  If you have any questions, shoot me an Download your Treasure Map to engaging students and maybe even some buried treasure HERE.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 2, 2012

To My 5,500 Visitors, Thank You

I would like to thank my visitors for checking out my site.  I never thought I would have this many visitors in such a short time.  Please keep telling people about my site and continue to use my resources.  If you have any tips/critiques for me, please send me a shout-out!
Thanks for stopping by,