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!
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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!

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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!

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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.


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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!
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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!
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