Archive for March, 2011

QR Codes

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

This past week I started teaching my 7th grade students about Publisher.  In their most recent assignment they had to create an Event Flyer.  They were given the task of finding a event of their choice that would happen during spring break on Ticket Master and creating a flyer promoting it.  I thought this would be a good chance to teach them about QR Codes.  It seemed about only three students out of one hundred knew what they were for even though the majority had seen them before.  After going over this great SlideShare presentation I found, I had the students create their own QR codes for their flyers.  Below is an example I created for them.  Oh, I forgot to mention I actually used my Droid X and a Document Camera to show students who the QR codes work.  They loved seeing a cell phone in class!



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NPMS Board Games

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment


Recently two articles I have written were published in my School Districts newsletter.  Below is a two part series of the articles.  The second article I would like to share was titled “NPMS Board Games”



“B7” announces a student, while in a sad tone a fellow student replies, “you sunk my battleship.”  That is just one of a few conversations coming from the 7th grade Computers Class.  In the month of December students were given the task of recreating a favorite board game in Microsoft Excel.  Students had the difficult task of creating not only the game, but they had to put in writing the steps for someone else to recreate it. 

 The 7th graders investigated several of the classic board games before setting off on their assignment.  They looked at the history of games like Chutes and Ladders, Chess, Checkers, Sorry, and Trouble.  It was interesting to find out that many of these games had a history dating back to the 1600s and in the case of Checkers, 3000 BC!  After their investigation the students went through the arduous task of writing and often rewriting their instructions.  These instructions were tested by fellow students and sometimes scrutinized by ‘picky’ Mr. Cowen. 

 Once all the elements were completed students took their information and created a Glog about their game.  A Glog, or digital poster, is a Web 2.0 tool that allows students to easily create interactive websites.  Using these Glogs students were able to create websites that could be shared on the internet.  A wiki was established to house the links to the Glogs and can be found at  Please feel free to browse the many games like Candy Land or Sorry, and for the adventurous check the Miscellaneous category and see the now famous Hockey board game.


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Edmodo in the Middle School


Recently two articles I have written were published in my School Districts newsletter.  Below is a two part series of the articles.  The first article I would like to share was titled “Edmodo in the Middle School.”

Within the business world people have been discussing if email has become a thing of the past.  It may have been put best by Jeff Teper, vice president of Microsoft Corp.’s SharePoint division, when he said “People were very dependent on email. They overused it…Now, people can use the right tool for the right task.” 

Email may not be disappearing anytime soon, but there are many more forms of communication out there now that work better.  With that in mind, the Middle School has gone about a few changes in the way teachers can communicate with students.  Tested by a few teachers at first and now branching into more classrooms is the free social-learning platform called Edmodo.  Edmodo is used by over 10,000 schools and recently just reached its 1,000,000th user!  Edmodo allows 1:1 communication between students and teachers.  Edmodo has allowed teachers to share files, links, video, and much more with students in a fashion similar to the likes of other social networking sites.  The best part is students can use Edmodo anywhere!  They can check assignments online through the website or using the free Edmodo app for the iPhone, iTouch, iPad, or Android and Blackberry smartphones. 

 Using Edmodo has allowed some teachers to almost go paperless!  In Mr. Cowen’s and Mr. Gerlach’s Computers classes, almost all assignments are given and turned in via Edmodo.  This allows for students to receive almost immediate feedback on assignments and it also allows for communication between the students and teacher about what could be improved upon.  When polled about the usefulness of Edmodo and technology similar to it, a group of 7th graders responded that 70% thought it was more useful than regular classroom material and 23% said it was helpful.  



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