Video Conferencing – 2nd Grade

Ms. Andrews, Grade 2 teacher, developed an interesting technique for using video conferencing in her classroom. During Reader’s Workshop, where students practice their reading skills, students were given the option to read with with a parent or buddy using Skype or FaceTime.

Ms. Andrews found that parents, friends, and even puppies, jumped at the chance to participate in the classroom from a remote location!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Some initial planning was involved so both students and adults (or canines) had a copy of a book in their respective locations. Together, they explored the book during the first part of the video conference. Once this was completed, the student selected a book from her book box which she read out loud.


“I loved it!!! She is so cute and was so happy. It’s very cool and could make the parents feel really involved from home! Maybe even some of the dads who don’t have as much time to be on campus/involved etc… It works for us! FaceTime is so easy and is on every iPhone so you can be anywhere!”
– Grade 2 Mom

blog text by: Liz Beck

Using Technology to Teach Components of Plot

My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

The sixth grade English teacher here combined plasticine, digital cameras, QuickTime Pro and the five phases of plot to create a dynamic and interesting lesson that few of her students will ever forget.

Ms. Culligan a new teacher here at CMS approached me a little with some steps to a project that she wanted to try.  She obviously wasn’t entirely comfortable with the process or technology involved and i love it when teachers do this to themselves.  We ran with the project got some help from Bill Farren a middle school technology facilitator … y voila!

Here are some goals and reflections from the teacher on the project:

  1. That students would create a story map, applying the five phases of plot that we had discussed in class  (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falliing Action, and Resolution), and would then tell that story by building a 3D clay model and photographing a sequence for a claymation movie.
    They accomplished this goal in the sense that their written plans for the stories showed all the steps of plot; but in the actual movies those steps are really hard to distinguish.
  2. That after the project, at least 90% of the kids would get an A on a quiz where they had to identify and explain the steps of plot.
    They accomplished this, so I think the project was effective that way.
  3. That they would work together, fulfill the expectations of their jobs, make compromises, and generally be good contributors to their group; consistently adhering to the Tribes agreements.
    This worked out really well actually, for most groups, even with kids who often have a difficult time working in groups. There were two groups out of 28 or so that didn’t finish their movies, but at least they got the chance to do self/peer reflections to decide what went wrong. I did hear a lot of Spanish being spoken during the process of making the movies, because it was difficult for me to monitor with all the activity, so that was a downside of the group work.
  4. That the kids would have fun.
    Most said it was their favorite thing we’ve done this year, so I know they enjoyed it.

If you would like a copy of the steps involved in this please contact me.

Great job Ms. Culligan!
Thanks for pushing yourself and your students