Instructional Technology K-4

Amber Whitley

Tennessee Educational Technology Association (TETA) Summer Institute 2016

TETA's annual Summer Institute will be July 12 - 15 in Collierville, TN. Friday, July 15th is a "Teacher Day" and has free admission for those of you who would like to attend. See their website for more information about registration and the cost for the entire event.

Get Data While Engaging Students

There are many resources out on the world wide web to utilize in your classroom that can engage students. So many it can be overwhelming. Let me suggest some you can implement in your lessons easily. You may currently use some of these, they may be familiar but you haven't had time to experiment with them, or maybe they are new to you.

Kahoot - Many of you have started using this fun tool with your students. It is similar to a restaurant trivia game where points are awarded for answering correctly. The faster you answer, the more points you get. This game must be projected for questions to be seen by students, and students must all have devices to participate.

Quizizz - This resource is similar to Kahoot. However, it does not have to be projected for questions to be seen by players and can be assigned for "homework". Most classes won't be able to play this as a whole group, so my suggestion for using this resource in the classroom is to go ahead and assign as homework, but have students complete it during your small group rotations.

Plickers - Plickers is a great resource for those classrooms that only have a few devices. Because my previous classroom only had a few devices, I utilized Plickers for quick multiple choice formative assessments. When you set up a class in Plickers, each student will be assigned a QR code. You will print these out and give them to students. Students will then respond to your questions by turning their cards a certain way. You then scan the room with a device, and it grades their responses for you. It's super easy!

Google Forms - Want to set up a survey for your class as a pre-assessment to see what they already know? Google Forms is a great way to do this. You can also set up a differentiated assessment where students get tailored questions depending on how they respond to the previous question.

Twitter Challenge

Do you have a classroom twitter account? How do you use it? Most probably post photos from the day or announcements to parents. Have you thought about challenging students through tweets? I attended the Curriculum Associates Blended Learning Symposium at the beginning of March. Allen November was one of the keynote speakers and shared how Twitter could be used to challenge students outside the classroom. The article is linked below. I left his session wishing, I had been able to use this in my classroom!

How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool

PLEASE NOTE: If you use Twitter to share photos or information from your classroom, or to engage parents, you are required to have an FSSD Digital Publishing Guidelines form on file with your principal. If you would like to start a classroom twitter account, contact me at, and I will get this simple process started with you. The FSSD will issue an official account with the proper settings. It's a fun way to share your classroom stories! Those who are using approved personal accounts in the classroom are also urged to switch to an "FSSD verified" account.

Open Response Websites

Padlet is a free resource you can use when wanting students to share their thoughts and ideas. You can use your Google sign in for this resource and create a discussion board. Once you share the link, students can get on and post their thoughts. It is basically a virtual bulletin board open only to those who have the link. Students do not need accounts to participate in these virtual discussions, and their contributions are anonymous.

Polleverywhere is another free resource where students can respond to open ended questions and remain anonymous. You can create polls for students to respond to, which could lead to some great discussions in class. This data can also inform you when an idea needs to be revisited to clear up any misunderstandings.

If you'd like help getting started with any of the resources provided in this quarter's newsletter, please email me to set up a time for us to walk through the process. I'll be more than happy to help you out!

About Amber Whitley

Hello! My name is Amber Whitley. I was born and raised in Tennessee: grew up in Murfreesboro, received a Bachelors degree from University of Tennessee (GO VOLS!), and Masters from Middle Tennessee State University. I taught in Murfreesboro City Schools for eight years (3rd and 4th grade) during which time my students utilized technology each day. I am so excited to be a part of Franklin Special School District now as the Instructional Specialist for grade K-4! Thank you for welcoming me and asking me to come into your classrooms during the past few months!

I was married in May of 2015 and enjoy spending time with my new husband. We have two tea-cup yorkies: Paisley and Scout. I love to travel. Some of my favorite spots have been New Zealand and Greece. Please email me if you'd like me to assist you with incorporating technology in your lessons or work with your students!