I Heard It through the Grapevine

200pxmarvingayegrapevine When Marvin Gaye sung the classic "I Heard It through the Grapevine" in 1968 (I know most of you weren’t even born yet), his grapevine didn’t contain good news.  Our grapevine is "The Good News Grapevine." Grapevine7 Good news about how teachers are using unitedstreaming are starting to pour in. I hope I get to all of them!  If you have already sent me one of your good ideas, keep checking back. Don’t forget Florida, our Good New Grapevine contest is not only about the great ways you use unitedstreaming to integrate technology, it is also about sharing with each other in comments on the blogs.

Here’s the latest I’ve heard in the grapevine from Wendy Norton, Science resource teacher at Bellalago Charter Academy in Kissimmee, FL.

I really love using unitedstreaming in my Science Lab classroom.  I play movie clips at the start of a new lesson to get my students interested in the subject matter.  Because Activboard I have a Promethean Whiteboard, the movies can be stopped and then the students can manipulate the screen (writing on it) to further enhance the students engagement.  Recently I have wanted to use more Discovery Learning incorporating webquests into the curriculum.  I build my webquests using Assignment Builder. Ab_1 I input the websites, eliminating the need for students to peruse the Internet for research, and I input the videos I wish them to use for the webquest.  To avoid video streaming, I create a desktop folder that has all the videos located on the hard drive, so students do not have to steam the video.  I also ensure I have headphones signed out to eliminate the noise distractions.  This seems to work and at the end of the year I can just delete the folder ( I keep them on CD in labeled folders) and reload them every year.  Webquests engage students in learning, I usually make it an adventure they need to solve and the students must turn in work to receive a grade.  So far all my students have turned in work. I also post all my webquests on my website (Digital Interface Vehicle-DIV) so if students are absent they can still do the webquests from home.  Any questions let me know email: nortonw@osceola.k12.fl.us.

Phew, Wendy is something! What do you think?

Ubiquitous1_13 As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,


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  1. Michele Futch said:

    What a great tip Wendy!

    I wish I had the technology resources to actually implement your tip in the classroom. I am going to write a couple of grants this year to make learning more interactive in my classroom!

  2. Nikki said:

    I bet your students love doing these activities/assignments. That too is one of my goals for this year-to create webquests and use assignment builder regularly.

  3. Tiffany Bonner said:

    That interactive board is a great tool. I’ll have to look into getting one for my team over here. The students love to manipulate things in that manner. I don’t know much about the webquests, but it sounds like the tool I’ve been looking for. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Michele Futch said:


    I shared with another teacher today about the Scavenger Hunt. That is a wonderful idea!

    Neither one of us had ever heard of that before at any training or Prof. Dev. we have ever been to. THANKS!

  5. Michele Futch said:

    Oops! I guess the Scavenger Hunt was listed under another post Wendy wrote. It’s a great tool.

  6. Fotini Guzman said:

    It takes hard work and dedication. That’s Wendy. Keep up the good work. Great ideas.

  7. Danielle Abernethy said:

    I’ve gotten to know Wendy thanks to DEN. She has a lot of passion for her students and science. Her natural use of technology adds a nice flair to all that she does. I’d like to find time in my schedule and observe her teaching one day. Especially with the board and unitedstreaming.

  8. Debra Gastelum said:

    I would LOVE to be able to do something like that. Unfortunately our funds in our school are limited and our needs are many, but I have hope that every year we’ll get closer and closer to having more technology available for teachers and students.

  9. Stephen Howe said:


    What a great idea. I know my students enjoy seeing the video clips to help get them motivated in a certain topic!

  10. Debbie Bohanan said:

    Looking at the picture of your interactive board, do you have any issues with shadows? I have a SMART board and you have to watch where you stand to avoid blocking the images. One day I may be able to write a grant to purchase a rear projection SMART board. It’s fun to dream.

  11. Karen Seddon said:

    The answer to the shadow problem is to use the Interwrite School Pad. You have the ability to walk all over the classroom, let the kids use the pad at their seats and do EVERYTHING plus more that you can do with a stationary board. I have used them all and these little devices are the solution. (And you can get three of them for the price of one board!)

  12. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    Thanks for the suggestions Wendy – your ideas are great and definetly show what an awesome teacher you must be- keep the ideas flowing!

  13. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    We have a smart board being used in at TMH(trainable mentally Handicapped) classroom and the problem we have is wheel cahir students accessing the interactive board so we are looking into getting an interactive lapboard I guess something like the Interwrite School Pad – will let you know what i find.

  14. Debbie Bohanan said:

    SMART boards are another option for using an electronic white board. They even have a grant you can apply for to defer some of the costs.

  15. Debbie Bohanan said:

    A third option is to use an Interwrite pad. They should be on your county’s bid list and they are under $500.

  16. Ana McMoran said:

    That is great! I was just reading about Promethean and al those great Interactive Whiteboards. I wish we could all have one in ourclasses. Even more , check out “Thunder” Digital flipcharts. I am definetely writing to Bill Gates for this. I can imagine my class communicating with a class in South Florida and colaborating on a Science Project or a Social Studies Discussion. Wow The Power of Technology!

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