Lemonade Always Tastes Better With Ice

Everyone knows the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I believe that they sometimes are pretty big lemons, but the bigger the lemon the more you can learn.

The Situation

Let me give you an example. You are teaching 2nd grade and you are being observed by the principal for your evaluation. You are dong an activity on the ActivBoard with the students using ActivExpressions. All at once the ActivExpressions stop working, then when you go to change the page on the flipchart the ActivPen doesn’t work. What do you do in this situation? The principal is watching how you use technology in your classroom lessons and it has failed. Now they are watching how you handle your class and this problem.

The Choices

These are pretty big lemons with the technology being an integral part of our current instructional lesson plans. Are you taking these lemons, making them bigger by getting excited or continuing to try to make the technology work on your own making the situation worse?

Of course you could make lemon aide from these lemons by being cool and using a traditional backup part of your lesson with the students. That will keep them busy for the minute you need to call the service desk to get a technology support professional out immediately to fix the technology.

The Results

You chose to use your backup plan, called for help and still taught your lesson. The tech support was able to fix your problem and you were able to segue back to the ActivBoard to finish your lesson. Pretty good lemonade, especially because you used common sense, cool thinking to add ice to the lemons to make a cool refreshing drink. By being calm, knowing that you need to move on, that there is nothing you can do about the problem, except try to solve it you are able to make the best of a bad situation. That is a lot better than being a nervous wreck, worried about the principal sitting in the room and worried about that evaluation. Focusing on the ultimate goal of teaching the students made a bad situation into a very productive lesson.


ActivBoards vs SMART Boards

Update: I have turned off comments on this post because of a high rate of spam comments. I am using the WP Ban plugin and this post is one of the greatest for attracting spam.

I’m running a poll on the usage of ActivBoards versus SMART Boards in the the school systems around the world. Vote below and please feel free to comment and discuss this in the comment section below.

Personally I’ve used both in our district, but we have went strictly ActivBoards in the whole district this past year. They have been a big hit, I would hope so when they cost $14 million, with the staff and the students. I look forward to seeing us increase our grades on the FCAT this year.

[poll id=”4″]

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ActivBoards a Year Later – Plus Miscellaneous Ramblings


It’s been almost a year since we got our first 18 ActivBoards. In that time 50 more ActivBoards have been installed, making it one in every classroom. We’ve had the expected growing pains, but also a great leap in teacher and student interactive learning. As I wander the halls on my way to fix some technology I see every class using their ActivBoard in some way.

We are now into intermediate training on integrating other technology and lessons into the ActivClassroom. The latest ActivTechnology training class that our teachers have been working on is integrating streaming video into a flipchart lesson. I like using gadgets in lessons because I see the students as gadget lovers. The students are already using digital technology, iPods, xBox, play stations, computers and the internet so why not use what they use and like to teach them?

I see them more involved in the classroom, but we also need to watch that we don’t just use the ActivBoards as a replacement for the whiteboard. The key word here is INVOLVED. Students need to be involved in the class, interact with the ActivBoard, not just answer questions or read to ActivBoard. All the items that I mentioned above that students use like the iPod are interactive, which is why they like them. I wouldn’t want to just sit and listen to a lecture anymore than a child likes to.

  • I want to interact
  • I want to have fun
  • I want to learn without feeling it’s a chore

Don’t you think our children are the same way?

We have received ActiVotes for the classrooms, which will increase the student interaction. I can’t wait to see the students faces when they get to use the ActiVotes, (I call them eggs because that’s what they look like).


  • Congratulations to Tes Powell for passing her National Board Certification!
  • Lastly, I’ve been having a ball getting 165 new HP Short Form desktops ready for deployment into our classrooms. I know the students and teachers will see the difference between these computers and the ones that I will be replacing. This is another step toward an advanced, up to date ActivClassroom.

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