Teacher Honored for Classroom Technology Use
A Henking School teacher uses technology as an educational tool.
On any given day, Megan Lobello uses Twitter, iPods and a website she has created for her first graders and their parents—All from her classroom. Lobello, a third-year teacher at Henking School in Glenview District 34, has been honored by the school system for her use of technology to enhance learning for her students.
She received the Learning for All Award on Aug. 23 during a district wide meeting. The recognition is given to teachers who go the extra mile, said Brett Clark, director of community relations and grants at District 34.
"She's awesome," added Ivy Sukenik, principal at Henking.
Lobello took advice from the school's technology director to create a website and took extra steps in developing other teaching approaches, Sukenik said.
Not only does Lobello maintain a classroom website for parents, but she also created a Twitter account that she updates throughout the day. Twitter is a social networking tool that allows short, 140-character notifications. Lobello tweets about classroom happenings and updates for parents.
"For example, I sent a tweet about how we started extending our independent reading stamina to five minutes," she said. "My goal is to help the parents feel like they are going through the day with us."
Teaching instruments also include iPods. Parents like that their children can use the same applications and games at home so there is consistency, Lobello noted.
"Right now I have the students using doodle buddy to practice writing high frequency words or numbers," Lobello said.
Other favorite applications include Chicktionary, Bookworm, Math Flash Cards and Sum Stacker. Students also use the voice recorder to read their own writing back to themselves.
Lobello said she wants to prepare her first-graders for their future technology-heavy school careers. "It's about having technology be a part of their everyday lives," the honoree said.
The classroom's website allows Lobello to stay in easy contact with parents. She sends weekly updates to parents electronically but makes sure to provide paper copies if needed. Each year Lobello adjusts content based on her classroom activities and the technology needs of her students' families.
"It's a lot easier and quicker to communicate with parents by e-mail," she said.
The class website features news, photos and information about what the students are doing each week. A page for the children offers links to educational material and other sites.
"We learn how to stay safe on the computer, so the kids can do the same thing at home," she said, noting that laptops are used in the classroom to connect to the Internet.
In addition to her innovative use of technology, Lobello was also recognized for her use of concepts from the children's book Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud. The basic concept, Lobello explained, is that when a person does something good for another, they are "filling a bucket."
At the beginning of each school year, Lobello and her class read the book. She then uses the concepts to lead discussions on positive and negative actions within her classroom. The students also create bulletin boards and stories based on the idea of being a "bucket-filler" for others.
National Board Certification went to seven district teachers for being among the nation's best through study, self-reflection and peer review. This includes: Katrina Klever and Pat Neudecker, Lyon Elementary School; Jackie Kemper, Westbrook Elementary; Karin Amaden, Henking grade school; Allison Reatherford, Attea Middle School; Katie Pyle, Springman Middle School; and Sue Dobias, Hoffman grade school.