Day in the Life Of A Connected Classroom (Kristen Wideen)

Kristen Wideen is a grade 1/2 teacher in Windsor, Ontario Canada. She says: “I love to collaborate with others and incorporate technology into my classroom. “

EDITOR NOTE: This is an abridged version of Mrs. Wideen’s post for May 22, 2013.

I had a group of teachers visit my classroom last week. They were there to see how we incorporate technology in meaningful ways into the primary classroom. I had a couple of teachers ask me if I had a schedule of what we do throughout the day to give to them. Alas, a blogpost is born. So, here it is, a day in my room without you actually having to visit me! (I am taking the day that my visitors came in and writing what we did that day)

8:30 Entry

Students enter school and write a short message in their agendas.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays students read  or give mini lessons to their parents on the iPads in our Learning Commons.  For those students that don’t have a parent come in they may blog, read independently or with a partner until 9:00.  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays students choose to blog, read or write until 9:00.  Many students chose to blog about our new tadpoles in our classroom that day.

first screen shot

9:00 Twitter Review – Reading Mini Lesson

If there are any mentions or interesting tweets on the class Twitter account, we read the tweets and respond.  On this particular day, we had some interesting tweets from a class in Singapore responding to our tweets about our new tadpoles.

Some of out tadpoles have little legs today!

second screen shot

Today I brought lettuce for the tadpoles. Destinee, I love tadpoles. Do you?

We have some tadpoles in our class. We are researching how to take care of them.

3rd screen shot

After we read and responded to some tweets we were ready for our reading mini lesson. I have been teaching the students the difference between on the page and off the page questions.  I have taught the students that sometimes the answer is right in the book.  If we can put our finger or fingers on the answer, its called an on the page question.  The answer is right on the page.  We just need to use evidence from the text.  When the book doesn’t tell us the exact answer/ when we can’t put our finger on the answer/ when we have to add our ideas to help us answer the question then … it is called an OFF the page question.  You need to use evidence from the text to answer the questions along with your own ideas.  I went over our anchor chart and I told them that they were going to be detectives  that day and they were going to figure out what type of question I was asking.  I was using the fabulous book, “Tuesday” by David Wiesner which is nearly a wordless book.  Because the book had very few words, I decided to read the book to the class first without asking any questions.   My students used the comprehensions strategies they have learned throughout the year and wrote about their thinking … while I read the story.  I made book marks with a QR code on them….


I then reread the story asking the following questions while the students saw the pictures up on the smart board. (I scanned the pictures so the students could view the pictures larger as we discussed the questions.)

  1. What time is it?
  2. What do you think the Detective is thinking?  What type of question am I asking?
  3. What trouble do the frogs get into?  Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.

9:30 – Literacy Stations

Students are grouped in pairs and go to 1 station per day.  Here is a list of my literacy stations.  I have 2 literacy station groups for differentiation.

Group 1

1. Word Work A – Write the room

2. iPads – blogs

3. Science Station

4. Writing – Write About this app

5. Reading-Buddy reading

6.  Smartboard – spelling practice

Group 2

1. Fluency Station – Audio Boo – You read to me i’ll read to you

2. Writing –  Write about this app

3. iPads – Blogs

4. Science Station

5. Insect Write the room

6. Library – reading buddies

I will share a description of a few of these stations:

Science Station:

4th screen shot

6th screen shotWriting Station:


10:10 – 10:50 Nutrition Break

10:50 – 11:40 Prep

11:40 – 12:30 – Writing

Students are learning how to write fairytales and are learning about beginning, middle and end of the story.  My teaching partner, Mrs. Belanger, read the students a different version of Goldilocks And The Three Bears.  She then had them show the beginning, middle and end using the Popplet app:

12:30 – 1:10 Nutrition Break

1:10 – 2:05 Math

We usually have silent reading for 20 minutes, however on this day we were writing math problems to share on Twitter with Mrs. Degroot’s class.  We tweeted math problems and solved math problems on Twitter until 1:35 then skyped with Mrs. Degroot’s class and we exchanged math problems via Skype.


2:05 – 2:50 Art

On all other days we do math stations during this time.  However, on Wednesdays we have Art.  On this particular day we read “A Color Of His Own” By Leo Lionni and students created and painted a chameleon.

2:50 – Dismissal

Phew….that was a long blogpost!  Hopefully you gained a little bit of insight of what goes on in my very busy classroom!


Filed under how teachers teach

7 responses to “Day in the Life Of A Connected Classroom (Kristen Wideen)

  1. This looks like an exciting class to be part of. The only thing missing is the break for exercise. Perhaps it can be built into the learning activity somewhere. Research is clear on the fact that physical activity increases cognitive performance. See rule #1 of “Brain Rules” by John Medina. I’m working on a summary of this book for http://DrDougGreen.Com. Here is my summary of rule #1. Let me know what you think and keep up the great work.
    A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, and fluid intelligence tasks. Exercisers are half as likely to have dementia and 57% less likely to have strokes. It reduces anxiety and depression immediately and in the long-term.
    When our ancestors lived on the African plains, it is estimated that they moved on an average 12 miles a day, so we evolved to move. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, an organ that uses ten times as much oxygen as muscle. It also improves the road-like blood vessels that cary oxygenated blood. It’s easy to see, therefore, why exercise improves brain function. It also improves the function of your other organs and in the process lowers health care costs. This is why many organizations are finding ways to increase exercise among their employees.
    It seems obvious that schools should be doing the same thing, but many schools have cut back on recess in favor of test preparation. This is like trying to gain weight by starving yourself. What they should so is schedule 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity twice a day, and look for other ways to allow children to be more active

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Doug, for the comment on the post about Mrs.Wideen’s class. I do not know enough about her school, recess time, or classroom exercises to comment. Surely, there is much research on the connection between exercise and good health for both children and adults.

  2. Hi Douglas and Larry,

    I did not include our physical breaks in my blog post, however we do frequent brain breaks in my room. As soon as I see the “wiggle” set in we get up, and move! One our favorites is to go on youtube and dance to the just dance videos. We also have two, twenty minute physical breaks built into our day. One at 10:10 and the other at 12:30. On top of our scheduled breaks and our impromptu breaks, we also have it built into our Ontario Curriculum. The Ontario curriculum states, “students must have a minimum of twenty minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity each school day during instructional time.” We call this DPA time (Daily Physical Activity.) On top of all of those times, my students have gym twice a week for 50 minutes. I also run a non traditional classroom where my students are free to get up and move around. They do not have assigned seats and are free to find a place in our space that fits their needs to work. That might be at a table, on the floor, on a stool in front of a window or curled up in a corner with a cushion.

    Thanks Larry for reposting my blog post.

    Douglas, thanks for commenting. I totally agree that brain breaks and exercise is an important part of the school day.

    • larrycuban

      Many thanks for responding to Doug. You filled in some holes on the day-in-the-life of your classroom.

      • Gary Ravani

        I absolutely do not want to appear critical here. This appears to be a wonderfully well planned classroom with a top-notch teacher. That being said, I also wonder how many of all of the activities, and how effective they would have been, without the boon to Apple stockholders? Are the iPads fundamental to the learning involved or just very expensive icing on the learning cake?

      • larrycuban

        A fair question, Gary.

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