My fourth grade students embarked on a new way of learning last year—a paperless
classroom. All of my 26 students have
their own computers at their desks,
and a majority of their assignments are
online. The classroom has a projector, a wireless slate, and a laser printer.
The technology that made the paperless classroom affordable is a virtual
desktop, which allows multiple users to
share a single PC. Students have their
own keyboard, screen, settings, applications and data files, but they share
applications such as Web browsers,
e-mail, office suites, and multimedia.
A typical day in my technology
infused classroom looks like this:
We begin each morning by taking
our lunch count using the classroom
response system. I project the lunch
options on the screen, and they click
on their choice. I print a list of what
each student ordered and e-mail the
total count to the cafeteria.
8 a.m. Spelling: We use www.Spelling
City.com. I type in the weekly spelling list, and the students are able to
take their pretest, play games with the
words, and take their spelling test on
this site. The site will say the word and
use it in a sentence. The test is automatically scored, and the students can
immediately see what they missed and
how to correctly spell the words.
8:30 a.m. Math Group 1: Students open
Word. They are given a two-digit-by-two-digit multiplication problem and
must create a two-column table. They
solve the problem on the left side and
explain the steps on the right side.
This is called a math path. When they
finish, they go to www.multiplication
By Amanda Mott and John David Son
Here they work on interactive multiplication problems and learn instantly
whether they are correct or what their
Then they go back into Word and
begin a new document, where they respond to the prompt “Reflect on what
you have learned about multiplication.” They save this document into
their learning logs. Their homework
assignment is to create a poster that
demonstrates to someone who has
never multiplied two digits by two
digits how to do it. If they don’t have a
computer at home, they can work on
it during extra time.
9:30 a.m. Math Group 2: We will
learn how to use, read, and create
pictographs. Students go to www.
readpicto3p.cfm. This website has
an online tutorial, and together we
answer the questions about pictographs. Next, the students create their
own pictographs in Word. They can
import pictures from the Internet
to use in the pictographs. They create tables and fill in the titles, keys,
and labels. When finished, they go to
www.studyisland.com. This is a paid
website that allows students to answer
questions that are directly correlated
to Kentucky’s core content. The students answer questions about interpreting graphs. The site is interactive,
and the students see errors immediately. Once the students answer the
questions correctly, they play a quick
game that compares them to others in
the school and statewide.
10:30 a.m. Reading: The students read
Chapter 5 from the book Bud, Not
Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
Afterward, they blog on my website
about what they think will happen
next and how they feel about the main
characters. I e-mail them a prompt for
their literary journals that they have
on their desktops. They respond to
the prompt and save it in their literary
11 a.m. Letter Writing: The students
check their e-mail on www.epals.com.
They each have an e-pal from Spain to
whom they write letters.
11:30 a.m. Language: The students
practice capitalization on the interactive websites www.studyzone.org/
ela4/h/ capitalletter.cfm. We work
through the first site together using
the projector, and they do the second
Noon– 2 p.m. Lunch/Recess/Music/
2 p.m. Social Studies: We read pages
from our online textbook at www.
eharcourtschool.com. The e-book
has links that support the content.
The students play an interactive game
using the U.S. map on the site www.
html. The students will next continue
researching their assigned Kentucky
Native American tribe on the Internet. They are to contribute three facts
about that tribe to a wiki created by
selected students. The students end
the day by looking at all the wikis of
The impact of switching to a paperless, technology-rich classroom has
been remarkable. The students are
more engaged and excited about learning. Students who have difficulty staying on task find it easier to focus using
the technology. The learning has been
more meaningful, and students seem
to retain the information better.