Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paper or Netbook? The Student Decides.

What Normally Happens In The Morning For Bell Work

My students get a package on Monday that they can work on at their own pace in the mornings and that we review the answers for throughout the week. A paper-pencil activity is convenient for bell work in the morning. Typically they have an acrostic poem to complete as well, but I removed that from this experiment.

Choice Experiment

I decided to do a two week long experiment with my morning work routine. For three out five days I gave my students a choice. They could do their morning work on paper or on a netbook. I was curious if this would be time effective. We use netbooks quite often in my class, so my students are very proficient with getting the netbooks out, getting logged on and then returning the netbooks at the end. Each activity is no more than 20 minutes, some only 15 minutes or less. My students were also proficient with the online activities that they had to choose from.

Monday - New Words

They write their new spelling words into their agenda and get their choices for the week.

Tuesday - Practice Words

Paper choice - Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check
Netbook choice - Spelling City "Test Me" (I have a free Spelling City account)

Wednesday - Sentences

Paper choice - Five sentences on lined paper
Netbook choice - Five sentences on Google Docs

Thursday - Fill In The Blanks

All do this on paper due to going to music in the morning. 

Friday - Fun With Words

Paper choice - word search
Netbook choice - Spelling City or Spellodrome activities


  • I was surprised by the number of students who chose paper activities. Out of 17 students, each day there were 3-5 students who chose the paper activities both weeks. 
  • Using technology for these short tasks did not add on as much time to the activities as I thought they might. Both groups (paper and netbook) finished their activities at about the same time.

What Next?

Going forward I am going to continue to give my students a choice for the sentence work on Wednesdays. On Fridays, I may try having students do their weekly poem using technology and early finishers can review their words online.


  1. Thanks Colette. I like the idea of giving students a choice. It also gives the teacher an idea of the comfort level students have and it looks like your grade twos have made a lot of progress with accessing and using technology for learning.

  2. This is really cool! What grade level is this happening at?