May 21, 2014
Dana is a high school science teacher at Dodge County High School
in Eastman, Georgia.
She has been teaching for 7 years and even though she is a
science teacher she started out teaching middle school math. Mrs. Niblett comes
from a tradition of teachers as both of her parents were teachers.
I had the wonderful experience of observing Dana teach her
environmental science classes. From the outset it was apparent that she was
very organized. She had tardy boxes, places for work to be turned in, places to
look when the student is absent and so much more.
Her students understood the routines and procedures of the
class. This was very noticeable when she shifted from the bell ringer (Science
Question of the Day) to the general instructions to the lab groups and back to
their seats to work with the technology. There was no down time. The students
knew what was expected of them. She did not have to threaten or shush them.
They went right to work.
Dana and I talk about how all of this is possible. She
reflects on the days when she first started teaching and struggled with classroom
management. Then she found Harry Wong and studied his comments about managing
the classroom. She then “stole ideas” from colleagues who were very good at
creating the routines and procedures that helped the students get right to work
and focus on the content.
Her biggest secret is “PRACTICE with the kids.”
Mrs. Niblett is a tech guru…or at least not afraid to try to
use many different technology applications and tools to help her engage the
kids. She uses tablets, laptops, QR codes, Weebly.com, Padlet.com, Prezi, SMART
board applications and tools, Google searches, youtube clips, voicethread.com
and follows Tony Vincent on Pinterest (He is a teacher who is constantly
providing information about cool tech apps for the classroom). Her kids are
creating digital portfolios on weebly.com and recording their labs and daily
activities in this website. They use padlet.com to respond to questions.
My head was swimming with the amazing about of free
technology being used by the kids to help them learn their content! Dana says
that she once was made to go to the Georgia Technology Conference and now she
knows that it is awesome!!!! She reflects, “It’s the best conference I have
ever gone to! There are classroom teachers showing what they use and what works
I hope that you will take a look at some of her ideas for
classroom management and technology uses. Her kids were focused on learning and
having fun. Try these out! I dare you!
As Dana says, “We have to get out of our comfort zone and
get with the times!”