Sunday, January 24, 2016

Moving Forward

My students love technology!  I am moving in that direction!   We use our I-pads daily during Math Stations and Reading Stations.   That works great!  BYOD will be happening  soon.  I am looking  forward to lessons and activities where we have at least 1 device for every 2 students.  It's amazing to see students excited about learning and practicing skills in a new way. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

So far, so good...

I had two questions before unleashing iPads in the classroom.

     1.  Will they understand how to use the apps/iPad without taking up too much valuable learning time?

   Sometimes I have gathered the class on the carpet to teach a new app.  Students follow along on their iPads as I guide them through the app.  Other times, I have shown a small group of students how to use an app.  They will then teach their peers what to do.   The students enjoy this way because they get to be the “teacher.”
So far, students have picked up on how to use the apps during the first lesson.  The main time they need guidance from me is when popups invade the screen.  Those popups are annoying!  If they hit the wrong button, I have to go into settings to allow access to the microphone, camera, etc.  Most of the time I have seen students being able to help or remind one another rather than come to me.  So I have found that teaching new apps has not taken up as much instructional time as I first feared.

 2.   Will kids stay on task when they are using the iPads?

  I have been pleasantly surprised that this has not been an issue.  The students stay where they have been directed.   The majority are very good about taking turns.  At the beginning of the year we modeled how every student needs to complete their part of the activity to come to the finished product.  Students are now good about deciding who goes first and who is going to hold the iPad to complete each step of the assignment.   

  My favorite way to use the iPads is Kahoot.  It’s like a game show in which students get to compete against one another to answer questions.  They love when I say it’s time for a Kahoot.  I love that I can go on the Kahoot website to search for pre-made Kahoots that are available for anyone to use.  I can usually find one that works or switch up a few things on one that is pre-made, but I have also made my own.  Recently, it took me about 20 minutes to make one for science.  It is a fun way to review previous lessons.  The enthusiasm is apparent in this video.

  I also like Popplet because it is a great way to get kids writing during math class.  In one lesson, I had students choose a number for the center bubble.  They then had to write and label it in standard form and expanded form.  Last, they had to write a sentence telling how many rods and how many ones it takes to build the number. 

  Overall, I have been impressed with how quickly my first graders have picked up on the use of the iPads.  Both of my initial concerns turned out to be a big worry about nothing.  This technology experience is definitely reminding me to keep an open mind about what my first grade babies can accomplish.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Isn't Life Funny Sometimes!

Isn't life funny sometimes! Last August I was thinking about my goals for this school year. Of course technology was going to be one of them because we were getting ipads and I am a "technology baby". My other goal was differentiating. This is always so challenging, but also so needed. Well the funny part is when I got my class and began to get to know them and their needs. Their personalities, learning styles, and diverse academic needs were going to force me to work on those two goals! I am so grateful to have the ipads, so excited about the possibilities to differentiate instruction, and I still have so very much to learn.

Here are just a few simple (remember I am a beginner who pretty much knew nothing) things that I've tried. 

*Replace vs. Add-There is not more time in our day to do more, so I replace something we are already doing for some of the students.

*Not everyone has to do everything. 

Sketchio-In Social Studies some of the students used this app to illustrate a school rule/procedure and it's importance while other students illustrated on paper.

Doodle Buddy-In ELA some of the students used this app to illustrate and label pictures and how many syllables they heard in the word while other students illustrated on manilla paper.

We use both of these very simple apps as well as Pic Kids in all subjects to differentiate. Some kids are illustrating, some kids are illustrating and being "brave spellers", and other kids are illustrating and writing complete sentences. 

Ten Frame Fill-In Math some of my students used this app to be challenged with making ten and using an equation while other students were learning their numbers and making sets. Now all students are using this app for practice in ways to make ten.

Some of my students love reading on the ipad in Raz Kids while others love to read books from the library or their book box. I love having options to meet their needs and interest.

Twitter is also totally new to me this year. We have used it a few times with our Author Study & Writer's Workshop and connected with real authors and other teachers. We even connected with Jack Hartman who encouraged us as we sing & counted by 5's with his song during Calendar Time.

Although I am still very much a "technology baby" I am trying and learning and that is exciting! I am also enjoying the collaboration with my team, specialists, and administration. I am looking forward to this semester and the new things we will try in my classroom.

Laurissa Bray