Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm lovin it!

I was very excited to hear that we were getting iPads in the classroom this year.  Last year I had two and it was very hard to do a lot with 22 kiddos all wanting a turn.  So adding 5 more has made life a lot better.  I am so amazed at how fast the students pick up new new things and their willingness to try new things.  We use iPads every single day in our classroom.  We started with the basics of how to turn them off and on, controlling the volume level, handling properly and even learning how to charge them if they have low battery. After practicing that we began using them in math & ela center time. Each having their own to use to get familiar with.  To make it easier for me & them I made a page of ela apps and a math app page.  That way they know what they can do when without having to ask me.  The center might have anything from playing a game to using a qr code scanner to complete a product.  Either one they are totally excited about and can't wait to be in that center!  It is so rewarding to see them get so excited to do class work.  As they got better with using the ipads we incorporated them into our writing, science and social studies weekly.  I am able to split them into groups of 3 to share an ipad.  At first ,YES it was challenging teaching 5 years olds to share them! It took time and practice.  We also have "2 o'clock tech time" weekly.  This is where students & groups share what they have created.  The kids beg for this!  I mean who doesn't like to share or brag about what they've done?!  They love to sharing and seeing each others work and getting new idea for there next products.  There are so many new things I want to learn and teach my students.  The next thing I would like to do is partner up with a first grade class and let them teach my students how to use some of the cool things they are doing.  Looking forward to getting new ideas to share with my students.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Technology, technology, technology!

Technology, technology, technology! What a great way to excite kiddos about learning and meeting them where they are at academically using iPads, computers, and Chrome books. I came from a district where we had access to “iPad Carts” that contained 30 iPads for your classroom. Now you shared your cart with the grade level, but 2 of teammates had their own carts because they were Dual Language. So I only had to share between 3 teachers. It was the life!  I say all of that to say, I thought I was use to using iPads in the classroom. However, I was presented with a new challenge this year, 6 iPads for my 20 kiddos. This experience has really allowed me to see that differentiation can be done with the iPads as a tool. Not everyone has to use them at the same time. Which was a difficult concept for me to grasp. Some of my kiddos may use the iPad for that particular activity and get to use for another activity. Parents are extremely supportive with BYOD. I have some kids that BYOD every day and that is awesome.

Some apps that I have used: Show Me, KidsDoodle (supplement to a white board), Chatter Pix, Pic Collage, Educreation, Haikudeck…
I absolutely love “Show Me”. We use it in math to explain verbally as they work out how to solve a problem. They are also able to listen to each-others explanation of problem solving.
Of course my kiddos take AR on them, but that’s not the only thing we are using them for. We are currently studying heroes in history. They are researching their chosen hero “based on our TEKS” and will create a Chatter Pix giving a quick blurb about their hero.  I have them working in partners so they will complete the assignment on different days. You may think it would get confusing, but they are great about keeping track of who hasn’t gone. Technology has been fun and challenging this year and I think that it is a wonderful way to get kids involved in their learning.

Brittany Brown

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Because it's best for kids

In order to grow professionally, one must become uncomfortable in what they are doing.  This is why many teachers change grades, add responsibilities to their work load or change positions in the district.  One way I am growing this year is by adding technology to my instruction.  I am not one to automatically think about using technology, and this year I have been challenged to think outside my normal way of doing things to enrich my students with the use of IPADs. 

I must admit, when I was first told about this IPAD initiative, I was a little skeptical.  Why fix something that isn’t broken?  And if the lessons and activities have been giving me the results I am wanting, why should I change?  And then it hit me…….”what’s best for kids.”  This is a motto I live by when I am teaching and it’s a motto I think we should consider when we are planning lessons for our students.   Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay and our students are using some form of it every day.  It only makes sense to use technology for some of our instruction so that students will be interested and engaged in what I am trying to teach. 

Slowly but surely, I have begun to incorporate technology use into my classroom.  Students use a variety of apps daily for recalling and applying information.  We have a class Edmodo for classroom conversations.  I will post a question or two about their daily reading and the students respond weekly using correct punctuation, capitalization and grammar.  Kahoot is a favorite app that students get can involve and compete against each other.  I love seeing the excitement when they are engaged……and it’s because I am using technology.  Don’t get me wrong, I could use the same process with whiteboards and EXPO markers, but I doubt I will get the same energy. 

Because I have high expectations to live up to, I understand I cannot let go of everything I have done in the past to get good scores.  However, I realize that those good scores will only get higher with student motivation.  And what could be more motivating than allowing students to explore their learning through technology?  So, bring on the devices!!!!!