Thursday, September 20, 2012

Class of 2025...Graduating with Technology

     Well, the new year has begun!  August and September are a big blur...... months you'd like to forget..... October can't come fast enough.  I think it's simply a necessary evil as you start with this diverse group of 5, 6, and 7 year-olds (many who have never been exposed to what a 'line' might be and then there are some who can already read) and you slowly but SURELY mold them into your little kindergarten soldiers students.  By the end of September you can begin to start teaching content and you start to feel like a 'real teacher' not a hen trying to keep her chicks from running around the farm! 

     We have started to use our clickers. I am fortunate to have Sparks this year!I just love them and would recommend them to anyone asking!  Here's a news story from a local channel about my classroom use of clickers a few years ago.  Click here!

It's amazing to think that this year's K class will be graduating in 2025!  YIKES!  
Check out these stats from LearnStuff:
Notice the growth of Twitter and Facebook in 2 years. AMAZING! Speaking of Facebook...be sure to check out my class Facebook page here!

Graduating With Technology

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Math App!

One of the math apps I love to use in Kindergarten with the iPads is KG Math. You can find it here.   What I love about it is that it is actually geared towards kindergarten. It hits tons of standards and they keep coming up with new updates with more games.  The game does cost $1.99 but I think it is worth purchasing.  (I am not getting any kickbacks for recommending this app... I just truly love it : ) 

Here is a screen shot of some games the students can choose.  It is a very simple format and extremely kid friendly.  I love that they even included symmetry!  How many symmetry activities do you find??? Not many!  The only complaint (which I hope with one of the updates they will change) is that if a student gets it wrong there is not an explanation or teaching moment that helps the child.  This is the one drawback I see.  I'm hoping that feature will be there soon!  Maybe if enough of us check it out and send that suggestion then it will happen...... 
What math apps do you love?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

UDL Glog!

Have you heard of the Universal Design of Learning?  Check out the glog I created here to help understand some of the vital points.  If you are not familiar with glogs they are soooooooooooooo much fun!  Look for hot pink arrows to click on (you'll hear my voice, seriously, try it : )  There is a movie you can watch, and links you can click on...... Click around and you'll figure it out, seriously, if our students can do it than so can we!!!!

Want the cliff notes????  No two students are the same, no two students process information the same, and therefore students deserve to have information presented in multiple ways, students should be encouraged to showcase their knowledge in multiple ways, and students should be motivated in multiple ways. 

What are some ways you differentiate within your classroom?  How do you make sure you're reaching all of your students? How do you KNOW you are????? Inquiring minds want to know : )

*Share this link with someone and you'll receive 10 bonus points.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kleinspiration: The Biggest Give-Away Yet - Thank You Readers and my Personal Learning Network!


So..... want to enter a give-away with TONS of wonderful prizes?????  I have not every won one of these before but I'm feeling lucky today... How about you????? (Maybe I shouldn't blog about it then I have a better chance of winning!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK, I can't keep my mouth closed for that long.....)
If nothing else check out Kleinspiration and you'll find something, no matter what grade you teach.
Click here to check out the Give-Away!  Good Luck and let me know if you win!!!!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Student Data Folders...New App!

So, how many of you keep the traditional student data folders???? (My hand is raised...) In kindergarten it looks like this..... Little Johnny does poorly on the rhyming test, I take the rhyming test upstairs to make a copy, I 3-hole punch the copy, write the date, put it in Little Johnny's binder.....Then of course when I give an important test that I mom and dad to see at conferences I 3-hole punch and keep it..... keep a few writing samples.... make a copy of a behavior slip sent home (I call them 'oops reports')......The list is endless, then the binder is filled, blablablablabal Such a bother, but I obviously see the benefits and need for these binders or BELIEVE ME I WOULDN'T DO THEM..... 
So today while blog hopping/stalking I found this post by KindergartenWorks
 

Click on the picture above to read her description of a time-saving organizational power-house app for the iPad/iPhone called 3 Ring.  It can be found here at http://threering.com/.
Check out this short video about 3 Ring!


 The organizational aspect is AMAZING.... The general idea is that it's a 'virtual data binder'.  Simply take a picture of the document, choose who and what it belongs to, and it's uploaded. So, at conferences I can pull up Little Johnny's writing to show mom and dad what he produced.  "Oh, what was that, mom and dad? You're not sure what is expected from a kindergarten kid at this time of the year.... Well, let me just pull up all of the class' writing about ol' Abe Lincoln and we can just take a little peek at the rest of the class' work."
Ok, seriously, pick your mouth up off the floor and go check it out....
Oh, you're concerned because your school is low on funds and won't purchase any apps? 
IT'S FREE TO TEACHERS!!!!
So, I'll be downloading this on my personal iPad (which I got for Mother's Day.... do I have the best husband or what?????) and playing with it this summer.  And I'm sure my principal will be getting an email very soon about this app and what we can do with it...... Just think of the possibilities!!!!!  What are your ideas????

Friday, June 15, 2012

Reflections...

     As I finish up a course named "Integrating Technology Across Content Areas" I am happy to tell you that this has been time and money well spent.  You can't help but worry as you begin any new course!  I have added many new tools to my bag of 'tricks' and am excited to create more activities to start the new school year come August. 

     I started this course by creating a GAME plan for advancing my competencies in technology integration. My goals were to: collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation and engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.  
These are not goals that end now that this course is coming to a close.  These are goals that I am continuing to improve upon as I plan for the new school year.  I suspect that I will be working on these goals for the duration of my school career.  Are we ever 100% effective?  I know I'm not!  I can't imagine being 100% effective, but who doesn't want to be??? So I will keep striving up, up, and (hopefully, not 'away'!)!!


Here's and update on how I'm progressing.  My new class blog can be found at Dills' Darlings! I am starting to work on uploading important documents and forms parents might want so they can find what they need.  I will add links to other web pages that may be helpful.  All of this will be ready for the start of the year (one less thing to do in August, can I get an AMEN?).   I think this class blog will be an integral part in communicating with my parents and truly enhance my students' skills digitally and within other content areas.  Killing a bunch of birds with one stone..... I'm thinking, YES!

I am very excited to be incorporating more 'real world' activities into my classroom.  The project that I worked on during this course was all about the Lost and Found.  If you've ever been around kindergarten kids you know that they can't quit talking about this thing!  When a child goes to look in the lost and found they get this look upon their face....how can I describe it....hmmmm, similar to the look I get on my face when I walk into the Apple Store.  It's like 'ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh'.  They are truly transfixed on the Lost and Found! Our unit was so much fun, for them and myself!  We sorted, counted, tallied, organized, compared, predicted, created a commercial....and then when others claimed their items we did it all over.  The students were so engaged.  For a kindergarten student 'engaged' can be synonymous with 'excited'.  Let me remind and tell you that we did this project that last week of school..... yep, the last week!!!!  Many students didn't want to leave the room because they were afraid if someone had some questions about the lost and found they wouldn't know who to ask!!!!!!  At the end of the unit/year one boy said "I wish we had a few more days of school so maybe we could find some more things and try to find the loser."  (OK...by 'loser' he meant the person who 'lost' the items..... Remember, kindergartners here!  That was the appropriate way to use the term 'loser'!  Ha!  I love kindergarten!)


Here's the 'commercial' we made to encourage others to come find their belongings:

One idea I received from a classmate to enhance my lesson would be for the students to participate in a skit about someone losing an item and what to do if you find something. I see this lesson as something that could be done multiple times throughout the year and additions could be made to stretch the students' learning. 

I would like to incorporate using the GAME plan with my students.  They will especially like the acronym.  Even kindergartners can look at where they are and discuss what they need to improve upon and even come up with ideas to do it! 

Good luck to everyone as they being their summer relaxation/preparations for next year! Here's my little sweetie I'll be hanging out with!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Counting Songs!

Have you or your students experienced the Have Fun Teaching videos?  My students (and I) are addicted!  Daily they would ask to hear one of the letter videos or counting videos. 
This is the counting by 5's video.  We performed it at our kindergarten program!  The kids love the techno music, catchy phrases, and fun graphics!  Be sure to check out the counting songs by Have Fun Teaching.  Anyone else have any great free resources for teaching some of those not-so-fun rote memory skills?