Monday, April 7, 2014

First Grade IPad Happenings


First Grade IPad Happenings

    In my first grade classroom I am lucky enough to have a 1:1 IPad ratio.  This is my first year with an Ipad classroom and it has been such a wonderful learning experience for me!  In the classroom we use the throughout the day in all subject areas.  Below I have highlighted some of the Ipad happenings in first grade!



Reading
    Edmodo has become my best friend for guided reading!  The program allows me to set up an account for every student in my class.  The students are organized within the program into their guided reading groups.  Each group has their own leveled reader for the week on the program. After working with the students throughout the week, they take a reading comprehension quiz on Edmodo. 

    While I am meeting with guided reading groups’ students rotate through reading centers.  Three of the centers I use most often are Scootpad, Raz Kids, and Accelerated Reader.  The Scootpad program is Common Core aligned and the students have their own sign in and account in which they can work on particular reading (and math) objectives. 
    In the Raz Kids program students also have their own sign in and  account in which they read books on their assigned reading level.  I use my Mclass data to assign the child’s current reading level within the program.  The students sign into their account and they have a “bookroom” in which they select a book on their level to read, listen to, and complete a comprehension skill activity. 

    The Accelerated Reader App and program has helped my tremendously this year.  Every year, the number one issue within the classroom has been that there were never enough computers for students to take their AR tests.  However, this year students have their own Ipads to take tests as often as they would like.  I have seen a significant increase in not only their reading levels but their attitude toward reading and taking AR tests!


Math

     North Newton has adopted the Math Expressions math program this school year so we are following the program cover to cover.  However, I have had the opportunity to enrich the students learning experiences by incorporating several math apps throughout lessons. Here are a few math apps I use in my classroom: 

        One App I have my students use is Mad Math Lite.  This app allows students to practice their addition and subtraction facts.  It is so important for students to be able to answer simple addition and subtraction facts automatically and this resource allows them to practice this skill.  
 

        In the Math Expressions program we just finished teaching the students about ½ and ¼.  The math app Pizza Fractions 1 has helped my students practice the skills they have just learned and it has allowed math enrichment opportunities.  The students work with pizza fractions such as 4/5 , ¾, etc. The students love the interactive “shaking” of the pizzas to identify new fractions!

     
   I have found my students love playing Rocket Math.  This app allows students to practice many different math skills such as identifying numbers, telling time, identifying amounts of money, etc., while they get parts of a rocket to build. 

 

        All of the information above explains currently how my students are involved with technology within my classroom.  One of my ambitions with my students is to connect with another elementary school classroom from another country. I am just starting to gather information on how to organize this and go about coordinating it with my students.  So far I have found the Skype in the classroom to be one of the most promising options. I will keep you updated on the progress of our new adventure!

 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Math App for Fractions



If you are working on fractions I highly suggest the app (Thinking Blocks Model and Solve Word Problems, Practice with Fractions). This app provides students with a word problem and they are working with thinking blocks to help them solve the problem.  It does a great job of walking students through the process of solving a complicated problem.  Many times with students visualizing different fraction amounts is difficult, and now with the complexity of word problems they are asked to solve; it is essential that students have a clear understanding of fractions.  Another aspect to the problems that students will be solving is fractions of a whole number.  Believe me when I say this can be extremely frustrating to students.  However with these visuals my students are getting better at solving these problems.  This app would benefit 3-6 graders.  Also online there are other concepts that use thinking blocks.  Just go to http://www.mathplayground.com/thinkingblocks.html

Friday, March 28, 2014

Using iPads with Daily 5 in Room 6

This year, I have implemented Daily 5 into my kindergarten classroom.  Each day, my literacy centers consist of the following: Read to Someone, Read to Self, Listen to Reading, Word Work, and Work on Writing.  My students love learning while using the iPads!  If you are interested in using iPads with Daily 5, here are just a few things that happened in Room 6 this week.



Using ScreenChomp to rainbow write s blends.



Students listen and reading and read to self using Raz-Kids.


Picture Coding Eddy Elephant.



Fun with sight words!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

EDMODO and the Irregular Schedule

What a year. As I reflect about the things we have done this year I must say that Edmodo has been a saving grace by which this school year would not have been possible to survive without. Edmodo is an old buddy of mine which I have been utilizing for going on my fifth year now.
The first year I used it as pretty much a tool to quiz and poll the students whenever we had the opportunity to get into one of the computer labs at the "OLD" Middle School, a few of us "techy" (I am pretty sure that is a word even though it is being underlined in red) teachers even moderated a "chat page" for the students but had to shut it down after a few unwise choices of what to post showed up. The second year I utilized it in each of my classes (as I do now) and I found that it was wonderful to connect with not just students but also parents and I have used it since then much like the web-page where assignments and other pertinent information is posted. Also, I could EASILY link websites we used in class and other files so everyone has the capability to access them even if they have become misplaced in the endless pit of the backpack. Last year was much the same except I had the wonderful experience of having the iPads in my classroom so we were able to utilize the site daily.
Now that brings us to the current school year. A school year in which man y of our students have their own devices and I am now sharing the iPad cart with another class. It is also a year in which we have gone to an "A" day, "B" day schedule for Social Studies and Science so I see my students every other day. (unless of course we have an interruption in the schedule because of weather, assemblies, testing, etc...) A tool like Edmodo is wonderful for this situation. Not only can I post the assignments and/or quizzes I can also communicate even if I don't see them through messaging to either a particular student or a whole class.
In my Social Studies classes right now we are reading a couple of novels (half of my class is reading one and the other is reading another) they both deal with the Holocaust. What even my students do not know yet is I am creating special Edmodo pages for each novel where they can answer and discuss questions and what they have read.
This leads me to probably my most selfish reason for using Edmodo, drum roll please, I don't have to hang on to 170 quizzes, homework assignments, etc... Edmodo makes it possible to collect everything electronically (I know there is Dropbox and other ways to accomplish the same thing) but hey, I am almost fifty and it is hard to teach an "old" dog new tricks so when I find something I stick to it. Well I am finished rambling and for those of you who need to know there are ONLY 274 days until Christmas as of the day I wrote this.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Skitching" in the Kindergarten Classroom




When you walk into Room 5 at South Newton Elementary School, you will see 5 & 6 year olds taking their learning to the next level with Skitch. Skitch is a FREE app created by Evernote. This app is very user friendly. My kindergarten students picked up the basics in a matter of days.

How we use Skitch in the classroom:

When learning to use Skitch, we labeled our friends in the classroom. This was a fun activity that taught students the basics of the app. 

*DISCLAIMER: The spelling you see is incorrect. My kinders are learning to spell through inventive spelling! "We rit the sownds we her n wrds" :)





Skitch during Daily 5:


During Guided Reading, Read to Self, and/or Read to Someone students take pictures of the books they are reading with their ipads. They then use Skitch to label characters in the book, highlight sight words they are studying, and label other important parts of their stories. 
  • Word Work
When using Skitch during word work, students are able to write their sight words on basically anything they can take a picture of. Some students will take pictures of our word wall and trace over sight words, other students will take pictures of the white board & write their words on it. However, the MOST popular word work activity is writing on their dear teacher's face. 

Skitch During Math
During Math, we use the program Math Expressions. This is a fabulous program that allows for students to delve deep into number concepts. In kindergarten, this program involves a lot of "Going Further and Homework & Remembering Worksheets" To save copies & trees, we often snap a picture of the daily worksheet on the ipads and complete the worksheet using Skitch during math centers. During a whole group lesson, students will take a picture of the manipulatives they use and label them during a math center. 



Skitch During Science & Social Studies
For every science experiment we do or social studies article we read, there is always a Skitch involved. In Science, we label various science experiments and science read alouds. The student's favorite thing to do is go outside and label the world around them. 


How have you used Skitch in your classroom?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

iPads in Must Do/May Do activities

Hi everyone! Wow, I can't believe it's the middle of March already. When I look back on all the ways I have utilized technology this year, it's amazing to see all the wonderful ways students have been able to present their ideas and also to gain information on any given topic. We have used iPads for research, for presentations, for collaboration in math, and other engaging activities this year! It's been a lot of fun.

One of my favorite ways since January that we have been using the iPads in our classroom is through reading and writing Must Do/May Do activities. Because of Read to Achieve and other forms of testing in third grade eliminating important parts of the day, I wanted to come up with a way to integrate science, social studies, and technology into my reading block. By doing so, my students would not miss out on other important Essential Standards this year. Must Do activities are assignments that students must complete by the end of the week. May Do activities are assignments that students can complete when finished early with their Must Do activities.

I use one Must Do/May Do list for my students and then modify it for students who are lower-performing. They receive less activities and modified activities compared to the main list.

Regular Must Do/May Do activity list


A modified Must Do/May Do activity list

I love that these activities require students to use the 4 C's. I also love that it's a way for students to be grouped by mixed ability while working in stations but I can still pull my reading groups back to work with me based on their reading level abilities.  I am able to provide fun apps and reading websites that allow students to practice further on a skill that week. During their May Do time it allows them to explore topics they enjoy on their own. Students are also able to share what they learned through apps like Educreation and Edmodo and other students can leave feedback.

It's been a great way to provide differentiation and enrichment in a classroom full of diversity and various ability levels!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Using Literature Circles With I-Pads

In my classroom, I like to mix in literature circles during my guided reading block. I wouldn't say that I do "true" literature circles, but it has transformed to being guided reading with some blogging added in. I have taken the traditional literature circle roles and used them with KidBlog to increase my students' literacy performance. All of the students work is completed on KidBlog so that they can collaborate with one another. Here are the different roles that I use. I have found these roles online from various sources and changed them to work in my classroom.

Summarizer: Students will summarize the highlights and key points from the previous readings. Students prepare their summaries on their KidBlog account. Other students are able to comment and discuss the summary that the summarizer has come up with.

Questioner: The questioner lists questions from the reading that would help increase the discussion from the group. The students can answer questions on KidBlog that the questioner has posted.

Illustrator: The illustrator shares their own images and visions of what they visualized while reading.It can be a sketch, cartoon, diagram, flowchart, or stick figure scene. Students are able use Google Drive or Educreations to draw what they visualized and then upload their drawing to their KidBlog account.

Vocabulary Enricher: These students will discuss any words that they found that stood out or were crucial to what they read. Students will post their words on KidBlog, where the words came from in the selection, what they words mean, and why they choose those words.

Literary Luminary: The literary luminary finds parts of the text that are interesting, powerful, puzzling, or important in their opinions. Students will briefly describe the part of the selection that they chose and why they feel that this part is important to the text or reader.

I have found that using KidBlog along with the iPads is a way to engage students in what they are reading. The students are able to collaborate together about what they have read. This is also a way to switch from paper to paperless. I don't waste the paper that I used to when I did formal literature circles. However, I feel that my students' learning has increased from using technology with the literature circles. Ipads make this process simple because students can easily upload pictures or drawings. They are also able to transport the Ipad throughout the room during reading stations. This process is something new that I have begun this year but it is proving to be worthwhile.