Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tool #11

1.  What are your favorite tools...?  I am excited to use the different iPad apps that I have been playing with all summer long.  Each time I revisit an app, I think of another idea to incorporate it into a work station to enhance student learning.  I  know my class will utilize the tools that allow them to make books, like bookr and TikaTok, bringing technology to writer's workshop. I also look forward to professional exchanges and growth while networking with other teachers on edmodo.
2.  How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom?  I have always valued the use of technology in the classroom, but unfortunately, I haven't always had working technology in my classroom.  It's frustrating when you tried to "seemlessly" incorporate technology, and then it takes valuable time to get the technology to work!  However, with the new technology that kindergarten is receiving this year, I have high hopes for the learning that will take place.  The tools that have been introduced through 11 tools that are appropriate for kindergartners will certainly provide wonderful learning experiences for my students, and provide opportunities for me to better communicate to my parents the needs of my classroom and the wonderful learning that is taking place there. 
I do plan to spend more time setting expectations for using the devices so they are used as learning tools not toys, and modeling how to appropriately use the tools.
3.  Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?  The biggest surprise for me was how easy I found most of this to be once I let go of my apprehension!  There is so much technology available to support and enhance my students' learning and they are eager to dive in, so motivation and focus will not likely be an issue!  I look forward to more discovery and learning on my part as well!

Tool #10

1.  Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.  The very first thing I will discuss with my students is the importance of being safe in the digital world, which means keeping their personal information private.  Kindergartners need to know not to give out their full names, addresses, or any family information.  I will explain that there are lots of great sites to visit on the internet, but they need to follow some rules to be safe and visit only sites that have been determined as safe.  We will also discuss copyright rules and the fact that everything on the internet cannot always be considered truth.  Also, internet ettiquette will be discussed so that what is said while chatting or posting is appropriate.
2.  Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.  I will use the unit entitled Going Places Safely (K-1), from commonsense media.  This unit offers a complete lesson plan and video on follow rules to remain safe online.  Also, Brainpop Jr. has a video that teaches the same lesson.  It's important for the children to hear the message often, and discuss what it means in the classroom as well as at home.  These resources offer such opportunities.
3.  Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.  I will use the resources mentioned above and have discussions that are age appropriate about the information found on the internet, including copyright issues. We will also briefly discuss the rules put forth by SBISD in the student handbook and encourage the parents to do the same.
4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the ideas of digital citizenship with your parents.  Kindergarten Orientation will be a perfect opportunity to discuss digital citizenship with the parents of my students.  Often, because our students are so young, parents feel like such topics don't apply to kindergartners. Having this discussion at this time will hopefully heighten parental awareness.  Because not all parents will be present at orientation, I will also make the websites available to the parents via newsletter or blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tool #9

1.  Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective? 
It is important to tie technology to the objective because the objective is the focus of any lesson, and we meet the objective through the input experiences we give our students, including the use of technology to support the learning. Most students are excited about using technology to learn and discover, which will keep them focused on the learning.  However, if we lose sight of the objective, and use technology unrelated to our objective, we've lost the value of the lesson.
2.  Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
We hold students accountable for time spent in stations because as facilitators we have clearly defined this time as opportunities for building on what has been introduced, and for discovery learning while collaborating with classmates using specified tools, technology included. These are purposefully designed experiences to support continued learning. 
3.  Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for you content/grade level.  Which sites did you like?  How could you use them as stations?  How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
I really like the look of Studyladder.  Teachers can set up tasks for their students in all subject areas and once the students complete the task, both students and teachers can view results.  This not only holds the students accountable, but also lets the teacher know if the student has mastered the skills. I will also use the website, Tutpup, which will support the learning in literacy and math and will be appropriate for work stations.
4.  List two or three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom.  What do you see that station looking like:  How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
One of the apps that I liked for the iPad was Puppet Pals.  I've actually downloaded it on my classroom iPad and played with it myself.  The app allows the students to choose characters and a setting for a puppet show.  Once the students have made those choices, they develop a story using those characters, then record a puppet show based on their story.  Once finished, they can save their "show" and watch and listen later.  I wish they could edit their show after watching it, but I don't think the app allows for that. Although free, the app was limited to only a couple of possible shows, so I purchased the director packages for more choice. Working together with a partner in a work station would support their storytelling skills which will also help to develop their writing skills and hopefully increase their comfort level for writer's workshop.  I will also use abc PocketPhonics Lite: letter sounds & writing + first words which has the students trace letters while making the sounds and combining the sounds to spell a CVC word.  This would definitely support many skills, and hopefully make students more aware of the starting place and formation of especially lower case letters.
5.  What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad?  Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station.  My students could listen to/read books on the iPad, and respond with a recommendation on a  something like  They could also record themselves reading an appropriately leveled book, and then discuss with a partner what they saw themselves doing as a reader.      

Tool #7

This year my students will participate in the O.R.E.O project along with their fellow kindergartners from other Frostwood classrooms.  Information on the O.R.E.O. project can be found at

     Content Objective:
     *  TLW collect information about objects and events in their environment.
     *  TLW pose questions, collect data, and record the results using objects,
         pictures, and pictographs.

     *  September 17 - October 12

     *Using these devices, TLW record their findings on

     Students will observe how many oreos they are able to stack before their
     oreo towers tumble.  Students are encouraged to speculate how many
     oreos they think they will be able to stack and then compare actual
     results.  Once the entire class has stacked their oreos, they will average
     all their results to turn in one class amount.

     This project, open to students all over the world, will also be ongoing in
     the other kindergarten classrooms at Frostwood.  We will use the
     technology to share results and post our reactions to the project.

Tool #8

Three (probably very simple and obvious) things I learned about the devices I will be receiving for my classroom:

*  I learned that I can take a picture of the iPad screen just by holding down the sleep and home buttons simultaneously, and then save or email.
*  Just as exciting was discovering that I can create a webclip for easy access to web pages that I visit often.
*  I learned how to sync my iPad to my laptop...well I'm still learning...

I am excited about getting the iPads for our classroom.  I have been using my personal iPad for about eight months now, and just love it!  I know that the children are coming into kindergarten very familiar with both iPads and netbooks as most of them have the technology at home. Hopefully, that will make it easier for me to instruct with them.  However, I'm also aware that I will definitely have to model appropriate behaviors with our school devices.  There will be defined rules about iPads and netbooks, and I can see many opportunities for "fishbowl" lessons.  My students will likely be experts at game apps, so I look forward to sharing with them the many other ways to use both devices.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tool #6
I created a skype account so that we have the possibility to talk with authors about their writing while in the classroom.  We have communicated via emails with authors, but it would be great for my students to get the immediate feedback that skype provides.

After playing around with Wallwisher, I can see why an online bulletin board would be fun for the students, especially as they become more tech savvy. I think my kindergartners would be able to share ideas if they had some parent or teacher support.  This would be a great way to get to know their classmates at the beginning of the year.  Another idea...I was thinking it would be fun to have them post and name a specific animal that they researched during our study on animals, and then we could classify them together as a group on the active board.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tool #5

I used Animoto to make a video of Pink Piggy Day that would chronicle the events of the day. I tried to edit the video so that the events were in sequential order, but I wasn't able to do so. I'll keep playing with it, but if anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Also, without purchasing, I couldn't choose a more appropriate song for the video. I liked that there was a choice in the style of the video. I think this would be a fun way to share our classroom happenings with my parents.

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Next I tried TickaTok, where students can make a variety of different books. The books can then be placed on the bookshelf to be accessed by the students and parents. There are prewritten books for the students to read and then illustrate. There is also an option of deleting the text provided and writing their own stories, which I would encourage during Writer's Workshop. I can definitely see my students using TickaTok, sharing with parents, and tracking the progess they are making throughout the year by reading the books they have placed on the shelves. The books are also available for purchase by the parents. I was not able to embed my book into my blog, however you can follow this link to the site and find my book on the bookshelf.