Sunday, September 1, 2013

Baby Steps with Technology

I love reading about people using technology in their classrooms. People like Matt Gomez, Ms. Lirenman, Mrs. Wideen, and many others challenge me, inspire me, and make me want to use it more in my classroom.

My goal this year was to start tweeting with my class. I tried to get it started with my new first graders but ran into some access issues. I couldn't get on to Twitter at school and HootSuite decided to act up when I was trying to use it. Then I moved to a new school and to a new grade level.

I'm still working to get back into my "flow" of teaching after the move and reboot. Twitter is still on my list of goals, but we're working up to it. As a step, we are reflecting on our day and listing things that "stuck with us" on sticky notes and put on a poster. This will evolve into tweeting (if I can work out the access stuff).

The instructional coach at my new school pointed me toward some new (to me) online resources. One that I have been using regularly is We Give Books. I use it during our morning snack. As kids eat, I project a book and read it to the class. We have read several books (some more than once) and talk about characters and plot. We find words that match our focus for the week (vowel sounds or other types of words). We talk about illustrations and how they support the text. Things that we would do with any read-aloud. But this book is projected and easy for all to see. 

I like that the pages turn like a "real book" and that we see the cover, title page, and back cover, too. This has helped me add more reading in the day and keep kids focused on instructional things during a time that could easily become wasted time. (Yes, we talk and have conversations and build our community. That's important, too.)

Another resource is portaportal. You can sign up and create your own bookmarks that can be accessed anywhere. The coach has set up a school set of bookmarks and given us the visitor sign in. Links to We Give Books, online support for our reading resources, links for math resources, and other pertinent links are all there. I don't need to remember how to get to a place or create bookmarks (that I can only access when I'm at school). I can use this to check out resources from school, home, or wherever I am on whatever Internet device I'm on.

I have also taken my "old" iPad to school. We've mostly used it for music. I play "thinking music" while kids work on some tasks. I'll put on some "dancing music" so we can move for a few minutes and energize our brains. I'm looking forward to integrating it into our day in other ways, too.

I'm happy with these "baby steps" in using technology and will continue to work toward being like those inspirational teachers.

3 comments:

  1. I like that approach. Sometimes it's best to take the baby steps and see the results instead of just rushing forward.

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  2. We Give Books is great! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. You can't get kids involved too early with technology. It will be an inevitable part of their lives, and the younger they can begin getting familiar with the operation of these devices, the more easily they can access information. My 16-month old nephew already knows how to find his favorite toddler apps on his mom’s iPhone, mostly animal sounds, and can use his thumbs and scroll pages with amazing dexterity.

    Devices are here to stay, and kudos to you for integrating them in such positive ways.

    Gwynn

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