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Friday, December 28, 2012

Technology, linky's, and the future....

The end of the calendar year. Every year I take time to reflect on the goals from last year: which ones I met, what I never worked on, what I am still working toward. I actually don’t know if I kept my resolutions from last year. I call them aspirations, but some I am not-so-crazy about and I do sometimes have to “resolve” to do them. If my goals don’t inspire me, I am probably not going to work toward them. I want to link up in a linky party about how we use or aspire to use technology in the classroom.
What are my favorite ways to use technology in the classroom?
Calendar time. I use the promethean board every day during calendar time. Every month I download a calendar from Promethean planet and tweak it to meet our class needs. We add a daily schedule at the very beginning or this teacher would never get her class to specials on time. Twice a week we have computer lab at 8:30, which is just after the pledge and morning announcements, so after being repeatedly retrieved by the computer lab teacher, I moved the daily schedule to the beginning of calendar so it pops up first when I open the calendar. I always open the calendar when I get to school in the morning. I added a page with our “popcorn” words.  The term “popcorn words” actually goes with their Saxon phonics, but I decided to apply it to all site words throughout the year. The popcorn words that we work on daily are the ones in the reading curriculum, plus a few that we read frequently that I threw in, and number words up to ten. We now have so many popcorn words that I moved the number words and gave them their own page.  During calendar we graph the weather, do math (the calendar I download has a ten frame with a die that rolls and children roll the dice and put the amount in the frame and when two students have done this, we write the addition sentence). We have a wish-you-well page on our calendar.  I put some warm-fuzzy words at the top: good thoughts, love and prayers, well wishes.  At the bottom we write the name of the students who are missing that day. I tell them to think good thoughts about them and that if they say prayers at home it is okay to say a prayer for their classmate. I try to be careful to keep my own beliefs out of it. Calendar covers: months of the year, days of the week, the monthly calendar, weather and graphing, math addition, letter recognition and sounds, popcorn words, well-wishes for absent students.
I use the promethean board to help students transition from one activity to another and to get their wiggles out. I have found that centers that take 10 minutes to clean up, take about 2 ½ minutes to clean up if everyone else is on a bear hunt while they are cleaning up. So I have started putting on an activity or song. I try to pick a class favorite, it motivates. I found a shape song on youtube that I added recently. It has been hard to add actions though. On the counting songs (funwithteaching has the best songs) we do a reaching motion for each number, switching hands for each number. We also do this for the alphabet song (also funwithteaching). For the count by 5’s we do arm curls (thanks Steph), and for the counting by 10’s we do an X with our arms and then uncross, alternating motions for each number.
I do most of my writing on the Promethean because I don’t have a dry erase white board in my class, and chalkboards (which I have an abundance of)… well, ugh. So for handwriting activities or samples or demonstrating what is next, I use the white board.
I also use the Promethean as a big screen for movies and surfing the web. I learned my lesson about freezing the screen when I am searching and only bringing it up if it is appropriate. Don’t worry, kiddos didn’t get an X-rated view, but it wasn’t what I had in mind either! We look up word definitions when we are reading, I use it for Social Studies: maps of our state, where are places located on a map, and finding Scholastic videos. I rely on Scholastic quite a bit.  BrainPop is great for both science and social studies, but our school doesn’t have BrainPop. I miss it from student teaching and before.
I use the web all the time: for lesson plans, for research, for projects (really, I don’t know how people taught before Pinterest). I download much for centers from TpT, freebies off of blogs, free printouts on Pinterest.  I recently received from my principal a very cool little flipchart of CCS for OK for Kindergarten, but before that I went to the OK Dept. of Education and compared lesson plans to the Common Core Standards.  I literally could not teach without the internet.
My school district can’t quite make up their minds about how they feel about technology. I can’t get on their network with my laptop and they don’t provide teachers with laptops. This was really foreign to me since the schools I interned in and the school I student taught in provide laptops to teachers, and some provided laptops for students. Coming from very forward thinking schools in regard to technology, I am a little bit lost as to how to continue to bring technology into the classroom when I feel so stunted myself.
New Year’s Resolutions in regard to my classroom and technology:
In 2013 I want to bring in iPods for audio centers to enhance the reading/literacy centers. I need to get off my duff and do the work and write a proposal for Donorschoose so I can do this. In the 2013-2014 school year I want to write a proposal or a grant and get iPads in the classroom to use for centers and small groups.  OH! And I want to find a partner class somewhere far from us. I’d like to start in the USA, not necessarily the 48 though, and Skype with them and learn about their lives through the wonder of Skype. Those are my biggest classroom aspirations for 2013 and the 2013-2014 school year. I want to add iPods during the current (2012-2013) year, and be ready to add the rest in the next school year.

Here is the link to Growing Kinders linky party about the current use of technology and how we are resolving to use technology in the next year: Growing Kinders. Read it, link up if it applies, read other blogs, become inspired. Happy New Year. My challenge is try to figure out how to register for the give aways. 

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