Adventures of a K-5 Academic Technology Teacher & New(ish) Mommy

Off the Top of my Head – Tech Integration Ideas

A sweet colleague came to me earlier this week asking for fun and easy ways that she could get her kids using their laptops more often in her classroom. Coming from her grade level (and her exactly room, actually) I reflected back on the ways that I enjoyed integrating technology with my students when I was involved in the 1:1 laptop program in fourth grade, and I passed along a few ideas very, very quickly. I decided to record them here in case I want to put them into practice myself in the computer lab setting.

  • Have them each check the daily weather and lunch menu on their individual computers when they arrive in the morning (time permitting). Then, after announcements, draw a student’s name from a hat and have that student share what is on the menu for the day and what is expected weather-wise at recess time. My kids always loved doing that, and I would have them write their findings on the SMARTboard for everyone to read.
  • Encourage them to use the Stickies application to write notes and reminders to themselves–i.e. “Left off on paragraph 3, go back and edit” or “Do S.L. 6.2 for homework tonight.” What a great way to promote organization and personal accountability!
  • Begin a long-term project where students create websites (perhaps using your own school webpage as the host–our teachers use Weebly to build their webpages and Weebly makes is very simply for students to create their own pages). Student-created webpages could turn into cool ways for them to showcase the things they’ve been working on and want to share publicly. This might be a nice thing for students to work on when they say, “I’m done.” 😉  When I was in the regular classroom, my students used iWeb to accomplish the same task and I managed the publishing process.
  • Use Inspiration, this tool from ReadWriteThink.org, or Bubbl.us to promote brainstorming and webbing prior to drafting writing pieces. Print and tape webs into Writer’s Notebooks when necessary.
  • Encourage children to create book review or reading response videos using PhotoBooth when they finish reading chapter books for your class. This would be a great way to check comprehension. They can be shared with classmates, or even with next year’s students as book talks!
  • Begin a “website of the week/month” routine where you encourage children to share cool sites that they find either at school or at home that they’d like to showcase to the class. Start a collection of the sites shared and add them to your webpage for easy access.
  • Go on a mission for misspellings. [We did this in my classroom a few years ago and the kids (and I)–loved it!] Basically, be on the lookout for misspelled words–anywhere–on signs, websites, in the newspaper, on menus, at the gym, etc., and take pictures when you see them (iphones, ipod touches, ipads, etc.). Teach them how to upload the pictures to the their computers and email them to you. Create a slideshow on your webpage of the misspellings collection and give credit to the children who found them.
  • Use Quizlet or Word Dynamo to put vocabulary words you are learning into sets that the children can study and practice with online. Both sites require a login name and password, but are free.
  • Teach them how to create QR codes for their writing pieces during a particular unit of study in writing. They can record themselves using PhotoBooth or Audio Recorder talking about the behind the scenes work it took to publish that specific piece, turn it into a QR Code, and then you could hang the QR code next to their writing piece out on your bulletin board.  When scanned, the QR code would link to the student’s video/audio file.

Hmmm…when can I get back into the classroom?!

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How Embarrassing

Did I read that correctly? Has it really been since June of 2009 that I have taken the time to put together a blog post? How embarrassing! I guess a full-time job, travel, a pregnancy, a job change, and parenthood kept me busier than I thought.

Just a little update: I am now overjoyed mommy to a 13 month-old little boy and uber-blessed teacher wearing a new hat. Teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade computer this year has been one of the biggest and best changes in my life, and it has meant dedicating 100% of my instruction to incorporating technology. I pinch myself daily: do I really get paid to do this??

Here’s a little preview of posts marinating in my mind:

  • I LOVE plasq.com’s painting and drawing software called Doozla! It’s a bummer they don’t have plans to continue releasing updates, but I’m so glad to have the program in our lab. It’s been wildly popular with my first grade buddies.
  • SMART Notebook has been a great tool in the lab this year. We’ve done some 1st grade grammar and mechanics work, some 2nd grade map-making, and some 3rd grade nonfiction reading using the software.
  • There are some 3rd grade Internet Criminals on the loose at our school. Be on the lookout!

Man, I have a lot of work to do. Better go to bed.

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