Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tech Tuesday {Revisited}

It’s hard to believe I have not written since the 5th week of school! But on the same note it’s not that hard to believe, a working mom never has time to actually work once she gets home.

I sat down this morning to begin writing a series of blog posts about my adventures this past school year in creating a technology based classroom. After reading my Tech Tuesday blog from September, it’s hard to remember that our crazy wonderful technology adventure started there, it seems so far from where we ended! It was great to read this blog however, and remember just how far my babies and I grew this past year.

Back in September, while I was doing research, the one constant that kept coming up was using Google Classroom. With support of our principal I tried several times to get this program to cooperate with our classroom computers, but in the end it was not an option for us. So I was sent searching for another alternative. I needed something that would allow me to guide my students, supply them with documents and assignments, and above all let me access their work too. Since I was unable to use Google Classroom, I went for the next best thing Google Drive.

Now, I love Google Drive for myself. I save all of my work in it so that I can seamlessly share between my home computer and my work computer. First thing I did was create an account for my class. Once we had a Google Account we could do so many different things.

1. Drag and Drop Documents: Only having the laptops 3 days limited the amount of time we had to work on projects. If a project was not finished by Wednesday students could drag and drop their work into the “Student Work” folder and would have access to it for the rest of the week. This was also great because half way through the year we ran out of ink in our classroom printer, so I was able to print for them.

2. Google Forms: These are amazing! I used them to create basically a worksheet, I did them for everything; reading comprehension, grammar practice, spelling practice, math facts. You create the form, and then share the link. Students are able to go in and answer the questions and submit their answers. My students loved this because they felt like such big kids doing computer-based lessons.

3. Pre-Formatted Documents: Once we learned how to create a PowerPoint presentation, I could go in and create a template that the kids would just have to duplicate. This was awesome for my little ones because fixing a PowerPoint to be printable was a lot of steps.

4. Save Links and Documents: Occasionally I ran across a specific game, book, document or website that I wanted my students to use, either whole group or  during independent work times. I could easily save any of 
these to “The Drive” and all students could access it 
                              quickly, limited the amount of instructional time I had to 
                              spend getting there.

I love Google Drive, it was certainly a life saver in my classroom this school year. Next year I plan to incorporate it not only as an in class tool, but as a homework tool as well. Keep checking back for updates on how I integrate this.

<< << <<      >> >> >>

If you want to take a tour of how our Google Drive looked at the end of the year please feel free.

Username:    Campbells.kids1617

Password:   130PTE2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tech Tuesday in First Grade

Seriously, No Joke, 100% IN LOVE with Kahoot! and Google Drive.

Okay lets back up a little bit... last year our county announced they were taking away our macbook’s and giving us Lenovo ThinkPads. Along with our brand new {not so amazing} teacher laptops, we were told we would be getting new desktops in our classrooms, and a few laptops for our classrooms. Additionally, each grade would be getting a laptop cart or 2 to share. We all thought, great, we’ll pick a morning/afternoon each week and have the kids play on some of the technology that comes along with our curriculum.

             << << <<     >> >> >>

FAST FORWARD to pre-planning week ... a group of teenage volunteers come strolling down the first grade hallway with not 1, or 2 laptop carts but 6!! SIX laptop carts for 10 of us to share (each cart contains 20 computers)!!! This changed EVERYTHING!

<< << <<      >> >> >>

One of these 6 carts lives in my classroom 2.5 days a week. The 2nd week of school I decided we would have Tech Tuesdays in our classroom. This started with learning how to log-in, and how to navigate a few computer programs. Week 3 it evolved a little bit, but still a lot of “playing” on the computer. While this was amazing... it was not productive, and I actually felt like it took away from our learning time each week.

So I set out to do some RESEARCH. I knew I was not the only person using laptops in a first grade classroom, and I knew that this was such a great idea that someone HAD to have blogged about it!! I stumbled across great blog that had lots of ideas on how to use Chromebooks in a primary classroom. Our laptops were slightly different but some of the ideas were the same.

Week 4 became slightly more evolved. We learned some techie pharses, and learn that there are things OTHER THAN THE INTERENT on a computer!! Again, still some “playing.”

Week 5’s Tech Tuesday started a whole new adventure for us!! It all began on Monday... a few kids asked if they could use their laptop do to this or that during specific centers. I agreed. I carefully watched them log themselves in, and navigate to where they wanted to go with out assistance. All while I worked with writing groups to edit, and revise a story. I even had one student use her “work on writing” time to do some research and take notes about Johnny Appleseed (WHAT?!?!?)

Tuesday we used the laptops to learn how to type final drafts of their stories in Microsoft word. We use some digital leveled readers to read during reading groups. We played a few rounds of Kahoot! And we used virtual manipulatives to further our understanding of math concepts.

I was very proud of these kiddos. These kids who can not listen to 1 step directions 90% of the time were able to log themselves onto their laptop, able to navigate to desired websties, and navigate to directed websties.

We finished our 2.5 days with our laptops by most of us publishing our 1st story; changing font size, and type, and hitting the print button.


best part of all this... our brand new principal walked into the classroom, facetiming someone, to show them how my classroom library is set up and got to witness first hand our remarkable my group of firsties are!

You can find my Kahoot!s here and my friend’s here.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Using STEM

Wow that went fast!
Our first week back was crazy busy but crazy fun too.

Over the summer I decided to try something new with my class. I didn't want to just play silly get to know you games, I wanted to give them a more meaningful activities to help them get to know their new classmates.

So I set out to search pinterest to find inspiration. And there I found some great STEM activities that were simple enough I wouldn't need a lot of extra supplies, and simple enough that my new firsties would be successful.

I then designed this nifty little PDF to either be printed, (or displayed on a white board) to explain each challenge. My firsties and I were only able to get to 2 during our first week. But MAN OH MAN was I blown away!!!

The first day of school we did the Stacking Cup Challenge. I couldn't have imagined the outcome of this challenge. First of all they were taking turns, and sharing ideas. Secondly, when that first red solo cup fell I heard this magical sound... 

LAUGHTER!! It was hilarious, the cups made the best sound ever, but laughter was not the reaction I was expecting from the kiddos.

<< << But what I witnessed next blew me away  >> >>

The kids were learning from their mistakes and looked to each other for motivation!!! ALL ON THEIR OWN! (Insert a bit of sarcasm the, I'm the total opposite of a helicopter mom or teacher)

I didn't have to give any hints, and I didn't have to encourage any groups to try again. When their cups fell they quickly picked them up, had a conversation, and went back to work. Almost like it was second nature. (again with the sarcasm) We did a quick talk - and were actually late for dismissal because of it - about the importance of carrying that same exact attitude the REST of first grade.

That night I went home and made them a very special Brag Tag for being such awesome people.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Math Journals

I spent a good part of my night last night adjusting one of my favorite TPT Resources so that it would be ready for my Math Journaling center.

I bought this product, several years ago. And have been in love with it ever since!!! But yes I said I had to adjust it…

We have a copy limitation at our school, and while I love the story problems on these pages, there is NO WAY I can print this full page, or even half page, and still have enough copies for things like HOMEWORK!! So I cut, paste, and move around the great story problems, to make it so there are 5 on one page… then print these bad boys on COLORED paper. Throw them in some magazine boxes and BAM! Math Journals are set for a month!!

<<<      >>>

How I use these story problems with my Gifted High Achieving kiddos?!?! That is my favorite part! We spend the 1st month doing these as a whole group activity. Learning what it is Mrs. Campbell expects. After that we do a story problem a week as a group to keep these expectations going.

What is it I expect? Well most of my Gifted kids have the goal, “Student will use a variety of strategies to solve complex grade appropriate mathematical problems.” The best way to make sure they meet this goal… is well… by making them use a VARIETY of STRATEGIES to SOLVE MATHMATICAL PROBLEMS.

We learn the strategies in class. We talk about examples, and non-examples of how to each strategy. Then we put them to work. Each week my kiddos are required to do 1 story problem independently during centers. When I print them, I print each story problem on a different color paper so they can easily keep track of what they have done. Even if they can solve it mentally, they are not allowed!!! They must write the number sentence that the story problem is asking, then the number sentence they are actually going to solve (only if its different, example missing numbers etc). They must show the problem solving strategy they used, this can be a picture, a model, or another number sentence. Finally, the must explain how they solved the problem, using math vocabulary!

I love watching my firsties grow from basic answers to really understanding the strategies and using them to solve their problems.

(obviously not ever day is a great day for these activities!)