Sunday, October 25, 2015

iPad Practice Day 3

Teaching technology literacy can be difficult with little ones (which you can read more about here and here). We are on Day 3 of learning how to use of iPads purposefully and we kindergarteners have some MAD skills!

On Day 3, we opened up our Showbie app again and practiced writing our letters with our new stylus pens. The kids showed me how to zoom in and out, follow 2- and 3- step directions on how to get to the document, and worked diligently on writing their letters. Since we have been doing a lot of paper work, it was exciting to change up our letter practice routine. 

Probably the most underrated feature of Showbie is the "zoom" feature. I love my kiddos are able to differentiate for themselves. Some need to zoom in more than others in order to be super neat with their writing, others like to challenge themselves and work with more control.  When I asked one little guy why he had an empty document, "Because I am trying to make it so nice and I keep wanting to try again!" 

It's nice to use Showbie because the kids can erase, practice an infinite amount of times, reflect on work, and come back to it to edit later! The new portfolio feature is fab for adding pieces to save for later!

Love these two friends! They are at such different places in their educational journey and both using the same medium to complete a task. One friend is showing me how she zoomed in to work and can use color patterns, and the other is challenging herself! Love, love, LOVE!

After we worked on our letters, we saved our Showbie work by pressing the "Done" button. I introduce the "Done" button as the blue word that starts with a D.  Since it is the only word on the page, there is more ease to finding it. I also get to call us all readers because we found the word! Major confidence booster for friends who struggle.

Next, we exited out of Showbie by "swiping out" and opened up Show Me - an interactive white board app. 

I let the kiddos play around for a minute - checking in to see which friends could utilized the similar icons and changing writing color feature. We wrote our sentence of the week "I see a..."

Next up - our friends erased the hand written sentence and opened up the keyboard.

We worked on using the keyboard to type the same sentence we had been able to write. Were all of us writing the whole sentence - absolutely not! But the kiddos who could, did and the kiddos would couldn't got exposure to finding letters in an unfamiliar arrangement. 

This friend wanted to add on! Way to go girl!

I cannot describe how fun it is to watch my kiddos explore working with tech in ways they haven't before. To recap:
Day 1: Explore, teach icons, home button, "swiping out," letting your iPad "sleep"
Day 2: Review Day, take selfies (save to home & lock screens), navigate 1 of your most important apps, show how to screen shot
Day 3: Review, work within 1 of your most important apps, introduce how to submit material, check for understanding of classroom material by using iPads

I am going to work on some video tutorials on how to teach tech literacy but I hate listening to myself talk so... right now I am just working on convincing myself it is a good idea. HA!

How do you teach tech literacy? What do you NEED your kids to know when they work with iPads?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Learning how to "do" iPads

Before you can really "do" iPads, your students need a "Very particular set of skills..." anyone else a Taken fan?

No, but seriously, they do. Our kiddos need a good foundation in technology literacy in order to be able to use their iPads or computers effectively. 

After we set the tone and sans-tech foundations for using our iPads, we pass out the iPads and help the kids navigate one of our most used apps, Showbie

We show the kids how to open the app, log in with their password cards, and access the first document we want to work on. We do this whole group, step by step as if working on a craft. We use our "student-teachers" to help other friends as they navigate this new app. 

We open the first document, which is a letter assessment, and which we will later use as a formative assessment for both letters and tech literacy. then we ZOOM! That's right, we work on using the zoom feature so that the kiddos get a grasp of how to use their fine motor skill to zoom in, making material easier to view and manipulate. 

Then we practice zooming out, again using our fine motor skills as well as some motor planning strategies to get the document back to original size. This also helps us develop the kids tech vocabulary using "zoom" as the method of magnifying.

The next icon to address on the Showbie app is the pen feature. It has various sizes and colors (if you have the paid subscription). Will give the kiddos step by step directions again, "Make a yellow marker," "Make a red pen" i.e. the thickest line, and yellow color or thinnest line, red color. You can assess color knowledge and math concepts of thick and thin here.

P.S. In the picture above, you can see the password cards that I use to organize all the kids app passwords.

Next, the kiddos get directions what to do with their "pen" or "marker."  For the kids who are moving right along, you can let them explore, for other friends, we sit down and problem solve to get them up to speed. We look at fine motor planning and ability as the kiddos are circling letters that they know and following our step by step directions.

All along, we display the goals and our progress on the SmartBoard so our little friends can follow along.

After we have taught 2-3 components of the app, we let kids explore. This little lady found the voice feature. We used her find as a teachable moment to intro the feature even though we weren't necessarily ready. It ended up giving us some time to work with our friends who were still struggling, while the "student-teachers" helped iron out the voice feature.  

Tomorrow, we will get at it again, review the features we learned and add on some more.  Most importantly, we will be building the staircase up to full technology integration and purposeful use of our tech as our kids develop their tech literacy.

Do you introduce iPads in a similar way or just let the kiddos explore? What works for you?

If you need some more to help you get started with iPads, grab this FREEBIE or this ONE!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

They can't, they're only 5!

I thought it too...I hate to admit it, but when I started teaching with 1:1 technology I thought my options would be kind of limited as I work with 5 & 6 yr olds. What could they really do on their iPads, was it worth itwhat was the point?

Turns out, kindergarten kids can do tremendous amount on iPads. From practicing skills within an app to walking around the room and scanning QR codes, to working in differentiated groups and submitting work via their iPads, our kids can do it all!

...when we teach technology literacy.

Our students do need to be taught how to work iPads in an educational setting - think ELL learners need educational vocabulary to be successful in school, so do students working with tech. They need the vocabulary, background, and foundational skills in order to get the max out of learning with and in tech.

So...where do we start?

We started by brainstorming appropriate uses for the iPads and making a class chart.

You see things like no App store, no pets, Kindergarten kids only...We work on developing responsibility for a few days before the kids even touch the iPads. Once they can internalize these policies, we release the iPads into small group centers - 2 kids - where they can practice one or two apps which we have already downloaded.

We use this guided practice time to work out the kinks, get passwords installed etc.

Key -  DO NOT over download apps. Keep it simple for your friends to get used to as they develop technology literacy.

After the kiddos have minor handling down, we get to work on the nitty gritty iPad functions. Actually Erin and Erintegration has some great app icon posters for this purpose. 

Most of the iPad icons are universal, so the play icon in You Tube is the same and the play icons in other apps.  Once your kiddos can make those observations and transfer their knowledge of icons, you'll be able to do more and more (which you can read about here).

As we work, we find out who needs more structured technology literacy instruction, who is ready to expand and so forth. Our end goal is to have the technology completely integrated into our classroom, but that would never be possible if we didn't give our kiddos foundational skills and provide extra support to those who just don't grasp the flow of the iPads easily.

The next steps in our tech lit journey are detailed in this post. Need more help getting started? Here is a FREEBIE for you!

How do you teach tech lit?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Five for Friday Once Again!

Happy Friday all! We only had a three day week this week, which totally threw me off!

I did better on taking pictures this week and we squeezed all our tech in so we could finally take the iPads home!! Whooty-whoo!

 That brings us to #1 - packing up the iPads! We have been working on iPad literacy (appropriate use, handling, icon meaning) for a bit now and the time has come for the kids to take their iPads home for extended practice and exploration! Each of the kiddos gets a case, bag, and charger, which we VERY carefully packed up this afternoon!

They get to choose to either get the case in their bags or wear the cases. I actually took these pictures and more so we could show our Cali-buddies how to do it!

 We were able to meet our 1st grade Cali buddies for the first time this week! Their teacher, Mrs. Battaglia and I connected a few months back on social media and we decided to give virtual pen pals a shot! We are going to make a tutorial movie on how to take iPads home in the next few weeks. EEE I love integrating tech!

Speaking of connecting on social media... we also got to Tweet one of our favorite book authors! We had been exchanging Tweets for a few days and Mrs. Rosen Schwartz (The Three Ninja Pigs) ending up sending our classroom some ninja pig stickers and book marks! 

 Our kiddos were excited to get to "chat" with a real live author! It gave us some wind in our sails during writing this week.

We LOVE to read! Look at these two little cuties curled up with a good book. I love that the girls could sit there and read with their own books peacefully. I wish I was sitting there read a book with them too - it looks so natural!


Last these week is the most serene picture from last weekend...can I just blow this up please and plaster it on my classroom wall? Gooooood bye dull walls! Seriously though...I am really thinking of going for it. 

How was your week? Any fun tech projects to share? 

Monday, October 12, 2015

It ain't always pretty...

or planned, or conventional.

But, if the kids fall in love with school, make it part of your instruction.

More in my guest post over at Kinder Tribe.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Five for Friday 10/9 - I have no pictures!

Does anyone else have this problem? I get to the end of the week and realize I have like two pictures from the entire week and they are selfies with a kid who needed a break. 


It's hard! I am not a picture person, I just don't have the time. BUT I am trying!

 First up, let's address this. We have been studying fairy tales and started reading some fractured fairy tales this week. Ninja Red Riding Hood was our first crack at it and my kids were enamored with the story, rhymes, and ninjas they got to make after reading.  So we tweeted the author to ask if she had other books AND SHE TWEETED BACK! So cool! 

 Next, lets address password cards. Our kiddos have a number of apps which require passwords. Last year I did not put anyones face on their card - which was a MAJOR mistake. Especially at the beginning.  Now I have my kiddos faces, names, pictures of the apps, and the passwords.  One set for folders, the other sets for the classroom. They work pretty well and keep us organized!

 We had our first Google Hangout date with our pen pals from California! Super excited! Mrs. Battaglia's class is a first grade class whom we are so excited to learn with and about! Our next date is next Thursday but I haven't told the kiddos yet - oops! Can't wait!

 Aww, this is a sweet one. One of my grandma's from last year saw our class at the book fair and bought a little eraser for each of the kids on our class. She was so thoightful. Then she took some time and kind words with one of my little behavior friends. It was definitely the light that I needed in the day! 

 Last is really a re-cap from last weekend when my sisters in law and husband did the Ditka Dash in Chicago! It was a fun and chilly little 5K on the lake front.  I am always amazed at the beauty of our city! 

How was your week? And more importantly how do you find the time to take pictures mid week!?