Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Reflection

I am very excited to begin working with students using the Ipads and Ipods. I also can't wait to start putting together resources using Diigo. As for a particular activity, we will be beginning a unit of colors very shortly. Students will be creating a picture and a sentence of something that is a particular color. Then students will be using Animoto to create a "color storybook".

Students in today's world are very much digital learners. Many students learn how to use a computer mouse before they can talk. I plan to incorporate technology into the classroom in an everyday capacity. In other words, using technology will not be something that is done only on special occasions, but something that occurs on a daily basis in the classroom. Becoming technology literate is essential for students as they grow and enter into a society that relies so heavily on technology.

There wasn't anything that necessarily surprised me, but I did learn a lot about tools that I didn't necessarily know were out there before. I am excited to continue researching digital resources that can aid student learning in my classroom.

Digital Citizenship

As a PreK teacher, I would want to make sure that my students understand how important it is to stay on the websites that I pull up for them, as well as never giving out personal information or talking to strange people online.

One resource that Ed Tech has for me to use is BrainPop. On BrainPop, there is a video called "Online Safety". I would start out with students watching this video. Then I would lead a discussion about how important it is to follow the rules of the internet (not talking to strangers, not typing your real name, and staying on the sites that the teacher pulls up). I would also probably make up a song that we would practice that reinforces these rules. We would then practice what following these rules looks like.

During open house or another organized event, I would talk to parents about the importance of internet safety and monitoring their children while online. I would teach them the song that the students learned and we would discuss other things like putting the computer in a family room, where computer usage can be easily monitored.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

1. It is important to tie in technology to the objectives because the ability to use and master technology is essential for today's students. As educators, it is our job to teach students these skills that they will need to be successful later on.

2. Holding students accountable for their learning is essential in every classroom. It is human nature to rise only to what is expected of us. This holds true for children as well. If no accountability is required, students will accomplish little, as very little is expected of them. The purpose of learning centers is to reinforce the concepts being taught. Having students be accountable for their learning while there encourages students to stay on task.

3. I really liked studyladder.com. It had many relevant activities for students in PreK. This would be a great website for students to go to in a teacher guided small group and later on in centers (using the laptops). Students can be held accountable by registering the class on the website. I might also ask students to write or draw a picture of something they did on the website.

I also liked TES iboard. There are many good interactive lessons that can be used on the Active Board. Once students are comfortable using the Active Board and rules have been established, this can become a learning center. Again, I would ask students to write or draw a picture of something that they practiced on the Active Board.

4. I love, love, love the Ipad! Two apps that I found that I really enjoy are "Animal Preschool Circus" and "Abby-Basic Skills Preschool". Both have free versions, and to access the full content is only $1.99.  I would typically use the Ipads in a teacher-led small group. I would be monitoring and guiding students, therefore they would be held accountable for their work on these apps.

5. Ipads can also be used as research tools. For instance during a unit on structures, students can use the Ipad to find images of different kinds of buildings. They can also use the blocks in the block center to create their own structures, then use the Ipad to take a picture of that structure. Students can then compile these images into a digital photostory or animoto story.

Technology Tools Within the Classroom

I am new to the district and my school is in the process of being renovated (I will not have classroom access until August 16) so I do not know exactly what technology devices I will have access to. Therefore, I am going to speak in hypothetical terms at this point.

How would I use these devices in my classroom?

Netbook--A class set of these could be used to access instructional websites (Starfall.com comes to mind right now). Because of the webcam capabilities, they could also be used to Skype with our sister class during  our weather unit (see previous post).

Ipod--In PreK, we do not have specials teachers to teach PE or Music. The Ipod would be a great way to organize the music needed for these activities. Having the ability to create playlists for a specific day or activity would eliminate the time wasted trying to forward through to the right song on a CD.

Ipad--As an owner of an Ipad, I can personally attest to the multitude of wonderful apps that are out there, many of which are free. With an Ipad, I could download apps based on a specific skill we are working on. Having 3 or 4 Ipads would allow me to focus on a skill in small group. I am not sure of the capabilities of the Active Board, but if possible, the Ipad might also be hooked up to the Active Board to allow for whole group instruction when introducing a new skill.

Technology can be a wonderful thing. I hope that I will have the opportunity to have at least 1 (or all!) of these tools in my classroom!!

Online Digital Projects

PreK Digital Project:

Objective: The student will compare different weather patterns in different parts of the country.

Time Frame: This would be a month long study. It would be implemented in late fall.

Technology Tools: Skype (to allow each class to collect data from another part of the country); Google Docs (students will create a graph on MS Word, which they will upload to Google Docs)

Plan: Students will use Skype to connect with another classroom and collect data from another part of the country throughout the course of a month. Each day students will record their data on a graph. At the end of the study, students will use the information to determine what kind of weather each place had the most/least of, etc. Graphs will then be uploaded to Google Docs.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Using Web Tools

I actually already use a lot of online social networking tools so I enjoyed learning about more that are available to me. In my previous district, I used Edmodo quite a bit to facilitate discussion among my students on topics that we were studying. I also use sites such as Pinterest to bookmark ideas for future lessons.

I explored Diigo.com and found that it was very much like Pinterest. I was able to create lists in order to organize my bookmarks and then could bookmark the sites that I want to refer back to. I particularly liked the fact that I could use the "sticky notes" to make annotations of things I wanted to remember. I plan to use Diigo to organize resources that I want to use for my units of study in PreK.

Example of Diigo (My goal is to create lists of each unit of study)

I also have been becoming more comfortable with Blogger. My goal this year is to create my own PreK blog to serve as a weekly newsletter. Parents can use it to find out what we worked on throughout the week, as well as what we will be focusing on in the near future. I also plan on linking educational websites on my blog that parents might find helpful.

Mrs. Mahabir's PreK Blog

Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Well, I have to admit, I have a lot more exploring to do with these websites. Many of them I think I could use as a teacher tool to engage my students in learning . Some are definitely easier to navigate than others.

Plant Parts

First, I created a Prezi about plant parts. I found the Prezi at times hard to understand (maybe I am just challenged; I'm not sure!). The presentation did not come out exactly how I planned, and given the choice, I would probably use PowerPoint as an alternative. However, this could be due to my lack of familiarity with this program so I will definitely continue to practice with it.

Animoto: Plant Parts

I also created an Animoto video about plant parts. I really like this site and the fact that they give educators the opportunity to upgrade to a plus account. This site was very easy to navigate through and created really nice videos. I can definitely see my students using this website. Student work can be photographed and compiled to create a video on a certain topic. This is also a good tool to use when preparing for open house.

I can't wait to explore the rest of the sites in more depth!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Using Google Docs

Using Google Docs is a great way to share documents. I am very excited to be able to use this tool as an additional way to collaborate with the teachers on my new campus. Below is a picture sort of living and nonliving items that I created for my PreK students. I can't wait to be able to share this with my new team!

Living vs. Nonliving Sort

I also created a form that would allow teachers to give input on their favorite online resources for students. A master list of all responses could then be easily complied to aid teachers in their use of instructional technology.

technology survey

I am very excited to begin using these tools within my school, my team, and my classroom!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Using Videos While Respecting Copyright

I love using Discovery Education as well as the YouTube and TeacherTube websites. I have found and used great videos from all three. The one thing I have learned over the years is to always preview the content first. As a first year teacher, I was discussing with my Kindergarten class the concept of "tall tales". I decided to show my class a Discovery Education cartoon video on the story of Paul Bunyan. Although I did watch some of the video, I did not preview all of it. Well, as it turns out, it shows Bunyan as a small boy walking out of the water with his bum showing. Wouldn't you know, that was the one thing from the video that students noticed?! Note to self: Always preview the video first!

Here are some great videos that I have used in the past with my students.
I used this video with my 2nd graders to help them remember the basic needs of animals. We also made our own video (based on the song) for open house.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

This is a video from Discovery Education. It retells one of my Kindergarten students' favorite books, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

As teachers, copyright plays an important part when we are contemplating using videos and/or images as part of our teaching. One thing from the "11 Tools" blog that I did learn is that when using say a copyrighted video, it cannot be the majority of your lesson. It can only be a small portion of the lesson, used to get the point across, such as an Engage or Elaborate part of the lesson.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Creating a PLN

Wow! There is so much information out there that finding and reading different blogs could become a full time job! I am very excited to begin building my PLN. I like the fact that I now have a way to organize all the blogs that I would like follow. Although I had heard of live feeds before, I have never actually tried it out until today. As far as sharing comments publicly goes, I think the most important thing to remember is the power of one's words. It is even more important when you are posting a comment where the person cannot see your expression or hear the intonation in your voice.

I am very excited to continue my blog searches, but unfortunately these little people around me want dinner. :) I can't wait to check out the following blog to get some more ideas for my new PreK class!

Mrs. Miners Kindergarten Monkey Business
Well, I have managed to create my blog with only a little difficulty. I got the blog set up with no problems. Creating the VOKI took more time and I actually had to have my 12 year old help me. She, however, is very knowledgeable and helped me create my avatar in no time. I think she actually enjoyed it since I am usually the one helping her with her homework! :) Now I am just waiting to get my blog up and running on the wiki!