Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Educreations-Writing lesson

Adding, substituting and redefining in kindergarten. I am trying to "add" something new to my arsenal of iPad usage. Today I used the app Educreations for writing. I used a prescribed writing program for the first 5 weeks. It entails 4 parts daily with direct instruction.
1.  Writing your name (obviously this can a few seconds to a minute or more depending on the ability of the students.
2.  Draw a picture. We correlate to the read aloud and theme that we are learning about. The intent is to teach "how to draw." When we draw we think how different objects are really made up of shapes. For example, a body has a circle head, small rectangle neck, rectangle or square torso, rectangle arms and legs, etc. This helps the students learn to draw and I found it eliminated the "I can't draw this. or I don't know how." that I would hear all year. A little drawing lesson seems to go along way.
3.  Label the picture. We begin the first week with one word, a noun (for example, bee). The second week is an article and noun (for example, a bee or the bee). This supports the sight word acquisition that we are also teaching. The third week is an article, adjective, noun (for example, the yellow bee). The fourth week is a simple sentence (for example, I see the bee.). The fifth week is a simple sentence with an adjective (for example, I see the yellow bee.). Each time we write a word we sound it out, phonetically. We are teaching decoding words during this time. Other skills are capitalization, punctuation, space, return sweep (if applicable).
4.  Reading our label/sentence. We talk about spacing and reading one-to-one correspondence.

Changing the old to the new. So this is how I did it. I used my iPad which is wireless. I could walk around the room, focusing on individual students, even sitting next to a student that is very distracted(!!!) and still complete the lesson, step by step. Everything that I wrote on my ipad was projected on to the screen. No more overhead. I can use the iPad and complete the whole lesson from all around the room. I did not have to run to the overhead and then run to individual students to complete each step of the lesson. I also didn't have students trying to look around me while at the overhead as I was blocking their view. Wow! I could spend the maximum amount of time with students in different locations of the room. Quickly addressing behavior if needed. Quickly addressing students needing assistance. 

Another cool aspect is that Educreations can record the whole lesson, save it, and end up with a complete file of writing lessons. If you have residents/student teachers, they can watch/listen to the whole lesson at home. Going on maternity leave, here is a complete lesson plan for your sub.

I used the iPad for writing but the possibilities are endless. What ways can you think of using this app?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New School Year, New Plan

I am now officially a 1-to-1 iPad and digital kindergarten classroom. I had iPads last year but had to share 30 of them with other classrooms. I am writing this blog with excitement about the possibilities for my students and myself and apprehension because I feel I do not really know what I am doing with all of this technology. This will really be a year of learning, trying, succeeding, and sometime failing at becoming a successful digital learner.

Installed in my classroom is an apple tv, wireless projector, and ziggy. I probably am missing something and writing/spelling something wrong as well. I just don't know.

One of the big questions this year as I set up my classroom is how to position my learning spaces (rug time and student tables) to optimize my technology and make it most usable for me and my students. I am still working this out. I anticipated where the equipment would be housed prior to getting it. (School started August 10th; equipment arrived and was installed August 24th.) I already see a potential problem. I am using the white board (the only white board in the room) as one location for the projector. I already see that the projector needs to sit in the middle of my rug to have the optimal picture projected on the white board. Have to fix that somehow. The other side of the room has observation windows so I had a screen installed that can be lowered for use but also retracted when not in use. The same projector for the front of the room has to be wheeled to the back of the room. Not ideal but definitely doable. I already taped an extension cord to the floor and it goes under the carpet. I think that since that cart has been in the classroom from the beginning of the year, they students are getting used to it. They haven't tripped on cords and most cords are taped to the floor anyway.