Category Archives: DonorsChoose

Exploring Coding:@vermontkkids123

Last week was really wonderful.  My students, some parents and myself participated in the Hour Of Code.  This is my 2nd year participating and I am already thinking more about how I can use the Hour of Code week as an opportunity to introduce coding to my students and then continue to weave in opportunities for my kindergarten students to continue to explore coding.

Last week our technology integrationist, Bonnie Birdsall visited Kindergarten.  She was awesome.  She shared a video of coding happening globally and then alongside me and my students we explored code.  We used Daisy the Dinosaur as a way to begin.  The children were very interested and intrigued about how they could make the dinosaur do things.  After this introduction I then began to explore more coding alongside my students and families.

unnamed-3

My students were so proud and happy when they finished a challenge.  I was so excited to hear how they were all supporting each other and asking questions to help them solve problems.  Lots of critical thinking happening!

I had 2 fathers volunteer to come in and work with small groups of children using Daisy the Dinosaur. What I noticed was lots of collaborating with students and I was amazed at how my students were supporting each other when stuck and the connections that were being made.  Remarkable really.

Here were some of the responses my students made about why everyone should know how to code:

  1. It helps you think mathematically.
  2.  It is so fun.
  3. It helps you learn.
  4. Coding helps your brain solve problems.
  5. It helps my thinking.
  6. It helps us learn to use technology.
  7. Coding helps us think and justify our thinking.
  8. Coding is learning Mrs. D.
  9. Coding helps you learn about math.
  10. Coding is important because you can do it by yourself or you can collaborate.
  11. Code

We created a poster to display in our classroom.  I really liked how a few of my students made brains.  I asked why and I was told that that is where we think!  Wonderful.

 

Later in the week my students created a Kidblog post about coding.  I am always reminded about how easily young children can make connections and build on their prior experiences when trying something new.  A couple of my students were creating their Kidblog post and wanted to know “how to” spell a word, so 1 child went to get a book to find the word he needed!   Another child went to get our ‘how to” use Kidblog book to help guide her through the steps.  Wonderful. What a great example of young learners using prior experiences and tools that we created together to create and design what is important.

As a teacher I am able to learn so much from my students through this experience.  How are they figuring things out? Sounding out words? Looking for environmental print? Print in books? Other ideas? This is also an opportunity for me to grow and to begin rethinking about what I need to do, where do I need to go next in regards to learning opportunities that my students need.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 5.17.53 PM

Technology really offers so many ways for even our youngest learners to not only connect and engage, but also problem solve and build their own confidence with digital tools. I am grateful for being able to be a teacher and work alongside so many wonderful people.

Then I was inspired to write a project in regards to coding!  If interested, my project for Bee-Bots can be found here.

Donors Choose: A Great Resource That Supports Creativity

As a Kindergarten teacher I’m faced with reduced spending each year due to cut backs and the economy. I’m always looking for ways to get funds that will support my students in their learning discoveries and explorations.  Two years ago a colleague, Bonnie Birdsall our Technology Integration Specialist suggested Donors Choose as a place where I could go and post project ideas so that others in the world could see what I am doing and the learning value.  I have had huge success with all my projects I have posted.

Another challenge that I face as a Kindergarten teacher is time. I’m constantly looking for ways to incorporate science and technological tools throughout the day. Donors Choose has provided me with a way to make my projects become a reality. Click here to see my past projects that were completely funded.

What To Do:

Go to: website and create an account.  It is so easy!  The site has built-in steps for you to follow.  You do your shopping through the site through pre-approved vendors.  I love this because it makes shopping for my materials really convenient and easy.  After you complete the steps, you submit your project to be reviewed by people at Donors Choose.  They will notify you within 5 days or less if your project has been approved.  Once approved you can share the link of  your project with people.  This is key, the sharing.  I email the link of my project to my students families, tweet on twitter, post on my facebook page and share on linkedin.  This summer I also created a post on my class blog. Donors Choose also offers special promotions called;“Spark”.  This is great because if people donate during when this is being offered, DonorsChoose matches all donations made during a specified time period.

When your project receives donations you will receive an email.  Then you go to your project page and write a thank you on your page to your donor.  I especially love this so I can thank people right away so I don’t forget.  This is the most important part, I feel is taking the time to thank people who support you, your students and your idea that supports learning in your classroom.

One of the challenges that I face as a Kindergarten teacher is time and funding. I’m constantly looking for ways to incorporate science and technology throughout the day. The projects I post at DonorsChoose help provide me with an avenue to pursue my innovative and creative ideas.

I have just recently posted anew project called:”Science Inquiry Through Blogging: With A Non Fiction Emphasis.”  Click here to read and make a donation if you wish!

I hope that after you read this post you are inspired to go to DonorsChoose too, to create and design your own project.  This is really a wonderful place where your dreams do come true!