Category Archives: iPads

Digital Learning Day 2016

Digital Learning Day is one of those opportunities students and their teachers have to share about why this is an important day to recognize and why digital tools are important in regards to our learning.  So my students created Kidblog posts and we are using Twitter this week also to share how and why we use digital tools.

This afternoon I asked my students to think about why this might be an important day to celebrate and what are the ways we use digital tools.  I was really impressed and also felt validated about why digital tools are important.  Here are some of the responses that were shared today.

  1. We can have conversations with other people in the world.
  2. We can share our learning with the world.
  3. We show how we use them in a safe, kind and responsible way.
  4. They make your brain think more things and they help you learn.
  5. They help us to have conversations with other people.  We connect.
  6. You learn how to use digital tools.
  7. They help you think better.  They help you think when you don’t know what to do.
  8. They want you to learn.
  9. We celebrate this day because we want other people to know what we are doing.
  10. Our parents know what we are learning.
  11. They are fun.
  12. We help each other and collaborate.

Learning is for everyone and technology gives us all a voice.  Digital tools and platforms have enriched and engaged my own learning and that of both my students and their parents.  The communication is ongoing, fluid and just by offering a variety of platforms to share, I am also modeling explicitly “how to” use tools in safe, kind and responsible ways.  Parents want to be informed and engaged.  They are important stakeholders in their child’s education.  So today was another opportunity to model and celebrate the value and excitement me, my students and families have in regards to learning, but also how we share and reflect what we are exploring.

Happy Digital Learning Day!

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What Lucia Taught Me….

The iPad is really an amazing digital tool with so much flexibility.  I have noticed how easy it is to navigate and also how this tool enhances my students learning. This digital tool has become part of my classroom culture as a way to enrich, connect and collaborate relationships and learning.

I have been asked lately how I got started using the iPad.  So today I share my story because it is an example of what can happen when we watch, listen and share. iPads, tablets, any device has the potential to bring people together to communicate, share and explore the world.  I am #grateful for Lucia, a former student, who taught  me about the value of having a voice and being able to share it.

I have the pleasure of working in a wonderful school district that supports innovation and creativity. My school district provides teachers and students with many types of digital tools and professional opportunities that stretch our thinking.  Our school also has amazing technology educators as well as IT people who work tirelessly to ensure that our tools are working and ready, as well as provide updates about new things happening and opportunities for students and teachers to collaborate inside/outside of our buildings. 

Every spring near the end of Kindergarten our preschool teachers offer their students opportunities to visit their kindergarten classroom for the fall.  This is a wonderful way for me and the students to begin to say hello and explore the classroom with each other as well as the present students.

So Lucia arrived.  She is an amazing young lady.  She came with a smile, confidence and sat right down on the floor near a group of her students with her iPad. Right away I was struck at how many of the children started talking to her.  They asked her for the code so they could unlock her iPad.  Lucia was not able to speak, but used sounds and gestures with her hands.  The students immediately began looking at her with amazing eye contact, speaking to her and waiting for her to answer and show them what was next.

The iPad was new to me.  I did not have one, hadn’t used one before and already Lucia, was demonstrating alongside her new friends how this digital tool was going to open up opportunities in regards to learning.  Remember this was brand new for me and I was also going to get some professional support because our school was also going to purchase iPads as well.  My learning started, my eyes were opened, my mind was racing with ideas about the possibilities that might be possible because of this digital tool.

Thinking back on my first introduction to an iPad I think about how naturally the other children were drawn to Lucia and how she immediately felt comfortable showing and using her iPad with them.  Right away the children started taking turns speaking to Lucia, listening and watching her as she responded using sounds, her iPad and gestures to answer.

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What a wonderful surprise! iPads really make a difference in student learning and engagement.  This has been so exciting and a great learning opportunity for me and my students.  This is a digital tool that is making a difference and yes, Kindergarten children are finding lots of ways to use these tools as well as discovering lots of a ha’s about how this tool can help them to reflect and create learning experiences.

On the 1st day of Kindergarten I begin by introducing this interactive tool to my class.  We talk about being safe, kind and responsible as well as how it might help us with our learning.  The children immediately start exploring with the iPads and instantly began figuring out how they work.  We explore the basic features of the iPad.  Then I explore how to use the video, camera and take a screenshot.  I begin with these 3 features because this is where I want to model and show how this digital tool can be used to capture the what and why we are exploring. I continue to be really impressed with how quickly the children adapt to this tool and of course the excitement is wonderful.  The touch screen really makes it easy for the children to type and access.  The children begin touching the screen and the exploration begins of how this digital tool will enrich our learning.

As an educator I often think about all of the things I want and need to do during the course of a school day.  It can be a bit overwhelming…  So when presented with a tool that might make learning more accessible and engaging, I find myself beginning to see how many opportunities I have to make connections within my lessons as well as help children to become more engaged and invested in their own learning.

In the photograph you see a child creating a post on an iPad on her kidblog.  Lucia helps by showing her where to go to next. swlm

As a class we spent time from the beginning of school talking about blogging, what it is, why do it and how it helps us with our learning. The children understand that when they blog, they need a title and thoughts that we call sentences.  In the beginning I use lots of books to help demonstrate this point.  I find that the more explicit you can be with children and the more tangible, concrete connections and comparisons you can make, the easier it is for children to grasp and begin to use technological tools.  The beauty of this example is that this child knows 1 way to use the iPad in a meaningful, safe way.  She is motivated to blog and share her ideas with others.                                     

As an educator I find myself trying to create and design meaningful learning opportunities for and alongside the children and families I work with.  Digital tools are amazing and their impact on student learning and engagement are endless. For me the iPads have enhanced everything that I do.  I can’t help but love them!

I am #grateful for Lucia and how she introduced me to what was possible with the iPad.  She has courage, perseverance and amazing ideas.  She taught me to always have hope, to be brave and that technology gives us all a voice.

The First 6 Days @vermontkkids123

Hurray for Kindergarten!  I am so grateful and happy to be able to go to work each day where I am able to make a difference.  This year has come quickly and already I am amazed at all of the opportunities that have appeared for myself, my parents and my students.

We are connecting!

Modeling “how to” be a safe, kind and responsible citizen is vital.  As an educator of young children these ideas are easy and fun to thread throughout our busy days together in regards to everything.  I also have opportunities to model ‘how to” connect online as well.  Twitter has given me and my students lots of opportunities to share things we are experiencing.  We have had conversations with Kindergarten children in New York, Vermont, South Korea and Wisconsin.  My students and their families with my guidance are able to experience the value of a ‘tweet” and how it can enhance and connect our learning with others. Through my modeling my students and their families experience how social media can be used in meaningful ways in regards to learning.  This is important.  I want my families alongside of me as I begin to share how we connect.

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Skype is also being used already with parents who are calling us to say hello and ask what we are doing during the day.  By using familiar faces I begin to model how this synchronous tool can be used to connect and have conversations.  Through parent participation they begin to “see” how this tool can be used.  Again I invite my parents of my students because I want to be explicit about how the tool might be used and the positive impact on learning.

Blogging about our busy days together has really helped my parents and my students begin to experience and reflect on our learning.  I have already had a couple of comments!  Our class blog provides another way for my students to have conversations with each other and their families about what they are exploring inside and outside of Kindergarten.  We have a shelfari where we keep track of the books we read as well as a map of the world!  The map is especially awesome because it offers my students another opportunity to get a global perspective about where we are in the world, but also that others are interested in what we are learning.  Through our sharing others will get inspired and have their thinking challenged.  As an educator I welcome this continually.  Through this type of reflection I grow as a professional, a learner and become more transparent and open in regards to how I think about learning.

Face to face and turn and talks happen in an almost seamless fashion throughout the day.  My students are beginning to understand how listen to understand and offer their perspective through discussions around books, caterpillars we find outside and through collaboration when creating structures out of a variety of materials.

We are so lucky to have a Smartboard and document camera. My students have experienced in only 6 days how these tools can enhance our learning.  Through our ability to interact with these tools we are able to reflect on our thinking and share what we understand.jpg

We are collaborating!

Through Twitter we have made a new connection with a 6th grade class in Vermont.  We are learning about global citizenship and how to “Tweet” responses to specific questions we are asked.

We have learning buddies in our school!  We connect weekly with them presently and share books.  In the future we will be using Google Hangout as a way to share a story that we read aloud.  Our learning buddies model how to be kind and caring as well as model ways for us to engage in books. we also follow them on Twitter too!

Through AirServer and iPads we are able to create and share our understanding of new concepts we explore.

DSCF4228This is an awesome way for young children to begin to learn “how to” create letters and numbers.  We begin by exploring the different ways to make lines.

We are creating!

Through Twitter we create tweets about our busy days together.  It always begins with;”What do you want to share with the world today?”

We are creating different ways to write our names using a variety of materials.  We are creating illustrations that tell stories so we can share our ideas.

My students are learning ‘how to” collaborate and work together to build structures and negotiate ways to be inclusive with our play.  We are having conversations about what we can do as a learning community to help others.  My students have amazing ideas.  Stay tuned for what we decide to solve together to make a difference for others!

Kindergarten is the most wonderful place to be, really!  We are learning through our exploration and discovery of things we find in nature, through our conversations with others and the many stories we read.  Our classroom is a place where we make a difference everyday for each other.  We are modeling together alongside others too!

I look forward to this week because we will be exploring voicethread, Kidblog and celebrating International Dot Day!  All of these are ways that any educator can use with their students to bring learning to life. Only 6 days and look at what can happen!  All it takes is an idea and the willingness to reach out and say hello!

Reflections Inside and Outside of Kindergarten

As my year comes to an end I am thinking about some moments where I was able to celebrate, engage and experience authentic learning opportunities through learning alongside my parents and students.  I have learned so much from my interactions and conversations through day to day life inside my classroom as well as conversations that have been shared globally in regards to how technology has enriched learning for not just my students, but their parents as well.

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 My students were outside last week exploring nature and making observations about where birds might build a nest.  Some of my students heard some birds chirping and tried to use an iPad to capture the birds on video.  As I watched them and listened to their conversation I was so impressed with how they were collaborating and trying to figure out a way to video the bird that was so  carefully tucked away in the tree.  I am so proud of my students and their ability to understand how technology can be used in a meaningful way to enhance and capture something they found interesting and worth sharing.

gabbyDuring a writers and readers workshopt to t conn time one of my students decided to write about penguins. I asked her why and she pointed to her shirt!  She created a book complete with labels, writing about special features that a penguin has and then she had a question.  I did not know the answer so she decided to use Google to search for photographs of penguins to help her.  Through explicit modeling and directions about “how to” search Google safely, with visual steps, my student was able to get the answer to her question.

DSCF3069Visual models along with modeling and using authentic examples my students are becoming safe, kind and responsible digital citizens. They are beginning to experience and make decisions about not only the tools they use, but what features as well and how specific features can capture what they are seeking.

Another student during a writers workshop time had an idea of a topic to write about, Twitter!  She wrote a story about how Twitter helps people communicate and share.  When students are given choices about topics to write about it is really wonderful to see what topics they choose.  As I look at the writing I am reminded about how well this student is able to communicate her idea through her writing.  This is where as an educator I am able to reflect and notice what she has learned in regards to writing.  This is where I look to see what my students understand and if they are able to use skills they have been exploring independently.twitter

I recently had the honor of being able to present at the Dynamic Landscapes conference at Champlain College.  My presentation was on The Social Experience.  I was able to bring a couple of my kindergarten students who were able to assist me and also speak to other educators about how social media and other synchronous tools have made learning meaningful and fun.  At the end I had a few parent volunteers use Google Hangout as well to share their perspectives.  As an educator it really struck me at not only how technology has made a difference for my students learning, but my parents as well.  Click here to hear about what some of my parents had to say.

Kindergarten has been amazing and wonderful.  It is a place that continues to Dynamic Landscapesinspire, challenge my thinking and engage me deeply.  My students have had some amazing learning opportunities that have engaged them, inspired them and helped them begin to explore and experience what it means to be a digital citizen.  Digital citizenship is vital and important for everyone to experience.  Through our experiences we begin to become transparent and transform the ways we think and interact with each other face to face and virtually.

I look forward to celebrating the end of the year with my students. I also look forward to the future where I know I will be inspired and learn new ways to make a difference in regards to learning for myself and others.

Literacy Enriched: iPads, Google Hangouts and AirServer

One of the things I really enjoy about being a Kindergarten teacher is teaching my students how to read.  Really, learning to read is a very complicated process, but with rich literature, explicit teaching, meaningful use and integration of technology, connections and opportunities for conversations between students begin to develop. Students not only develop the skills they need to read, but learn how to use what they have learned, to help them continue on their journey.

This month we are exploring the world of Dr. Seuss.  My students had an awesome opportunity to connect with other students in Wisconsin via a Google Hangout as part of Read Across America.  It was wonderful.  Our friends in Wisconsin did an awesome job doing book talks about a few books written by Theodore Seuss.  My students were able to ask questions and give feedback about what they saw and heard.  This was a great way to begin to excite my students about our new author study.  I asked my students what they noticed.  My students shared that they noticed that the students read with expression,  their voices changed when they read, they read well, they were also taking breaths.  As a teacher this was wonderful because their responses reflected many of the skills and literacy experiences we have created and explored together. lf

Later we used AirServer to share another Dr. Seuss story on our SMARTboard.  Wow!  My students all had wonderful smiles and were making connections through conversation as we watched and listened to the story. I so enjoy the expressions my students make when they are connecting and engaging with books.

Afterwards we had another opportunity to have a conversation about the story.  When I asked my students what they noticed this is what they had to say:

*the voice paused at commas

*we heard rhyming words

*it had lots of digraphs

*every word has a vowel

*we saw important words and sight words

*we use iPads to read books

*AirServer helps us read books

I am so inspired about how AirServer and iPads can capture and enhance the essence of what my students understand.  Their observations give me immediate feedback about what they understand and through the connections they make, I learn what has resonated with them in regards to their learning.  It is also wonderful at how young children can connect with a variety of text and make meaningful connections through rich, interactive, literacy experiences. The phototechnology gives voice and highlights many of the skills we explore during our reader’s workshop time.

The technological tools that I used were AirServer, SMARTboard, Google Hangout and iPads to enrich a read aloud.  Even if you had 1 of these tools, your students experience with a text will be enriched.

AirServer is really a wonderful tool because you can remotely access what is on your iPad.  This helps demonstrate what is possible.

Google Hangout is available through Google Plus.  This is an awesome way to connect your students with others to have conversations.  You will be surprised at the connections they make.  Google Hangouts through video can have up to 10 people at one time, so the possibilities are endless here when it comes to audience.

Learning to read is magical.  I really enjoy the endless expressions my students make when they begin to realize they are reading words and interpreting illustrations.  This is where I can really help enhance what my students discover.  Learning is for everyone.  Technology gives all my students a voice.

Ways We Celebrate Our Learning: @kkidsinvt

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of having celebrations inside and outside of Kindergarten.  Celebration is easy, fun, seamless and looks and sounds differently from day to day.  As an educator of young children a large role I play with my students is to model “how to” capture what we are exploring, but also the importance of dancing and singing out what we discover.  Through our “shouting out” we are celebrating what we are discovering.  When we share, we make connections and have an opportunity to share our story.  Stories are so important and everyone has many.  In Kindergarten we use a variety of technological tools to tell our stories.

What an amazing week we had in Kindergarten.  My students are really amazing thinkers!  We explored a new App on the iPad, used AirServer to share our understandings, posted on our kidblogs, tweeted connections and collaborated together around finding ways to enhance our understanding of how we know a triangle is a triangle.  We also explored Tellagami!

Exploring Tellagami was really fun.  I am always looking for ways that my students can create and design what they are learning in ways that allows them to share and tell their story.  A Personal Tellagmai I was so amazed and excited to watch and listen to what my students created.  I was surprised at how easily they navigated their way around the iPad and how easy it was for all of my students to come up with an idea about what they wanted to create.  Their ideas were related to ideas we are exploring in Kindergarten as well as personal experiences they have had outside of Kindergarten.

Tellagami In Kindergarten

Celebration is vital and very important when it comes to learning and developing relationships with your students.  Technology really helps capture and enrich the learning experiences that my students are having.  Through their excitement we celebrate and give compliments about what we are creating.

Our leader of the day uses AirServer to connect and remotely access their ideas so that everyone else can see and give their ideas about what they notice.air server  My students use AirServer daily to share what they are learning!

During the month of November we are exploring 2 and 3 dimensional attributes.  Geoboard is a great App because it gives students the opportunity to explore the different attributes as well as opportunities to justify their thinking. Through their own understanding of specific features, my students begin to create and make connections with what they are exploring.  Some of the conversation went like this:”Look, it is a triangle because it has 3 pointy things and straight sides”, I shaded in all my triangles, triangles can be different sizes, I am going to see how many I can make, I made triangles inside other shapes, I made a tower!” The conversation is exciting, positive and reflective.  My students are all sharing their voice, making connections and justifications about their discoveries as well as sharing how they know their idea to be true.  This is an authentic example of how celebration can look and sound.  I think sometimes that my best celebrations with my students are those that I have not planned!

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After we created triangles my students took screen shots of their designs.  Many asked “Mrs. D. Can we put this on our kidblog?”  Yes, of course!  We will work on this next week.  I am amazed at how my students understand that what they create and discover has a special place where it can be shared.  My students really like kidblog because other people leave compliments about their posts.  This is a one of the reasons why I use kidblog.

Looking forward to next week.  I am thinking of ways that we can enhance our learning and share what we are learning about the forest and about what opportunities I can create for my students to share. Technology gives me and my students endless opportunities to share our stories. Through our own stories we become connected and we begin to take risks in regards to learning.

How I Begin To Explore Becoming A Digital Citizen In Kindergarten!

During our first hour together the week prior to Kindergarten starting I began taking photographs of what my new students were exploring in Kindergarten. I found myself naturally asking students to cover their name tag when I took their picture. One of my students asked why and I explained that we need to be safe when sharing with the world. One way we do this is by not displaying our real name. As I took more photographs I watched this student follow me and tell other students to cover up their name too! Wow! This was amazing to see and so easy. Right away students understand safety when sharing. It is really important to be transparent in our thinking and our actions when we are with our students and their families.

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On our 2nd day together and already my students are beginning to experience “how to” use Skype as a way to connect and have conversations with others. I am so fortunate that parents are willing to try Skype as a way to say hello. For me this idea has really been amazing for my students. Everyone begins to use technology in a safe, kind and responsible way with people they are familiar with.


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This is important because I want to build on these experiences when we Skype with others we meet through our connections. Not only are my students and parents using technology in a meaningful way, but we are experiencing together the very beginning stages of “how to” be a kind and responsible digital citizen. Later on as my students meet other Kindergarteners outside of our classroom they will know what to expect and “how to” use Skype in a meaningful way. By exploring this in the beginning weeks of Kindergarten is a perfect time because we are all learning about each other and our daily routines. Why not build Skype in as one of those daily routines! It doesn’t take long and it is part of our class culture, not a distraction.

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As I started to introduce twitter another surprise for me happened! I had some blue paper twitter birds in a pile, next to the bird we use when we tweet. One of my students asked if she could have one. So now I begin to add another explicit, concrete object to my tool bag when using and introducing social media in Kindergarten! Every time we tweet, my students hold the blue bird, I type the tweet, they press the blue button that says tweet and then they get a paper twitter bird to take home! We had a conversation afterwards about what they might say to someone who asked about the paper bird. This is what I heard;”We get these when we twitter, it means I tweeted, I got to tweet, I got to share something”. Wow! This was my first 2 days of Kindergarten. Really amazing!

Self Portraits are lots of fun to do at the beginning of school. We created ours using iPads to take our photo and then my students discovered that their photo stays so they can draw what they see! Again, when I introduce iPads I always begin with the video and the camera because I want my students to begin to use the iPad as a tool that helps enhance and enrich ideas we are exploring. iPads become a part of our culture that is for everyone!photo (51)

These are just a few of the ways that I begin to experience responsible digital citizenship with my students. As an educator of young children I have lots of opportunities to model this idea of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen with not only my students, but their parents too. This is vital and important if I want to be successful when using digital tools to enrich, connect and collaborate with my students and others who are interested in what and how we are learning. I am thinking of how important it is to be explicit, share and connect on prior experiences and understandings when introducing new ideas. If possible show your students what it might look like. This helps support them when they are exploring. Looking forward to next week and what we might be discovering in Kindergarten!