Tag Archives: iPads

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

It’s All About The Learning!

I have been thinking a lot lately about a question I am asked often; “How do you keep track of how much ‘screen time’ your students have?” and “How much time should my child be on an iPad?”

Both of these questions bring about a lot of deep thinking and a shift in thinking on my part.  My response is always in regards to learning because the focus of my work as an educator is always about the learning.  The learning is the center of everything I model and explore with my students.  The learning is vital and key when thinking about engagement and relevance when I work with students and their families.DSCF2226

Too “keep track” of how often or when one of my students is using an electronic device would shift the purpose of what I am doing.  The learning would not be authentic, but rather something to be “checked off”.  Technology offers all educators, parents and students a way to enhance and enrich their understanding of what they are discovering and learning.  I love how technology supports my ideas for exploring and creating new learning opportunities for and with my students.  I often think of endless examples of how this might look and sound like in Kindergarten.

Just by having iPads in different parts of my classroom my students understand that this tool/device is there if they choose to use.  For example many students create and design many things in Kindergarten using a variety of tools.  Why not think about a way to record and document that creation or design with a tool that provides your student/child to share what they have discovered?  This is the importance of using and having technologies available in meaningful, responsible ways.  This is how I can model for my students and their families the importance of having technological tools and how they can be utilized.

photo (1)The iPad has many different unique features that can be integrated in an almost seamless fashion.  I try to think of this device as another opportunity to enrich and enhance the learning that is explored.

Learning special features of different geometric shapes is a great example.  In Kindergarten we explore shapes.  We examine shapes within and outside of our classroom.  Geoboard is a great app that can help my students create and design their understanding of geometric shapes we explore because it provides equal learning access for everyone.  This is a very powerful way to engage all my students.  As mathematicians we explore how we know a triangle to be a triangle, etc.  This app gives all my students equal access to their understanding and learning of our topic.  I also have geoboards too!  By having a variety of tools, I am able to provide a variety of learning opportunities for my students.  Learning opportunities that support my students thinking.  My students take risks with their learning because it is encouraged and modeled daily in the many learning activities we explore.

So the time my students spend on an iPad is important, but it is not what drives the learning.  Learning opportunities are everywhere.  I try to model explicit ways of how technology enhances what we are exploring and learning about.  Learning is the center for everything.  From rich, authentic learning opportunities my students use a variety of technologies that support their explorations and understandings.  For me it is always about the learning.  Technology helps bring the learning to life!

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What’s Been Happening In Kindergarten?

I have been thinking a lot lately about not only how lucky I am to be a Kindergarten teacher, but the reasons why. So I thought that I would share what’s been happening.

For me Kindergarten is like a breath of fresh air each day. The excitement for learning is contagious and never ending!

1. Celebrating! We celebrate numerous times throughout the year in a variety of ways. Recently we just had a Dr. Seuss Luncheon! My students were able to share what they learned and enjoyed from this author study through turning and talking, creating books, creating and designing a blog post on their kidblog. Each child was able to use Doodle Buddy to create an illustration to go along with their post too! Then we made comments on each others posts. I also emailed my parents and asked them to leave comments too! Wow! My students experience how they can not only share their celebrations of learning with others, but also that others find their ideas interesting!rose

2. Connecting! My students have connected with other kindergarten students outside of our school community through Skype and twitter! Both of these tools have given my students real life experiences in exploring the world outside of our walls in a safe, kind and responsible way. The connections we have made give us opportunities to be accepting of others and to value and respect how we are the same and different.

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Twitter continues to be a place where we can model how to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen. This week I gave my students a special ‘Twitter award” for tweeting to others. They were thrilled! I asked them why they liked their award and they shared because we tweet and we share what we do in Kindergarten. This social media continues to be a valuable resource and a way for my students, their families and me connect and discover the world!DSCF2387

3. Creating and Designing!

During a math workshop time this past week we were using iPads to write our numbers. One of my students came up with an idea. Using NumberRak we built numbers and then created them on Doodle Buddy! So I was so surprised and thrilled! My students are beginning to think about how technology can enhance and deepen their understanding of what they understand.DSCF2390

During a writer’s workshop time 1 of my students wanted to see a Dr. Seuss book, but I only had 1 copy. She thought that she could just Google it! So we did! She found the picture she wanted for her illustration of a writing response she was creating.DSCF2276

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461515″>Google</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

During another writing time one of my students needed a book with a bike in it. He was unsure how to draw. We did not have any books, but this student decided to Google bike on an iPad to help him out! This seems to be happening a lot and in a very authentic way. Really amazing for me and my students.

4. Collaborating!
My students make connections with the ideas we share through blogging as a way we collaborate with others. This video says it all!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461514″>blogging kkids</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

So Kindergarten life is really busy and wonderful. Everyday holds new discoveries and experiences. The learning is inspiring and energizing. What a wonderful place to be.

The Importance of Being Creative and Innovative: Why?

I value and believe in creativity and innovation.  Creativity opens up ways for all learners to express and share how they make discoveries.  Innovation is a way to enhance the how of what we discover. It also reflects the deep and critical thinking process of what we have experienced in regards to learning.

As an educator I have a variety of technological tools available for me and my students that can help make creativity and innovation more present and part of our classroom culture.  I feel I’m most successful when my students and their families also begin to experience how these technologies can support what they are noticing about their learning discoveries.

asYoung children are amazing thinkers!  They see patterns and make connections easily.  When they have time to share and connect with each other about their ideas, they begin to create and inspire each other. How are you inspired?  By who?  Why?

An example comes to mind here.  During a literacy time my students were creating self portraits.  We were using mirrors, but they kept sliding over.  One of my students said, “Why don’t we just use an iPad?”  So we did!  Through this idea everyone was able to be more successful with the task and others were collaborating together to help each other set up their iPad using the camera and also why this was a great idea. ImageThe portraits my students created were amazing and contained so much detail!  The camera on the iPad made their face real and so clear.  Some of my students decided to take a picture of themselves to draw.  So just by using the camera on an iPad my students discovered “how to” enhance what they were doing and the activity became much more rigorous and enhanced through a technological tool.

Throughout the year I have had and continue to have many parents, students and professional colleagues share their ideas and understandings around learning in a variety of ways.

Many of my parents of my students send videos of their child discovering a “college word”, reading orally using expression, photographs of writing they’re doing at home, etc.  This is why I need to be open minded and creative when it comes to planning and learning.  When I am successful is when I am making a difference through my example of how I am using technology in ways that are meaningful in regards to learning.  The meaningfulness of what I am doing is shared not just with me, but with my students and others colleagues.  When we model how we are changing our thinking about learning, we are modeling how to be flexible in our practice as well.

I share with my PLN(Professional Learning Network) too!  We inspire each other with our experiences in regards to learning.  Using twitter with my students and my parents has also helped educate why it is so important to use social media in school.  It opens up endless ways to share and collaborate about learning!

This week as I plan I am thinking about how I can be flexible, and model how I change my thinking in regards to learning.  I am also thinking about what tools will help me share and model this  so that my students experience the learning that comes from making mistakes and how this is necessary to get closer to what we understand.  mr

So why be innovative and creative?  I look forward to hearing from others about what you are doing with your students too!

Air Server In Kindergarten!

Prior to our winter break I was introduced to Air Server.  Wow!  What I am finding out is how easy it is to use as well as how my students are also benefiting from this neat, wireless tool!  What is so amazing is that I can now and my students can remotely access our Smartboard through an iPad.  What an inspirational tool that helps me and my students think, interact and reflect with our ideas.

Now every time I have a new app to share, I can do this remotely!  I can be anywhere in my classroom.  The value of this is now I can be flexible about where I am and also my students can easily interact with the SMARTboard, but are also able to remotely share their observations as well about what we are exploring.air1

For example; During our “Number Corner” time the children use iPads to create patterns, write numbers that come before, after and count using iPads.  Now the leader of the day is able to use their iPad remotely.  So what this means is that the leader displays the number patterns, numbers, etc. and others create what is being asked on their iPad and then they “check in”.  When my students “check in” they are checking their understanding with what the leader of the day is sharing.  This is a wonderful way for all children to be empowered by using a technology that helps others reflect on their own thinking.

So this is what I notice(keep in mind that I have only had 3 days with this tool)

1.  My students are able to make decisions about where they are, physically in the classroom when sharing and checking their understanding.  This encourages all learners to facilitate what they understand.

2.  I notice how excited and engaged my students are about what we are exploring.  This is contagious with all learners in kindergarten.

3.  I see how easily my students can begin to take on leadership roles about what they want to share.  A great self esteem experience for all my students.

4.  Air Server seems to be a pathway for me, my students and others to connect and collaborate with in regards to what we are learning.

5.  The access of what I have on my ipad is available for everyone and everyone has an opportunity to investigate the possibilities of the apps we use.

6.  My students take risks with making observations and connections about their understanding.

7.  What another great way to help promote the idea of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.

8.  I already noticed how a couple of my students began to problem solve “how to” get back on line, when Air Server delayed.  Really!  Just the idea of looking for a way to problem solve a problem in a collaborative way.  Critical thinking happening here for sure!air2

I look forward to blogging more about Air Serve.  I have only used this tool for 3 days!  Looking forward to discovering more using Skype and other tools that enhance learning opportunities for my students.