Monday, May 26, 2014

Reflecting Back on Our First Year 1:1

Wow!  I cannot believe how far we've come in just a few short months! It seems like yesterday we were still anticipating the iPad roll out, and now they are all checked in and ready for their summer update. I could not be prouder of my class, they are proof positive that any class no matter how young can be successful with 1:1 devices. At the time they received the iPads about 95% of them had never touched a tablet, and now they can do any task I ask of them. These kids come from fairly extreme poverty in most cases. They have not had the exposure to technology that most kids their age have had until this year so we had to start with the basics. Even getting the iPads out of the case was a challenge. Downloading apps took about fifteen minutes per app, and interacting with Google docs was excruciating! Now I think they have better technology skills than most kids their age in the high income schools. They also tend to out skill most adults they encounter. Here are just a few of the things they have achieved...

Download apps in seconds
Read and take comprehension quizzes online
Research topics and take notes from online resources
Type, edit, and revise final copies in Google docs
Take screen shots
Share photos in Google docs
Create and share Popplets
Create and share PicCollages
Take spelling tests online
Download, complete, and upload worksheets in Notability
Use the iPads responsibly (this is a good thing because they can also get out of guided access with no code)

As you can see, my kiddos rocked the iPads this year, but we had some help! With that in mind we send a huge thank you to Rose and Gina, our district iPad goddesses, Mr.Chop Chop our teacher librarian, and last but not least Super Scott our tech guy! We couldn't have done it without you!!!

I have big plans for next year! Nothing can stop us now!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Top Ten Tips for the 1:1 Classroom

We just finished up our first year with 1:1 iPads, and I never want to turn back. I've learned so much this year and I wanted to share my top ten tips for success. 

10. Play with your 1:1 device! Especially with iPads there's really not much you can do to mess them up! Play, experiment, and get comfortable with it!

9. Don't teach your students how to use apps or websites! Give them time to free explore! They will figure out things you never would have figured out.

8. Let your students teach you!

7. Don't bother with guided access the kids will figure out how to get out of it without a code pretty fast!

6. Make rules for use and stick to them... right from the start make it a tool NOT a toy!

5. Be open to help, advice and assistance!

4. Make friends with Google Docs and make folders there for each student! It will save you from e-mail overload.

3.Pay for Notability!It will pay for itself in a week because you won't have to make copies!

2. Harness the power of the website! Websites have so much more to offer than apps.

1. Even the youngest kids can do big things with technology... don't limit what they can do! The sky is the limit!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Let's Hear it for the Boys... a Book Review... and More Reasons to LOVE Myon

Happy teacher appreciation week everybody! This week I want to appreciate one teacher author teacher okay he's both! Last week I read the most amazing book
Getting Boys to Read! By Mike McQueen

It only took me a few pages to know that this book will be in my tool box for a long time! It has awesome tips for teachers and parents that really work!  One of the best parts is that you don't have to read it cover to cover if you don't have time. You can just leaf through and pick out a few tips that you can use right away ( but make sure you read the whole thing later it's worth it)! It's one of those books that really gets your wheels turning. As I read little thoughts about how I could use these tips in my classroom filled my head, and believe me I needed the tips because I'm a girl, and my boys are BOYS... as in ALL boy! Goodness they keep me on my toes! I really appreciated the insight from a man about how their little brains work because I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what on earth is going on in there! I came up with lots of great ideas as I read, but I picked a few of Mike's tips to get us started!

1. Start a boys book club (I know I'm a girl but my boys let me join anyway)
2. Use e-books (we read Myon books on our iPads)
3. Use audio books(again Myon on our iPads)
4. Let them read comics and graphic novels

Tuesdays and Thursdays are now book club days!We started out by picking our book. As Mike suggests I didn't give them a lot of limits. I only requested that the book not be too scary, or too high reading level wise. They could not believe that I was going to let them pick any book they wanted! They had all kinds of ideas about what kind of books they wanted to search for. Super heroes... monsters...zombies etc. They finally settled on
Backyard Bug Battle: A Buzz Beaker Brainstorm if you have boys they will LOVE it! It's a graphic novel with bugs, poison, and lots of other gross stuff!

Here are a few of them with their books rushing me so they can go read! 
Yes they're dorks but they're my dorks and I love them
The really cool thing is that this is a multi-level group. Their reading levels range from DRA 3 to DRA 20. Some  read, some only listen, and others do a little of both. The readers are allowed to listen after they read it once. There are cool sound effects (which boys love) so listening is a must. 

They got comfy and read...and read... and read... and read...

 "Can I read my book club book during read to self?" 
"Can I read my book club book during can do's?"
" Sure!"
" Can I read my book club book NOW!?!?!"
"No, finish your math!!!"

I think they each read or listened to it about twenty times. Then today we sat down and discussed it. They were so excited that they were climbing out of their chairs :) and we had some fun discussions ( there was also a lot of buzz poke ... buzz poke while we were talking)! 

We also picked a new book today, and they were just as excited to get started reading that one too!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to head over to Amazon and buy this awesome book Getting Boys to Read: Quick Tips for Parents and Teachers ! Your boys will thank you! I know mine did!

P.S Don't worry the girls got a book club too!