After watching Kristin Ziemke speak at the TAWL conference, I knew I wanted to utilize some of the great things she was doing with her students in her classroom. One of those was having students in the lower grades record their voices talking about the books they are reading.
She had this great idea for creating a recording booth for kids, where they can sit and record their conversation about reading on an iPad, or other recording device, and send it to the teacher.
I searched around for what app I wanted to test this out with, and settled on Educreations. I thought this would be a simple app for 1st graders to use, and I was right! I went in to a couple of classrooms, Ms. Sutter and Mrs. Hague were kind enough to share some of their kiddos with me, and worked with a couple students.
They were handed the iPad, took a photo of their book, pushed the record button, talked about either the plot of their book or their favorite part, and then rated it by drawing 1-5 stars on the image.
Of course they did a wonderful job! This would be a great tool to use for fluency checks and for retelling. I think about all those times that I would intend to get through 5-6 conferences with kids, only to get stuck on conference number 2 or get called away in the middle to tend to something else. If a teacher had a "recording corner" in their room and a rotation schedule, students could talk about their reading often and the teacher could listen to it when it best suited them, as well as have a recording to keep for student records.
Below, I have linked these videos for you to view. One thing about Educreations, to download the video you have to buy the Pro account. If you don't have the Pro account, you can copy the links to the videos to share them!
Donna Bader, this post is a shoutout to you! Way to go on thinking about a great way to show Kinders how email works! Jodie Langston, thank you for sharing your experience so I can share it, too!
If you have been trying to figure out when to introduce kids to email, Kindergarten may be the perfect time. Now, before you start saying that your Kinders can't type that well or that you don't want them to have email addresses, hear me out.
Kids don't have to have email addresses to LEARN about email. My wonderful friend and peer in education, Jodie, told me about what she and a couple of Kindergarten classes at her school have done.
One of the Kindergarten teachers hopped on board with the expectation to have her kids introduced to email before the end of K. Jodie (in 2nd grade) received an email from Mrs. Bader's class, using the friendly letter format. Jodie's class then email back. The kids in Mrs. Bader's class learned about how quickly email can travel.
They now contact each other regularly. Before Jodie's class went to the zoo, Mrs. Bader's class emailed her class telling them what the weather was going to be that day and what their recommendation for clothing was, as well as asking them to tell about their trip. Well, in order to show that email can travel quickly from one location to another, Jodie sent a picture from their field trip to the Kinders back at school. They were so excited!
Jodie said it opened up a lot of dialogue about how emails are replied to, how they travel, and the correct etiquette to use. I can't wait to tell my teachers here about this great idea! What a great way to MODEL digital citizenship for students!
Our littles love Starfall at school! If you need a site for younger kids to explore their ABCs, learn to read, or do some easy reading, this is the site you need. You can find interactive books and phonics games.
Look how fun and colorful it is! It is very kid friendly and allows children easy use. My child, when he was 3, was able to use it successfully. I love the Learn to Read section because of the way the material is organized. There are stories for the different phonics areas. There are movies, and games associated with each book. The books are fun for the kids, too!
ABCya has a great variety of resources for K-5. I am going to focus on one that I really like to use with kids, and that is Word Clouds.
Student can create word clouds, like the ones pictured below.
All you have to do is type or copy and paste text into the text box. The more times that a word appears, the larger it will be compared to the other words. So if I typed in "computers, computers, computers, computers, tech, tech tech", "computers" would be bigger than "tech". The more words you use, the more intricate your cloud.
After they create the word cloud it will appear on an editing screen. Here, they can change the color theme, font, and layout of the words just by using the toolbar on the top of the Word Cloud screen.
**If they want to make changes to the words, they DO NOT hit the back button. Go to the three lines on the left and click edit!**
In the classroom, what can you do with it?
Kids pick up on it quickly and LOVE word clouds! You can also try some other websites as they get better and better. Tagxedo is good and so is Wordle, but be careful of the gallery on Wordle because sometimes there are clouds that are not appropriate.
Education.com is geared towards K-5 students. I recommend sending this page to parents that want additional support at home. On the main page there is a box that asks what you are searching for (games, activities, science fair, or worksheets) and the grade level (K-5). It then directs the user to a page where they can choose the item for which they are looking. There are resources for middle school and high school as well!
Worksheets: These are wonderful! Teachers, you could use these as additional practice in class, as well. I appreciated the quality of them and how there were a wide variety, including science, social studies, and the arts!
Activities: For Kindergarten it includes hands-on activities like creating patterns with M&Ms, making a sock bunny, and becoming a dirt expert. The fifth grade activities include a fortune cookie recipe, making glue fossils, and an adverb acting game. So much variety and so many great ideas!
Games: This section is only for PreK-1st. These include phonemic awareness, spelling, rhyming, and math. The games have a couple of cute little characters, are easy to play, and are very engaging.
Overall, this is a GREAT resource for teachers, parents, and students!
This site is not just for the littles! It is K-6, but I had to share it today. In the + section, it covers skills for high school and up. eLearning is a great free site with educational activities for kids. What I like about it is that they cannot click through just to get to the game, they have to listen to the dialogue.
There are activities for math, science, environmental skills, computer skills, health, language arts, and life skills. Once you click into a subject, you can choose the grade, and select a game that goes over the skill you are looking for or you can do a search.
The games are bright, clearly spoken, and user friendly!
This is a video that does not have audio, but it takes you through a first grade game.
The life skills has a great section that our elementary counselors may like for specific topics children that come to them face.
I recommend using this videos for students that may need a little more support or those that need to move on. If you have a Google Classroom set up, the links to some of these could be great to put on there!
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom