Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seamless integration

Our goal of getting the students to see the itouch as a learning tool is coming to light. Mrs. Lewis taught a lesson on context clues using the Dictionary.com app. Students practiced determining meaning of words in a small passage, and then worked together to decide which definition fit best in context. Students then used the dictionary app to check what they thought a word meant while reading in their book club books. It was a great (and simple) integration of technology into our Reading day!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Learning with the itouch

Spreading our enthusiasm - what we want to do next

Future plans: Which we do not have any problems coming up with ideas, the problem lies in finding the time to implement!!! Here are just a few:

Purchase green material to make “green screen.” We have parent willing to sew our screen together, but need to research the best homemade plan. Using green screen, students in fifth will write hints about- Where in the World is Lilly? These will be accompanied with pictures of different places and then shared with the school through KMWE. The clues will begin easy so to include PK/K/1st(with the places being around the school) These clues will gradually get harder to include places around Houston, Texas, United States and then the World.

Recruiting parents to help supervise “Lightbulb lab” so that students can work on projects throughout the day when work is completed.

Establish student email accounts through district mysbisd domain to possibly connect with epals and skype partners.

Blogs- students will first contribute to class blog and then after practice- set up their own blogs based on book clubs or topic discussion.

Having students record book club conversations with itouch devices then sharing with others. This will allow the teacher to be “omnipresent.” These conversations can be later replayed by the teacher to provide oral language grades as well as to help hold the students accountable in their discussions. “The teacher is listening!”

Podcasts for instructional uses- having students record their thinking for working math problems and then sharing through itouch devices with other students who are struggling with the concept.

Multi-grade learning:
Third grade Planet project - Reverse mentor- when they have finished with their project, third graders will “present” to fifth graders. After presentation- fifth and third grade students will work together using the itouch and planet applications to further both of their understanding of the planets and then present together to other groups.

Second grade Bird Unit- fifth graders will mentor second grade using bird applications on itouch. They will also help them with their research on purple martins.

Spreading our enthusiasm - what we have shared so far

We feel strongly that although the itouch devices are housed in the Fifth grade classrooms, the learning they give opportunity to is worth sharing with as many students as possible!

Pre-K/Kindergarten: Using the apps: ABCs free, Color Talk, Numbers and Memory Match, fifth grade students really enjoyed working with and teaching the younger students.

First grade: Fifth graders shared some time together before the thanksgiving break playing "Turkey Trot" and "Thanksgiving Match". It was great to see the partners taking turns and enjoying some problem solving games.

Second Grade (and more):Second grade teachers using them to capture Reader’s Theatre and then have been sharing the readings with the class using AV cables to connect to TV.

Third grade: Small groups are working on putting together their Reader’s Theatre using digital cameras and photostory.

Fourth grade: Factbook app. Tried scavenger hunt originally given to fifth, and are now creating another scavenger hunt for fifth grade to try!

MWE FLIP Crew: students using flip cameras to capture events of the school such as Kindergarten Storybook Parade and Thanksgiving Feast.

TEACHnology classes

So many projects- so little time! It has been challenging to coordinate technology lessons within the context of the already packed school day. We would love for technology to be a “specials class” that students go to at least once a week!!! In order for the technologies to be used seamlessly within the classroom skills have to be taught, and this takes time even though the students catch on very quickly.

After completing introductory “skill classes” during voluntary recess sessions on: imovie, iphoto, photostory, windows movie maker, blogging, web 2.0 tools, flipcharts, flip cameras and garage band, we have moved on to projects. We have identified four projects for the students to work on integrating all of the different technologies. The four projects are: a recycle video to share with Terrace Elementary; a history of MWE video to remember our building once we are rennovated; Teacher University to spotlight the collegiate expereinces in our building; and the mentor project to continue building relationships across grade levels. The students will choose which long-term project that they want to work on.

One challenge for this grant has been having enough “man-power”. Due to “technical issues”- that arrive daily- some of our good intentions have taken longer than planned.