The morning was spent digesting some of the many tools/sites we have learned about this week. We did a lot of sharing of ideas, sites, procedures, etc., (oh and candy too!!). We were all very busy trying things out and crowding around computers to see what other people were exploring. It was a flurry of "clicking" and learning. I spent time at Slide.com, zoho.com, and googlemaps, to name a few.
Katie and I talked about making plans to do some cross-classroom activities. It should prove interesting. We are excited! We plan to include Katie's All Day Kindergarten class, my two sessions of AM & PM classrooms and a third Kindergarten teacher with AM & PM classes housed in two different buildings. (Who, by the way has no CLUE yet that we are including her in our plans) ;-) But she is techno-friendly and she'll LOVE it too.
We are thinking because of the age & skill levels of our students, using a program that requires them to read and write independently isn't realistic. Skill wise they just aren't ready to read and write (on their own). Our thought is that we, the teachers, would use our Curriculum Roadmap resources and incorporate activities into our blogspot. For example, one of the Roadmap resources is MAKING MEANING. With this resource the teacher reads certain books and guides children through strategies that will enable them to be better readers. The strategies include listening, discussing and reflecting. Often the reflection takes the form of turning to their partner and sharing thoughts and ideas about the story. Katie and I are thinking we'll continue with this process as it stands. Beyond that, we would have the kids come up with a "group" reflection to the story. The children would help the teacher compose a written reflection (all the while the teacher would be teaching strategies for sounding out words, beginning and ending sounds, proper writing formatting, etc.). Once the group reflection was completed, the class would turn to the computer (projected where all could see) and watch as the teacher typed their response into the blog (Blogmeister). They would see the process involved in taking a written document and transferring that into a computerized version, modeling spellcheck and the like. Meanwhile, Katie and the 3rd teacher would be doing a similar activity in their classrooms. Once the blog entries are posted, the teachers would read and share with the kids.
We are thinking this would allow our kids to learn about the concepts we discussed in class. Through their time sharing their ideas with others they would put into practice the concept of collaboration. They would contribute their ideas, create a blog entry and connect with other students across the hall as well as across the District who have read the same books.
On a more global scale, a goal of mine would be that by doing this type of activity on a regluar basis, the children would truly come to veiw the technology as tools for learning. It would become second nature to them, something they would consider doing without any hesistations.
I have seen this happen with my students over time as we use the computer to track pending snow storms at Weather.com, "google" concepts that we are curious about, send Emails to other classes across the country, and so much more. Once they go "automatic" on this process...look out First grade! ;-)
Katie and I keep coming up with all sorts of ideas here....we want to use googlemaps to show kids where our schools are and map out a path from our door to theirs. We want to take the blog entries and project them on the wall where kids can go to the screen/wall/chalkboard and point out our sight words (to, the, it, here, etc.)
I plan to continue my learning bylearning to create podcasts. I think this will be an awesome tool for my students because they are non-readers at the beginning of school. Katie and I discussed the possibility of taking our Kindergarten Chants, creating a podcast verision as well as a downloadable PDF file that the kids can print out and read along with at home. (COOL!!!!!)
I can see a lot of potential in that tool.
I would also like to expand my current webpage to include many of the tools we viewed this week. I would like to create slide shows at Slide.com that help students learn the names and faces of their classmates in the beginning of school. We would share our slide shows with the other classes so they too would be able to put faces with names. Later, we would There are so many tools....so little time! ;-)
I realize I have babbled on and on here....but I am TOTALLY JAZZED with the possibilities!
Thanks to David for the wealth of resources and the continued motivation to step outside my technology comfort-zone and try some new and exciting things. Check back with us later to see how things are going!
Thanks again David for all your guidance and support!