Friday, December 30, 2011

Cheap Styluses!

I don't ususally post my shopping expeditions, but couldn't resist sharing this deal. You can get a 3 pk of Universal Touch screen Stylus pens for just 86 cents plus free shipping. Click on the picture to link to Amazon's site for this item. This same company also has iPod and iPad screen protectors for super cheap as well with free shipping.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Administrative visit

 Today was a pretty exciting day for my class. We had a large group of administrators including: the director of technology, director of special education, director of curriculum and development, our ed-tech coordinator, and several principals come to our room today to see for themselves all of the wonderful things I have been telling everyone about my class.

From the feedback I received, the kiddos did an excellent job of showcasing the technology we use and how it is useful to us in our learning. One of the administrators even commented, "You could tell the kids knew why they were doing what they were doing and it was not about the tech." That same administrator went on to say, "although the tech was fun and kept them very engaged longer than I have ever seen a 1st grader work independently" Wow! That was an awesome comment and made me feel good about what we are accomplishing since of my goals for our model tech room is to use our tools to assist our learning, but not to have "the tools" be what drives what we are doing. 
During the visit, kiddos used a variety of tools during our Daily 5 time including: Prezi to review and learn their vocab words, writing emails using Gmail, writing in a diary on the iPad, using the SMARTboard to practice sorts and word chunks, using a variety of apps to assist with word work skills, and using iTouches for their Listen to Reading time. We had individual activities as well as partner/collaborative activities and we had technology as well as traditional paper and pencil activities taking place.

Once again, I am happy to say, how proud I am of each and every one of my students They did a fantastic job today of not only showcasing a variety of our learning tools but also  what they knew and why it was important to their learning!

If you are wanting to show administrators what your class is doing to embed technology, I highly recommend having them come in and experience it first-hand!
First graders, YOU ROCK!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...

This video sums it up well

5 Reasons Why I Want iPad2 in My Classroom

I am fortunate enough to have 2 iPads in my classroom along with a class set of 2nd gen iPod Touches so I really can't complain, however, the 2nd gen iTouches have lots of limitations, especially the lack of a camera and built in microphone. The size of the iPod is debatable. In some regards the smaller size is nice, but in other ways, the larger size of the iPad is awesome.
The iPad on the other hand is phenomenal!! They are soooo versatile and have so much to offer. I can't believe that a year ago, I thought the iPods would be just as good- little did I know. I should have gotten 20 lashes with a wet noodle!

Needless to say, I want my own... I want to be able to use my iPad as an instructional tool. Right now I feel too guilty keeping an iPad to myself when we only have 2 so the kids have 1st dibs and I play/use them after hours.
Well, enough is enough, I've himmed and hawed too long and debated if I should or shouldn't.... well....

Anyone else getting a Christmas iPad????

Sunday, December 4, 2011

School Board Presentation

App Happy

Whew! What a long day... I spent the majority of my day restoring all 15 of my class' iTouches. I have been extremely frustrated with the mess of apps on each device not to mention the fact that the apps were in different locations on each of the devices as well. So... after spending about 5 hours the other night rearranging, organizing, and creating folders one of the iTouches, I created a new backup copy and then restored all of the touches to that backup. It was quite a job as each one took about 45 minutes! I'm happy now though that they all have a consistent look. I now have over 100 apps on my devices and would like to spend some time organizing a master list for future reference. Hmmm.. maybe over Christmas break.

In the meantime, here are a few of the apps that I have right now that we use fairly regularly.

Teach Me 1st:  A comprehensive app that reviews spelling, sight words, addition and subtraction facts with your child. It allows your child to earn "coins" to spend at the store as they master content areas. The price is usually $1.99, but currently it is 50% off. You can have up to 4 players registered for this app. This developer also offers Teach Me Kindergarten and Teach Me Toddler for your younger children. I have used both with my younger son and have found all of these to be great!

Math Bingo by ABCya is a fantastic app that combines math skills with a good old-fashioned game of bingo. You begin by choosing the math skill you want to focus on and the level of difficultys another of our favorites that we use to practice our addition and subtraction facts. This app is currently is 99cents in the iTunes store and is available for iPod and iPad.

Yet another app for addition and subtraction fact practice,Pop Math Lite . We are going to begin using this one this week. It is free in the app store and is available for iPod and iPad.

iDiary for Kids is an ideal platform for children ages 5-13 to plunge into journaling. Keeping a journal helps them improve their writing skills, develop their creativity and boost their self-confidence.
My kiddos are loving this. Unfortunately, it is for iPad only. Kiddos are able to customize the look of their journal and can write, draw and add stickers. Great for work on writing time during Daily 5 time.

Just for fun.... and some problem solving... This is an awesome and very addicting game, so beware. There is a light version but it became apparent quite quickly that my family I was going to need the full version of this app. Needless to say, I downloaded the full version 3 hours later. My 4 year old and 7 year old as well as my husband are all enjoying this one. There is a holiday version as well. 

Hopefully you will find some of these apps worth of trying for yourserlf!