Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dance Mat Typing

I bookmarked this site some time ago and finally got the chance to check it out in a bit more detail. I have been using Keyboard Climber with my 1st graders to help them learn where the letters are on the keyboard. They love it and it's been a great starter site. Click here to see a previous post.

Dance Mat Typing from BBC School is listed as being an introduction to touch typing for children aged 7 - 11.  I really like it as the next step as it takes keyboarding to the next step.

Kiddos work through 4 levels each of which is divided into 3 stages. Here is what Level 1 looks like:
Stage 1: f d s a j k l ; g h - home row
Stage 2: e i
Stage 3: r u

To see what each of the other levels entail click here.

  On the left you can see screen shots of several of the pages in level 1. As you can see in the last screenshot, kiddos are already practicing whole words not just isolated letters as they move through level 1.

I'm excited to have my kiddos try this site. I still plan to start with Monkey Climber but am thinking I will likely introduce this site around January.

Friday, July 22, 2011

ahhh.... a feeling of accomlishment

It's done, it's finally done!
Remember this picture? Uuugghh!!!  Talk about an overwhelming feeling of dread as I had to pack up my old room. The picture above shows what a disaster it was, not to mention a rude awakening to how much stuff one person can accumulate. Although most of "the stuff" still came with me, I did purge as I packed and ended up putting out plenty of "freebies" for the next pack-rat to enjoy!   It took much longer than I anticipated, but everything is finally moved, unpacked, and even mostly set up!!

Now for the transformation....
Drum roll please...

Here is the new and improved room. This picture shows what you see as you first walk in the door. My kiddos cubbies and my Listen to Reading rack are on the left to create a hallway into the room. As you move past the hallway you can see the main part of the room. My classroom library snakes in and out over the majority of one wall. My teacher desk is hidden behind several bookshelves. If you look carefully you can see it in the top left hand corner of the picture below.  I'll have to take and post a few more pics of the other 1/2 of the room- that's where my Work on Writing area is as well as my guided reading area, word wall, CAFE board and more. I really like the way the room turned out and although I miss my old room, this room seems to be brighter and more organized (cupboards are a wonderful thing!) 
Now I just have to hope that the room will flow once the kiddos arrive. I did a lot of preplanning as to where things should go so that movement in the room will flow and I hopefully won't find myself rearranging after the first few weeks of school.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Global Read Aloud Project

I  found out about the Global Read Aloud project today on Erin Klein's blog, Kleinspiration.
Here's what she had to say....

"The second annual Global Read Aloud is starting September 19th, 2011!  You won't want to miss out.

Classrooms around the world  working in international 'book clubs' to discuss what they are reading.  The project will run for four weeks.

 This year's selected books are Flat Stanley Books by Jeff Bown for younger students and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt for older students.

 Collaborative efforts can be as simple or as multifaceted as you choose.  Some classes will be connecting electronically through Edmodo, Skype, classroom blogging pages, as well as an international wiki.  Other classes may select a more 'Flat Stanley' approach and use handwritten mail.

The options are endless. What an authentic and exciting experience for your students this fall!

To sign-up for this year's Read Aloud check out  and for more ideas and making connections