Well folks, it is time for the next session of Diggin' Into Next Year!
This week's session is all about integrating technology into the classroom. If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I use technology a fair amount. I think it is important to use something that the children can identify with, and let's face it, not many children are strangers to technology.
Years ago, I started grabbing computers that were being replaced in the labs. When I started this, I was using older models that had floppy disks. Each time the labs were upgraded, my classroom was upgraded too.
If you look at some of my pictures, you will see that they are still old technology, but the kids don't care. They love to be able to do journals, math and language games, powerpoints, and drawing on them. Actually, they can do almost everything except surf the internet on them.
I have a couple of laptops that are newer that can access the internet, when needed, but I prefer not to have the kids surfing anyway. If they need to have internet access, we can always book time in the computer lab for that.
I don't have a Smartboard in my classroom, but I do have a projector and a whiteboard. I use the Notebook software with a mouse to mimic a Smartboard and we improvise. I also use other interactive products to make learning fun. A document camera is also a great tool for projecting things onto the whiteboard.
I recycled iphones as ipods for small group and center work. I don't have any pictures of using ipods and my ipad for doing the activities that involve QR codes or small group centers, because even my iphone gets used sometimes. This means I don't have a camera handy for taking the pics.
Our school got 8 ipads last year, so I would like to integrate some centers that involve using these. I would also like to have the children work more on using the computers to create projects. I find that they enjoy writing stories and sharing ideas on the computer, so it would be interesting to see if they could create some story collections for the class.
I would also like to incorporate more small group time with technology. Of course, until I meet my class and see what their needs are, I will not be able to tailor the activities too specifically.
One thing I really like about having computers in my classroom, is that I don't have to schedule a specific time for using them. If the lesson we are doing lends itself to using the computers, we can just head on over to them and get started. We don't have to be watching the clock and rushing to leave so another class can come in. We can adjust our time when it is flowing, and keep going with the activity.
Well, there you have it. This is a small glimpse at how I use technology in my classroom.
For many teachers, school will be starting up again soon. This means it is time to start planning so that you have a smooth and positive start up.
I love to spend time, before school starts, freshening up my classroom and changing it up a bit. Not only does it make me feel good to have a new environment to work in, it seems to brighten things up for my students as well. These are pictures from last summer's set up.
In my district, we get our students from last year for the first week of school. The numbers are gathered and the classes are formed based on the registrations for the current year.
I want my students to be excited about returning to school and to my classroom. Noticing the differences in the room is an instant topic of conversation when they enter the door.
Sometimes, when the classes are formed, some of my students will remain in my class for another year. I want this to be something they are happy about, not sad. It is exciting to get a new teacher, and for some, there is disappointment when they don't get to go to a new classroom. I try to make them feel special by giving them the leader roles. They are the ones who know the ropes, so they can help all the new students.
When the new students arrive in my class, we do things to help them become comfortable with the room, with others in the room, and with me. I will play games, do activities to help with getting to know each other, and tell stories about my family, my cat, and what I did during the summer.
I feel it is important for the kids to connect with me and who I am in the classroom and outside of the classroom. It is neat to have them ask questions throughout the year about my grandchildren and my cat. Many times they will beg for one more story!
The most important thing I do, is share about what is special about each one of us. I like to make sure that each one realizes that they are special in their own way. We spend a lot of time during the first few weeks working on self esteem, following rules, and being a respectful group of learners. This sets the tone for the rest of the year.
Well, there you have it. I hope you have an awesome year.
This week I attempted to try my hand at making my own bunting. I have always created my products using Pages on my Mac, but I wanted to make some png files, so I figured out it was time to try the other programs. I contacted my friend Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching and asked her a bunch of questions. Then I looked at some videos on youtube. I figured I should try it and see what happens.
Here is the result. Of course, it wasn't without lots of challenges, more questions and help from Dana from Scrappin Doodles and voila I had my bunting.
I learned that it is better to draw your design on the computer rather than scan in a drawing. These images were so large that I had to split my bunting into 2 sets, upper case and lower case.
I also learned later, that the layers don't disappear, they are only hidden. I had to go back and clean up some of the layers where I did some rotating. I redid all the letters and uploaded them again.
I was so proud of myself. Then I went to create a nameplate and discovered that the background was white instead of transparent on my images. Another lesson, flattening layers is different from merging layers. I went back and redid them again with a transparent background and uploaded them again to my TpT store.
Both the upper case and lower case alphabet bunting are available as freebies in my TpT store. I hope to continue to learn more and develop other clipart, but for my first attempt, I am pretty happy.
Here is the nameplate that I created. I can hardly wait to use these when we go back to school.
I know we have only just started our summer break, but this is a great chance for reflection. I will be sharing what is happening in my classroom.
get my year started!
I love the beginning of the school year. It is a time to reconnect with my former students and meet my new students. In our district, we get our students from last year for about a week as the numbers are crunched and new classes are formed. Although this may seem like a waste of time in terms of getting started and digging into curriculum, it really is a great chance to help the kids get back into the school mode in a familiar surrounding. Review activities can be done as well as activities that allow for sharing summer adventures and stories.
When the new classes are formed, the children are moved to the new classrooms and they are introduced to their teachers. This is followed by getting to know you activities and exploration. Usually the main routines are introduced the following day.
I start off my year with a focus on self esteem and power words. We look at names, talents, and how to be optimists instead of pessimists. One of the sayings in my class is "Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?"
Some of my favorite stories for the beginning of the year are Chrysanthemum,
A Bad Case of Stripes, Howard B. Wigglebottom, The Name Jar, and Seven Habits for Happy Kids.
I don't really have many changes to make. I have found that my start up works very well for me and I have seen incredible changes in confidence and attitudes with my students as a result. I plan on using more Whole Brain Teaching ideas this year, but that is the main change I will be making.
I will definitely continue with my focus on self esteem and attitudes. This is so important for class team building, caring and respecting each other, and developing confidence.
I will also continue with my basic routines for powerful listening, quiet reading time, quiet work time, walking in hallways, and group work. These routines are important for creating a caring and respectful work environment.
Here are some of my start up materials. I use them every year. They make for a smooth start up and set the routines.
These are some activities that are fun for those first few days of school.
Well, there you have it. I hope you find some of this helpful for your new year.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.