Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Elementary Opportunities

Thanks to the amazing Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller) at Van Meter the NEH elementary teachers are super excited to try out some new technologies. I have 3 new projects that I'm working on over the next week.

1. This afternoon my US History students (9th grade) will pair up with both a 3rd grade student and a Kindergarten student to collaborate on a project. It is a good "citizenship" activity for the 9th grade, a great teaching/technology/learning opportunity for the 3rd grade, and a great technology/literacy opportunity for the Kindergarten!

The Kindergarten has created a list of word families during their study of Dr. Seuss. The 3rd graders are going to share their class wiki with the older and younger kids to access the Tagxedo website and a graphic of the Cat in the Hat's hat. The US History students will mostly be around for technical support, but it's a good chance for the students in our PreK-12 building to make connections!

The Kindergarten students will then get to practice their typing skills and enter their word clouds into the Tagxedo program. Tagxedo will create for them a hat made out of their words! I will share my daughter's hat later, once we have completed the activity.

2. The 1st graders are paired with a 4th grade buddy. Earlier in the quarter the students cut out pictures from a magazine and created a story about the pictures. Now we are going to upload their pictures (magazine and some that they drew) into Little Bird Tales, type their stories, and then record them reading their stories. The first grade teacher plans to share these digital versions of the books with parents at conferences. The parents will then also be able to access them and share them with family anywhere in the world!

3. This last project idea came from the first grade project. My daughter Rylee is in the kindergarten class here at NEH and she has been thrilled to bring home the class pet, Mr. Bunny. Each kid in the class brings home Mr. Bunny, takes care of him for the night, and then writes about him in the Mr. Bunny journal, chronicling their adventures with the pet. The activity is great, and assuming that the other kids have half as much fun with Mr. Bunny as Rylee does, the kids learn a lot and have a blast with it, too. The first time Rylee brough Mr. Bunny home she wrote 4-5 sentences (they are asked to write 3). This time she wanted to log every minute detail of their time together.

The other thing she was excited about was Little Bird Tales. While I was exploring the program for the 1st/4th project she was watching the tutorial video over my shoulder. Her immediate response was, "I want to do that!" First, I told her to write and illustrate her own story and we would put it online. Then the following idea came to me:

Anyway, so my project idea was this (and thank you Mrs. Oakland for running with it): The kids each drew (this morning) a picture of their adventures with Mr. Bunny. Tomorrow we will upload their pictures, and next week I will pull each of the Kindergarteners out individually to share their story about Mr. Bunny. I'll type this into Little Bird tales, record their version of the story, and we'll be able to share this version of Mr. Bunny's journal with the entire class. It's something they'll have ten years from now and maybe even twenty years from now. My goal is that Mrs. Oakland (NEH Kindergarten teacher) will be able to share this digital version of the kids' journal with the parents at conferences much like the first grade teacher will be doing. I know Rylee will be excited to share the journal with her grandparents, and I hope the other kids will be excited about it, too.

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