Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 16

Happy Tuesday! I am so excited to be participating in the fabulous book study using Marcia Tate's text- Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites

This week is all about chapter 16 and technology. I was super excited when Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten asked me to host this chapter because I LOVE technology, and I am slightly obsessed with using technology tools and resources in the classroom. However, after reading this chapter of the book, I had some major reflection time on just how I am exactly using technology in my classroom. Marcia says that technology is crucial but that this strategy(technology)should be evenly balanced with her other 19 strategies. She points out that too many students in today's society are caught up in the tech phase and losing the important interpersonal relationships that human and social interaction can give them.

Here is what I pulled from this chapter that I wanted to share.

The possibilities that technology can open up for classroom learning are endless. However, I think that it is important to remember that technology is not meant to be a replacement to teaching. I want to make sure that the technology that I am implementing in my classroom is an enhancement to our already rigorous learning environment. The technology that we use should be an extension to learning instead of a replacement. 

It is easy to place an app in front of a student and walk away. Sometimes, apps that mirror the "drill and practice" approach have their place in the classroom. Some of my favorites include Splash Math, and Bluster. Is this type of tech use okay? OF COURSE!!! But, is it the only way to use technology in the classroom? NO!! 

I have been so excited with how well my students have embraced technology and how comfortable they are getting with using tech tools to support learning that is STUDENT-LED! A lot of the tech tools that we use are through the iPad, laptops, and our SmartBoard. The students use the internet to research and documents such as Word or Google Drive to create documents sharing their research. 

I could write a whole blog on technology, but here are some ideas on how we use it in the classroom. I am sharing these specific examples, because I feel that it aligns with Marcia Tate's belief that technology has the power to enhance relationships. 

We reach out to other students across the United States and chat with them. The students are pulling in a lot of standards and skills as well as working on building relationships with other students whose lives and experiences are very different from ours.  

We use Google Drive to make voting more interesting.

We work in small groups to compile research and then write rough drafts and conference with peers and teachers on our work through Google Docs.

We use our SmartBoard to stream GoNoodle and be active throughout the day in fun ways. 

All of these technology extensions take every day learning and require students to apply their understanding of skills and concepts in another way. I am so excited about what technology has and will continue to do for my students. After this chapter, I am challenging myself to continue to brainstorm purposeful ways to use technology in my classroom. 

What did you think of the chapter? 
Link up below and be sure to check out the rest of the book study schedule! 

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#2getherwearebetter Schedules

This past weekend, I was OHHHH so excited to get an email from one of my sweet friends, Angie from Lucky Little Learners, sharing with me some big plans that she and Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd had. What an amazing idea to host a new link party! I LOVE blogging when I have a topic to write about so I am really excited about this new adventure of theirs.

Because we are on Spring Break(and I have vowed to take a TOTAL brain break from work this week), I wasn't able to snap some pictures of my classroom schedule or resources, but I can share with you my classroom schedule and talk a little bit about it! I will have to come back and add pictures when I get back to my room next week! :)

I always get so excited about scheduling because I am a firm believer that having a schedule that works for you and your kiddos can make or break a school day. With that said, I am also a huge advocate of switching up my schedule based on the needs of my kids. Some days, we do Math first because I can just tell that my kiddos need that. Other days, I stretch out my Reading block or cut out vocabulary in order to fit in something else. 

We are flexible in Young's Learning Cottage and that works for us. :)

Our morning routine and morning meeting block is one of my favorite parts of my day! I pick up my kiddos, we head outside to our learning cottage, and my students greeter and I greet the students at the door. This group of kiddos LOVE to give high-fives so that tends to be our "Good Morning" ritual this year. Students enter the classroom, hang up their backpacks, get out their planners, and read the morning message that is on the easel. Most days, they have to respond to the morning message on a sticky note and then leave it on my back table. #stickynotesalldayereday

The kiddos spend the next 10ish minutes working on their morning work.  Currently, our morning work is the Comprehension Notebook from Jodi Southard. This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE purchases from TPT. It is great, and I like how the activity is a meaningful packet. The weekly packets really require my students to think, constantly apply learned skills, and give them the opportunity to read, read, and read some more. 

We wrap up our morning routine by meeting at the rug and doing our morning routine. First, students greet each other then we do calendar, read a poem, talk about the weather, and share "something good" and then discuss our goals for the day. 

My district adopted the Envision math series a couple of years ago. However, I pull in a lot of math resources that are not included in that math program. I use Envision as a framework and guide to what I need to do cover with my students and then bring in my own resources. I could have a blog just for math resources, but I will tell you that my favorite resource in math this year is the interactive notebook. 

There are several amazing teachers out there who have created some fabulous interactive notebook resources. However, my personal favorite is Angie's. I am not just saying that because she is hosting the linky either!!!! I have purchased a few different ones and hers is my favorite. She "gets" it and knows what our kiddos need out of an interactive resource. 

 The other major resource that my district purchased for us to use is Wonders. I actually like several aspects of Wonders, but I again use it as a framework to help guide my instruction in the classroom. I pull in a lot of my own resources in reading because I teach science and social studies in my reading block. 

We also use the reading series to help our ELL teachers stay on pace with the other second grade teachers. For an hour each day, our ELL students leave our classrooms to go work with our amazing ELL staff. For most of the teachers..that means half of our students are pulled out for this time. The rest of us take that hour to work with the remaining students and break them into small groups. I spend that hour working one on one with a few kiddos and strengthening skills with the rest of my students. 

So..there is a SUPER quick and brief rundown of my classroom schedule. What does your schedule look like? Write a post and link up with us!