Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Osmo Game - Masterpiece

Kids Tech Device Osmo Launches Masterpiece


Using Osmo's reflective technology, Masterpiece will guide you as you draw line by line to recreate a photo or images of your choosing.  All you'll need is the Osmo device,  and Masterpiece app.

Watch this video to see how it works.

I love how you can combine images to create a unique drawing.   What's best is that this app is free for Osmo users.

Masterpiece has been created for people of all ages.  You are only limited by your own creativity.  I can't wait to take this into my classroom and see what my students create.

To learn more about using Osmo in your classroom, read my previous blog post.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Strategy 4 Games

As a kindergarten teacher, I am lucky to say that my students love games.  We love to play while we learn.  As well as, learn while we play.

In our classroom, we play variations of the same game like this CVC game.  Usually, I introduce it whole group and then it becomes a center activity.  My students never seem to tire of these games.

I thought that this chapter really did a great job as to why games are so important.  I think that games are not just for little kids. Older children can benefit from games, too.  I think that sometimes that is just forgotten.

Here are a few takeaways from this chapter.

I think the thing that I would like to try is cross grade partnerships.  I would like to partner with one class and encourage them to come and play with us at recess or even during part of our center time.  I think that this would help as to develop as Glasser stated a sense of "belonging and love."

Thank you, Queen of the First Grade Jungle for hosting. 

Let's keep playing! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Strategy 3 Fieldtrips

My experience with field trips has varied over the years.

Once upon a time, I worked as a Museum Educator for a historic house museum.  It was my job to create programs and events for children that would give them a first hand account of life long ago in southern California.  Our most popular program involved third and fourth grade students dressing up as vacqueros of the 1840s or flappers of the 1920s as they reenacted a short skit from that decade.

Then, I became a teacher.

My first field trip as a teacher involved walking to the LA Fair grounds on Opening Day.  Our entire school went.  Can you say stressful?  Yet, fun.

A few years later, the district would taken away our fields trips because they were deemed noneducational and since we were a low performing school they were not allowed as it was a waste of instructional time.  NO JOKE.

I currently work at a school where field trips our valued and our Parent Group works very hard to raise funds to support these educational experiences.  We usually go on two to three bus field trips and one or two walking trips within our neighborhood.

For the past few years, we have taken our kindergarten classes to see a play performed by youth from the community.  The weeks leading up to the play, I love to read the book and create as many extension activities as possible.  It always such a joy to see them make connections from the book to the play.

Front row seats for Peter Pan

It has become an annual tradition for us to go to Sea World.  Although, many of our students live nearby, for many it is their first visit to the amusement park.  We have had this visit be an introduction to our unit of study of ocean animals as well as the culminating event.

This year, we visited a working farm.  It was a first for all of us.
Students got to see how the food they eat grows.  What was amazing about this trip was watching the moms in awe of their children eating foods that they would never eat at home because they got to pick it from the field.  

This year, we are also trying something a little different.  In lieu of going on a field trip, we are having Mad Science come to us and to show us some hands-on science.  We decided that this is an area that we need to improve on in teaching and that having experts come out would encourage us to take more time in teaching science to prepare our students.  We plan on having two science filled days where we learn about bugs and how simple machines work.  

What this chapter reaffirmed was that children need experiences outside of the classroom.  Education should not be confined to just school.  This chapter also has me thinking about how to bring more of the world within the classroom.  I am thinking about Skype, virtual field trips and even connecting with others via snail mail.  

I am loving and learning a lot from this book study.  Thank you, Deedee for hosting.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Strategies 1 & 2

I am so excited to joining this mid-year book study.  Thank you, Kickin' It in Kindergarten for hosting these chapters.

This strategy focused on getting kids to talk to one another with purpose.   

In my classroom, I use a variety of tools to get kids talking to one another such as sentence frames and Think, Pair, Share.  One strategy that I like to use with students is Lines of Communication.   

Lines of Communication

During Lines of Communication, students sit in two rows facing one another.  Students take turns being the one who talks or the one who listens.  

In the picture above, one student is asking a survey question and recording the data.  That student will go down the line after my prompt to do so and ask the question of each person down the row.  The other side will respond to the different survey questions.  The next day, we switch roles.  I like when I am able to participate in the Lines of Communication because it gives me an opportunity to hear my students ask questions and to listen more attentively to the responses.  This strategy has been very effective in getting everyone to participate.  

My biggest take away from this section was that we need to embed purposeful talk into the day; 21st century learning.  A quiet classroom does not necessarily mean that children are learning.  
I am a visual learner.  I tend to learn better if I can see it and do it rather than just talk about it.  In my classroom, I try to incorporate art (and crafts) into my lessons as an extension of our learning.  

Here are a few examples of how I use art in my classroom to foster learning.  

For this lesson, students drew their own Pete the Cat subtraction stories.   

Here we integrated art and technology using Chatter Pix.  This one is one of my favorites!

My biggest take away from this strategy is that when children "play - draw, dance, and sing-" they are growing dendrites.  Isn't this what kindergarten is all about!?  Kindergarten should be more about play and less about testing. 

Looking forward to learning more.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Assess with Plickers

Have you heard of Plickers? Plickers is a free teacher created app that uses an internet connected mobile device and a student's unique Plicker card.  Teachers create questions.  Students use their Plicker card to select an answer and hold it up as the teacher scans the cards using an iPad or smartphone.  Data is reported and collected instantly!

Assessing with Plickers is a great alternative to traditional means of data collecting.

I used Plickers to create a formative assessment about American symbols.  The questions I asked my students were created to help inform my instruction.  We took this as a pre-test and will take it again at the conclusion of our unit.

Here is a sample.

What I like about it is that I can ask all or a group of my students questions.  Since their Plicker cards are unique, students are less apt to "copy" each other.  Students also love the fact that technology is incorporated.

To learn more about Plickers, this video was very helpful.

Teaching American symbols is one of my favorite units.  Read more about our writing and craft ideas from these previous posts.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Calendar Makeover using #chalkboardbrights

If you're like me, something happens mid-year that makes you feel the need to change things in your classroom.  It may mean rearranging desks or redoing a bulletin board.  For me, it meant redoing my math area; in particular my calendar.

This chalkboard bright calendar from Teacher Created Resources is just what the area needed.  The calendar set is much larger than my previous one.  It also has a variety of pieces including holidays, special occasions like field trips and several blank ones for you to use.  

Over the years, I've tried many ways to keep the calendar numbers on.  I've tried cutting slits on the calendar and using paper clips, stapling numbers on or in sheer desperation writing the numbers like here.   Finally, I discovered a much more effective way of keeping the calendar numbers in place.

I use restickable dots which I cut in half and place on the calendar.  

The finished product gives this set a real polished look.  

I am definitely happy with this mid-year makeover and am sure that I will use it for the upcoming school year.  

Happy Teaching!     

Please note: I received the calendar set as well as other Teacher Created Resources products to use in my classroom. This did not influence my opinions or views of this product.