Recently, I was chosen to give a presentation on our district’s Act 80 day for an audience of educators who work with students in Kindergarten and 1st grade. I decided to show them some of my favorite web-based resources. Continue reading
Easing into Easiteach
Last year was my first full school year using my Epson Brightlink Interactive Projector in my 1st Grade Classroom. I spent the year making lessons in TeamBoard Draw (word building and ten-frames for example) and using Easy Interactive tools to annotate over top old transparencies. I also found interactive websites for the kids to use, and who doesn’t enjoy streaming from Discovery Education. I also self-taught myself the software program ActivInspire, and created several lessons using this program (which are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. For more info on ActivInspire you can check out these posts: Using ActivInspire to Create a Cross-Curricular Lesson and The Top Ten Things Teachers Should Be able to do in ActivInpsire). In the spring of last school year I attended a two day “train-the-trainer” training on another IWB software, RMEasiteach, provided by an Eduscape Learning instructor, Krista Galyon, @. I loved her training, because it was very hands on! It is always easier to learn how to do something by doing it, not watching!
A Bit of Background
I first heard of EdCamp from a fellow blogger, Darin Johnston
@AnIowaTeacher, in his blog post My #edcampMadWI Expereince. His blog post had piqued my interest, and I recently had been to another unconference, Pod Camp Pittsburgh, #pcpgh8, with my tech-savvy boyfriend (who is the brains behind this blog operation). We learned a lot at Pod Camp about blogging, search engine optimization and social media, so I figured trying a education-focused unconference would be a great way to learn more about current trends in education and connect with other educators.
So You Might be Wondering, “What is an “Unconference”?”
Yesterday, I attended the unconfence, EdCamp PGH, #edcamppgh, which is kind of like a professional development conference, except its not! What makes EdCamp different than a conferences is that class offerings and schedule are completely determined by the participants. At the start of the day participants jot topics they want to learn more about on sticky notes and post stick them on a piece of chart paper. Then there is another chart with a table, where the session times are listed down the side and the available rooms are listed across the top. If someone feels they are confident in moderating the discussion they move the topic from the first chart and place it in a time slot and a room. From there the organizers put the schedule up on the website, so participants can access it from our lap tops, tablets and smart phones.
At the beginning of the school year I created an interactive presentation for the daily calendar routine in my classroom. Included in this PowerPoint were YouTube videos of a weather song and a calendar song. Unfortunately, these songs seem to keep getting taking off YouTube. My students happened to be learning about proper nouns including the days of the week, so I decided film our own days of the week rap video. We had previously filmed a video of the Ants Go Marching which was one of my favorite projects this school year! I felt like it was time for another music project;, what better way to shake the winter blues!? I love using songs to teach concepts, because they really help to make the material stick!
In my previous post Using ActivInspire to Create Cross-Curricular lessons, I introduced you to some basic ActivInspire skills when I created my Boots for Beth cross-curricular lesson. I wanted to advance my ActivInspire skills, so I viewed some different tutorials to learn how I could make my ActivInspire Flipcharts more engaging.
In class we read the story Boots for Beth about a pig named Beth. At the beginning of the story Beth can’t get her boots on because they are too small. Throughout the story Beth’s animal friends offer their boots, but none of them are right for Beth. At the end of the story the friends surprise Beth with a new pair boots. Our focus reading comprehension skill for the week was retelling. I knew I wanted to work this skill into the project if possible.
In math we have been working a lot with ten-frames. I thought it would be fun for students to drag boots onto the ten-frame instead of boring counters. I decided to use ActivInspire to create this presentation.
This week we read an informational text titled All That Corn in our Harcourt Trophies reading books. On Day 2 of the Harcourt Trophies plan it recommends that the teacher help students create a concept map about farms. I have been eager to use a new, web-based, mind mapping tool with my students and I saw this as the perfect opportunity. When I did my action research during my graduate studies with my PreK students, I used Kidspiration software for mind mapping. Kidspiration is a good software package, but for the purposes of this blog I want to make sure that I am showcasing applications that are free and accessible to everyone. Plus, I know there are many mind mapping tools that have come out in the past few years, so I wanted to familiarize myself with the new tools out there. The world of educational technology is ever-changing, so it is important to stay up to date!