Friday, March 2, 2018

Tech Tools that Enhance

Don't you love seeing engaged and motivated learners? If I want to measure the effectiveness of my lessons, activities and practice...
engagement is my barometer. It also lets me know if this is a tool we want to keep.

I have been using an incredible tool for several years now. I doubt there are many educators out there who aren't aware of online library of books and videos, free for teachers. I love to learn how others are using this tool. But I also love sharing how I use it.

I have found it to be the perfect tool for small reading groups. I have instant access to books, can get each child on a book that I can choose by level, interest or other topic we are studying. Students love using Epic. Small reading groups with engaged learners will lead to better readers.

Students love to have Epic as a choice during independent reading as well. This tool is student friendly. They quickly learn how to search for books they choose. Students can also read together with ease. It is so frustrating to them when they can't find two books the same to read with. Every child has access to the same books. They also love to use the read to books for books above their level. All educators know it is important for students to have books read to them above their level to enhance comprehension and vocabulary. It is impossible to do that with every child...that is unless you have Epic!

In our classroom we love doing virtual field trips. One of our favorite tools for this is Learn Around the World . My students absolutely love the #geoshow! It certainly helps to prepare students for a virtual trip with some schema. I love Epic for this. I can go into Epic to plan with purpose. I can set up collections of books and videos based on the topic we will be  learning about with Brandon from Learn Around the World. I can make one collection for the whole class, or more differentiated collections based on reading levels. Students are then armed with information and questions, ready to make a great virtual trip even better! This same idea can be used for any research your doing or to enhance Science and Social Studies.

Speaking of virtual collaboration...Epic is the tool for connecting with other classrooms as well. Books clubs don't have to be in your classroom walls, nor do reading buddies! Collections can be shared with other educators as well. Make plans to connect and collaborate using a tool we ALL have access to.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Back on Track

This year has been a hard one to get rolling. After looping for two years and starting over, you know and remember to begin slow. You want to set those routines and do it well. Take the time to introduce one tool at a time. That is just what we were doing...and it felt right, yet slow going.

Then a hurricane rolled in. We were just starting to roll pretty smoothly .We lost 6 days.
Upon return it felt like we were back at the beginning.

So, here we are, October 1st and so much is not in place. Global Read Aloud is kicking in and I feel a little behind. But it is okay, we will get there.

One thing I would have started before now is #mtgr2  This is a chance to do math talk with other 2nd graders using Twitter. I am ready to kick it off this week and I hope you can share and get others started with us.

We also participate in #gmttc2, this is not to replace it. We love #gmttc2 because it gives us a chance to solve math problems posted daily during the week.

For #mtgr2 we are following the idea Leka Degroot came up with a few years ago for first grade students. It is a slow chat and it is designed to help students discover math all around them. One prompt posts during the week. We ask that you share the prompt with students and have them share their thinking with us using the hashtag #mtgr2. If you are a first grade teacher use #mtgr1. There is no right or wrong answer. We hope to encourage talk and thinking that revolves around mathematical thinking.

This year I want to add another tool. We will post the same question to flip grid. So, your students will have a choice to leave a verbal response there, and we will also continue to use Twitter. My class posts from @linkedlearners and I will post from my teacher account @firstatbat.

Please share and join in with us as soon as you are able. The more thinking we have, the more successful it will be!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Year, New Goals

 This summer I had the privilege of attending ST4T in Clearwater, Florida. If you haven't had the opportunity to attend, be sure to check it out next summer.

While there I attended a session with Jen Williams and Fran Siracusa. These two ladies ALWAYS inspire me, and they did once again. They were speaking on  professional learning, our goals and how to get there. As I participated in this session I reflected. As educators, we always seem to be learning new things, setting new goals, and  moving forward. If or when that cycle stops...that is where we become stagnant, bored...and so do our students. It doesn't mean everything has to become new and different, but we should always be working towards making it sharper, intentional and meaningful.

Which leads me to my thoughts for this year.  A few years ago I jumped onto the Twitter train. The journey I have taken on that train has been amazing. I am doing things in my classroom I didn't think were possible.  I have been inspired and challenged by amazing educator leaders. I have been changed as an educator.

I am now at that place where as a connected educator I want to make it sharper. I want to be a little more intentional in what I do. I want it to be meaningful...beyond my classroom or school. My hope in posting this blog post I will find the right connections, the right person/people who can lead me in these next steps.

My Purpose:

I see two purposes in what I want to achieve. First, I want to expose my students to diverse cultures. I want them to see likenesses among people of different cultures and help them to see, know and accept the differences. I want them to have ways to get to know students across the globe and then transform that into a collaboration with a purpose. I want my students to know how big our world is, and also how small it is. I want my students to know there is so much beyond what they can see.

My Vision

I am a mission minded person. I want to create or be involved in a sustainable project, a project that is meeting a need somewhere.  Those needs can be part of an environment, or even an environment that has had a sudden change or catastrophic event. I want to come alongside with my group and I want us to be helpers. I want to develop my students empathy, and I want them to see they can make a difference in the lives of others. I am hoping my connections lead me to that group with a need, or that I can partner with others who have the same mindset.

Using Literacy

I have a love for literacy. I would love to tie any project I do to literacy/books. Books start sparks can easily tie us together. They can be our common ground.


Skype and Google Hangouts are tools I love to use for making connections. But I want to add other tools. I think blogs can document the journey well and save it for us. I want what we do to be remembered and thought about long after they leave me. I want what we do to leave a lasting impression. I want it to impact them to be world changers. I want all these things to be shared, documented and leave their footprints, positive and helpful footprints.

I don't want to put a box around any of these thoughts. I want to be open to ideas that come my way. I welcome thoughts, suggestions and ideas. Please share your thoughts, ideas...inspire me, challenge me!