This week, my third graders participated in the hour of code! We prepared this activity by setting it up in their Canvas accounts, where they would access it. We used https://studio.code.org/hoc/1 for our hour of code, and it was fabulous! The students were engaged the whole time and even went home and coded more. They were really intrigued by the real computer coding that would pop up as they completed a level, and were constantly asking us questions about it. After we did the hour of code, our district technology coordinator came in to show our class how he writes code on his iPad that tells his robot, Dash, what to do. He demonstrated it by mirroring his iPad on our Promethean board so students were able to see. Needless to say, they are loving coding and want to do this more in school!
This week, my third graders have concluded their infographic projects via Canvas. Our district technology coordinator came in twice during our work time to help students and to bounce different creative ideas off of them and brought them to life. The students in my class are so proud of themselves and are so eager to present their landmark to the class, and to show off how their project turned out! Each of these projects turned out very unique, and this is definitely something my host teacher will do for years to come. Since we had so much success using the laptop cart and Canvas to create these projects, now we know we are able to do this for other subject areas and projects! It has been so helpful and valuable to see how to set up this “course” and specific “lesson” on Canvas for students to upload their projects to, from a teacher standpoint. Below are some of the infographics my students created!
My class is creating a project based on an Indianapolis landmark. For years past, classes have made a simple poster over their landmark and presented it to the class. This year, my teacher and I wanted to try something new an something different from the rest of the teachers. My third grades are learning how to use Canvas to create and upload their projects!! We are calling it an “infographic” and have been discussing in class what three elements make up an infographic: the story, data, and pictures.
We let the students have time to research their landmark and all twenty one students have something different. We then created accounts for all of the students on Canvas and had them practice logging in. We then created the assignment on my teacher’s “instructor” course version of Canvas and linked a video, instructions, and infographic examples for students to be able to access when working independently in class. This week, we had them draw on a plain piece of paper what they wanted their project to look like when transferred on the computer. Next week, we will take them into their first stage of using Canvas to transfer over their creative ideas on this virtual poster. I am so excited to begin!
Mentioned in my previous posts, my host teacher is taking part in a two year program through the school district’s technology department. She has been granted to have her own MacBook Air laptop cart for our classroom, one laptop per student! This has truly been a blessing to her classroom, as she is able to do so much with having laptops available at any time. For math each day, we have about an hour block to teach a lesson and work on the skills introduced with the students. We rely on a website called Math IXL to work with students on any lesson or topic we choose after they have completed in class work. This is such a valuable website and all of our students have their own account on it, so they are able to access it at home too! Sometimes during our math block of the day we will have the students go to 2-3 stations and part of that will be for them to get out their laptop and complete some work on Math IXL. It is a very effective way for students to practice that skill of the day or week in a fun way,and they always love working on their individual laptops! My teacher and I are able to tell them what lesson to click on and work on based on the topics introduced, and we are able to view the teacher account to see how each individual student is doing on it. That way, we can assess them and adjust our teaching no matter if they are excelling or having trouble with something. It is a very effective program and our students really enjoy working with the laptops to do so!
An aspect of technology that is used daily in our classroom and school, is “My Lexia Rapid”. Lexia is computer-adaptive screener and diagnostic assessment tool that measures the skills most predictive of reading success: word recognition, academic language, and reading comprehension. This program is extremely reliable and allows teachers to view a master list of students and shows which students are struggling with certain areas, and where they are excelling. My school district adopted this a few years ago and have had nothing but success, thus far. Teachers really rely on this during their literacy block, and during “intervention” time throughout the day. The literacy specialist at our school makes time to work with students during progress monitoring and after school if they are struggling with a certain area, and more!
During our literacy block, about 7-8 students at a time are allowed on Lexia. My teacher views her online master list as to who needs to meet their “minutes” (goals for that week) and allows them to get on an iMac or iPad in our classroom and quietly work independently. Students really enjoy working on Lexia during the school day, especially when they’re allowed on the iPads :). We have these available for students within our classroom, as well as iMac computers, and Macbook Air laptops. Lexia is available on all of these devices, and helps students keep track of their progress, what they are doing well in and what they need to spend more time on. I frequently help students when they are working on Lexia, and it really has appealing graphics and makes reading and word-working fun!
The Promethean Board is a daily tool and essential to learning in my classroom. Instead of a traditional whiteboard, my teacher and I rely on the Promethean Board for all assignment, lesson activities, and teaching! Each morning, we pull up everything we need for the day on the Promethean Board, which is compatible with our classroom iMacs. From my teacher’s iMac, we are able to click and drag needed material from the computer to the Promethean Board to have it pulled up for the day. If there is an in-class worksheet, we simply scan the worksheet with a scanner and save it as a PDF on our iMac, then we are able to pull it up on the Promethean Board. This way, students can follow along during the activity or lesson while we teach using the worksheet. Also, every classroom in the entire school district has a Promethean Board, so students are exposed to this in Kindergarten, and all the way throughout high school. This is a tool they will grow up using and knowing how to use! Students are able to utilize the Promethean Board during presentations and as a resource in general.
I cannot imagine this classroom being as productive or running as smoothly without the Promethean Board. It makes everything easier and is a tool staff and students know how to use well.
This week I started my student teaching in third grade and it is absolutely fabulous! As far as technology goes, I could not be luckier to be in this classroom and school! My host teacher is piloting a technology program for the school district so we have access to a Promethean Board, iPads, MacBook Air laptops for all students, and 5 iMacs ALL just within OUR classroom! This is a part of my class’ daily procedures and lessons, too! I absolutely cannot wait to start teaching and planning my own lessons incorporating all of these different technology tools. This is going to be an absolutely fantastic learning experience for general education AND my technology concentration. So far I have helped the students use reading and writing programs on the iMac computers and iPads, my teacher do anything and everything on the Promethean Board, and my students use laptops to enhance lesson activities. This excites me to no end that they already are familiar with several different technology tools and that I soon will plan more and more lessons using these tools.