This Week in Tech

My firsties have been doing great at logging into their computers all week. We attempted a  math lesson, finding numbers on a 120 chart, in ActiveInspire. Only for me to realized the software wasn't installed on the desktops, just my laptop cart. Oh well, plan B that day. At least I was able to change the setting in Inspire for the laptops. They are ready for next week. 

On Friday we did another learning lesson with GAfE. They had already explored the shapes tool in Slides and played with them earlier in the week. I wanted to teach them about the fill bucket. I used Christine Pinto's #gafe4littles Color Word template. This was also a way to see who can read the color words. 

I am teaching the students the correct computer terms, browser, Chrome, tab, select tool, lock the computer, etc... After they opened the document, I reviewed where to find the shape tool and then asked them to come show us how to change the color. The first student pointed to the line color button. Close! I quickly modeled the fill bucket and they were on their own. 

One student, hard at work finding the blue to use.

here is the work of another

I did NOT tell them how to get to the next slide. They were able to figure it out on their own. I am sure they saw a similar presentation in ActivInspire with their teachers last year. I have seen young students be able to pick up tech skills just from the repetitive watching. 

What's on the horizon for next week and beyond? The moon! I am excited to see what I can teach them and to let them explore technology.

We Broke the Internet

Friday was the first day we got out our laptops. My first grader were ready for learning tha laptop procedures:
* get the laptops off the cart
* logging in
* locking the computer
* putting the laptops away AND plugging them in to be charged

All was going well, several remembered from Kindergarten how to use the shift key for their password. A few had trouble pressing CTRL and ALT at the same time, but I showed them how. 

Next, it was time to log into our class accounts. That is when we broke the internet. The site times out and this error messaged appeared. 

To which several students piped up with "The WiFi isn't working." That made me smile. Yes, 5 & 6 year olds can understand how technology works! Turns out the whole district lost internet. We were unable to get back on and try, that will wait until Monday. 

For the limited things we did, the students did great. My goal next week is to have them in our Google Classroom and to complete some Number Sense activities. Thank you Christine Pinto for the template and inspiration. #gafe4littles

New Grade, New Room

I am moving to first grade this year. I'm excited. I taught first grade for many years. Of course the standards have changed in the recent years. 

I am moving to a new room as well. It is a blank slate, awaiting my attention. 

Michael came to school and helped move all my stuff, boxes and bins, oh my! This is with about 3/4 of the boxes unpacked. 

I finished the boxes before I left, but the pile in the desk grew a little. I am trying to  be thoughtful on my organization. As long as I finish putting everything away tomorrow, I'll be able to get my room set up without panicking. I hope. 

Florida Welcome Social at TpT Orlando

The Florida bloggers had a great time welcoming everyone to Florida to kick off the 2016 TpT Conference! We want to thank everyone for coming out and joining us as well as our amazing sponsors and donors!!
Mary, from Full of Smiles Photography, did a fantastic job of capturing the event!

First, we must thank Adam, Amy, and Paul for coming to our event!! Don't they look great?!

A huge thank you goes out to Sarah from Educlips for making this amazing clip art!

But for real... Thank you to Team TpT for coming out to the event!! It was so awesome for them to come and help us welcome everyone to Florida!

BIG thanks to Tabitha Carro from Smartphone Marketing for all her support and fun giveaways throughout the event!

Another huge thanks goes out to A+ Images for sponsoring our event and giving away a class set of shirts!

We hope everyone enjoyed all the great stuff they found in their swag bags! These were packed with goodies from the Florida bloggers and donors!

Thank you to the amazing sponsors above as well as these great sponsors and donors for helping to make our giveaways and prizes the best!
A Modern Teacher
Safari, Ltd
Seat Sacks
Simple Soap
The Fit Teacher
Denise Boehm: Sunny Days in Second Grade
Amy Labrasciano
Cara Gingras: Kindergarten Boom Boom
Kimberly Solis: Elementary Antics
Your Thrifty Co-Teacher
Ta-Doodles Illustrations
Alexis Sanchez: Laugh Eat Learn Designs
Meg Anderson: The Teaching Studio
Teaching in the Tongass
Lyndsey Zurawski: Speech to the Core
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Lovely Leaders
Kristin Bowers
Meg's Crayons
Learning Harbor
Seat Sack Inc. for the Read 'n' Go Bags
Safari LTD

We hope you'll come back to Florida and the land of palm trees very soon!!

Back to School Books

The first week of school is exciting, nerve wracking, terrifying, overwhelming, thrilling, and more. And that is just for the teacher! Between learning names, teaching procedures, drying eyes, and assuring the students they will be alright; teacher need to start teaching. There are so many wonderful books for the first week of school, but these are two of my favorite:

            Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
            Oliver and His Alligator

Let's start with Miss Bindergarten. I love all the activity in this book. It is a great way to start teaching how to use the illustrations to tell the story. This books features rhyming words while teaching the alphabet. Each student in the class has a name that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. The students are named using a rhyming couplet. It is on the next two pages that the illustrations take over.

Each two page spread features Miss Bindergarten setting up her classroom. The text is the same each time, but the illustrations change. These pages allow teachers to talk about the action in the book; how a story can be told in pictures, and to discuss all the things Miss Bindergarten does to get the classroom ready. You can have the students look around their own classroom for these items.

I created several literacy and math activities to go with the book. These activities will keep the students engaged and learning; even if you are spending the time sorting supplies. Click here or the photo to find the resource.
What's Included: 
a suggestions for use page to make planning easier
There are colorful alphabet cards and pictures from the story. Use these to practice the alphabet, retell the story, and sorting by 'in the story' and not.  
There are several printable activities for independent work, such as:
The picture sort, letter and number tracing, color by the code for numbers and sight words, and 7 character hats that read "I'm ready for Kindergarten" Because, let's be real.... Kindergarteners LOVE hats!

Oliver and His Alligator; I found this book while wandering through B&N last August. I love the simple illustrations. In the story, Olive is scared about starting school, so he takes an Alligator with him. You know, just in case. This is a great book to use to talk about being scared of school, nervous about the new surroundings, and even being afraid of leaving home.

I've included some easy activities for the book. You get the body pieces for the each student to make their own alligator, simple counting, number tracing,  letter matching, and letter tracing. There are also color and B&W cards with kids showing different emotions; use them to get your students talking about how they feel. Click here or on the photo to get this resource.

Alligator Craftivity: the students glue the pieces down to make their very own alligator. 

Both of these resources will help any teacher get through the few days of school. Proving fun and engaging activities, that are also educational. 

Tech Saturday? Time to restore the devices

Time to make the donuts? Wait, wrong commercial. It is, however, time to restore the devises. 

My current count is 1 iPad for teacher use, it may be an iPad 2, with a cracked screen, but it still updates to the current iOS and works perfectly. The OtterBox case has kept the screen from getting worse, and it isn't noticeable during use. I run Splashtop on the iPad. This allows me to access my desktop from anywhere in the room. No more running to change the ActivInspire center, I can do it from my small group table. 

I have 7 old iDevices, some are old phones and some are old iPods. Only one will update to the current iOS, but I have found that most apps will run on iOS6 or iOS7. There were 8 devices, sadly the battery on one of the phones gave up this year. The ability to control access to one app makes the Apple devices great for center time.

I bought 2 Kindles last year when they were on sale. I don't mind the ads on the lock screen, the kids open the device so quickly they don't notice the ads. I love the ability to have a separate login for the kids. I do not have to worry about them access Amazon and trying to buy something.

Not pictured is an original Nook Color. I don't use it often, it has always been glitchy, but I keep it around for a few ebooks that I have. This is great if I have extra kids in my classroom and I need an activity for them.

Today's agenda is to restore all the devices and add beginning of the year apps. I am moving to first grade, so an app hunt will be in order as well. I will start with Simply Kinder's Apps for Reading article. Some of the apps look like they will work well in a first grade setting.

Google Classroom, Google Docs, Kindergarten, & Voice to Text: Take 1

Our schools started using Google Classroom this year. I am learning more about Google apps and way to use them in my classroom.

I use technology every day. I am fortunate enough to be 1:1 with laptops in my room. I am the teacher who tells everyone "Yes, Kindergarteners can do that!"

Google Docs now have the microphone as a tool. YAY!!! Story dictation for my kinders. This week we have been doing a Close Read of Tooth Trouble. I created a simple document with pictures to represent the major events of the story.

Getting into our Google Classroom is the easy part. I worked with a few kids today. I had to help them enable the microphone since this was the first time using it. I showed them how to click next to the picture so it didn't get deleted and how to start and stop the recording.

No problem, we have been practicing using the microphone in ActivInspire. A few were able to get right to work. This is where it got interesting.

* Because the pictures are not secured, it was hard to click in the right spot to add the text. If they clicked on the picture, it would get deleted.
   possible solution: A PDF document would fix this, but I still need the Voice to Text.

* If they clicked next to the picture the cursor didn't always show up, and the voice to text wouldn't start with a missing cursor.
   possible solution: more practice clicking and seeing the cursor, this is just practice

* Voice to Text: this was fun. My students are 5/6, they talk fast, they don't always enunciate their words, they don't always pause before starting a new thought. This caused issues with the dictation; "piece of" became pizza
"as" became a**
"special sticker" became special tax
There were some random words as well. It was an interesting read.
   solution: continue to use ActivInspire for story dictation, it can just record what they are saying

I get it, there are limitations to the technology. The only way to find out what works is to try it. I don't mind trying it.

Today's take away: Google docs and voice to text are not the right tool for my kids right now. But there are many more tools within Google that I can and will try. I am thinking of a PDF and Kami to practice making 10. I'll let you know how it goes.

Currently 1.1.16

Nothing like a new month and new year to inspire a new blog post. And Farley's Currently is always a favorite linky of mine.

Listening: I am going to the Garth Brooks concert in two weeks. Time to binge listen to get ready.

Loving: Loving the break, the weather, not so much. Yes, Florida is supposed to be warm, but this year is HOT. 

Thinking: There is a really cute pair of pants at Anthropology that I want. They are on sale and a good price.. decisions, decisions, decisions

Wanting: Of course I'd love a couple more days off. It has been a good break though.

Needing: I washed clothes  yesterday. They are in the dryer. They may stay there a little longer. 

One little word: I've been thinking about my word for 2016, I THINK that I have settled on increase. 
Increase my knowledge on a variety of topics, Increase my store inventory, Increase my happiness

So what is your 2016 looking like?