Friday, January 24, 2014

How iPads Have Transformed Our Classroom in 3 short days!

This has been an exciting week in 6th grade!  Our iPads arrived on Wednesday afternoon!  We have been learning and exploring with them since that time.  We want to share with you what we have done so far, and what our hopes are for the upcoming week.  Here's a quick recap:

Wednesday afternoon:
"Coach Cat" (our fearless leader) came in and covered the basics and introduced us to some useful apps.  We learned how to use various hand gestures on the iPads, and covered safety and responsibility.  We set up Google Drive and our Gmail accounts on the iPads, which will be useful when sending and receiving work.  We learned about the Skitch app which is useful for making illustrations and story maps.  (That is the app Miss Heine used for the picture of Coach Cat on Wednesday.)  Then we explored Popplet.  Popplet is great for making graphic organizers.  Notability is an app that is great for making notes on our papers.  We will use this frequently to notate on notes and papers that were typically handed out to students, to work towards a paperless classroom.  All of these apps can be shared via e-mail.  They can e-mail it to themselves, and then open their e-mail at home to show parents. (Their e-mail accounts won't allow them to send or receive e-mail to addresses outside of Bellevue Public Schools.)

We had students open Notability to work on their Math morning work. Next they had to create a Popplet that went along with our Reading story (about women inventors) for this week.  This activity required some research on a famous product invented by a woman.  We showed them RAZ kids (Reading A to Z), which is a great Reading tool some students will be using to read books digitally.   We had them organize their Google Drive so we can send and receive work efficiently.  They again worked in Notability for Social Studies to notate on their notes while reading the text.  For Math we accessed Khan Academy and began getting accustomed to working on the iPad for utilizing that site.  (They can also access this site at home on any computer or iPad.)  

Friday (Today):
We used Notability and Popplet for Science.  Students notated on their Science journals using Notability.  They created a Popplet for the Main Idea and Supporting Details of our Science story on the Greek Physicist, Archamedes.  
We accessed the MAP testing site and did a "practice" run with testing on the iPads.  The students did great and were able to complete the tests on the iPad.  This will be great for collecting instructional data on our 6th graders as well as preparing us for the MAP testing that will be done late April or early May.  

Our Goals for next week are to introduce and use the apps iMovie, Tellagami, Pages & Keynote.  iMovie and Tellagami will be great in having students demonstrate their comprehension on various passages and texts.  It will also be useful in showing us their knowledge in various subject areas.  Pages is great for organizing and graphing data, which will be useful for their Science presentations.  Keynote is very similar to "Powerpoint" or "Prezi" but is an Apple product.  

While it has been a great 3 days with much learning, we still have a lot to learn about the iPads and the students are excited to do so!  (As are we!)  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

iPad Collab

Yesterday, we were able to collaborate with other Bellevue Public Schools teachers who are also entering into the world of 1:1 iPad classrooms.  The "veteran" 1:1 teachers were available for us  "rookies" to pick apart their ideas and find out what works and doesn't.  It was such an amazing work day and that helped me to feel even more excited and better prepared for this journey.

I am such a fan of the model Bellevue Public Schools has designed for becoming a 1:1 district.  Teachers are able to learn about Apple Foundations and then apply for the 1:1 classroom if they feel the time is right for their students and them.  Teachers who WANT to put in the time and effort to have this amazing opportunity, are able to apply to the iPad Academy.  Once you've been selected for the iPad Academy, our incredible iPad coaches and tech team provide monthly collaboration times we can share our successes, failures, and create meaningful lessons for our class.  

Yesterday's meeting was so beneficial to my learning as a "rookie" 1:1 teacher.  I was able to find some key apps that I want to try with my students when creating portfolios and projects.  I was also able to learn some very appealing ways to assist with grading and paperwork, such as Flubaroo.  I am excited for the iPads to get here, and so thankful our district is investing the time and resources to ensure teachers are successful in this 1:1 iPad journey!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Digital Portfolios

I remember making the switch to a gmail account and how it was a learning curve!  I quickly became a huge fan of all the amazing online based options gmail provides.  I first dabbled with Google drive and Google calendar.  Recently, I began using the blogger to create a professional blog of our iPad journey.  Today, we had the privilege to learn about creating a digital portfolio for our students using the Google sites feature.  I am so excited to have each student create their own "resume" of their work!  They will be able to have this portfolio housed through their gmail accounts and it will be kept indefinitely so they can access it years down the road.  It will be a great way for them to see how their goals and interests transpire over their educational career and house their work!  A huge thanks to Megan Kinen for teaching us about this amazing feature, and for the support of our iPad coach, Brent Catlett!  If you are interested in having your students do a digital portfolio, take a look at the "sites" feature in your gmail.  I'm very excited to get this out to our 6th graders at Fairview!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

iPad Science Fair 2014

I am excited the 6th grade students at Fairview will be able to use their iPads to create a digital Science Fair this year!  In the past, students have used a presentation board to display their information and share it with viewers.  This year, using applications such as iMovie, Keynote, Pages, Tellagami and iPhoto, it will be a new adventure for the Fairview 6th grade Science Fair!  Stay tuned to watch how we transform the traditional Science Fair projects into a 21st Century iPad Science Experience!

Our iPad Journey Begins...

This is my 11th year teaching in the Bellevue Public Schools, and 1st year at Fairview Elementary.  I have my bachelors degree from Midland University in Elementary Education, Physical Education, and Middle Grades Science and Math.  I obtained my Masters Degree from Doane College in Administration in 2009.  

I feel very blessed to be in a profession that brings such joy to my life everyday.  I believe all students (young or old) can reach any goals we set for ourselves.  I look forward to achieving our goals above and beyond what we can imagine!  I am excited to share in this educational journey with iPads this semester with our 6th grade class! 

Upon returning back from Winter break, students didn't begin our day with tales of their break or the "bonus day" off we had, but with excitement and anticipation of when we would be receiving the iPads to use in our classroom.  Our class is ready for the challenge to use this technological vehicle to deliver and receive curriculum based instruction this semester!