April 21, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Book Study: All About Technology!

I've been absent from the book study for the past few chapters, but that doesn't mean I'm not loving this book!  When I saw that this chapter was about my passion, I knew I had to jump in!

I'm linking up with my friend Sarah from A Rocky Top Teacher to talk all about TECHNOLOGY!

A Rocky Top Teacher

Before I get started, let me say that as much as I love technology, there is still more to the story than just the device.  My students still play dress up, build with Legos, practice handwriting with pencil and paper (okay, and smelly markers...), and build letters with Play Doh regularly.  

However, kids LOVE technology.  

I have been abundantly blessed to work in a 1:1 (meaning that each of my students have an iPad mini) environment this year.  Although I haven't seen a remarkable difference in student achievement (after all, the teacher is the #1 asset to a classroom!), I have seen increased levels of student engagement AND retention of academic material.

When reading this chapter, I kept wanting to say "AMEN!!!" really loud... I loved that Tate made certain that readers know that TEACHERS are irreplaceable.  Technology should never be used to exclusively teach a concept or skill... Humans always win there. :)  However, using apps and programs to enhance learning is a glorious thing.

Here are some of my favorite ways to integrate technology into my classroom:

Look No Further Than Your Camera!
I can't reiterate this enough.  Sure, you can spend a mint on fantastic apps for your kids to practice skills.  However, I have found that the camera is the most powerful tool on your device.  We take pictures every single day.  For example, right now we are immersed in our measurement unit.  For our lesson on comparing objects by length, we used art box supplies (a pencil, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a crayon) and put them in order from shortest to longest.  Then, the kids took a picture and added it to their math notebook in Book Creator.  Now tell me... Isn't that much more fun than a worksheet??? :)

Book Creator
Speaking of Book Creator...

My most-used app is by far Book Creator.  You can read all about it here.

We use this app for our interactive notebooks on a daily basis.  The wonderful thing about this app is that it can be totally customized based on the skill level of the child (HELLO, DIFFERENTIATION!!!).  At this point in the year, I fully expect my above and on-level kiddos to be writing sentences for their reading responses.  However, we know there are some kiddos who need more support to get their thoughts across.  Enter the ADD SOUND option!!!  Kiddos can record their responses!  GENIUS!!!

Aside from our interactive notebooks, we also use Book Creator for our station work response notebooks.  I have created a template that I use each week for students to record their pictures or videos of their station work responses.  I also add sound to each page so my students can listen to the instructions for their station as many times as needed.

There is so much more to this app that I can't even go into in just one blog post.  Please, please, please... Check out the blog post from my BFF on our collaborative blog.  You will not be sorry!


This app is really too cute for words.  We have used this many, many times in our Reading Notebooks, but we have also integrated this into our science and social studies curriculum!

Sneezy the Snowman Response

Jamie O'Rourke Response

If you want to learn more about ChatterPix, head to 2 Techie Teachers to learn more!  I promise to blog more about this fun app SOON! :)

PicCollage is wonderful as well!  We use it in a variety of ways, but it is highly effective when needing to sort pictures.  Here are two examples of how we have used it this school year.

States of Matter Sort
We went on a hunt for solids, liquids, and gases!  The kids had to find one example of each and label the pictures.

We also went on a noun hunt.  The kids had to find a person, place, thing, and animal.  Owls count as things and animals. :)

Movie Making
We also love to make movies in our classroom!  We use iMovie often for this.  While iMovie may sound intimidating, it is so, so, so very easy for the kids to use.

This video is from last year, but we are right in the middle of making our video for this Earth Day!

My class is obsessed with coding!  We have used the website Tynker on the MacBooks, but we recently downloaded Toca Builders to our iPads.  Oh, heavens... My kids are obsessed.  With a little classroom management (meaning they would be on this app ALL. THE. TIME. if I let them), my kiddos are rocking some coding.  This weeks objective:  To build your spelling words in Toca Builder!

Check back soon for more tech fun!

Also, be sure to check out 2 Techie Teachers, my co-blog with my BFF!

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