Integration of Technology

Teach Thought’s prompt for today is: Write about a piece of tech you’d like to try this year and why…you might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

None of the above is what has been whizzing through my mind this evening as I decompressed from our first day of school. Luckily, this prompt is something that is on my mind a lot, so I do have some ideas to share- as fried as my brain is right now.

Last school year, my kiddos were my guinea pigs in blogging. I used kidblog.org to set up a class and individual blogs within our class. I think I learned just as much as the students did through this experience. The biggest thing I am doing differently this year is teaching students to take pictures of their work to post to their blogs. That is what I’d like to try. Writing on the blogs was great and we learned a lot through that last year, but it was very time consuming. I believe blogging is important and I love the idea of the students having an outlet to share their ideas with the world, but I’d like to tailor it this year and make it quicker and simpler.

I hope that by allowing students to take pictures of their work or something they deem important in their world, I will be giving the students who struggle in written communication better access to this activity. Their blogs will also be easier to access by parents and family members who do not speak English, which is a large part of our school community.

This will not begin for a little while, since today was the first day. Before we learn about blogging, we need to learn how to work and learn in a community. That’s what we’re spending our first few weeks on. I think we will start blogging in November. If you’re interested in learning more about the blogging process I went through last year, you can read my posts from October and November. You can also sign in as a guest on our class blog if you’re interested in exploring.

Go to: http://www.kidblog.org/msorwigsclass then, click “login” at the top right, choose guest from the drop down menu and type in the password 12345. Enjoy!

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Being Brave

Well, friends, after much contemplation about how to introduce my class to blogging, I think I have finally figured it out!  (Phew- I don’t know about you, but I was getting worried it would never happen…)

Tomorrow, my students’ morning work will be to draft their first blog post in their BRAND NEW blogging journals.  I’ll model for them how to draft their posts at the end of our morning meeting.  Their job for the rest of the week will be to draft their post, discuss it with myself or my paraprofessional, and finally submit their first post on their very own blog!

I’m not really sure why it took me weeks to come to this conclusion.  It seems like such a simple plan, but it has really taken me lots of time to process all of this.  I think part of my apprehension came from seeing everything that I do in my classroom modeled by other teachers in other classrooms my entire life.  I have never seen anyone do what I have decided to undertake this year.  How exciting!  The fact that I’m taking on this endeavor makes me feel like some sort of pioneer.  I feel brave and empowered after finally formulating a plan; however, prior to my plan, I felt overwhelmed and slightly frustrated.

My hope is that my feelings of bravery and empowerment will be transferred to my students.  I want them to be excited about this new journey that we are all beginning together.  I know that as kindergartners, their first blog posts will be minimal- I hope some will be readable, but the most important thing will be taking the first step and writing the first post.  Just like I blogged about a few weeks ago, the small stuff like writing names- and now writing our first blog posts- are the stepping stones to the big stuff.

Who knows what this project might ignite within my students?  The possibilities are infinite.

Blogging Blues

Well, friends, I hate to admit this, but I’m very unsure about where to go next with my whole class blog. 

I sent parent permission slips home and got all but two back, which really means those two students just can’t be in pictures on the blog yet.  Other than that, all systems should be a go.  Unfortunately, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around when my students will draft their short blog posts, and when they’ll actually type their first one.  This task seems daunting to me.  Partially because I know my students and their current independence limitations, and partially because I just can’t decide the best way to begin this routine.  Okay, I’ll admit, it’s mostly the latter.  My indecisiveness is truly getting the best of me right now. 

I will be out of my classroom for two days this week due to Kindergarten professional development and a Writing Professional development.  This week is clearly not the time to start a new routine.  When I first decided to go ahead with this classroom blogging experience, I was so excited!  Now, when I think about actually launching it, I am so overwhelmed.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super excited about the idea, but when it comes to putting it into action with my kiddos, I just can’t seem to figure out where to begin.

If you have any suggestions, have launched a classroom blog before, or just want to offer some words of encouragement, please feel free!  I am already looking forward to filling you in on what I finally decide to do and how it all works out!

Kinder Blogging and NYC TCRWP!

There are so many exciting things that I am feeling the need to share with the world right now!  This is my second year teaching Kindergarten and I am forever finding new and different ideas to use in my classroom all over the internet (and also from wonderful colleagues!).  I thought it’d only be fair to share my ideas as well!

The first thing that I am so excited about this year is participating in my district’s teacher leadership project.  It is a technology-based, year-long professional development experience.  We began this experience with three professional days in August prior to the start of the school year.  It was such an inspiring and motivational way to begin my year.  Throughout the year, I am being asked to use technology for project-based learning.  At first, I was thinking my project was going to be digital storytelling, but to be honest, I was feeling as if that would be kind of a cop-out for me.  I am pretty technologically savvy and I felt like I could push myself further.  I ask my kiddos to do that every day, so why not force myself to do it, too?

My fabulous idea came one day when I was reading a blog I frequent written by Matt Gomez, a Kinder teacher in Texas.  He does so many amazing things with his students and technology!  I read about Kindergarten blogging and saw an example of it on his blog and the wheels began turning.  What if I did that with my class?  Will my principal allow it?  What should I do first?  I ended up creating a Prezi all about digital citizenship and the valuable impact this blogging project would have on my students AND their families.  Basically, I created a proposal and, friends…IT WORKED!  I got approval and am now in the process of parent permission about pictures on the blog and things like that.  I borrowed and modified Mr. Gomez’s permission slip and parent handout to fit my own needs.  You can check his out by clicking here.  I am so eager to begin blogging with my students (and sharing our experiences with you!)

This weekend, my elementary school sent 29 teachers to NYC for the Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project reunion day.  It was inspiring- one of those times when you remember exactly why you’re an educator in the first place and why you want to be an even better one.  I won’t go into detail, but you can check out the notes I posted about Kinder Reading Workshop, Leading from Within, But How Can I Write!? I don’t even know how to spell, and You Expect Them to Make How Many Booklets?!

I hope I’ve convinced a few of you to follow me through my journey!