I haven’t visited my blog for a long time, more than a year I think. Going back to the classroom after 3 years as the Tech teacher was very difficult and in my second year back I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. Opening 39 school years was more than enough and I was no longer in my dream job so I officially retired on Nov. 2, 2012.
Life is good but I do miss doing technology with kids. I was going to remove this blog but come to find that it has had more views with me not doing anything with it than it ever had before. so maybe I’ll have a bit of fun keeping it up now that I actually have time!
So here’s wishes for a good year for all and perhaps a new beginning for this blog!
At the beginning of 1st grade we do a lot of work with the kid’s names. One of the projects I did with all the 1st graders when I was the tech specialist and what I did with my own class this year is done in Kidspiration. I love using Kidspiration with 1st graders. I’ve already used it for 2 projects this year. In the sample I have above you can see that the kids put the letters of their names and then search the huge library of graphics in Kidspiration for words that begin like the letters of their names. They had a good time and were practicing letter sounds as well. I’ve taken 3 different name projects that we did and put them together in a slide show on our web page for them to share with their families. if you’d like to take a look you can go to this LINK.
Little by little I’m getting used to being back in a classroom after 3 years of teaching my tech classes to K-5. But it’s taking a bit longer to get used to a classroom of 1st graders. I had forgotten how busy they can be for a whole day since it’s been about 12 years or so since I was at this grade. I’ve found that putting a story up on the SmartBoard at the end of the day lets us have a very relaxing last 10 minutes. I’m able to remind individual kids of things they forgot to do to get ready to go home, I can pick up the bits and pieces that have been left around and the kids walk out with me in a much calmer state. One site I like to use is this KOL site, in particular the Arthur stories. 1st graders love these stories and they sit enthralled as the story unfolds showing the actual illustrations of the book and highlighting the text as it’s read aloud. There are other story categories listed on the left side of the web site but Arthur is the favorite.
Teacher workshop starts tomorrow and this year’s start is so different than the last three. I’d forgotten how hard it is to prep a classroom especially when all your stuff is at home! I’ve already been in most days last week doing reading assessments and unpacking but am taking some time right to do some looking over some of my bookmarked web resources. I refound a terrific wikki with lots of information and resources for the SmartBoard. I’ve been concentrating on Smartboard math over the summer because I’m creating all the 1st grade lessons for our new math curriculum in Notebook for the district 1st grade teachers. I’ve had this wikki bookmarked for a while but haven’t done much exploring around. I think I’ll do that before school starts.
Just found this site that might just be another place to look when you can’t find the clipart that you want to use. Open Clip Art Library has thousands of images to download. May not be suitable for students to search but teachers could download some of the collections and pick and choose what to make available to students. just another image site because we can never have enough clipart, pictures, and graphics to use in projects!
It’s getting to be closer and closer to the start of the new year and being back in the classroom so I’m starting to be in planning mode. If you need a decent and FREE art program, I’ve mentioned this one before – Tux Paint. I’ve used it so much in the past with all grades. Even the older kids liked using it. One of my first projects with my 1st graders this year will be a Tux Paint project to help them get used to our computers again. They’ll use the text option to type their name in the middle and add stamps around it showing things they like or things that tell about them. It’s a good get to know you project and you can see how well your kids can use the keyboard for their name. I’m showing a sample using my name. What can you tell about me?
If you do decide to use Tux Paint I’d advise you to find the config file – I do this in our lab each year after reimaging – and change some of the options. I like to save to an alternative directory which ends up being a saved folder on the desktop. It ends up being saved as a png which is easily used in different programs. (I often have kids drag Tux Paint pictures into Comic Life. ) I also change some of the printing options, the blank screen check box and even the size the program opens as. You can set the options that work the best for your computers.
I have to apologize for a lengthy absence from posting to this blog but this past school year was rather hectic and I really didn’t do a lot of new things. Major changes coming for me! Funding is gone for my tech specialist position and I’ll be going back to the classroom, a 1st grade class. As much as I loved the flexibility in my job of the last 3 years – I had the time for a complete redesign of our school web site this year – I am really looking forward to being able to do things with my own class. Meeting with kids once every 8 days just wasn’t enough time to do what I would have liked to. My only concern is that the other classroom teachers be able to give their kids the tools I gave them as a specialist. I guess I get to lead by example.
Now that my job has changed this blog will take a new turn and address specific things I do with my own class or sites that I find that work well in the classroom. Instead of the broader perspective I hope to have ideas and information that is very usable for a primary teacher. I’ll be teaching a lot differently than I did 3 years ago!
Please check out my school’s web site. I have MANY links for both teachers and students and I’ll be adding to it this summer and throughout the next school year.