But not from the classroom. We’ve been quite busy the past week, getting back into the swing of things and implementing new technology.
The Friday before Winter Break ended, the teachers had professional development. I went to sessions on Google Classroom, SeeSaw, and are in the classroom, and interventions. They were interesting, although I still don’t see how Google Classroom is supposed to help me as a second grade teacher (the person leading the session was a high school or middle school teacher and the session was geared to setting up Google Classroom). But the session on SeeSaw was more helpful, and I’ve actually been using it.
The first thing I did was set up an activity for them. I got a subtraction word problem from the book, wrote it and recorded myself reading it. Then, I uploaded the work mat they’ve been using to subtract so they could draw on it. It looked like this (32 – 19):
The next day, I got the brilliant idea to have them record themselves reading their fluency passage. It took a little bit for me to figure out how to get them to record, but once I did, it worked pretty well. It’s a little noisy, because all 24 kids were reading at once. A few kids weren’t quite close enough to the microphone, but it all worked. The long part is going through each file and listening to them read. But it’s illuminating to hear who is reading fluently and who needs extra help. Usually, I can just get to six kids during the week (two kids a day on the three days we do fluency). Now, I can hear them all at least once every few weeks. Or, I can assign a certain number of kids to do it each day/week and keep up like that.
So, I’m pretty well set up with SeeSaw. The next step is to invite parents to the app and have them check in on how their student is doing. It’s a digital portfolio and parents can sign on and check on the work. I’ll get around to that part, eventually.
The other thing I did was become an Epic certified teacher.
Don’t know why my name disappeared, but it’s mine. Epic is an online library where kids can go on and read books of all kinds. I’ve used it as a time filler for about a year. When they were done with work, they could go on and read a book. Honestly, most of them chose to watch a video on MineCraft instead of reading, which is why I didn’t use it a whole bunch. But, going through the certification course, I found out that you could create collections of books and share it with your class. We’re doing animal research reports right now, so I found all the books I could on animals and put them into a collection. Today, some of the kids went to Epic to research and some used the books in class. What was really nice was my super low kids were able to have the book read to them, so they could work independently (this won’t work forever; not a lot of the books are read to. But, for the first one, it’s a good start).
We did hit one snag. One girl was researching lions. One of the first things they need to fill out on their graphic organizer was what kind of animal it is (mammal, fish, bird, etc.). This poor girl went through every book on Epic about lions and NOT ONE gave the classification. I could have had her google it, I suppose, but since it’s the first one and I was working with other kids, I ended up telling her. But still. Crazy.
So that’s the state of me. Oh, I have gotten a new student. He’s directly from Mexico and speaks no English. His cousin is working with him on his letters and sounds. Right now, he’s doing math with us, but spends a lot of time doing StarFall on his iPad. It’s a program that goes over letters, sounds, colors, numbers, directions, etc. He’s a bright kid and really outgoing. We’re making it work.