Thursday, April 23, 2009

Animal Life Cycles

We have chicken eggs and caterpillars in our room to help us learn about animal life cycles. Watch this short video on animal life cycles, and then write about what you learned.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teeny Tiny Caterpillars

Yesterday we received our caterpillars! We will be taking care of them for the next few weeks, observing their growth, and watching them turn into butterflies. What have you learned about caterpillars? What observations have you made about your caterpillar?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflection on Teach 21

This year I have been involved in a training called Teach 21. We have been learning about how to integrate 21st century technology into our teaching and student learning on a regular basis. While sometimes the things I learned seemed overwhelming and I wasn't sure how to use them, I am very proud of the things that I was able to begin using with my students.

Being a part of Teach21 has definitely impacted my teaching. When developing lessons I try to think of ways that I can use my Smartboard and the other technology tools we have learned about. Each week one of my literacy centers is done completely on the Smartboard, and another center is done on the computer. I have tried to think of ways that students can use technology when completing projects. I also have my students blogging every Friday. I use the blog as a way for my students to summarize something we have learned that week, which allows me to integrate writing, technology, and science or social studies. I find myself doing online searches for interactive websites or already-created lessons that I can use with my students. The regular white board in my classroom is now used only as a bulletin board, as I use my Smartboard for everything. While I have learned many things this year that I have not yet been able to implement, I feel good about the things that I have been able to do because I have used them regularly to impact student learning.

I feel that I have made a positive impact on my students through the use of technology. Many of my students do not have access to a computer at home, and through the use of laptops once a week are now becoming proficient users. At the beginning of the year I had to walk them through each step when posting on our blog, and it took at least 30 minutes to type two sentences. Now they are able to find our blog in their favorites, type in our blog address, type faster, use the shift key for capitals and punctuation marks, copy and paste images from Google, save files, and use Microsoft Word.

I have been able to expose my students to so many things, from technology vocabulary to videos of world events that they may not otherwise have seen. I think that they have been given a jump start in preparing them for the changing technological world that they will encounter upon leaving school. They enjoy using the Smartboard every day, and the laptops every week. My students have told me that they like learning on the Smartboard, and I have seen them become more engaged during lessons. It really makes a difference when they are able to get up and manipulate objects and explore concepts for themselves through this interaction. One week on a blog posting I asked my students if they were given a choice between a school with technology and one without, where would they choose to go. Every single student chose the school with technology. I think it has definitely had a positive impact!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beautiful Butterfly

This week we have been practicing using adjectives and describing words in our writing. Write a descriptive paragraph about this photograph of a butterfly.