Tiny Tech Tips

"Tiny Tech Tips"

by Erin Klein in support with Amanda Plum

Integrating Technology into Primary Classrooms

Each week, we will bring you an actual example of how we are using technology with first grade students.  We will provide you with all of the necessary ingredients to build the recipe with your K-3 classroom.  After receiving reviews of Kleinspiration, I was excited to see that others were passing the resource along; however, I became confused as to why many were writing that it was a great resource for elementary teachers and students.  Perhaps this was because of my blog header design?  Was it that my 'true colors' of being an elementary teacher were shining through?  Regardless, I decided to embrace what others had already picked up on... a powerful resource for the elementary classroom.  

I instantly decided to contact my former mentor, and dear friend, Amanda Plum.  I pitched her the idea and she wanted to get started right away.  

Here was the pitch:

I'd like to start a segment of my blog that targets primary classrooms.  How about once a week, I pop down to your room and offer an extension on what your already teaching with a focus on technology integration.  For example, at the end of the day (last 20-30 minutes of school), I arrive and enrich your content with a technology piece.  Because I teach middle school, our day ends at 2:40, so I can make it to the elementary by 3:00pm.  I'll touch base with you to briefly find out two things before I come:

1.  What subject area do you want me to target? (example: science)
2.  What topics will you be covering that week for that subject? (things that sink/float)

Why Amanda's Class?

...no, not because she's my daughter's teacher.  :)
Amanda is a master teacher that never stops learning herself.  She constantly pushes herself to try new things with her students.  Amanda embraces technology, but like most of us, finds it difficult to find a great resource, figure out the time to tie it into the curriculum, squeeze the time to fit it in the day, and conquer the task of making it happen with limited technology resources.  

We are lucky to work in a district that believes in technology and allocates the funds to support putting it in classrooms; however, it doesn't happen overnight... it takes time and money.  Even when we have the technology -- do we know what to do with it?  How do we make it second nature like a guided reading session, calendar time, or reading aloud?  Practice and Confidence.  Like our students, we need to be taught and provided with the necessary materials.  

Hopefully Tiny Tech Tips will inspire you to start small and dream big!  Though titled "Tiny Tech Tips," many of the ideas can be modified for upper grades, too.  We will do our best to provide you with the following:
  • our strategies for pre-planning the mini-lesson
  • materials you'll need
  • lesson objectives and standards it targets
  • links and resources used
  • photos and video of the lesson being used
  • examples of student work
It is my intention to have each Tiny Tech Tip be short, to the point, and of high quality.  Therefore, you don't have to spend much time learning how to make it happen and you'll have all you need to bring it back to your class the next day!

Lastly, if you have an idea, please contact me to share it.  Or, if you'd like to see Amanda and I tackle something you have coming up, let us know.  Kleinspiration is all about teachers helping teachers... 

Tiny Tech Tip # 1:

100's Day Project

Using Wordle, Riley, my daughter (a 1st grader in Mrs. Plum's class) created here favorite 100 words.  

1.  Go to Wordle
2.  Select 'create your own'
3.  Type in your 100 words 'type in a bunch of text'
4.  Click 'Go'
5.  You can edit and select your font, layout, and color
6.  Save it, Print it, and Share it

Tiny Tech Tip # 2:
itouch technology: Pop Math

To build automaticity with math facts, we practiced Pop Math with the students.  We had 8 ipods and allowed the students to partner up or get into groups of three to work together for 15 minutes.  They loved seeing their interaction and collaboration assist them to reach higher levels.  

Bubble Math Lite is free (we used this).  You can purchase the full version at itunes or in the App store.

Tiny Tech Tip # 3:
Sheppard's Software: Life Cycles

After a short introduction to Life Cycles, the first grade students were able to practice their knowledge in an interactive practice game by Sheppard Software.  Students were able to select from identifying and ordering the cycle of either a bird, frog, or butterfly.  Boys and girls both enjoyed the choice of being able to work with a few of their favorite animals.  Sheppard's Software is always easy to operate, engaging for students, and a beneficial way to enhance any lesson - so much content to explore!

Tiny Tech Tip # 4:
Peep in the Big Wide World

Primary students LOVE to learn about their world through their scientific eyes while engaged with their friend, Peep.  So, join the gang and surf, click, learn, and sing all while playing interactive white board games with Peep and friends.

Additional resources include: ( click here for their site map )
- Activities and More - anywhere science and math games, coloring page       printables, neighborhood safari, and recommended books
-  Interactive SMART Board Games
Music and Videos - free rich scientific film clips, theme songs, music, etc...

Tiny Tech Tip # 5:

One of my favorite platforms for publishing student's stories is Storybird.  Recently, Mrs. Plum was telling me how her class just published their stories in writer's workshop.  Together, we decided to share their written compositions digitally.  Below, you can view an example of a first grader's work.

Reasons I love Storybird:

  • The ease of the program - six year olds can do it!
  • Beautiful illustrations available to select from
  • Opportunities to share work: email, embed, etc...
  • Safety features - you can even get a teacher account for each class
  • Not only can kids publish work, they can also get feedback on their work from others through comments (way to naturally teach dialogue and digital etiquette) 
  • Students can create a summary of their work to publish
  • Include 'tags' for their work (great way to incorporate a mini-lesson on main idea or adjectives)
  • Parents can purchase a hard or soft printable version of their child's story
  • Kids truly become published authors!
Click here to leave Riley a comment and Click here to read my post about Storybird
A Fun Couple of Days by erinklein on Storybird