Even though I am a year 2 in our project group, for some reason I always find it difficult to find an organized way to get started. The quick tidbit I wanted to share was having the students set up their own blogs on the ipads. Last year, after downloading the app, I went through and put in the username, password and url for all the students in my class. Talk about a time sucker! This year, I decided to make kids responsible for this…it was a great lesson for my grade 2’s to see how important it is to not leave spaces in username and passwords and how just one letter that is incorrect is the difference between “success” and “error”. To make this activity manageable, I integrated it into my Daily 5 routine with 3-5 students at a time. I also used this time to teach them the gestures for getting back to the home screen, closing apps, looking at battery charge remaining and shutting down the iPad. This ended up being a very worthwhile activity for the kids and saved me some time too! I found this small group instruction to be a very valuable use of time…and I think this is how I will teach them how to change parts of their blogs that explore their creativity instead of a whole-class lesson.
I also decided to clear off my iPad and start from scratch, just like last year instead of keeping the perfectly organized folders that were on the iPads last year. Yes…it is a pain but I believe that my 7-year old students need to learn the organizational skills associated with technology…I explained to them that the iPad needs to be organized much like their desks. They have quickly learned how to create a folder with similar-type apps and now the students do not question where to find apps they need as they created the organizational system themselves.
I have been modelling what a good blog post looks like during our “shared writing” on the classroom blog each Friday. We have created a checklist so that before submitting their posts for publishing, they have checked to make sure they have met the criteria. Setting high standards for posts, taking the time to explicitly teach the process, modelling the process, and peer editing with a checklist are all strategies that I think will save valuable time in the end.
I would love to hear from some of you how you have gotten started with integrating the technology into the classroom!