Making Over Third Grade!: Tech Talk
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tech Talk

This post is linked (at the bottom of the page) to the Tech Talk Technology in the Classroom blog hop. This is my first blog hop! I feel "official" now. 

I became a 1:1 iPad class at the end of last March and a lot of what I have used I have learned through trial and error and reading the blogs of others.

One that has been very helpful has been Monica Evon's blog iPaddling through Fourth Grade. Monica became a 1:1 in January of 2014 and at the time taught third grade. I have learned A LOT from her blog! It is worth checking out! 

I really started blogging to keep track of what worked and didn't work in my classroom but what I have found is that I really needed to reach out to others who were also 1:1 teachers at the primary level as there were only a handful of primary teachers in my district who were 1:1 at the time (we are making progress in this area and each month it seems like we are gaining more 1:1 classes). I also wanted to keep track of what worked and didn't work in my classroom; reading the blogs of others also really helped in this endevor as I tend to be very wordy and blogging seemed like a good outlet for me. 

I wanted my blog to be cute...I mean if it isn't then I knew I wouldn't be happy and an unhappy me = avoidance of the task. I used Megan's (of I Teach, What's Your Superpower?Blog Baby Blog posts to help me individualize my blog (I still have several of her tutorials to go but I was able to make my header, add a background, and create a blog button as a result of her posts). 

When looking for library book bins over the summer I found Mrs. Fultz's Corner, this blog has also been a great resource for me as I started navigating the blogsphere. (I loved her library so much I recreated mine with the same chalk label designs you can see photos of both libraries here: hers and mine.) 

Recently I have been trying to get my kids to really see their blogs (on Kidblog) as something that has the potential of being read by more than just myself. On occassion I was giving them class time to write but more often than not it was homework, or they finished their post at home if they ran out of time in class. Some kids were really great at getting their thoughts out (they were always given the option of writing to a prompt or free writing what they liked) however, so many were riddled with errors and that DROVE ME NUTS! 

Some of the kids were good at going back to edit and revise their work but so many didn't, and I couldn't think of how to get through to them that others will not read their blogs if they were not going to respect their readers enough to make their blogs legible. Then I found Mrs. Yollis!

I lurk as a follower of Room One's blog in Auroa School located in NZ, and a few weeks ago they linked to Mrs. Yolllis's blog. She has a wiki with great resources for teachers. I used her student created videos teaching kids how to write blog posts and comments and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G how my kids responded to what they heard other third graders say about blogging (yeah, didn't matter at all that I had been saying essentially the same thing *smile*).

The blogs mentioned here as well as MANY others that I follow on Bloglovin' (and of course, Pinterest) have helped me recreate the way I teach some things, and has reinforced some crazy ideas that I have had about how to teach in a 1:1 or about venturing into a new mindset altogether. Want to convince your principal to let you get rid of school furniture in your classrom? Mention research you found via others on Twitter, want to show images of what it may look like in a third grade classroom? Show him/her images of Martha Lackey's classroom or her twitter account.

I have created several lists on Twitter for third grade teachers, teachers of other grade levels, admin., class feeds, ed. techs, and teachers of 1:1 classes. ALL of these have helped me grow as an educator. As my PLN has increased I have found teachers around the world to connect and collaborate with. This blog hop is just one example of that! 

I have recently started using QR codes in my classroom to help foster autonomy for the kids. We have started a Science/ELA unit researching biomes and writing a multi-paragraph report on our findings. I created a class blog on blogspot for a recent parent tech night so I added pages to this blog for our biome project. I then added resources I found from multiple sources to a blog page for each biome, and created posters for each biome with a QR code for each page. Students are using the QR codes to access the information for the biomes their triad is working on. I have the piece of mind knowing that the kids are accessing safe and accurate information while also allowing me more time with my small groups as students decided which links they will access and in which order. Seeing them use these QR codes has made me stop and wonder why I didn't use them earlier!

I follow Edutopia on FB and recently they had a post regarding the use of QR codes to make rubrics interactive. I now want to go back and incorporate QR codes into all of my rubrics after reading this post. They showed examples of rubrics with QR codes that linked to videos which demonstrated or outlined how to implement the skill in one's work. For example, they showed a writing rubric where the QR code linked to video on how to use conventions. I think this is BRILLANT! I love the idea of using technology tools like QR codes to help my students become more autonomous and that allow me to become more of a facilitator.

Thanks to Tasia over at Great Minds Teach Alike for putting together this blog hop! Don't forget to check out the blogs that are linked up as well!

(In case you also don't know how to create an image link. I learned how to do it via this Blogger Tutorial.)