Friday, May 2, 2014

My New Favorite Site!!!

Ok, so y'all know I am always looking for new, fun websites and tools to get my kiddos interested in learning! Well, I have found my new favorite thanks to Shannon Miller, an AMAZING educator who I found on Instagram! (If you haven't heard of her, make sure you go check out the wonderful things that she is doing in education!) Shannon introduced me to PebbleGo, an emergent reader and research site. I have one word...."WOW!" I mean this site is what I have been looking for! It is filled with nonfiction articles on anything you could imagine! The articles include read aloud capabilities, as well as sounds, videos, corresponding printouts, and games! It works wonders for my researchers who have a little bit of trouble reading those more difficult sites. I introduced this site to my K-3 teachers and students and they instantly fell in love! There is also a mobile-ready PebbleGo in the works, which would be great for the 1:1 classrooms! Now, you know how I am about my tech tools....I like FREE. However, when it comes to a site that my kids and teachers LOVE and get a lot out of, I am willing to pay. This tool is one that you will have to pay for, but it really isn't too expensive and I think that it is totally worth it! Make sure you go check it out today and get yourself a free trial! You'll get hooked!

Kindergarten Day in the Lab

One of my favorite days of the week is Thursday's this year! Why? Because that is when my Kindergartners come! I had a little trouble in the past creating lessons for my kinders that weren't too simple. I don't want them to spend their computer time learning to click and drag or find their letters on the keyboard. Yes, I do believe those things are important, but I feel like that "stuff" can be incorporated in with more thought provoking lessons. When my students enter the lab I want them to be engaged in inquiring, analyzing, collaborating activities...yes, even my kindergartners!
A couple weeks ago, my kinders started a partner research project on the animal of their choice. All I gave them to begin was a pencil, paper, and a few links they might find useful. Ready, set...GO! I only see my kinders for an hour a week, so going into it I planned for multiple weeks.
The first week the students chose their animal and wrote a few things they already knew about it. They then came up with 2 questions they had about their animal.
Writing what we already know and 2 questions we have about our animal.
Week two, they began researching their animals. Along with finding the answers to their questions, they also had a place on their paper for WOW facts. These were things that really stood out and they would like to share with others.

Researching our animals, using Big Universe, Pebble Go, Discovery Education, & Enchanted Learning.
The third week the real fun began! Students got to use their Discovery Education accounts to create an interactive board in Board Builder. They are in the process, now, of putting all of their information onto their boards, along with some awesome videos, images, and sound effects from Discovery.
Building our boards using Discovery Education Board Builder.
Next week, we will be finishing our boards, and the students will become the teachers! They will use their boards to teach me and the class about their animals.
This is the first time that I have done a complete research project with my kindergarten students and they have blown me away! I truly believe that your students can accomplish anything you believe they can. It does take patience but it is so worth it! I am so excited to see their "lessons" on animals next week!