Update

Good morning. I wanted to write a post and update everyone on my “planning progress” for the iPad program. I have begun creating lesson plans for iPad use. I feel that it is important to have a very structured plan of how to use them in the classroom. Simply playing with the apps is not effective enough for what we are trying to accomplish.

For example, I plan to give a traditional phonics lesson and follow it with an iPad lesson using the Osmo. This way, we are taking a multi sensory approach to phonics. The first part is traditional teacher instruction. For example, I may teach the children the letter g and what sound it makes. Next, I would have hands on learning at the board. A child would be called up to spell a “g word” as I say it phonetically. The class would work together to make sure the word is correct. The children would then return to their seats and complete a worksheet about the letter g. The last step of this lesson may be an activity that ties in our new letter with all of the previous knowledge that we have about phonics. I always need to assess the children and make sure that they have mastered the lesson and are able to apply it effectively. I like to use dictation activities and give the children incentive by making it into a game. For example, “The word that I want you to spell is…get.” The children will write the word on their dry erase boards and hold them up when they think its correct. The first child to get it right gets a ticket. (I have a ticket system for positive reinforcement in academics as well as behavior. Every Friday, the children get to “buy” prizes if they have enough tickets.)

Once this lesson is complete, we transition into an iPad lesson. It will be tied into the common core standards, like any other lesson. This lesson may align with the CCLS L.K.2d.

The children would get into groups and do an activity on the Osmo. This would be directly related to the previous lesson as it works on phonics and expects the children to use letter sounds to spell basic words.

This is just a blueprint for a type of lesson that will be used to incorporate iPads into the classroom. Of course, there are many more details and aspects to this lesson. I just wanted to give you all an idea of what I am planning to do this year.

Have a great day!

Introduction

Hi. My name is Daniella Steinberg-Perez and I am a kindergarten teacher at East Midwood Hebrew Day School. I just completed my first year of teaching at the school. It was a great year and a wonderful learning experience. Now that I have a bit of classroom experience under my belt, I am ready to embark on the next chapter of my teaching career….TECHNOLOGY. Over the year, I constantly overheard the children talking about their iPads at home and how much they enjoyed playing with them each day. While I am aware that many of them may have been playing zombie games and candy crush saga, I saw this as a window to a major break through. Imagine what I could do if I had iPads in the classroom!

Once I started to look into this, I found out that Ms. Rosa and Simon Roffe had already begun a wonderful project at East Midwood and there were iPads in our building! I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to get involved. Now that I have joined the cause, I will be working to integrate iPads into our curriculum and into our daily lessons.

I will write again soon and elaborate on all of this in a more formal manner.

For now I leave you with this….

Simon let me borrow his Osmo and Tiggly equipment for a while so that I can familiarize myself with it and plan for instruction. All I can say is that my husband and I were pretty hooked on the Osmo Tangrams tonight. The television didn’t go on and conversation was at a minimum. We were very involved in the Tangram and couldn’t stop advancing to more difficult levels.

Needless to say, this would be a great asset to our classrooms. The idea of having children engaged in activities that challenge them and sharpen their cognitive thinking skills is extremely exciting.

I will write again soon.

Daniella

Chapter 2: 2014: Welcome Fall

After a month of many transitions, the first graders have settled down and have adapted nicely to our daily routines. We have been discussing the idea of having an iPad in the classroom. We have discussed the importance of “iPad safety”: How to take care of our iPad so everyone can have a turn with it. This month we will create our own iPad rules and an iPad pledge to make our rules official. This will be hanging out our room for all to see. On top of our phonics and math applications, we will introduce a new app for Fall. This app is call leaf snap and it is free to download on your iPad at home. For Fall we will begin collecting leaves from our neighborhood on nature walks. The leaf snap app will help up snap a picture of the leaves we collect and identify what type of plant or tree it comes from. This will incorporate our Fall season into an inquiry based individual exploration. The children have been asked to bring in leaves to examine. I am very excited to get started and will keep the updates coming. I will also provide pictures to capture our Fall experience.
Ms. Rosa

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Chapter 1: 2014: My Mission

Diving into this new school year, my first graders are in for a great surprise. While continuing their love for writing and reading they will be exposed to technology to help enhance their learning skills. The children in 1-32 will also be using a classroom iPad. Familiar with using technology to play games at home, now the iPad will be our friend at school. My mission is to allow the students to use the iPad in a form of 21st century learning. My plan is to bring technology into my classroom in order to get the students more engaged while reinforcing what we are learning. By introducing the iPad in the classroom, I am hoping to make a critical, positive difference for my students by enhancing the classroom environment and by fostering a more engaging learning environment.

Ms. Rosa

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Upgrading First Grade

My name is Yamelete Rosa and I am a first grade teacher at East Midwood Hebrew Day School. As an educator in the 21st century it is crucial to stay ahead of the curve. The love for my profession and my students drives me to always learn new ways to be a more effective educator. While pursuing my Masters degree, I had to take a specific course which was titled “Action Research”. Action Research is designed to bolster professional development.

This year I am going to carry out an Action Research plan in the First Grade. The main focus will be: Blending Technology into the Curriculum. My goal is not only to engage my students and foster greater enjoyment of learning in our classroom but to also meet our students’ individual needs, one on one.

Carrying out an action research plan requires four characteristics: are Ethical Commitment, Cycle of Reflective Practice, Public Character and Collaboration. When thinking about Ethical Commitment I ask myself questions such as: How can I best serve the students I teach? How can I improve my practice? An Action Research plan will allow me to improve my teaching with the help of my colleagues by observing and discussing my own practices. I will be using different applications with the same teaching techniques, supported by technology. To this end, I will . be using Ipads and incorporate their use with a “Smart Board that we will use in our classroom this year.

When it comes to Cycle of reflective practice, a founder named Stenhouse stated “the impulse behind research is curiosity”.  Making a choice to how to approach this new journey literally fell on my lap. Simon Roffe, parent of one of my students this year called me up with an offer I couldn’t refuse. I became thrilled that he has given me the opportunity to work as partners on this journey to make technology the “norm” out our school. I was even more excited because I myself need to by “upgraded” when it comes to technology. Therefore the curiosity of blending technology with my teaching pulled me in. For someone who lives and has grown in the 21st century I am behind my times with technology. This is an area that I will be more than happy to address. I do believe that today, babies are born with a second nature to learn and adapt quickly. Just the other day my younger brother took my phone and told me how to use it. All I could do was learn what he was showing me.  When unrolling this new method of teaching with technology and upgrading the first grade my plan is to act, observe, and reflect. This will allow me to witness methods that have been successful and those that have not. I will also keep a personal journal to record any changes that I witness throughout the class. As this occurs during the year I will continue posting on the blog and let everyone know how progress is going.

Public Character, which is the component where I will share with others.  I will continue to conference with Simon and other colleagues for further feedback and suggestions. This will also be a gateway to allow other educators to open up to this idea and later reinforce technology in their teachings as well.

Last but not least on this journey is collaboration. It is also very important to listen to my students. Observe their behaviors, interactions and learning experiences to see any differences. Even though they are young they are working hands on and will be completely honest about what they liked and what they didn’t like. Their interest is the key for the engagement in their learning.

On this journey, the goal for myself is to self improve my practice along with upgrading the first grade and blending technology into the curriculum. My goal is for the students to make more connections throughout our learning and collaborate with their classmates. For my students I hope that this research will reinforce engaged learning. Ultimately transforming learning in the classroom. I hope everyone enjoys our journey as we move ahead.

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Grant money – Classdojo

It looks like our program is going to happen!  We applied for grants with several local foundations, and while nobody ponied up the full amount, one of them, the Chera Foundation, said they would match up to $2500 what we raise. Two others have already verbally told us they would contribute something.  That means whatever they give will be doubled, and we’re thrilled!

The teacher has started using an app called Classdojo. She will enter every student in the app, and then keep track of their progress in class. Like didn’t do homework, or working hard, or on task, etc.

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Each child has their own avatar.  The teacher sent home a form with special codes for the parent and student (separate apps) to be able to sign in and see how things are going.  On the student app, they can customize their avatar, and my daughter absolutely loves it.

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In class, they’ll put up the on the smartboard the avatars from classdojo and they’ll see it.

This app can also be used schoolwide – so in theory I could have multiple children’s classes on the app and I can check each class to see if they’re on target or if there’s any issues I need to discuss with my kids. I know most schools already have something similar to this so I’m just thrilled to see things like this being integrated at East Midwood Hebrew Day School.

My dog ate my iPad

The days of the Five Pound textbook are almost over.  Hope I got your attention!  I remember when I was in high school, and I had back problems because of how heavy all the textbooks I had to lug around were. I “cheated” and simply “forgot” 1 or 2 textbooks at home because I knew I could peek at someone else’s if needed.

Students today learn differently than they did 20 years ago.  Technology is an everyday part of their lives.  From Facebook to computer apps and programming, children have become engaged in learning in a very different way than in the past. To meet the changing needs of students and varied learning styles, apps have been developed that provide children with an interactive experience and makes them excited to learn.

In five years, (and in some schools, this is already almost here) all students will simply take their iPad to school.  Each class will have its own app.  You’d go into your History class, and tap on the history app, which would have your entire textbook there. You’d follow along in class, and the teacher can have you finish your Unit review in the app, and then you can submit it via the app to the teacher.  No more “my dog ate my homework” excuses.  This is where I see technology in a classroom heading.

As a result, schools must adapt to the changing learning patterns of children by incorporating technology into the classroom. The outdated computers and the lack of technology at my daughter’s Yeshiva, East Midwood Hebrew Day School (EMHDS) is a concern that affects learning.  The computers in the lower grades are very old and clunky.  Not all classrooms appear to have a SmartBoard.  Our children need to be using technology more and more.

Incorporating iPads in the classroom will enable students to develop “along” with technology. Writing and basic skills continue to be a central focus in the classroom. Children still need to develop their fine motor skills and strengthen their smaller muscles in their hands and fingers. Today we want to move ahead with our times and prepare our students for the future. Establishing rules and working together with this new exciting addition, will allow for a more engaging and motivational learning environment.

I decided that I wanted to do something about this, and contacted my daughter’s first grade teacher, Yamelete Rosa, about collaborating on this.  She will be writing her own posts about this topic from her point of view.  We’ll both be contributing posts about this over the course of the school year, about our perspectives and points of view.   She’ll focus mainly on classroom applications and I will focus mainly on the grants, changes at home, and big picture type of stuff.

We’ll be applying for a grant for these iPads, and failing that, I’ll simply buy one or two and give to the classroom for use.  We’ll see how that goes.

I wonder how long before we hear the first “My dog ate my iPad” excuse.

We're introducing an iPad program in a 1st grade Classroom at a Yeshiva. This will be written by a parent and teacher.