Fall Fun Centers/Freebies


The leaves are falling, its cool outside, and I'd like nothing more than to go for a nice fall walk today. But I'm still on bed rest until our sweet little girl decides she's ready to meet us. So to get in the fall mood I am creating some fall themed products today that I hope you can use in your classroom!

First I made a Candy Corn CVC match for literacy centers:


Then I made a matching Candy Corn Number Sense match for Math Workstations:



Go to my TpT store to get them for your class and download the previews for free copies of the response sheets :) 

And finally I created some Halloween themed writing papers that you can download here for FREE!



I hope you find them useful!


Tech Tuesday - Apps for Writing


Today I have some of my favorite writing apps to share with you... 

1. Story Creator - FREE!!
I'd have to say that this is by far my favorite for use in kindergarten. It is very simple for the kids to use, and doesn't have too many options for colors/ stamps/ clip art etc. to distract them from actually writing. It allows the kids to draw or use a photo, write text, and then record their voice reading it.  


When they record their voice they can see the text. When you play back their recording it highlights the words as they are read which is great for concepts about print.  It's not perfect but you can adjust the recording with the words if you want.  It is also very easy to email the story when it is finished which is great for me as a teacher so I don't have to look at each students iPads to read their stories.


2.StoryKit-FREE!!
This one is my old favorite before I found Story Creator.  It has essentially the same capabilities as the  Story creator app, but offers more options for colors/brushes to draw with.  this sometimes became distracting to my kinders so I would end up with very elaborate coloring and very little writing at times.  I had to more closely monitor this one.  Also when students record their voice the text is not visible so it was difficult for the kids to remember what they were recording unless it was one short and simple sentence.


3. Scribble Press - 3.99
This one is great to use later on when students get better at writing. There are a lot of options for drawing tools, stamps, and stickers.  There are also story templates and great sharing tools to make it public to the whole world. One drawback is that there is no voice recording feature,  which is a huge time saver in kindergarten because I don't have to personally sit with each child to have them read to me in the beginning when I cant decipher their attempts at phonetic spelling.  I started using this one after my students became great at using the other writing apps though, so most students writing was to the point that their attempts and auto correct helped a lot in making their stories readable. I would recommend using the FREE apps first and then trying this one out when you feel your kids are ready for more!
 


That's all I've got for now. Hope you find these apps useful!

Using Email in Kindergarten


It's official, I am going stir crazy!  I was put on bed rest on Wednesday of last week.  Totally unexpected because I am only 33 weeks.  I was thinking all of my pregnancy aches and pains were normal; I was trying to be tough, but baby is trying to come a little to early...so here I am.

I already miss my kiddos at school, and time passes so much more quickly when you have kindergartners to teach every day.  Tomorrow I will be wishing I was at the pumpkin farm enjoying some beautiful fall fun, but for now I'm trying my best to rest.  As excited as I am to meet my little girl, I can't bear the thought of her having to stay at the hospital in the NICU so she needs to keep cooking for a few more weeks :)

While I'm sitting at home I thought I'd get back to blogging more regularly and on that note I decided to commit to blogging every Tuesday about how I use technology with my kinders.  So today is officially my first "Tech Tuesday" post. 

Before I was told to take it easy, I introduced email to my kindergartners.  Here is how we started and the plans I have for using it in the classroom.

First I started with a little help from our building tech coordinator.  She pulled each of my students and set up their individual email accounts on their iPads with them.  This was a lifesaver for me so I didn't have to lug them all home to  enter their info.  
Next I gathered all my sweetie pies on the carpet in a large circle with their iPads in hand.  We went through step by step how to take a picture, tap the share option icon
 
and email it. The best part was that after entering my email once, it automatically pops up after they just type in the first letter! I'm the only one they are emailing for now, so this makes it super easy for them to email me quickly.  We went through this a few times together and everyone was on track and able to do it independently.

Finally, I had the students start using it to send me pictures of their work.  Currently we are using it each morning after students complete their words their way sort. They simply take a picture after they have finished and email it right away.  Previously I would have to go around and individually check each child's work daily.  The email option not only saves me time but also I can keep a record of their work and easily identify any confusions.  This will also be a great record to share with parents at conferences.

My future plans for using email in kindergarten:

1. Math center work - students take a picture of their center work (number sort, ordering numbers, shape sorting, etc) this will make for less response sheets unless the goal is writing, but still have a record of student work to keep accountability and assess progress.

2. Writing - Student's can email their stories as they begin to learn to word process them. We also use the scribble press app to write and create stories.  This app has a share by email option as well so this will be great for feedback as students are working.

3. Daily 5 Word Work - Similar to math center work, students can take pictures of the words they have made with magnets, play dough, etc, or the center activity they have chosen. Again less paper and more accountability with the option to easily assess and keep a record of each students work.

4. General questions and needs throughout the day.  I got this idea from a 4/5 teacher in my building.  Instead of students leaving their spot and interrupting small group time during daily 5/math/writing, they can simply email a question or need that they have to the teacher.  I always have my iPad next to me so I would receive the email immediately and be able to respond quickly without much disruption to my small group of the rest of the class. Now of course this will be a bit more complicated for kindergartners that can't always write what they are trying to say....so my thoughts are to have students use the dragon dictation app to quickly say their question and then email it.  When they receive my response they  just highlight the text and click on the speak icon (needs to be turned on in the accessibility options first) to have it read aloud to them.  PROBLEM SOLVED!!

I'd love to hear any great ideas you have for using email in the classroom with your kiddos. Leave a comment to share your ideas!