Welcome back to Fantastic Fifth Grade for Technology Tip Tuesday, hosted by Blog Hoppin’!
I absolutely LOVE using technology in my classroom!! Unfortunately, our school does not have the funds for the latest and greatest technology available to schools, but what we do have, I use ALL the time. Each classroom has a laptop for the teacher, a projector that we can hook up to our laptops, and a few computers for students (between 2 and 5). I also purchased an iPad for my classroom last year using money I had raised during our Race for Education fundraiser, so my 5th graders have this as well.
Here are a few of my technology tips:
–If you create PowerPoints to use during lessons, make them interactive! Rather than simply listing facts and pictures, add some questions, thought-provoking statements to discuss, maybe even a mini quiz in the middle. I use PowerPoints for almost all of my unit lessons, especially during our Revolutionary War unit in November and our Middle Ages unit in April. They keep the students so much more interested than if we were simply reading out of a textbook or watching a who.knows.how.old VHS on the topic. But I definitely find that those where I keep the kiddos involved throughout are so much more beneficial! Below is a great article on the basics of using PP in the classroom:
–If you only have access to one iPad like I do, don’t stress! I was really worried in the beginning that it would cause major issues between my students, but everything went so smoothly with it last year. I have downloaded lots more apps since my original post about it, including some really fun ones (that still require strategy!) such as “Where’s My Water?” and “Cut the Rope”, two of their favorites.
We had a rotation in our classroom, so each day one student was allowed to use the iPad each day. When we got to the end of the rotation, it repeated. That student was allowed to use the iPad after finishing morning work, during snack time, during literature centers, during silent reading (to read on the iBooks app – there are tons of free books for kids!), and, if they had it on a Friday, during KICKBACK time. One of their favorite things to do during snack time was take pictures of each other using the Photo Booth that comes on the iPad – I now have almost 700 crazy pictures of my students!!
I kept the iPad on my desk during the day, but if it was a time when they knew they could use it, they would simply come ask me for it. I liked to use it for review games with the “ClassQuiz” app, for giving a spelling test if a student was absent (I typed the words in and the app repeated them out loud to the student whenever they took the quiz!) using the “Spelling Free” app, and for an interactive whiteboard sort of idea, using the “Whiteboard” app.
I’d love to hear any apps that you and/or your upper elementary students love to use!!
–My last technology tip is a fun one. I was typing up some notes and wanted to make them a little more creative, so I decided that I wanted the words to be in a spiral shape! However, I had no idea how to do this without a fancy program like Photoshop. Thank goodness for this website: http://www.festisite.com/text-layout/ !! You simply copy and paste the chunk of text you’d like to be transformed, choose the shape you’d like (spiral, heart, waves, etc.), and it will generate a PDF of that text in the shape you chose! The only downside is that it is a PDF, so you can’t really copy and paste the shaped-text anywhere else unless you do a screen capture, but I love having this fun feature available! You can also insert the screen capture into Paint, select only the area you want, save it as a JPEG, and insert as a picture into your document – that’s how I did this:
So those are a few of my favorite technology tips! Someday I would love to get my masters in technology education, as teaching teachers how to use technology in the classroom is one of my passions! I’m still looking for possible programs, either online or in Pittsburgh, but haven’t found much yet – any suggestions?!
I can’t wait to read everyone’s tips for today! See you back here tomorrow for Where I Teach Wednesday!