IXL is a fantastic tool for all grade levels! They have recently added to their arsenal of tools and I am excited to share how to use these features! Some of the tools are not new, but might be new to you! Some of them are completely new!
Diagnostics (BRAND NEW!)
Diagnostics are question sets that students can answer to give you the ability to see recommended skills they need to work on. It suggests that students should answer a few questions each week to have the most accurate, up to date information.
**Important - At this time it cannot be accessed by the app. Students must log in via a web browser (safari) through the iPad to access Diagnostics. This also means they have to know their log in information (Ugh, really) to sign in to IXL through the web browser.
Students will be guided through choices of question sets. If they do not know something they can tap (I have not learned this yet) in the bottom right corner. Not all questions will give them that ability though.
Currently there is not audio capabilities for our youngest students. Therefore I suggest taking Diagnostics with a small group at the primary levels. They have said they are working on this though, but do not have an estimated timeline available yet.
Currently diagnostics is only available for math, but language arts is coming soon!
This is not a new feature, but it saves me so much time! To access the star feature:
1. Select "Learning"
2. Select math/language arts
3. Select your grade level
4. Hover over the left side of the skill and you should see a light gray star appear. Click the star and it will turn yellow.
When you star a skill, this means students will see that it is a skill that needs to be worked on. From a student perspective, it looks exactly the same. Students will see the yellow star beside the skills that you selected.
Therefore, eliminating the "Students, practice the A.4 & A.5 skills." Instead you could say, "practice the skills with a star next to them"! How awesome is that?!
Do you have a favorite feature in IXL? I would love to hear about it!
One of my most favorite COMPLETELY FREE websites is Moby Max! PS: Moby Max did not tell me to write this post! This is all by experience! My students use this website throughout the week to work on reading skills, math facts, and sight words! There are so many great options on Moby Max. Students can work on important skills such as :
1. Sight words
2. Letter recognition (Alphabet)
3. Letter sounds (Phonics)
4. Number recognition (Numbers)
5. Math Skills (Math)
6. Math Facts (Fact Fluency)
7. Spelling (Phonics Spelling)
8. Early Words (Early Reading Trio)
9. Phonics Blending
10. Phonics Sounds
The best part about Moby Max is it gives the student an assessment when they begin to see exactly where they are at and what level they need to start them out on.
Here is what their home screen looks like. The circled apps are the apps that my students use.
Students can earn time to play on games. Once they have completed so many questions on Moby Max it gives them game time. They can "cash in" their game time to play games and earn prizes!
Moby Max just added an easier way for younger students to sign in. All they need is your personalized link, then they will select on their name. They have to remember their two pictures that they choose. Once they have this down, they can easily sign in on their own!
To enable easy sign in: Select "Roster" and down in the right hand side at the bottom you will click Option 4: Young Student Sign in.
Google Expeditions is an app that allows you to take a "virtual field trip" to explore all kinds of places around the world. From museums to shipwrecks to mountain tops, the possibilities are endless!
This week my kinders were studying Dinosaurs. They kept mentioning about how they wanted to be able to see real dinosaur bones and fossils. I found quite a few museums with dinosaur exhibits, just by typing in dinosaurs. The kiddos loved interacting with the 365 degree camera that is available on the app. We then identified and labeled the dinosaurs based on their characteristics. This led to so many more questions and discoveries!
What else can you use Google Expeditions for?
-Explore underwater scenes
-Explore Antarctica during Arctic animal week
-Homes of the presidents
-explore inside the human body
-explore the moon
and so much more!
Although this blog is intended to share ways to incorporate technology into the primary classroom, I am sharing a themed day I feel super passionate about! Global School Play Day is an event that happens every February. This event is intended to encourage students to drop all electronics and play. Too often our devices replace interactive play. Play is vital to a well rounded child! This year Global School Play Day is on February 1, 2017. Although many are participating in GSPD all day, I challenge you to participate for even an hour! Here are some ideas that you can do to celebrate GSPD!
Tell your students to bring in anything they wish to play with to school (Yes! That's right! The one time they can bring in toys from home ;) ) Ideas could include dolls, legos, blocks, trucks, puzzles, cars, board games, etc.
Go outside! Go on a scavenger hunt, play on the playground, scope out some nature scenes, dig in the snow! Get messy!
Take them to the gym and just let them PLAY! Don't organize any games and don't tell them how to play, just let them be kids!
Are you participating in Global School Play Day? I would love to know what activities you are planning! Don't forget to register your school at http://www.globalschoolplayday.com/!
Sentence Maker allows students to build sentences with real pictures.
Sight Words Bingo by Horizon Business, Inc.
Listen for the word, find the word.
Sight Words Spelling
Example: Spell "red" Student would drag and drop the letters into place.
When Words With Friends came out I was SERIOUSLY addicted. But really. I was obsessed! Who wasn't?! I had about 20 different games going with family members, friends, and people I didn't even know. Although I wasn't very good, I enjoyed the competition and the brain power required to come up with words that were worth the most points. Last year (while teaching 4th grade) my students LOVED playing the Words With Friends board game during recess and center time.
Then today I stumbled across Words With Friends EDU! My kiddos would have LOVED this! How awesome of a game to play during Word Work time! Or maybe during a transition time, or maybe during recess! The possibilities are endless! You could have classroom challenges or even school wide challenges. This is TOO cool not to share. The teacher can even play too!
Here is a QUICK START GUIDE to using Words With Friends EDU in your classroom. Currently they offer classes for 2nd grade and up!
And until 12/2/16, Words With Friends EDU is giving every teacher who creates their first class a $10.00 DonorsChoose.org giftcard (Up to $10,000)! Here is the link to the post so that you can submit your code to get your giftcard.
I would love to hear how you are planning on using Words With Friends EDU in the classroom!
Until next time!
I am amazed at the wealth of knowledge that is at our fingertips. We can call anyone around the world and have access to heaps of things that once weren't even imaginable. One simple feature on our phones that is often forgotten about is FaceTime.
Last Friday, my students took a "trip" to the US Airforce base in California. My students got to see the inside of a KC-10 Extender, which is an in flight refueler. We got to practice our speaking and listening skills by talking to members of the US Airforce that work on these planes. HOW AMAZING! I am extremely thankful to these members who took time out of their days off to share such an amazing experience with my kindergarten students.
Just imagine where FaceTime can take you! There are so many groups out there that focus on mystery skypes, virtual penpals, etc. The world is literally at our fingertips. Think of people you already know, and think of how it could fit into your lesson plans.
Are you interested in connecting your class to other classes around the world? Right now Skype-a-thon is going on! Click HERE to register.
How can I use FaceTime/Skype in the classroom?
How do I share information with my littles without having to tell them to type in "www.thiswebsiteistoolong.com"? QR CODES! This has been one of the single most time savers in my classroom. Whenever I want to push out information, in any form, I send it out using a QR code.
Many websites have already created a QR code for you. But if it isn't created for you, I always go to https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/. This website allows you to enter in a specific website address that you would like your students to go to.
Many times I create/upload/share things using Google Drive. When you upload things to Google Drive you can create a QR code so that students can access the materials quickly.
Step 1: Right click or command click (macs) on the file you want to share.
Step 2: Select "Get Shareable Link" / Copy Link
Step 3: Go HERE and paste your link
Step 4: Download the QR Code
I usually print out a piece of paper with my QR Code on it (and a title/picture) so that I can easily organize and share it with my kiddos.
How do I "READ" Qr Codes?
Make sure your students have a QR Reader on their iPads. My favorite is called QR Reader (Original, I know!) It looks like a QR Code with a red line through it.
So now, HOW do I use QR codes?
Here are some ways I use QR Codes in the classroom!
1. Listening Centers: I print QR Codes for my students to access TES Teach (Formerly known as Blendspace). On TES Teach they can access read-a-louds, songs, poems, etc. Check out my previous blog post to find more information on TES Teach.
2. Repeating Directions: I have uploaded several videos to Google Drive on how to do each station I have in my classroom. If a student forgets how to work at a station, they can always scan the QR Code for directions. I have also used this to introduce new stations!
3. Calendar time: Students have led their own calendar time by going to a TES Teach/Blendspace I created. They choose which songs to sing with partners, then lead each other in days of the week and calendar activities.
4. Share Information With parents: At the beginning of the year I sent home a letter to my students. I put a QR Code on the letter, which had me reading the letter to the students. You could also share PDF Files, informative websites, etc with parents using a QR Code. Send it home on a bright color paper with quick and easy directions!
After being at the ICE conference the past few days. I felt compelled to start a blog to share, reflect, and collaborate this amazing road of teaching littles in the 21st century. It has been an amazing and inspiring conference. I am overwhelmed with all of the wonderful ideas that I have learned from other educators. Here are a few takeaways about Blendspace.
I attended a workshop about technology integration in the differentiated classroom. As a previous Inclusion teacher I am extremely passionate about reaching ALL learners. In kindergarten there are all types of students that you have to differentiate for. There are students who went to several years of preschool, there are students who have been exposed to some topics you will be teacher, but there are also students who have never been to school. Blendspace is a tool that can help bridge the gap between all the different types of learners. Here are a few takeaways I learned from @plugusin.
Is an amazing tool for creating a "board" for specific lessons, topics, etc. They are SUPER easy to create, and perfect for the kindergarten classroom. The best part about Blendspace is that there are SO MANY already created! Which makes it easy and quick to implement!
How can I use it?
Stay tuned for more takeaways from the #ICEindiana conference!
Below is a Blendspace all about bats!