Friday, March 27, 2015

iCan Publish My Own iBook!


The NE iBooks Project is a partnership between schools, state agencies and non-profit organizations across Nebraska for the common purpose of providing quality instructional materials. .  

Last night student from my third grade class were invited to the NE iBook Project Showcase that was held in Bellevue, NE.  Their were four students from our class that were sharing their iBooks about Jamestown.  Students had completed this as part of a social studies assessment.  Throughout our unit students took notes from their social studies books using Notability, they completed research from various documents that were housed in iTunes U, created a Popplet to organizing their information and thinking, and they used several apps (Trading Cards, Screen Chomp, Pic Collage, to name a few) and "App-Smashed" them together. Finally all this information was pulled together and students wrote their Jamestown book using Book Creator initially and then we turned them into an iBook!

Each child visited with Kristina Peters the eLearning Specialist & School Library Liaison for the NE Department of Education and Mark Billington the Representative from Apple  about their iBook project.  They discussed how their book was created and the various apps they used in order to achieve their completed project.
 Families were there to share in this exciting and informative event along with school district representatives and our technology coaches.

As the classroom teacher I must admit that I was EXTREMELY proud of the efforts and the students abilities to share their experiences with confidence and poise.  Each book is a representation of their hard work and efforts and is authentic to their age and ability.  They are all officially PUBLISHED AUTHORS!!

Once again the iPad has forever transformed the way that I teach and measure student learning!  The opportunities, ideas, and possibilities are endless!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed

 iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed!

Our class motto is the first thing students see when they enter the classroom each day and the last thing they see before leaving.  It exemplifies the attitude about learning in our classroom.  I knew we needed  a motto that would not only be inspirational, but one that would keep us motivated while guiding us to a common goal....success in learning!!
The "iTry"  signified that we would try our best no matter the challenge.  The "iCan" was the attitude we would have towards our learning. The "iLearn" represented that we learn not only by our success but by our failures as well.  The "iSucceed" was the ultimate goal, no matter what, we can all succeed with the right attitude and belief.   As we developed our motto (with some guidance) it became part of our class iPad culture.  We became a true community of learners with common goals!

I remember the feelings of hesitation and apprehension I felt when I began teaching with this new technology.  I questioned whether I would be able to achieve the demanding rigor of the curriculum in a timely manner.  What was I going to do if the kids struggled?  What if I couldn't answer their questions?  What if I was unable to solve a problem?  How would I share this learning with families?  Would I be able to collect data to show that what I was attempting was working?  How would I explain to  building and district administration the advantage to utilizing iPads versus traditional materials?  Would I be able to keep up with the district learning objectives while trying to teach the apps that are necessary for basic iPad use?  How would I find the time to meet all the requirements for second grade?  These questions ran through my head numerous times.  I was taking a HUGE risk moving from what I knew and had spent twenty-three years of teaching doing.    Taking this "challenge" changed my teaching forever!  I embraced the idea and never looked back.  It was the best decision of my teaching career! 

The day that I handed each student their iPad, I can't help but remember the looks on my students faces and the excitement that permeated the classroom!  It was at that moment that I chose to be okay with not having all the answers.  I had to be flexible, patient, and determined.   The training that I received, the supportive coaches that I worked with, and the students excitement and enthusiasm were all the elements necessary to start this amazing learning journey.  Each day we built upon our understandings and the students abilities quickly grew. All of the questions I had initially, slowly dissipated.   I was amazed at the engagement of the students in their learning and their willingness to try anything!  

The collaboration, inspiration, problems solving, and sense of community that began to happen in my classroom was invigorating!  The students and I were learning together.  They couldn't wait to show me something they had discovered and they enjoyed showing one another what they had learned.  Each student's confidence grew and even those that were hesitant to start were reassured by their peers.  It was truly a learning community.  I found myself many times becoming the "guide on the side" and letting students take the lead in their learning.

My students looped up to third grade with me this year and I cannot tell you how much the students have grown!   Their confidence and ability to use the iPad continuously amazes me.  When learning about a new topic I can't wait to see how the students will choose to show me what they have learned.  The students love having choices in how they share their learning with me and their classmates.  They are inspired by one another!  I can't help but feel giddy when I see a student has made a connection or created something that I hadn't even thought of doing.

The joy in teaching for me is watching students become inspired and watching their faces when they have learned something new.  The pride that they show when they share their learning with their parents and siblings is priceless.
I am so glad that  "iTried" , that "iLearned", and that "iSucceeded!!" 

mottoes are inspirational in nature

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mottoes are inspirational in nature

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mottoes are inspirational in nature

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mottoes are inspirational in nature

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