Course Thoughts

As this course comes to an end, there are a several things that I’ve realized and learned. I think they are important to share.

First, it takes a lot of work and planning to find images that do not belong to someone else or require a lengthy process to be able to use them. I found that it works best if I use my own personal pictures. This way students are exposed to authentic photos of animals, people, etc. I also find that it helps me to connect more to assignments that I am doing/creating for my students.

Second, I am not a huge fan of Excel. I struggled with the assignment using Excel as a gradebook. Therefore, I am grateful for the online software that my school district uses in order for us to input grades. I am becoming more familiar with Excel, but still not a fan 🙂 For some reason, I am confused by it. I was tasked with creating a “team” spreadsheet for my grade level at work, and I was proud of myself for doing it. This course has pushed me in the direction of learning a program, that I haven’t been the best at…I am thankful for this.

Finally, I learned that I really like digital storytelling. I had not had much, if any, exposure to it before this semester. For both of my courses I created digital stories. I now see the importance of this in the classroom. I will definitely begin to use this in my classroom, and I would like to have my kindergarteners create their own digital stories this year. I think a great starting point will be for students to create their own personal story, and then we can progress into something more complex.

Overall, I really enjoyed the course and what I have learned from it. I am still hoping for additional help creating K level rubrics for the students to read/understand themselves…if you have any suggestions 🙂

Rubrics

Creating rubrics is one of my least favorite things to do… I am a kindergarten teacher, and it is often difficult to assess my students’ abilities using a rubric. In kindergarten, students aren’t graded using the tradition A-F scale. We use Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory. The more I thought about the rubrics we are using in this class, the more I tried to apply them to my classroom. I finally decided that I could fit the rubric criteria into these three categories. I have tried to implement some rubrics in my classroom using these criteria, and I am really interested to see if it will work.

I have also been trying to think of ways students can assess themselves on a rubric. Right now, my students are able to assess themselves against our learning goal, and I think this may not be too much of a stretch for them. I would love suggestions on ways to do this in a kindergarten classroom!

As a class, I showed students an example of a digital storytelling project. We discussed what needs to be part of the project, and then I let the students rate the project. I was absolutely amazed how well the students were able to pick out what was missing from the project. I had a student who told me that he would say it “needs improvement.” When I asked him why, he said that the student used a lot of cartoon pictures instead of real pictures. I was so impressed, because he was hitting on another kindergarten standard that we hadn’t really talked about yet. Everyday I am so amazed at how much my students can do 🙂

Please let me know your experience with rubrics and if you have any suggestions for me!

Thanks!!

Rubric for Digital Story

Here is the link to my rubric for the digital story. I would appreciate any feedback 🙂

It is for Kindergarten students working on a project regarding living and non living things. I did struggle with the language. I found it difficult to get my point across while making the language easier for K students to understand. I would love help with this 🙂

Living and Non Living Things Rubric

Digital Storytelling in My Classroom

After thinking and doing some further research into digital storytelling, I decided the best use for my students would be retelling a story. There are so many kindergarten examples on the internet! My students absolutely love to do anything that involves technology. One of the best examples I saw was where students created pictures using paint and told their part of the story over it. Another alternative would be to have students draw out the pictures and scan them into the computer.

Allowing students to do this project would hit on several kindergarten reading standards and necessary skills. Students would practice retelling, using pictures to add information, and they would also be able to practice fine motor skills. Using technology is another important kindergarten skill. As students progress on, technology will continue to be more present, and using it now will be extremely beneficial for them.

There are some  suggestions that I would make for students. I would recommend the use of Prezi, Pixie, iMovie or Moviemaker. These programs I have found to be very user friendly. This project would require parent or teacher support. Students would need help, but I would want them to come up with ideas on their own.

Parents and students would also benefit from an example of the desired project. Many parents (and my students) would be new to the idea of digital storytelling. The example would help to prevent frustration. Overall, I think this would be a useful assignment for students, because it is interactive and authentic.

Changing Technology in the Classroom

Reading this week’s module has helped me to reminisce about how much technology has changed since I was in school. I remember walking into the classroom and getting that wonderful feeling, because the TV was in the room! (I’m sure you remember it too.) Watching science videos and other educational movies was the highlight of the day! It was such a break from doing the same worksheets and lessons. As far as I can remember, we didn’t even have computers in the class until I was in high school.

I can relate my feelings to how students must feel today. They have grown up in a society that is focused so much on technology. When I was growing up, it wasn’t… In order for our students to stayed engaged, it’s important to relate to them.

Today, in my classroom, we have so many different technologies. I could never have imagined the technology we have today. I have a SMARTboard, computers, a document camera, VCR, and a DVD player in my room. I can say that my students use every bit of technology every day. It isn’t just a once in a while treat, like it was when I was in school. We have realized how much technology can benefit our students, and it has been a beneficial change. With movements such as BYOD (bring your own device), mobile learning, the variety of educational apps, and WEB 2.0 tools, technology will continue to enhance our students’ learning experience. I am really looking forward to seeing the continued advancements that technology makes for education.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share your thoughts!