Do you ever feel like you’re rushed for time when it comes to using technology in your classroom? Are you unsure how to incorporate it into your busy day? Well, I’m bringing you 9 ways to use technology in your primary classroom.
1. Self Checking QR codes
QR codes have been around for a while. Many of you may know how to use QR codes and how to use them in your classroom. One way that I LOVE using QR codes is as a self-checker.
Have you ever held a small group at your table? Yes? Then, you should relate to this. Think about a time when your students were all working so quietly and your group with you at your kidney table were reading with ease… are you there in your mind?
It is a picture perfect day and then – a child walks up to you from their word work center and wants to either
a) show you their work
b) ask you if their work is right
Do you scream in your brain? Do you point at your crown that means you cannot be disturbed? Do you point for them to return to their area? WHAT DO YOU DO?
Well… if you had a QR code on their recording sheet or in their word work center, you wouldn’t be bothered. Here’s how it should work when Johnny wants you to see check his work. Johnny stops. He grabs his iPad. He brings up his free qr reader app and scans the code on his recording sheet (like below).
Then, Johnny checks his recording sheet to make sure it is correct. You are able to continue working quietly with your small group without distractions or being interrupted.
|This is from my Learning my CVC words bundle.|
2. Research Capabilities
Another aspect of QR codes is allowing your students to be able to conduct research. Let’s pretend you’re working on a farm lesson. Your students have a project. It includes researching one animal and finding as much information as possible. You could create QR codes to link to videos, pictures, websites and books that either take them directly to that animal OR to places about farm animals.
Kindergarten and first graders will be allowed to research on their own. They will be proud of their work and their capabilities by being able to scan a code, listen or read the information and provide the information back to you in some form.
3. Whole group for reading
Reading is a really TIGHT schedule in my classroom, but at least once a week I like to use technology whole group. We’ve used the Osmo with one iPad whole group. I usually make two teams and allow the students to compete against each other. Last year, our favorite was the pictures and we had to figure out what the word was. They got REALLY good at this one.
Since I moved up to first grade this year, a few things have changed. For one, it seems that my reading schedule is not a flexible as kindergarten. We’ve started a new routine where Tuesday or Thursday is our whole group tech day. I plan for 15 minutes or less to allow them to have a little fun together. We’ve started using these powerpoints to help encourage our writing. I started them with easy cvc words. Each week as our focus has been a short vowel, we complete just that set of powerpoints that focuses on that skill.
How does technology play into this you ask? Well, my kiddos see a picture on our smartboard and say it out. Then, they sound it out and write it on their iPad. We use an app called Doodle Buddy. It’s really easy and can be used for an endless amount of ideas. I like this option because I don’t like using dry erase boards any more and don’t like to waste paper on things like this. Here’s a little snippet of how it works.
You can find See it. Write it. available in my TpT shop. I have a growing bundle available. You can buy in now at a lower price and receive all of the future sets for free. All you have to do is go and redownload with each new addition.
I also have bundle with all of the short vowels.
4. Whole Group for Math
This is an absolutely genius idea. For a quick assessment of math materials and during whole group time, allow students to look around the room for ideas to match the lesson. For example, if you’re teaching time to the hour, have students to use a clock that they can change the time on. They will set the time to a time on the hour, either write the time on the clock or use an editing app to add the time. Writing it on something like a white board or a sticky note is much easier. They simply put the clock and the sticky note/white board in view of the camera and snap a picture. Then, you can view their pictures and check their work REALLY quickly without going around the room.
This could be used for a number of skills. Another easy example is colors. After they are given a color to look for, they will go around the room and take pictures of things that are that color. When they are done taking pictures, they add them to a frame. Then, you have “one” picture to look at quickly to check for understanding.
In the past, I’ve done listening centers several ways. Do any of you own those scholastic books with the cd? They were such a PAIN to have the students pop them in and out of cd players when they wanted to listen to a particular story. I added add the stories to my iTunes account, loaded them on the iPads and then my students had to find the story they wanted in the music portion.
NO MORE craziness! Now, I use QR codes for listening stories. The QR codes link to the stories being read aloud on YouTube or it is a direct link. The direct links are my old scholastic books. The kids pull a book and scan the code that is in the spot where the CD used to be. So simple and so easy. They have two options for listening to stories and neither one of them require cds or cd players or a ton of headphones hooked to one device.
6. Record Reading
This is quite possibly one of my favorite things. It’s free. It’s easy. The kids love it. I love it. My principal loves it. The other kids love it. Seems like a win all the way around, right? Well, it is. I teach my kids how to quickly get to the camera app by swiping up from the bottom and bringing up the control center. Then, they click on the camera. I taught them how to sit their iPad up so they could see their face clearly or whatever it was that they wanted to record.
They hit record and began reading. I had some that would record their book and others wanted to record their face. I had one sweet girl that liked to do both. She found a nice spot and recorded herself reading and I could see some of the book as she read. They become SUCH great readers because when they’re done with a book, they listen to their reading.
I also taught them what a good reader sounds like. This is a great way to show them what robot reading sounds like. They usually learn pretty quickly after I point out robot reading and they’re able to tell if they’re doing it or not. They can go back and create another version of the book if they’d like. I don’t care if they record it five times, I know that they are reading and practicing reading fluently. That is the ultimate goal, right?
Here’s a little glimpse at one of them reading.
Before I was able to assign each of my students their own iPad, we used this method to keep up with with picture taking. Each of them had a student license.
They grabbed it before they headed off for their first math workshop or their first Daily 5. When it was time to transition to the next thing, they put their student license down next to their paper (finished or unfinished). Then, they got an iPad and snapped their work. This allowed me to easily know which paper belonged to who. At the beginning of the school year when you have five or six that cannot write their name and you can’t guess – this is HEAVEN SENT. And of course you know those other seven that don’t put their names on their paper…
8. Record Stories
Just like recording themselves reading, I have them to record themselves telling a story. For St. Patrick’s Day, we read a story about a leprechaun. He was TOTALLY destroying their room. To help stop the leprechaun, we had to figure out something to catch him. They got with their peanut butter/jelly partner and recorded their videos. I eventually made the stories a QR code and added them to our March craft that was hanging in our hall.
|She’s actually listening to a book, but this is what their iPad looks like when they’re recording themselves tell a story.|
Seesaw is an ah-maz-ing app to use to keep student portfolios. There is a free and a paid version. I suggest playing around with the free version. Our county allows us to download Seesaw to our iPads and it is genius. Students upload their work (you approve or deny it) to their portfolio after they’ve finished it. Parents are able to see all of their approved work. Students can also take videos!
They just snap a picture of their work and add it to their “account.” It’s extremely easy!
That’s it! I hope you can use some of these ideas to fit technology into your day without it being an ordeal. Find some simple ideas and use those to get technology flowing in your classroom.