Well, things are continuing to slowly move along. We had a little set back when the bulb on the projector slowly gave up the ghost. But now we are up and running again. Did you know that projector bulbs are very $$$. Mine was about $350!!! Something to keep in mind when considering the upkeep of technology.
We have been trying to get the smartboard to work with the laptop plugged in. For some reason it won’t respond properly, so we decided to put Clicker right on the Smartboard computer. Flora loves using the smartboard more than the laptop!
Lately we have had a few kids working with the laptops and Flora using the Smartboard. The School Sentences seem to be a hit. (They are found under the Language Arts section under Examples.) One activity the children like is to work in pairs to write sentences. Next week I am going to see if I can get Flora to work with a partner to write a sentence on the computer, then write the same sentence on the Smartboard.
Now that this trial is coming to an end – I think we have almost met the goal! Flora is able to write a sentence on the smartboard! Next week we will get a chance for all the kids to share their sentences with each other, both on the laptops and on the Smartboard.
Well, the kids have learned how to write a journal entry using Clicker! We have had many adventures trying to navigate through the journal writing activity I downloaded from learning grids and the grids I programmed into some of the laptops. Let me start with the good things – - the kids continue to amaze me at how fast they learn to use Clicker. The children were able to write the date and one sentence about their weekend. When the program read their sentence to them they were able to fix up any mistakes they made. Clicker helps some kids develop their writing vocabulary by providing examples of adjectives that can be incorporated into their simple sentences. A couple of the kids chose to use Clicker to make a sentence, then they wrote their sentence in their journal. Best of all, Flora loves using the computer for her writing. We are working on a simplified version of the journal entry so she can compose a sentence with 3 or 4 cells. We are going to try it on the SmartBoard in a week. (Too many interruptions happening next week!) The not so good things are that the journal entries are limited. Using the right tense in the sentences and words provided on Clicker can be difficult. We are still having technological/logistical problems. Our school does not have Wifi, so in order to download anything new from learning grids I either have to take all the laptops home with me, then download the material, or, at school, I have to plug each laptop separately to the internet, one at a time to download material, or rearrange some of the computers in the computer lab, then use the internet cords in the lab. Even still, we are moving along and looking forward to seeing the writing on the SmartBoard!
Sorry it has been a while, but things have been working out rather slower than expected.
Everyone in the classroom loves using the laptops. We have used many of the pre-made activities in Clicker 5 to do both reading and writing groups. We are now starting to use the journal writing activities, which I downloaded from learning grids.
I have decided that the carped area works best, so I can keep track of how the kids are doing when the are working with the laptops. The kids sit in a rainbowish shape, facing the top of the rainbow. I hop around behind them, helping them out when the need it. I am having a bit of trouble meeting the needs of 5 kids, so I am just down to three, sometimes four kids. Any typing activity takes a long time, so we are barely getting through more than three or four words at a time. But we are all having fun learning together!
Will keep you posted when we get a sentence finished, so that we can share it on the smartboard!
Hooray ! We just managed to fix the blog glitch - so I am now able to blog what we have been up too! For the last few weeks we have been working through the little details, that actually turned into big details, in order to use the computers. I only have two plug-ins in my classroom, which meant that the 5 laptops had to share precious plug-in space with the other electronic equipment in the classroom, such as classroom computer, smartboard, smartboard computer, listening centre, etc. We also had to sort out storing the laptops in a locked cupboard (which does not have any power access), then bringing them out for the lessons and getting them up and running for each lesson, charging their batteries, then putting them away again. Now that we have a system for storage and electricity, I am slowly training the children how to store and prepare the laptops for the lessons.
Clicker 5 and pc laptops are both new to me (I have always been a Mac user). So the learning curve is very high for both myself, Gisela, our EA, and the children. I have had to learn simple things, such as how to turn them off and why and when to right and left click! But I think I have the hang of most things now. If I ever need help I just ask one of the kids. They always know the answers!
Over the last few weeks Gisela and I have had Clicker 5 training. We have hooked a laptop, up to the smartboard to allow the children to get an idea of how to use the laptops and click to turn pages or build sentences. (We are still working out the glitches with the left and right clicks with the mouse on the smartboard.) Two weeks ago some children read the story At School, on the laptops, for reading group. Last week the children had the opportunity to use the laptops to rewrite the story At School, using the grid template that clicker provides. What was great about this, was that the computer would read the sentences outloud only of if the children put the words in the right order. This way they were able to move on in the story without having me to check what they had written. What was not so great was that it is really hard to see what the children are doing because the screen blocks my vision. (We sit at a rainbow table). I now have to walk around the outside of the rainbow table to monitor how the kids are doing. If I was on one side of the table, then I cannot see what is happening across from me. It is hard to help the kids easily- which is the whole reason for the rainbow table! I am going to experiment with having laptop reading and writing groups on the carpet next time. (Tablets would be much easier, as they would lie flat on the table, and everyone could see what is going on, then the kids could even help each other.)
We won’t be able to get much done this week – Valentine’s Day, 100 Day, Chess and finishing a Penguin Report. Hopefully next week we can begin to write some more!