I have used a class blog in kindergarten and first grade. I will ask students a question about what they think about a particular text, or how to explain a math problem, and students will answer the question when they get a chance at the computer (usually during literacy centers or in the morning). I typically only had 2 computers in my classroom, so sometimes I would have them all answer a question on the blog during their computer lab time. This way they are working on writing a response, working on typing skills, and utilizing technology all at the same time. They also have something they can show their family that they worked on at home (and some families could even add comments at home if the wished). This was a great tool to communicate with parents as well.
This takes a lot of guided practice in the beginning, but as students get more comfortable with it, they become independent and want to write their own blog posts!
thanks, crystal!! i do use a similar way of teaching (technology, communication, and reading/writing skills) with my students: we have a class wiki that has individual pages for each student. but, then, i also have content pages on the wiki, so that students can comment or share their learning on those pages (the pages are either science, lang. arts, math or social studies related). however, i really like the idea of utilizing a blog, and i just haven't yet! thank YOU!
and, yes, i, too, love that the online items can be shared with parents---that's HUGE!
Lisa, when I was in the classroom, I had a different approach with my K and 1st grade students. I started my Kindergartners on Mousing Around: Mousercise! to get them using the mouse. It was a lot of fun for them. We started slow, but in the long run it was beneficial. After that, I worked with the students on opening a document, typing their first name and then changing the font size, color and style. For the first grade, I simply expanded this idea and then we started formatting pictures.
Now, after we had worked the basics, as a music teacher we would go to a site such as the New York Philharmonic and "play" with the site. Most of the tech time I spent in the classroom was geared toward what I did in the upper grades. But, I was the tech and music teacher, so for me it was easier. The rest of the time was a traditional music classroom.
thanks, neil!! i had not heard of mousercise, but i'm, now, going to look into it! thanks for the ideas.
i, too, use the format you've mentioned---students, in my class, do learn to open a document, type their name, learn how to make upper and lower case letters, learn to modify font/font size/color, copy and paste, etc. they also learn to save, exit---all that good stuff. i do the same with browsers---learning to open pages, go back, close windows, etc.
i have found that our class wiki is really great, b/c it opens up all sorts of discussion and learning with/about: how to save a file from within an application to the server; how to upload a file to the class wiki (after navigating to the wiki from my class website and logging in); how to edit an individual wiki page and embed items, as well as how to comment. it is always a great experience.
i really appreciate your input!!!--always gives me ideas! thank YOU!
thank you, eric, i appreciate it! i have used a small webquest in the past...but with time, items that i used in that webquest became "obsolete" or just unsupported by our district---like hyperstudio. of course, i could have redone it, and still could, but i have not. i think we need more time allotted in our schedules to create or find great webquests--that would help. many (that i find) are often geared for older students; though i have found some very promising ones at our recent g/t trainings.
still, i have, yet, to utilize them. i do appreciate the encouragement though. i need to keep going!!
do you use any webquests with your class?
oh, and i really like the idea of adding their found information (from the webquests) to the class wiki...nice!
There are getting to be more and more resources for early childhood students. Here are a few:
PBS Kids - tons of wonderful resources here
Storyline - Screen Actors Guild members read stories
Teach Your Monster To Read - fun way to play and practice reading skills
Shidonni - Kids create digital stories
Robert Munsch's website - My first graders LOVED to listen to him read his stories
101 Questions - get those 1st graders starting to think ad ask questions
Estimation 180 - start developing student's number sense through estimation
NRich - tons of math activities
Hooda Math - great games to let the kids explore, then bring together to share what they learned
Illuminations - AWESOME math activites for all age levels
Can't beat Jen Wagner for online projects to tackle with your students. Sign up fast though, they fill quickly!
eThemes - GREAT tool for searching for resources; search by grade level to weed out the extras you don't want.
Hope this helps!