Sunday, January 22, 2012

iPad and iPod Apps

I use iPads during Reading Centers at the Technology Center.  I use iTouches at Math Stations.  It is just easier for me to keep them separate.  I am lucky enough to have enough equipment to be able to do this.  When I introduced the Technology Center at the beginning of the year, I sat at the center with the kids for the first 2 weeks.  The Technology Center is the table RIGHT BESIDE the Teacher Table, so I can glance over just to check without interrupting my small group.  Of course there were a couple of students who "tested the rules" at the beginning, but after they were sacrificed, I mean made to skip the center the next week, everyone decided following the rules was a good idea!  Missing the Technology Center is devastating to first graders!
My major worry was that the kids would not play the correct apps.  You a math game during the All Important Uninterrupted Reading Block or be playing Angry Birds when the principal did a walk through!  SOLUTION:  If you hold down an app until it starts flashing, you can move them around.  Just move the apps they are allowed to play to the bottom.  I put them in the order I want them to play. (It is usually a Spelling Test first, then a story, then a phonics game for my group.)  I change them each week.
Okay, I have to admit I happened to do this by accident.  I am not some techie genius.  But it has been a lifesaver!

Here are a few of my favorite Reading Apps.  I used pictures because I think they are easier to find when you get to the app store that way!  Some are free, some are paid for.  My colleague and I registered all of our devices together so we can share apps!

Spelling Test:  This one is GREAT!  You can add your own spelling words.  The kids can email their practice test directly to you or you can just go on the iPad to check them out!  The downside is that if you have more than one iPad, you have to put in the words on each device.  Hint:  Make "name" a spelling word and have the student type in their name. Otherwise you won't know who's test you are looking at!

This is an app from Lakeshore.  Right before Christmas, they had several free apps.  Hopefully they will be creating more.

Cimo Spelling Sound Out
There is one for sight words, too.  This one has games separated by short vowels, long vowels, special vowels, etc.  Perfect for winter!

Memory Matching Game for Sight Words


Stories are some of my student's favorites.  They have Tacky, Cat in the Hat, The Mitten, Little Miss Spider, I could go on and on!  There are also a lot of nonfiction ones.  A lot start out with "I like".  There seems to be one of those for every season or topic!  (The snow one below is an example of one.)
Most have a "Read to Me" and "Read by Myself" option as well as games to play.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Penguin Unit

Here are a few things my Reading Group did for our Penguin Unit.

Skills Center: Following Written Directions to create a penguin.  The students loved this center!  I had every supply needed (including paper) in its own basket.  This really helped make the center run smoothly.  They are now hanging up and next week we will be adding a penguin fact to their bellies.

Technology Center: Tacky Goes to Camp is a story app for the iPad.  There is an option to listen to the story or to read it by yourself.  I had the students listen first, then read it on their own.

Independent Reading Center:  Students read nonfiction books about penguins.  They wrote a penguin fact on a fish and added it to our Penguin Anchor Chart.  (We made Penguin Anchor Charts on our own at the beginning of the unit as a preview to the unit. Thank you Deanna Jump.)  Next week at this center students will make another Penguin Anchor Chart to show what they learned about penguins.

Listening Center:  Three Cheers for Tacky!  This is the response page that is usually at Listening Center.

Take Home Penguin Project
We have class penguins.  Each student gets a chance to take a penguin home.  Since this is a winter project and we don't want to still be taking them home in May, there are 2 penguins.   A girl for the girls and a boy for the boys.....because we know what would happen if we tried to send home a girl penguin with first grade boys!   I draw names to see who takes the penguin home each night.  Well, thats what the kids think anyway.  Lets just say names are chosen strategically:-).  
The boys vote on the boy penguin name and the girls vote on the girl penguin name.  This year we have Pedro and Penelope.  I thought they were really good choices......but I may have swayed some votes because I did not think Surfboard the Penguin sounded very cute....Shhhh, don't tell!
Each penguin has its own cooler for safe keeping.  And obviously to keep it cold since we live in Florida!  There are 2 penguin books in each cooler.  One is fiction and one is nonfiction.  There is also a letter that explains what is expected during the penguin's visit.  Students are supposed to read one of the books and write about the penguin's adventure on the attached writing paper.  The kids get to keep the penguin for 2 days.  Of course we have a LONG discussion about how to keep the penguins safe when they are at our houses!
This year I am SUPER impressed with the first few adventures.  Penelope got a make over at her first house.  She now has pink accessories and looks like a girl penguin!
Here is a picture and the letters that I send home.  I can't make the letters editable for fear of the clip art police, but it gives you a starting point. Click the letter for the link!  

If you want to see more pictures from my Penguin Unit in action, waddle on over to my class blog First Grade Fun with Miss Gilbert.  


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tacky the Penguin

I love the Tacky the Penguin books.  Here are a couple of ideas that we did with Tacky today!  We used hula hoops to make a Venn Diagram and used words that they came up with to describe Tacky and his companions.  The other is an art idea- In groups of 3 or 4 the children tore black and orange paper to make the penguin black and white- we left the paper white (did not tear up white paper) Then the orange for his feet and beak. Next they tore up colored paper to make a "Hawaiian" style shirt.  They loved it!

Currently Linky Party

I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for a 
Currently Linky Party!

Let me explain my olw....Forget as in "let it go", not as in "forget important things"!  I have a tendency to be a bit OCD and worry about EVERYTHING!  My New Year's Resolution was to try to be better about this. (Sad to report I have not been too successful for the first 10 days of the year).  I couldn't think of one word to describe this, so "forget" it is!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Growing Patterns

I have a bulletin board that is just for for growing patterns.  I started this after I attended one of Catherine Kuhns sessions at the Singapore Math Conference two summers ago.  I keep hearing that the students should make their "piece" on their own.  (You know, draw and cut each piece ALL BY THEMSELVES.)  I just can't do that.  So........our growing patterns are usually a cut and create or reproducible.   Sometimes I tie in a glyph, but our monthly glyphs usually hang on the cabinets.

We do a new growing pattern monthly.  It is a quick and cute (but educational) way to have a seasonal display!  The students make their piece on one day.  I hang them that afternoon and we figure out the growing patterns together the next day.  I have the card with the words written and hung already.  We just figure out the numbers and write them in.  We discuss what the next row would be and what other growing patterns we see.  FYI:  The first row should always be what the "piece" is... 1 snowman, 1 gingerbread man, 1 turkey, etc.  Here are a few examples from this school year.

 Turkeys for Thanksgiving

1 Turkey, 2 Eyes, 5 Feathers
 Gingerbread Men for Christmas
 1 Gingerbread Man, 2 Eyes, 3 

Snowmen for January
3 Snowmen, 6 Mittens, 
9 Buttons