A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A USED TO BE

A used to be “non-techy” that is. No SMART board, no iPads, no use of desktop computers. I was stressed enough just teaching. I was surviving. I did not have any time to add something extra on to my plate. Then things changed. I got excited, and then my students got excited. And things in classroom 103 are so much better. Technology is a way of life. It’s not just another thing. It is a tool, just like a pencil or pen, that allows my students to create and learn. Here is a glimpse into my 4th grade classroom.

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We start the day off covering grammar. I write sentences on the SMART board incorrectly and students fix them. They love to write on the SMART board, but more importantly they love to be grammar detectives. This isn’t fancy, but it is hands-on. That’s the key.

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Next on our agenda is checking our class Twitter account. This is something new I started this year. I was inspired by Summer Diamond’s 5th grade class. My students tweet out every day and let the world know what we are doing. Because what we are doing is very important. We also connect with other 4th grade classes like Mr. Donnelly’s in Navasota and Miss. Girndt’s in Little Cypress. They post some pretty cool stuff, and we like to see it. We love to see what is happening in the world around us. We even had Rae Pica from BAM Radio tweet us. “A real live radio person??!!” my students said. They were pumped. I mean this is huge for a nine year old. Follow us on Twitter. @MrsMarino103

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Next up is our YouTube video for the week. These are very short videos that help my students understand concepts that we are covering. Sometimes I make the video for the week, and sometimes my students do. Students can watch these at home for supplemental learning. My class is not flipped. I am still a little fearful of students without access to technology at home. We live in a very rural and low socioeconomic town. Making these videos and playing them in class takes very little time. The students that can watch them at home do. The students that can’t watch them at home just watch at school. Either way is fine with me. When the students make the videos for me – I cannot begin to tell you how proud it makes me. It’s ADORABLE!

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Now to focus on our weekly concepts. As a teacher, I have to ask my self how I am going to present this to my students? It needs to be engaging, hands-on, and it needs to leave an impression. My go to for awesomeness is Augmented Reality. Today we were working on forming plural nouns. We used our iPads and the Aurasma app to transform singular nouns to plural nouns. I wish you could see my 24 students busily working throughout the room. Integrating this technology into my lessons has cut down on students being bored and also behavior problems. Sometimes I just stand in the middle of the room and watch them. It’s amazing the focus on the activity that they have.

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When my students finished their first activity they moved to the purple carpet and started their Popplet. I made a Popplet before hand and put it on the SMART board. The students took my Popplet and changed the singular nouns into plural nouns. Pretty easy and took me no time at all to create. I taught my students how to navigate the Popplet app the first six weeks of school, so they know exactly what to do. We also have a poster up reminding them how to email the Popplet to me. Have I mentioned this is my favorite app?

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When students finished their Popplet they were then able to move on to a few different choices. One of the choices for today was either blogging on the desktops or the iPads. I use KidsBlog. It is easy to navigate, and it’s SAFE! We just started blogging last week. So far the students are loving it, and I have been extremely impressed with their first two posts. Let me tell you what else that I love…..the positive messages that they are posting on each other’s blogs.

Examples: Good job! I really want to read that book now. Wow, great post.

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It’s not ALL tech in room 103. We basically love anything that we get to make with our hands. We love creating, designing, and figuring out stuff. This cool kid is working on his Writing Office. We will use these when we write narratives to give us our own space. We also taped some clues on the inside of them to guide us when we write. We have a list of transition words, reminders on what to capitalize, and even some fun acronyms like “SWAG” that tells us different steps to take while editing.Making these our “own” is the most important step. We want to be proud to put them on our desks when we are writing. We want to personalize them just like we do our writing.

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This is Emberlee working on a creative story using her spelling words. This was her choice for what she wanted to work on at the end of class. Not all kids choose technology every time, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I want them working on something that they enjoy in those last few minutes. I want it to be their choice. I want it to matter. I have some pretty sharp writers this year. Their stories have absolutely cracked me up.

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Last but not least, I usually send out a Remind. This is my favorite way to effectively communicate with parents. It’s quick, easy, and reliable. This source of technology is so helpful to parents, students, and teachers. From spelling lists to picture day reminders, you can not go wrong with this tool.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 12.55.50 PMYou’re probably thinking how in the world we did all of that in one class period? Well, it happens and pretty smoothly, too. The procedures and apps were taught in the first 2 weeks so my kiddos know what to do. Oh, it’s loud. I have to redirect here and there, but kids are learning and thriving.We watch our Dojo points to stay on track behavior wise. They are learning to become independent and not rely on me to think for them or tell them what to do next. They have choices to choose from based on their likes. It’s working for us. This was just one day out of the week. Every day my activities are different, but this is the basic schedule. Moral of the story, if Daisy Marino non-techy extraordinaire can change her class….so can you. 🙂

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