Monday, July 12, 2010

DreamBox Continued

This past weekend was the first time our summer classes were able to take their dreambox passwords home and use it with mom and dad. I was very curious to see what kind of feedback we got this morning when kids came back to school.

I was surprised that all the feedback was not as positive as the teachers were expecting. Many parents liked it a lot. They felt it was great practice and very engaging. Some parents though felt it was to hard for their children to maneuver and had to st with them if they wanted their kids to actually use it.

As us teachers discussed the feedback we realized we were not looking at this technology the same way many parents were. When the kids use the lab we monitored and observed what they are doing. Many of the parents seemed to think that they could sign their child in and walk away. We did not send this home as a quick babysitting option. We had hoped parents would do this with their children (as the letter that went home stated).

Part of the balance of using technology with young children is that they will need more help, especially at first. Many parents seemed to not understand this. I am hoping that they will continue to try this program. As their kids get better at it, they will become more independent.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dream Box Learning

Not to long ago I was offered a free class to use It is an amazing interactive customized math site for kids Kindergarten to third grade. You can pay for you class to use it, but they often send out offers for a free year. You just need to get in their mailing list. Each child gets there own log in and when they sign in it has saved what they were working on a nd tracks it for teacher use. Here is the link to a quick video about the site:

Our prek and kindergartners are using it at summer school this week. They love it. As the site explains:

DreamBox Learning K-3 Math is the online math game kids love!

DreamBox provides differentiated math instruction—as fun online math games! We provide over 500 kindergarten, first grade, first grade, and third grade math games, with embedded assessments in a rigorous math curriculum. Capturing every mouse click enables sophisticated adaptation. And a dashboard gives you detailed student progress reporting.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Epals Update

I am very happy to say that my epals plan is working out wonderfully. I have heard from more then half of my students and they are also communicating with each other.

As I had expected the communications are not very long, but at the same time they are actually happening. I know some parents are obviously helping with spelling, but some are just letting their kids go. It is great to see how my students continue to make progress over the summer. Many of them are really creative with their spelling and their ideas. I think I might have a few really writers in my bunch!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Skyping take 2

I have continued using skype with my summer school class. I took David's advice and got an external microphone. It made a world of difference. My kids know they have to wait for their turn with the microphone if they want to ask a question or respond to one.

Several people also asked me about how I got to skype. I do bring my own computer with me each day. It is blocked if I try and get to it from a school issued computer.

My sister actually got us some children the same age to talk to at the program she is working with. This really gave my kids a new understanding of hat life in different places is like for kids their age. Definitely something I could not have accomplished with a book!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ePals for Summer

After learning more about ePals last week in class I wanted to see if my parents would be interested in communicating over the summer with my students this way. Many of my students are shockingly good at typing and they love getting mail. This seemed like a great way for them to express themselves and be able to stay in touch with me and other classmates over the summer.

We had our end of the year party today. While parents were in class I showed them how ePals worked and set up an account for their child if they wanted. Using the LCD projector so the class could watch i sent everyone an email telling them what I wanted them to tell me about over the summer. We also talk about how they could have mom or dad help them if they came up with the ideas, it could be typed for them.

This is a great way for the kids to communicate over the summer. Especially for the two students I have that will be moving, one to Canada and one to Florida. Both girls were very sad to be leaving their friends. This is a quick and easy way for them to stay connected with everyone.

I know that the caliber of emails will not be top notch, but it keeps the kids writing over the summer, and helps them practice their typing as well. I am sure our technology teachers will appreciate that in the fall when they come back to school.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skyping with 5 year olds!

My class and I have been using Skype for the last 2 weeks to talk to my sister, Ali, while she is interning in Israel. My sister spends part of each day in a school in Tel Aviv and I thought it would be a fun idea to have my class learn about what school is like in another country.

It has been a real eye opening experiecne for my class. Firstof all, they did not understandf the time difference until my sister took her laptop outside to show them that it wasw noght time even though we had just come back from lunch.

One of the biggest challenges I found while doing this with my class has been them not understanding that they cvan not all talk to my sister at once. When we are working in whole group I can normally dicifer if several of them are talking at the same time. This is not the case when Ali is trying to pick up the sounds on a microphone on the computer. My kids have to repeat their questions often. The kids also do not understand why sometimes the picture freezes, but we are all working on being patient.

As my sister works more in her school program she has been able to bring work samples and activities to show us when we chat. My students get a real life visual of what other students the same age are doing at school. They also get to see some of the books, games, and clothing that might be different and something that they are not used to seeing in their everyday lives.

Overall this has been a great experience for my class. It pulled them out of that me, me, me attitude, even if it was only for a short time. As we continue our social studies curriculum on cultures and community I am sure their understanding will continue to grow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Welcome to my blog! I will be posting ideas about how web 2.0 tools can be utilized in the classroom. Hopefully, along the way I can find some things that my Kindergartners can use. Thanks for visiting.