I meant to tell you what my kiddos and I did yesterday with our laptops and I totally forgot!
My district is very fortunate when it comes to technology. I love that we are pretty aggressive in this area and that all of our children are getting their hands on technology on a daily basis. We are a 1:1 Laptop School in grades 6-12 where our students are given a MacBook to use in school and at home. Our junior high and high school teachers integrate technology into their lessons and projects they assign our students to provide them with a 21st Century Project Based learning environment. We have multiple mobile labs (carts of 25 MacBooks) in our elementary schools as well as computer labs with Macs. We were just informed yesterday that Apple has named our district an Apple Distinguished School...pretty cool! Our district got our 1:1 laptop initiative off the ground by applying and being awarded a pretty hefty grant. This grant not only supported switching our school from a PC school to a Mac school, it also offered the teachers some pretty amazing opportunities to visit some totally awesome 1:1 school districts. We also were able to travel to Apple and receive training on their campus. I was fortunate enough to be one of probably 20 or so teachers and administrative staff from our district to fly out to Cupertino, California and spend the week on Apple's campus. That place was amazing! Anyway...we use the laptops in our classroom every Wednesday afternoon. We usually blog on kidblog...which I love! I'll chat about this another time but here's the link to our blog: Miss Long's Firsties. Feel free to explore! It's one of the safest, kid-friendliest blog formats I've found.
We've been graphing these past two weeks and I was kind of dreading the whole pictograph part. Not that the kiddos wouldn't understand it, it's just so hard to get them to understand the importance of drawing pictures that are the same size and to line them up side by side. So I was searching for something we could do online with our laptops. I happened to stumble upon a website called Soft Schools.
I have to admit...I was a little leary of the appearance. I mean, you can't even read their logo without squinting a bit but I guess they were trying to make it look "soft". So my eyes wandered over to the left and I clicked on the word, "Math". I was pretty excited to see bright colors and clear text. I then scrolled down and clicked on "Pictograph" which opened another page and I clicked on "Make Your Own Pictograph." I then clicked on "Start" and I was taken to an empty pictograph for the kiddos to complete. We did a few together and then they had to create their own based on the surveys we took last week. They had to come up with their own title and record their information without me. This pictograph even offers a small bank of pictures for the kiddos to choose from for their graph. I was totally expecting the site to be slow because all 25 of us were on it at the same time, but we had zero drama! The kiddos loved creating their own graphs. We printed them out and added them to our graphing folders!
Even if you only have one computer in your classroom, you could use this site to push your top students a bit! The site looks like it has a lot to offer but I've been a little short on time lately and haven't been able to fully explore it yet! It's on my list! :)
On a side note...since we're such a technology rich school district and I kind of love getting my kiddos on the laptops to create different things, I think I'll name my Thursday posts, "Technology Thursdays" so that I can share some of the cool things our district is doing!
2 More Days! I'm getting kind of used to 4 day weeks...next week is a 5 day week! What will I do??? Oh, yeah...everything that I haven't been able to do in a 4 day week! :)