Friday, November 15, 2013

I Heart Symbaloo

Yes...I love Symbaloo! After having only taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, the transition to teaching all grades, particularly K-2, was a little tough.  They have a smaller attention span, a lot of my K babies had never been to school before, and for the most part they can't read.  I needed to find a way to allow my Kindergarten students to navigate to different pages.  Symbaloo was the answer! I am able to share out my webmixes with students using AB Tutor and then they can follow the various links/tiles to the websites of the day that they get to explore.  With my younger students we spend a lot of time working on closing tabs, exiting out of windows, clicking/double clicking, drag and drop, and problem solving independently.  These Symabloo webmixes have allowed me to do just that while allowing students to move at their own pace changing activities with their attention spans!
I have now created half a dozen Symbaloo pages and wanted to share them with you! Check them out!
Mouse Skills
Sorting Games
Typing Practice
Research Links (3-8)
Halloween Games (K-2) - Kindergarten and 1st grade are limited to the tiles on the left while 2nd graders can go to any of them
Thanksgiving - Its a work in progress since I'm working on it now but it is set up similarly to the Halloween pages...K-1 on left, 2nd on right

You can also search webmixes that have been create by other people.  Check out the ones created by Kinderchat.  He has ones with animal e-books, listen to reading books, letter sound videos, Just Dance videos and more!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Perfect Marriage of History and Common Core

On Friday mornings during planning, the Related Arts team covers different grades so they can have an additional planning period to help collaborate for Common Core.  At first it was very frustrating! I felt like I was a substitute going into classes and trying to teach lessons in which I did not know the background content or how to connect it to their prior learning.  In the past couple weeks I have gotten into a routine with the classroom teachers and turned it into a time to collaborate with them. Most recently I have discovered  This site is a gold mine to provide self directed common core-esque social studies learning.  There are sections on World History, US History, Geography, and Religion.  Each page has a question at the top followed by articles, fact boxes, pictures, maps, videos, and sometimes links to interactive explorations. (A downside is that many of the embedded videos play through YouTube so at my school they are blocked on the student log-on.) In fifth grade we focused on the Industrial Revolution and in fourth grade we focused on Colonial America.  While evaluating the content, students answered the questions from each page in a Google Form that I created.  I made sure that their name and teacher were required questions but the rest were optional to allow them to work at their own pace without being rushed to finish them all.  This allowed some students to really dive deeper into the questions and areas that interested them.  The classroom teachers really appreciated that the students were building on their knowledge from their classroom and then they were able to see their work as well (responses from the Google Form fill a Google Spreadsheet that I share with the teacher).

If you have not checked out this great website, check it out now!