Kindergarten Teacher

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Join Me on #teacherfriends Twitter Chat

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Many of you know I am a big fan of using twitter to connect with educators and for constant professional development. This Tuesday at 9:00pm EST I will be helping to moderate a new chat called #teacherfriends on Twitter. This chat was created as a space for teachers who are new to twitter to get a chance to try out a chat in a fun and relaxed way. If you have never tried twitter head over to The Cornerstone blog for info on how to get started.

If you are new to Twitter I hope you will Be Brave and try something new and if you are a twitter expert come check out the new chat. See you on the Twitterz!

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Resources and Ideas for Tweeting in Primary Grades

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Here is a list of my favorite posts on using Twitter in the primary grades. Please let me know of other posts I should add to the list!

We Should Be Doing More Than Teaching Digital Citizenship

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

So you want to tweet with kindergarten…

Using Twitter in the Primary Classroom

Using Blog and Twitter with Young Students: THIS is What it Looks Like

Guide to Twitter in the K-8 Classroom

Digital Citizenship Starts in Kindergarten

Kindergarten Class Tweets with Weather Experts

The Research Center: How Twitter Leads to Learning

Tweets, Tweeting via Twitter

and OF COURSE @cybraryman1 has a page dedicated to twitter

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Olympics, Math and Apps in Kindergarten

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The first app we have been using is Skitch! Each morning I Google “Sochi Medal Count” and this chart is displayed. I have been taking a screenshot of the graph and editing out the totals on the far right for each country. Then we use Skitch to circle who has the most medal of each type and to find out the total medal count for each country on the chart. The kids are very excited about adding three digits together and I love how each day it gets a little more difficult as more and more medals are won. The other thing I like about using this chart is the countries are ordered by the number of gold medals not by the total. This has led to a lot of discussion and understanding of how data can be displayed and used. Learn more about this app here

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Today we were asked on Twitter what was our favorite sport. So we used the apps Haiku Deck and Educreations to create the graph above. Using Haiku Deck is a simple way to create a quick and polished looking graph. Once we had the graph made I took a screen shot on the iPad and imported that image into Explain Everything to add the pictures. Obviously the pictures are not crucial but for Kindergarten they really help the kids understand graphs. Once the images were added in Explain Everything we saved the image to our camera roll and tweeted it to our friends! Info on the apps below.

Graphing with Haiku deck details

Explain Everything How To Video

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App for Documenting the Weather in the Class

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I have written about how we use this app in my class to document and share our weather (see here) but I wanted to remind everyone about this great app and share the new options available. The one I am the most excited about (seen above) displays the weather on a thermometer with both Fahrenheit and Celsius. This is very valuable for us because we share our weather with classes around the world using Twitter. Other options I am excited about are shown below. The kids love helping to take the picture and keeping track of how the weather changes during the seasons.

** I always blur out the part of the image that shows our location using the Skitch app because I don’t like to share our exact location on twitter.

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We Should Be Doing More Than Teaching Digital Citizenship

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The quote above is one of my favorites about digital citizenship. My classroom is a global classroom but I don’t “teach” digital citizenship. My students are actually digital citizens and we learn about the digital world by being a part of it. I feel most of the issues kids have online with bullying, racism and inappropriate posting come from a lack of experience in the digital world. My goal as a Kindergarten teacher is to begin to build the understanding that interactions online are interactions with real people and that posting something usually means it is online forever. My hope is that by being part of the digital world in a controlled environment while they are young, they will have the knowledge and skills to be good digital citizens when are on their own.

If you think about it the digital world is a very abstract concept, especially for young kids. I try very hard to bridge that abstract world by providing concrete connections with other classes around the world. We tweet, Skype and use google docs to build relationships with digital tools. This year I plan to have someone in our school be our first Skype contact and then have that person visit the room after the call. I want them to have a clear understanding we are chatting with real people.

How do you plan to give your class experiences being digital citizens this year? The options are endless and you can always start your first connection with a class in your own school or district.

Here is the map of connections my class made last year

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Playing 20 Questions Live Via Google Docs

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Yesterday my class got to collaborate, or in their eyes play, with twitter friends from Montana. I talked with @JonFines about our classes playing twenty questions together and found out they play that game in their class so it was a perfect match. We used this template to play the game and everything worked perfect. We played one game with Jon’s class asking the questions and then later in the day played again with my class asking the questions. Since we both teach Kindergarten the teachers did all the typing but for upper grades I think the kids could do that part. The game took about 15-20 minutes to complete and my kids were engaged both times. This activity is great for young kids as they learn how to ask questions and really promotes higher order thinking. It takes a lot of brain power to listen to friends asking questions and then formulate ideas based on the answers. If you want to “see” what it looked like I captured a video of the google doc (bottom of page, I sped up the video so you could see it happen faster.)

If you look at the image below you can see that these “games” do in fact lead to learning. My kids have learned so much about digital citizenship, collaboration, and geography through these connections. I hope you will give it a try! If 20 questions is not for you we have also played live games of Tic-Tac-Toe and Connect Four with Google Docs

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