Kodable & Breakout EDU (first grade edition)

So I obviously left MACUL 16 feeling super inspired--because of that my kids and I had a really fun week at school trying out a bunch of new activities :) Slowly but surely we will try all the new things I learned about, so stay tuned!

Tech Tip of the Week

Have you tried Kahoot yet? It's one of the easiest ways to turn your classroom into a gameshow for part of your day! You can create pre-made games, quizzes or even let your students create games. The best part about Kahoot is that is easy to put together and has a lot of kid-friendly features (i.e. colors/shapes to make selecting an answer simple, the ability to add pictures as answers, and it's F R E E). My classroom has 6 iPads so I am living proof that you can use this in a classroom that is not 1:1 iPads :) My kiddos play at their tables and take turns submitting their answers--I take a lot of time the first time we play Kahoot to go over the rules to ensure that everyone supports each other and has fun. My kids know that (similar to every other tech activity we do) that it's important to have patience and help each other out! 

Here's my little guys in action--lots of team work happening when we play!


The first time we play Kahoot, we do just fun questions that I know they know the answers to (i.e. What color is Spongebob? What day of the week is it?) just so I know they know how to use the app. Once we do that, we use it in a variety of ways.
  • Replace your KWL charts with a Kahoot! Introduce a new topic or unit by gauging students' prior knowledge. 
  • Create a survey. Allow your students to have a voice and be involved!
  • Have students make quizzes. Kahoot is so user-friendly I have no doubt your students could create one.  
  • FUN FRIDAY! I love building our classroom community by playing Kahoot on Friday's just for fun. I like to create silly questions OR have my students create a Kahoot about themselves. It's a great way to get your kids to get to know one another. Relationships matter.

At #MACUL16 Shannon Miller shared a TON of coding resources. I decided to try Kodable with my kids because it looked easy for me to set up and manage (time is precious--especially around conference/report card time!!).  Simply sign up for Kodable online, type your students in, and print out their passwords. Unfortunately, the passwords are complicated (about 8 letters/numbers all mixed up) BUT my kids had no problems typing them in :) 

Teacher & student reviews of Kodable: We all LOVED it. Seriously...I could have just sit and watched/listen to them code all day. So many giggles, celebrations, collaboration, problem solving, and relationship building going on. They were asking each other for help, showing each other how to complete levels, congratulating each other...it was music to my teacher ears! Check out my little "coders" below.


As a teacher, it is also awesome to follow your students' progress. Not only does Kodable desribe 16 CCSS standards that your students are working on, it also tracks and breaks down your students' progress as they work through the levels. 

Breakout EDU (first grade edition)

After trying BreakoutEDU with some co-workers, I just HAD to let my students try! The wonderful and amazingly talented Sarah Wood created a Breakout specifically for lower elem students based on the story "Froggy Gets Dressed." They worked together to solve 6 clues and unlock locks and break into the box! We worked together as a class to solve the clues--most breakouts I've seen are completed in smaller groups of 8-10 people--so it was great to see that it can be done in a classroom of 22 students! My students worked at their table groups so solve each clue (Sarah had 5 sets of each clue) and then when each group was done solving, they shared their findings with the other groups. When we all agreed our findings, it was time to work on opening the locks. I called on students to type in one letter or number on the locks (a total of 19 students were able to punch in part of the code) and then I let the 3 other students have the opportunity to have a leadership role at some point during the activity. Everyone had an important role.

During the breakout, my students were problem solving, using critical thinking and working on their communication skills. I was able to see a lot of their personalities and strengths during the activity. I think my favorite part of the breakout was watching one of my special education students be a leader and totally rock it. This breakout allowed him to break out of his shy shell and be a confident leader and communicator. Seriously...I was blown away. These breakouts give your quiet students the opportunity to say, "Today, I'm not going to sit back and be a bystander. Today, I'm going to be a leader!"


and then....


If you have not had the opportunity to participate in a Breakout EDU, plleeaassseeee try to find OR create an opportunity to do so. Check out one of my recent blogposts for some resources/opportunities to try a breakout. 

On top of all this fun stuff we did this week, we also celebrated St. Patrick's Day! Wahoo! We made Shamrock Floats, Pots of Gold, and graphed with Skittles. It was a crazy, busy week but one of those weeks that made me realize I have the BEST job in the entire world.


And these two little leprechauns know my favorite kind of GREEN :)

Have a wonderful week everybody! Be back soon :)

MACUL 2016

Hello everybody! Ay yi yi things have been crazy busy on my end! Report cards, conferences and...#MACUL16!! I was lucky enough to attend the ah-maz-ing conference this year and I have enough PD to last me a lifetime. I don't want to bore you with anything besides some of the things I learned that I'm ready to try in my first grade classroom :) Here we go!

1.) Googley eyes for Google Well for starters--how amazing is Google?! Seriously...take a minute to just think about all of the f r e e resources and programs that Google offers (emphasis on the f r e e part). I became a Google Certified Educator over the summer and I would encourage every teacher to do the same. It will not only benefit you in your classroom, but in your everyday life...as a real person...outside of your classroom....  

Anyway, I attended a session hosted by the incredible John Sowash. He has all the juicy secrets about Google that we, as teachers, should know about. I wanted to share some of my favorite with you guys. Thank you, John, for inspiring me!
  • Google Drawing It boggles my mind that I heard about this one for the first time on Thursday! You can create graphic organizers and graphs for your students to interact with (it has a lot of functions similar to the SMART board software) . What a great way to minimize the amount of worksheets we copy and go GREEN :) I cannot wait to launch this in my classroom this week as we continue our character study during reading time. Check out some templates John created below.

Students can drag and sort shapes. 

Students can work with graphs and interpret data.

The possibilities are endless here! Student's can use it for a creative outlet, too. I'm really hoping to create a lot of these for my kiddos and look forward to sharing those with you. 

  • Google Tone  This google extension allows you to broadcast a web URL via sound. Yes...you read that correctly! This is a super cool way to share URLs with your kids quickly and easily. Simply download the extension, choose the website you'd like to share, and click the extensions icon. What's the catch?  It's a small one but you need to be using Google Chrome as your browser on your laptop/computer and so does the person you want to share it with. IF this sounds interesting to you and you only have iPads in your room, simply download the app chrip.io which accomplishes the same thing via iPads. 

  • Using Google Chromebooks? Did you know they can scan QR codes? Well, they can! Yahoo. This gets me very excited as I'm hoping to record videos of myself explaining directions for centers/games/activities during well...every subject :) My realistic goal is to try that with reading or math for now #startsmall ... 

  • Google Cardboard You'll need to order a Google Cardboard viewer and have access to an iPhone/android to experience virtual reality! There are tons of free apps here that you can use along with your viewer. Watch this video to see what I'm talking about. This makes the possibilities of virtual field trips endless...amazing! 
2.) Coding with Shannon Miller I left Shannon's session feeling so inspired and thinking about how much I wanted to be her...kidding...but not really! Shannon is a teacher librarian and technology integration specialist who stresses the importance of coding for students of all ages. She shared some AWESOME resources that I wanted to pass along. Here is a coding Symbaloo with tons of coding sites/apps that your students or you can play with. I thought I knew about all the major coding sites and boy was I wrong--Shannon shared so many sites/apps that I am excited to share with my kiddos. She also shared a Padlet where teachers can share any and all of their coding experiences. PLEASE take a moment to check it out, here. Aside from being a technology guru, Shannon was so genuine. I was lucky enough to meet her Saturday night at the MACUL 40th celebration party and she is such a kind person. Thank you, Shannon! 

3.) Creative Leadership As a current MAET student, it made me proud to attend my programs director, Punya Mishra, Creative Leadership session. Punya put together a panel of superintendents (Rob GlassScott Graden, and David Tebo) to share their stories of encouraging creativity and innovation in their districts that has changed their learning communities for the better. Any recap I attempt will not do justice what these awesome leaders shared. They covered everything from barriers to growth mindsets. I compared what they shared with us to what our Human Centered Design Team at Godfrey Lee Public Schools is currently working towards. Check it out, here

I hope you can find some ideas to use in your classroom after reading this post! If you'd like to check out more of the awesomeness from the #MACUL16 conference, follow the hashtag on twitter or check out the MACUL website/MACUL app. Then, make sure you don't miss out on the fun next year and mark your calendars for #MACUL17 in Detroit  -- March 15-17th :) 

I have lots to blog over the next few weeks so please check back with me soon! On a non-education related note, I got a new car this weekend (yay) and will spend time with family at home for my cousins Bridal Shower! Family time is so important. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and an even better week teaching. You are all amazing! Happy teaching!