A couple posts ago I was listing some of the technology I use for personal uses and I left Evernote off the list. I actually used it when making the post but still forgot to list it. That just shows how much I take it for granted.
I have a class that loves to talk. It’s frustrating teaching this group and students who are trying to learn are annoyed. I rearranged the seating chart according to student MAP reading scores so that students in similar reading levels are in the same row. Now I can send one row with written instructions off to work on an assignment while I give instructions to the other two rows.
I used Evernote to print just the part of the screen I needed to make step by step instructions. I love this feature. I seldom need to print an entire screen but often need a portion of the screen. Since I can sync Evernote online, the pictures are also available to me on another computer. I’m still using the instructions I made and will surely make some more.
Now I’m sure that Evernote has many other uses. I sometimes use it to save tweets from Twitter. You could jot down notes or a to-do list. You could do some serious online shopping comparisons because Evernote provides the URL for the sites you note. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Evernote is one of those very useful little tools now available free online.
One of the coolest things I did with my students last year was the Harambee Library Wiki. I learned a lot doing that so I’m not using it this year. That seems counterintuitive so let me explain.
If you look at some of the book reviews you notice that many of the entries look incomplete. My students had trouble posting very basic bibliographic information. Capitalization was a problem. Correct title and author information was a struggle. This year I knew we had to address those issues.
Our school is participating in choosing the Maud Hart Lovelace Award and in order to vote they must read at least three of the nominated books. I wanted to know how many books they had read and which ones they were. NoodleTools has a fantastic bibliography tool that’s easy for elementary students to use. All my fourth and fifth grade students now have accounts. They can make a Maud Hart Lovelace list, print it out (learning how to change printers in the process) and I’ll know who can vote.
NoodleBib requires the entries be capitalized correctly. Students have to find the place of publication, publisher and date of publication. I had to run around helping many but the more they do it the easier it will get. Hopefully we can get back to the wiki next year with entries that reflect this proficiency.
The first graders are becoming experts on the Caldecott Award. They had so much fun with the Go Caldecott game we played at the end of the second quarter that I told them we’d read some more books and then play it again. This week we played the game again and they loved it. It’s just a board game that I made following the 57 Games to play in the Library or Classroom instructions. Their scores improved dramatically.
One thing that makes it work so well is the random number generator that we used.
Part of the fun was getting to find out how many squares ahead they could move by going to the white board and pushing the arrow. This small interactive part of the game added a lot. It just goes to show that the technology we inject into our lessons doesn’t have to be huge to make a difference.
Kindergarten classes are a challenge. They need to get up and move after about 10 minutes and I haven’t quite figured out what that should look like in the library. This week though, I got it right.
They now know their letters pretty good but I know that alphabetical order will continue to be something they’ll need to work on. The document camera is still a fairly new tool in our school so I hooked it up and put a little story without words called The Alphabet by Monique Felix under it. It’s about a little mouse who digs into a book and pulls out each letter of the alphabet on little squares of paper. The kids were intrigued when they saw my hand turn the pages. We speculated about just what the little mice were doing and we all said the alphabet at the end.
That was good but Bembo’s Zoo was better. Even adults were intrigued by the way the letters formed intricate caricatures of the animals and a fourth grader walking by asked for the URL. Students came up to the white board to touch the first letter of their name and watch as the animal was formed. Of course, it got pretty loud in the library but the kindergartners were engaged, had a good time, and got a little alphabet practice. It’s a step in the right direction.