My first grade students spent a significant amount of time studying genres. They enjoyed making their own Gruffalo, reading Garfield mysteries, and trying to understand the difference between realistic fiction and nonfiction. Now it’s the end of the year and I wondered how to pull this unit together. I was very excited when I found that ABCya.com had a word cloud site for elementary students. I’ve looked at Wordle but I was nervous about using it for elementary students because sometimes older students submit wordles with inappropriate words. WordClouds for Kids doesn’t give students the opportunity to see the works of other and sometimes, that’s a good thing.
I gave my first grade students a list of the genres we had looked at and sent them to the computers. They didn’t have to type all the genres if they didn’t want to and each student typed their first name in the cloud. I have a student teacher who helped by saving the word clouds to a flash drive while I helped students check out. This activity would have been difficult without the help of another adult. I just posted the results on the Harambee Library Wiki. Look for them at the top of the navigation bar on the left.
We made a few mistakes because initially we thought that we needed a hyphen between words that should be together. The instructions did not say that typing the same word more than once would make it bigger but they learned right along with me. It was a good way to end the unit and they did a wonderful job!
Welcome to any and all visitors from the 2011 Teaching and Technology Institute. I am glad to see that so many are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn more about technology integration into the classroom and hope you come away from today’s seminars with a host of new ideas floating around in your minds. Even if you take only one of those ideas back into your classroom, the time spent here will be well worth it.
I started this blog several years ago as the result of an assignment in the E2T2 class I was taking. If you go back and look at some of the earlier posts you’ll see that while I used technology myself, I didn’t use it so much in my instruction, and there was so much I didn’t know how to do. I fumbled through figuring out how to put a picture on my blog and how to size them or arrange them in the post. You can see how I tried things with my classes that were sometimes wonderful successes, other times failures, and more often than not, a mix of the two. However, no matter what I’ve done to integrate technology both into the classroom and into my own teacher prep toolbox, it has all been a success for my students.
The E2T2 classes I took changed not only the way I taught but even my view on what I should actually be teaching. I feel very strongly that my students are leaving elementary school better prepared to face middle school and life beyond because I was willing to take advantage of an opportunity to stretch beyond my own technology fears. Don’t pass up any opportunity to do some of this scary stuff. You will not regret it.