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Back to School Backpack

August 20, 2014

This summer I read books by Alan November. He provides great ideas and resources for empowering students and creating learning environments. I was particularly interested in his The First Five Days.
When I first started integrating technology into the curriculum, I worked under the misconception of  “waiting until the students were ready”. I quickly realized the students were ready, and I wasn’t.
We only get one chance to make a first impression, so just imagine the impact of starting the first five days of school by setting up an engaging, self-directed, learning environment using technology.
Integrated activities can be set up for students to learn about themselves, their classmates, the school rules, classroom rules, and procedures.

  • Click on MyLifein5Letter for fun, getting- to- know you homework.
  • Picture 041Imagine yourself as a young student walking into a classroom. On your desk you see a Neo waiting for you to explore. The teacher can project a welcome and introduction letter to her/his students on the screen or whiteboard. Students can then write their own letter of introduction to their teacher.
    Another Neo activity could be to give the students My Teacher Needs to Know sentence starters  from which to choose. This activity could give the teacher a snapshot of information about the students.
  • Students can create an All About Me Sticky Note by using the Sticky app for iPhone and iPad.
    It is easy for students to manage. Use the iPad to take individual photos of each student.
    Read and discuss the Characteristics Word Bank. Encourage students to add other words.
    Then students can create their own Sticky Notebook. The notebook can be saved by using the iPad to take a picture and emailing it to the teacher email. The teacher can then save it to a file and print, or insert into a blog.
    stickyStudents can use these words to help them write an “I am…” poem.
  • Students will enjoy sharing information about themselves in the form of trading cards.
    Read Write Think provides an excellent interactive activity for making trading cards.
  • Students can create a visual word cloud using Tagxedo. It is easy to use, save, and print.
    The student can upload a self-photo or choose from a variety of symbols that are provided.
    boytagxedo Students can use these descriptive words to write a descriptive narrative.
  • Students can create an interactive All About Me presentation by using ThingLink.
    Students can upload an image or avatar that represents them. Then they can add tags with information about themselves.  Click on Tutorial 1 and Tutorial 2 for some information as to how to use ThingLink. This valuable tool can be used in so many ways in the classroom. My first grade students created their interactive presentation on ThingLink as their end product of an animal research project. Have fun!
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