Yesterday I had a great opportunity to attend a technology conference centered on early childhood in Chelsea. We were lucky to have such a fantastic and welcoming staff of dedicated educators welcome and host this event. It was awesome to hear how folks are implementing technology with the youngest of learners. So often I hear teachers say that a particular app or tech tool is cool, but it wouldn’t work with their kids. Not to be harsh, but that sounds like an excuse to avoid trying something new. It can be really scary to go out on a limb and try something different in your classroom, but it is essential to innovation and growth – both our own and our students’.
There are many iterations of the SAMR model for technology implementation, and I really like this representation because it gives some specific examples of what each level looks like.
Many of the sessions I attended talked about ways we could move beyond the substitution level of technology use and “up the ladder” toward modification, augmentation, and redefinition. It’s really hard to get to the redefinition level, especially with younger students, but absolutely is worth the attempt! I presented on using code in the classroom. This past year we created a coding club after school for our 2nd and 3rd grade students and it was awesome to see students doing things they would never have been able to without the use of technology. (Blog post about our Tech Club coming soon!)
One of the sessions I attended yesterday was called C.A.T.S. (Create and Assess using Technology with Students). The presenter, Angela Brenneman, provided a TON of tech tools, websites, and resources to use with students, but one of the parts of the presentation that stuck out to me was a project called Adjective Hunt. Angela works in a resource room so she works with smaller groups of students on reinforcing concepts. The process for creating these adjective videos seemed really unique and interesting to me. As a former English teacher, I constantly struggled with how to make grammar more engaging and interesting.
The first step students did was to use their iPads to take pictures of adjectives around their school. Then, students had to create a list of words they would place around their photo. For example, if they took a picture of the clock in the hallway, kids might include words like:
Then, using a website called Pizap, students were able to add their adjectives to the photos. Pizap has a ton of fun, colorful fonts to choose from and I can imagine my students having a blast picking out fonts to add to their own Adjective Hunt photos. Lastly, using iMovie, students recorded themselves with a short intro and what picture they took. The end result was a really cute video that will help students have a better understanding of what adjectives are.