Tune into Technology Linky: Technology Management & Organization
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Time for our weekly Tune into Technology Linky! There are only two weeks left-so please link up any ideas you have organizing and managing your technology below or over with Kristin at iteach1:1.
The management and organization of our technology has become an important part of our classrooms. Since our students have access to lots of technology it is important that they learn, at an early age, how to take care of it. We are always learning new tricks from others across our district and are excited today to learn new tips and tricks from our favorite techy blogging buddies!
Things that are working in our classrooms:
Many of our students take home their laptops so it is important that they have cases (not just their backpacks) to carry devices back and forth. Our cases have a strap that students are expected to wear across their bodies and have lots of excess cushioning…very important!
All of our technology is labeled with each student’s class number. Their computers and headphones both have their number on them. If a student misplaces his/her headphones students can all easily look for the number “5” to help their classmate find what he or she is looking for.
When students are not using their headphones I keep them in white bins. This is especially helpful during centers. Instead of students carrying their computer and their headphones from center to center they place their headphones in the bin and are only expected to carry their laptop. The “hopper” for the day is responsible for making two trips and first bringing the headphone bin to the next center and then getting his/her laptop.
Last year I had 4 guided math groups and 5 guided reading groups. On one side of the white bin was a shape (triangle, square, circle, star) which were my math groups. For reading they were simply flipped and they had color names on them (orange, blue, green, purple, yellow) to represent the reading groups. When we are not in centers they simply rest on the tables and hold the students’ headphones so they stay out of the way.
Inside of the bin each student gets a gallon size bag to keep their headphones, IXL card, and password cards. This helps to keep headphones from getting tangled and the baggy is then a “one stop shop” for everything students need for their centers.
Laptops “45 Degrees:”
If we are doing multi-step procedures on our laptops I will often have students put their laptops at “45 degrees” to show me they are done with the first step and ready for the next. It is a great visual for me as a teacher to see who is ready to move on. It also shows me which students are listening and on task.
When we were little we were expected to memorize our math facts and spelling words. Now, our little friends have so many passwords to remember on top of spelling words and math facts!!! Let’s be honest here-we certainly can’t keep all of our passwords straight so it is hard to expect a 6 or 7 year old to remember all of theirs on a daily basis. So we created password cards for each of our activities.
Password Cards using paint samples!
One of my first grade teammates found this cute idea on Pinterest. I went to the local Ace Hardware store to get paint samples. They were super friendly and let me take as many as I wanted…for free! I love this idea and will be using it again this year! These “password cards” are durable and it is easy for first graders because I can say “IXL is your green password card.” Plus, it was fun when I handed out a new color throughout the year…students would walk in and know that they would be getting to learn a new program that day and be super excited!
On programs like IXL, students have access to a wide variety of games and skills. However, I didn’t want students just playing a little of everything I wanted my first graders to focus on specific skills to help reinforce what they are learning in math so I began using notecards to help students know which skills they should be practicing.
As students master skills they get a sticker and new skills. Students have many skills to choose from at once covering a variety of our common core standards. Students work at their own pace and get to choose from more skills as they continue to master the old ones.
The first year we had laptops we allowed students to change their background which became a management disaster. Kids were changing it during times when they were not supposed to (think centers) and some students were setting it to change every 10 minutes…super distracting! So, as a team we quickly decided to have all first graders set their back to the original desktop background and said no more changing it!
However, during a team meeting last year, while bouncing ideas off of one another, we came up with the idea of having our students change their background to our reading strategy of the month. Every time students logged in they were expected to read the strategy to their shoulder partner. It was great!
Students looked forward to changing their background each month and they were practicing their reading strategy each and every day of the month! We did allow students some choice as they got to choose the color around their reading strategy which they loved.
This past year was also the first year that I put the reading strategy on my SMARTBoard as well. Although I miss turning on my SMARTBoard and seeing a picture of my dog I do think having the reading strategy as a background (or something else educational) is beneficial to students seeing as they spend a good amount of time seeing this background.