Friday, December 22, 2017

Using Kami in the Classroom

Have you heard of Kami? Have you seen this tool in action? If not, you are missing out! This add-on can be found in the Chrome Web Store. This add-on allows the user to type and write on PDF files so that you can annotate texts, add notes and details, and color code ideas. Even though we have iPads in our classroom Kami is a powerful tool I use when I am in other classes that have Chromebooks.

We have a new English Language Arts (ELA) program that we are implementing this year and it includes a lot of graphic organizers that teachers either need to print and copy for their classes or recreate in an editable document. Kami eliminates both of these steps and allows teachers to simply push out a graphic organizer and have students annotate the PDF and turn in their work with a few simple clicks.

Kami works with the Google Drive and Classroom so that teachers can make the most use of their instructional and planning time. With the paid version you can create Google Classroom assignments directly in Kami. You can assign PDFs to students in your Google Classroom for students to open and annotate in the free version of Kami as well.

The most difficult thing to teach kids about Kami (and really it isn't that hard - its just that third graders don't always listen the first, second, or third times) is that when they are done with their work they must save it with the annotations otherwise their work will be lost.

I have been able to digitally sign documents, keep track of time sheets, and mileage reports, as well as add directions to student documents while using Kami.

This is a tool worth checking out!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dr. Goodall's Roots & Shoots

Our class had an opportunity to meet Dr. Jane Goodall at the Roots & Shoots event at Chrissy Field
in San Francisco. Our students have developed a civic project to collect food for the needy and work with community resources to distribute what we collect.

We have been working on this project for weeks and we were all so excited to meet Dr. Goodall. I mean really! It is a once in a lifetime event and for our kids to have this experience it was too much! I was over the moon for them (and okay, I will admit it, for me too).

We were scheduled to go on Wednesday, October 11th. Then the fires in Napa and Sonoma hit. The air quality in our area was really bad and school was canceled for the 11th. No school, no field trip, Students and parents were disappointed. Mrs. Solis and I were disappointed as well. There was nothing to be done about it.

Working with the Roots & Shoots coordinator, we will have access to the video of Dr. Goodall's speech and we will be receiving the badges we would have received at the event.  Small tokens for the kids to let them know that they were missed. This made me happy for them though; I know that they will be happy to have this recognition.

I am not going to lie though, seeing the photos of other students with Dr. Goodall brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how this event would have affected our students.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Super STEM Wednesday!

We decided to try something new this year.  The first Wednesday of every month the third grade team has decided to do STEM activities with our students.  The students rotated through three STEM activities, where they worked in collaborative groups to investigate, explore and problem solve. The first station was called Tie-Dyed Milk.  Students got to find out what happened when you add food coloring and dish soap to milk.

The next station was Help Harry!  The students were each given a bag of supplies and Harry (he is a pom pom).  Their task was to create a tower that would lift Harry as high up as they could. The tower must keep Harry safe and be free standing.

The last activity was the Tower Trials.  Students planned and built a tower using Legos, spaghetti and marshmallows. 

Fun was had by all! We are definitely going to make this a monthly thing!


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Two Weeks in Time to Get Real

We have been in school for 7 days now. We are no longer getting to know each other - we have become a class. And what a class we are! I am so excited about this school year! I can't wait to dig deep into the learning process and watch each student grow this year. It promises to be so much fun!

So here we go into our second week of curriculum, we are learning how to get our work done and do it well. We are learning how to ask questions, learn the ins and outs of using our iPads for learning, and rocking our academic conversations. I am impressed and each member of our class should be too!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

We're Back!

After a relaxing summer, we are ready to jump back in!  We are looking forward to spending the year getting to know our great group of students.  Over the summer, we bought some new flexible seating and made some change to our classroom. Ms. Ryan and I can't help ourselves, we love to change things up and are always trying out new ideas.

We will have the same schedule we did last year.  Ms. Ryan and I have a unique position as instructional specialists.  We teach half of the week and the other half of the week we go into other 3rd classes and help teachers. Ms. Ryan will teach on Mondays and Tuesdays and I will teach on Thursdays and Fridays.  On Wednesdays, we will spend some time together and alternate the afternoons.  However, we will be together in classroom until September 18 and anytime we are not needed at other schools, we will teach together.

We love teaching and are so excited for all the fun we are going to have this year!

Third Party Hosting: The Struggle is Real

I had been using PhotoBucket to host our images but I logged in to find these large ugly gray boxes instead. I can't believe it but they want $399 to reinstate the images. Nothing like going from free to paid with a price that screams, "No way!"

I am searching for a site that I can use to host the images. I haven't been successful so far. If you have a suggestion PLEASE comment below. In the meantime, we'll have to put up with the gray boxes for a few more weeks. SORRY!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Nearing the End

It is nearly the end of the school year. Just 5 more days and we will have to say goodbye to this class. It has been a year of ups and downs, of learning curves for the kids & for us, and a year of transformation. It is always hard for me to say goodbye to the kids that have become such a part of
my life & a part of my heart. It is always hard to let them go. In preparation for this, I start the end of the year countdown, talking and planning for my incoming class that I will have before I know it but still...still there is the pang of sadness that I can't escape from and I know that I will have to face it. It is inevitable that there will be tears, and not just on the part of the students. I hate the last day of school but I know that with each hello and goodbye the kids that are part of my class become an important part of who I am as they have left an imprint on my heart that will never fade.
Summer is coming and there is no stopping it. So here we go onward to new adventures!