Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Follow the Yellow Brick Computer Road…to New Technology!

Good day faithful bloggers extraordinaire! I know I have not written in quite a long time, but do not shed any tears, I have not forgotten you! Today was an interesting day. All week long Longfellow school has had ISAT testing so the schedule has been interesting. The kindergarteners have had gym for thirty minutes during the time block when we usually work with them. Therefore, we have had to cover our material faster or simply not see all the students on our list. Oh well. In teaching you have to be flexible. Anyway today a wonderful new realization dawned on me. Technology is remolding the world of education. My generation has the label of “growing up online.” I think these kindergarteners will also find themselves feeling that way as they grow older. Nowadays being on a computer is an everyday or sometimes every hour occurrence. The public schools are riddled with innovative technology such as portable computer labs, lap tops, and smartboards. I realize how much this can positively affect the children IF the teacher understands how to effectively utilize this technology in his/her classroom.

Today I played with the students using Dr. Hengsts’ software. The students were engaged the whole time. Laura actually performed better when we used the computer to count instead of physical manipulatives or flash cards. She counted to 19 correctly except for skipping 15. I realized she is going to need the same push that I gave Benny. He kept forgetting 16 and I used a tangible object to help him remember the number and where it fit in the sequence. I am going to use Laura’s favorite stuffed pig to help her remember 15. Today she did not quite understand what the pig symbolized, but I think with extra exposure this will help her to remember the number. While using the computer she was engaged the whole time and was very reluctant to leave. Technology can help students stay engaged and can provide differentiated instruction. Each student could be playing a different game depending on their ability level. (Of course some might be playing the same games.) Then students would be improving their weaknesses and making individual progress. I think technology will change education in a wonderful way. Many teachers feel apprehensive, but I see its value.

Benny also worked on the computer after Laura finally sat down. We worked on recognizing what numbers were in the ten frames without counting. Previously he did understand the ten frames so I wanted him to be able to visually recognize the patterns. This is precursor to understanding addition and what numbers add to ten. He did quite well. He has come such a long way. I no longer have to tailor the activities of Trailblazers to fit his needs. He is on target when it comes to the activities. However, some of the activities are now too easy for the “average” students. It is amazing how they have really deepened in their ability levels. I am ready to move on with Benny into higher areas of thinking such as one more/one less, basic addition, and other important skills. Right now the math curriculum is priming the students for the addition instruction they will receive in first grade. They are working on finding what numbers can create ten and portioning other numbers as well. My students have been excelling at this concept and I am so proud of them!

Jenny and Ryan were extremely impressive today. I began the session by asking them if they knew what addition was and they said no. I was surprised, but I decided to play the balance game that was a bit too hard for them previously. They began playing and excelled at it. It was no longer trial and error. They knew that 10 and 6 made 16. They knew that they had to add 1 to 10 to make it 11. Ryan had to balance 9 and he proved that he knew 5 and 4 made 9. I was so proud. Jenny was equally as impressive. They both loved that game so much and it kept them engaged the entire time period. That is another reason why technology in the classroom is so wonderful. It can challenge gifted students while giving extra support to those who are struggling. I will play the balance game with them again, but I will use higher numbers. Jenny and Ryan are also catching on to very basic subtraction. When they accidentally make the scale too high on their side, they realize they have to take a certain number away to make it balance correctly. As a type of formative assessment, at the end of the session, I moved to a more traditional addition computer game. It outlined the problem for them and gave a number line for extra support. They both arrived at the correct answer, but needed to use their fingers as an aid. Next time I will teach them how to use the number line and work on their addition facts. They are already doing problems that first graders are able to do. I am so proud of how far they have come.

Technology is an amazing asset to any classroom if used correctly. These games are a great way to include it in any classroom setting. Please feel free to take advantage of any games posted on this blog. They can make a big difference in any child’s educational development. Technology really is paving the way for the future of education!

One Response to “Follow the Yellow Brick Computer Road…to New Technology!”

  1. I want my son test in all areas to see if he is truely gifted.

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