Let's be honest...technology can be a pain in the "you-know-what" sometimes! It always seems to stop working the minute you are about to start an important lesson, or even worse, about to get an observation...Yikes! I have had these experiences in the past, yet I strongly believe technology has an important place in the classroom. Technology in my classroom has done way more than just make learning more interactive and engaging. It has significantly contributed to my students' success in reading, writing, and math.
Here are 3 of my favorite ways to use technology in any upper elementary classroom...
Since the day I found it, I have been in love with Kidblog.org. Kidblog is a website that allows teachers to create a free blog for their class. Students and teachers have their own blog within the class blog where they can write and comment on posts.
I am sure there are tons of ways to use this glorious website, but I love using it for a few key activities in my classroom.
Social Studies and Science Discussions - This is where I ask a question related to daily lessons, and the students respond to the question. This activity requires my student to reflect on their learning, and demonstrate their understanding of a given topic. Plus, they get to practice their writing & typing skills. My students are eager to participate, and give their opinions and thoughts on any topic I present.
Reading Responses - Every time my students finish reading a book, they write a review for the book on their own blog. Other students can then go and read the reviews, and comment on them. You would not believe how motivated my students are to finish their books and write their reviews.
Check out my other post on blogging in the classroom, where you can get a FREE complete walk-through guide for setting up and using your classroom blog.
2. Research Projects/Inquiry Circles
On any given topic, usually related to Science or Social Studies, my students generate questions they may still have after a lesson. I then place them into groups where they use a class set of laptops to conduct research in order to answer their question. Once students have found all the information they need, they put together a presentation for the class. I have had students create PowerPoints, Prezi's, and movies to present their research.
Here are some snapshots of a video I took of my students presenting.
|This group of girls pretended to interview the historical women they researched.|
|This group created a presentation about specific abolitionists, and a jeopardy game as a review at the end.|
You can check out my blog post about Inquiry Circles to learn more and pick up a FREE work plan to help keep your students organized while researching.
3. QR Codes
Not sure what a QR Code is? Well, you have probably seen them a million times while shopping at stores, eating at restaurants, or even visiting a museum. They are everywhere, and for good reason. QR codes can make anything interactive. For example, just recently I was shopping for a vacuum cleaner at a big name store. There wasn't a whole lot of information on the product tags, but there were little QR codes on each one. I took out my smart phone, opened up my free scanning app, and PRESTO...I was now linked to a website that had all the information I needed about the vacuum cleaner I was considering.
This same idea can be used in the classroom! You can use a free QR code generator to create QR codes that will link to websites, online videos, or even customized information from you! Your students can use any device with a camera (smart phones & tablets) to scan the QR code, and get the information!
1. Choose the type of information you want to use (website, video, plain text, etc.).
2. Enter the link or info.
3. Download your QR code.
Here is an example of a game I made for my classroom where students scan QR codes to check their answers.
If you are interested, you can check out these math games in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade!