Friday, March 6, 2015

This Blog Just Ate My Robots

I write this post with a sore right arm from throwing playground balls and soccer balls around a gym. At indoor recess (for the bazillionth time this winter) I found that the kids loved chasing balls that I threw. I just threw them. They would retrieve them. They begged for it. I literally had a line of children waiting for me to throw a ball that they could chase. It had to look ridiculous to anyone looking through the gym windows.

Gotta love working with kindergarteners.

As mentioned in the beginning of last week's blog post, this week we used Dash to "build" teen numbers. We set up six empty SOLO cups as bowling pins, and used a tennis ball as a bowling ball. Using Dash, we bowled the ball toward the cups, knocking some of them over. On the whiteboard, we had a full ten frame and an empty ten frame. In the empty ten frame, we drew circles corresponding to the number of cups knocked over. We then used the ten frames to figure out the new teen number.

Kid Lit:
Interactive books are so fun to read aloud. The kids get really into them...they'll even respond to questions or comment on things going on in the book. They love them. This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne is on our list of favorite read-alouds. Bella loses her dog as he walks across the gutter of the book. Help arrives in various forms, but suffers the same fate as the dog. Bella needs the reader's help to escape the gutter of the book. It's a really fun read that draws kids into the story, and they love how it ends. My class begged to read this book over and we did.

Endless Reader is an app from Originator, that uses cute monsters to help teach kids different words, letters and letter sounds. There are several free words available, but more can be purchased. Kids pick a word, and put the letters in the correct order. As letters are moved into place, they make their letter sound until they're placed correctly, then they say the name of the letter. That's just part of the fun. The kids are then given a sentence, with words that need placed correctly. When words are picked up to put into place, the game reads them until they are placed correctly, and then there's a fun animation of the sentence. I've used this app for my reading stations at times. The students love it. It's very kid friendly, and does an excellent job of teaching letter sounds and words.

As long as we're discussing apps that focus on phonics and reading, lets talk about Homer. Homer is a pigeon. In his app, Learn With Homer, kids can play a number of games and do a number of activities that help teach them letter sounds. There are also several practice opportunities for beginning sounds, middle sounds and ending sounds. Every game/activity moves kids closer to reading. The app does a great job giving kids opportunities to respond to their learning, asking them to record their own voices saying the letter sounds or draw a picture showing something that they learned. The app is very well designed, and the activities are simple and easy to navigate. One of the great things about this game is that it gets straight down to business with the learning. The concepts aren't cloaked with too much gaming. The time that kids spend on this app, is time learning.

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