(Why I love my summer job)
I wear many hats during the school year: special education teacher, professional development course designer, and Apple Distinguished Educator to name a few. However, this summer I got to change hats and was given a very exciting position as a lead technology teacher in an extended school year program. In this program I am shifting from my normal secondary focus and having the opportunity to work with students at the elementary school level K-5. My one take-away for the week is elementary teachers — “I salute you!!” There are a variety of reasons why I am enjoying teaching at the elementary level, so here are a few for you to peruse.
1- The Opportunity to Have Teaching “Firsts”- How good does it feel to teach a child to write with a stylus for the first time? How good does it feel to teach a child to web surf for pictures about something they like? How good does it feel to show a child how to manipulate the iPad with their fingers and hands? I got to experience all of these things in my first week on the job.
2- Screencasting, Screencasting, Screencasting- I had the pleasure of teaching screencasting in a pre-K class today. I was amazed at how many skills the students were able to work on while making their screencast. The kids practiced writing their names with the stylus. I even came up with a way to make “traced” letters within the screencast to give them additional support. My high school students are often grumpy when I make them record their voices in the Screencasting but the 5 year old were happy to hear their own voices. They also had great dexterity and hand eye coordination when manipulating images into the screencast. Today we used Educreations but their learning curve was so quick that they may graduate to Explain Everything next week.
3- Opportunity to Teach Netiquette- We had a situation where a student used to the word “butthole” when I was recording another student. Instead of scolding the student I used it as a learning opportunity and stated that we always have to watch what we say when working with the iPads because you never know when you are being recorded. Also, I was able to create a chat room with incoming fourth graders in Today’s Meet. Before we “chatted” I modeled for them what appropriate and inappropriate comments are: for instance I don’t need to hear or see LOL in a Today’s Meet discussion.
4- Opportunity to Explore my PLN- I have always known that elementary teachers work the hardest. I am super excited to use this summer K-5 lead tech teacher position as a chance to get more connected to the elementary teachers in my PLN. I am counting down the days until I go to Austin, Texas for the ADE institute. There are many elementary teachers in the ADE Class of 2013. They have posted so many resources on Basecamp and Twitter and I look forward to collaborating with all of them.
5- Opportunity to Explore the Relationship Between Gaming and Education- As I floated in and out of the many classes that I would be teaching technology in on the first day of summer school – I tried to really listen to the kids talk about their interests. Whether they are entering kindergarten, third grade, or fifth grade, one theme is common – they all love to play games. Minecraft was the number one kids choice. I had my G&T students make an iMovie trailer about the relationship between math and mine craft and I look forward to exploring this topic extensively this summer as I try it on with my students.
Once again elementary teachers – I salute you.