Saturday, November 14, 2015

Seminar Survey

Please click on the link and complete the survey.  Thank you!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Seminar Links

Thank you for joining me in seminars this week in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Here are a few links you might find helpful:

Get your students on the same webpage at the same tie using this method.

Projecting your iPad/other Tablet on a screen:

get started coding with your kids

QR code generator in google sheets

Assess for Success

Monday, March 23, 2015

Apps for Android Devices

At the end of December I posted about my new Samsung tablet and that I would be posting about some of the apps I have found AND like for the Android/Google tablets.  The original post comparing iPads to other tablets can be found here and listing some of the criteria to look for when considering purchasing a tablet.  Below is a screen shot of some of the apps I added to my tablet.  I have to admit I was discouraged that many of my favorite apps still aren't available for the Android. Some of the ones I did find are:
ABC Mouse
PBS Apps
BrainPop JR
Spelling City
Lego Apps
Toca Boca
Dr. Panda Apps
Storyboy books
Montessori Crosswords

My husband has taken over the Samsung to play his games on... I will continue to steal it back occasionally to keep exploring.  I do like that you can have profiles and a kid friendly profile as well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Seminars and Consultation Available for Your School

Teachers in the US and Canada agree- Sue Holt offers training and consulting that inspire teachers to utilize technology in new and effective ways to help students meet learning goals.

Learning to effectively use technology can be time consuming, challenging and overwhelming. Technology changes constantly, and keeping up becomes frustrating for teachers who already spend countless hours planning, preparing, teaching, reporting and communicating about their work with students, colleagues, parents and administrators.  As an experienced teacher and presenter, Sue offers up to date practical, time saving, realistic and powerful training and consultations that support hesitant teachers and inspire those ready to go to the next level in their classroom with technology.

Transform your Teaching with Technology
More and more schools are embracing the latest technology tools available, yet many devices go unused daily across the US.  Lack of training and time to find quality apps and websites make some teachers hesitant and even hesitant to embracing all the powerful learning opportunities.   Computers and Mobile devices provide opportunities for collaboration, global learning, meaningful learning and reliable assessments when used effectively.  Sue is able to support teachers in their journey to enhance and transform their teaching and student learning.

Practical Trainings for Using Technology in the Classroom

Seminars and Workshops include:
Using Technology To Transform Teaching (grade level specific, K-2, K-5)
STEM Learning in K-2
Teaching Tools: Plan, Assess and Teach using Powerful Yet Simple Timesaving Technology
Meaningful Learning with Mobile Devices
RTI and Technology- Help ALL Students Succeed
iPad 101 for Teachers

For Parents Only: More than Games and Videos- Use Technology to Help Your Child Succeed

Personalized and Practical

Sue will tailor her content to the specific needs and unique technology tools available at your school.  All onsite trainings include ongoing support.

Online Training
Bring Sue to your school virtually and benefit from online trainings and videos. Trainings can be personalized or pick from some of her most popular options!

Beyond Apps and Websites
Apps and Websites are amazing resources-but don’t stop there.  Learn how to transform your teaching with the technology you have.

Parent Training
Parents will LOVE Sue’s Parent Night training on supporting their child’s education at home using computers and mobile devices.  Access to online resources!

Contact Sue Holt about scheduling seminars and/or consulting by filling out the online form.
Or email your request and other inquiries to
Sue has practical and informative e-books and training videos available for teachers, parents and information technology staff.  
Once your consultation is scheduled you will have access to many of Sue’s resources so you can begin or continue your learning right away!

Sue Holt

Experienced Presenter and National Board Certified Teacher
MS in Elementary Reading and Literacy
BA in Education: Child Development, Early Childhood Endorsement, K-8 Teaching/Certificate

What are teachers saying about trainings with Sue?

“So many great, helpful ideas I can’t wait to try in my K class.  Awesome handbook I get to take with me.  Great sense of humor and very motivating!  Thanks for the great 21st Century Skills I will use from here on!”

“This is the best conference I have ever attended! So many great ideas.  Cannot wait to get working on this.”

"Thank you for bringing an analog girl into the digital world!  (My students will thank you too!)"

"Exactly what I was looking for! Lots of great apps and programs to use.  Shortcuts and iPads/computers for Dummies."

“Thank you for the very practical, yet meaningful ideas and strategies.  I am excited to try some new things and I appreciate that you made the seminar appropriate for all levels.”

“This was fantastic- Sue did a fabulous job I learned SO much; practical, hands on ideas I can use tomorrow.”

“This is the best seminar I’ve ever attended in my 18 years of teaching.  Sue Holt is a fantastic presenter!”

“Well paced, information packed, encouraging, can-do, practical seminar!  Thank you for the amazing resource handbook.” 

“This seminar was eye-opening.  I will now be able to use iPads more effectively in my Kindergarten classroom.  Thank you for all of the fabulous ideas.”

"Great seminar!  I now feel empowered with new information and free quality apps!"

“Super useful information!  I cannot wait to jump into technology! Excellent.”

“I loved every single second of Sue’s presentation.  I can’t wait to get back to my classroom and start using what I learned.”

“Fabulous, best tech seminar I’ve attended EVER!  So many great ideas delivered in a humor filled way by a highly trained teacher.  The time flew!”

"I am a 'mature' teacher, am easily overwhelmed with technology.  This seminar got me excited about learning things very well, gaining confidence and moving forward!  Would love this seminar for our district K/1 teachers!"

"Before I felt intimidated, now I feel empowered!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Worksheets? Make learning meaningful using technology

There is a lot of talk about what is appropriate practice for early childhood classrooms- with the hot seat focus on Kindergarten.  There are more and more expectations placed on schools to have children reading, writing and fluently adding and subtracting before first grade. All skills at used to be TAUGHT in first grade. The emphasis has affected kindergarten curriculum- there are more and more worksheets and skill practice than ever before- and yes, it's happening in preschool too. I've even seen worksheets in toddler classrooms!

Right or wrong- can you tell which side I'm on?!, worksheets are often part of purchased curriculum. Some schools require them. And yet, they are not necessary or even beneficial to learning. There are many ways to practice skills in more engaging, memorable, developmentally appropriate ways while meeting learning goals, such as those found in CCSS, the Common Core State Standards.

I had the privilege of working in two kindergarten classrooms and observed the same concept being taught in both rooms. The students were learning positional words, such as in between, above, under. 

CCSS KGA1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
The teachers talked to the students about the vocabulary, and demonstrated with objects. The lesson had an accompanying worksheet page- the students were supposed to listen to the teacher give directions to draw a line from an object to a location. A pencil to the 'top of the table' or a book 'under the chair'. 

Using the worksheets practice the concepts sounds easy enough right? Except first you have to pass out the books, pencils, erasers, get the kids to tables, all on the same page (do they know what page number 86 is. Some kinders don't know page number 8!) once they're on the right page they have to listen to the directions, and draw lines.  This involves fine motor skills, visual planning, and listening skills. If they make a mistake they might tear a page erasing, or they may need to go to the bathroom and miss directions.   It's not possible to watch each child as they complete a worksheet  to monitor and assess learning. Time is taken by helping children struggling, with pencil grip, monitoring behavior and so on. Whenever possible I try to find a real world way to practice skills or a hands on activity instead of using a worksheet. The teacher evaluating student understanding of the concepts by looking at the worksheets doesn't know if the child made a mistake because they didn't know the positional wording, weren't listening, out of the room, copied another student or... 

Instead of using the worksheet I suggested to one of the teachers that we have the students use the iPad to work on the skill and helped by giving a mini-lesson on using the iPad to create an e-book using positional words.  

CCSS WK6. With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Using StoryKit (a simple free iPhone app that allows drawing/writing, typing, adding photos and audio recording) the students used a classroom toy and took a picture of it in relation to other objects. Then they typed the positional words and dictated using the audio recorder the position of the objects in a complete sentence. 

CCSS WK2. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
We showed the students to put their names and photo on the first page. We discussed the role of author and illustrator/photographer. 

CCSS KRI 6. Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.

Mrs. Ford demonstrated how to type the positional words. We wanted the focus to be on the concepts not writing, so other than copying the positional words, they didn't need to write anything else. 

A simple picture (the blue box) showed the kids the expectations (1. Take a picture, 2.  Add positional words 3.. Record the position of the toy in a sentence). We asked them to try to demonstrate each concept, taking turns making a page. 
Copying the words
Taking pictures

CCSS SLK5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

Sharing the books they created 

CCSS SLK6 6. Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

The students worked in pairs since we only had 6 iPads and took turns demonstrating the positional words. They then shared the resulting 'books' with their other classmates, reinforcing the concepts and practicing their public speaking skills. The books can also be read and reviewed later in the year.  The project turned out very well. It was the first time the students had used the iPad to create an informative text and it was very successful!

Other apps you can use to demonstrate learning:
Explain Everything
I like Stories

For the apps that don't allow you to share the end result easily I usually just video record the presentation (see a video made during this activity at my Facebook page facebook/adigitalkindergarten) and upload to Youtube.  I like Stories and StoryKit don't have ways to share the books, but the video works well.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ideas for Using Computers and Tablets for Reading and Writing Centers in K-2

Using Technology for Reading and Writing Centers

Think for a minute about how you're already using your computers or tablets for writing and reading practice. Do your students only use apps or webpages?  There are many great free and paid apps I could recommend you use for reading and writing in your classroom. This post isn't about them! Instead I'm going to share some simple ideas for using your device's built in features and apps for center work; in my classroom I call it word work. 

Use 'Contacts' for a built in classroom dictionary/thesaurus. 
A colleague shared this idea with me- and I was blown away by its' simplicitly. 
Open the built in contacts app or address book (on most devices). If there are already entries in your contacts, you'll need to go to settings, and then accounts, and turn off the accounts that are associated with the contact app. Your Contacts should be empty now.

Enter (or have students enter) your sight words/spelling words/vocabulary as they are introduced. Then, during work time students can write them in alphabetical order, use as a reference for spell checking their writing, or for spelling practice. Add pictures saved from the web (or pictures drawn by students in another app) to illustrate the word list.  On the iPad students can type the words directly into the note section. Students or the teacher can also write a sentence using the words in context into the notes section. Add student names and pictures so students can correctly spell classmates names.  You can also add building staff and pictures/names the children bring in (or have parents email to you) of their families/pets so they can write using those correctly spelled. Add any words the student consistently misspells. 

Use the Camera/Device to  'write the room'
Do you have a print rich environment? If you're not already having students 'Write the Room' it's an easy word work center to create and maintain. If you already have students do this, add using your device's to the center.  In my classroom I have 6 clipboards (attach a pencil to the clipboard using yarn and tape). The students walk around the room and write words they see.  It might be off the word wall, posters, anchor charts, books, cubbies or desks, etc. 

Spice up writing the room using devices! This activity involves mobility so it's suggested to use with tablets, not laptops, of course!  However, laptops with a camera CAN be used with your traditional write the room center. Once the students have written their words, they can use the camera on the laptop to record a video of them reading the words. Or, after writing the room, they can type up the words in a word processing application or use them in sentences. 

Using the tablet students can type sight words/spelling words they find right in the built in notes app. Many of the note taking apps have the ability to insert or take photos too- they can write and photograph where they find the photos. They can email you or their parents the note if you've entered the emails already. 

If you want them to still write the words on paper, have them take pictures of the words they write on the clipboard to show where they found it. Review the words in group time (or have them share with partners) for additional review.  

Read the Room
An alternative to write the room is read the room. As students move around te room looking for the words they can read have them take pictures of the words. 

Have students focus on sight words and find the same word in four different places/fonts  (walls, books, posters) and snap pictures. Or, they can read the room and video record their voice as they read the word. 

Practice Fluency using Video Camera
Have lists of sight words, cvc words, spelling words, phrases or books for students to practice their reading fluency. Students can record themselves or a partner reading, replay to listen and self evaluate. Then they can rerecord. Teachers can record themselves reading too: have the student read with the recording. Read and record slowly and then faster and have students read along as they listen.   

Type type type

Many beginning writers struggle to use 'fingerspaces'. I've used all the usual strategies with the few who still forget by January and don't use them. I will always remember the first time I used typing as one of my strategies... And it worked!  One of my students who just didn't get it no matter what, finally had it click. I asked the students to type a simple sentence using sight words and asked her to reread what she'd typed. 


She wasn't able to read it of course, so then I pointed out the space bar, its size and together we went back and added the spaces and read her sentences. 

I am Olivia. I am six.  I like my mom. I love my dad.  

She was SO excited to be able to read her own writing, and the learning transferred from typing to writing.  Ever since, I point out the importance of the space bar and get the kids typing earlier in the year and I've noticed a huge improvement in use of the spaces. 

Have kids take a picture of the word list they need to work on and type them up in the note taking app or in a word processing program.  

Make word patterns.  
Have students type their target words in an ab or abc pattern. For example:



Look cook took look cook took look cook took. 

Or have them type out the words adding one letter at a time and then taking them away:

The repetitive nature will help them memorize the words!

Making Words
Do you do Making Words lessons with moveable alphabets? Have the students use their note taking app or a word processing program to follow along in a small center or whole group. If you're doing it as an independent center have a recording of you leading the lesson and they can type the words as you go through the list. 

An example of a making words lesson is:
Using a handful of letters students manipulate them to create words the teacher says a word, uses it in a sentence and then the students type or move tiles to make the word. 
Using letters amptsi

Spell the word at.  I am at school. At. 
Now add one letter to spell the word mat. I sit on the mat. Mat. 
Change one sound to make the word map. Find my city on the map. Map. 
Change the letters around to make the name Pam. Pam is my friend. Pam. 

And so on...  Making word lessons are so powerful for students in K-2. Be sure to look up Patricia Cunningham's books, Making Word Lessons for ready made lessons and more support on getting started. 

Have an idea to share of how you're using your basic technology to practice literacy skills? Comment below!

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