Chrome-flections: Beginning Year 2!

11 Oct

I am about to wrap up the first quarter of the 2016-2017 school year and I thought this would be a perfect time to reflect.  Since I was a pilot teacher last year for our districts 1:1 initiative with touchscreen Chromebooks, I was able to continue the pilot this school year.  This meant instead of receiving my devices in February, I would get to start the school year with them.  I was very excited knowing that while I was introducing students to the experience that is 2nd grade, I would be helping them learn how to safely use their device at the same time.

Before school started, I made log in cards for all of my students.  I have blogged about this before, but here is a picture of what they looked like last year:
I went through and made changes to what websites we would use and cleaned up the layout design as well.  I had them laminated and students store them in their pencil box for easy access.  The first week of school was spent going over expectations, signing the contract and learning how to get and put away our devices carefully.
I also made sure to communicate with families, that we would be documenting our 1:1 journey using the hashtag #2Pis1to1

Next up was to update passwords and learn how to log in using our Google log in.  Knowing from last year that this could be tricky, I modeled first on the SMART board, then I had a student do it on my computer so everyone could see, and then finally they went to their own device to try.  We set goals for ourselves in order to get faster and I really stressed typing with 2 hands on the key board.  I use the Whole Brain Teaching method and would award Super Improver points for students typing with two hands and for beating their previous log in times.
I must admit that this went much better than last year.  I think that is largely due to modeling more and giving them more time to practice.  The first several times students used the device, it was strictly to log in and log off.  Now it is a part of our morning routine.  Once students have completed their lunch count, they get their Chromebook and log on.  Their goal is to be logged in before they hear the music which signals them to clean up and meet on the carpet.

The new addition this year was headphones for each student.  Last year the Dunlap Grade School Parent’s Club graciously donated a class set of headphones that included a headset mic.  After much Pinterest-ing and brainstorming with other teachers, I ended up putting a label on each headphone that corresponds to their classroom number.  Then each headphone is placed in a bin and organized by tables.  This way the table captain can get the bin as needed and headphones are stored away with no one tripping over cords.
The headphones have been a game changer in terms of each student having their own as well as each student being able to focus on their own work.  Last year anything that required sound made it hard to focus.  Each student would be in a different place and it was hard to get far enough away where you could focus on your own work.  I love how more focused and engaged students are because background noise has been eliminated!

The next thing I modeled for students is how to locate my classroom blog.  I had them all on the carpet and would give one direction.  Students then went to their device, followed that one direction then would come right back to the carpet.  Whenever we learn something new we go over directions in this fashion.  I had started doing this in March last year and it really helped us all stay on the same page as well as give me time to help individual students as needed.  I showed students the long way to find my blog by going through the Dunlap District webpage, then the Dunlap Grade School webpage.  We did the long way for several days.  After two days, I called on a student to tell the class what to click on.  After this was mastered, I then showed them the short cuts and how Google Chrome would start to notice websites they frequently visited.  I wanted them to know how to find it multiple ways so that if one way wasn’t working, they could problem solve on their own to find it another way.  It is important for me to mention that during all of this digital citizenship was stressed, modeled, practiced, and encouraged.  We want to be safe on the internet and do not want to get click happy.  We also learned how to be patient with internet connections, how to refresh, and steps to take if the internet wasn’t connecting correctly.

I then showed them how to navigate our Symbaloo page.  I have a Symbaloo that bookmarks several of the sites we will use throughout  the year.  I went over what each site was, how we will use it, and that some sites are closed for business until we can prove we are good digital citizens!  You can access our Symbaloo here:    

While I do find value in students typing in a website in the search bar, I also want students to spend a majority of class time engaged in an activity.  I have found that with all of these websites in one place, students can not only access them in a timely fashion at school but then they are more than likely to use them at home as well.


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