Category Archives: Technology

Tech & Long Term Subs

I recently went on maternity leave from February-March. Since I am a piloting teacher with touchscreen Chromebooks, tech is embedded everywhere into my classroom. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious, excited, and nervous to leave a long term sub with all of this technology.  I was so excited for students to show the sub all the amazing things they could do but anxious and nervous about how it would be managed.  The good news is my students had been using their devices 1:1 since the first day of school.  I knew in August I would be leaving around February, so I made sure to utilize the gradual release of responsibility model.  This allowed me to model using technology, provide guided instruction, and then independent time to show me what they had learned. It was this groundwork that showed students how the devices should be used as well as provide them with time to learn how to be mature digital citizens.

I learned a lot throughout this process and wanted to share tips and tricks to help you if you are 1:1 and in a similar situation as I was.

1.) Binder: I left a binder with everything in one place.  This included passwords to any and all websites, a brief explanation of how I use them, and guidelines that students should be able to follow.

2.) Consistency: I tried very hard not to introduce any brand new technology while I was gone.  This allowed me to let my sub know students who were experts in a particular program, device, or tech tool.  These students served as helpers, teachers, and or trouble shooters.  There is something to be said about exploration and allowing students to do this with new technology.  However, I felt that while I was gone, the sub would appreciate students having prior knowledge.  I feel this would depend on the level of tech

3.) Screencastify Videos: Before I left, I did record some videos using Screencastify.  This allows you to record your screen, just yourself and or both.  You can use it for free for up to 10 minutes of recording time.  It automatically saves to your Google Drive and then I can share it with my students.  If they needed help remembering how to use a tool or turn in assignments, this video was at their disposal.  While I realize not all leave for teachers is planned, making a few of these videos to have in your library is a great idea. If your leave is planned, you can create a video library.  This way a sub can play you teaching a mini lesson! Once these videos are made, you will have them forever.  You may even want to make some generic ones that could be watched if need be.

Check out these poetry mini lessons I had my sub play during our writer’s workshop.  She played one video each day!
Poetry Prewriting
Poetry Examples
Poetry Drafting
Poetry Revising & Editing

4.) Organization: Oh my goodness your tech must be organized and easy to follow.  In my situation, the long term sub was able to text/email me with any questions if there was a problem.  If you don’t have that option, I recommend making sure all things are published in your learning management system so students can access their assignments. I also recommend your learning management system be up to date and laid out in a way that anyone could follow.  My district uses Canvas, so it was vital for me to make sure modules, assignments etc. were published.  If it wasn’t published, students couldn’t view it and this caused a disruption in learning.  I twas because of this I plan publishing everything but set it up so students must complete one module and all of the assignments before moving on to the next module.

5.) Classroom Management: I left a Chromebook reflection sheet that students would have to fill out if they were breaking any of our expectations.  I also outlined acceptable use policy and basic guidelines for what students should be expected to do independently.  I placed this in my binder.  Our district also uses GoGuardian and this was an amazing tool.  It allows the teacher to see all the screens at once, push out messages and announcements, and give you a daily report of any and all websites visited.  I didn’t leave this log in information with my sub but as I become more familiar with this tool, I feel this would be a great things for subs to have access too.

6.) Let it go: This of course was and always seems to be one of the hardest things for teachers to do.  As I looked through assignments that students did while I was gone, I noticed it wasn’t quite up to my standards and or not completed in the way I thought they should have been.  I truly think this is because no one will ever replace the classroom teacher. No matter how wonderful your sub is, they aren’t exactly like you and their knowledge base or tolerance level or even philosophy may be different.   That’s ok.  There were some assignments that were a wash or didn’t go like I thought they would.  I took away a few things from this:
~~Even if an assignment was a failure, it didn’t mean the activity was a failure.  Students still were receiving practice and opportunities to utilize technology and enhance their learning.
~~Some of my rubrics and directions were unclear.  It made me re-evaluate rubrics, criteria, and steps students should take with a more reflective eye.  I also had stopped providing video directions rather suddenly.  Next year, I plan on gradually moving toward written directions.
~~Less is more. Some of the reasons why things didn’t go as planned, is students were overwhelmed and or there were too many steps to follow.  This allowed me to really reflect on making directions concise and more clear.

As educators, we all know that having subs is hard. I am however, so grateful for this experience.  It really allowed me to look at my tech from an outsiders prospective and be more reflective.  I can’t wait to apply these to my lessons for next year so having a sub in my room can be as seamless as possible!

What tips do you have for leaving technology for subs? Has anyone tried leaving a Substitute HyperDoc? I recently saw a teacher who created a HyperDoc for her students to work on throughout the entire day.  I would love to know what the management looks like and the content involved


#323learns Tech Summit!

When you have known for a couple of months that Matt Miller, author of Ditch that Textbook, will be presenting at your teacher’s in-service AND giving a keynote….this day can’t come soon enough! My school district had the pleasure of having Matt Miller visit our school district, and I’m still jazzed from this amazing day of PD. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was having the opportunity to select the sessions that were most interesting to me. It just goes to show, that like students, teachers want to feel that ownership in their own learning too.

The day started by making sure to get their early to meet this amazing author!

Next up an amazing keynote and a day of presentations.  The staff was able to choose one of Matt Miller’s sessions and then the rest of the day was spent learning from other teachers in our district.  I attended:
1.) Google Genius: Practical Google Activities to Use Tomorrow
2.) Real Tech Real Talk: Moving Beyond the Basics (I presented w/ my sister on Google                 Docs, Screencastify, Google Slides, HyperDocs, and Padlet.)
3.) SAMR Model & Blooms
4.) Power Up: Personalize Your Own PD

WOW! There were so many amazing things I learned I felt the need to Storify the day:

I left this teacher’s institute re-energized, pumped up, and in an amazing mood. It was positively refreshing to see teachers sharing their areas of expertise and learn new things at the same time. Not to mention meeting an author whose message is inspiring! I am hoping there can be more PD in our district like this and more opportunities for us to continue down the path of becoming connected educators.

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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Teacher PD, Technology


Chrome-flections: Beginning Year 2!

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.


Chrome-flections: Canvas & SeeSaw

I am just about to end my 6 weeks into my 1:1 pilot and I thought I would take a moment and reflect on my experience with Canvas (our learning management system LMS) and SeeSaw (an online digital portfolio).  Before the 1:1 pilot had started, I had been using Seesaw since October. I have been using Canvas for 5 weeks.

Canvas LMS

What I Love

  • Course Creation
    • easily hits substitution component on SAMR model
  •  Grading
    • Create rubrics that make grading a breeze
    • When grading submission simply click on score, then automatically totals points/percent
    • Can leave comments and attach files to provide feedback to students
    • students can resubmit assignments
  • Discussion boards
    • can set up so students can only see feed after first submission
    • when you grade you see all of their comments on one screen
  • Differentiation
    • Create courses and you can choose students to invite
    • I created book club for one of my second graders who is reading at an 11.2 level
    • Love the idea of using this as a way to do any type of differentiated group
    • Great Hub and opportunity for more
  • Support
    • Great videos and resources available to help you learn
    • Webinars are a must

What I’m Still Learning

  • Navigating the site
    • seems not very user friendly at first
    • constant practice is necessary
    • students struggle with navigating
      • does get easier but still wonder what this will look like with 2nd graders in August vs. now
      • with time things do get smoother but just something to keep in mind
  • Course Creation
    • must determine how you want to organize first
      • One whole course vs. each subject being a course
      • modules and file folders
      • can feel like a lot to wrap your mind around
    • feel this could set up teachers to create busy work at first because of the push to use program
  • Grading
    • K-2 has standards based report cards so our grades are not pushed into Powerschool.  While I’m starting to feel they don’t need to be, this makes Canvas less of a selling point for K-2 teachers.  Also will upper grade teachers change their mind of loving this option as they move toward standard based grading?
  • Time
    • creating courses can be time consuming depending on teacher
    • especially at first, it will require work outside of school day which I don’t mind but I know some teachers do
      • For the first 3 weeks, I worked on Canvas every night anywhere between 2-5 hours each time. I do tend to want things to be perfect, cutesy, and unique though
      • After week 4 and 5, I pulled back feeling that less was more and that I was creating unnecessary busy work
    • Will need to front load at the beginning and perhaps will get easier
  • Commons
    • not sure I know how to use to its fullest
    • not a lot out there for my particular grade
    • a lot of times files are blank templates
    • would love to see more examples of lessons created that hit all levels on SAMR model

Overall Reflection: I LOVE the grading component but that would probably be the one thing that I think would be hard to replace or that SeeSaw doesn’t have.  Has anyone else who is new to using an LMS noticed that they started creating tech lessons for technology sake?  I know that as you go through any process you modify and get better though. We will just have to keep that at the forefront so we don’t fall into that trap which could create a drop in community support.

***I do hope we are able to discuss use of the parent portal because I would be interested in what this looks like.


What I Love

  • Navigating the site/app
    • kid friendly
    • easy to use
    • less to click on
    • easy to organize
  • Set up
    • user friendly
  • Support
    • great resource page filled with ideas
    • Twitter chat every 2nd and 4th Thursday night at 6pm CST
    • Free hands on webinars
  • Portfolio Based
    • can upload photos, videos, drawings, notes, and links
    • Students can take a picture of learning, record voice to explain and draw over it as well
    • showcase student learning in easy format
    • promotes reflection
    • hits more components of SAMR model
  • Grading
    • supports K-2 standard based grading system due to portfolio based setup
  • Parent Access
    • parents can comment and like their child’s work
    • student can then see that
    • opens up communication
    • strengthen’s home school connection

What I’m Still Learning

  • Grading
    • grades aren’t automatically calculated
    • can’t click on rubric and grade not determined for you
  • Course Design
    • I feel it isn’t designed to to this, doesn’t mean you couldn’t
    • Feel this lends itself more toward a digital portfolio
  • Google Drive
    • since hyper docs are my new favorite not too sure how it would work within SeeSaw.  I participated in a webinar recently where it said you can save digital creations from other apps, links, or PDFs and Google Drive was one of the ones mentioned.  I would need to explore this more thoroughly.

Overall Reflection: I really want to know if there is a way to link SeeSaw within Canvas.  At one of the Canvas webinars I attended, I learned you can link to an electronic portfolio but I am just not sure how to do that.  While I feel there are elements of Canvas that are similar to SeeSaw, I feel SeeSaw can feel bit more kid friendly.  I did really enjoy the SeeSaw webinar that shared lots of amazing ideas. It had me rethinking how I currently use Seesaw.

Final Thoughts

I feel both allow for students to create and submit their learning!  I feel both have great features and both have things I’m still learning or am not a huge fan of.  The problem is there will never be the perfect one just like there will never be the perfect community.  It will all depend on what the teacher brings to the table.  While I may struggle with one area that might not be the case for everyone.  It will be vital to find out where people’s strengths lie, what people are struggling with, and keep communication on going.

I will be curious to hear how other teachers in our pilot feel and what their experiences have been.  What does your school use and what positives and negatives have you seen with it?


Chrome-flections Weeks 4-5!

These last two weeks have been very different in terms of success.  Week 4 I felt like I hit my groove with using these devices but Week 5 brought feelings of failure, stress, and oh no am I using technology as busy work??  Part of this I feel lies in my need to have everything run smoothly and practically perfect.  If there is anything this pilot has taught me it’s that fail means first attempt in learning.  It is OK to fail.  Now the learning and growing process can begin.  I thought I would take a moment to divulge why these weeks felt so different.

Week 4:
By this point in our pilot, students have established routines and we have procedures that have been tweaked and practically perfected.  Logging in has become a breeze, students know when to get devices, where to store them, and are quicker at finding what they need. Students have used Canvas (LMS: learning management system) and are familiar with the set up and organization.  Typing skills have improved thus boosting their familiarity of the keyboard.

During this week, I made sure to infuse more mini lessons throughout the day.  I have become a fan of Google Docs as a way to make interactive lessons where students can move at their own pace.
Setting Exploration Google Doc
Fraction Investigation Google Doc
(these would be the 2nd and 3rd Docs we have done!)

I noticed that students were having trouble with managing their time, so I instantly delivered a mini lesson teaching them where to start, where to click, how to manage their tabs, and how to record their thoughts while they watched the videos.  We were using post-its but they were getting lost and misplaced.  Students now use their writing journal as a way to record items they want to remember and then use that to help them fill out the independent component of their Google Doc.  Introducing the notebook was a game changer.  Students then didn’t have to go from the video to the Google Doc and it made it easier for them to remember what they wanted to say.  It also introduced a way for students to revise their thinking when they went to type.

Students were given a 2 week time period to complete and submit the above Google Docs and were encouraged to use lessons taught throughout the week as a way to help them.  I also made sure to monitor student work by making myself present and available for students who needed guidance.

Week 5:

The week started out strong, but I slowly realized a couple of things.

  1. Students were submitting assignments that were either missing components, had incorrect sentences, and or were completely submitting the wrong document altogether.
  2. Students loved watching the videos but were stuck in a loop of just that and not recording their learning on the actual Doc itself.
  3. Students were not using the rubric as a way to check to make sure they have completed all of the assignment.
  4. Students knew the due date was approaching and gave up when a problem would arise.  Instead of trying other things or asking a peer, they immediately wanted me to fix it or they guessed.

This then caused a million and one thoughts to pop through my head.  Had I expected too much?  Were there too many steps?  Were the assignments setup in a way students would fail?  Is it because of their age?  Why are their writing skills regressing when they type?  Did I just create a bunch of busy work so they were using the device or was it really enhancing their learning? Are students too distracted by other students watching the same videos so they are unable to concentrate? Is it a time management problem, an assignment problem, a device problem, or a technology problem?  Or is that how it will be at first so maybe less is more in the beginning?  Maybe I did too much too soon?

Oy. Needless to say that is a lot for one person to think about but a great opportunity to reflect non the less. Friday left me feeling completely defeated.

On Saturday, I participated in a free Webinar through SimpleK12 on how to use Chromebooks in the classroom.  At first I thought this might stress me out even more but it actually did the opposite.  One of the presenters  was asked her number 1 piece of advice for people going 1:1 for the first time.  She said, try everything and get yourself familiar with what you’re asking the kids to use and do.  Her example was to use a Google Form to figure out who is coming to a party and what they are bringing.  Basically find a way to infuse it into your daily life.  That is still you practicing how to use a tool.  We have to be the students and we have to explore too.  You will fail but you are learning as you fail.

This started me thinking, even if last week was a complete failure on the surface, maybe more learning was happening then I thought.  I then made a list of what my students were doing at any on point throughout the week and came up with the following:
-naming a Google Doc
-making a copy of a Google Doc
-practicing using a Google Doc
-navigating a Goolge Doc and YouTube in a safe manner
-recording their observations
-practicing their typing skills
-learning about setting and fractions in a different way
-collaborating with their peers
-navigating our LMS
-submitting assignments
-learning the importance of time management
-familiarizing themselves with what keys to push to correctly punctuate and capitalize a sentence
-navigating Google Drawings
-learning what tools will give them the picture they want
-how to insert a Google Drawing in the correct place
-how to check spelling using their touch screen feature

OK. So maybe not as bad as a I felt.  Is there room for improvement? YES! If and when we move forward with a 1:1 roll out we will have to keep this in mind when communicating with teachers, students, board, administration, and families.  It will take time.  This is a learning curve for everyone.  But anything worth doing is worth doing well and anything done well will take time. The amount of rigor that is involved with using technology still shocks me on a daily basis.  This is hard.  Do I think it is impossible? No.

While sharing my woes, something was mentioned that maybe students can’t do this.  Maybe they can’t, but maybe they just can’t do this yet.  And that’s where good teaching needs to step in.  Also as this rolls out throughout the district, each grade will notice an increase in skills.  It will get easier as it becomes more familiar.  I feel that with anything new you will have ups and downs throughout the process.  There is nothing wrong with high expectations as long as students are given the tools to reach them.

Alright week 6, I have a new plan. (Thanks of course goes to my teaching partner Kelsie who continuously keeps me in check and reminds what to focus on.)

Less is more.  I just went through all of my courses and eliminated pages or assignments that were busy work or unnecessary.  I also limited the amount of assignments kids are responsible for within a week.  Thanks to a coworkers suggestion, I created checklist for students to use as way to manage their time while working through a Google Doc.  I made links that made copying a Google Doc easier thus saving instructional time. I also want to brainstorm ways to incorporate the technology in a more seamless fashion and not so rigid.

Phew! Here’s to an open mind, a deep breath, and a fresh outlook on week 6!

Success & Failure


Leaving a Positive Digital Footprint!

Piloting a 1:1 classroom has been a dream for me! I cannot even begin to express how giddy it makes me on a daily basis.  I love the idea of creating a glass classroom where collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking can happen on a more global level.  I feel lessons now have the rigor the common core and the education system requires but in a way that is fun and engaging for kids.

I know what you are thinking.  That sounds great but what happens when a child misbehaves and the device is involved?  How do you take away or limit the time spent on a device when the whole point of being 1:1 is using said device?  Do not get me wrong, face to face communication and pencil paper skills are still important and are vital to a balanced life long learner.  However, if the punishment is always no device for you do this worksheet instead, are we sending the right message?  Are we creating a society who when faced with a digital citizenship, cyber-bullying, or device care issue will know how to fix their mistake and learn from it?

As a teacher and a mom, I know the natural reaction is to take it away.  Does this mean then for every lesson you create digitally, a backup must be created that could be used in case a behavior issue arises?  While I’m all about putting in the work to do something well, I’m also all about working smarter not harder.  Should a teacher have a back up plan in case of a technology or internet break down?  Yes. Should a teacher have to create a paper and pencil or “old school” version of every single lesson on a device? Oh boy. Teachers would be burn out in the first week of a 1:1 roll out.

So what is the answer?  I don’t know that is that simple yet.  However, I do think there are alternative arrangements that can allow for students to be taught important social emotional skills in a safe learning environment.  Why not take the opportunity when they are young and they are surround by trusted adults to teach students how to behave when it comes to using a device or the internet.  This way we can create students who are capable of leaving productive and positive digital footprints.

I feel an important first step is creating a list of expectations.  This can be done in a way that is comfortable for the teacher’s style but the more of a group effort it is, the more buy in.  We used expectations our school had created for iPads, our student handbook, and my student’s ideas to create a list of expectations.  This was a great classroom meeting topic and brought up some great discussion points.  After the meeting and a consensus of the final product, everyone signed it.  A copy hangs in our classroom and a copy  was sent home to all of the parents.


I then took these expectations and converted them to a Chromebook reflection sheet.  I wanted a way to document broken expectations in a manageable way that would be able to communicate with families what I had witnessed at school.  When a situation arises where one of these is broken, they select the expectation(s) that apply and reflect on the following: what they choose to do, what they should have done and how they will prove they can handle this the next time.  I sign it, it goes home for a parent to sign it, and then is returned the next day.  Here is the reflection sheet I created: Chromebook Reflection

As soon as the reflection sheet was introduced, I felt students understood the seriousness of the issue even more.  They didn’t want to have to explain to their families that a unique opportunity our classroom had been given was something they were taking for granted.  What I am trying to be proactive about is should there be a set number of reflection sheets before another step is taken?  Or do I just continue to use these and base it on a case to case basis?  I also am keeping in mind that anything new makes it much easier to manage because of the excitement level.  That could wear off, so then I feel as a teachers, it is our job to keep that drive and excitement at the forefront.  When students are engaged in the experience, behavior problems lesson or disappear completely.

Another alternative I have found to be effective is instead of typing in TodaysMeet, Google Docs or a website, students who break expectations have to write their responses instead.  Students know where to grab writing paper if they are prompted and we can continue on with the lesson.  I also have had students sit in a designated spot and have a required check in before posting, submitting or sending anything over the internet.  This way they are still able to practice the digital skill but they have more of a guided and monitored approach.  The goal of course being to achieve digital independence that I would expect of a second grader.

What do you do though when cyber-bullying or misuse of the internet occurs?  The pilot team discussed setting certain internet filters that would still allow a student to use the device and the internet to complete lessons, but their freedom would be restricted until a time when they were able to handle it.  For example a junior in high school might get the same filter as a K-2 student until they could prove they were able to handle the freedoms that come with being a more experienced digital citizen.

One of the most interesting social emotional conversations that has come out of this pilot for me is students critiquing others ideas, typing, writing, or spelling.  For some reason once students were reading the words of others on a screen, it became easier to poke fun of or overly criticize their ideas.  It made for a great lesson on how typing is not as easy as writing.  There is a lot more thinking involved.  You have to know where the keys are, type them correctly, and sometimes press multiple keys to get what you need.  We then acted out scenarios, practiced kind words to say, and discussed ways to disagree that were appropriate.  I feel this is where some teachers might give up all together.  However, I kept at it.  I changed the way I monitored postings, circulated the room more frequently, checked in more often, and celebrated success.  I feel by providing students with what it should look like and then giving the opportunity to directly apply this skill, has been important.  I feel teachers know this but for some reason once technology is involved, we assume they don’t need as much guidance.  The directions are there usually in audio and or video form.  Why on Earth can’t they figure it out on their own?  We have to teach them.  We have to lead them through it and we have to fail several times in the process.

Tonight I created a playlist on my classroom’s YouTube Channel dedicated to digital citizenship: My plan moving forward, is to introduce students to these new resources and discuss the idea of leaving a positive digital footprint.  In order to get families on board, I created a homework assignment inspired by Pinterest.  Students will think about the positive digital footprint they hope to leave 15 years from now. They will make a list with their families and bring it to school where we will create some “digital footprints”.  Check out the blog post that sparked it all:

Digital Footprint Homework Assignment

Social emotional skills involving technology are extremely important and often overlooked.  We also have to remember taking away the device, while possibly solving the problem temporarily, might not help them develop skills to fix it later in life.  What plans could we have in place to help students learn the importance of being a mature digital citizen?  Will there be times when a device must be taken away?  Absolutely.  I think we just have to be open to the fact that maybe that shouldn’t be the first gut reaction.  Just like we teach students to interact with friends on the playground, we need to teach them how to interact with students on the digital playground as well.  If we only teach them how to interact on this digital playground without the tools to do it, it will take longer to sink in.

Better readers become better readers by reading. When a student struggles with reading, we put plans, procedures, and small group work in place to support those learners.  They are given more guided or one on one support until they are able to take off with a book!  So why not do the same when teaching digital citizenship or social emotional skills involving technology? Better digital citizens become better digital citizens by practicing and applying digital citizenship skills.  When students struggle with this what type of plans, procedures, and small group work can we add in to support these learners?

What do you do to help your students leave a positive digital footprint?

digital citizen


Chrome-flections Week 3!

Week 3 of being 1:1 has brought a sort of breath of fresh air in a sense.  I am already noticing huge improvements in logistics/management, typing, problem solving, and overall engagement.


When it comes to managing a classroom of 25 + devices, I really feel that each teacher will have to find procedures and plans that work with their teaching style.  Here is what works for me.  The cart remains in the hallway during the day but students get their devices first thing in the morning after doing their lunch count.  Each table has arranged a way to stack and place their devices in the middle of the table in a way that works best for them.  We stack the devices only 2 high and always check the label on the bottom corresponds with our number in the classroom.  This way students ensure that they are using their device. This was the first week I had students get the devices after lunch count right away without being reminded.  This worked for our classroom and I love that they are there right away so when we need them we don’t have to go through the whole process of getting them out.  Next week, I plan on having them log in right away too so we are not wasting classroom time later.  I have been most impressed with how students seem to not mind the extra items on their table and have been able to make space so they can also write and read.

In order to help with logins, I made each student a laminated card.  I made labels and typed all of their usernames and passwords that they would need thus far.  I then stuck labels on the child’s card and had them laminated to store in their pencil boxes.  This way they always have it and can access it at any point in the day.  I have a sample below.  On an actual students cards, I typed all the information in a label template through Microsoft Word.


This week I also added a Chromebook reflection sheet for students who are breaking our expectations that we agreed upon as a class.  Students must select the expectation that was broken, write what they did, what they should have done, and what they will do next time.  I sign it and the students takes it home to be signed by a parent/guardian and returned the next day.  Monitoring and managing behavior with 1:1 devices is something I plan on addressing in a separate blog post.

Here is an example of my reflection sheet: Chromebook Reflection


One of the coolest things I have noticed, is how just in the last 3 weeks how much typing skills have improved.  We have really been working on placing both hands on the keyboard (home row) so we are ready to type.  We also have been working on typing in complete sentences with capitals and end punctuation.  This was hard for students at first.  I think as adults we don’t realize how many keys we need to press to write complete sentences but it is a lot to remember.  Even just the logging into their Google account has gotten so much better.  Students are now more aware of the keyboard and the keys they need to press in order to get their message across.  It has been rewarding to watch,

I’m most interested in how this will change typing classes during our district’s technology time.

Problem Solving

In all honesty this has been one of the hardest things during this pilot.  I think, and to no fault of our own, we automatically assume we can give student multiple step directions when dealing with technology and they will figure it all out the first time.  With that being said though, I do feel like there are students who can rock that out the first time perfectly.  However, in order for this to be successful in any building we have to apply best practices and the gradual release of responsibility.  It will take more modeling and guided practice at first.  I think a big part of this difficulty lies in the fact that this pilot started in the middle of the year or at a point where I am starting to pull back in terms of how much I help.  I encourage students to use their resources and solve their problems on their own.  However, with these devices being new I have had to step in and help but then I don’t help with other things we have been doing all year.  That back and forth I think has caused some confusion for both the students and myself.  We had to adjust expectations and find a balance that we both could live with.

When going 1:1 we as teacher’s have to be open to a learning curve.  We have to be willing to try something and have it fail.  We have to be willing to go through a trial and error process knowing that in the end we will be better off because of it.

On the positive side of problem solving, I LOVE how much our devices have given me more of avenue to practice problem solving.  It has led to powerful conversations on saving progress, what to do when the internet being down, what to do when you can’t log in or find something.  It also has allowed my students to collaborate and be more open to asking for help.  I feel these are HUGE and vital to a child being a successful 21st century learner.  My new favorite graphic for sharing with families is the skills and attributes of today’s learner.  Going 1:1 has provided me a vehicle in which to foster these skills on a more daily basis.

21st century skills new


THROUGH. THE. ROOF.  One of their assignment in Canvas (our learning management system) last week was a simile exploration .  Thanks to a Twitter Chat, I learned about creating a hyper doc: Simile Exploration  Students loved working through this document and creating something at the end. I have seen students using and locating similes more than any other year of teaching.  I feel that when students have been using the devices it has allowed for more opportunities to communicate and collaborate with one another which in turn has made them more engaged.  They want to use their device and are willing to do whatever it takes to do that.  They also all have different needs but the devices have been able to provide with me more opportunities to have students work at their level of understanding.  I have been stressing the importance of asking for help and problem solving.  There is something so powerful about a peer teaching them how to do something that beats even my best explanation.  I feel the doors that are opened and still have yet to be explored, or what will make kids more engaged and willing to embrace being a life long learner.

Overall, each week has gotten better.  I still feel overwhelmed at times and frustrated with the fact everything isn’t practically perfect and constantly worried about making sure to not just use technology for technology sake.  However, the amount of learning I have done in these 3 weeks is the most I have done all year. I can’t wait to see what my classroom will look like in the fall after these next few months of trying and trying again.