November is a great month for reflection. We always look back at what we're thankful for, but have you ever taken a second to look back at what you used to do in comparison to what you do now?
In the past, everything was on paper. Here and there my kids got a chance to get on the computer to do Star Early Literacy, but it was normally every other day and for about 15 minutes. We were limited on computer time since only two out of the four that I had that worked. UGH. It was very nerve-wracking!
Now, the new (well not really new) movement is now going towards technology based everything. A few years ago, my district decided to go 1:1. All of the students had some type of technology. 3rd and up got MacBooks. 2nd and down had iPads in their classrooms. We still had a computer lab which turned into a computer cart and now that doesn't exist, but we still have our 1:1 iPads. To be honest with you, it's a gift and a curse. Why? There are SO many "programs" that they either encourage us to do or require that it's a headache. Each of the programs have different logins. A lot of my time is wasted trying to teach them how to login, how to use their iPads, and how to complete their work in a timely manner like I need all while using this device.
On the flip side, I love them. I love that they each get their own device. I am able to teach them how to responsible, how to care for something, how to utilize it in a meaningful way and so on. I've written a few posts about incorporating technology in the classroom and mention it a lot in posts. Here's two. (here and here)
This has also changed a lot for me. I used to write things down in notebooks and in binders. Now, I jot notes either in my phone or on my computer. It's so much easier for me to manage when I'm not required to keep up with so much paper. My assessments have also gotten a lot easier. I use ESGI to assess my students. It is online and amazing! It makes graphs/reports, creates parent letters and more. You can find that post here.
Intervention wasn't really a thing when I first started teaching. Small group was a sort of new thing in my school. Some people did it. Most didn't. I was one of the ones that didn't do it because I didn't know what to do exactly. It took me a few years, but I got there. A few years after that, we started doing intervention. Again. I didn't know what to really do. I felt like I didn't have all the resources or that it was boring. Last year, I began making math intervention resources to use with my kinders. I wasn't sure what to do with them each day and didn't have a place to pull resources. These games were life savers! Years ago I didn't have anything to pull and we would just practice number recognition and that was that. GAH. I wish I could go back and teach myself a few things.
I meet with either one or two groups for about 15-20 minutes every day. It depends on what skill I need to work on and how many of my students are struggling with that skill. How do I decide on these students? The other 30 minutes or so that I'm not teaching intervention I watch my kids and just observe while they are at math workshops. I note who is having trouble with which skills and jot down things that I need to work on later in the week or even possibly just allow them more time to practice independently to see if they'll get it before I go in for the save.
It's the little things that matter... like a ten frame stamp that didn't exist 10 years ago.
However, there are always those kids that need that extra push and boost of confidence everyday. I get those everyday and work on things that they are struggling with. What if no one needs help? I'll usually play a game with them or put myself at one of the math workshops to make sure everyone is playing correctly.
Saving their learning
My favorite thing has to be notebooks! We have a notebook for everything. I love the fact that I can flip back through their notebooks and see how far they've come. These are also great to use to see if they are struggling. I don't write on their notebooks, but I have taken a grade for things they are expected to know after we've learned it. I just jot it down in the computer and I'm done. They don't stress over if it's all right or what did they get wrong. They're excited to put what they've learned into a notebook that we can refer back to over and over again.