Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back In Action

After intensively blogging this fall, I am afraid that I neglected my blogspot during the cold, winter months. I am trying to get back in the swing of things! I have recently learned that the teaching position that I currently hold is being re-designed and will not exist in its current form next year. I am going to be back in the regular classroom next year and hope to be teaching first grade. If anyone has any great sites for first graders, I would love to start exploring them so please send suggestions my way! I am especially looking for sites where students can go beyond the basics, are encouraged to think outside the box, and can explore what their world has in store for them!

That being said, what have I been up to? Well I have recently been using two sites with my students. I will give a brief overview of the first one and get into a little more detail with the second!

The first site that we have been exploring is Professor Garfield. This website is full of things that are very student friendly. It has a wealth of activities. Because I am a reading teacher, I use the "transport to reading" link and look at the reading activities. For the earlier grades, I like to use Orson's Farm. The activities presented to the students are focused on developing phonemic awareness skills, enhancing decoding and blending skills, and practicing rhyming skills. The site is visually appealing to younger students and uses music to further engage the learner. For older learners, I have used Garfield's Island. This also uses games to help students practice word skills, but also includes a reading comprehension activity. The students can listen to two books. The stories are presented in a way that guides students to stop and think as they read and will also read the stories to the students. The kids seem very engaged by all of these activities.

The second resource that I have been using I was introduced to by Carrie Mitton earlier this school year. This is site is called Kerpoof and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The site allows students to explore using technology to write stories, make cards, etc. Here is a short overview of the program.

For a recent fourth grade project, I used a rubric to help successfully guide the students through the assignment and also to assess their work. The students responded well to the task and went beyond my expectations. I was especially impressed by their creativity and the creative thinking that went into the story design.

Both of these resources have been very motivating to my reluctant learners. Check them out! I am back in the blogosphere and hopefully will not neglect my blog any longer!


Megan Fritz said...

Hi Susan,
It's great to see you back in the blogosphere! You already have all of the tools you need to facilitate creative learning with your first graders. Voicethread is one that I think could be use for many different types of learning experiences! Have fun with it....and I'll be waiting to see your reflections on that first grade learning in your blog! ---Dr. Fritz

Susan Martin said...

Voicethread is definitely number one in my resource pack! If you come across anything else, please send it my way!