Friday, October 24, 2014

Ten Reasons a 1:1 Classroom is Best for our Students

After teaching for almost 30 years, becoming a 1:1 classroom was the biggest game-changer in my career and for the students I have the privilege of teaching.  As all veteran teachers know, the pendulum swings back and forth when it comes to teaching the basic curriculum.  What we did twenty years ago in reading/language arts or other curricular areas somehow surfaces back into our classroom years later. No matter what curriculum is implemented in a district, having 1:1 classroom can make the instruction happen at its best!

Last February, I had the privilege of becoming a 1:1 iPad classroom, and I have never been more excited to teach.  I have always had a passion for teaching and like most educators our lives revolve around our students and our work day never ends.  Yes, we want what is best for each student who counts on us on a daily basis. Having a 1:1 classroom is making that a possibility.  Having access to technology in our classroom on a daily basis is such a powerful learning tool.

As we know, the most important component of a successful school year is establishing a relationship with each student in our classroom.  To most educators this is a given.

Rita Pierson

Why has becoming a 1:1 classroom become 
such a game-changer for my students and me?

21st Century Learners 

 John Dewey sums it up perfectly, "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." 
Our students need to be 21st century learners to thrive in our world today. 

Individualization and Differentiation

As educators, we know that all students in our classroom learn differently, and they have different academic needs.  This is the first time in my teaching career that I know I can truly differentiate and individualize instruction.  In the past, I would hand out an enrichment worksheet in math or reading, or assign an additional project. Now, it doesn't matter what subject area, there are so many ways to differentiate and enrich the curriculum in a 1:1.  Being 1:1 gives me more time during the school day to work with students individually and in small groups.


Creativity happens daily in a 1:1 classroom.  Learning is possible at each child's fingertips.  When students have opportunities to be creative they are problem-solving, questioning, discovering new ideas, and taking ownership of their learning.

Ken Robinson

Global Connections
Our students are 21st century learners and it is important that we connect outside the four walls of our classroom.   These learning opportunities are not only important, but it truly makes learning relevant for our students.  From Mystery Skype's,  having a global audience through blogging, meeting authors, or taking a virtual field trip, these are just a few examples of how our students can connect globally.

 My fourth graders LOVE to write.  We use Kidblog to share what we are learning in the curriculum.  The comments they receive from all over the country and world keep my students motivated! 
Our Kidblog Site is Mrs. Evon's Fourth Grade 

 Movie Trailers are created by my students for each of our Mystery Skypes.
Mr. Wigmore's Class from Ontario, Canada

One of our first Mystery Skype's

Connecting with Mrs. Dowling's Class from California for the Global Read Aloud created by +Pernille Ripp

Students have a Voice and Choice 
Why do we all have to show what we learned in the same way?  
“It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K Rowling
When Students are given a Choice....Learning becomes Relevant

Jerry Blumengarten

Students Show their Learning 

What did you ever learn and remember from completing a worksheet?  When students have the ability to show and explain their learning, it becomes relevant.  It is learning at its BEST!

Angelique and Jaxon summarizing their reading selection for the week.

Brie's ThingLink for our Social Studies Essential Objective 
Middle West

Robert John Meehan


Collaboration and Teamwork happen on a daily basis.  Planning, organizing, teamwork, and presenting are such important life-long skills that students carry with them throughout their life.

Jerry Blumengarten

Our Students are the Best Teachers

My fourth graders teach each other on a daily basis.  They airplay tips, suggestions, and how to use the apps; as well as share their work and projects when working on district curriculum. Students become the teacher, and ownership of their learning happens when they are in charge. Students teach each other, their parents, and staff.

Students sharing what they learned in health.

Student Engagement

This is the first year in my teaching career that I don't have a specific behavior plan in place.  For years I have used a credit and debit banking system.  Prior to that, I have tried many other behavior management plans.  This year-NOTHING!  Behaviors seldom need to be addressed, because students are truly 100% engaged in their learning.

Test Scores

Unfortunately, this is an area that haunts educators on a daily basis!  We know the learning that takes place in our classroom each day is most important.  Unfortunately, this is not enough for people making the educational decisions.   We need to look at individual growth as many students come to us not on grade level or even above.  With having technology as a learning tool, all students have the opportunity for remediation, enhanced, individualized, and differentiated instruction.  With students who have the opportunity of a 1:1 classroom, district and state test scores will only continue to rise. This will definitely be an area that I continue to monitor and a great topic for a future post.

MAP Testing

Okay....Actually Eleven Reasons 
Students are excited to come to school and on most days they don't want to see the day end.  They are passionate and enthusiastic about learning. Yes, at times we are even late for our specials and recess.

21st Century Learning at its Best
Students are creating, collaborating, and connecting globally! Students are enhancing and enriching their learning of district curriculum and objectives through the use of technology on a daily basis!

Jane Goodall

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Guided Reading Choice Board - 1:1 Classroom

With second quarter in full swing, and a new reading/language arts curriculum, I am excited to update my post from March on Guided Reading in a 1:1 classroom.  My enthusiasm and passion continues to grow knowing the students  I teach have limitless possibilities.  I am able to individualize and differentiate instruction for each child in my classroom.

My fourth graders and I have recently updated our 1:1 iPad Menu in Guided Reading.  We have discovered some amazing apps to use with our district curriculum and Daily Five, which we have actually changed to Daily Six.   It is so important to give students a voice and choice to show what they know and what they are learning.

4th Graders Working on our Guided Reading Choice Board

1:1 iPad Menu for Guided Reading

Click below for a copy of the 1:1 Menu that will allow you to copy and edit as you wish. 
1:1 iPad Menu

Student accountability is also very important. Students keep track of the skill and strategy they focus on in the reading curriculum, and they also record how they show their learning. Of course, the evidence of learning they create and share is what is of utmost importance.
                                                                                                                                          Guided Reading - Daily Log

Word Work

Since I have different groups in Words Their Way, I am able to create specific groups and assign their weekly words.  You are able to search for word lists already created to import to your class.  Another great feature is the vocabulary component that reinforces and helps teach the meaning of each spelling word.  It is a great tool to use to differentiate spelling instruction and students are 100% engaged.  You can get test results for each child, and it also has a writing component.  You can also use it for the tested vocabulary words for the week.  Students can also use it at home.
Lainey learning the meaning of her spelling words.

Stick Around
Stick Around is one of our favorite apps.  My fourth graders have been using it for Words their Way and their language skill of the week. 
Tips for using Stick Around by iPad Educators

Shadow Puppet is a free app that my students love to use during guided reading.  It is a digital story telling app.  One way my fourth graders have been using it during guided reading is for their tested reading vocabulary.  They also use it to show what they know about our reading comprehension skill of the week.

 Reading Vocabulary for our story What Jo Did

Haiku Deck 
Students can create presentations and slideshows using Haiku Deck.  Brie wrote sentences for her reading vocabulary words focusing on our reading selection.


Reading Comprehension Skill - Main Idea and Details
                Textbook Online Pearson eText for Schools  
Our reading textbook is online.  We really love the glossary, highlighting, and sticky note feature.

Epic! is a free app for educators.  Students have instant access to 1,000 of books.  I have created a list of favorites since it may be overwhelming with all the book choices.  You can have groups of students you are working with read the same book.  They have the books broken down on each shelf according to genres and recommendations.  

Storyline Online 
                                  A free online story telling site.  Hollywood celebrities read books online.

Reading to Someone

Popplet can be used in so many ways during guided reading.  Below my fourth graders are creating their Concept Map for the weekly reading selection.  Students are able to show their learning in different and creative ways using Popplet.

Reading Skill-Prefixes and Suffixes

Compound Words

3D Avatar
3D Avatar Creator is very similar to Tellagami, but it has so many more choices for students and it is a free app.  Students have the ability to create one or two avatars.   Students use the  avatars to create a recording and show the understanding of the reading story or reading tradebook of the week with a partner. They practice reading with fluency and expression.  Students then app smash and send it to iMovie from their camera roll to edit.  After the movies are created they can send it to YouTube.

We have leveled readers that tie in with our curriculum.  Angelique and
Jaxon summarized the selection Dogs on the Job after rereading the book together.


Students not only practice their writing skills, but they can reflect on their learning, connect with other classrooms from all over the world, and create a portfolio of their writing. Students use Kidblog weekly to share the final draft of the writing they completed that focused on our genre of the week. Our classroom kid site is Mrs. Evon's Fourth Grade Team.

Wonderopolis is a great a great site to get students to think outside the box.  Students are able to go to Wonderopolis on their iPad and read the Wonder of the Day and reflect upon their thinking. 

Doceri is a free interactive whiteboard for the iPad.  There are so many possibilities in using this app during guided reading.  Doceri is a great presentation tool.

Explain Everything from MorrisCooke
Explain Everything is an app we use in all curricular areas, but there are endless possibilities in using it with guided readingMy fourth graders have been using it with the Reading Comprehension and Word Analysis skill of the week.  Students can send their work directly to YouTube, or they can app smash it to iMovie and create a movie video.  
Tia's Cause and Effect Video

Language Skill - Possessive Nouns

Words Their Way - Spelling Pattern 

Read to Self

Recorder Plus HD

Angelique recording herself reading.
Students record themselves reading a selected passage.  After they save the passage on Recorder Plus HD, students label what they read, take a picture of the selection,  and include the date.  After students record their reading, it is saved and archivedStudents then listen to the audio recording and complete a self-evaluation on their reading.  My fourth graders then set goals for fluency, expression,  and automaticity.  Students are able to export their recordings.  Two options we use are sending their reading to Google Drive and their Gmail accounts.  

Students Self-Evaluating their Fluency
Recorder Plus HD

This is a great site to tie in with our reading curriculum. This site contains current event and news articles that help enhance students' skills in nonfiction literacy.


I like how you can assign a specific reading level and National Reading Standard when selecting a current event article you want your students to read.

Raz Kids is a leveled reading program.  Each of my students have their own book room at their specific independent reading level.  After each selection they read, students complete a comprehension quiz.  In addition to using our district curriculum and Fountas and Pinnell, the information gathered from Raz Kids helps plan future instruction and RTI groups.   Raz Kids not only ties in with common core, but gives teachers access to each student's activity report, assignment progress, assessments, and a skills report.
RAZ Kids and Common Core

My student use this recording sheet when they read a new book from their book room.  They write the level of the book which correlates with the reading levels of Fountas and Pinnell,  the title of the selection, and the score they earn on their quiz.  The skills column lists what particular questions they missed and the skill they need more guidance and instruction on.  It is easy to see patterns on missed questions.   

Literably is used to help monitor students' reading progress. Students are given reading passages that tie in with their Fountas and Pinnell reading level.  After students read they are asked a series of comprehension questions.  Then they retell the story and record themselves.  

Skills of the Week

ChatterPix can make anything talk. Students have been using it during reading to share what they learned about our Reading Skill of the week.  
Working on inferring in reading and electricity in science. Ss created iMovies using the ChatterPix created since you can only record for 30 minutes.

30Hands is a great story telling app to use when students share what they are learning. 
Comprehension Reading Skills - Main Idea/Details

Quizlet is a great learning tool to use to practice and reinforce reading vocabulary.  You can create flashcards, tests, and study games for each word list of the week. You have the option of having questions be a Written Response, Matching, Multiple Choice, or True or False. Quizlet creates a scatter game that is timed, so students can match each word with the correct definition.
Each week, students have a new writing genre.  My fourth graders are writing their first draft.  After they edit and proofread they put their final draft into Pages and are able to select a template of their choice.  Each student then publishes his/her writing into Kidblog.
Writing Genre-Expository Composition


Book Creator 
My students are working on a year-long book project.  A big emphasis in our reading curriculum is Greek and Latin Roots.  Student are adding to the book weekly.

Students go to the Pearson Realize site on their iPad.  They complete their work that I assign them.  All assignments have a due date, and I am able to track and gather data on skills and concepts they need additional help with.