At Saratoga Elementary in Morris, Illinois, we believe that incorporating tech tools into our daily lessons is a great way to connect our small school with the world around us. This is especially true when it comes to my kindergarteners.
Kindergarten is where the fun is! I love teaching it, because every day brings a new and exciting experience. I’m lucky enough to teach in the same school as my wife, and we get the amazing opportunity to watch our two kids grow in education as they attend our school as well! Besides teaching my students, I also teach teachers through my YouTube channel, Teachers Learn Too.
I started this video channel as a way to provide fun, free professional development for teachers year-round, so I’ve grown familiar with sharing the methods and technology that I find most useful. The tech tools we provide our students offer an enhanced, differentiated learning style, with devices and software that many of our students don’t have at home. Here are four of my “must-have” tech tools that I use on a daily basis in my classroom.
A Kindergarten Teacher’s Tech Essentials
1. Letters alive Plus from Alive Studios is augmented reality at its best! With this amazing software, I can offer my kids a supplemental reading tool that breaks away from the ordinary, everyday scripted curriculum.
Using the included document camera and a variety of cards that come in the kit, my students can see animals come to life on our classroom TV or computer. Letters alive Plus assists me in teaching letter identification, letter sounds, sight-word recognition, phonetic word building, sentence structure, and more. You will love the smiles, laughter, and engagement this software brings to your students!
2. Osmo uses an iPad and its own apps to bring learning beyond the screen. Children learn through play on a daily basis in my classroom, and Osmo is an awesome tech tool that assists me in allowing that type of learning to happen. Osmo uses a unique base to hold an iPad upright and a special reflector on top of the device to mirror the camera to the desk or table it’s sitting on. With their multitude of apps, my students can build words, solve simple math problems, complete tangram puzzles, watch their drawings come to life, and more. The best part is that it’s all hands-on. Using the reflector, students do everything off the screen, while watching their work come to life on the screen!
(Next page: 2 more kindergarten tech essentials)
3. Using ESGI Assessment Software’s huge database of pre-made assessments, or creating your own, teachers have a “one-stop- shop” way to assess, track, and share student strengths, weaknesses, and growth. I can use the data I’ve collected through the site from assessing my students, click print, and have a report card ready in seconds to share with parents. As an added bonus, ESGI allows you to print flashcards, nameplates, growth charts, and more. Use it to easily and accurately group your students for guided instruction as well!
4. Seesaw is an app that I cannot teach without! It’s a digital portfolio app that allows students to share work with their families and me. It’s great for those times when I’m working with a small group of students and can’t check the other students’ work right away. With Seesaw, students take photos, record videos, and more, all within an easy-to- use app. I can then view these items at a later time to check for understanding. When a student adds an item to their portfolio, their parents can see it, too. Seesaw not only solves the problem of documenting and tracking items, but also allows you to create home-school connections on a daily basis!
I hope you have the opportunity to explore and try these amazing tech tools in your own classroom. From creative learning to tracking and sharing student growth, these tech tools are sure to offer excitement to every classroom setting!
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