Evernote is an extraordinary app that that redefines the teaching and learning experiences in our classrooms. I have seen it used in multiple ways and was particularly 'wowed' by what Chris Lofgren is doing in his fourth grade classroom.
His students are traditionally involved in reading groups. These groups read different books and are involved in completing 'Reading Response Journals'. In the past he has used Edmodo but decided to migrate to Evernote this year. What he shared with me is just incredible. Not only does it allow him to see the book through the eyes of his students; it helps him track understanding and encourages the students and the teacher to get involved in questioning. Evernote has elevated their interactions with a text to a higher level, and enabled them to communicate with their teacher more effectively and efficiently. Impressive.
So off we headed, ,myself and 5 kinder buddies, to the 'Spark Lounge' to have some iFun. Upon asking them to open PuppetPals 2, I quickly realized that they knew more about the app than I did so I embraced their excitement and watched their faces glow as they swapped heads, took pictures of themselves, and made highly entertaining movies.
After PuppetPals, I asked them if they knew about Screenchomp. There was an unanimous no from the students and an internal 'YES!' from me. We explored the app and they were extremely excited to go back and share with their teacher and their peers. Who says these kids can't handle anything that is thrown their way? Yes, they can!
This post has been a long time coming. The minutes, hours, days, weeks and now months are passing and I've left a void in my communication to the greater world about the incredible things happening at my school. I had planned to grade level blog but have found that to be out of control and because of being overwhelmed at how best to communicate everything I am observing and everything I am directly, or indirectly a part of, I lost my voice. I went silent and I apologize for that.
My voice is back and I am making a commitment to my teachers that I will better serve them as their voice piece to the world outside their classroom, outside their school and outside their community.
It is hard to imagine that one year ago we did not have iPads in any elementary school in Eanes ISD. It is hard to imagine that one year ago we were chomping at the bit to get going on an Elementary 1:1 pilot; frustrated that it was taking so long! Within one year the learning landscape of our school has changed both physically and in ways that are not as tangible. Students are involved in student-centered, student-directed activities and are taking charge of their own learning as never seen before. Teachers are using Evernote to create interactive science notebooks and writing portfolios. Students are involved in independent research using the iPad as a tool to drive purposeful, meaningful and professional learning outcomes. Kinder students are using the iPad to practice math and handwriting and are venturing in to taking pictures in order to prepare them for their first eBook using the app Scribblepress. First graders are using the iPads during their Daily 5 rotations; not only helping the teacher deliver appropriate challenge but also empowering the student sense of self-discipline. Second grade is diving in to eBackPack to deliver timely feedback on assessments. Third Grade has embarked on a Imaginative Writing Unit using our new Lego StoryStarter kits. Once they build their story they will be using the Visualizer software to build a comic strip. Fourth grade continue to fly with a multitude of 'app'lications. The students are not only engaged with iPad activities but are using Scratch to learn the first steps of programming. Fifth grade are exploring a variety of ways to 'iPadify' their current units of study. For more details please click here to view individual teacher blogs.
Every day I arrive to work to be greeted by an excited teacher wanting to find out ways they can enhance the already incredible instruction occurring in their classrooms. I know I can never really do their work justice but I'm going to try to at least highlight ways they are inspiring their fellow classrooms teachers, their students and not least me!