I'm headed back to school next week, and my three kids start back the following week. Let's just say that getting to school by 7:30 a.m. is going to be a challenge for us for a couple of weeks. When my husband and I asked our kids at the dinner table tonight, "Who's excited about returning to school" only one of our three kids replied, "I am." The other two complained that school's "too boring." Our kids (11, 12, & 15) are typical digital kids who have many of the latest gizmos and gadgets but return to school to "sit and get," do busywork, and prepare for THE TEST (TAKS). In my opinion, a must see video for all teachers before the school year starts is http://homepage.mac.com/dvchelo/page1/page3/files/page3-1003-pop.html.
We're all aware that we're in a time of rapid change and that we are still losing too many kids and wasting too much talent. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest and gather ideas from others on back-to-school integration ideas for teachers that will hopefully start the year off right by stimulating and actively engaging their elementary students the first month of school.
- Capture digital photos and video of your students on the first week and create a presentation using Photo Story 3, Animoto, Voice Thread, Movie Maker, or iMovie for your first open house night. Or create slideshows of your students with BubbleShare, SlideShare, Slideroll, or Picasa.
- Create a class blog. If your new to using blogs in the classroom check out Blog Basics for the Classroom. If you use Blogger, remove the Navbar and view this example of a class blog.
- Have students brainstorm what they'd like to learn about in your class and type into Wordle.
- Use Excel, Create a Graph, Bar Grapher, or Circle Grapher to create class graphs or pictographs (tutorial) on various topics such as How We Get to School, Favorite Type of Ice Cream, Pets, Eye or Hair Color, Number of Letters in Our First Names, etc.
- Create I'm T-rrific projects (from Tammy Worcester's 50 Quick and Easy Computer Activities) where students brainstorm positive comments about themselves.
Another idea from Tammy Worcester's book is created acrostic poems with their names using Word Art and text boxes.
- Use http://www.bubbl.us/ or Kidspiration for brainstorming.
- Use digital camera to take full-face and profile photos (mug shots) of each student. Students then create Wanted Posters using a blank PowerPoint slide (portrait view) that includes the student's name, description, interests, dislikes, reward, etc. This idea comes from the book PowerPoint Magic by Pamela Lewis.
- Students could interview each other and create podcasts.
- Use Google Earth or Google maps to find the distance from their home to school.
- Have students create speaking avatars with Voki and embed in your class blog.
- Create a student interest survey in SurveyMonkey for kids to complete online.
- Many K-2 literacy resources can be found at Carl's Corner.
I'd love to hear other back-to-school tech integration ideas.