Teaching with Tech

Looking Towards the Future with a First Grade Lens

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

As I mentioned in one of my early posts this semester, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. But the thing is, educational technology is an inevitable part of being a 21st century teacher. That means I need to be adaptable, open-minded, and willing to use technology in my classroom. This semester, I have learned so much about different tools I can weave into my classroom. I’ve practiced using these tools while also seeing ideas from my fellow future teachers. I have grown more open to the idea of incorporating new technology in the classroom because I now know how capable I am of learning new technologies even if the learning curve might scare me at first. Technology not only can, but should be incorporated in the classroom!

Whenever anyone asks what my ideal grade to teach is, I say kindergarten through 2nd grade. More specifically, I have grown to love 1st graders and this is the age I have requested for student teaching next year. This whole semester, I have been working with 1st graders at Alameda Elementary for my field experience and it has been wonderful watching them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Therefore, I made it a point to create many lessons with a 1st grade lens, which are featured below. Hopefully I’ll be placed in a 1st grade classroom next year and can try out some of these technology-infused lessons!

Sun Safety

Photo by JaPhoto by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

Target Student Group: kindergarten, health

Instructional Goals: Students will learn how powerful the sun is / With this, they will learn why it is important to protect themselves when they are out in the sun / Students will also be able to provide at least 2-3 examples of ways to protect themselves when they are out in the sun

Instructions for students:

  1. Teacher would introduce the lesson by facilitating a discussion based on the question: “What do you think about when you hear me say sun safety?”
  2. Once the class has discussed this, students will be instructed to read and engage with a book on sun safety (see below)
  3. Then, teacher will hand out a coloring sheet (see below) and have students color in the body parts on the boy and the girl that need sunscreen while they are at the beach. After this, they can color in the rest of the picture
  4. Finally, teacher will have them do an exit ticket on Google Forms as a post-assessment (see below)
Instructions Step 3

How the technology supports instructional goal: The book I created supports instruction because it teaches content in an engaging way (with voice recordings and a video). The Google Form tests for student understanding.

Identifying Our Emotions!!

Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

Authors: Hailey Colman and Kasidy Honnaka
Targeted Group: Kindergarten SEL 
Lesson Context: Stand alone lesson 
Goal:  Students will be able to identify their emotions and use this information to regulate their behavior 
This site helps reach their goal because it helps students understand this concept, provides them with extra resources, and checks for their understanding with the exit slip


Phonics Practice

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Audience: 1st grade, literacy

Purpose: This book is meant to reinforce what students will have learned about vowel teams. In the Fundations curriculum, students are constantly asked to verbalize the concepts they learn so this book would be a tool for students to independently quiz themselves on vowel teams, their sounds, and the words associated with each team. The book includes audio recordings, images, a YouTube video, and a post-quiz so that students can have plenty of practice resources.

Mission Mapping

Photo by David Vives on Unsplash

Target Student Group: 4th grade, social studies & math

Instructions for students: Take time to explore this interactive map, which shows the 21 California Missions. Each location on the map shows one of the missions and includes a short description, photos, and even videos. While exploring the missions, pick your favorite one because we will be making dioramas of them in the next few weeks. But for now, start exploring the map.

Also, pick 5 pairs of Missions that are adjacent to one another. For example, Mission San Juan Capistrano is adjacent to Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. Using the map, see how many miles apart they are. These two missions are 27 miles apart. Then, we will do some math with this. If it took you 22 minutes to walk one mile, how many hours would it take to walk between these two missions? Multiplying 22 minutes/mile by 27 miles gets you 594 minutes or 9.9 hours (which you get by dividing 594 minutes by 60, which is the number of minutes in an hour). Now, repeat this process but pick different pairs of missions that are adjacent to one another and find out how long it would take to walk between them based on how far apart they are and based on a 22 minutes/mile walking pace.

Goal for the lesson & how MyMap helps meet that goal: The goal of this lesson to teach students about the California missions, which is a key element of the social studies curriculum for California 4th graders. This lesson also gives students multiplication and division practice which is very important in 4th grade. This map helps meet these goals by engaging students in the content, giving them resources to learn about the missions, and having them practice math skills with an element of choice (since they get to pick which adjacent missions to solve with).

Counting Coins

Photo by Amelia Spink on Unsplash

Context of the activity: This Edpuzzle video would be viewed by students during a lesson on coins and counting. The video would be used both to teach the content and to check for student understanding.

Target Student Group: 1st grade, math

Instructions for students: Watch this video, which will auto pause at certain points to ask you questions or prompt you to think about something.

Link to my EdPuzzle video if custom HTML isn’t displaying for you

All About Math & All About Me

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How I might make use of Google forms in the classroom: I loved the self-graded quiz! Like so many other Google products, it was super easy to use and very aesthetically pleasing. I could see myself making weekly math quizzes like the one I made here. It would be a great way to track student learning and I like that you can add videos and links as part of the feedback. This would be a good option for teachers who are teaching online too! I do wish you could differentiate between feedback for correct and incorrect answers on the short answer questions, but other than that, I was satisfied with the way Forms works. I’m not sure I would do as many branching forms just because you have to create so many sections to keep it branching, but it could be fun to incorporate into the classroom every once in a while.

My Self-Graded Quiz: Lesson 26 Quiz ~ Understand 10 More and 10 Less

My Branching Form: All About Me

Grow Plant Grow!

Hailey & Chloe

Photo by Bart Zimny on Unsplash

1st Grade Science

Instructional Goal: Students will learn and understand the parts of a plant and how each of them contribute to a plant’s survival.

Outline of lesson process (explanation to fellow teachers):

1. show this video to help students learn about the parts of a plant

2. have students practice labeling the parts of a flower on the first slide of the Jamboard

3. have students do a 3-2-1 (3 things you learned, 2 things you want to learn more about and 1 thing you need to learn again) on the second slide of the Jamboard

Tech resource for this lesson: Jamboard (activity & exit ticket)

How tech resource supports instructional goal: This tech resource supports the instructional goal of having students understand the parts of a plant because it is a way for them to test their knowledge of what they have learned. The second slide of the Jamboard will help the teacher know how well their students grasped the key concepts and will give them feedback if re-teaching is necessary.

I’m from the Sand & Sun

Photo by Sean Mullowney on Unsplash

I am from year-round sunshine and stellar sunsets
Drives along the coastline
And hikes in the hills

I am from the land of Torrey pines and tide pools
Fish tacos on the beach
And laidback neighbors

I am from a family-friendly area
Weekends at the zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland
And cheering at San Diego State football and Padres baseball games

I am from shorts and t-shirts weather
Surfing, skateboarding, soaking in the sun
And walks by palm trees and piers

I am from blue skies and beautiful beaches
Ice skating in Coronado and biking by Mission Bay
And ice cream whenever possible 

I am from “America’s finest city, ” San Diego, California

What I liked about Sway:

  • It was really easy to upload my own images
  • The design feature takes what I have uploaded and transforms it into a more aesthetically pleasing finished product
  • Sometimes I get overwhelmed if an editing tool has too many options so I liked the simplicity of Sway
  • I liked the horizontal display option

Personalized Plate

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Context of the Activity: Teach in a content area (health)

Target Student Group: 1st grade, health

This Google Drawings lesson is inspired by a lesson my CT taught while I was in the classroom for field experience last week. After being taught about what a balanced diet looks like and what foods fall into each category (fruits/vegetables, whole grains, protein), the students made their own plates by coloring in a blank template of a plate with their favorite foods. I thought it would be fun to try it on Google Drawings so they could add images of their favorite foods from the internet.

Instructions for students: Hi class! Now that we have learned what balanced plates include, we are going to create our own featuring our favorite foods. Remember that each day we need about 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 6 servings of whole grains, and 3 servings of protein. A serving is one portion or amount of a certain food. So, if you have a sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread, that counts for two of your six servings of whole grains. Now, we are going to be using Google Drawings to make our own plates. I made an example plate you can look at, but I’m hoping to see your plates filled with servings of YOUR favorite foods. Once you’ve add 4-5 photos of fruits and vegetables, 6 photos of whole grains, and 3 photos of protein, go ahead and label these foods on the side of your plate.

Goal for the Lesson: To help students learn about the components of a healthy diet. It will help them recognize what foods fall into which categories so that they can make smart, informed decisions about what they eat. The Google Drawing helps meet this goal because they can find photos of their favorite foods and sort them appropriately. The visual will help them differentiate between the categories of food.

Direct Link: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1kvDP5cPqXDrYb1eYpdGKPndGTh7XbpsBrJV5cE2hqFA/edit?usp=sharing

Phonics Frenzy

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

Context of the Activity: Graphic Organizer

Target Student Group: 1st grade, literacy

Instructions for students: Hi class! Today we are going to do some Jamboard word sorts with the sounds we’ve been learning. For the first sort, look at the picture and place it in the appropriate column. For example, if it is a picture of a dog, put the photo in the -og category. For the second sort, categorize the words with the long o sound into the -oi or -oy columns based on their spelling. For the final sort, look at the pictures and place them in the appropriate columns based on their spelling.

Goal for the Lesson: To help students practice phonics. It will help them connect the sounds in common words they know to the spelling of those words. The Jamboard helps meet this goal because students can move around the pictures and stickies to categorize them appropriately and practice their phonics knowledge.

Link: https://jamboard.google.com/d/12Rq9yzluuE4NYcWFrswqTZVxqCY0e1UYPlAJJ4Nb-WA/edit?usp=sharing

Technology: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

My personal relationship with technology

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

As the title suggests, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I think there are so many ways that technology has enhanced our lives, especially when I hear stories from my parents or grandparents. For example, if COVID had happened even ten years earlier, would we still be able to get a college education? As challenging and draining as classes can be on Zoom, at least I was still able to work on my degree and interact with my professors and classmates through quarantine.

However, there are lots of cons of tech too. Sometimes technology can feel too invasive (I HATE targeted ads), cyberbullying is a real problem, and it is so addictive that it can take away from building in-person connections because so many people I know have become “screen-agers.”

While I certainly had more technology than my parents did growing up, I still like to think of myself as someone who grew up without being glued to a screen. I am not part of the generation of iPad kids and I remember the days of playing outside after school. We would ride scooters with kids in our neighborhood, set up lemonade stands, play hide and seek or sardines, take trips to the library, and make “food” out of mud (we had a whole outdoor kitchen set up in the backyard and I know my mom hated that we would steal dirt from all of her plants to make “cupcakes” and “pasta” that she had to sample). I worry that the students I teach will have no desire for play and exploration because they will be too attached to their screens. This thought makes me so sad because I remember my childhood so fondly and all of my best memories do NOT involve technology.

On the other hand, technology has made my life my life easier and more enjoyable in so many ways. Any time I have a mundane question, the answer is just one google search away. And with Netflix, Spotify, Hulu and all other entertainment platforms, I never have to worry about being bored. During the beginning of quarantine, my friends and I would spend every night on a Zoom call watching movies on Netflix Party, playing Jackbox Games, or keeping up on the Bachelor. Even though I would have preferred seeing them in-person, these calls were so beneficial for my mental health and I am thankful for that side of technology.

Now back to another negative of technology. I think that with the advent of social media, there are so many unrealistic standards being presented. People obviously present the best version of themselves on platforms like Instagram, but at times it can feel really fake. This can be dangerous for teenagers and young adults who feel that they have to live up to impossible standards of beauty. With this also comes things like anonymous cyberbullying. I had Instagram for a few years, but finally deleted it because I was spending too much time keeping up with people I wasn’t super close to. While I do miss having it at times because I feel out of the loop, I also much prefer seeing the real side of my friends when I hang out with them in-person.

As you can see through these examples, there are so many pros and cons of technology. The bottom line, though, is that technology is abundant in our lives and it is up to us to figure out the most responsible and useful ways to make it a part of our lives. I cannot wait to find ways to incorporate technology in my classroom while also making sure my students know how many things they can do without using a screen.