TEACHnology Today

Early Elementary Edition: September 8, 2016

New This Year

As a way to differentiate my technology integration efforts, I have opted to divide my usual monthly newsletter into 3 newsletters--one for Early Elementary, one for Upper Elementary, and one for Secondary. This way, you will have the most relevant information in your email each month instead of scrolling past tips that do not apply to you.
Big image

Technology Use in the Pre-K and Early Elementary Classroom

Our littlest learners are often exposed to technology at home in the form of videos or games and apps that mom or dad allow them to use. They may or may not be using technology for educational purposes, and we have no way of knowing if their screen time is monitored (which is strongly recommended.)

Some parents view devices as a way to pacify young children in the moment. This puts us as educators at a little bit of a disadvantage, as students often fail to see the educational benefits of devices or technology--viewing them instead as something meant for entertainment.

In my newsletters this year, my goal is to share a few examples of ways we can start to show students that technology can help them learn in new ways. It can also help them to become reflective and independently document their learning, or share what they have learned with others.

In this newsletter, I have two resources to discuss that may be helpful to you. If you are interested in getting started with any tips I share, or any ideas of your own, PLEASE reach out! I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to come and help you get started, or even be in the room to help students navigate their way through a new tool or site.

What is a HyperDoc?

If you have never heard of a HyperDoc before, it is essentially a digital workbook. These can be created in Google Docs or Slides. Teachers place videos or hyperlinks into them so that students can learn more about a topic.

With one shortened link, students can access a lesson that contains instructions, links, tasks, and many clever ways to get kids thinking. Focusing on creating opportunities for choice, exploration, and ways for kids to apply their knowledge is key to creating a truly innovative HyperDoc. I am including a 5 senses Kindergarten level example below. There are MANY more that teachers have created and shared online as well. If you are interested in trying one, I'd be happy to help you get started!

Primarily Google Kindergarten Hyperdoc

This blog post discusses a "hyperdoc" where our youngest students can extend their learning of the 5 senses! Click the link below to open and view the hyperdoc. If you'd like to try it out for your self, click "File" and then "Make a Copy."

Seesaw: One App and a million ways to use it!

Seesaw: The Learning Journal Overview

Ways to Use SeeSaw (Even in a 1-iPad classroom!)

Even if you just have a teacher iPad in your room, you can still use SeeSaw!

It is an amazing app for the preschool or elementary classroom. It is valued by teachers, students, and parents alike! Seesaw allows students to create a digital learning journal or portfolio that they can add to throughout the school year. Students independently capture their learning with photos, videos, voice, and drawings. Everything is uploaded, organized, approved by the teacher, and instantly shared with that child’s parents.

I know what you're thinking...this sounds too complex for early elementary-age students, right? It's actually something students take to fairly quickly. Seesaw is an amazing tool for even the youngest learners in our classrooms.

Here are some different ways you may find value in this tool:

  1. Parent Communication and Engagement: If you want an easy way to share newsletters, announcements, and even student work quickly and painlessly, this tool is for you!
  2. Evidence of Student Progress: SeeSaw can be used solely by a teacher to quickly document student work in each trimester. For example, if students are working on writing upper and lower case letters, you could snap a picture of their work in each trimester, and that image is saved in the child's "Digital Portfolio." What a great way to show progress!
  3. Student Self-Reflection: Once students know how to add a piece of work to their portfolio, they can even record their voice over a worksheet to discuss what they learned! To do that, students scan a QR code in your classroom, take a picture of their work, and click the microphone button to record, When they are done, they click on their name, and the work goes off to you, the teacher, to be approved!

The benefits are endless!

One Kindergarten teacher who presents on Seesaw (Angie Gadtke for those who follow her) shows her students how to access their journal and teaches the process early on. By the fifth week of school, all of her kindergartners could log in, take a picture, add voice, and upload that item to their journal ­without help! That is empowering for students and a game changer for teachers.

A HUGE shoutout to Gloriann Heikes for training teachers on this tool last year at West! She had the honor of working with @MrsGadtke on using SeeSaw during Genius Hour. Incredible work Gloriann!

Ok, You Have My Attention, How Do I Get Started with SeeSaw?


  1. Book me, and I'll walk you through the process! We will set up your classroom, print off your QR code, download the app, and have info for parents ready to go home in their take-home folders! I'd LOVE to come into your room to help students use the app too! Whatever you need--I'm here!
  2. If you want to try to get started on your own, go to app.seesaw.me and click "I'm a Teacher." At the login screen, click "Teacher Sign In With Google." The website will allow you to use your school email address and password to register and sign in. One less password to remember! At that point, you can click your picture in the top left corner, then "+New Class" to get started. SeeSaw will walk you through the process!

More SeeSaw Resources

My SeeSaw Plan

This handy calendar has a TON of tutorials, resources, and valuable information for teachers as they navigate this exciting tool!

100 Ways to SeeSaw

A teacher-created resource for all the amazing things you can do with SeeSaw!