Whew! It has been a crazy start to the school year! After teaching 2nd and 3rd grade at the same school for 21 years, this year I made a change…a big change. I moved to a new STEM school that opened in our district, and I moved to 1st grade. Our school is the Barbara Morgan STEM Academy and we are the “Roaring Rockets!” Let me be the first to tell you that there is a WORLD of difference between a 2nd grader and a 1st grader! It felt like it took me the first 2 months just to get my feet on the ground and moving forward at a steady pace. October was exciting for our class, we won a grant for 6 iPads, and a second grant for $5000 of digital courseware. Until this year my students have had minimal technology exposure. We spent the next 4 weeks muddling through introducing them to apps, online tools, and usernames & passwords, and usernames & passwords, and more usernames & passwords. When you are 6 years old and barely reading, even a list of your usernames and passwords can be a mountain of a challenge. Once November came, I began to notice a change in my students. Some were really beginning to fly with reading, and some were finally able to log onto computers, get on the internet, and find our class web site….all on their own! Primary teachers will understand what a milestone this is. And now, as December is flying by, I have most of my class logging onto computers, our class website, Edmodo, Math programs, Reading programs, and Discovery Education – daily! We are Skyping regularly, and they made their first digital book this week in small groups using our iPads, AND without adult help! They can take pictures, and video and audio record. Every day I watch them gain confidence and skills. Watching young children discover reading is amazing. Earlier this week, one of my most academically struggling and shy students, came back from Thanksgiving break and couldn’t wait to share a song with the class he had written. He stood up in front of all 22 students, and sang his new song…after requesting that it be video taped for kids in other schools to also see. To see the confidence of a 6 year old who knows that he has something valuable to share with the world – is truly magical. Houston…we have lift off!!
I can’t wait to see where my 1st Grade Roaring Rockets will be next month!