A Sneak Peek- Creation Tools for Littles: 2/26/2021

Many people believe that creating with our youngest learners in elementary school is a task that cannot be conquered. They think it takes too much time and end up having our youngest students only consume using tech tools. Every time, I hear these sentiments, I want to stop the person speaking and correct them. Yes, creating with our littles using technology can be a difficult task, but it is not insurmountable. Like any task, it requires scaffolding a little at a time. Tomorrow, I will be presenting a BRAND new session, Creation Tools for Littles at CAPCUE Survivor at 12 noon EST. Yes, I am VERY excited! You can register for FREE at this link. But for my blog fans, here's a sneak peek to get you started.

Building a Foundation

When I first became a technology specialist, I referred to my kindergarten classes as wack-a-mole session. I would run from student to student, putting out fires. It was exhausting and all I was trying to do was get them to log in. Have you been to that movie? Well, I wasn't a fan. One morning, as I drove to work, I was listening to the Ten Minute Teacher Podcast and Vicki Davis was interviewing Pana Asavavatana. Pana discussed how using icons helped her students to better use their classroom iPads. It put handles on their learning.

So I started using icons to teach my students how to use technology. I included icons in morning messages. We would discuss each icon and identify them. This new knowledge helped my students build independence. I created a word wall that I added to each week as our icon vocabulary increased. Even my older students started noticing and making connections.

The following year encouraged my the progress I had seen, I started adding these icons to my learning objectives. I integrated Whole Brain teaching strategies and made signs to help my students make even more connections. To save time, I adapted my morning meeting into a sequence of icons to guide student work and hung these sequences up around my room, so that all students could see it.

The Language of Initiative

Once this foundation was in place, I began to consider my actions when students needed help. Was I going in and rescuing them immediately? Was I asking questions that promoted them thinking? Was I conveying that I knew that they had the answer within them. These thoughts came during a presentation that I attended by Ron Ritchart and the Cultures of Thinking. Could I use these icons to have my youngest learners "do most of the thinking?"

Adding in Video

Getting my students to "do most of the thinking" became important to me. It took me away from putting out fires and allowed me to connect more with students. During the 2019-2020 school year, I started using Shapegrams with my students. My students loved learning how to create using Google Drawings using Tony Vincent's program. As my students participated in this, less students were asking for less help. When I looked at their behaviors, I noticed that many students would revisit Tony's videos several times to learn a new skill, some would collaboratively problem solve, while other might ask a classmate for help.

So I started adding in videos to support their learning, if my students could click on a video link in Google Classroom, they could watch a process more than once. This empowered them and allowed me time to connect with them.

Want to learn more about creation tools for littles? Tomorrow , I will be sharing this and more during my CAPCUE session at 12 PM EST. Learn all about the four tech tools I recommend for littles and easy ways to integrate them into your primary classroom. Stay after my first session and enjoy another brand new session at 1 PM EST based on my upcoming book, TRANSFORM: TechyNotes to Make Learning Sticky. Want a sneak peak of that one, check out what Liv's Seashells author, Jillian DuBois had to share about it.