Saturday, December 17, 2005

Memory Loss-Mine, Not the Handhelds

What’s the one thing I would have changed about this first year utilizing handhelds in my classroom? I would have wanted a fellow grade level teammate to also have a set to work with. In the past, I would plan lessons with one of my fellow 4th grade teachers closely and this worked out great when we were sharing one of our mobile laptop computer labs. Having someone to play with, and toss ideas with, enables both teachers to develop better ideas and incorporate the technology into existing lessons. Being the only 4th grade teacher with handhelds still allowed me to plan lessons with the rest of my team, but the immediate thought of using handhelds in a lesson wasn’t as automatic as in the past with the laptops. Nobody else was aware of what programs I had and the capabilities of the handhelds.

One program from GoKnow that was an “oh my gosh I forgot I had that” occurred during a reading lesson. I was getting ready to photocopy KWL (What I know, What I want to know, What I learned) charts for my students when I remembered that I had iKWL on the Tungsten T5s. In less than 20 minutes, I taught my students how to utilize the program for their reading activity. One thing I love about the program is that students develop a word list of 10 words they associate with the topic being studied. This word list then appears when they are forming sentences for the different portions of their KWL. When they get to the W section, a list of question words and common words appears at the top of the screen, and they can just click on the words with their stylus and have them appear in their questions.

I did have two students who were out of the classroom when I taught the iKWL program. I didn’t have to worry about teaching it to them, they learned from classmates. I love watching students help each other when problems arise.