Category Archives: Websites

Documentation in the Digital Age

When coming from intermediate, junior and even primary grades into kindergarten, one really has to check what their expectation of “work” means. As teachers, we’re so used to children being able to express themselves through writing that it is easy to imagine what you’re going to grade. The kindergarten program, though … you need to get really creative. Giving a test? A project? Not really a thing in kindergarten.

My expectations for assessment have gone out the window since arriving in the kindergarten program. Anecdotal evidence has become my thing. Everything that the kids do is accompanied by my notes on what they did. But what can that look like in kindergarten?

Well, last year, it culminated in a lot of paper notes. I made quick and easy charts and wrote everything that the kids were saying. My teaching partner and I would sit down together at the end of the day and compare notes, and discuss what the kids had been learning about. By February, though, I had discovered that that was probably not the most effective use of the talents that I have, which is that I’m pretty techy – I began experimenting with a variety of apps (and really loved Sesame Snap), but hadn’t really gotten it down by June. So when I got a new kindergarten classroom this year, and found out that I was going to be running it all by myself, without an early childhood educator, I had to buckle down and rethink the way that I look at documentation.

I had to start by thinking: what is the most effective way that I can document? To really come down to that, though, I considered a few thing: first of all, I’m not exactly a quick writer, and found that I was struggling to really to quote the students directly because I couldn’t keep up with how quickly they spoke; second of all, my school board is moving towards using Google Apps for Education, and I wanted to join in on the fun; I also needed to find the quickest and most effective way to organize all of this documentation in a way that would make it easy for me to not only find it, but reflect on it and share it with parents; and finally, I’m pretty technically inclined, so why not use that to my advantage? Continue reading Documentation in the Digital Age

Qui suis-je?

http://en.akinator.com
http://en.akinator.com (Photo credit: mazita.)

After spending a whole day playing with my classes on Akinator, I need to share it. We had such a great time, and it was an amazing way to practice our French skills.

For the past month, my students and I have been learning various ways to describe our friends. It’s been fantastic, but I wanted a way that we could get together to actually put them into practice, while reading and speaking. We played “Qui suis-je?” together a few times, and the students had fun doing it, but it could only be played for so many rounds together. That’s when I found Akinator.

Akinator, called “the Web Genius”, is a website where a genie asks various questions to try to guess the person that you are thinking of. I’d say that as long as you answer the questions truthfully, he manages to guess it every time. The only time that we ran into problems was when we weren’t quite sure enough of the answer so we guessed – and then although he tried to recover, he couldn’t always figure out who we were referring to. We did it as a class, which was a lot of fun. They have this website in multiple languages, but to practice for Core French, we used the French site. We had a great time doing it, and the whole class participated with a lot of enthusiasm.

I highly suggest using it to integrate technology and reading into your Core French curriculum. It enabled us to practice the various vocabulary that we had been learning about for the past month in a very practical way, because you had to know how to read the question properly to be able to answer it. Even if it’s just to use as a practice for students, it’s well worth it. They’re always amazed by the outcome, and love to try and trip him up (which doesn’t happen easily, trust me).

And hey! They also have an app for iPhones and iPods, which is always a fun activity to have on there. Watch people in amazement as they try to confuse him.