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Everything Must End

The last day of school... such a bittersweet day.  I am so proud of all the hard work my kiddos have done this year, and know they are ready to move on, but hate to see them go! I had a little cry walking into my classroom this morning.  I hate to see it looking so blank and empty!

 I dried my eyes and prepared myself for my last few hours of the school year.  Students are only with us until 11:46 on the last day.  When the kids came in, so did the gifts.  I was beyond spoiled.    I received so many beautiful, thoughtful gifts.

I don't think this picture does a good enough job of showing how truly MASSIVE this basket of petunias is.  They are sitting happily on my back deck, soaking up the sun.

 My home is looking a little bit like a florist shop, but that is a-ok by me!  I love having fresh cut flowers to brighten things up.  In the top-middle of the photo above is a super cute metal owl I received.  The colours go perfectly with my living room.  The flower pot was hand painted by the father of one of my students.  It's truly a gorgeous work of art.

I got a lot of cards, but my favourite one has to be this one....

I do ask them to justify everything they do.  You'd better not leave my class not knowing how to spell "because"!

Afterwards, we did classroom awards as well as the awards assembly in the gym.  I did not get any pictures of this, though I wish I had.  I was too busy either holding back tears or crying.  We said goodbye to our principal and kindergarten teacher who are retiring.  Another bittersweet moment.

After lunch we had time to clean up our classrooms.  I had finished that task yesterday (as evidenced by the photos above!) so Crystal and I got down to a little planning for the start of next year.

That being said, I am so excited for Summer break.  I am in dire need of some rest and relaxation.  I am looking forward to some hot days, cool drinks and books on the back deck. 

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Using Technology to Support Student Learning

This year, one of my goals has been to increase the amount of technology use in my classroom.  It all started with two students who used ipads for adapted work.  I use the Clicker apps by Cricksoft almost daily in my classroom.  They've changed the way I teach for a lot of students.  The apps are expensive, but very much worth the cost.  I highly recommend looking into them.

Click to head to Cricksoft's website.

If it feels overwhelming to create Clicker books on each and every topic, they've a lot of really good basics already created for you to download.  I've created articles for many topics, and have my entire body systems articles available on TpT.  I share one of the articles in the video below.



My administration saw the success I was having in my classroom getting students to access grade level curriculum when they weren't able to in other ways, and getting non-writers to write.  Six more ipads were purchased for my classroom.  That's when things were able to really get going!  By having the ability to allow technology to all it normalized it in the classroom.  Those who felt "different" by using it didn't feel that way any longer.  The options for tasks increased dramatically by having access to so many ipads.

That's when this short article came out on our district website:

As technology use continues to grow in our schools, we are always looking at effective ways to use it to benefit all students. Walking into Angela Gatt’s grade 4 class, her creativity and UDL approach to using technology was immediately apparent. Students were working in small groups researching a variety of Canadian explorers. Some students were looking up information from a text book; others were using ipads to access online materials, while others were reading text that Angela had made into a Clicker Book on an ipad. Clicker Books can read text aloud while highlighting words to support struggling readers.  Every student in her class was engaged in the assignment.

At the beginning of the year, two of Angela’s students were using Clicker apps on ipads to support their reading and writing. She used 6 way headphone splitters so that more students could listen to books together, thus normalizing the use of technology in her classroom. Her school has since invested in purchasing more ipads and Clicker apps, which Angela and other teachers in the school will be able to use with their students. “Using technology in my classroom has helped to increase student engagement and deepen their understanding.  Being able to have access to apps such as Clicker Books has been an excellent way of differentiating and allowing all students to see success.”

Jennifer Salinas, who is a technology support itinerant for our district wrote this article.  What she is referring to is the explorer's research my class was doing.  Students were paired with another.  I paired them based on a variety of considerations: reading ability, neatness, work ethic, and public speaking skills.

I checked out at least 2 books on each explorer from the school or public library.  Most explorer's also had additional reading materials via the Epic app on the ipad.  This app is another amazing one!  You can find so many ebooks through this app, and it's free for educators.  Some books even read aloud to you.


The final task was to create a poster on the explorer and present it to the class.  Here's some of the finished work: 

The independence my students experienced through the help of technology was so inspiring.  I'm so grateful to be able to include it in my day to day work in the classroom.

Check out my Technology in the Classroom Pinterest board for more ideas.

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