At the end of each day this first month of school, I found myself thinking how will I help these kids become readers and writers by June? How will they learn to ask questions and find answers to their questions as researchers? How will they learn how to add and subtract this year? These are the questions that I tend to have at the beginning of every school year, but this year I found myself also asking how can I use technology to get them there?
First I panicked! Then I decided to start small. After reading a poem about clams, we used google images to look at pictures of clams. Using the smart board and google, I showed them how to type in clam and click images. Ta-dah! They were amazed! Now every time we read or discuss something unfamiliar they want to research it on google images. It got even more exciting the day we read about a panda at a panda reserve in China. I showed them how to use YouTube to watch videos of the pandas at the reserve. They couldn't believe it! Google images and YouTube have helped us to take trips to places we read about or to look up pictures of things we read about. It has been a tool that allows students learning English to see pictures of items we're talking about. The kids can see how I type in a search in google and click images even if they can't do it independently yet. And without even planning a lesson on research, they have learned how to ask questions and find answers to their questions.
What have I learned this year about teaching first grade students how to use technology? Exposure is the best place to start.