Reflections on Technology Projects with Second Graders

I just finished teaching second grade in summer school, and thought I would share some ideas and examples for using technology with this aged student: (click on the links for examples)

You can also check out the blog I used for the class here.


slideshowpic.gifSlide Shows
Using Max Show, you can create slide shows on most any subject. It’s great for writing, oral language (have kids present their final project), and reviewing a topic. Here’s some examples of China, Egypt, and Habitat slide shows.

Reflection:

It took us about 6 days (30 min. per day) to complete and present all the shows. They absolutely loved this project and were very proud of their work. I found allowing them to use a study sheet and to have list of topics for each slide (For the countries it was buildings, inventions, language, location, climate, land/plants, and food) really helped them know what to write about. I think it would have gone a lot faster if we’d had a bigger chunk of time at each sitting to work…45 min. would have been ideal. With 30 min, once they got on a role, it was time to stop.


sc-si.jpgConcept Maps (Life Cycle and Water Cycle)
We read some nonfiction passages about frogs and the water cycle. Then, we created Frog Life Cycle and Water Cycle illustrations using the computer.

Reflection:

This activity is included in kidspiration already…so there was no prep. It took us 30 min. to complete (one computer lab period).


g-ie.jpgGraphs
For this activity, I created a template in Graph Club and had the students open it off the K drive. I took a tin of coins and had each student use a spoon to scoop out some. Then they opened the coin graph template, graphed their results, and wrote about their findings, making sure to include a total amount of coins and sentences using the words “more” and “less.” We made sure to use the “save as” command to save their graph under their own name.

Reflection:

This lesson took about 45 min. since I had to go around and check each student’s total. I would have loved to use the laptops with this, but the program wasn’t available on them. Maybe we should look into purchasing it! *This activity is based on a Marylin Burns Activity (Math for All Means: Money).


Maps
I did two things with maps during this time. We read Horrible Harry Goes To Sea, which has a few chapters that talked about the characters’ ancestors. I created a Google Earth file with the names of the characters and the places their ancestors had been as a way to review the first two chapters. The kids loved it and wanted to look up their own places. So, on another day, I gave them each a notecard. I pulled down the classroom map and had them write down a place and why it was important to them. Many of them did 2 or 3 places. I plotted their place, with their pictures, on a Google Maps (which also allows you to open the file in Google Earth). I used this on the last day with the laptops as a fun way to end our time together. They loved looking at their own places as at each others…and were very surprised when they found me on the map too!

Reflection:

Older students could create map files themselves…and I would be happy to create a file for your class if you give me the list of places!


Podcasts
We recorded stories that we wrote on an iPod. After the first day, I assigned the job of recording stories to a student. He would pull each child out and record their stories. The first few times we did this, we listed closely to the podcasts and came up with suggestions for making the writing better (starting the sentences differently, using more details, etc). Then I used this as a center–students listened and commented on each other’s recordings.

Reflection:

This took a lot of time…if you do this activity, I would recommend trying to do one story each six weeks. Students could compare their progress as the year progresses.


Blog
I am so glad that I decided to use a blog to post student work. The kids figured out how to sort categories and comment quickly, and especially liked that they could click on their initials and see all of their work examples in one place. I used Bubbleshare to make a quick slide show of one of their projects, and they loved it.


Hope that gives you some ideas and examples. If you are just beginning to introduce technology in your first/ second grade classroom, I recommend starting with the quick activities already built into Kidspiration and Graph Club. I would also be happy to help you design an activity…feel free to contact me!

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