Friday, April 20, 2012

Our wonderful PTA bought me an iPad this year. I'm busy looking for good educational apps to help by young learners with reading. So far, my favorite app company is Grasshopper Apps. They have story apps and apps for learning rhymes and sight words and more. The first thing I notice is their bright colorful photos in their story apps called "I Like..." Children can listen to the story or read on their own. If they choose to read on their own and get stuck on a word, no problem. Just click on the word and it is read to them. Another great feature is that children can record themselves reading the text. I had my 2nd graders record a story and then had my first graders listen to the story. It was a great way to get the students reading with some expression. They even have an app so you can make your own book! I haven't tried it yet but I hope to do one before the end of the year. The sight word app can be customized with your own words and voice. I had my first graders record the words instead of me. :) In all the apps there are many ways to customize actions to fit your needs. I find "You're great! Awesome!" repeated after every correct response really annoying but it's easy to turn it off. They offer many free apps. If you haven't checked them out be sure to do so!
 "I choose to see possibilities and opportunities in these times because to do less would be to give up and admit defeat as an educator." This is a quote by my friend, Kevin Honeycutt. I just ran across the quote this week and it's turning my attitude around. You see, I've been in a negative rut all year. I'm frustrated with the amount of testing and test prep we're putting our poor kids through in NY. I'm focusing on  how many years to retirement. Basically, I've given up, admitted defeat. I realize now I need to change my attitude and make sure I don't become that grumpy old teacher everyone is waiting for to retire. I'm lucky, as a reading teacher I don't have to do all the test prep materials. I can plan my own lessons. It's time for an attitude adjustment! To help with this adjustment I'm going to be presenting at Podstock this year. I can't wait to be surrounded by all the positive people and energy for three whole days. I'll admit I'm nervous about presenting but I also know that I'll be working hard on my presentation materials and it will be ok. So, here's to attitude adjustment time!