Sunday, July 14, 2013

1:1 Chromebook Classroom!!!

You will love our new 1:1 Chromebooks!

I'm so excited to be able to tell all of you that we will have 1:1 Chromebooks in the fifth grade next year!  In "kid language" the term "1:1" means that in our classroom we will have enough computers for each student to have a computer to use during the school day.  The computers will be stored in our classroom and will be available whenever we need them during the day.  We will not take the computers home with us at night, but they will be recharged and waiting here for you each morning!

What, you may ask, is a Chromebook?  A Chromebook is a bit like a laptop computer, but with some important differences.  First of all they are small.  Chromebooks are about the size of a clipboard, weigh only about two pounds, and are about 3/4" thick.  When you use one you don't save your work to the computer itself, you save your work "in the cloud".  What does "in the cloud" mean?  It means that your work is stored elsewhere and not on your computer itself.  That means that you don’t need to worry about forgetting or losing your flash drive.  It means that you will be able to access your work from any computer at school, at home, the library, or your grandmother’s house!

I have been using a Chromebook quite a bit this summer and I absolutely love working with it.  The battery holds its charge for at least 6 hours which will suit us well at school.  (I suspect we will recharge them at lunchtime and again each evening.)  The size makes them perfect to carry around and use in different areas - although not outside because our wireless connection doesn’t reach very far outside the building.  I have been using Google Apps a lot and have discovered many different activities that will enhance and enrich our learning.  The possibilities are absolutely endless! In fact, to my mind, there won’t be enough time in the school year to do all that I would like to do with you using these computers!

Chromebooks are meant to be used online and we will use them a lot this year.  We will keep Interactive Reading Logs for Reading Workshop and we’ll  use Google Docs to write and publish our work in Writing Workshop.  We will use the Chromebooks in every subject area!  In science and social studies we will use them for research and to publish our learning in all sorts of interesting ways.  We will use Chromebooks to deepen our understanding of new math concepts and to help us practice our math facts.  We will be able to practice our spelling words online too.   I’m very eager to use the computers to help us to meet the challenges of the problem-based units we will take on.  More about that later : )We will have a parent meeting very early in the school year to explain how our 1:1 program will work and to answer questions parents may have about this exciting new learning opportunity.  

In the meanwhile what can you do to get ready to start the new year with this fabulous technology?  You can practice Typing Pal Online so that you have strong keyboarding skills.  This will help you be more efficient as you work on the computer.  If you have a school G-Mail account you could also work with some Google Apps such as Google Docs so that you become more familiar with the possibilities these programs offer.

I am very grateful to our wonderfully supportive school board; our principal, Karen Prescott; and our superintendent, John Castle;  for supporting this initiative and making the 1:1 Chromebooks available to our class.  We are lucky to have such a supportive community!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

To My New Fifth Grade Class and A Supply List

Welcome! I am looking forward to having you in class!  I have heard many lovely things about each of you and am eager to get to know all of you better.  We will work hard, but I know that we will learn a lot and that we will become a supportive classroom community.

In order to prepare for fifth grade you will need to complete some summer reading.  I would like you to read at least TWO different books.  One of these books should be written by an author on the attached list; the other author can be your choice.  You will receive extra credit if you read more than two books.  Remember to choose a book that is “just right” for you - not too easy, not too hard.

You need to be an active reader, even in the summer. Since we will be continuing Reading Workshop in the fifth grade, I am asking you to identify characters, describe the setting, summarize each book you read, and make some connections - Text to Text, Text to Self, or Text to World.  Then draw a picture of your favorite scene from the book.   On the first day of school, you will need to turn in your completed Summer Reading Logs.  We will be using these in class.  

On the back of this letter is information about personal school supplies for next year AND a classroom wish list in case any of you would like to make donations.

If you have lost your copy of the Summer Reading Journal please go to my Helpful Documents to Download page. You will see the tab for my Helpful Documents page displayed at the top of this page.


Grade 5 Suggested Student Supplies 2013 - 2014

The school will provide general classroom supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, rulers, paper, glue, markers, and colored pencils.   You are welcome to bring in your own personal supplies if you wish.

Personal student supplies needed:

1 - 2½ “ binder with dividers
An assignment book
A  LOT of sticky notes for Reading Workshop
Pencil box or pouch
Flash drive
Optional locker organizer

Classroom Wish List

Duct tape
Sticky notes for Readers’ Workshop
Colored Flair felt tipped markers
Wausau Paper Astrobrights Colored Paper, 24lb, 8-1/2 x 11, 500 Sheets/Ream
Washi tape in any color or print
Bean Bag “chairs” for our Reading Nook