School Board/Information Websites
School Year Calendar For The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board – This is a link to the 2014-2015 School Year Calendar.
Transportation Department For The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board – This is a link to the Transportation Department Website. By clicking on this link, you will be able to find the phone number of the Transportation Department as well as the e-mail addresses of different people at the department. Please pose all bussing questions directly to this department.
Curriculum Documents – Here is a link to the Ontario Government Website. From here, you can download the curriculum expectations for all subject areas from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Parent Articles, Websites, Resources, And/Or Experiences
7 Crippling Parent Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders – My previous vice principal tweeted out this article over the Winter Break. I realize that many of the ideas in it pertain more to older students, but I think that even Grade 1’s need to learn about trying, failing, and trying again. Even as a teacher, I also find that it’s easy to “rave too quickly,” and now I’m thinking more about what this may mean for students. This article made me stop and think about my own actions in the classroom, and I’d be curious to know what you think about it as well.
Doing Mathematics With Your Child: A Parent Guide – There are lots of great suggestions in this resource of ways that you can support your child’s math learning at home and through everyday activities.
EdCamp Hamilton – Registration is now open for EdCamp Hamilton. Various stakeholders in education are coming together on Saturday, April 18th at Ancaster Senior Public School to discuss different educational topics of interest. Please consider registering and joining us on April 18th. Registration is free, and includes lunch. Hope you can come!
Reading And Writing With Your Child: A Parent Guide – There are lots of great suggestions in this resource of ways that you can support your child’s reading and writing skills at home and through everyday activities.
Literacy, Math, Science, Music, and Social Studies Websites
Basic Shapes Coding Course – We explored this course to help students understand 1:1 correspondence, skip counting, directions, and shapes (all linked to math expectations). Coding develops thinking skills as well. Have your child talk to you about his/her commands as he/she writes the code.
Google – Students are starting to learn how to use Google and Google Images to find information to support them in their current inquiries. We’re looking at how to narrow search results by being more specific. Students have found that sometimes this is easier to do than others. Try searching at home together for topics of interest. Your child can also show you how to use the microphone function to search. Read and talk about the topics and the search results, and then encourage your child to use letter-sounds and familiar words to write about these topics.
Google Earth – Students have enjoyed using Google Earth to learn more about our community. Not only can they identify important places in the community, but they can even use Street View to walk up and down different streets and see the neighbourhood all from their computer. They can always use the information and ideas from Google Earth in their writing: maybe even writing a song, poem, story, or comic strip about their community.
Google Maps – Google Maps is like a combination of Google Earth and Mapquest. It’s another great option for students to use to explore their community, and look at how to travel between places. They can use what they learn to write directions and/or create a map. They can also compare travelling by different modes of transportation, and evaluate the best option.
Hour of Code – We explored The Hour of Code in class to help students understand 1:1 correspondence and skip counting (in math). It’s great for developing thinking skills as well. Have your child talk to you about his/her commands as he/she writes the code. Students have experimented with both the Angry Birds and the LightBot activities.
Incredibox – We used this web-based program in class for students to create beats for their own songs and dance moves. Your child can even write a song at home, and add some music with the use of Incredibox.
Just Dance Webmix – The students asked me to add this website link to the class blog. They love dancing along to the songs here, and even creating their own moves in response to the music. This provides a great opportunity to work on moving to the rhythm and beat of the music. Enjoy!
Mapquest – Students started using Mapquest to figure out how to get from one location to another one. They were able to compare directions based on how they travelled (e.g., walking vs. car). They were also able to make sense of directions by sharing them in their own way. Reading directions also helped students work on decoding and comprehension skills in a meaningful way.
Math Playground Pattern Blocks – Students used this website to create their own shape pictures. They talked about the properties of these shapes as well as the number of shapes that they used. Students can use an iPad to take a photograph of their shape pictures, and put this photograph into Pic Collage or Explain Everything to tell more about it.
National Geographic For Kids – I noticed that many children are interested in animals, and they may enjoy this great non-fiction website. There is lots of information on a variety of topics, and they could even use what they learn to inspire some of their writing. Even just having the chance to talk about what they see will help with vocabulary development and oral language skills. Children may even want to develop questions or wonders for future inquiries.
Nkwiry Bookmarks On Number Art – Here is a collection of images for number art. We’ll be looking closely at this collection in class to help determine the requirements for our Art Gallery Displays.
Nkwiry Bookmarks On Structures – Here is a collection of images that will help us with our Structures Building Challenge on February 5th. We’ll be looking at these images with Ms. N.’s Grade 7 students. Use these images at home to inspire your child while he/she creates, writes about, and discusses structures.
Professor Garfield Toon Book Reader – On the Professor Garfield Website, students can read different comics. Read these comics with your child and discuss what’s happening in them too. This can be a great decoding and comprehension activity!
Raz-Kids – Students each have their own login information to this site that allows them to listen to books, record their reading, and answer comprehension questions about what they read. I will email you the details. There is a free iPad app for Raz-Kids.
Scratch – We used Scratch in class a bit this week (the second week of June). If you click on “See Examples,” your child can remix the code. Adding or changing blocks and changing values will change the program. Children can discuss what happens and why. You can find out more about Scratch learning options here.
Sight Word Activities – Sight word recognition is important for students as they continue to learn how to read. The activities on this website are of varying degrees of difficulty, but they will help students read and recognize various sight words. Children can make a list of the different words, review the letters in these words, and even write their own sentences and stories using these words.
Tinkercad – Students can build 3-D models using this online software. This is a great way to get them thinking and talk more about 3-D figures, measurement, and stable structures.
TumbleBooks – Once you click on this link, look in the bottom right-hand corner for, “Check out our TumbleBook Library.” Click there, and then choose the type of book that your child would like to listen to and see. TumbleBooks read aloud with the text, so the students can follow along with the words. When children are done listening to the stories, they can talk about what happened in the book, connections they made, and questions that they still have. Students love listening to TumbleBooks, and these books allow children to develop their listening comprehension skills.
Virtual Dinosaur Museum Tour – Students can tour through this dinosaur museum, all without leaving a computer. Encourage your child to talk about the different fossils, and even read through the information together. Students can even use the ideas here for writing.
Virtual Fridge Magnets – Students can use these Virtual Fridge Magnets to spell words, create numbers, add, subtract, and make sets (of different numbers of objects). These virtual fridge magnets provide a great opportunity for you to play with math and language at home with your child.
Virtual Library – The HWDSB Virtual Library has lots of oral storybooks and informational texts that children can enjoy at home. They can read along with the books, or even point out different letters and words that they know on the page. Your child can also use the information in the text for different writing activities. In class, they’re learning that we’re all writers, and good writers share ideas and write lots. The Virtual Library will help your child generate new ideas for writing. I will email everyone the username and password for this site.
Worm Websites – We are learning a lot about red wigglers and vermicomposting as part of our current inquiry. Here’s a link to an information page on red wigglers, and here’s a link to a short video on vermicomposting. You can even download this free Chrome Extension to have the computer read the article to you. I slowed down the speed a bit to make it easier for the children to understand. Students can then write, draw, and talk about what they learned.
ABC – Magnetic Alphabet HD For Kids – This $1.99 iPad app helps students review letters, sounds, and numbers, while also sorting objects and creating patterns. It’s a very open-ended app, where students can even create media texts, label what they made, and get excited about doing reading, writing, and math in a different way. Many thanks to our LLI Teacher, Mrs. H., for showing us this app!
ABC Magic 4 and ABC Magic 5 – These iPhone, iPod, and iPad apps allow students to practice initial sounds as they find pictures that begin with the same sound. They were suggested by our school Speech and Language Pathologist as good apps for further developing phonemic awareness skills.
Arithmaroo – This $0.99 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to work on their subitizing skills as they quickly recognize different number amounts shown in different ways.
Audio Memos – This free iPod, iPhone, and iPad app allows children to orally record discussions and stories. Discussing ideas for stories is a great way to get students excited about writing and ensuring that they have enough ideas for writing activities. This app can record the discussion, giving your child a chance to go back and listen to it before writing.
Beginning Sounds Interactive Game – This $0.99 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to sort words according to different beginning sounds. By saying the words aloud, this app also allows students to build vocabulary skills. Get your child to talk to you about why he/she is sorting the words in this way (continuing to review the letter-sounds).
Book Creator App – This app is very similar to My Story, but there’s a free version of it for the iPad. You’re limited in terms of the number of books that you can create, but at least your child can experiment with creating a digital storybook at home. This might be a fun app to use over the March Break to document daily activities.
Build With Blocks HD Lite – This free iPad app allows students to create different shape pictures. When used in conjunction with Pic Collage or Explain Everything (just take a screenshot of the picture), students can explain what they made, what shapes they used, and the properties of these shapes.
Camera App – The basic camera app (already on the iPod, iPhone, or iPad) gives students a great opportunity to document their learning (through a picture or a video). Often you can hear the thinking behind the learning.
Doodle Buddy – This free iPod, iPhone, and iPad app allows children to draw, type, and write to share their ideas. They can also create patterns using the stamps, and even tell you about the different patterns that they make. To review 1:1 correspondence and numerals to 50, try writing a number on the app, and then using the stamps to represent that number (e.g., 40 stamps for the number 40).
Explain Everything – This $2.99 iPad app allows students to write and record their thinking in different ways. We’ve used this app in class a couple of times, as students commented on different Science or Math photographs: sharing their reflections and questions. This is an app that we’ll continue to use in the classroom throughout the year.
Fantastic Dinosaurs – This $3.99 iPad app allows students to explore and learn about over 100 different dinosaurs. They can look closely at the dinosaurs, see where they fit on a timeline, compare them in weight and height to each other and to humans, and find out a lot of information about each of them (for possible follow-up writing opportunities).
Google Earth – This free iPod, iPhone, and iPad app allows students to navigate Google Earth all from their handheld devices. Read more about Google Earth under websites to find out different ways that you can use it.
Kodable – This free iPad app allows children to collect coins as they “code” various levels. The coding gets them to work on counting skills, one-to-one correspondence, and directional language.
Letter School – This $4.99 iPod, iPhone, and iPad app allows students to review the letter names and sounds, as well as proper letter formation. Students enjoy the sounds and graphics that are part of this app, and the musical tune helps some students learn letters that they may not know yet.
LightBot – This free iPad app allows children to code a robot to move in different ways. The coding gets them to work on counting skills, one-to-one correspondence, and directional language. There is a simpler version of this app that you can download here, but it costs $2.99.
Lino – We used this free iPod, iPhone, and iPad app with our reading buddies this week. Students can add text, video, or photographs to a Lino Wall sharing their thinking on various topics. You would need to create a free Lino account to make the different walls, but this could be a fun way for students to write and/or brainstorm ideas. Beginning writers can even just listen for the first and last sounds in words, while stronger writers can use familiar words and letter-sounds to share their thoughts.
Minecraft – This $7.99 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to create different structures in a virtual world. We’ve used this app in class to create places in our community, consider locations in the community, and help students apply what they’ve learned in different subject areas (e.g., links to geometry in math).
My Story – This $5.79 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to create their own digital storybooks. They can draw their own pictures on the pages, take photographs of other items to include in their books, type their ideas, and orally record their thoughts. We started using this app in class today, and students were eagerly creating their own digital storybooks.
Pic Collage – This free iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app allows students to create their own posters on the iPad. Students can add pictures, short videos, and text to explain what they created. A few students used this app with the Build With Blocks one to write about what they created and what shapes they used.
Puppet Pals HD – This free iPad app allows students to create puppet shows that they can publish and share. Not only is this app great for oral language development, but students can publish their writing by creating their own puppet show to make the story come to life. You can see some examples of these shows created by my Grade 1 students here. Please note that you can upgrade this app to get more puppet selection.
Quick Images – This $0.99 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to work on their subitizing skills as they quickly recognize different number amounts shown in different ways. Encourage your child to explain to you how he/she knew that these number amounts were correct.
Raz-Kids – This free iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app allows students to listen to books, record their reading, and answer comprehension questions about what they read. I will email you the details. There is also a website for this program.
Rhyming Bee – This free iPad app helps students sort rhyming words. I’ve used this app in some of my guided reading groups for those students that are still learning rhyming words. We talk about why students sorted the words the way that they did. They can also use the initial sound and the rhyme to read the different words.
Scratch Jr. – This free iPad app allows children to easily create their own programs using code. They can even change their background as they make various sprites move across the page in different ways or complete different tasks. Students can work on one-to-one correspondence, counting, and directional language as they write their code. Students can even make digital storybooks using Scratch Jr., which is what some of the students did today with their reading buddies.
Sentence Reading Magic (There is a Deluxe version for a $2.99 upgrade.) – This iPhone, iPod, and iPad app allows students to create sentence that are said aloud for them and read sentences that are written for them. It was suggested by our school Speech and Language Pathologist as a good app for further developing phonemic awareness skills.
Tellagami – This is the iPad app (available for iPhone and iPod too) that we used to create our Father’s Day messages. Students can create their own animated person, and type or record a special message. They may even want to use this app to share their thinking about different topics, including those that we’ve looked at in Math, Science, or Social Studies this year.
Tynker – There is a free and paid version of this app. Students can use this app for coding: allowing them to work on their 1:1 correspondence and counting skills, as well as their thinking skills. We used it in class, and I know that the students would enjoy exploring it more at home.
Voice Recorder for iPad – This $0.99 iPad app allows children to orally record discussions and stories. Discussing ideas for stories is a great way to get students excited about writing and ensuring that they have enough ideas for writing activities. This app can record the discussion, giving your child a chance to go back and listen to it before writing. It’s very similar to the Audio Memos app shared above, but has the added bonus of being able to save the recording to your Camera Roll, so that you can upload it to YouTube.
Word Wizard – This $2.99 iPhone, iPod, and iPad app, allows students to build words and sentences using different letter-sounds. I love how the app blends the sounds for students, helping them see how they go together.