Sunday, April 29, 2012

Visting Lincoln Elementary School

When we visited Lincoln Elementary School, I did not know what to expect. I am not an elementary education major, so my focus has never really been on elementary environments. Usually when I think about using technology and collaborative tools in the classroom, I am thinking of a high school classroom; however, the day we visited Lincoln, my attitude immediately changed.
Ms. Nelson showing us the i-Pods

Students on classroom computers

3rd graders reading during stations

The children at Lincoln are very privileged to have Colleen Nelson as a teacher-librarian at the school. Ms. Nelson showed us around the building and high-lighted different areas that are using technology to help students learn and communicate. One classroom of students were using I-pods for vocabulary practice, as well as spelling work. Several other students were using desktop computers to work through reading, language and vocabulary. These were 3rd graders, and they would work through "stations" during the day to practice various skills. I thought the 3rd grade classroom was the most interested, because of these stations. The students would be rotating through different activities, using computers, I-pods, and regular, non-technological activities, to practice all kinds of skills. What I really liked about this classroom was that there was a huge emphasis on using various reading strategies, including schema, questioning, visualizing, monitoring and fix-up, and inferring. As a future English and reading teacher (and I will be endorsed 5-12, so I may very well teach elementary), it is SO exciting to see what real students are doing in classrooms today.

The trip to Lincoln changed my thinking about elementary schools and students. Even though these kids are young, they have a lot of potential for creativity and understanding, and using technology and collaborative tools  is helping them to think more deeply about the subjects they're learning about. I'll think twice the next time before I make assumptions about elementary kids!

This video shows other examples of how technology is changing the way elementary kids do school!

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