Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lucky with Technology

Hello everyone! I am SO honored to be a part of this great blog Hilary has put together! Before I jump into things, I will share a few things about myself so we get over this "first date feeling"!

 I'm Molly & I blog over at Lucky to Be in First.  I live in the Bay Area and I'm in my 11th year of teaching.  I've always taught 1st grade & truly hope that they'll allow me to forever! I love the "aha" moments of first grade!
I have a super rad family, an amazing fiance, and I love to dance and read.  Peanut Butter M&Ms are my weakness and I wouldn't eat an orange if you paid me a million dollars!  

I am super nerdy about techie things.  I love gadgets and incorporating technology tools into the classroom.  

Like many others, I've used Listening Centers in my classroom for years.  Not only is listening to a fluent model an important part of a balanced literacy program, it is also one of the few times you can get a first grader to be quiet!

For years, I spent countless money and burned through Scholastic points to curate a collection of Listening Center books and tapes.  Fast forward to 2014 and kids have no idea what a tape is, making those expensive Listening Center sets near obsolete!
I always chuckle when I see this picture on Pinterest because it's so true! 

Since the dawn of iPods, kids seriously have no idea how to use a Walkman! I felt like I spent a great deal of my Daily 5 time showing kids how to press play, stop and flip the tape over to rewind {which is a totally strange concept anyway!}

Well one day...genius struck! I realized I needed to get iPods into the classroom because kids are so familiar with them! So, I begged asked my principal to buy me some iPods. He was able to order one, which is awesome, but definitely not enough to keep those little ones quiet! 

Genius struck again...I asked parents to donate their old iPhones so we could use them as iPods during Daily 5 time! I strategically campaigned for these old iPhones just as parents were upgrading to the iPhone 5.  :)
Here's how I store my iPods for Daily 5 use. I found these adorable mini-caddies in the Dollar Spot at Target and fancied them up with the Silhouette.  Run NOW and get these mini caddies.  They are incredibly hard to find.  I was at Target on Friday and loaded up with 10 extras {just in case!} 

We had a big lesson on how to take care of the iPods.  
This year I splurged {at the Dollar Tree!} to get everyone their very own pair of earbuds.  They're very fancy!
Did you know that you can order online at the Dollar Tree? These sparkly little gems came in their very own cases.  So, we had a lesson about how to properly take care of your earphones.  I warned the kids that if anything happens to their earbuds, Listening Centers are off limits for them! Harsh, I know.  However, every single one of the earbuds are still in excellent shape! 

Now, I'm not gonna lie - it was a HUGE time commitment to convert all of my tapes to mp3s, but it was SO worth it! It's a super simple process, just time consuming.  Really, all you need to do is plug the converter into your computer, press play on the tape, let it play out and select "convert to mp3" once it's done. It then automatically loads it into iTunes! 

To do this, I bought the ion Tape Express.  Oddly, I found it at Kohl's, but they do sell it on Amazon. Click the picture to see it on Amazon. 
I also spent a little time organizing my library on iTunes in the hope that it would make using the iPods a little simpler for the kids.

I only put the Music app on the dock so the kids wouldn't be distracted by anything! 
For each story, I added the cover photo so it would be easier for the non-readers to find! 
When they find the story, they simply tap the title and snuggle up with the book! 
As I said, it was a laborious project, but it was totally worth it! 

Occasionally, I ask my students to fill out a response to the book.  
Click on the picture to check out some listening logs!  
  

I hope you'll visit me over at Lucky to Be in First
Have any questions about this? Email me at molly@luckytobeinfirst.com and I'll do my best to help! 



41 comments:

  1. Wow! That is awesome! I would have never thought of that! I wonder if I can get parents to donate their old iphones!
    Hilary
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

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    1. I'm thinking the same thing! Got my wheels turning now! Thanks for sharing Molly! Hilary Lewis

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    2. Great! I am so glad that you're inspired :)

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  2. Thanks for this post! I am a 1:1 classroom that unfortunately still has some tapes. This is exactly what I needed! Looks like the ion Tape Express formats into .wav file - did you convert to mp3s? Also, how did you add the cover art? Thanks for any add'l info you can provide!!
    http://malchowsreflections.blogspot.com/

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    1. Fantastic! I don't know what the file is (I just know that it opened up & worked in iTunes!) I'm trying to find the extension, but it isn't showing up! As for the cover art, I simply googled images and saved to my desktop. Once you're in iTunes, there are just a few steps: Control Click the Song -- Get Info -- Click on Artwork tab -- Add image (which is saved wherever you put it!) Again, a little laborious, but SO necessary for the littles!

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  3. Well I now have my winter project! I'm on the hunt for this converter. Thanks for the great idea!

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    1. Great! Can't go wrong with trusty Google :)

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  4. Love it! I have been streaming YouTube video stories into QR Codes. The kids love it! I also had donations of old iPhones/iPods and have two iPads from the school. I struggled with how to implement in a first grade classroom. I love this idea and though it's time upfront, it's time well spent! Thanks for the ideas, organization, and reponse sheets!

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    1. P.S. I LOVE your last name! :)

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    2. You are so welcome! I love the independence it's given my kids! {And to make the name thing even stranger...you and my mom share a name!}

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  5. What a great idea! I am down to four discman type CD players in my independent listening station. (And a bag full of non-working players.) I have asked for donations of these little CD players, but I don't think anyone has them any more. They just might have old cell phones!
    Linda
    KinderDoodles

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    1. Those CD players are just as frustrating as tapes! Fingers crossed you get the iPhones!

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  6. Amazing how great updated technology is! I do the same thing in my room, except we have a few old iPods I have had donated. I use the free program "Audacity" to change my tapes to wav and then mp3s.... The program is free and all you need is to be able to connect your tape p,Ayer to your computer. It was well worth the time it takes to transfer the tapes!

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    1. Wow - what a great resource! I'm definitely bookmarking that! Thank you!

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  7. Wow, what an awesome idea! This is labor-intensive, but I definitely see the value in the hard work! Not only is it easier for the students to use, but they each get to listen at their own rate, rewind/pause if they need to, etc. Plus, then I can get rid of those annoying tapes and CDs in my listening center crates that keep falling out and bulking up the files! Thanks so much!

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  8. I love your post!! How did you get the cover photos?? I was given a HUGE listening center tape library and I too invested in the converter but I have not figured out how to organized them so nice and certainly get a cover photo!! That would be great!

    Chelsea
    http://kickinitwholebrainintexas.blogspot.com/2014/01/second-grade-math-maniac-mystery-box.html

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    1. Yay, Chelsea! You're so close! For the cover art, I simply googled images and saved to my desktop. Once you're in iTunes, there are just a few steps: Control Click the Song -- Get Info -- Click on Artwork tab -- Add Image (which is saved wherever you put it!) Again, a little laborious, but SO necessary for the littles!

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  9. Ohhhhh...this is awesome! I literally have about 80-90 books on tape and this would free up a lot of space! Thanks for the post. Gonna get started on those iPhone donations!

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    1. Wow - you have LOTS of work ahead of you, but it will definitely be worth it when you're done :)

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  10. I love this idea! A great way to get technology into the classroom. I agree it does take awhile to familiarize the students with the cd/tape player. Thanks for all the info about how to convert the songs and add pics. I'm totally sharing this with my Kindergarten team!

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    1. Yay! So glad I could help, Brittany!

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  11. I don't know how I stumbled upon this, but I am so glad I did! Great post!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Shanon! Glad it was helpful :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing the listening responses. :) I have trouble asking for things like glue sticks and paper... I can't believe you got the iphones! Those are some pretty amazing parents you've got there. :) One thing to be cautious of: In my district I asked a question about using a converter to switch my huge listening library of tapes over to cds or mp3 fles and the tech department FREAKED. They sent someone over in person to tell me about lawsuits against other school districts involving teachers who had done the same thing. I told them that it didn't even occur to me since I owned all the tapes! They said that it didn't matter, if the same book was available in another format, then it had to be purchased not copied. Yeesh! I was just asking... :( Anyway, it was a shocker for me, so I thought I'd give you a heads up so you don't get any nasty surprises or flack.

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    1. Thanks so much - I will definitely check in with the right people about this! Never even crossed my mind!

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  13. I love this idea and know I have even a reason to upgrade my phone.

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  14. This is an awesome idea!! I hope that I get a classroom soon so I can use these. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! Start collecting now & you'll be all ready as soon as you get your own room!

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  15. How did you get the #'s on the screens? Great idea!

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  16. How did you use another person's phone and put the books on there? I'm not a tech savy person! Thanks for your advice!!

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  17. Can you explain how you got only the music app on the dock -- with nothing else on the screen?

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  18. Can you explain how you were able to get only the music app on the dock -- with nothing else on the screen?

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  19. Such a great idea! Did you ever run into any trouble with using your itunes account on more than 5 devices? How many phones were you able to set up doing this? Such an innovative idea! LOVE IT!

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  20. Hey! I just did the same thing for my sweet first graders, BUT my art work (the google image of the book cover that I put in as the art work) will not show up in my "song" list. It only shows the titles and then my kids must click on the title to see the art work (book cover). It would be SUPER helpful if my kiddos could see the cover BEFORE selecting the book, as it looks like yours can. Any advice?!
    Emily

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