Saturday, January 24, 2015

Utilizing Downtime Like a Techie

Hi!  This is Autumn from The Primary Techie.  I am so excited to be blogging for Who's Who and Who's New today.  I am a first grade teacher and a techie wannabe.  Several years ago, my school bought smartboards for some of our classrooms.  I didn't know exactly how to use it, but I knew that I wanted to.  I started making resources that utilize my board and they have changed the way I teach.  I am so much more effective with my board than I was before it.  One of the areas that my board definitely helped me with was downtime.  You know those three minutes when you are waiting to go to lunch?  When you are on the phone with the office?  When you need to give immediate attention to a student and the rest of the troops need to fend for themselves?  These little moments happen every day, but they really add up.  I don't want this downtime for two reasons; #1) Our time at school is valuable and we don't want to waste it.  #2) When my firsties are not engaged, problems arise.  By keeping kids focused and engaged, almost all behavior issues vanish.

To fill these little moments, I use digital flash cards.  I call them "more FLASH less CARDS" because they are more exciting than flash cards.  They have sound effects and animations.  Most of my more FLASH less CARDS have three speeds to choose from - click to advance (you must click to go to the next), auto advance (they will go by themselves at a slower rate), quick advance (they go by themselves at a fast pace for a fun challenge).

I pin these resources directly to my desktop.  This helps me find them quickly.  At the beginning of every school year, I find a couple "little techies".  These are the kids who are a little more mature and problem solvers.  I teach them where our resources are saved and how to open them.  We practice this as a class.  I teach the little techies how to open and run each resource and I teach the class what they should be doing when these are on.  I have many versions of these digital flash cards.  I have sight words, letters, subitizing, and more.

 When the phone rings, I just say "Dolch Speed Read" and one of my little techies will go open dolch speed read flash cards for me.  This keeps my little guys focused and lets me do what I need to without worrying about them getting bored.  (Bored=Naughty!)  They are so well-trained that I have even had to step out of the room for a minute and come back to find them doing this.  These are open-ended so you don't need to actually "finish".  You can just stop it when you are ready to move on.
This has made such a difference in my room!  I hope that you can use this idea to help fill those little moments of downtime in your own classroom.  You can click on the images below to check out some of the more FLASH less CARDS in my store.

I am absolutely passionate about teaching in engaging and fun ways.  I want my kiddos to have so much fun that they don't realize they are learning.  Stop by The Primary Techie blog to read more!
Until next time,


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