Christine Pinto, Kindergarten Teacher, Arcadia Unified

G Suite gives Littles a platform to create and share


Today we have a guest blog post from Christine Pinto, a Kindergarten teacher for Arcadia Unified in Southern California and the founder of the hashtag #GAfE4Littles. As an advocate for the CAN mindset and believer in empowering students to be creative critical thinkers, we've partnered with Christine to share how Google tools can be used to support little learners.
 


My name is Christine Pinto and I teach kindergarteners. It is truly an exciting time to be an educator because of all the resources and learning tools available that we can bring to students. Technology is becoming more readily available in the classrooms and not just in a lab that is shared with the whole school. There are many resources that are free - G Suite being one of them. I am fortunate to have a class set of Chromebooks that lives in a cart in my classroom for my Littles to use.




G Suite gives my Littles a platform to create and share what they know about the skills they are learning in school. Our youngest learners are definitely still learning the basic skills of school, such as identifying letters and numbers. However, they are still capable of producing with skills they do have. It becomes a matter of scaffolding for the kids. G Suite has a ton of icons that are the same across the various Google Apps, like the image icon to insert a picture and the paint can to change the color of an object. The kids can understand that an icon is like a button, when you click on it, it does something! They use the tools within the apps to create visuals that portray their understanding of a concept.

One of the first activities my Littles do is through exploring in Google Drawings. They take a selfie of themselves, and insert shapes, and change the color of the shapes. Kids who know how to spell words can insert Word Art to include words that describe themselves. I have my kids start with this activity because they are becoming familiar with icons that they will be using frequently. Additionally, when you give kids space to explore a new tool the first go around, they will be able to focus on a specific activity using the same tool the next time they use it.




As the year goes on, the kids have acquired more skills (content knowledge and digital literacy) and are able to create more on their own and drive their own learning. The learning and producing doesn’t always have to be done with technology either, but perhaps a combination of using digital resources and a hands-on medium (paper/pencil, drawing, painting, etc). For one of the science learning goals, the kids had to make observations and find patterns about what plants and animals need to survive. Over the course of several days the kids chose an animal to learn more about, took notes by listening to videos, shared in small groups about the facts they acquired and contributed to a checklist chart, made interpretations as a whole class about the data collected in the chart, and painted a picture of the animal they studied along with its habitat and what it eats.



The kids used their Chromebooks to access factual videos on animals that I provided for them in Google Classroom. The rest was completed with paper, pencil, and painting! The beauty of this project, was that the kids chose an animal they wanted to learn more about and worked at their own pace. Integrating technology is about finding a balance that works for our students. To learn more about the Animal Studies project that I shared about, check out this blog post.

Kids deserve opportunities to explore and create with multiple learning tools, technology being one of them. They are capable of independently logging into their devices and accessing their digital assignments, they just need teachers who believe in them and to provide them with the opportunities to produce with technology. I am looking forward to sharing in Texthelp’s Google Tools for Little Learners Webinar. During the webinar, I will also be providing information on the behind the scenes part of how to setup devices so that the kids are ready to use Google Apps along with some English Language Arts focused activities. You can find more of my resources at christinepinto.com and connect with me on Twitter: @Pintobeanz11


 

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