Technology and 5 year olds

As a Transitional Kindergarten teacher, I begin the year in August with a room full of 4 year olds and by the beginning of December my whole class has turned 5.  It is such a fun and exciting age to teach but this year I wrote two grants to get some additional technology into my classroom.

At the beginning of the year I got an iPad.  As soon as it arrived, the kids wanted me to load all kinds of games that their parents or siblings had on ones at home.  I had to quickly explain that this iPad was special for school and we were only going to put certain games on it.  I spent hours with my husband looking at suggestions online, downloading and playing games to figure out ones that my little guys would enjoy.  I created folders to hide apps that I didn’t want the kids to get into and created a page with all the apps for them.  We had long talks about how to use the iPad.

And then I sat it out on the table.  The first 4 days it was a big hit and I had to set up a 10 minute rotation for it.  Then, it just sat one day.  No one touched it.  A few weeks went by with hardly anyone wanting to use it.  I wondered why so I began to assign kids a day to play on the iPad so that everyone got a turn.

Then just two weeks ago, after all the birthday celebration was done, I had a little hand touch my arm during free choice time and request that I bring the iPad out for them to use.  I gladly pulled it out and sat it at our little green table.

I watched in awe as 4 kids gathered around the table and played together for over 45 minutes.  Not one mean, harsh word spoken or argument at all!  I was amazed.

The next day, I again had students requesting the iPad to come out and so we set it up at the little green table and four kids sat for over 45 minutes playing.   This scenario played out like this everyday until winter break.

I’m not sure what clicked for those kids.  There was nothing new or exciting added to the iPad during the fall months, but perhaps some growth from turning 5 helped to play a part.

What I do know is that the technology in our room is growing and kids are getting excited about what they can do with it!

A Christmas Joy

Christmas is such a fun time in our house.  We are busy with Christmas activities at church, shopping, baking, school events, touring Christmas lights, and evenings watching our favorite Christmas movies.  Yet, each Christmas morning, my greatest joy comes in the laughs, giggles, and now squeals of delight that our girls ring out after opening a gift.

This year was no different, except for one gift.  Our oldest daughter loves One Direction.  She had told us twice that she really wanted another CD to which our response was that we knew.  Little did she know, I had already purchased it and had it hiding away!  So, when wrapping this gift, I didn’t want her to automatically know it was a CD.  I took a big shirt box, taped the CD to the bottom and then filled the box with black yarn!

Now, if you know my daughter, she LOVES yarn as she knits.  If was perfect!  Christmas morning she chose this special box to be her second present to open.  Her father and I just smiled as she simply stated that she had gotten a box.  Upon opening her box, she let out a squeal that she had received yarn.  I am convinced that had I not said anything, she would have been content and convinced that her gift was the yarn.  BUT I couldn’t hold it in and asked her if that was all that was in her box.  Upon further digging, she discovered the taped CD, which led to a good 3-4 minutes of screaming in absolute delight.

It was priceless….pure joy upon our daughters face and pure joy in heart.

I love Christmas, giving to those that are dearest to my heart and seeing the joy in their eyes and the squeals from their lips.

I pray this Christmas you were able to find a moment of pure joy in your day of celebrating with family and friends.