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Technology focus enhances learning experiences

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By Sharon Graves

It’s never too early to begin learning about technology as first grade students at Kathryn Winn demonstrated recently.

Amy Roos, a first grade teacher at Winn is just one of many teachers using a program named photo story to teach technology and other topics such as sentence structure, syllables, capitalization, punctuation and picking out and writing the details of a story.

Most classes use the star student program where a student is spotlighted for the day.  Roos brings together the star student and the photo story programs into one as she teaches technology to her first graders.

At the beginning of the year, Roos said she sent home information about the program asking for parents of students to email her photographs of her students. Some parents also brought photos in on discs or flash drives for Roos to use in the program.   

Next, the student makes a recording telling the story about the pictures they each brought, she said.

Each classroom is equipped with a large whiteboard that can project digital programs up for all in the class to see.  Roos puts the pictures and the voice over by each child into a photostory and it is projected onto the whiteboard.  

Students are selected as the Star Student by a random drawing and every student will have the chance to be a star student. On the Star Students day, the video Roos made is played and the rest of the class watches and then the learning begins.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, Hannah Welch was the Star Student and her class watched her video. They saw pictures of Hannah with her family, in a horse show, at the zoo and swimming. Students then selected three different parts of the story and concentrated on learning how to write a sentence about the parts, when to use capital letters and how to use punctuation.  

The students were busy at work on one of the three areas selected from Hannah’s photostory drawing pictures or writing something about what they saw. Those pages were then put into a book for Hannah to keep.  

The process is repeated for each student in the class.

Roos uses a clapping game to teach spelling, she said.  As students are figuring out the letters for the sentence, they are creating they clap if it’s a vowel and stomp their feet if it’s a consonant.  

Pam Williams, instructional supervisor for the Carroll County School System was also in the classroom Aug. 27 to watch how Roos and her class are using technology to teach many different concepts.

“This is an integration of learning using relevant tools to engage students,” Williams said.  She also explained that in addition to each child feeling special for an entire day, the class is also learning sentence structure, punctuation, as well as how to make the voice over and input information into the computer.

The photostories engage students because they know the person they are hearing about, Williams said.