Saturday, February 18, 2012


Happy Saturday!

What a week it has been. Although, I feel like I'm saying that each and every week. What's up with that?

This past Thursday night, our district had their big Teacher of the Year celebration. It was fun. Teachers don't get recognized enough, I tell ya! 

Anyway, I ran into a teacher friend of mine {Kindergarten} who had moved to a different school a while back. She's been teaching for almost thirty years. Very seasoned. Knows her stuff.  Now even she was talking about how difficult teaching has gotten to be, how much time she dedicates to school, and how her kinders have changed. She says, "I thought it was supposed to get easier with time!" I felt better when I heard her say that. It's not just me that is super exhausted and worn out!

I wish I could show you more about our fun-filled Valentine's Day and the following Dental Health unit we've been working on this week, but, alas, I can not. 

We aren't finished with it yet! Slow, little, wiggle worms I've got in my class. Thank goodness for a few girls and one super guy who are awesome and complete their assignments in a timely manner AND are willing to be peer mentors to the rest of the class! I don't think I could do it without them!

However, I did want to share about this software program we have at our school that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I don't know if you've heard about it before. It is called Kidspiration.

 Basically, it's a super kid-friendly word processing program designed for kids in grades K-5. I'm fortunate enough to go to the computer lab every day.  My school has two computer labs. One is for the primary grades K-2 and the other is for the intermediate grades 3-5.  It rules! We have a ton of great software, so I'm never at a loss for what to do in there.

Here is one of my students 'plant parts' labeling document from November.

I use Kidspiration whole group on the SMARTboard to teach lessons, and I use it in the lab for their independent work. This program enables the kids to choose images from a large bank of pictures and write about them. Also, it has pre-made lessons in math, language arts, science and social studies, too. I mostly use it for word processing. 

At the beginning of the year, we started off easy with just finding images to place on our documents and them labeling that image. This would take forever! Most of them haven't had much experience with typing and had NO CLUE where the letters were on the keyboard.  In addition to the typing, students must be able to save their document (giving it a title), and retrieve their document the next time we come to the lab. Which can be very difficult for a first grader... at first.

By now, it's old hat. The only thing some of them still struggle with is to make sure they save their document inside their documents' folder and not on the desktop. 
{I have some teacher friends who still don't know how to do this, too!}

The program has an excellent math piece. We use pattern blocks to make pictures. We use the 10's and 1's rods to complete math problems. Some of the K teachers have used the pattern blocks to make large alphabet letters.

 Lately, I've been using this program during our 'America' unit of study. Each day we go to the computer lab, I'll begin with a mini-lesson on the topic and then they will go to their computer station and type facts about the topic using Kidspiration. I try to keep it pretty simple for them and provide them a facts sheet on the topic instead of having them research the information themselves. {We just don't have that much time!} They read over the sheet and select three or more facts for their document.
Here's the fact sheet I made for the Statue of Liberty.
We've also completed the Liberty Bell, Washington Monument, and American Flag.
The kids like to share their work with each other on the SMARTboard.

The kids find their image from the picture file bank. If the image isn't in the bank, the kids can draw it using the symbol maker function. Next, they select a word bubble for their text. After they complete typing their fact, they need to link the text bubble to the main idea image. When they are all done, I  will print their final product. Kids LOVE to print! I like to print the main idea image and the linking text word bubbles, but the program can turn it into a Word document as well. {The upper grades will do this.}

Here are a few finished products:

I like to print an extra copy of their work and make a book for the end of the year. They like to see how much progress they make a year's span.

In addition to all of this word processing magic, I have taught them how to copy and paste images and text, and change font styles, color and size, too. They love to change the size and color! You have to make sure they don't go overboard, though.

If you have the funds for this program, I'd look into getting it. If not for the lab, at least for your classroom work stations. It is well worth it and fun!

Y'all have a great Presidents' Day!


  1. I love Kidspiration! You have some great ideas I really like letting the kids type facts and adding a picture. Each year I have the kids make a bubble map with facts about themselves. If you look in the clipart section, you can find pictures of a boy and girl. I let the kids choose the picture that looks most like them. You can change the coloring of the image too (shirt color, hair, skin). Then, they add the bubbles and type facts about themselves. Those that finish early can change the color of the bubbles/font. They turn out really cute. I normally print them and leave it on their desks for parents to see at Open House.

  2. Hi there,
    We do a lot of stuff on America -- I will be posting them periodically over the next few months. I can tell your kids have fun with you. ~ vicky
    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

  3. Hey, I just found your blog, I think the name is the cutest ever!! I'm your newest follower!

    The Daily Alphabet