Saturday, August 12, 2017

Osmo...And Why This Little Piece of Technology Matters So Danged Much!

Ok, I'll admit it.  I'm a total geek when it comes to technology.  If there's a 12-Step program for this, I seriously do not want to know about it.  Let me remain oblivious.

So much little time to sift through to find the best of the best.  To choose what will matter to my students.  To put technology in the hands of even the most tentative of teachers in order to allow them to see the magic that truly happens when kids really connect to technology.  (Because, believe me, a student's reaction is what really "sells it" in terms of getting reluctant teachers to become active practitioners who really encourage their students to explore!)

When I think of all the great technology I regularly encourage students to use, I think of Osmo.  I have a few of these babies in my classroom.  I've written Donors Choose grants to get more.  I've begged my administrators to purchase more so that entire grade levels have access to Osmos in their classrooms.  (See 12-Step program, mentioned above.)

I'm a "soft starter" when it comes to the beginning of a school day.  Here's how my day begins...

Kids enter the classroom, click on their avatar on the SmartBoard to announce their attendance...they may stop and drop off homework or make sure that I have their notes or important paperwork...stop and give their teacher a hug (for being so awesome, of course!) and then ease into their day by choosing a book to read quietly, a quiet game with a buddy, a Lego-build activity or Osmo (the coding games are a favorite!).

Jockeying for a position with Osmo (no more than 3 students at a time) has gotten pretty crazy, so I added a 2nd Osmo to the mix.  Talk about exciting!  Now at least 6 students are enthralled by technology with more's pretty amazing!

But even students use Osmo and it's components throughout the day...Math, Reading, Financial Literacy, AND Word Work (Daily 5) time.  Keeping 4th grade students happy isn't easy, but Osmo adds technology in places that I never even thought about!

Student empowerment is one of the best things to come out of my use of Osmo in the classroom.  In the middle of last school year, my students met and decided that writing code really should be added to the list of possible activities that could be done during Writing time.  They presented me with their proposal, and, I have to admit, it was pretty compelling.  After all, isn't writing lines of code really a "How To?"  

Osmo made that happen in my classroom...with real honest-to-goodness fourth graders.

Sheer magic.

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