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Sunday, April 14, 2019


You're going to love this blog from Betsy Cruz! I met her at the Southern California Kindergarten Conference and she showed me how her children used technology to integrate nursery rhymes and finger plays in a meaningful and FUN way. It might be just what you are looking for right now to spark writing and reading!

Being a teacher of English language learners, and well, a teacher of five and six year olds, I know how important the development of oral language is. Fortunately, I have inspiration from Dr. Jean to help make this engaging for kids. I use ideas from Dr. Jean’s Happies, Teacher Survival Kit, songs, and best of all, free ideas from her blog.

Young children love an audience. With the FREE "Seesaw: The Learning Journal" app that I use, they have one.   Students can record and share work of drawings, photos, audio recordings, videos, and more. They are able to use technology to show off their oral language skills, and countless other skills. Parents connect with their child’s journal from their own devices and get to see the projects that the children create at school. For the parents who may have trouble with this technology, I invite them to see their child’s work from our devices at school. We use both Chromebooks and iPads, but it is also available on Android devices, computers, and Kindle Fire.


When learning Dr. Jean’s finger play, Black Bird, my students first acted it out with their fingers, enjoying changing partners as their audience.They were also excited to illustrate it in their art journals. Seesaw allows them to record audio on top of a picture, so their next task was to take a photo of their drawing, and record themselves reciting the finger play. Knowing they would be recording their voices, and that their parents would get to see it on their device at home, there was great motivation for rehearsal.
When practicing Humpty Dumpty, they illustrated it to show sequencing of the nursery rhyme. Then they were able to take a photo of it and record themselves reciting it. Some even sang it for the recording. Imagine the pride, confidence, motivation, and dare I say it, enjoyment, they get from doing these activities!



Their latest project has incorporated a new, yet simple art project from Dr. Jean. If you seal an envelope and cut it down the middle, you can turn the halves into puppets! Students designed their puppets and told stories with them. Their language skills have improved their writing throughout the year, and they were very motivated to write creative stories about their puppets. Taking a photo of their puppet to read and record their story was a cherry on top of the puppet sundae!


San Marino Elementary