Friday, January 25, 2013

Thirsty Thursday

I am sure you all think it is quite strange that I titled this post "Thirsty Thursday", and to be quite honest, I feel the same way.  But I'm calling it that just the same.  Mostly because I feel like it.  Maybe because I'm thirsty.  Whatever the reason, I'm calling it that.  I'm thirsty for your knowledge!  Or something like that.

I have a few dilemmas I need help in solving, and I was hoping that my wonderful 13 readers would be able to help me with these small problems I need assistance with!  So here we go!



1.  I was fortunate enough to receive 6 brand new Chromebooks from Donors Choose.  I got them on Tuesday, and they are pretty cool.  (Except they don't run JAVA!  Yikes!)  Well, I had originally thought I could just store them somewhere and move them to a table when I wanted the kids to use them.  Well, I've been thinking, and... I am not a fan of that idea anymore. So I need somewhere in the classroom to put them.    Since I have little to no wall space in this classroom due to the worst layout I think ever exists in any classroom except those strange round ones, and that fact that it is tiny to boot, means I have to get creative.

I have a place to put one of them on the other side of the room,  so I just need to find room for 5 of them.  If you look at the picture, you can see where I am planning on placing the computers, which is under the word wall board.  I need to move some furniture around or get rid of some stuff, which is fine.  However, that's not a very big space and the carpet is right beside it along with my easel.  The first suggestion was to get one of these long tables they have in the gym that has a fold down bench on it.  The problem is that I may not be able to get one of them (I need to ask permission first!)  The second problem is that there is not a lot of space, and the tables are 8 feet long!  Yikes!  Also, the bench folds up and I'm concerned that some kid will pull it down on themself when they are sitting on the carpet or smash their finger in it.  So I need to be creative!

I made this bench for my students to put their book boxes on (they are actually on top and the math bins are on the bottom, and in the correct order now!).  It's not very tall, but it's about 7 1/2 feet or so long.  I don't remember exactly, but that's not the point!  Anyway, the bench wasn't that difficult to make (it was harder getting it in the car than it was making it!) so I thought... hey maybe I could make another one?    Obviously not for book boxes, but for the computers?  The bench could be made out of a piece of 2x12 (the other bench is a 2x10 that I had cut) so it would be about 11 1/2 inches deep.  The kids could sit on carpet squares on the floor.  If I could find a very skinny table, I could do a table, but most of our tables are like 30" deep, and with chairs, that's just too large a space! So I thought the idea of a bench might work.  What would you do?

So that's my first dilemma!  What would you do if you were in my situation?  Any revelations or super smart suggestions of cool, cheap things I can do to get my Chromebooks working!?  Today they used them to get on Starfall while I did my DRAs and they were so excited, especially since they sat at my kidney table to play.  :-)  Oh, and if anybody has any suggestions for getting JAVA programs to work on the Chrome OS, I would definitely be willing to listen!

2. My second question isn't nearly as lengthy as my first... What are some excellent reading and math websites that I can use with my students during literacy centers and math centers?  Right now, they are using a program called Successmaker that is an intervention, but that is the JAVA based program that doesn't work!  Boo!  (I'm actually not at all sad about that, since I hate Successmaker and only use it because I have to!  Sorry if you're a fan!  I hate that it takes away from my instructional time when my kids could be doing writing or calendar or reading or math instead of doing that.  Sorry, I'll step off my soapbox now!)  I am familiar with SumDog and Starfall for reading (and I hear there is math now?!), and a few other sites, but that's pretty much it.  It obviously can't be an app unless it's a Google app because they are Chromebooks and not iPads.

So far, though, I like the Chromebooks, with the exception of the JAVA problem.  They start up super fast, they are really easy to use, there isn't a whole lot the kids can screw up, and they are small!  :-)

Those are my questions for the evening.  If you read this far, I will be super excited that apparently somebody read all this rambling!  I would appreciate any insight you have!  I really need a second brain sometimes to confirm or deny what my first brain is thinking! :-)

Thanks for reading!  I have a cute little freebie I'm going to upload for you all tomorrow!  I can't wait to share it with you!


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