Kaymbu in the First Grade Classroom

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Kaymbu in the First Grade

Last week we had a chance to chat with Shawn Simon, a 1st Grade Teacher at Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore, MD. Shawn uses the Kaymbu system in her 1st grade classroom and gave us a window into how she utilizes Kaymbu effectively in her classroom!

Shawn, how long have you been a teacher and why did you decide to become a teacher?

I have been a teacher for 9 years, 8 of which have been at PPPCS. Since I was a child I always wanted to be a teacher. My mom’s best friend growing up was a teacher, and she has acted as my mentor.

Why did you decide to become an elementary school teacher specifically?

I do much better with younger students, I love watching younger students learn how to read in particular and I absolutely LOVE teaching kids how to read. 1st grade is a year where a lot of reading growth occurs. Its been so exciting to capture reading fluency and growth on video using Kaymbu.

How have elementary school teaching strategies changed in your classroom since you began teaching?

It’s definitely a lot more tech focused and hands on now. Students don’t sit in their seats doing paper & pencil tasks. As teachers, we have to remember that kids use technology so much on a day to day basis. However, its very important that we find a balance.

Tell us how you integrate technology into your classroom:

One way I am integrating technology into the classroom is that I am having my 1st graders use Kaymbu to document their own learning. That way I can monitor what their working on when they are broken up into small groups.

What is one example of how you used Kaymbu successfully in your classroom?

Currently, I am using Kaymbu to create digital writing portfolios of handwritten work. I take pictures of student’s writing pieces, so we have digital copies that allow myself and other teacher to document writing progress. Of course, I also use Kaymbu to take pictures of the students learning in class. I am planning on having the kids take pictures using Kaymbu of attribute blocks they put together instead of drawing them. Drawing can be difficult for some students and it takes away from the lesson.

How has Kaymbu affected relationships with your student’s parents and families?

The families love it! Parents enjoy seeing their children’s progress throughout each week. With Kaymbu, parents are able to go over work at home with my students, which enables lessons to be reinforced.

How has Kaymbu streamlined your documentation process?

Were using less paper, that’s for sure! With more of my documentation in a digital format, there are fewer file folders. Trust me, this makes referencing grades a lot easier.

Describe one of your favorite moments from your classroom:

Something that happened today was amazing! A fellow teacher saw Kaymbu in action in my classroom. They saw two of my students discussing a lesson and documenting it with the iPad themselves, which allows the students to go back and refer to the lesson. This is so important for retention!

What is a tip you can give to other teachers to energize themselves for the school day?

A lot of coffee! I also suggest playing fun music, depending on your mood. Sometimes calm music does the trick, other times something upbeat is the way to go.

What do you enjoy about teaching the most?

Empowering my students and those “AHA moments”.  There is nothing like watching a student having an “AHA” moment when it comes to learning how to read in particular.

Photo is courtesy of North Media’s Flickr Photostream, under Creative Commons licensing. / Cropped from Original