Kimberly Downs

Hello! I live in Wichita, Kansas and teach Kindergarten in Derby at Swaney Elementary. I'm excited to participate in this grant and introduce the Bee-Bots to my little ones. I'm looking forward in creating new lessons/activities and sharing them with all of you!


Activity One-Time
Activity Two- Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, What's the Letters?


August 15th- We are doing stagger start in our school this year, so I will not have my entire class until next Monday. After I get my kiddos, I'll take their picture and make a floor mat with their names and pictures on it (Thanks Renee for the great idea!!!!) This will help the students learn their classmates names. I am also going to intergrate this into my "Name" literacy work station. My theme in my classroom is "Western" so I think I'm going to make my Bee-Bot a cowboy/girl and introduce it that way after the first week.

August 20th- I met all my students today, I have 23 this year! I guess it's better than 25 like last year :). This first week we are learning the rules and procedures of kindergarten and getting to know one another. I am definitely looking forward into next week when we've practiced the classroom routine and they know my expectations so I can introduce Cow-bot to the kiddos. I have been brainstorming different ideas on how to introduce the students but I haven't made a definite decision on what I'm going to do yet.

August 27th- My students and I are adjusting to one another great, and Thursday is the big day for Cow-Bot to make his appearance. After I have introduced Cow-bot, I plan on using him for the "Name" game from above and use in my literacy work stations next week. It is amazing how technology savy these kids are these days, I think they are going to take the Bee-Bots and do great things this year!!!

Tuesday, Sept. 4th- I introduced the Bee-bot and my kids were amazed by it! I made a Curly Cow-bot, decorating a bee-bot with a cowboy hat with curly rainbow hair, and a bandana (note- my classroom theme is Western). I introduced it by putting Curly Cow-bot in the Feely Box, and having students first predict what might be in the box, then I had 3 different students come up and reach in and describe what they felt. Then I pulled her out, and the look on my kiddos faces was priceless! It made me really excited to see how excited they were to see something they have never seen before! Then I read a letter I had made up about Curly Cow-bot, and who she was and what she was doing in our classroom. In the letter, I wrote that her family would be visiting this year and helping us use our brains to learn many things in many different ways. Then we spent awhile talking about Cow-bots buttons, discussing what the buttons did, and the importance of turning off our bee-bot's power and sound when done using them to save their energy for next time we use them. I then showed the kids a little what she could do (just moving forward, back, turn right/left) on the carpet. I stressed that the first thing the students need to do before giving their bee-bots directions was to push clear, and we discussed what clear meant, and what happens when we don't clear. We didn't have time to discuss taking care of the Bee-bot and rules, but we will cover that next time. At the end of the lesson, I loved it that a little girl came up and asked "what kind of other family does Cow-bot have, what do they look like? Can we see them? Is one of them a Cheetah?" I had talked about the Bee-bots having different shells and could become whatever they wanted. I'm looking forward into next time when we get the Bee-bots out!

Monday, Sept. 10- This week we have been exploring the bee-bots and discussing the rules and taking care of our Bee-bots.
1) Always handle the bee-bot carefully, and do not lift the bee-bot higher than your head (sitting at table or floor)
2) When using the bee-bots, take turns and do not pick up bee-bot when a friend is taking a turn.
3) Always remember to turn bee-bots off when finished using.
4) Have fun, and be a great helper when a friend needs help!

(There will probably be more rules and discussion about proper Bee-bot use as we use them more, no one can predict the future, and since this is a new learning experience for me, I'm learning too!)

Monday, Sept. 24th- We used the Bee-bots to help work on sight word recognition. As a whole class we used the Bee-bot race track and I taped our sight words on track, and took turns controlling the Bee-bot, and saying the sight word together, and using the sight word in a sentence. I also had the students record the sight word on their slate boards so I made sure everyone was being held accountable. I am "training" my students on whole group activities, so when 2nd quarter rolls around and we begin our independent literacy stations, they will know my expectations and be familiar with the activities we are doing as a whole group now.

Mon. Oct. 1st- I finally got my grid made with the children's faces on it, so we have been having a great time using this as a whole group and in small group. I am in the process of making more grids and working on my two lessons. Conferences are approaching for our school, so we are going into assessment week next week, busy, busy, busy! I think these Bee-bots will be very helpful when I need to individually assess my K students, and will help keep the students engaged!

Mon. Oct. 8th- Since this week is assessment/review week, I am using my extra time to test my partner Jan's activities, as well as my own. We are just having a lot of "Bee-bot" time, and we're loving it! I'll post more of my experiences with Jan's activities on the discussion page, as well as my own. My kids are loving the Bee-bots, but do struggle with controlling them and getting them to the correct spots. I think that next semester (after Christmas) it will be easier for them to do the activities in the way they were designed.

To be posted on discussion page (waiting for access)
My kiddos LOVED doing Jan's "Bug Dance"! I love to dance and sing myself, so my kids really got into it! Integrating literature into the bee-bot lessons is a great way to tie in other curriculum areas and really grab the students' attention to what they are supposed to be learning. To help learn the steps, we learned how to do the dance, and this helped visualize how the bot would move. I suggest doing this many times (with younger students) as a whole group, then once the steps are mastered, allowing the students to break into small groups and try it independently.
As far as the amazing museum Jan created (you're going to love it!), I had to adjust this to really meet the level of my kindergarteners. The students used lists with pictures of famous artworks (with names), and then took turns moving their Bee-bot down the road to the parking lot where the same piece of artwork was located. Then after successfully matching their artwork, they had to look at the art, and describe to their friends in a complete sentence or two what was in piece of art they picked up in their trailer. After the students picked up their art, and shared a sentence, then the next person, selected the next artist in the list and moved their bot from that location, and the artwork just stayed in the trailer until the activity was done. This activity was a great one to expose my kiddos to different artists and having discussions of one of our math vocabulary terms "attributes" and using the art to describe the different attributes of the art.