Dr. Seuss and App Smashing Fun!

Oh,_the_Thinks_You_Can_Think_cover

For our Seuss week celebrations, I read part of Oh, The Thinks You Can Think and asked the fourth graders to think creatively like Dr. Seuss.

  • What would you invent if you were able to invent anything you wanted?
  • Would it be an interesting animal?
  • Would it be something that would make life easier?
  • What would it look like?
  • What would it do?

The students started by illustrating their invention on the computer using Microsoft’s Paint program. This could be done in an app but the students prefer the tools available in Paint. When they finished, I uploaded their pictures to my Picasa site so that they could save to the iPad.

The next step was to create a page in the Book Creator app. The students were asked to include the following on their page:

  • their name
  • title of their invention
  • picture of their invention
  • a recorded narration of the purpose of their invention (I had them write a script first! This really helps with the recording process; avoids stumbling over what to say!)

Finally, the students air dropped their books to me and I combined all into one class book. I absolutely LOVE that Book Creator offers options for sharing! I exported it in two different formats: one as an ePub book (to be read in iBooks) and the other as a video (a great option for those who don’t have iOS devices).

Click here to download the ePub book. (Remember you’ll need to be on an iOS device with the iBooks app installed. Choose Download then Open in iBooks.)

Here’s the video:

Since video was one format to be shared and since I’ve been wanting to experiment with some AppSmashing (Thank you Greg Kulowiec for creating this great term and for the awesome workshops I’ve been able to attend), I decided to get creative with the intro to the inventions!

Here’s a chart to show the apps used.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In this case, I was the one who created the video clips to be combined with the student work in iMovie. Students could certainly do this part – perhaps have the early finishers work on some type of introduction.

LOVE the power of AppSmashing!

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I Wish That I Had . . .

IWishThatIHadDuckFeetI’ve been celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2) for more years than I can remember (and I’ve taught for a LONG time!) so I’m always excited when our week-long celebration comes around.

This year I asked our third graders to turn on their imaginations as we discussed on of Dr. Seuss’ books. We read I Wish that I Had Duck Feet, a clever story about a boy who would like to have various animal appendages. He weighs the pros and cons of each part and finally decides that he’s better off just being himself. (Watch a video reading of the book.)

After reading, the students were asked to think of what they wish they had. What could that animal part help them do? What would they look like? What problems might they encounter if they had that part added to their body?

They were to do two things:

  • Answer the above questions in a new post on their blog.
  • Illustrate a picture in Microsoft’s Paint program and upload to their blog.

What they came up with was very clever! They seemed to have a great time deciding what animals they could morph into and then realizing that there just might be a downside to having those parts!

Here’s a sample post:

3rd Eli SeussThe students would love to have you take a look at their posts. And they would be even more thrilled to receive comments!

Mrs. Gramentine’s Blog
Mrs. Prescott’s Blog
Mrs. Weth’s Blog

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Making Wishes on St. Patrick’s Day

The Leprechaun's GoldThe Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards is an Irish legend about two harpists who have the same wish but go about earning it in different ways. (Watch a video reading of the book.)

Before reading the book to second graders as a St. Patrick’s Day activity, I asked the children to think about selfish vs. unselfish wishes. We discussed a few examples and then I asked the students to open the Book Creator app and illustrate an unselfish wish of their own while I read the story. Talk about quiet workers! They were engaged in their drawings and enjoying the plot of the book!

After the reading, the students scattered to various corners inside and outside of the lab so that they could record their wish. The books were then air dropped to one iPad to allow me to combine all into one class book.

This activity could easily be done in a variety of apps. I chose Book Creator because it is extremely user-friendly! Drawings can be created within the app and recording narration is super easy.

Enjoy the class books!

Mrs. Garcia’s Book of Wishes

Mrs. Shapard’s Book of Wishes

Mrs. Zabriskie’s Book of Wishes

Directions to download books to your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc):

  • You will need the iBooks app (free) installed on your iOS device.
  • Click on the book link above (while on your iOS device).
  • Tap on the download button.
  • Choose Open in iBooks
  • The book is now in iBooks on your iOS device.
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Shapes are Everywhere!

Recently the second graders took their iPads and headed outside for a shape hunt. Lots of photos were taken of all kinds of shapes!

The mail van provided all sorts of interesting shapes!

The mail van provided all sorts of interesting shapes!

After collecting photos, the next step was to bring everything together. We used Book Creator for this. The students made a cover page, a page for plane figures, and one for solid shapes. They were to label and record information about their shapes, then export the book as a video.

Working in Book Creator

Working in Book Creator

By the way, the mustaches were worn in celebration of Dr. Seuss and The Lorax!

Next the videos were uploaded to their blogs. (They would love comments!)

Mrs. Garcia’s Class Blog
Mrs. Shapard’s Class Blog
Mrs. Zabriskie’s Class Blog

Enjoy a peek at the students at work:
Reflections:

We were rushed to do this activity since it was done in the computer lab over two 40 minute sessions. The students really didn’t have adequate time to reflect on their learning. Next time we’ll be sure to allow time for that.

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Where Can We Find Shapes?

Everywhere, as the first graders discovered!

On a chilly, blustery day we took our iPads out for a shape hunt. To correlate with their math unit the children were searching for circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, triangles, pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. Students could also photograph solid shapes if they wanted.

After two quick reviews – one over shapes and one about taking quality photos, we picked up our iPads and started the search.

IMG_2398FullSizeRender(1)After searching for a bit, we returned to the lab where the students used the Pic Collage app to insert and label their photos.

IMG_2384Next, the students uploaded their collages to their blog. They were asked to reflect on the shape hunt.

  • Was it hard to find all the shapes?
  • Were you surprised at where you found shapes?

FullSizeRender(2)FullSizeRender(3)The students enjoyed their search and were surprised at some of the places where they found shapes!IMG_2434

IMG_2434IMG_2436IMG_2435

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Workflow and Book Creator: Sharing the Creations!

Recording in the Book Creator app

Recording in the Book Creator app

One of my very favorite apps is Book Creator. This app allows students and teachers to create interactive ePub books that can be shared with others. Hyperlinks, images, audio, and simple drawings can be added to a book. But, the best part is that it is extremely easy for students of any age to use which is why I use it for all kinds of curricular activities!

The app is available in the App Store ($4.99) as well as on Google Play ($2.49). Both offer a free version but that only allows the creation of one book. Try the free app first, but trust me, you will definitely want the paid version! As we have iPads in school, I don’t have experience with the Android version so the rest of this post will refer to sharing the books so they can be read in the iBooks app.

There are three ways to export a book made in Book Creator.

Book Creator saving options Export as Video – This is a good method to use when sharing with people who do NOT have an iOS device. I save in both the ePub and Video formats and share links with parents. Saving to the camera roll is an option with this method. What I do is save the video to Vimeo (YouTube also works) then embed it in a blog post. Students could use this choice, save to the camera roll, and upload to their blog.

Export as PDF – Any recordings will be lost in this format.

Export as ePub – This is the choice for reading in iBooks. However, the problem is that a person can only read this on the iPad on which the book was created.

The question is:  How do you share the book with others so it can be read on different iPads or iOS devices?

final workflow pic

Here’s what has worked for me:

  • While the book is open in Book Creator, tap on the share button and then choose to open in Dropbox or Google Drive (or whatever cloud storage you prefer).
Choose a cloud-based storage app

Choose a cloud-based storage app

  •  If you choose Drive, make sure in “Who has access?” that the Link Sharing is turned ON so anyone with the link can view it. Then tap on Get Link.
Link sharing on then get link

Link sharing on then get link

  •  The next step is to post this link to your blog. This can be done on either the Edublogs app on the iPad OR using a browser on a computer. Below is a sample of adding the link using the app.

    Adding the ePub link using the Edublogs app

    Adding the ePub link using the Edublogs app

  •  If you are working on your blog in a web browser, just select the word you want to hyperlink and add the link.
Adding hyperlink on blog using web browser

Adding hyperlink on blog using web browser

  • Once the link is posted on your blog, anyone can download the ePub book to their iOS device and open the eBook in iBooks by tapping on the download link. Although the look is different depending on which cloud storage you use, the procedure is the same. Remember – you must be on an iOS device to open the ePub book!
Screen shot of what downloading from Dropbox looks like

Screen shot of what downloading ePub book from Dropbox looks like

Screen shot when downloading ePub book from Drive

Screen shot of what downloading ePub book from Drive looks like

  •  Once the book has downloaded, it can be opened in iBooks or other apps including Book Creator (helpful if you are collaborating with others to create books).
Opening ePub book on iOS device

Opening ePub book on iOS device

Opening the book in other apps

Opening the book in other apps

Although there seems to be several steps to get the ePub link onto the blog, once you’ve done this a couple of times it becomes second nature and really doesn’t take very long! Parents absolutely LOVE to read books that their child either makes on their own or has created as a class.

Have fun posting links to your own books! I enjoy seeing what others create in Book Creator. If you have questions, let me know!

TIPS:

When I link to ePub books, I always add the following information so that visitors know how to download the eBook.

Directions to download books to your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc):

  • You will need the iBooks app (free) installed on your iOS device.
  • Click on the book link above (while on your iOS device).
  • Tap on the download button.
  • Choose Open in . . . and then choose Open in iBooks
  • The book is now in iBooks on your iOS device.

As mentioned earlier in the post, I also save the Book Creator book as a video then upload it to Vimeo. I then embed the Vimeo video into the blog. That way, parents without iOS devices are still able to “read” the book!

If you chose to export the book created in Book Creator as a PDF, to upload it to Edublogs, you would click on the ADD MEDIA tab at the top of the post’s toolbar. The PDF would be hyperlinked as below:

Workflow for ePub books

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Snow Pals Glyphs

What is a glyph? Well, one definition is where students answer questions and make something according to how they answer those questions.

For the past few years, I’ve had second and third grade students do a fun glyph activity where they create a snowman (or snow person☺). I found this idea several years ago but am so sorry that I don’t remember who it’s from so I’m unable to properly credit the original creator. Questions include:

  • Have you every built a snowman? For yes, draw 3 snowballs for the body; for no, draw 2. (Yes, there really are students living in Texas who have never built a snowman!)
  • What is your favorite sport? Third graders were given 4 choices and then drew a scarf that was decorated according to their answers.
  • What is your favorite season? Second graders colored their scarf according to their answer.

Click here to see the second grade glyph.

Click here to see the third grade glyph.

This year when I presented the activity to the third graders, I heard the following response from a few students:

  • “This is my favorite activity of the whole year!

I can tell you – that makes a teacher feel really good!

Here is the animoto of the third graders’ glyph drawings.

The second graders used their illustrations to make class ePub books. They wrote and recorded haiku poems to go with their drawings. If you don’t have an iOS device to open the eBook, the work has also been saved as a video.

Mrs. Garcia’s Snow Pals Book and Video

Mrs. Shapard’s Snow Pals Book and Video

Mrs. Zabriskie’s Snow Pals Book and Video

Directions to download books to your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc):

  • You will need the iBooks app (free) installed on your iOS device.
  • Click on the book link above (while on your iOS device).
  • Tap on the download button.
  • Choose Open in . . . and then choose Open in iBooks
  • The book is now in iBooks on your iOS device.

Directions to read the ePub book on a computer:

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Going on a Noun Hunt

Our first graders took advantage of a beautiful day to go on a noun hunt.

When they arrived in the lab, we reviewed what a noun is (person, place, or thing). I explained that they would be going on a noun hunt and they were to take 4 photos of a place or thing (a person was omitted because I didn’t want them taking photos of their classmates).

We headed outside and the little photographers spread out in search of nouns.

noun hunt

Back in the room, we opened Pic Collage and added the four photos. We discussed how to add labels for each image and I challenged the children to add an adjective (or describing word; a more appropriate term for first graders) for each noun.

working with Pic Collage
Proud collage creators:

finished work
The next step will be to upload the collages to their blog pages.

finished collage
I love Pic Collage because there are so many ways it can be incorporated into a lesson and it is extremely easy for any age to use.

What amazed me was how many different nouns the children discovered! We were in a small courtyard but they were able to find all kinds of objects – things that adults tend to miss! The first graders had a great time on their noun hunt!

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Blogging for Peer Feedback

Mrs. Wright, our fourth grade Language Arts teacher, asked how we could incorporate technology into a writing lesson. (Oh, SO many ideas!!)

The students are beginning their pre-writing for a personal narrative. They were to bring in a photo of a special event in their lives. In the past, the children have worked in table groups to give feedback to each other – hearing from only three other students. To maximize the responses, we decided to have the students blog about their topic and then get feedback in the comments section.

Here’s the process:

Using the iPads, each child took a photo of their photo (much easier and quicker than scanning). The students opened the Kidblog app and uploaded their image to a new post.

Taking photos to upload to blog

Taking photos to upload to blog

Because the students were going to write a lot on the blog, and since we had easy access to computers, we moved to the PCs to finish blogging and commenting. Of course, the entire process could be done on the iPad; it was just more practical for our purposes to move to the computers.

The students added a sentence or two that described their picture that would be the basis of their personal narrative. As these were submitted, I quickly approved them so that the commenting could begin!

Mrs. Wright instructed the children to ask three questions after reading a post. They were to leave comments on the blogs of their table mates’ first, then they could ask questions of their other classmates.

Asking questions

Asking questions

The comments flew in faster than we could keep up with approving them! Very thoughtful questions were asked. These will be used to help write the narratives. Knowing some of the questions a reader might ask will help students be more precise and descriptive with their writing.

Here are the links to the blogs:

Mr. d’Auteuil’s Class Blog

Mrs. Malone’s Class Blog

Mrs. Wright’s Class Blog

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