ABC Lego Book

legos

Who would have guessed that Legos would be such a hit with students!?! A few weeks ago, I presented the fourth graders with a challenge – Create an ABC book made with Legos (and the fantastic Book Creator app) to share with our Kindergarten students. I was amazed at the excitement this idea generated! (Although I’m thinking the excitement was from getting to create with Legos, not from sharing the book.)

This was a joint project with all three of our fourth grade classes so we had to divide the alphabet letters between everyone. I asked the students to get into groups of two or three and write their top three letter choices.

note

After handing out assignments, we discussed what needed to be included on each page.

  1. The alphabet letter (large and obvious!)
  2. Picture of the Lego creation(s) that correspond to the alphabet letter
  3. Text that labels the Lego objects
  4. Recorded voice stating “(Name of letter) is for . . .”
  5. Optional: some type of video to show the making of the object or to highlight the letter

For the video component, I suggested the following apps:

Surprisingly, no one chose Tellagami or ChatterPix! I think most liked the idea of the stop motion animation. What excited me is that several incorporated app-smashing – on their own! They would bring their MyCreate video into iMovie for editing, to add music, etc.

Fortunately we had plenty of Legos – I raided my grown-up son’s stash, bought a few more buckets, and had some very sweet girls donate some of their collection.

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Planning and building

 

Using the MyCreate app

Using the MyCreate app

I have never seen such excitement about a project! Except for a couple minor squabbles, the students worked well together. They all learned the importance of sharing ideas and compromising. The students absolutely loved having the opportunity to create in their own way. And, they did a great job pulling everything together to create their letter page.

The book isn’t perfect and sometimes it’s a stretch to figure out how the Lego structure goes with the letter. As chief editor, I did omit some videos that really had nothing to do with the letter they were trying to represent. We had a few groups who were more interested in making iMovies about themselves. However, when it was pointed out that this is a book for young children, they made some adjustments.

Here is the link to the ebook:  Lego ABC Book

Tips for downloading the ABC Lego Book:

  • Click on the above link while on an iOS device with the iBooks app installed.
  • Download then choose open in iBooks. The file is very large so please be patient!

If you are unable to download the ebook, click here to view the video (same content as the book).

Here’s a look at the process of making the book.

The project took longer than anticipated. What I learned is that a week of 40 minute sessions with each 4th grade class wasn’t long enough! Most groups built and rebuilt till they had the “perfect” structure. They HAD to finish the building part in a week’s time so that the next group could start. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had enough Legos! Putting the book together didn’t take more than a couple of days.

Sharing What We Learn: Biographies

Mrs. Shapard’s second graders have been studying biographies. She wanted to find a way that students could share what they learned with others. We decided to use the Book Creator app because of its user-friendly interface.

Because we didn’t want this project to drag on, I did a couple of tasks to help with the workflow. First, I set up the books for the students. That took no longer that twenty minutes or so. Next, I collected photos from the public domain for the children. Finding copyright-friendly images is very time consuming for students, especially the younger ones. These were posted to my Picasa albums so they could be saved to their iPad. I gave an age-appropriate explanation of copyright so students would understand it’s not okay to use any image they find on the web!

In the classroom, students collected information and drew a picture of the person they were studying. They brought this to the lab so it could be added to their book.

Because we want the students to post the information to their blog, the books were saved as videos. One thing we learned is that the students tend to forget to delete a recording if they decide to re-record. What happens when saved as a video is that ALL recordings are heard! We had to go back and fix a few – a good learning experience . . .

We’re eager for next week when we’ll post videos to our blogs.

Here is one of the videos:

Celebrating the 100th Day of School!

One hundred days of school! It’s a big celebration at TVS!

100 sign 2

In the technology lab, we’re celebrating too. The first and second graders were asked to think about what they had learned after 100 days in school. We brainstormed some of the things each class had learned throughout the year: from telling time to adding 3 numbers to tasting foods from different countries.

Here are some first grade posts:

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I love the invented spelling of #7 – poetry!

Saanvi_100Emma_100

2nd 100 day blog

2nd graders blogging

With the third graders, I adapted an art idea of 100s transformations, found on Pinterest. The students are creating pictures from die cuts of 1-0-0. To add a tech twist, each child is using the MyCreate app ($4.99) to build a stop-motion animation video. They take a photo for each step in their drawing process. When finished, the video will be uploaded to the students’ blog.

third pic 2

3rd 100 dayWhat a fun celebration!

 

Checking for Comments

First graders were thrilled to check their blog for comments after posting their ChatterPix Kids noun video. (see previous post)

Kee 1

We had some amazing writing going on as the children read what parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even our 4th graders wrote.

blog response

Thanks to thoughtful comments from relatives and other students, these first graders are so excited to be sharing their work with an authentic audience!

Nouns, Nouns Everywhere!

Thanks to ideas from a fabulous post by Meghan Zigmond called Noun Cards, our first graders went on a search for nouns to review what they had learned about that part of speech.

I started the discussion by asking what a noun is (person, place, or thing). We then brainstormed ideas for each category. The students were told they were to take an iPad photo of a noun, check it to make sure it wasn’t blurry, then return to their seat for the next part of the activity.

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Using Meghan’s idea for a script, the students circled what type of noun they found and wrote what it was called.

Noun Video Script for 1st grade

Next step – add the photo to ChatterPix Kids (free iOS app). I love this app because it is so intuitive for even the youngest students. The children were asked to type the name of their noun and “by ___” (add their name). They were sent off to record in “quiet” places in the room. When you are trying to record an entire class in a short amount of time, there’s never a completely quiet spot and there’s always a bit of background noise. But, isn’t that the sign of an engaged class??

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Recording with Mrs. Kee

 

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Adding text to the video.

All this took about 40 minutes which I thought was not bad considering the students hadn’t used the app before!

Sample video:

The following week, we uploaded the video to our blogs. The first graders have been blogging but we hadn’t done so on the iPad. What’s nice is that KidBlog’s interface is now the same on a computer or on an iPad so it was an easy transition.

noun hunt

Uploading video to blog

Sample post

Sample post

The students wrote a sentence or two about the process and/or about their noun and uploaded their video. I’m having the 4th graders leave comments for the little ones. (They won’t admit it but it’s obvious they’ve enjoyed seeing what the little ones are doing and then giving them feedback!)

sample comment

If you would like to leave comments, visit the following blogs. Thanks!

Mrs. Crumley’s blog

Mrs. Hutchinson’s blog

Mrs. Kee’s blog

Making Predictions!

book cover It Could Have Been Worse, by A.H. Benjamin, is the perfect book for making predictions. Through text and illustrations, the reader is able to examine many clues to determine what might happen next to the little mouse. Every time I read the book I find picture clues I’d missed previously!

I asked our first graders to look and listen closely to the story as I read a portion of it. I stopped at a different spot for each class, with instructions NOT to tell friends in other classes what was coming next in the story! We talked about what a prediction is (a good guess) and then I asked the children to predict what would happen next in the story.

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iPads were distributed and we opened the Book Creator app. The students found their book (I’d created each child’s book ahead of time) and I went over the drawing tools. We discussed the items needed for a finished page:

  • Illustration
  • Text saying what they predicted
  • Their name
  • Recorded narration of their prediction

Once the 4 steps were completed, the children were ready to air drop to my iPad so that all pages could be compiled into a class book.

finished

We encouraged the students to sound out the words and spell the best they could. We assured the children that they would be recording their narration so even if their invented spelling didn’t match conventional spelling, everyone would know what they meant.

I think a peregrine falcon is going to eat the snake then the peregrine falcon is going to eat the mouse.

I think a peregrine falcon is going to eat the snake then the peregrine falcon is going to eat the mouse.

To airdrop, I taught a couple of people what to do which made the entire process run smoothly!

air drop

Here’s look at the process:

Not everyone finished in our 40 minute session so we couldn’t read the rest of the story that day. However, those that didn’t finish were able to quickly complete their page the following week and we finished reading the book. There were lots of happy exclamations of, “Oh, I guessed it!” or “I was close!”

The class books were saved in two formats – as a video and as an ePub book. To download the ePub book, tap on the words “ePub book” next to the teacher’s name while on an iOS device. Be sure to have the iBooks app installed. Choose download then Open in iBooks.

Tips for a Smoother Lesson:

  • Set up the book in Book Creator ahead of time. I only have the students for 40 minutes so it was much easier to have as much ready to go as possible!
  • Write a word bank on the board. Include some basic words but encourage students to sound out as best they can. Having a few words available seemed to instill confidence in writers reluctant to try to sound out.
  • Use the students to help the others! Workflow is much smoother with help!!

 

Too Busy to Write!

Oh, my! I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post! It’s been SO busy since Grandparents’ Day (Nov. 20). Between remodeling, a fantastic Thanksgiving trip to the Christmas Markets in Germany, and the holidays, I haven’t even thought about blogging. 🙁

Here are just two of the many photos taken in Germany – these are in Cologne.

Germany 2 Germany

Now that January has arrived, life has slowed down so that I finally have time to share the amazing things happening in the world of Lower School. More to come . . .

Grandparents’ Day Arrives!

And the second graders finally have the chance to share their Heritage projects! (If you want to read more about the children creating a touching look at their family history, click here.)

We had a “dress rehearsal” this week – just to make sure the students knew how to access their video or ePub book created in the Book Creator app.

dress rehearsal for GP dayFinally, the big day arrived! The children led their special visitors into their classrooms, retrieved their iPads, plugged in the headsets, and shared their project. They knew exactly what to do!

Watching the expressions of the grandparents is priceless! Listening to the sweet voices of their grandchildren tell about their family history is such a special moment.

Here’s a very quick look at the children sharing.

Card Towers

What can you do with fourth graders, a deck of cards, and the Hyperlapse app? Build and record the process…

The task:

  • See how high you can build a card tower by working together.
  • One person is the videographer and will use the Hyperlapse time-lapse app to record the process.

What Happened:

The students were divided into groups of four with most working quite well together. What was funny to me is that few children seemed to have used playing cards for building! That was something I did often as a child. There were a lot of starts, collapses, and restarts. Some groups build really long structures because they weren’t able to go up without a collapse. Others decided that bending the cards would be helpful; and that did seem provide a sturdier base. The tallest structure was about 11 1/2 inches with the next one coming in at about 9 inches.

The App:

Hyperlapse is a super easy app to use. However, the hardest thing for a 9 or 10 year old to do is stay still while videoing the process so all of the recordings have scenes ranging from the actual building to selfies to everyone else in the room! Next time, a few more instructions . . .

Here’s a brief look at how the process progressed.