Archive of ‘Digital Literacy’ category
I’ve never started making books so early in the year with our kindergarteners but, as Book Creator was perfect for what I wanted to do with them, I was eager to give it a try. My challenge was: Have our littlest ones illustrate AND record using an app they had never seen before, all in a 30 minute session! Challenges don’t scare me! Although, I have to admit, I did warn the teachers that I had no idea how this would turn out!
I’ll just say, children never cease to amaze me! These young students did a fabulous job in their creations and I am very proud of all that they accomplished! Here’s what we did . . .
I came across the book, I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll. It’s about a child who creates a “comfortable” monster that lived under his bed; one that helps him overcome his fears. One day, the boy discovers a note from his monster saying that he’d gone fishing and would be back in a week. The little boy goes through a series of “substitute” monsters before his returns.
I thought the story would be perfect for a class book about silly monsters and how we wish they might help us. With only 30 minutes with students, it was important to do as much preparation as possible before class. Since we have shared iPads, I created a template and airdropped to each of our iPads, one for each class. Often, I’ll go ahead and add each child’s name to the name of the book but this time I color-coded the books so that each student just had to find the color of the “name” box that matched their class. For example, Mrs. Monroe’s class looked for the green box.
With all the bad stuff that’s on the internet, it’s important to give children tools to help them make wise decisions when they go online.
Commonsense Media has excellent lessons for all ages that cover digital safety and literacy. With our first graders, I used Going Places Safely designed for grades K-2. We talked about going places around town – Do you get permission? When you are shopping with your parents, do they allow you to run off and go wherever you want? Do you talk to strangers? What do you do if a stranger asks your name or where you live? We compared this to being safe while online; that we have to follow similar rules.
Next, I told the children that we were going on digital field trips. That got their attention! We searched for the locations on a globe. One little girl asked, “Are we really going there today?” I chose three websites to share with the students:
Recently, Aaron Reynolds visited our school. What a fantastic presentation from this fun author! I sat in on the kinder/1st grade talk where Aaron shared his hilarious book, Creepy Pair of Underwear.
Based on the book, the first graders had decorated paper underwear to make it a bit creepy and had written advice to Jasper (the book’s character) on how he could get rid of his very strange and creepy underwear! Mrs. Kee asked if we could do something digitally with what the students had created. So, we used the ChatterPix Kids app to upload the picture of their paper underwear and the students recorded their advice.
The children uploaded their video to Seesaw and I pulled all the videos, along with photos of the students working, into iMovie. I loved listening to the suggestions of how to get rid of creepy underwear!
Our little ones visited the lab for the first time this week so we started with learning about “just right” sites.
Using a combination of two Commonsense Media lessons, Going Places Safely and Staying Safe Online. Looking at websites was compared to a traffic signal so I drew that on the board and used my large red, yellow, and green magnets as the “lights.”
- RED – Stop! Red sites contain information that isn’t right for younger children. It may be inappropriate or it might just be a site geared toward adult or older students with language that’s too advanced for little ones.
- YELLOW – Caution! Be sure to ask an adult before going on yellow sites. These sites may ask for personal information and may be more difficult for this age group.
- GREEN – “Just right” sites that are perfect for kindergarteners. These sites have appropriate words and fun activities for their age. Green sites don’t ask for personal information.
The sites I used for students to explore were posted on TVS TechnoWizards, my website for our students.
The children explored the websites for a few minutes then we came together to discuss why these were GREEN sites.
Then we used the traffic signal worksheet that comes with the Staying Safe Online lesson. I’d wanted to play the Red Light, Green Light game in the lesson but we just ran out of time.
Commonsense Media has excellent resources for teachers. What lessons have you used with your students?
The Common Sense Media Education website has a wealth of information for teachers in several areas. I am very impressed with their resources for teaching digital citizenship.
Our first graders recently discussed Going Places Safely on the Internet. The lesson includes a short video designed for grades K-2 along with a detailed lesson plan.
When the students arrived, I asked them what they would do if they wanted to go some place. “We would ask our parents or our teacher!” I next asked what would they do if they wanted to go on the internet. The majority said they would need to ask permission to do that. We watched the video then I told the students we would be taking a “field trip” to visit some online places far away from our school.
The websites I had for the students were:
The children were asked to explore the sites for a few minutes. Then they would be deciding what their favorite “field trip” was so that they could illustrate that. The students enjoyed visiting the faraway places but the takeaway was the importance of always being safe online.
Safety Rules to Follow When Going Online:
- Always ask your parent or teacher first.
- Only talk to people you know.
- Stick to places that are just right for you!
“Welcome to the Web” is a webquest designed by Mark Warner to teach students about the internet. Here is the description from the Teaching Ideas website:
The resources are split into seven sections:
- The Beginning – explains how to use the site.
- Getting Started Online – teaches children about the basic concepts involved in the Internet (World Wide Web, Hyperlinks, Back button etc). This introductory lesson also gives valuable practice in visiting and navigating around web sites.
- Staying Safe – encourages pupils to keep themselves safe online by following the SMART rules. Also tests their understanding usign interactive activities and fun quizzes.
- Using Your Browser – helps people to learn more about their web browsers… what are the different features and how are they used?
- Searching Online – teaches children how to search effectively, and keep themselves safe when doing so. Also identifies search engines which are particularly suitable for children to use.
- Trying Top Tricks – finding information on the net is great, but it is also important to know how that information can be used. This section explains about printing, using the Find tool to locate specific information within web pages, copying and pasting text, and saving images from the web. Also includes information about copyright and why it is important to credit others when you use their work.
- The Welcome to the Web Challenge – When the children have completed all of the sections of Welcome to the Web, they can complete this exciting challenge. It requires them to use all of the skills which they have learnt to catch the creator of a destructive computer virus!
Our fourth graders work in pairs to explore the webquest. I always enjoy watching their interactions with each other and how secretive they become when they figure out who the computer virus culprit is! Much is learned through this fun and informative quest.
This is not my original idea but it is a powerful way to review the blogging process!
The following resources introduced me to paper blogging.
What always amazes me is how involved the students become with paper blogging! Not one person asks about getting on the computers! Our students have blogged since first grade but I always like to include this activity – just to make sure students refocus on the intent of our blogs: To share their learning in a positive and meaningful way.
Taking the food idea from Leonard Low’s Workshop Activity: Paper Blogs, I asked students to raise their hand if they liked to eat. Of course, that brought an enthusiastic response! I told them that they would be writing a blog post on paper and the following day would be spent writing comments using sticky notes.
The instructions were to write about a favorite food – it could be from a restaurant or something made by parents, relatives, or anyone else. They needed to write something that would paint a picture for the reader – use details! Pictures always spruce up a post so illustrations were strongly encouraged.
The paper was distributed and we worked together to include the basics of a post:
- First name at the top (good place to talk about keeping personal information private; no last names)
- Tags – This was a good review for students. What is your post about? Everyone could add “food” as a tag. As you write, you’ll think of other tags to add that would help readers find all posts about specific subjects . . .
- Title – every post needs a title!
Then the students scattered in the small room to find a space to write. At first there were murmurings about their topic and how delicious their chosen food was (and how hungry they were becoming just thinking about it . . .), but soon all you could hear were pencils and pens scratching across the paper.
The next day, students came in to find four sticky notes on top of their post. We discussed penny comments versus dollar (and up) comments. There were some puzzled looks when I mentioned a penny comment but I asked how much they could buy with a penny. “Nothing” was the general consensus. We compared that to a “nothing” comment – a word or two that didn’t add anything to the conversation. But a dollar comment would include details, ask questions, make connections. Of course, the competitive nature of children meant that each wanted to beat a dollar comment – $5, $10, and up were certainly better than just $1!
I had the students stand at their seats with a pencil in hand. Instructions were to read the post and write a comment, including their first name. I had them count four chairs clockwise. At that point they stopped, read the post and wrote a comment. When finished we repeated the process. This time they could comment on the blog OR respond to the comment. We did this a total of four times, going clockwise or counter-clockwise (just to keep everyone guessing!).
After the last round, the students returned to their seats to read their comments. We then discussed the following, sharing examples:
- Anonymous comments – it was decided that we prefer to know who the writer is
- Irrelevant comments – those that had nothing to do with the post
- Penny comments – Students offered to read what they thought were penny comments without giving the author. The funny thing was that, even though the reader gave no clues as to who the author was, the student in question generally confessed, “That was me. I know I should have written more.” (Yea! They are getting it!)
- Dollar comments – Lots of hands went up to share. We really had some strong, quality comments – possibly because the children wanted to impress each other.
I had one student who, shall we say, is not always into the lessons. He surprised me by writing some amazing comments and was always the one we were waiting on to finish the comments! When we debriefed, his name came up several times when we shared the dollar comments.
I can’t wait to read their online blogs!
It Could Have Been Worse by A. H. Benjamin is a fantastic book to help students with the skill of predicting! It is a delightful story about a mouse on his way home who escapes all kinds of predicaments that he knows nothing about – however, he thinks that he is having a terrible day due to many falls and tumbles as he unwittingly escapes danger.
I read part of the book to our first graders and asked them to predict what might happen next. We talked about using picture clues to help with predictions. Once they had an idea in their minds, I told the students that we would be using the Book Creator app to make a class book of all the predictions.
iPads were handed out and the book was set up for their predictions. We used the square format, added a name, and wrote a sentence or two about what they thought would happen next. Then I showed the children how to draw right in the book with the pen choice. I love this feature – yes, tools are limited; there is no fill bucket but it is SO easy to draw directly in the app!
The students then recorded their narration and were guided in emailing the book to me. Two of our classes were extremely fortunate to have several TCU students visiting that day. The college students were a tremendous help to the first graders. In fact, I had planned two 40 minute sessions to complete the book but, with all the grown-up help, the children were finished in one period!
This was the students’ first experience with creating their own page in Book Creator and I guarantee, it won’t be their last!
Enjoy their class books:
Mrs. Hutchinson’s Book
Mrs. Kee’s Book
Mrs. Orehek’s Book
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:
Jane Cooper, one of our second grade teachers signed up for a fantastic collaboration project that Kristen Wideen (a teacher in Winsor, Ontario) initiated. The Global Community iBook Project asks teachers from all over the world to contribute a couple of pages about their community.
The information is written in the Book Creator app for iPad and then uploaded to Kristen’s Dropbox account. She will then combine all the pages into one book.
Mrs. Cooper’s class has learned a LOT about Fort Worth but quickly discovered that it was really difficult to squeeze everything into two pages! After much brainstorming, they were able to choose just a few topics. On Tuesday, they worked together to begin the process of adding pictures and descriptions to their book.
Here is a brief look at the process:
There may be another book in the works – the students have so much information to share that they are seriously considering creating their own book about Fort Worth. We’ll see what transpires!
Mrs. Cooper’s second graders were asked to show their understanding of the water cycle and to do this we decided to have the students add something to their blog. However, a visual is extremely helpful in understanding so we chose to have the children draw a picture in the Drawing Box app, import it into Explain Everything where it would be recorded, save it to the camera roll, then upload it to their post on KidBlog. All of this was accomplished on our iPad minis!
Process from Drawing Box to KidBlog
A lot to do for second graders but they were up for the challenge!
Water Cycle created in Drawing Box app
Here are the steps the students went through:
- Draw in the Drawing Box app > Save to photos
- Import picture to Explain Everything > set as background
- Record in Explain Everything > save as movie to photo roll
- Open KidBlog > create new post > upload video from photo roll
Checking the recordings
The students would love for you to visit their blog and leave comments!
Mrs. Cooper’s Class Blog
Things I Learned:
- Plan at least a couple of hour-long sessions to draw, record, and upload to the blog.
- Don’t forget to explain how to use the “highlighting/arrow” tools for Explain Everything. I did and was really annoyed at myself for doing so! Those are powerful tools when using a screen casting app. We will definitely use these in an upcoming project.
- I highly recommend the paid version of Drawing Box. It has a better collection of drawing tools. All of our student iPads have this version but Mrs. Cooper had the free app and she was disappointed not to have more options.
- The students are quick learners and did extremely well with the project. Part of the objective of this was for them to become familiar with the app so that they could easily use it in the future.
The students enjoyed working with Explain Everything and I look forward to see how they use it with other subjects.