Archive of ‘iPads’ category

Sharing Our Heritage

Each fall our second graders create a Heritage project to share with grandparents and other relatives. They bring in photos of family members, sometimes from several generations back! Over the years I’ve tried a variety of online applications to make the final product but it’s always been more of a teacher-created project. Parents would email photos or send them on a CD. I would upload them to the student’s home directory. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needed to be done before the child could even begin to record their heritage story!

This year we decided to use the Book Creator app, an easy-to-use ePub book maker that allows the user to import pictures and record narration. Besides saving as an eBook, the finished product can also be exported as a video.

We asked the parents to send actual photos. The students really giggled when I said they were going to take photos of their photos! After a photography lesson, the children scattered around the room in search of the perfect place to take their picture. They watched for glare from the lights, checked for blurriness, learned how to crop.

IMG_3872IMG_3862Next step was to insert the pictures into the Book Creator app.

IMG_3851The following week we worked on the cover of the book. What child can resist taking a selfie?

IMG_3887The students also added page colors and chose a font style and color.

IMG_3883The children are in the process of recording their heritage narrations. Then I’ll be uploading the finished ePub books and videos to the web so that their fantastic, student-created work can be shared with family and friends!

Movin’ On to Middle School

As our fourth graders inched toward the end of their Lower School years. I asked them to reflect on two items:

  1. Think back over the many activities you’ve participated in over your years in Lower School. Whether you’ve been here since kindergarten or joined the TVS family later, what has meant the most to you?
  2. Take a look into the future. At this point in time, what do you think you’ll want to do when you graduate from college?

The end product would be an ePub book created in the Book Creator app. In addition, this would be saved as a video. I really like that Book Creator offers this option – extremely helpful to have another format available for families who don’t have iOS devices.

The students would be illustrating both items using Microsoft’s Paint program. There was much discussion as memories of past years flooded back – the Teddy Bear Picnic in Kindergarten, the plays performed in every grade, field trips, worm farms, learning coding, and so much more! And then, the hard decision of what to draw. After all, the Paint canvas is only so big! For some, there really was one event or activity that stood out as a favorite. For others, there were quite a few choices so they drew something for each grade.

Moving on to the “future” picture, we discussed how most people change their minds several times before deciding on a major in college. But, there are those who know exactly what they want to do in life at an early age. Which would they be? I challenged the students to look back at this project when they graduate from high school and see if what they are planning on studying in college is similar to what they illustrated while in fourth grade!

The next step was to write a script. I have to say that this wasn’t a favorite part of the project and there were some that rushed through this step. However, having a script to follow when recording certainly avoids stumbling over what to say!

Each child set up two books in the Book Creator app. They downloaded their illustrations (I’d uploaded them to my Picasa Web Albums site) and added them to their page. Of course, personalizing the page was extremely important – from page color to font style. When recording was completed, the individual books were emailed to me so that I could pull them together into class books.

Cover of Favorite Activity book

Cover of a Favorite Activity book

Cover of Future book

Cover of a Future book

Here are the links to the ePub books:
(Be sure that you tap on the links while on an iOS device that has the iBooks app installed. Choose Download > Open in iBooks)

The next step was to export the books as videos (done straight from Book Creator). This can be a final step before uploading to Vimeo of YouTube because you really don’t have to do anything else to the video. However, I like to do some editing (especially adjusting sound levels) using the iMovie app. I also added a different introduction to the movies.

Below is a visual of the apps used to create the video version of the ePub books.

IMG_2940

App notes: For using the Path On app ($1.99),  I wanted a blank page for drawing the writing path for one of the books so I used Explain Everything ($2.99), chose a template, then exported image as “Photo to Camera Roll.”  Book Creator ($4.99) has a free version but you can only make one book. The paid version is well worth the money!

Since there are 2 videos per class, I won’t embed all of them in this post. You can click here to see them. Below is one of the videos.

Mrs. Malone’s Class: Future Plans from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.

This is a fun project that does take a while to get everyone finished with drawing and recording but listening to the students talk about their life in Lower School and their plans for the future is worth every minute!

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.

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

Meet Mrs. Weth’s Wonderful Workers!

Every year I have the students draw a self-portrait using Microsoft’s Paint program. These have a variety of uses: avatars for blogs, printed for bulletin boards, “All About the Author” pages, and so on.

Mrs. Weth, one of our third grade teachers, likes to have her students use the portraits to create a video for our Grandparents’ Day. Her students write an “I Am” poem then record it with their portrait as the backdrop.

Last year she used Explain Everything for the project. This year, we chose Book Creator due to their new feature allowing users to export the book as a video.  By going with this app, we were able to save the book in two formats: ePub book and video. This gives our families options on how they want to view the students’ work.

For the ePub book, choose download while on an iOS device and open in iBooks (make sure that app is installed on your device).

Mrs. Weth’s ePub book link

Making Predictions with First Graders

could have been worseAn important skill for students to develop as they read is learning how to make predictions. One way I like to practice this is through children’s literature. A perfect book for making predictions is It Could Have Been Worse by A. H. Benjamin. The book is about a mouse on his way home from visiting his town cousin. Mouse runs into all kinds of difficulty as he heads home – slipping, sliding, landing in thorns, . . . After each little episode, Mouse laments that his day isn’t going well at all. However, there is much more going on in the background that Mouse doesn’t know about. As it turns out, several creatures come very close to having Mouse for lunch. Because of Mouse’s “terrible” day, he manages to escape the dangers around him!

I start by reading the first few pages of the book. The students listen as Mouse loses his balance, falls to the ground, and declares, “This isn’t my lucky day.” In the background, the children can see that Cat is just about to pounce on Mouse but misses him as the mouse falls. Cat ends up in a bed of thorns as the narrative reads, “But it could have been worse!” I read the next page but stop before finding out what will happen to Mouse this time.

We talk about what a prediction is and how to use picture clues to help decide what will happen next. Then I tell the students that they will write down their prediction in the Book Creator app and will illustrate that using Drawing Pad. (Book Creator has a drawing feature within the app that is easy to use. For this activity I wanted the teachers to see an app-smashing example that they could use within their own classroom.)

Writing a prediction in the Book Creator app

Writing a prediction in the Book Creator app

The prediction activity took about two 40 minute sessions. Part of the time was spent introducing the drawing features in the Drawing Pad app and showing how to develop their page in Book Creator  (add illustration, write sentence, record narration) – the next time the teachers (or I) use the apps, the students will be able to work more independently.

Illustrating their predictions using the Drawing Pad app

Illustrating their predictions using the Drawing Pad app

As students finished recording, they came to me for guidance in emailing their Book Creator page to me. The pages are then compiled into class books for students to read on their iOS devices. In addition, I also exported the book as a video to offer another way to view the books.

Here are the apps we used:

App Smashing with First Graders

App Smashing with First Graders

Links to the ePub Books and the videos:

  • What will happen to Mouse and Snake?  Mrs. Hutchinson’s Class ePub Book and Video
  • What will happen to Mouse and Fox?  Mrs. Kee’s Class ePub Book and Video
  • What will happen to Mouse and Fish?  Mrs. Orehek’s Class ePub 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.

International Dot Day Celebrations!

the dotI love International Dot Day! September 15ish is the day to celebrate Peter H. Reynold’s wonderful book, The Dot. In the book, Vashti is asked to draw a picture in art class but can’t think of anything to illustrate. Her teacher encourages her to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Vashti jabs the paper with her pencil to create a tiny dot but the next time she comes to class, she discovers her teacher has framed it. From there, Vashti determines that she really can make better dots! At the end of the book, Vashti pays forward what her teacher has done for her by encouraging a little boy who believes he can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. This book has two wonderful themes:

  1. Every person is creative in their own special way.
  2. Each of us can find a way to “make our mark” by helping and encouraging others.

This year, celebrating Dot Day was a bit difficult for me. I worked part-time till Sept. 15 due to back surgery over the summer. But I had a wonderful sub, Jane Cooper, who worked tirelessly with many classes to  start our Dot Day celebrations. I returned full-time on September 15 to continue the activities – by the end of the day I was completely exhausted but it was a fantastic day to return! Below are descriptions of how our teachers and students “made our mark.”

Kindergarten

Our kinder teachers gave each student a dot and a “swirly gold framed” paper. The students created a picture from their dot.

photo 2(1)Click here for more pictures from kindergarten.

First Grade

The first graders had a two-part lesson. Mrs. Cooper introduced the students to making their creative mark by reading The Dot. The children were then given the dot coloring sheet for use with the ColAR app (free in the App Store and Google Play). Lots of colorful illustrations were made as the students were told that the following week they would see something magic happen to their dots. When the first graders returned to the lab, I showed them how to use the ColAR app. Amazed “oohs” and “aahs” were heard as my dot became 3-dimensional! The students were thrilled to see their own dots come to life.

IMG_1060View Animoto videos of each class:

Second Grade

Mrs. Cooper worked with the second graders to create a dot using the Drawing Box app. She explained to the students that, just as people are unique, their dots would be different from their classmates. But, when joined together, they would create a tapestry of colors. The children discussed how they were individuals but each unique person was needed to make a successful group – just as each dot they drew was important to the overall tapestry.

Third Grade

I asked the third graders to combine their creativity and a desire to “make a mark” on others by illustrating a picture in Microsoft’s Paint program. The students were asked to think about how they could make a difference  – in a person’s life (a classmate, family member, friend . . .), by doing a task to help their community, or thinking about something they could do in the future. The students wrote a short description then illustrated their idea. I combined their thoughts and drawings in Animoto videos

IMG_0967

Fourth Grade

Because of time constraints, I was only able to work with two of our three fourth grade classes (the third class participated in Dot Day in Spanish).

In one class, I asked the students to create a PowerPoint slide that included their name written in Braille and clip art that represented some of their interests. The students used the Braille Bug website to convert their name to Braille. They then used the shape tool and duplicate shortcut to create dots to form their Braille name. After adding clip art, I asked the students to save their slide as a jpeg (at this point I hadn’t decided how we would share their work). I ended up creating one slideshow with their images.

For another class, I thought I would give coding dots a try. The students had been learning JavaScript with our headmaster, Gary Krahn (see post) so they already had some practice. I asked them to use the ellipse code to create dot pictures. They eagerly set to work and programmed some absolutely amazing images! I loved watching them problem-solve with each other as they worked on placing their dots. When finished, they took screen shots of their work and I combined them into a slideshow.

Co-Curricular Classes
Of course, Dot Day wouldn’t be complete without music, art, and Spanish and those teachers led some very creative activities!
Mrs. Holloway had her music classes practicing musical note writing as they composed Dot songs.
photo 2First graders in Mrs. Black’s art classes used watercolors to beautifully decorate coffee filters.
photo 2(1)
Click here to view more art and music pictures.
Our Spanish teachers were busy with a variety of activities. Sra. Ross’s first graders learned the Mexican Hat Dance (a circle dance). Her second graders designed Mexican mirrors. Sra. Nedrelow’s third graders created colorful Aztec calendars while her fourth graders constructed Costa Rican Ox Carts. (See more detailed descriptions of the mirrors and ox carts by clicking here.)
Spanish classesClick here to view more images from our Spanish classes.
We are proud to be part of International Dot Day 2014 but our creativity doesn’t stop in September. We will continue to make our mark all year!

1st Graders Demonstrate Different Ways to Show Numbers

After discovering a tweet from a student in Kristen Wideen’s class telling how the children were representing 2-digit numbers, I shared the idea with the 1st grade team. They were excited to have another way for the children to practice number sense.

After brainstorming with the teachers, we decided to use a combination of manipulatives and apps to represent numbers. The children use concrete manipulatives throughout the year so they had lot of experience working with money and base ten blocks before moving to apps.

photo 4


Individual White Boards
– to draw tally marks of their number.

 

 

 
photo 3Dice – We first started out with 2 regular dice (1-6). Those students who had chosen a number with digits greater than 6 quickly discovered regular dice didn’t work! This turned into a perfect problem-solving activity. Should we change the number? What else could we do to show our number?

photo 2Hundreds Chart – We chose the free, easy-to-use SchoolKit Math app. The hundreds chart is one of 10 activities within this app.

 

 

photo 1Base Ten Blocks – We used the Number Pieces app. (Thanks to Mrs. Wideen’s class for recommending the free app!) We asked to draw a T-chart and label it with tens and ones.

 

 

 

photo 5Money – One of the choices of the SchoolKit Math app is money so this is what we used. The students were asked to represent their numeral using a couple of different money combinations.

 

 

Process:

Before starting, we reviewed how to use the camera and tips on taking a clear picture. Then we practiced taking a screen shot. We also talked about cropping images and I was amazed at how quickly the children picked that up!

Next, we went through each method and “built” our numbers.

pic collage appFinally, we were ready to pull everything together in Pic Collage. The students LOVED building their collage and trying out the wide variety of backgrounds!

Because we ran out of time during our first session, we met later to have the children post their collage to their blog.

The children loved the activity (as did the teachers). Plus, it was a great way to check to see how students were doing with their number sense using 2-digit numbers.

The students at work:

Hutchinson collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kee collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

orehek collage

We’re Moving On!

We are a K-12 private school divided into three divisions. Our 4th graders are at the “top” of their division and will be moving on to middle school very soon.

As a “Good-bye to Lower School” project, I ask the students to think back over their past years at our school (whether they’ve been here just for one or two years or they’ve attended since kindergarten) and illustrate their favorite memories. I then ask the children to look ahead to the future and illustrate what they would like to do for a career. We discuss how ideas may change in the coming years but it’s fun to look back when they go off to college to see if their career plans are similar or completely different!

We used Microsoft’s Paint program for the illustrations. These were uploaded to my Picasa Web Albums – that allowed the students to save their pictures to an iPad. Then they could import the pictures into Explain Everything to record their thoughts. The completed videos were combined into class movies using the iMovie app.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t check video size limitations to upload to Vimeo! Each video was much too large so I split each class into parts one and two!

Mr. d’Auteuil: Part 1

Mr. d’Auteuil: Part 2

Mrs. Malone: Part 1

Mrs. Malone: Part 2

Mrs. Wright: Part 1

Mrs. Wright: Part 2

How Can Numbers be Represented?

Mrs Wideens class tweetThanks to a tweet from a student in Kristen Wideen’s class telling how the children were representing 2-digit numbers, our 2nd grader teachers decided to incorporate this fantastic idea into their math lesson. Discovering this tweet was perfect timing as our students are moving into place value for 3-digit numbers!

Number Pieces appThe first thing I did was tweet Mrs. Wideen’s class to find out the app they used for place value blocks. The response was Number Pieces, a free app!

After talking with the 2nd grade teachers, we decided to do the following to have students show ways to represent a 3-digit number:

photo 5Regular Dice – take a photo. What we discovered was some students put the dice together backwards. In other words, 123 was shown as 321. When they realized that, we discovered an easy fix was to rotate the image!

photo 4Place Value Dice – take a photo. These are fantastic dice in that students can see the precise value of each digit.

Whphoto 2iteboard Writing – take a photo. Students were to write the numerals for their number then write it out in words.

 

photo 1Number Pieces app – take a screen shot. This has an amazing number of features for a free app! We had the students draw the place value chart and put the blocks in the correct category. What was discovered is that it is extremely difficult to fit more than 2 or 3 hundreds on an iPad mini! The children had to get pretty creative in stacking the blocks so that they could still be seen. Some of the students wanted only their work to show; not the tools of the app so that provided a perfect opportunity to show how to crop photos.

photo 3SchoolKit Math: Money – take a screen shot. To show the number representation with money, we used the SchoolKit Math app (free). Besides money, this app has a hundreds chart, number line, tens frame, fractions, and more – very useful tools. Working with money to show a number was more difficult than the other ways. It was tempting, for example, to show 1 dollar, 2 pennies, and 3 pennies for 123. We had to review that the 2 is in the tens place so we would need something to show 20.

pic collage appTo pull everything together, we used the Pic Collage app (free).

Cooper_generic collage

 

The next step was to share the work. The students added their images to their blog and wrote a description of what they did. They would love comments!

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

blogging pic

 

 

 

 

 

bulletin board

Bulletin Board – with pics and blog post copies

 

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