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:
The Adobe Spark family of tools are my new favorites! There is SO much you can do with them! I’ve used Spark Video for awhile and certainly enjoy how quick and easy it is to create great movies. Spark Page, I’ve found, is a fabulous way to create a “newsletter” for teachers and parents since links, images, videos, and more can be added. Recently, though, I’ve had lots of fun creating posters, book covers, and title pages with Spark Post. Here’s an excellent tutorial by Blake Lipthratt.
We create lots of class books with Book Creator and I’ve always used their built-in selection of colors and fonts to make the cover. However, after playing around with Spark Post, I am loving this for book covers! It definitely opens up new options!(more…)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss, is one of my favorite books! When Mrs. Kee, a first grade teachers, came to me wanting to incorporate technology for “Grinch Day,” I jumped into brainstorming mode.
She wanted to have the students come up with ways to make the Grinch grin, and wondered if the Seesaw app would be an appropriate tool for this. I agreed that Seesaw would be perfect for this.
Using the DRAW tool in Seesaw, the children illustrated what they would do to make the Grinch grin. Before posting to their journal, they recorded what they would do. They came up with some very creative methods.
Here are samples from all of our first grade classes:
And, for the true meaning of Christmas . . .
Don’t you just love these cute drawings? And, wouldn’t this make a fun class book? The Book Creator app would be perfect for this activity. Hmmm. . . perhaps I’ll do that!
I came across a fun idea a few days ago that would be a great way to introduce the Pic Collage Kids app to our first graders. Spooky Good Costumes is a cute way to introduce students to several of the tools in an app that is useful across the curriculum.
First, why Pic Collage Kids ($1.99) rather than Pic Collage (free with in-app purchases)? Both have the same interface but there are two very important reasons why I prefer Pic Collage Kids.
The kids app is rated 4+ while the otheris12+. This is a huge help inavoiding the inappropriate “stickers” and images that sometimes pop up on Pic Collage.
Even though there is a charge for Pic Collage Kids, it is not that much considering that there are LOTS of free stickers that come with the app. And, younger children LOVE stickers!!
If you want a more detailed comparison of the two, click here.
Back to the project . . . I followed the instructions from the above blog post and, let me tell you, those first graders did a fantastic job! I told one class that we had only 40 minutes to do something that should normally take twice that long.
We opened the app and students had one minute to take a selfie. Really, if you give them longer, they can’t ever seem to take the “perfect” photo and they end up taking way too many!
I was a little worried about the clip tool – would it take too long to “cut” around the head, taking out the background? The kids absolutely loved this! They had so much fun cutting without scissors!
Look at our heads!
Next step – showing the tools for drawing (doodle), changing the background, and adding fun stickers. Students were asked to use stickers to create their name.
I love these letter stickers for a Halloween collage. I did impose a limit of 5 stickers (excluding the name). Otherwise, there’s a temptation to cover the page with every sticker available!
There was lots of concentration as the students created their collages.
As the students completed their drawings, they airdropped them to me. The first couple of children who finished became “tech helpers” and were they fantastic (not to mention, proud!).
Here’s the animoto video of the costumed first graders. Enjoy!
What is an Ozobot? A tiny robot that can read specific color combinations that tell it to perform an action. The Ozobot Bit is capable of downloading programs created with Ozoblockly (drag and drop interface). Did I mention these miniature robots are super fun??
I wish I had a photo of the kindergartners faces when I first showed them how the Ozobot followed marker-drawn paths! Were they excited! Knowing I wouldn’t be able to keep their attention for very long because they could not wait to get started, I quickly talked about how the Ozobot had a sensor that could read specific color combinations but that it was just a bit picky. Ozobot likes lines and color codes that are “just right” – not too thick and not too thin. We did a quick lesson on drawing a “just right” line, calibration, and even cleaning wheels. Then I told what they’d be exploring for the day.
The Ozobot website has TONS of fantastic lessons and I chose the Mother’s Day Card. This type activity is perfect for the youngest users because all they have to do is use the key to color in the small squares (great fine motor practice!). For the first group, we were fortunate to have some fantastic fourth grade helpers.
The next lesson segment was using Overwrite sticker codes. These are small, round stickers that have codes printed on them. This is fantastic for younger children because it really can be a bit tricky to draw a perfect code that the Ozobot can read. Even my 4th graders struggle with this. The best part about these sticker codes is that they are the brainchild of a now 9 year old boy, Holden, along with his brother and dad. Our students love to hear Holden’s story because, “If he can invent something, we can too!” Be sure to visit the Ozoeasy site and scroll down to read his story.
Each child was given a paper with a rectangular black path, 4 code stickers, and markers. As stickers were placed, they were challenged to have their Ozobot follow the path, first in one direction, then the opposite way. What’s fun about the codes is that a different action is performed depending on which direction it travels. The students were also encouraged to draw paths inside the rectangle using red, green, and blue markers to see how the Ozobot reacted.
Oh, my! What excitement! It’s SO much fun to see students engaged, experimenting, and working together. I’m sorry, parents; it’s my guess that there were a lot of kindergartners who went home that afternoon to ask for an Ozobot! In fact, on the way out, one boy whose mom teaches first grade at our school, excitedly shared with me that she would be coming down to talk to me about the Ozobots. And, she did!
In the week since we’ve used the Ozobots, I’ve had several students ask me if first graders get to use Ozobots. They can’t wait till school starts again!
Here’s a video of the students with these little robots:
Ozobots are fantastic tiny robots that can be programmed by either drawing in a color code combination or by using the drag and drop Ozoblockly online program. I love these little robots because all ages can use them; they grow with the child.
However, what we’ve discovered with the younger children is that it can be difficult to draw the codes “just right” so that the Ozobot can read them. That’s why I was thrilled to discover the Ozoeasy sticker codes this year. These small round stickers were created by an 8 year old – always fun to tell students that even young children can become an entrepreneur!
Enter the Dr. Seuss theme! Using PowerPoint (Only because I wanted precise lines!), I created a couple of “hats” to go with The Cat and the Hat.
The first hat the children worked with had only one place to draw a connecting line – at the top. The students were asked to choose a color other than black to connect the lines. After demonstrating how the code stickers worked, we talked about best places to add those. For example, the codes have to have black lines on either side and they can’t be too close to a corner. Students were also encouraged to draw colored lines across the hat.
After exploring the triangular hat, we moved onto the other template. This one had breaks in the black lines. The children could draw their own code, place a code sticker on a line, or add a connecting line of a color other than black.
What fun observing as the children discovered how the Ozobot reacted to the colored lines and the codes!
As our time together drew to a close, we regrouped to talk about our observations.
What happened when Ozobot rolled over a line that was a color other than black? What did you discover about Ozobot moving in opposite directions as it traveled over a code sticker? What did you learn about drawing your own codes?
Here are the templates of the hats. There are a couple of options included for each design.
Our second graders can share quite a bit of information and they are excited to do so! They’ve been researching types of rainforests, animals that live there, and much more. We decided that the students would create a page about their topic using the Book Creator app, air drop their page to me, and I would compile these into class books.
I created a template and air dropped it to our iPad set. The students inserted a photo of the picture they had illustrated and added labels.
One class wrote an ABC Rainforest book while the two other classes created a book about Rainforest Animals.
Then the recording began. I had ordered these cute retro microphones from Amazon and they arrived just in time for this. Unfortunately, I only had six and everyone wanted one! We also have a few recording cubes that work quite well at reducing background noise.
The students spread out in the lab as well as in their classroom and we were able to get everyone recorded pretty quickly.
The books have been saved in two formats:
ePub book that can be read on iOS devices using the iBooks app (Click on ePub book link below while on an iOS device. Choose download > open in iBooks.)
Video that can be viewed on any device
The main issue with making a class book is that every student speaks at different levels. Some have extremely quiet voices and others come across quite clearly. You’ll most likely need to adjust your volume often!
Here’s one of the videos (see links below to other class videos).
The entire Lower School focused on kindness during the month of February. Our first graders brainstormed about ways to be kind to others. We then asked the children to draw a picture showing a kind act using the Book Creator app.
The children then completed the sentence starter, Kindness Is, as they wrote and recorded their thoughts.
As the books were completed, the children air dropped theirs to me so that I could combine them into a class book. These were saved as an ePub book to be read on iOS devices as well as a video that can be seen on any platform.
We hope you enjoy their thoughts on kindness!
Below are links to the videos and the ePub books. To download the books, click on the link while on an iOS device that has the iBooks app. Choose download and open in iBooks.
Mrs. Crumley’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Crumley’s Kindness Video
Mrs. Hutchinson’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Hutchinson’s Kindness Video
Mrs. Kee’s Kindness Book
Mrs. Kee’s Kindness Video
When the students arrived, I asked what they would do if they wanted to go some place. “We would ask our parents or our teacher!” I next asked what they would do if they wanted to go on the internet. Most said they would need to ask permission to do that.
We watched the video then I told the students we would be taking some “field trips” to visit online places far away from our school.
I chose to make some changes from the suggested sites in the lesson plan. Here are the ones used for this year.
The children were asked to explore the sites for a few minutes. Then they would need to decide what their favorite “field trip” was so that they could illustrate it. The students enjoyed visiting the faraway places but the takeaway was the importance of always being safe online. This lesson is an excellent way to make connections in that, just as we practice safety in the real world, we also need to do so when we are 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!
Here’s a quick look at the students exploring the sites and choosing their favorite place to visit.