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.

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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.

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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.

We Can Code!

Code.org was introduced to our first graders last week. As kindergarteners, most of the children had used Kodable (and we’ll be using that again as well).

We started with the “unplugged” Happy Maps and Move It, Move It activities from the Code.org course 1 curriculum.

First, the vocabulary was introduced:

  • Algorithma list of steps that you can follow to complete a task
  • Programan algorithm that has been coded into something that can be run like a machine.

Instead of having the students work individually on paper, I drew a grid on the board and asked them to how they would move Flurb (yes, that’s its name!) to reach the apple.

IMG_4029This was really interesting with the first class. Two different students came up to the board and each took a very long way to reach the apple.

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After discussing how there are almost always several ways to solve a problem, we talked about taking lots of steps versus taking fewer steps. Then the students realized that Flurb just needed to hop down one space to make it faster.

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I think what confused the students is that there was no square between Flurb and the apple. Once they realized that it was okay to hop to another square, they understood that the move was fine.

The next challenge was to guide Flurb to the flower pot. However, some of the squares were blocked off.

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By this time, the students were quickly rattling off how Flurb could move. They GOT it!

We moved to the computer, had the students log into code.org with their secret picture and off they went. Or, at least some of them – for whatever reason, we had a really difficult time accessing the site. Don’t know if the problem was on our end or theirs?? We’ll try again, though.

I know that we have an eager group of little coders ready to practice algorithms and programs!

3rd Graders App Smashing on International Dot Day

On International Dot Day, as we discussed how students could “make their mark” (both artistically and by helping others), the 3rd graders were asked to draw a dot using the Drawing Pad app. They could make their dot any way they chose. The next step was to brainstorm what they could do to help someone else; whether it be a family member, a teacher, a classmate, etc.

The children then pulled their drawing into the ChatterPix Kids app. This is a super-easy app that allows the user to record short narration, add text/stickers, and save to the camera roll. The students drew a “mouth” on their dot and recorded how they would help others. Each video was air dropped to the teacher iPad where all were combined to create a class video in iMovie.

FullSizeRender(4)Here are a couple of student samples:

This was a fun way to help the students practice their creativity on International Dot Day!

Links to the Class Videos:

“Just Right” Websites

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.

Kee_safe websites (2)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!

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!

Welcome to the Web: A Webquest for Learning How to Navigate the Internet

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:

  1. The Beginning – explains how to use the site.
  2. 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.
  3. Staying Safe – encourages pupils to keep themselves safe online by following the SMART rules. Also tests their understanding usign interactive activities and fun quizzes.
  4. Using Your Browser – helps people to learn more about their web browsers… what are the different features and how are they used?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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