Posts Tagged ‘1st grade’

Going Places Safely!

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:

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Advice from First Graders

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! 

Kodable + First Graders = EXCITEMENT!

The new Kodable updates are a definite WIN! This week the first graders were introduced to the program. WOW! Were they excited!! Kodable is extremely engaging (it’s the one app kids don’t want to close when it’s time to leave). More than that, though, it is an excellent tool for learning computational thinking.

Using the great lessons offered by Kodable, we began with a vocabulary discussion:

Next, we practiced following commands written as symbols.

After a couple of practices where I pointed to the symbol code as students performed it, I challenged them to follow a string of symbols on their own. They worked at their own pace with eyes glued to the whiteboard. They were EXTREMELY focused and it was really cute to watch. 

After that, we went into Kodable and worked through the first puzzle  together and then they were off! I loved watching them work through each level, talking it out, helping each other.

When class was over, NO ONE wanted to close Kodable. Thankfully, Kodable now has the ability to link school and home accounts. Click here for instructions.

Thank you, Kodable, for an engaging way to learn computational thinking and the basics of programming!

“It Could Have Been Worse. . .” – Making Predictions

I absolutely LOVE combining literature and technology when students visit the lab! One of my favorite books is, It Could Have Been Worse, by A.H. Benjamin. It is a one of the best books for making predictions! The book is about a little mouse who is on his way home when he encounters some difficulties. Little does he know that he is being followed by other creatures such as a cat, snake, fish, and more. Mouse ends up falling into holes, sliding down hills, getting a few bumps and bruises along the way. What he doesn’t know is what happens to those animals trying to catch him!

I read the book and stopped just as an animal was about to catch the mouse. The goal was to have the first graders illustrate their what they thought would happen next, write a sentence about their prediction, and record their voice telling what their prediction. Then, I would make a class book for the students.

There are many ways to do this but my go-to app is Book Creator. I air-dropped a template to each iPad (I’m loving the new backgrounds and borders Book Creator has added). With only 40 minutes with each class, I do as much as I can before students arrive!

our template

When the students arrived, we set up the book by adding their names. I was amazed at how much the students remembered from using the app last year so set up went quickly.

As I started reading, the children began drawing. When I reached the stopping point (different for each class), the students really got busy!

The directions were:

  1. Illustrate
  2. Type sentence
  3. Record
  4. Air drop to Mrs. Arrington

As students completed the steps, they became helpers – showing classmates what to do. The homeroom teachers were invaluable helpers as well!

I enjoy taking photos of the process which are made into a short video and added to the end of the books. The children (and parents) really enjoy that!

Here are our finished books:

Mrs. Crumley’s Class

What Happened to the Fox_Mrs. Crumley’s Class Predictions

Mrs. Hutchinson’s Class

What Happened to the Snake_Mrs. Hutchinson’s Class Predictions

Mrs. Kee’s Class

What Happened to the Fish_Mrs. Kee’s Class Predictons

Amazing Author Visits!

Today is the day! Susan Stevens Crummel and Janet Stevens are here for their author and illustrator visit. And, what a fun visit it was!

To prepare for the visit, our students have been learning all about these two wonderful ladies as well as exploring the many books they have authored and illustrated.

To bring in a technology aspect, I checked out the “Crummel/Stevens” cart of books and asked our first graders to choose one for a book talk using the ChatterPix Kids app. This is a fun (and favorite) app where a picture is added then a mouth is drawn and students record.

After tips on taking a great photo of the book cover (fill the screen!), the students went off to read their books and then scattered to find a quiet place to record.

ChatterPix allows only 30 seconds to record which is usually enough time, as long as you know what to say! For younger students, 30 seconds can be a challenge. And, we did talk about this! What I discovered as I listened to the recordings was that few students re-recorded if they were cut off – not sure why they didn’t try again. Oh, well . . .

After students added their name and saved the video, they airdropped to me so that I could compile them on a Thinglink image. Here’s the work from Mrs. Crumley’s class.

Click here for Mrs. Kee’s collection of videos.

This was a fun activity that included lots of reading and thinking. The children did a fabulous job giving book talks about some fantastic books!

¿Qué animal es?

Our first grade children have created the cutest project in Spanish class with Sra. Ross. Here’s what she said about the animal project:

As part of our farm animal unit, we discussed using tiene, it has, to describe the different body parts each animal has.  We talked about what color the animal is using es, it is, learned the vocabulary for each part, discussed how many parts each animal has, and also what actions the animals do.

In Spanish, the students had written a description on the first page and written and illustrated the answer on the second.

Sra. Ross asked what we could do to record the students and get their work uploaded to Seesaw digital portfolios. Since there were two pages to this, I thought Book Creator would be perfect. The children could make their book and then air drop that to be combined for a class book. The class books could be placed on the class iPads so that students could practice listening and practicing their understanding of Spanish.

For my part, I created a template in Book Creator and air dropped that to each iPad. I then went into each iPad to personalize each book with student and teacher’s names. The children can set this up but I find it saves a LOT of time, especially for the younger students, to prepare as much as possible ahead of time!

In the first class, we had the students take a photo of  each paper using the camera that’s built in to Book Creator. In that class, only 6 students completed their book (steps to completion:  take photos, insert into Book Creator, record the  Spanish, let Sra. Ross listen to it, and air drop the book to me. For a 30 minute class, that was TOO MUCH to do! We only had about 6 people complete their book.

After that class, I suggested that we take the photos and insert them into the books before students arrived. That was SO much better!

Once Sra. Ross checked the work, the students came to me where they added  page colors to their books then they air dropped them to me.

Two of the three classes completed their books. The books were saved in the ePub book format as well as a video. Here’s one of the videos (the title slide was created with the Assembly app).

Instructions for Downloading Books:

  • In order to read the books, you will need to have the iBooks app installed.
  • Tap on the link while on an iOS device (iPad or iPhone).
  • Choose download.
  • Choose open in iBooks.

Mrs. Kee’s Class book

Mrs. Crumley’s Class book

 

En Mi Mochila Tengo . . .

I am SO excited about our Kinder-First grade Spanish teacher’s project! Sra. Ross has done this activity with her first graders for a few years and, wanting to use Seesaw to share this with parents, asked me to be the “tech” help.

Sra. Ross’ students have been learning the Spanish names for school items. To help practice what they had learned, they wrote and illustrated various items (pencils, crayons, etc) that they would find in their backpacks. They practiced how to say, “En mi mochila tengo . . .” (In my backpack, I have . . .)

She brought each class to the lab where I offered tips on taking good photos of their work. (I certainly was no help with the Spanish!)

Then, they recorded what they’d written.

Before posting, the children checked in with Sra. Ross so she could help with pronunciation.

Sra. Ross’ bulletin board will feature the students’ work along with QR codes to scan so others can hear their voices. What better way for parents to listen to their children speaking another language! Thankful that Seesaw makes this such an easy process.

Below are some samples of how they did.

Coding Unplugged: Great Ways to Introduce Concepts

I found the best tool at a teacher supply store last summer – magnetic arrows!

I’m not sure what the maker had in mind for these, but they are absolutely PERFECT for practicing coding movements on the board!

One of the best and most comprehensive (and free) coding curriculum is from code.org. There are many excellent programs and apps available but I highly recommend this be a integral part of a coding program, especially for elementary ages. Besides the student activities, there are numerous resources available for teachers. One such resource is called “Happy Maps” where students tell Flurb (see below) which way to go to get the fruit.

Meet Flurb!

Last year, we used arrows to point the directions to move. The magnets I purchased have a turn arrow which is great for truly showing the sequence of steps necessary to reach the fruit.

After reviewing the vocabulary:

  • algorithm – a list of steps that you can follow to finish a task
  • program – an algorithm that has been coded into something that can be run by a machine

I ask how Flurb can get to the apple. With all the volunteers, we could spend the entire time moving arrows!

After one child has placed arrows and moved Flurb, I ask if there is another way to reach the apple. We spend a lot of time talking about being able to have several solutions to get to the same result. Of course, fixing and trying again (debugging) are extremely important parts of the computational thinking process.

 

After a few students have tried progressively harder puzzles, we move to the iPads and code.org. I encourage students to “walk out” the solution when they get stuck. We’ll hold the iPad together and walk in the directions they need to go. Some students (me included!) need that extra kinesthetic approach. I always love watching children do just that – they talk quietly as they walk the steps they should take:

one step forward > turn right > two steps forward

As we wrap up the lesson, I always ask, “Did anyone get stuck?” A few hands slowly go up, as if they are unsure that they want anyone to know. Then I tell the children, “You know what I noticed? When you got stuck, not one person complained and said they couldn’t do it; that it was too hard. You didn’t give up. You kept trying. That’s what coders do!”

And, isn’t that what we do everyday in life?!?

Hour of Code: Ozobots!

What a hit! The students absolutely LOVE programming the tiny Ozobots! These are small robots that are programmable using color codes, the Ozobot app or the online Ozoblockly block-based program. What I love about these is that they can be adapted to several ages.

One first grade class entered the room, immediately noticed the Ozobots on each table, and suddenly I heard, “Oh, Oh, Oh, we get to do Ozobots!” This little boy was practically dancing with excitement; even rushing over to give me a hug.

Some of the second, third, and fourth grade classes were asked to video their paths and codes to upload to Seesaw journals while explaining what Ozobots are and what they do.

Here’s an example:

These fourth grade students did a fantastic job with their explanations. I see a future in sales! 

Ozobots are a fun and easy way to introduce computational thinking to children. It’s easy to adapt these robots to any age.

 

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