En el Patio de Recreo – In the Playground

Señora Ross teaches playground vocabulary to her second graders. Last year she recorded the students speaking about the different parts of the playground but never really did anything with her video.

This year, she wanted to make sure that the students’ work was posted somewhere. How exciting for parents to be able to hear their children share their Spanish knowledge with others!

Her idea was to have students work in pairs to take two photos each: one of a specific playground item by itself; the second with their partner on or next to the equipment.

In preparation, Señora Ross assigned partners and the item that would be photographed. Before starting, we discussed how to take a non-blurry photo (these were not to be action shots!). Next, we handed out their assignment cards and an iPad. Then we trekked out to the playground.

The students quickly took their photos (only had one instance where video was taken rather than stills) and gathered back together to go to the computer lab to finish the project.

Spanish_Ross

pisntell eduThere are many apps that would work for importing images and recording narration. For this project, I suggested we try Pixntell EDU. I hadn’t used the app with a class but felt like it would be easy for the students to upload images and record on each photo. Once finished, the user is able to save the work as a video file. Our goal was to collect all projects to combine into a class video using iMovie.

The app worked quite well for this project. It was easy for the students to use. Once the user saves, the video automatically saves to the photo roll where it can be air dropped to the teacher iPad.

Quirks of Pixntell EDU:

  • Can’t listen to recording till it is saved. If you want to redo after that, it appears that all photos must be re-recorded.
  • When images are added, there is no check mark to indicate which pictures are selected. This is fine for adults but harder for children. We had LOTS of extra images but they are easy to delete!

Señora Ross and I had quite an assembly line going – she helped with the Spanish vocabulary then sent the students to me so they could air drop their video.

Next, Señora Ross pulled all videos together in iMovie, added a quick title page created in Explain Everything, uploaded to our Vimeo account, and the work was ready to share!

Mrs. Garcia’s Class

Mrs. Cooper’s Class

Mrs. Shapard’s Class

This was a fun project – the students quickly learned the app and really did a great job saying their sentences in Spanish. And we are so glad that parents can get a glimpse into what their children are learning!

Explaining Homophones with Explain Everything

Mrs. Garcia, one of our second grade teachers, came to me a couple of weeks ago and asked that her students be introduced to the Explain Everything app. The other two classes had already used the app during a science unit and she had seen how powerful it is.

We talked for a bit, tossing around ideas and then Mrs. Garcia mentioned homophones, asking if that might be something that students could share using the app. What a perfect idea! The students were in week 2 of a two week spelling unit on homophones. We decided that the children would draw directly in Explain Everything, label the homophones, and record a sentence (and definitions for Mrs. Garcia’s class). Our other two second grade teachers also decided to have their students use the app to share knowledge of homophones.

Process:
Before coming to the lab, the students were assigned a homophone pair (or trio). They wrote a sentence using the words and sketched a drawing on paper of what they would do in the app.

When the students came to the lab, we set up the new Explain Everything page, starting with their name and then saving. Because we have shared iPads, I have the students save this way: Class # + Teacher’s Initial + student name + project name. It seems long but really isn’t! (i.e. 21G Karen homophones)

Next we discussed how to draw – how to change the pen tip and width as well as the pen color.

Illustrating the homophones

Illustrating the homophones

As the students completed their drawings, they were asked to label the homophones.

Next, we talked about the how-to of recording and re-recording if necessary. However, before recording, we discussed the laser pointers. We wanted the students to use these to highlight the correct homophone as the sentence was read.

Recording went fairly smoothly. Some students discovered it’s a bit tricky to read, record, and highlight; all at the same time. But, they easily solved that issue – they asked another student to work the laser as they read the sentence!

After recording, the children learned how to save the video to the camera roll then they air dropped it to me. I combined the videos into class movies using iMovie and uploaded to Vimeo.

Mrs. Garcia’s Class

Mrs. Cooper’s Class

Mrs. Shapard’s Class

Tips and Other Things I Learned!

  • Use the students for peer tutoring – the child appreciates the opportunity to help and it is an invaluable aid to the teacher!
  • The “add page” icon is right under the select symbol in EE and is very easy to hit, especially on the smaller iPad minis. We had to really watch to make sure the students had only ONE page! I think the record number of blank pages was 7!!
  • Note to self: Remember to tell the students to use the laser pointer as they record! I completely forgot to do that with one class so we had a do-over.
  • I do NOT recommend the “light saber” pointer. Wow – does that make a lot of noise!

The students did a fantastic job with this project and enjoyed sharing their knowledge in a new way.

Fraction Stories with Second Graders

What better way to illustrate understanding of math concepts that to apply that knowledge creating word problems? That’s exactly what Mrs. Shapard’s second graders did using the Book Creator app!

Toward the end of the fraction unit, Mrs. Shapard asked her children to write a story using the concept they had just learned. As I rolled the iPad cart into their room, the students were busy handing out manipulatives to use with their stories. There were cubes and teddy bear counters and pattern blocks and more. Of course, these had to be played with before we could even begin rewriting their stories!

The students received their iPad and opened the Book Creator app. We chose the Landscape design in order to have enough space for pictures and text. Each student would create two pages. Page one (the cover) would have the story problem typed along with an illustration drawn using the Pen within the app. The second page would provide the answer using text. Our original plan was to use manipulatives to represent the answer. That proved to be a bit tricky. They could draw their answer but when asked to transfer that knowledge using a different medium, there was slight confusion.

  • “How do we put these together?”
  • “What should I use to show my answer?”
  • “I can’t make the blocks look like my drawing.”

The students’ comments and questions were valid – the blocks, bears, etc did NOT look like some of their illustrations so this part wasn’t making sense to them. Therefore, we slightly changed the original plan to offer a choice – represent the answer by either manipulatives OR drawing with the pen tool.

Shapard 2

The students are becoming experts with the Book Creator app. As soon as they completed their drawings, they immediately found a quiet corner to record.

Shapard 1

Since we decided to create a class book, the students were to email their book to me. (Since my iPad is an older version, I don’t have the luxury of being able to Air Drop – An awesome feature!).

Once I received the books from the students, it was a quick and easy process to combine each into the one class book. (One thing to remember – there may be extra blank pages that will need to be deleted. Since we were limited on class time, I deleted the extras after putting the book together. Students could very easily do that step.) I then uploaded the book to Dropbox so that it can be downloaded by others (see directions below).

Mrs. Shapard’s Class Book: Fraction Word Problems (Read the directions below to download to an iOS device or to a computer using the Chrome browser.)

Below is a video of the process (this is also included in the back of the class book).

Directions to download book 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:

Catching Our Dreams

Mrs. Garcia's Dream Catcher Bulletin Board

Mrs. Garcia’s Dream Catcher Bulletin Board

Mrs. Garcia’s second grade class discussed dreams and how they would try to accomplish them. However, what children wish for doesn’t magically occur. The students researched possible ways to make those dreams come true.

When the students came to the lab, they drew their dreams on the iPad using the Drawing Box app. (I like the paid version because there are more tools,) When finished, the children learned how to save the drawing to the camera roll so that it could be used for the second part of the project.

The next step was to create a new book in the Book Creator app. This is one of my very favorite apps! It is simple to use for all ages. Students can email books to me and these can be very quickly combined into a class book. Love it!!

The students easily inserted their photo into Book Creator, recorded their narration, and then emailed the book to me. I compiled the individual books into one class book which was uploaded to Dropbox so that it could be shared with parents. (See below for instructions.)

Apps used to create and publish the class book.

Apps used to create and publish the class book.

Chasing Our Dreams Class 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:

Working on a Collaborative eBook

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!

 

Write About This App and QR Codes

Write about thisOur second graders explored the Write About This app last week in the computer lab. The app offers visual writing prompts; students can write a story and record their narration (which saves as a QuickTime movie). There is a free version with limited prompts or, for $3.99, several prompts appear per category. For each visual there are 3 levels which allow for differentiation. Images can also be uploaded to create your own prompts.

I asked the students to go to the categories and look through them.

photo(1)Since I only have the students for 40 minutes, they had to choose a picture quickly. Once that was accomplished, the students started their writing.

photo(6)

Mrs. Cooper’s students writing their stories

In the classroom, I would expect students to spend more time with the writing process but this was a “quick write” due to time constraints. We did go over our allotted time, but the children were able to write, record, and email their Write About to me.

One of the second grade teachers, Mrs. Cooper, mentioned that she liked to have work on the bulletin board outside her classroom that parents could view on parent/teacher conference day. That started me thinking – could we upload the student’s narration somewhere and create a QR code so that parents could scan and listen to their child reading?

For me, the easiest way was to upload all Write Abouts to our FTP server. Once that was done, I used a QR code generator to create the code. The one I used this time was QR Stuff because I could also choose to shorten the URL at the same time the code was being generated. The codes were saved to a Word Document and labeled by child’s name. I printed them on a full-page label so all I had to do was cut them out and stick them onto the Write Abouts that had previously been printed.

photo(5)Since the Write About narrations are saved as a QuickTime movie, they could be uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube. QR codes could be created as above.

The students loved the Write About This app. We don’t recall hearing anyone say, “I can’t think of anything to write!”

By the way, the same people who created Write About This have just released the Tell About This app. Visual prompts are provided that encourage children to focus on their oral language skills as they tell stories. I can’t wait to work with the younger grades!

Let it Snow!

It doesn’t snow much in Texas – our last major blast of winter weather resulted in the worst ice storm this area has had in many years. Unfortunately, you can not build a snow man from ice!

Looks like snow but it was slick, solid ice!

Looks like snow but it was thick, slick, solid ice!

So, we did the next best thing – we “built” snowmen (and snow women) using Microsoft’s Paint program. The students drew their snow people by answering questions on a Snowman Glyph 2014. (This is adapted from a glyph I saw years ago. Unfortunately I don’t remember where it was found.)

What surprised me is that their were several students who had never built a real snowman! But, if you don’t travel to snowy places, you often have to wait several years before we have enough snow in Texas to build even a miniature snowman!

After the snow people were finished, I uploaded the illustrations to animoto. Enjoy the videos.

Second Grade Snow People:

Third Grade Snow People:

Fourth Grade Snow People:

Two of our second grade teachers wanted to take the project a step further by incorporating writing. They had their students write cinquain poems which they copied into the Book Creator app. (As a side note, this is an AWESOME app and super easy to use!).

Typing the Poem

Typing the Poem

Since the pictures had been drawn on computers, I had to upload them to my Picasa account so that the students could save the image to the iPad. They had no problems at all doing this.

Once the pictures and text were in the app, each student recorded their poem, then emailed it to me.

Recording

Recording

One of the best features of Book Creator is that books can be combined if they are created in the same format. We chose landscape for this project. All of the individual books were then easily combined into one book. I did have to delete some blank pages – quick and easy though.

Finally the books were uploaded to DropBox – ready to share. Directions for reading the books on your iOS device or through the Google Chrome browser are listed below.

Mrs. Shapard’s Snowmen and Snow Women Cinquain Poems

Mrs. Cooper’s Snow People Cinquain Poems

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:

 

A Very Special Day!

I love Grandparents’ Day! Yes, it is loads of work preparing for it. But grandparents come to be with their grandchildren, not to evaluate all that we do. It’s such a busy day but I truly enjoy the opportunity to visit with these wonderful visitors.

The second graders have done a Heritage Project for several years. In the past few years, this has evolved into a technology project. Students bring in pictures from the past and I am in charge of uploading these to the students’ home directories so that they can add them to VoiceThread, where they narrate each photo. It’s always fascinating to look at these pictures – some are quite old!

This year the students shared their projects using the iPads. We suggested that ear buds be brought so that the narration could be heard more clearly. Everything went quite smoothly. (Only one iPad decided not to connect to the Internet!)

Below are some snapshots of students sharing their projects with their visitors.

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International Dot Day 2013 in Review

Our Dot Day celebrations spanned several days and then it took me a bit longer to pull everything together but here’s a look at the students’ creativity.

Kindergarten:

After brainstorming what a dot could become, the children were given a “swirly gold frame” from Fablevision’s Dot Day Handbook and a dot sticker to make their own creation.


First Grade:

First graders decorated their dot by using the sheet from the ColAR website. ColAR Mix is an augmented reality coloring book app that brings images to life!  Dot Day Fun! Watch Your Dot Come to Life describes what special things happen to a dot when viewed through this app. Talk about oohs and ahhs from students! What I found amusing was watching the teachers getting just as involved as the children!


Second Grade:

Second grade took this activity a step further. After discussing that, yes, even young children can make a difference in other people’s lives, we brainstormed how this could happen. The students wrote their thoughts on their dot then decorated with crayons and markers. Then the fun began with the ColAR Mix app.


Third Grade:

After talking about how Vashti’s teacher made a difference in her life and then how Vashti guided a little boy to “make his mark,” the third graders were challenged to illustrate how they could make a difference in someone’s life. Students used the Microsoft Paint program to create their pictures. Since not all students wrote how they would make a difference, what they were thinking might not be readily observed but all had something in mind. We had a fabulous discussion about how even the little things you do are important! Here is a look at what they drew.


Fourth Grade:

By the time the students came to me, they had either read The Dot or had watched a video of it but that didn’t mean they didn’t want to hear it again! And, when the students found out that I also had Peter Reynold’s Ish and Sky Color, we couldn’t even begin the activity until I had read BOTH books! The students decided they just wanted to create. Some created images from a dot while others made some type of “ish” picture. Then I decided to let them experiment with the ColAR Mix app. They weren’t as “wowed” as the younger children but they did enjoy doing a walk-around to see what their classmates had created.

Co-Curricular Classes:

The music, art, and Spanish teachers incorporated dots into their lessons too. From dot paintings to dot music to oxcart wheels to mirrors, the students’ imaginations flowed!

Another Dot Day has passed but the creativity will continue!

A Quick Peek at International Dot Day Celebrations

I LOVE International Dot Day. Based on the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, students around the world celebrate “creativity, courage, and collaboration” on September 15th (ish).

Our students have been “making their mark” this week in a variety of ways. Here is a quick glimpse at some of the things we have done so far. As I pull everything together, more will be posted.

Kindergarten

After brainstorming what a dot could become, kindergarteners were given a “swirly gold frame” from Fablevision’s Dot Day Handbook and a dot sticker to make their own creation.

First Grade

First graders decorated their dot by using the sheet from the ColAR website. ColAR Mix is an augmented reality coloring book app that brings images to life!  Dot Day Fun! Watch Your Dot Come to Life describes what special things happen to a dot when viewed through this app. Talk about oohs and ahhs from students! What I found amusing was watching the teachers getting just as involved as the children!

Second Grade

Second grade took this activity a step further. After discussing that, yes, even young children can make a difference in other people’s lives, we brainstormed how this could happen. The students wrote their thoughts on their dot then decorated with crayons and markers. Then the fun began with the ColAR Mix app.

Picking up litter to help wildlife

Third Grade
Picking up litter to help wildlife

The third graders had the same charge as the second graders but they used Microsoft’s Paint program for their drawings. I’m hoping to use the Tellagami app to have the students insert their picture and then tell about their ideas on making their mark in their community.

Tomorrow the teachers will dress in their best dot clothing and students receive Dot Day certificates, stickers, and Dot Candy. What a fun, creative week we’ve had!

Yum - Dots!

Yum – Dots!