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!

Kinder Shares What they Know about Animals

Collaboration with teachers is SO much fun! Our kinder students just started learning about animals and their teachers wanted to have the students share their learning by creating videos.

A few weeks ago, Tony Vincent visited our school and taught a first grade lesson using the website, Unite for Literacy. Although the book choice isn’t huge on this site, there are several animal books. The nice thing is that students can choose to listen to the book as they read so they don’t get bogged down with harder vocabulary.

We decided to split the lesson into two 30 minute parts since there was quite a bit involved. Students needed to read their story. Then, they were to use ChatterPix Kids (free) to tell about their animal.

For the first session, we started with practicing how to take a screen shot since we wanted a photo of a favorite picture from the book to upload to ChatterPix. Next, the students were given an animal card with a QR code that took them directly to the book they were to read. Once scanned, we went on a picture walk through the book – we didn’t take time to read or listen to the story. The goal was to find a favorite image and screen shot it. Then, we asked the children to listen to the story two times. Each child received a piece of paper where they could write the name of their animal and jot down facts they wanted to share. You should have seen the little ones taking notes!

The next day the students returned to the iLab. Armed with their notes and iPads, we walked through the ChatterPix for Kids app, getting everyone to the point where their photo from the previous day was uploaded and ready to record.

For this project, we only allowed students to add their name. Kids can get carried away with the stickers available in ChatterKid. Since those served no purpose, they were off-limits for the day!

After all the videos had been airdropped to me, I pulled them into Thinglink, onto a map where I tried to place the link where the animal lived. Thinglink is a fabulous way to add links, annotations, videos, etc to an image.

Here are links to the Thinglinks for the other two classes:

Our two sessions were super busy but the students were amazing in how they approached the task – listening intently to learn about their animal and then sharing what they learned. I was able to take several photos from Mrs. Rea’s class to show the process of what the children did. 

Alphabet Alliterations

After reading a blog post by April Requard called Bring Literacy to Life with Technology! (A HUGE thanks to April for sharing this idea!). I thought this would be an excellent way to have our students create alliterations that could be shared with younger students.

We started with the book The Z Was Zapped, by Chris Van Allsburg. Most of the students had read the book before so we just went through a few pages, noting the art work used to aptly illustrate each letter.

We discussed alliterations and how to create a fun, light-hearted sentence that could be illustrated in the Drawing Box app (free and paid versions).

After drawing, the students pulled their picture into ChatterPix Kids (free) – a very easy app where a “mouth-line” is drawn that moves with the recorded narration. Stickers and more can be added to enhance the picture. Once the video is saved to the camera roll, it can be air dropped to the teacher iPad where I combined it into one video in iMovie.

The students enjoyed this “different” way to share learning.

Hint for recording: What we discovered when we combined some of the videos was that a few words were cut off when moving from one clip to the next. It’s important to tell students to wait a second after pressing record and when they finish talking, to again wait a second before tapping the stop recording button. We had to re-record a few and we still have some clips that run together but it’s better that it was!