Tuesday, May 29, 2012

End of Year Activities Web

As a way to wind down the year, students were asked to create a mindmap/web of activities we have done. I gave them the broad categories of science, social studies, math, books, technology, and field trips and set them loose. They used the app SimpleMind+.

Pizza Time! fraction practice

As a review of fractions, I gave students several pizzas to create in the app Pizza Time! For instance, they had to create a pizza with sauce on 1/2 and cheese on 1/4. After creating each pizza, they emailed it to me. As a challenge for students who finished quickly, they had to pick one of the types of pizzas and show me as many ways to create that type of pizza as possible. I suggested they do some "tree" planning on paper first.

Poetry Presentation

We had a poetry fest today! Students practiced several types of "traditional" poems today such as acrostic, haiku and cinquain. They also worked on other types of poems such as a backwards poem, color poem, rule poem, and question poem. After sharing with several partners, they chose their favorite. They created an illustration in DrawingPad to match their favorite poem, brought it into SonicPic and read the poem aloud. Finished poems were emailed.

End of Year Rememberance

Students were photographed in pairs using the iPad camera. They imported their photo to Strip Design. Each student created a speech bubble and in their speech bubble they completed 2 sentence stems, "I want to be remembered for..." and "I am looking forward to..." Pairs then combined to make groups of 4 or 6, I let them choose and those larger groups created a PicCollage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I read my students the book Animalogies written by a 4th grade class. I always enjoy reading the student author books published by Scholastic. We discussed analogies and then I turned my class loose to write their own. They each chose 1 they liked to create on the iPad. They drew the 2 parts of the analogy in Drawing Pad and then used Strip Design to add the words.

Rain Forest

We studied the rain forest last week. Today students used Drawing Pad and Strip Design to "show what they know". Students drew a scene and then added captions and speech bubbles to write facts they remembered from our unit. A few of them found creative caption shapes and colors.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Monday my students had the opportunity to use an app developed at Stanford called SMILE (Stanford Mobile Interactive Learning Environment). The interface of the app is very simple. Students type in a question, along with multiple choice responses. They indicate which of the choices is correct. They can easily include a photo, video, or audio with their question.

Once a question is submitted, students answer each others' questions. They also have the opportunity to rate the question using 1-5 stars and there is space for them to comment on the question.

Since we're finishing up open house projects this week the time to play with the app was very limited. However, groups of students quickly grasped the concept. They were sharing suggestions about what good answer options would be so that the correct answer wasn't too obvious. Even though I didn't demonstrate how to add a photo, a few groups figured it out and put one in. When it came time to answer questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback they gave each other, "great question" as well as explaining why they picked an answer that was not marked as the "correct" one.

I think there was a lot of higher level thinking and cooperating going on and I look forward to more time spent with the app. It made me realize that I don't spend much time teaching/discussing how to question.


Since we've spent a fair amount of time recently writing parts of narratives and full narratives on paper, it was a great opportunity for students to create a narrative in Toontastic.

I like the way the app is broken into the different parts of a story, it's a great way to practice story vocabulary. It also allows for differentiation because some of the scenes can be deleted to make a shorter story and more scenes can be added for more "wordy" authors.

For our first try I limited students to using the scenes and characters included within the app and all of them were able to complete a story (not including storyboarding on paper) in 30-40 minutes. Next time I'll allow them more time and the freedom to draw their own.

Mood music is another great feature.

The only think I'm not fond of is the need to post finished products to ToonTube. I created an account and have all my students use the same name. My preference would be for a video file I could post to Posterous or some other site.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Healthy Body Jigsaw

I started with students in small groups. Each group was given some information to read about a given nutrient such as fiber or vitamin B. After reading the information, each group agreed on the main idea of their information as well as 3 details that supported that main idea.

I then broke up the groups in jigsaw fashion so each student had to teach "their" main idea and details to their new small group. They did the teaching with the help of DrawingPad and Strip Designer (drawing a picture and writing their details while they talked).

Each group then put all their Strip Designs together in Pic Collage. As a class we looked at each Pic Collage and talked about similarities and differences.

Compare a Twist

Compare a Twist is a fantastic combination of review and remember and explain what you know. My students used the app several times to go through games I made or those provided with the app. They sorted things like nouns/verbs and 1 syllable words/2 syllable words.

That meant they were familiar with the app and how it worked when they did the activity this week. I asked pairs of students to create their own game with a total of 6-16 words. Each pair had to come up with 2 categories related to the math we had learned this year. It was a great way for them to review for the STAR test. For those students that were stuck I had category suggestions.

Some of the categories they sorted tiles into were 2D/3D shape words, fraction/not a fraction, uses addition regrouping/does not use addition regrouping, and quarter before/quarter after.

Creating a Story from Pre-created Comixer Comic Panels

The app Comixer comes with a variety of comic strip panels already created. Students had to choose 4-12 of the panels and put them together in a way that would make sense, thereby creating their own story.

They emailed me their finished comic. In the body of the email (not shown) they had to do two assignments. First, they had to write a 1 sentence summary of their story using the "name it verb it finish it" format from Step Up to Writing. Next, they wrote a detailed retell of the story. This was great practice for them as far as giving detail, forced them to explain in a way that made sense why they chose the comic panels and how they fit together, and helped me understand the story they were trying to convey.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Plant Life Cycle

Using either Strip Designer or SonicPic students explained the life cycle of a plant (pictures drawing in DrawingPad).

Insect Life Cycle

Insect Life cycle

Pairs of students created a project using either Educreations or SonicPic (with DrawingPad for illustrations) to show the 4 stages in the life of either a silkworm or butterfly, 2 animals we have been studying in class.