Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week before Thanksgiving, several activities

We had several visitors to our classroom this week to see iPads in action. It was also the end of the trimester, and a short week (only 4 days and full of non-tech Thanksgiving activities).

I am ready for a break and on a quest for Hostess products. My own children have never had them and we had planned to get some for my brother-in-law as a Christmas joke related to a dinner we had with him back in August. I thought that would be easy! Suddenly Hostess is out of business and I can't find a Twinkie or Ho-Ho under $5 apiece. So I am off to drive around the Bay Area and hit-up more 7-11s and convenience stores.

Before I go, here are the highlights of last week with iPads.

1.  First & second grade--I asked groups of 2-3 students to think back on their first trimester of learning and choose 1 topic. I then asked them to choose an app and use the app to EXPLAIN/TEACH the concept. Before I set them off, we brainstormed a list of apps they could use to teach. They came up with Educreations, Sonic Pics, Puppet Pals, DrawingPad/Strip Design, Doodle Buddy, Skitch, and StoryBuddy. We also brainstormed topics covered in language arts, math, science and social studies.  What I really liked as I walked around the room is the variety I saw. Every app mentioned above was used by at least 1 group. Students mixed and matched apps in ways we have not done before. Something to work on for the future is that many groups, especially the first grade students, had difficulty teaching the concept. Many of them gave examples, say of facts and opinions, but did not explain the difference. Later in the day each group shared their projects with the rest of the class. Almost every group chose a language arts topic (adjectives, fact/opinion, ...) or math (addition, making a pattern, ...)

2.  First grade students independently used the magnetic ABC app to create a list of 5 ow and 5 ou words. Some of them also had time to use the Drawing Pad or Story Buddy app (their choice) to use words from the list in a sentence and illustrate.

3.  Second grade students read a short anthology selection about reading a diagram and following the directions in the diagram. There were specific skills mentioned in the selection that we discussed. I asked pairs of them to create their own directions and diagram for creating a growing pattern or for naming a fraction, 2 skills we worked on during the week. They had to use the iPad camera to create the photos for their set of directions and then use Strip Design to write directions to go with each picture. They swapped projects and discussed with each other what had been done well and what was confusing about their diagram.

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