Saturday, March 30, 2013

1st and 2nd Grade Create a Holiday Using Drawing Pad and Educreations

My students learned about several different "government" holidays over the last few weeks, including Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day and Flag Day.

In groups of 3 or 4 they worked together to create a new holiday for our school. The holiday had to be based on some character trait or symbol that was meaningful rather than just fun. I nixed Electronics Day and Kids Do Whatever They Want Day. However, students were left with great ideas like Staff Day to honor all those that help at the school that aren't teachers (we already get teacher appreciation), Kids Help Day when students spend the day making donations, helping each other, and doing other good deeds, Anniversary Day to celebrate the anniversary of our school, and Learning Day to celebrate learning new things.

Each group had to complete 2 tasks on the iPads in addition to some paper activities. The first iPad tasks was to create a poster using Drawing Pad to be hung around the school. The second was to make a "TV ad" for their holiday using Educreations. I didn't put any requirements on the poster, but I did require that the TV ad tell when the holiday would be, why it would be celebrated, what students would do to celebrate, and how they thought of the idea.

I am now pounding my head on the table because I just discovered that Educreations made a change to their app. When work is deleted from the Educreations app on the iPad, it now deletes that work permanently from my account as well, not just from storage on the iPad. Well, students spend 10 min each Friday on classroom jobs. One of those jobs is to delete iPad work from apps such as Drawing Pad, Photos, and Educreations in an effort to free up storage space on the devices. Those hard workers deleted all the Educreations TV ads from this week, as well as several other assignments. At least I was able to see the groups work in progress!

2nd Grade--Multiplication and Division Problems with Story Buddy

We have finished multiplication and are wrapping up our division unit. Each student created a 2 page book in Story Buddy with a multiplication problem and a division problem.

2nd Grade--Stickman 1 and Educreations

When 2nd grade students played the Stickman 2 app a few weeks ago they absolutely loved it. This week groups of 3 students played the Stickman 1 app. As they progressed through the story they took a screenshot after each of the objects they had to draw (key, balloon, sword, rain, and drain).

They imported the screenshots into Educreations and recorded a different solution to each of the 5 problems.

1st Grade--Solving Rabbit Word Problems with Teaching Table

For 2 weeks 1st grade students are studying rabbits, both real and fictional.

To keep in the spirit, I created several math word problems for them related to bunnies. I also wanted them to familiarize themselves with an app called Teaching Table. It has fantastic math manipulatives as well as some pre-created math lessons that demonstrate the use of the manipulatives. Teachers or students can create math lesson in the app as well as use the app to solve problems.

In addition to playing around with the app students solved 3 or 4 addition and subtraction word problems using Teaching Table and then took a screenshot of their solution.

No Work Available To View This Week!

Well, this must be the season for iPad frustration, at least for my class. Despite creating and emailing many assignments this week, not a single one made it off the iPads. This could be due to our network, Posterous, or the fact that we're in the process of switching email accounts. To me it's just frustrating to sit down with my computer waiting to see final products that I watched students work on during the week and see...nothing!

Anyway, in case you want ideas without visuals, here's how we spent the electronic part of our week.

First grade
  • Read Horton Hears a Who on iPad
  • Read Horton Hatches an Egg on iPad and write Horton a letter using Card Shop app telling him why he's an upstander and why the other characters are bullies
  • Read The Sneetches on iPad and create a StoryBuddy about 2 times when they felt like a Star-bellied Sneetch and why
  • Read The Grinch on iPad
  • Magnetic ABC do different screens reviewing -ar and -or words as well as those with y as a vowel

Second grade
  • Draw a Stickman 2 and then in Tools4Students sequence the events
  • Read The Statue of Liberty on the iPad and Educreations explain the science behind why the Statue of Liberty is green
  • Complete a few worksheets using Paperport Notes and Dropbox (still experimenting, trying to decide if there is merit compared to paper)
  • Students learned the whole multiplication unit (finished this week) using Nearpod. I have been using Nearpod since the beginning of the year for science and social studies and it was going so well I have been slowly creating math lessons there as well. Students love it and I appreciate seeing each of them draw/shade arrays and circles/dots to explain their thinking before they start on workbook pages.

Both grades
  • Create a cake using Cake Maker (free version) then import to StoryBuddy and record themselves telling the steps they used to create the cake. Type descriptive sentences of the cake.
  • Read books in A to Z leveled libraries and answer questions
  • More number talks, this week using Doodle Buddy instead of Chalk

1st Grade--End of Dr. Seuss Unit

First grade students finished off our month of Dr. Seuss by reading And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry St. and There's No Place Like Space on the iPads.

They completed 2 end of unit activities on the iPad, both used Sonic Pics. For one assignment a classmate took their picture holding up an iPad showing the cover of the favorite of all the Dr. Seuss books they read. They recorded themselves explaining why that book was their favorite from the choices and then they read their favorite page.

For the second assignment a classmate took their picture showing a page from the iPad with their favorite Dr. Seuss character. They recorded themselves explaining why they liked that character best and then they read their favorite page about that character.

I liked having students photograph each other, they definitely get a different perspective when they're behind the camera and have to decide how far away to stand to avoid cutting off someone's head!

No work samples are included for privacy reasons.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2nd Grade--Community Vocabulary Using Educreations or Story Buddy

We are finishing up our community unit. Students brainstormed all the vocabulary they had learned during the unit (about 18 words) and we listed the words on the board. Groups of 2-3 students created either a Story Buddy or Educreations project explaining the definition of each word. They had to write/speak as well as illustrate each term.

Unfortunately the Educreation videos will not play due to a temporary glitch on Educreations. However, the StoryBuddy pages came out great, here are a couple samples.

2nd Grade--Bats and Owls Fact and Opinion

Students read several non-fiction books about bats and owls. In pairs they created a StoryBuddy page. They drew each animal on the page and completed the 2 sentences
We learned....
Student X likes ___ better because ____. I told them it was fine to both like the same animal best but they needed to come up with 2 different reasons for their opinions.

1st and 2nd Grade--Farmer, Goat, Wolf and Cabbage Problem Using Educreations

Groups of 3 students used Educreations to solve a logic problem.

A farmer is on 1 side of a river with a goat, wolf, and cabbage and he needs to get all 3 to the other side. He has a boat to use that will hold him and 1 other thing. He can't leave the goat and cabbage alone on 1 side of the river because the goat will eat the cabbage. He can't leave the goat and wolf alone on 1 side of the river because the wolf will eat the goat. How can he get them all across?

Students drew and explained the steps, tried, erased, and tried again. It was great to watch. Unfortunately, we did this during the Educreations "bug" time so the videos aren't able to play. Of my 8 groups 2 were able to solve with no hints and all were able to solve with the hint that the farmer takes 1 thing back across the river with him 1 time.

1st Grade--Skitch and Drawing Pad Label Practice

One skill we work on a fair amount in 1st grade is labelling. The hope is that if students create photos and pictures with labels and realize why they might use them as a creator then they might pay more attention to the labels they see as readers.

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day students drew a picture in Drawing Pad of 3-5 green objects. I asked them to include items that were "always" green rather than objects that could be green, but could be other colors (such as a backpack or tshirt). They imported their drawings to Skitch and labelled.

1st and 2nd Grade--Paperport Notes and Dropbox

Periodically I break out some PDFs that I have in Dropbox and have students mark them up in Paperport Notes. This is the first time we've done this for the 2012-2013 school year.

Last year I used it for several graphic organizers. With Tools4Students having so many graphic organizers available we are using that app at least once or twice a week so I haven't been handing out as many dittos.

I scan a worksheet (often from Scholastic News) that requires minimal writing and post it in Dropbox. Wordsearch, multiple choice, matching type assignments work well. Students open the assignment in Paperport Notes, complete the work, and then email it to Posterous and put it back in their Dropbox.

What I like--I save a trip to the xerox machine, save a tree

What I'm not sure about--if students don't remember to delete their work from Paperport Notes then when the next student does the assignment (I have 2-3 students sharing an iPad) the previous student's answers are already in the doc, compared to just handing a student a paper with errors circled it seems harder for students to correct mistakes because they have to go back to their Dropbox and re-open the assignment in Paperport Notes to make the correction then put back in Dropbox. For example, here's a sample that needs a correction...

So, I'm not sure. I like the IDEA of it, I'm just not sure it really provides an overall workflow advantage.

Last year students seemed much more excited about marking up the worksheets, this year they were very ambivalent. My new concern is that several Posterous alternatives that my school is considering don't work with PDF format.

I know there's a relatively new app, Showbie, that might simplify the process, I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

Thoughts? Ideas to do it better?

1st Grade--Dr. Seuss Week 3

Studens read 2 more Dr. Seuss books on the ipad this week, Fox in Socks and Yertle the Turtle. As with previous stories they asked each other questions using the literature flashcards in the Flashcards app.

On Tuesday students created an Educreations response for One Fish Two Fish that they read last week. Thinking back to all the unusual characters in that book, students drew and labelled parts of their own unusual creation. Then they talked about likes and dislikes of their creature.

As a specific response to Yertle the Turtle students students used Educreations to interview each other. One student was the interviewer and the other pretended to be Yertle the Turtle. "Yertle the Turtle" explained, via a story created by the 2 students, how he can come to be such a bucket dipper. This book fits in well with our school's anti-bullying Project Cornerstone program. Unfortunately students created the Educreations video on Thursday and apparently there was a bug at Educreations that prohibited videos uploaded during a period of time (Thursday afternoon-Friday morning) from playing. Sorry, no sample!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2nd Grade--Intel Visual Rank of Resources

I was very excited to see that Intel has created an app for their visual rank program. My students used this several weeks ago to rank the importance of different size rocks, but at that time they used laptops.

This week they used the app to rank the importance of resources--natural, human, and capital. This is a topic that fits with our social studies curriculum. After ranking they commented on how they determined the order. Finally, when all groups were finished they were able to compare their results with the results of other groups.

The program works equally well on the laptops and idevices. I had students use iTouches this week simply because I had more of them available--first grade students were using laptops and ipads.

2nd Grade--Leo Lionni Author Study

Students read at least 3 Leo Lionni books from a choice of 10 (all paper). In pairs or groups of 3 they completed the compare/contrast  Tools4Students graphic organizer as well as 1 other graphic organizer of their choice.  In iDiary they wrote an entry about their favorite book and a separate entry about which character they related to the most.

2nd Grade--iCardSort

I downloaded the deck from Lisa Carnazzo about motion. I changed the "spin" card to "stack" to better fit with concepts we learned in geometry. After sorting the cards that came with the deck students had a chance to add their own objects. Rather than sort on a continuum I had students duplicate cards that fit in more than one category.

1st Grade--Diagram of a forest

Students read The Forest from our anthology. Based on the information in the book and their knowledge of forests, groups of 3 students drew a forest in DrawingPad. They imported it to Skitch and added at least 5 labels of items in their illustration.

1st Grade--Chinese New Year

Students read paper copies of Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin. I like that it has the fictitious story, with non-fiction information given at the back.

After reading students completed any 2 Tools4Students graphic organizers of their choice. Most opted for main idea/detail, fact/opinion, sequence of events, or character.  Then they created an iDiary entry describing how they celebrate New Year's. I gave them the choice of describing either how they celebrate Chinese New Year or "American" New Year's. I asked them to make at least 3 specific comparisons between the book and themselves.

1st Grade--Dr. Seuss Week 2

We continued our Dr. Seuss unit this week by reading 2 stories on the iPad, One Fish Two Fish and Oh the Places You'll Go.

After reading students asked each other questions using question stems from the Flashcards app.  They recorded themselves reading One Fish Two Fish, practicing expression. They used the voice memo app for this. They also created 2 entries in iDiary. In the first entry I asked them to predict what they would be doing in 2nd grade. They were able to draw on what they see the 2nd grade students doing in class each day to give specific details about learning. For their 2nd entry I asked them to predict what they would be doing as an adult.

1st and 2nd Grade--StoryBuilder

We are starting to talk about narrative writing. Students used the StoryBuilder app to create a story based on a cartoon picture in the app. I like the app because it allows students a wide variety of pictures (almost all 24 of my students chose something different to tell a story about). In addition, students had the opportunity to self-select the level of storytelling difficulty they were ready for. The options were for 4 or 7 or no question prompts. The stories they told were really cute. The cartoon downloaded to Posterous along with the audio recording, but when I tried to download from Posterous only the audio recording downloaded. Several students asked to tell more stories during choice time this week, always a good sign of a fun activity.

1st Grade--iCard Sort Numbers

My first grade students used the iCardSort app for the first time. I downloaded one of the pre-made decks within the app. Students sorted numbers 0-10. The math part was easy for them at this point in the year, but it gave them a chance to get to know the app.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Newer Technology NuVue Clear

Newer Technology sent me a NuVue Clear iPad screen protector. Knock on wood we haven't had any screens scratched yet, but the iPads do get a lot of love from the 1st and 2nd grade students so a screen protector certainly seems like a great idea!

The installation directions were very specific. They seemed a little scary because there were several dos and don'ts; I was afraid I was going to mess up and end up with lint and/or bubbles. However, the protector went on with no trouble.

A big benefit I've noticed after having it on the iPad for several weeks is the reduction in fingerprints. Our iPads are out and in use most of the day and students use them without always thinking about any dirt/grease that might be on their fingers. The protector keeps the screen cleaner and when holding the iPad in the light at just the right angle there are clearly fewer fingerprints to distract from what is on the iPad.

Fingers slide over the surface easily.

1st Grade--Citizenship

Our first grade class is currently working on the citizenship unit. Vocabulary in this unit includes rule, right, opinion, vote, and citizen. Each student chose a word from the vocabulary list and created a page in StoryBuddy to make a class vocabulary book. I asked them to illustrate and write sentences about their vocabulary word, but not use the word itself. Students shared pages with each other and had to determine which vocabulary word their partner's page was illustrating.

1st Grade--Dr. Seuss Week 1

At my school the first grade team does a big Dr. Seuss unit that lasts for the month of March. My class started this week. They read 2 Dr. Seuss books on the iPad, Green Eggs and Ham and The Foot Book.  After reading they asked each other questions from the flashcard deck on the iTouches (I created question stems in the app Flashcards).

As a project for The Foot Book students created a 5 page antonym book in Story Buddy. On each page they drew pictures of antonyms and wrote captions.

Another project they did in StoryBuddy was to complete the sentence frame "At _______ I saw ______." Their sentence had to include at least 1 adjective and the place and the object they saw had to rhyme.

No samples (see technical difficulties post).

2nd Grade--What It Means to be an American

I have done this assignment for several years with magazines. Students have created posters about what they think it means to be an American using pictures they cut out from magazines. However, after 10 years my magazine supply is dwindling and I am not getting as many magazines donated by parents as I used to (nor do I get magazine subscriptions in paper anymore).

This year I gave students a choice of completing the assignment as a paper poster or on the iPad. We looked through the Scholastic book I am American and brainstormed what it means to be an American. From there students were on their own to create. About 1/4 of the students completed the assignment on paper and the rest used Drawing Pad/Strip Design/Pic Collage as they saw fit. Students who worked on paper liked that they didn't have to draw or find photos from the photo library (they don't search the Internet) but sometimes they felt limited by what they could find in the magazines (and none of them wanted to draw on paper). Students who worked on the iPads either loved it or didn't think their drawings looked as good as magazine photos and they didn't always find what they wanted in the photo library.

Overall I'm glad I gave them choice this year, I'd do the same again. I liked how different each student's final product turned out. Unfortunately none of the work actually made it to Posterous so I don't have any samples to post.

Technical Difficulties

Usually I sit down every Saturday and go through all the digital work my students have posted to Posterous during the week.  Much to my dismay today I have discovered that very little of their work has actually posted. About 1/3 of the assignments completed this week appear in the Posterous list but then display a "we can't find your page" message. About another 1/3 of the work doesn't appear in Posterous at all. This could be due to Posterous difficulties or it may be due to Internet in my classroom (the teacher next door and I have a combined total of 10 laptops and 15 iPads and we are using an Airport--hopefully we will switch to Meraki soon). I'll guess my #1 job Monday morning will be re-sending all the missing work and hoping it goes through. However, a bunch of my posts today won't have any student samples.

2nd Grade--Teaching Each Other About US Symbols

As part of our social studies unit about government the 2nd grade students studied US symbols. I have a variety of books about US symbols at a variety of reading levels. Small groups of students each read about 4 symbols including Mt. Rushmore, the flag, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, the bald eagle, and the Washington Monument. Each group chose 1 symbol to create a PSA about. Their PSA had to include what the symbol represented as well as 3 or more facts about it. They had a choice of using Drawing Pad, Strip Design, Popplet, Pic Collage, Educreations, and Story Buddy.

The American Flag