Saturday, June 8, 2013

2nd Graders Finish Poetry Unit with A to Z Tongue Twisters App

As a wrap-up to our poetry unit, pairs of students read through the A to Z Tongue Twisters app. Thanks Tony Vincent for the suggestion! They were rolling on the floor (literally) as they read through the sentences.

As a follow up they came up with a list of requirements for what makes a tongue twister. Each student then wrote and performed their own tongue twister for the class.

1st 7 2nd Graders Freyer-Type Model of Character Trait Words Using Popplet

As an end to our Project Cornerstone/anti-bully school program I asked pairs or groups of 3 students to choose a word from a list we brainstormed. All the words were positive character trait words (helpful, kind, honest, upstander, etc) that were discussed as part of the program during the year. In the middle Popple students wrote the character trait word. In 4 bubbles around it they wrote a synonym, an antonym, used the word in a sentence, and drew a picture showing the word in action.

1st & 2nd Graders Kind Words About Each Other Using Popplet

Down to our last 1 hour 40 minutes with iPads I decided students should write a few words to each other, expressing the positive character traits they see in each other. Originally I was thinking students would take a picture of themselves and then their peers would write positive character trait words around the photo in Skitch. However, as I was about to launch this activity I realized we only had 3 iPads with cameras...24 students...23 comments on each photo...not going to happen in the time remaining. Great idea for next year, though!

Instead each student created a Popplet with their name in the center. Peers stopped at each Popplet (9 iPads so each iPad had 2 or 3 Popplets to comment on) and added a Popple. They wrote a positive character trait word or a phrase about something their peer likes or is known for. Again, I think more planning and brainstorming of character trait words would have yielded more variety in the Popples (also less enthusiasm for the showing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs that was about to happen), but hopefully it is a nice keepsake from the year.

Father's Day StoryBuddy by 2nd Graders

2nd grade students completed a 3 page StoryBuddy or 3 box Strip Design about their dads as a Father's Day gift. We had to turn in iPads, so we had to get this project completed ahead of time. On each page they drew a picture and completed a sentence stem. The sentence stems were "My dad is great at..." "My dad is special because..." and "I like to _____ with my dad."

1st & 2nd Graders Reflect on Our Environment Unit

We spent a week learning about taking care of the environment--water and energy conservation, reduce, reuse, recycle, etc. At the end of the unit pairs of students showed what they learned about 1 topic that they felt was most important.  Popular apps for demonstrating learning were Educreations, StoryBuddy (see sample), DrawingPad and StripDesign, 30 Hands, Sonic Pics, and Skitch.

Friday, June 7, 2013

1st Grade Heavier/Lighter with StoryBuddy

First grade students are learning about objects that are heavier/lighter than each other. After weighing various classroom objects using balance scales, they showed me their understanding on the iPad. Using StoryBuddy they drew a picture and then wrote a sentence explaining which object is heavier and how they knew.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2nd Graders Review Their Favorite Apps

Only 2 more days with iPads, I'm not sure how will we survive the other !  Each student chose their favorite app on the classroom iPads, took a screenshot of if being used, and gave an audio review. The review followed our Step Up to Writing expository format--topic, 3 yellow detail sentences, 3 red explain more sentences, and  a conclusion.

The videos turned out to be rather long, and I'm not sure I'm going to successfully get them off the iPads before the end of the year. However, here's a list of those that students chose to highlight (there were some duplicates).

Nancy Drew's Shadow Ranch
Daisy the Dinosaur
Green Up
Pocket Zoo

2nd Grade Mystery Disguises

The reading theme this week was mysteries. After reading several mysteries and doing some paper and pencil activities, students took a photo of themselves with the iPad camera. Using either Doodle Buddy or Stitch they created a disguise for themselves--hats, hair, mustaches, silly clothes, etc.

No samples shown due to privacy issues.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

1st & 2nd Graders Code with Daisy the Dragon and Hopscotch

On Friday I gave students some "free" time with either Daisy the Dragon or Hopscotch. In pairs or threes they had 20 min to explore one or both apps. I stressed ahead of time that I wasn't going to teach them a lesson or tell them what to do--it was all on them to figure out whatever they could figure out. There was no final product, no test, if they wanted to sit and stare at the screen for 20 min that was fine with me. Of course none of did that, but there were 3 groups that came up and complained they "didn't get it"/"couldn't figure out what do to". I sent them back to problem solve. Guess what, when that 20 min was up every group had accomplished something and they were all laughing--the best sound ever!

We have only 4 days left to enjoy our iPads! Hopefully we'll have some more time for coding.

2nd Graders Use Actively Learn to Read My Father's Dragon

To go with our "scary" unit, 2nd graders read My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Rather than read paper books, I asked Actively Learn to set up the book in their interface. I linked some background information, added some notes about different thinking I had as I read, and posed 11 free response questions.

Students read in pairs on iPads. Their response to reading in Actively Learn (their first experience) was that they liked it. Their favorite part was seeing responses from their classmates.

I will definitely use this program more next year, probably with PDFs since there are not many Project Gutenberg books at a 2nd grade reading level that I think will also hold student interest. It was easy to use, easy to see feedback, and ore interactive than the same assignment on paper.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2nd Graders Relate to Being Scared

This week 2nd graders read several different books about being scared. These included Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express, Thunder Cake, Creepy Crawlies, and several monster books. In addition to paper activities, each student created a Popplet showing what they were scared of. This seemed like a great way for them to relate themselves to the unit topic. Given the things we had read and talked about, I was expecting answers more like swimming, the dark, monsters... what I got from a lot of students was a bit more dark. Maybe they are watching too much adult TV! In any case, their Popplets did lead to some further discussions I hadn't expected.

1st Grade Shape Attributes in Drawing Pad

As we finish out the school year one of our last first grade math topics is shapes. After shape hunting around the school, counting faces and corners, and manipulating blocks, I asked students to choose their favorite shape and describe it to me. They needed to tell me the name of the shape, how many faces it had, the shape of the faces, and whether it could slide, stack and roll. I asked them to use Drawing Pad to complete the task.

1st and 2nd Grade Popplet Review of the Year

Pairs of students created a Popplet of activities they remembered from our year together. After about 20 min of adding to their web, they did a "gallery walk" to look at the webs created by their classmates. Then they had 5 more min to add additional ideas to their own web. I always like looking back on all we've accomplished, and it always intrigues me to see what students recall the most.

1st and 2nd Grade Create an "Eat Healthy" TV Commercial

Our class studied nutrition in depth back in the fall. We cycled back to the topic last week because it tied in with some other learning. After reviewing ways to stay healthy, pairs or groups of 3 students created a TV commercial (all used Educreations by choice, although I left the app choice open) promoting the topic. I required that their TV commercial be 30-45 seconds or less.

1st and 2nd Grade Synthesize Facts and Create an Educreation Video

My first and second grade students read a Scholastic Who Would Win book (grizzly bear v. polar bear, lion v. tiger, or killer whale v. shark) with a partner. They used the categories listed at the end of the book to compare the 2 animals. Using Educreations (or any other app of their choice, although all 12 groups chose Educreations) they explained which animal would "win" in each category. Then they put all the information together and predicted in a fight which animal would win. Next year I need to be more specific with my directions. I had wanted more explanation than I got. For example, "polar bears would win in size over grizzly bears because they are about 400 pounds heavier" rather than just "polar bears are bigger than grizzly bears".