Sunday, December 22, 2013

1st Graders Explain Their Favorite Color

1st Graders have been working on explaining their opinions. I asked them to explain their favorite color. They had a choice of writing and drawing in My Story, writing in iDiary, writing and photographing in Strip Design or talking in Tellagami. Everyone chose one of the 1st 2 options.

1st and 2nd Grade Lego Building Challenge

This week's Lego challenge was for each group of 3 students to build a rectangular tower of 5-10 layers. They had to use all 19 of their Legos and no 2 Legos of the same color could touch.

1st and 2nd Graders Interview Each Other About Holidays

Following our Nearpod learning about holidays (Christmas around the world, Hanukkah, Kawanzaa, Diwali, and Ramadan) and Stick Around venn diagrams, pairs of students interviewed each other. I asked each of them to come up with 2 "thoughtful questions" to ask their partner. This is something we talk about during the year. They are basically questions that involve deeper thinking, opinion with support, or making connections. Sample questions students thought of for the holiday assignment were "What do you like best about a holiday you don't celebrate?" and "Why do you think sweets are important for many of the holidays?" Students used the video camera on the iPad to interview each other.

2nd Graders Use iDiary to Explain Their Quilt Square Choices

Each December we do a mini unit about quilts. After reading different quilt books we discuss the cultures the quilts come from and similarities and differences between the different types of quilts. After reading The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy each student created their own "quilt" using squares of wrapping paper. In the past that has been the end of that quilt project. This year, however, I asked them to write an iDiary entry about why they chose each type of wrapping paper.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stick Around App Holiday Activity

We are using Nearpod this week to learn about the way Christmas is celebrated in different countries as well as learning about Ramadan, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa.

After reading and discussing Christmas traditions in Mexico and Germany I asked pairs of students to create a venn diagram puzzle in Stick Around.  This was their first time creating a puzzle, although they have used Stick Around a few times to solve puzzles that I created. It was easy for me to tell based on the information students wrote/drew on the stickers how well they understood what we had read about.  They loved creating a puzzle and were all hoping to stump their classmates (no luck!) I hope we'll have time later in the week to create more puzzles as we study the other holidays.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

iPads Helped with Sub Plans

This past week I received one of those dreaded phone son had been in a bike accident on his way to school and needed to be taken to the doctor.

Luckily for me my principal came right up, but I still needed some type of sub plans for the day. Unfortunately I planned it to be a day of Nearpod, LiveSlide, videos and blog responses, and some other activities that don't translate well into quickly written sub plans. I do have (buried in the back of a closet somewhere) a stack of worksheets that I printed about 8 years ago in case of such an event. Rather than pull them out I turned instead to the iPads.

I have to say I didn't write a wonderful day's worth of lessons, but I was able to quickly put together some learning that would keep students engaged, tie to Common Core, tie to current topics, and be easy for a sub to follow.

I had 3 books related to both our family culture and nutrition units ready to use so I had the students complete a Tools4Students graphic organizer of their choice for each book. They needed to finish their final family heritage Strip Design project. We had our Hour of Code on Tuesday so I gave them the option of following up with more time on Kodable, Daisy the Dinosaur, or Hopscotch. They wrote an entry in iDiary. For math time they had a choice of Splashmath, Mathmateer, Front Row and TenMarks. It's a blur, I think there were a couple other activities in there, but that pretty well covered the day and I had a great report back on student behavior.

Over the December break I think I'll create a better day's worth of sub plans in case of emergency (still using versatile apps although with more planning), but I have to say the iPad made it easy not to run to the copier in a panic.

1st and 2nd Graders iCardSort

Last March I wrote about my 1st and 2nd grade students using some iCardSort decks I downloaded from other teachers. Over the summer I created a bunch of iCardSort decks, primarily related to ELA skills. I have been replacing worksheet practice of these skills with iCardSort decks. Topics include such things as fact or opinion, alphabetical order, spelling rules and verb tense.

iCardSort isn't a complete replacement for having students write these skills. For example, when students complete a verb tense deck they are looking at words and thinking about what rule to follow to convert the verb to an -ed ending (double the consonant, remove the e, etc.). However, they aren't actually DOING the rule. Despite that, I find iCardSort to be a quick way to follow up with an ELA mini lesson.

It's easy to create a deck on 1 device and then beam the deck to everyone.

Here are a couple samples.

2nd Graders Reflect on Being a Snowkid

I asked my 2nd graders to use an app of their choice (they all used either My Story or iDiary)  to write and draw about what they would do if they were a snowkid.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2nd Graders Teach Facts About Holidays

Every year I have parents ask to come to our classroom to teach the class about Diwali. There are generally 2-4 students in my class who celebrate this holiday, so the majority of students are not familiar with it. In the spirit of Common Core this year I had students themselves teach about a holiday that there family celebrates. The assignment had several parts.

First, students created a web about how their family celebrates a holiday of their choice (I asked them to choose either Christmas, Diwali, Kawanza, Ramadan or Hanukkah). I wanted a holiday celebrated in the fall/winter season that they could research using books from our school library. Students had the option to create the web using Popplet or paper. I asked them to think of their celebration last year or this year and include who they celebrate with, where they celebrate, why they celebrate, what they do, and what they eat.

Next, they used My Story to import a photo of themselves celebrating the holiday, with a detailed caption. I also asked them to draw a 2nd picture of the holiday using either Drawing Pad or Educreations.

Then I grouped students who had chosen the same holiday. Together they read 2 or 3 books about their holiday and had to find 4 facts. Many groups wanted to put more facts in their presentation, but because of the time we had for presentations I asked them to limit to 4--but told them they could write additional facts on paper or in a separate app project. However, I was pleased that there was so much enthusiasm and can take that into account for next year. Groups then created a presentation of their facts using an app(s) of their choice. Ahead we brainstormed that good options might be Thirty Hands, SonicPics, Strip Design, Educreations, and My Story. Of those options different groups chose Educreations, SonicPics, and Strip Design.

Christmas facts

Students enjoyed learning about other holidays and even how other families celebrate the same holidays.

1st and 2nd Grade Students Use Educreations to Balance a Meal

I gave pairs of students 6 plastic play foods. They had to take a photo of the foods. Once they brought the photo into Educreations they labelled the food and its food group. The next step was to determine what food group(s) was missing and name a food they could add to the meal from that food group.

Balance a Meal

1st Graders Label the Food Groups For Their Dinner Using My Story

We are wrapping up our nutrition unit. 1st grade students drew the foods they ate for dinner the previous night. They labelled each food with the food group.