Sunday, March 30, 2014

1st Graders Write Similes Prior to a Read Aloud

Rather than responding to a read aloud last week I asked students to create a project and then I read them a related story. Along with the 2nd graders we have been studying similes. 1st graders have also been working on antonyms. I asked each of them to create a My Story book with 6 pages responding to 3 sets of antonyms and using a simile to do so. They were free to choose their own antonym pairs but we did brainstorm several such as cold/hot, tall/short, etc. The last direction was that each simile had to be about themselves.  Once they were finished I read them Audrey Wood's Quick as a Cricket. Finally they paired up and compared what they wrote to what they heard in Audrey Wood's book.

1st Graders Use Popplet for Can/Have/Are

Since implementing Common Core, 1st grade students have completed many different can/have/are tree graphic organizers as a way of organizing what they know and understand. Last week when we studied rabbits I asked the to use Popplet and individually create a map instead.

2nd Graders Use Popplet for Notetaking

We are starting a unit about the human body and some of the different body systems. I want my students to have a set of facts and important ideas from each body system to use in about 6 weeks when we create a culminating project. Rather than taking notes on paper this year I decided to have them try Popplet. Pairs of students read and took notes together about the nervous system. We talked before hand that that did not need to write down every fact, but to read a page or 2 and decide the 1 or 2 most important points and write that down.

2nd Graders Write Similes

Using My Story, Drawing Pad, Strip Design or Popplet my 2nd graders wrote similes about a food that had a distinct inside and outside. We brainstormed a list and came up with foods such as a baked potato, Reese's peanut butter cups, lemon, potstickers, etc.

Each student wrote 6 similes about the feel of the inside, color of the inside, taste of the inside, feel of the outside, color of the outside, and overall shape. Almost all chose My Story with a different page for each simile.

Friday, March 28, 2014

1st Graders Use Educreations to Create a New Knufflebunny Adventure

This week students read the series of Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems. Pairs of students storyboarded an adventure for Trixie and Knuffle Bunny in our classroom. After mapping their story they took photos in the classroom and learned how to use filters to turn them black and white. They brought the photos into Educreations and narrated their story as well as adding illustrations on top of the photos.

I like to give students different app options, but today required them to use Educreations because it's a recording app that allows for drawing on top of imported photos and most of our other apps don't have this feature.


1st Graders Use Toontastic to Create a New Frog and Toad Adventure

We are mid-Frog and Toad unit. My students have the characters Frog and Toad down and are doing well summarizing and mapping the different stories. Yesterday pairs storyboarded and then told their own Frog and Toad adventure using Toontastic.

Toontastic Frog and Toad Adventure

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1st Graders Describe Buttons with WeMap

After reading Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel students examined and sorted a large pile of buttons. Each took a handful and worked with a partner to make a mind map of what they found as far as similarities, differences, and ways to describe. I left it very open-ended as far as how to create the mind map and got back several different types of answers from straight adjectives to students creating stories or uses for the buttons and relating those to each other.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

1st Graders Create a "What Would You Do..." book

After I read What Would You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins, pairs of students create their own book using the My Story app.  On page 1 they showed an enlarged view of 1 body part of an animal with the question. On the 2nd page they showed the whole animal and wrote a sentence about how the animal used it. Since we are also learning about adaptations on the last page they gave their animal an imaged adaptation and explained how the animal could use it.

2nd Graders Explain Need v. Want

As a formative assessment I asked students to create a poster or PSA explaining the difference between and giving examples of needs and wants. They were free to use their app(s) of choice with Toontastic and Chatterpix Kid being the overwhelming favorites.

Chatterpix Kid


2nd Graders Create a Report Using Book Creator

I recently downloaded Book Creator to our iPads. Pairs of students picked an animal, read about it, and created a short report. They liked the combination of being able to draw, insert a photo, and type on a page. Next step...bibliography (which we talked about, but most forgot to add as the last page)!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

1st and 2nd Graders Problem Solve with Tangible Play's Doodles

Yesterday and today groups of 2-3 students had the opportunity to engage in some critical thinking and problem solving with Tangible Play's Doodles app. Each group started out at level 1 and quickly progressed through increasing difficulty. I liked that there wasn't a time limit pressuring them or buzzers going off with a "wrong" answer. The open-ended creativity is a plus. Having students work together really promoted communication and problem solving collaboratively.

Each group had about 10 minutes to play. As an extra challenge I limited them to 1 sheet of paper, which prompted even more critical thinking as they had to work with the lines they had already drawn and shift the paper.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

1st Graders Use WeMap to Compare Mo Willems' Pigeon Books

After reading several books in the Mo Willems pigeon series, pairs of students chose their 2 favorites and compared them using WeMap. Compared to Popplet they especially liked the arrow feature rather than simple line. Some of their comments were cut off because there is a character limit in the bubble--good practice for being concise.

2nd Graders Use WeMap to Respond to Story Characters

We are working on a driving question right now in literature about "How can story characters help me learn more about myself and my friends?" So far students have read 5 pieces of realistic fiction with main characters close to their age. I asked groups of 2-3 students to use WeMap to show me what they've learned so far in an abbreviated format.

It's interesting to me how differently 2 groups approached the task. One group compared themselves to the different main characters, either seeing a similarity or difference between themselves and the character (which we'll write more about later) while another group commented on fewer situations but gave more specifics in how they were the same or different or how their friends were the same or different.

2nd Graders Use WeMap to Compare Communities

For most of the year we have used Popplet as our mindmapping go-to app. This week 2nd graders tried WeMap for the 1st time. We are studying urban, rural, and suburban communities so I asked them to use the app to compare what they knew so far.

Students also provided feedback comparing Popplet and WeMap--maybe another day they'll have to mindmap that for me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1st and 2nd Graders Play Tangible Play Words

Yesterday and today pairs of students had a chance to play Tangible Play's Words game. I (and the students) loved the high quality photos and the differentiated levels of puzzles. The game is set-up to be a 2-player activity but I didn't mention this to them, instead I had the pairs work together to figure out the words. It was exciting for me to listen to their conversations. Most have played hangman before and were able to bring in strategy from that game to choose letters. After all students had rotated through the game (in 10 minute chunks) we had a class discussion about working together and determining letters to throw down.

I look forward to more play time with the game.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2nd Graders Create & Solve Math Word Problems

Pairs of students created a math word problem using a scene from the My Play Home app. They brought their screenshot into My Story and wrote the problem. They traded iPads with a different pair and asked that pair to solve the problem using words, a number sentence, and a picture.

2nd Graders Explain Cities, Suburbs, and Rural Communities

Students are learning to compare and contrast cities, suburbs, and rural communities. After creating venn diagrams in Tools4Students, groups of 3 students picked one of the 3 types of communities and discussed what they might see there, common jobs people who live there might have, and where people might go in that type of community. Here a sample from the city group.

2nd Grade Recalling Heard Information

My students are getting quite good at recalling or finding information they read themselves, but needed a little refresher on listening and remembering. I read aloud a short book about night creatures and asked each student to remember 2 facts they heard. I also asked them to give an opinion of the animal I read about that they like best and why. They had a choice of several apps for completing the assignment, including Tellagami, iDiary, My Story, 30 Hands, and Sonic Pics.

2nd Graders Summarize Text with Tellagami

Tellagami provides a quick and easy way for students to summarize a story or article. Each student took a picture of the book cover or first page and used that for the background. The 30 second time limit of Tellagami makes sure they stay on track and don't retell instead of summarize.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

1st and 2nd Graders Enjoy Tangible Play's Tangrams

Today my students played Tangible Play's Tangram activity in centers. Each group of 2-3 had about 15 min with the app and they loved it. They provided the following feedback.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

1st Graders Use WeKWL For Shape Discussion

I had an exciting phone conversation last night with Elliot Soloway about WeKWL and my 1st graders used it for the 1st time today. WeKWL is a great way for students to complete a KWL chart with a discussion and collaboration component thrown in. I had 2 students sitting side by side talking about shapes (our current math topic). Each student had an iPad and they were able to add to the KWL chart simultaneously (think Google Doc) while talking about their ideas. They loved the interactive nature of the app, found it easy to use, and are excited to create more charts together. Here's their learning after the 1st math lesson.

Friday, March 7, 2014

2nd Graders Try Six Thinking Hats

Today I introduced students to Edward De Bono's six thinking hats.  After reading A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman groups of 3 students created a Popplet of their 6 thinking hat ideas. Since the outside color of each popple can be changed it's a great app for mapping the thinking hats.

2nd Graders Create a Story Adventure

Today 2nd graders read The Adventures of Puppup, a story app, on their iPads. It was about a stuffed animal getting separated from his his owner, Julia, while at the zoo.

After completing a story map using Tools4Students, pairs created their own story. They could either write another adventure for Julia and Puppup or they could create an adventure at the zoo for themselves and their own stuffed animal.

We brainstormed app options for the story creation and students created the following list: Educreations, My Story, DrawingPad and Strip Design, Toontastic, 30 Hands, Sonic Pics, and PuppetPals.

Here are a couple samples


2nd Graders Show Off Their Food to Market Vocabulary

2nd graders have been busy learning about producers/distributors/consumers and other vocabulary related to the marketplace. As an end of unit activity I asked pairs to create a Toontastic video pretending to be a store owner. I asked them to include as many vocabulary words as they could in their video, explaining what each meant. I also asked them what they, as a business owner, would be worried about and why. This last part was related to discussion we'd had about weather impacting crops yields and prices.

group 1 video

Visit From Toontastic's Andy Russell

Way back on February 25 Andy Russell from Toontastic came to visit our class. He spent an hour talking with my students about story creation and all the parts that go together to make a good story. His visit was well timed because today we started writing stories for Young Author's Fair and we discussed all the elements of a good story.

For the second 1/2 of his visit pairs of students used Toontastic to create their own story. No rules, no requirements, just explore the app. We had only used Toontastic once prior to Andy's visit, so the ins and outs of the app were still pretty new. Of course everyone had a fantastic time and at the end students used Air Server to share their creations. Most were only a single scene long because the students were so invested in choosing just the right characters and scenes but all the students were asking for time later to finish them up.

We have more fun Toontastic projects planning in the upcoming months.

1st Graders Share Their Opinion of Class Rules

Our current 1st grade social studies unit is about making and voting for rules/laws and why we need them. I asked students to choose their least favorite rule, explain the rule, explain why they didn't like it, and explain why they thought it was a rule in the classroom.

No work samples available today because they used photos of themselves either in the Strip Design app with speech bubbles or in the Chatterpix Kids app with a moving mouth.

It's amazing how many of them (9/14) don't like the rule that they can't lean against the wall under the whiteboard (because it has posters with pushpins that could fall out and hurt us). If I had to guess that never would have been the rule I would have thought they would pick. But that insight is making me think I need to move some posters!

1st Graders Create Nightnoise-like Animals

We have been playing with the Nightnoise Zookeeper app and enjoying animal creations made by other students.

Since we recently finished a study of the tundra and forest habitats and a unit about animal adaptation, each student created an animal that would live in the tundra and another that would live in the forest. They drew both animals in DrawingPad and imported their pictures into Popplet. Using Popplet they described characteristics of each creation.

Eventually we are going to create a zoo with all these wonderful creatures.

1st Graders Rhyme Food as in Green Eggs and Ham

After reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss 1st graders each created a My Story entry about a food they would eat. Their food had to rhyme with a description of them eating it, following the Dr. Seuss pattern.

1st Graders Create Diary of a ... entries

To tie in with our study of worms in science, pairs of 1st graders read Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin.

Using iDiary they created their own worm diary entry.

Once they had that assignment mastered they created a diary entry pretending to either be a leprechaun or a student who follows all the rules at school (current social studies unit). They used Toontastic for those diaries. Perhaps due to the different format they were more stories than diary entries written in the past tense about what had already happened earlier in the day.  Still pretty cute.

My day as a leprechaun

1st Graders Create a Dr. Seuss Report

We are celebrating Dr. Seuss this month. In addition to reading many of his books, 1st graders are learning about Dr. Seuss by reading Scholastic News and several PDFs that I uploaded to Actively Learn. They also spent some time playing on the website.

Pairs took notes on different aspects on Dr. Seuss' life as they read and then created an oral report. I asked them to learn about his real name, his childhood, things he liked, and his life as a writer/his books. From their notes they created a presentation using Educreations. They searched Flickr for creative commons photos to include.

pair 1

pair 2

!st Graders Create a Short Plant or Animal Report

Students are working on reading from several sources and gathering facts into a report. Pairs of students read a Look Once Look Again animal or plant book and create a "report" in a format of their choice (paragraph, Popplet, or some type of video). None of the 5 groups chose a paragraph. All groups chose either a Popplet, Educreations video, or 30 Hands video.

Educreations video