Saturday, May 31, 2014

2nd Graders Poetry Unit

We worked on a poetry unit this past week. Students studied and wrote diamante, cinquain, and haiku. For each type of poem they were able to choose any app that allowed text and illustration. Most opted for My Story but some also chose Drawing Pad/Pages or Drawing Pad/Strip Design.

We also worked on some less traditional types of poetry, such as color poems and question poems. For the color poem students created a 4-8 page book in My Story app. On each page they imaged themselves as a color and described what they would be if they were that color. For the question poem they had to choose an object and ask it 4-8 wondering questions. Finally, students wrote tongue twisters and created a shape poem using the Path On app.

1st and 2nd Graders Create a Digital Story

We did a short unit about digital literacy this week. I showed students several videos that are less than a minute but told a story without any words. We mapped the stories after watching and discussed different techniques the creators used to effectively tell a story. Groups of 3 students then used the camera app to create their own digital story--they were also offered the choice of Toontastic or Puppet Pals but all groups used the camera app. We kept it very simple--no editing or effects.  No samples here for privacy reasons.

2nd Graders Write a Character Poem

After reading The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch students wrote a character poem about one of the 2 main characters. The poem format is the same format we used several times to write poems about fairy tale characters and other main characters from our readings.

1st Graders Share Their Thoughts About Our Class Play

We are about 1/2 way through our practice sessions for a class play that will be performed at the end of the year. I asked each student to write a few sentences in the iDiary app about how they were feeling about the play. I left the assignment very open-ended. Then they went around the room and tried to find someone who had the same/similar feeling and someone who felt the opposite. With each of these partners they had to further expand on their feelings.

1st Graders Try a New App and Write About It

Students were given 20 minutes to explore an app they hadn't used before. They took a screenshot at the end of that time and imported it to their iDiary. In iDiary they wrote about what they learned in the app and what they liked or didn't like about it.

1st Graders Reflect on Amelia Bedelia

Students read several Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish. They used the My Story app to write about what all the books had in common and what they like or don't like about the books.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tangible Play's Osmo Now Available for Pre-Order

Osmo by Tangible Play is now available for pre-order. My students have been lucky enough to be involved in beta testing for a few months. Osmo has 3 different games; a tangram activity, a word game that reminds me of hangman, and a physics/motion game. They are all very different from each other and all offer a chance for collaborative interaction between students. In addition, they all involve interaction with physical objects off the iPad screen. Each game has different levels as well and the word game allows teachers to add their own photos and words. My family visited over the weekend for my daughter's birthday and my son's high school graduation and we played while sitting in the stadium waiting for graduation to start. Participants were ages teen to grandparent and everyone had a great time. I have written about the games in earlier posts and you can pre-order here

Saturday, May 17, 2014

1st Graders Create Art in the Style of David Hockney

Each grade studied a different artist this week. 2nd graders learned about Alexander Calder and made mobiles (bringing in that balance and motion science from back in the fall) and the 1st graders learned about David Hockney and specifically his art on the iPad. Then each of them used Drawing Pad to create their own detailed piece work.

To save printer ink but still have it visible for open house, we created an aura with it using Aurasma and their name tag as a trigger.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

1st and 2nd Grade Augmented Reality (AR) Projects for Open House

I finally decided it was time to try out some Augmented Reality in our classroom. I have heard a lot of great things about it, but honestly have had a difficult time finding a reason that I think it might be worth the effort to create such a project other than for just a coolness factor. Open house (coming this week) seemed like a great opportunity and I discovered that AR isn't really as time intensive as I had thought it would be.

1st graders created 2 AR projects each. The first project used Chromville. Since we have studied habitats and weather recently, their coloring pages fit well with the curriculum. I gave each student a choice of the cloud, forest, or underwater kingdom. They colored a page of their choice. We discovered it really is important to leave the background blank--students who colored their ocean all blue could not get the animation/3D to happen. After discovering the 3D floating/moving figures each student wrote a story to go with their picture and the 2 are displayed next to each other. The 2nd project they did used Aurasma. Each student created an imaginary rainforest animal with several adaptations that would fit that habitat. They made a paper bag puppet of their imaginary animal to hang on the wall. They videotaped themselves explaining the adaptations and how each would help the animal survive and linked that through Aurasma to the puppet.

2nd graders created 3 AR projects each, all using Aurasma.  Their 1st project was a video explanation of what they did with their Flat Me and what their friend/relative did with the Flat Me (Flat Stanley project) as well as what they learned about the part of the United States that their Flat Me traveled to. Their 2nd project was a video PSA about some aspect of taking care of the Earth that they researched (conserving water, recycling, conserving electricity, etc) that is linked to a poster of them making the world more beautiful (following read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney). The last project was a video of facts about a rainforest animal. This linked to a paper bag puppet of that rainforest animal.

It will be interesting to see how parents respond to the AR at open house and how it works with all of them walking around with headphones and iPads.

2nd Graders Use Vernier GoMotion

Last week students had a chance to experiment with Vernier's GoMotion probe. They did modified versions of experiments #20-22 in the Vernier elementary experiment book. I left the science more open-ended and we didn't do the parts with trying to make the different letters or specific graphs. That will come another day.

They experimented moving their hand up and down toward/away from the probe at different speeds and also walking toward/away from the probe at different speeds. They worked in groups of 3-4 and after experimenting for about 15 minutes I asked them to write. They had to write about what they did, what they learned, what was difficult, what they wonder, and anything that confused them. After writing they shared their reflections with a member of one of the other groups.

Another day we will use the motion probe with more specific tasks as well as discuss when/why a motion probe would be useful in real life.

1st and 2nd Graders Share Their Favorite Activities of the Year

We are getting ready for open house this week. I had each student create a written presentation of what they liked best in math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and "other" this year. For the other category they could choose as many activities as they wanted.

Generally I would give students freedom in their choice of apps, but we are linking the project to QR codes for open house. Since I am out 2 days before open house and I want to make things relatively stress-free I wanted an app that created a website that we could easily link to the QR code. Therefore I told them their final product had to be in My Story. Most students used just this app. Others wanted speech bubbles, so they illustrated in Drawing Pad, imported to Strip Design and wrote and then imported to My Story.

The My Story website links were then used on the website to create QR codes that we printed, 1 QR code per student. These were hung on the wall, ready for parents to read when they visit later this week. Students commented on the fact that instead of printing 6 or more pieces of paper in order to show this "book", I only used 1/6 of a sheet of paper--relating back to our "taking care of the Earth" unit.

1st Graders Write "The Story of Water"

In science 1st graders read about the journey of water. Then they used the My Story app to write and illustrate their version of water travels. They also had the option of using Book Creator, Strip Design, or Popplet (I wanted them to practice typing and writing complete sentences rather than recording) but all chose My Story.

Friday, May 2, 2014

2nd Graders Create a Character Social Media Page

We started this activity with a brainstorm of all the fictional main characters we've read about so far this year. Students each chose 1 of those characters and created a page for the character, a little bit along the lines of a Facebook or Instagram page. This is a new lesson for me and I'm not very active on Facebook or Instagram so I need to tweek a bit.

Using the Pages "elegant brochure" template, students used the center panel to insert an illustration of their character that they made in Drawing Pad. They added a few sentences describing the character--next time this should be a 1st person description. On the right panel they inserted an illustration of the book's setting, drawn in Drawing Pad and added a few sentences about that. Again that would work better if written in the 1st person. On the left panel students thought of 2 other characters we read about this year and they had those characters write a message to their primary character.

1st Graders Study Pond and Desert Animals

As with Arctic and forest habitats, students used the Ecosystems HD app and read several books about pond and desert habitats. They worked in pairs to complete can/have/are charts as well as list facts and opinions about each habitat in the Tools4Students app. Individually students completed a vocabulary/picture match I created in the Move and Match app. Then different pairs of students chose 3 animals from each habitat and created a Popplet with a picture of each of the 3 animals and facts about it.

To extend their learning each student created an imaginary animal to inhabit the region. They drew it in Drawing Pad and the described it in Popplet, including its name, where it lives, what it eats, how it protects itself, and 2 adaptations specific for that area.

For the pond habitat students also drew a pond with animals or plants that inhabit each part (surface, bottom, edges, middle).