Wednesday, April 25, 2018

3rd Graders Share Their Story of A Snowy Day With Google Slides & Anyflip

Recently (a few weeks ago when we still had 15 inches of snow on the ground!)  Mrs. Lorenson asked her students to take a picture of themselves in the snow, and to write their story about a snowy day. She had several objectives. She wanted to push her students to get outside and play. She wanted to promote the home - school connection. She wanted them to write! And finally, she wanted to give students the opportunity to share their pictures and stories digitally. When students create digital work, it is so much easier to share with others far outside the classroom.  So we taught students how to add their photos to a shared Google Slideshow.  Once students added their photo, they wrote about their snowy day.  When they had completed their Google slideshow, I exported it as a pdf and uploaded to  In a matter of a few minutes, they had a class eBook that they could share with their families and other classes.  Along the way, students learned a few digital skills as well. They learned how to import their own pictures and  they learned how to add and manipulate text boxes, with all of the typical word processing tools.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

3rd Graders Flip Over FlipGrid!

Recently, 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Lorenson asked for suggestions to incorporate video into her classroom. Specifically, she wanted her students to record the book talks that they had just finished writing. She asked students to include the title, author, main characters and plot summary. Mrs. Lorenson wanted her students to be able to share their book talks with each other and beyond the classroom. With this in mind, we chose Flipgrid. Flipgrid is a platform that allows each student to video record themselves. Their responses are then shared with each other. The free version allows each student to record no more than 1 minute 30 seconds. This is great as it requires that students think about what they want to say and use their words efficiently.  Once the student recordings are done, and they begin watching each other, it is a great opportunity to talk about appropriate commenting. (I always love giving students to opportunity to practice their social media skills before they are old enough to join social media on their own!)  The class really loved Flipgrid. They were able to practice their speaking skills, discuss their reading and share their voice with their classmates.  We learned a few things along the way. It is better to find an area to spread out so it isn't quite so noisy.

Below is an example that I rerecorded as a screen recording so I could exclude her name which appears on the original in FlipGrid. She is retelling the plot of Charlotte's Web, and she clearly knows her subject!

2nd Graders Create Tomie dePaola Timelines In Google Draw

Mrs. Quaal's 2nd graders have been reading books written by Tomie dePaola and learning about his life and accomplishments as an author.  As their study was ending, Mrs. Quaal wanted students to be able to see Mr. dePaola's life events in the form of a timeline. Creating a timeline is part of the 2nd Grade Minnesota Benchmark: SS - Use and create timelines to chronicle personal, school, community or world events. This was a fabulous blending of digital integration with social studies and ELA standards for 2nd grade. 

From previous lessons, I had already discovered that Google Drawings was a useful tool for students creating timelines, so I suggested to Mrs. Quaal that we use this digital tool. Google Draw has several features that are useful in creating timelines.  First, I wanted students to be able to add images to their timeline. Several of the free online timeline creators don't allow images to be included in the timeline, so they didn't seem right for this job. In addition, students were used to using Google tools. Having them use the drawing app would add to their knowledge of using a digital drawing app and enhance their knowledge of the options within Google. Finally, when students inserted an image from within Google Drawings, they were able to search the web without having to leave the web app. Since classroom time is always limited, I saw this as a real advantage. The search tool within Google Drawing offered up images that were public domain, thus giving us an opportunity to discuss copyright. (Always a plus!)

In addition to creating a visual representation of Tomie dePaola's life, students learned to use the line tool (with & without arrows), change line weight, text boxes, font size,  and image sizing (pulling from the corners not the sides). They enthusiastically shared their timelines with each other and with their teacher! Though we don't usually print out the results of our digital work, Mrs. Quaal wanted to create a classroom display, so she printed them out. In an effort to save on color toner, we kept the background of our timelines white. Their digital and printed timelines looked great and students learned so much from this experience. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

2nd Graders Create A "Me on the Map" Project In Google Tour Builder!

A few weeks ago, the 2nd grade teachers came to me asking for help digitizing their "Me on the Map" project. This project was an established project for our 2nd grade. The teachers liked this project because it compacted several of the 2nd grade required essential learnings for social studies. (SS. - Use maps, photos or other geographic tools to answer basic questions about where people are located

Together we decided to give students an opportunity to create their "Me on the Map" project in Google Tour Builder.  Students were able to create a slideshow complete with pins of their continent, country, state, county, city and home address. For each slide and pin on the Google Map, they could add images and facts to round out their slideshow. Their final presentations were impressive! They were able to share their presentations with their teacher & family using the Google share feature. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

1st Graders Research Habitats & Create A Collaborative eBook!

First grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson, came to me for an idea to extend the learning for her MTSS group studying habitats. This group of six students had already gathered facts on a variety of habitats. Each student was allowed to pick their favorite habitat and gather a facts to share with the group. 

Each student was given a slide in a shared Google slideshow. I showed them how add bulleted text (the facts that they gathered from their research) and an image. Once they had finished editing their slide, I downloaded the entire slideshow in the .pdf format. I uploaded the pdf into the web app Once it was in eBook format, it was easy for Mrs. Johnson to share with parents and the rest of the class.