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. 

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.

Kindergarten Try Out Transportation Augmented Reality With The Quiver App!

Last week, Mrs. Remiger asked for me for suggestions for her kindergarten class studying transportation. After giving it some thought, I decided it would be a perfect time to give students an opportunity to try augmented reality. I downloaded a few of the free transportation coloring pages from the Quiver website. We gave students the option to color several different options. 

Students colored their pages and then we used the free Quiver app to view the vehicles. We had some difficulty with a few of the images, but several worked perfectly! Kindergarten students were able to see their transportation vehicle come to life with interactive options. One of their favorites was the truck with a horn and lights! This augmented reality lesson made for a fun finale to their transportation unit.

Friday, March 2, 2018

It Begins! 2018 March Madness Tournament of Books!

For the past four years, I have hosted a March Madness Tournament of Books for Oak Hills 3rd - 5th Graders. As March approached this year, I was worried that maybe our students would feel a less enthusiastic about it since we have done it several times before. With that in mine, I still pushed ahead, surveyed classes for their favorite books, created the huge bracket on the wall and produced the paper bracket for voting. Yesterday I began chatting with classes about it and I was greeted with applause by one class and a great deal of enthusiasm by the rest! That doesn't happen every day! So I am thrilled to say, here we go, 2018 March Madness Tournament of Books.  This year I am not including any past winners into the "Sweet 16". So that means the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter and Sisters are not included despite their continued popularity. I also made an exception for a nonfiction series and included the "Who Was" books. This series is one of the most read in our library collection.  After all of our 3rd - 5th Graders finish filling out their paper bracket, we will begin the voting using Google Forms. Stay tuned for the results!