Wednesday, November 25, 2015

3rd Graders Use MyOn eBooks & Google Earth To Be Thankful For Where They Live!

Over the last few weeks, 3rd Graders have been looking at where they live! They began by researching with the great mapping eBooks from MyOn! MyOn has been a great resource for students to learn about maps because it gives students the most up-to-date information on the topic. We read about the history of maps to current day satellite generated maps.   

With a little bit of background information under their belts, students used Google Earth to look at their earth, continent, country, state, city and school. 

Students were amazed at the close up views of their world, all the way down to their houses! Once they looked at each of these views, they created a Google slideshow with the images from Google Earth. The lesson took an interesting turn as students began to create their Google slideshow.  As we were approaching Thanksgiving, my students decided to add a Thanksgiving theme to our mapping/Google Earth lesson. They were inspired by the views of their home in the universe, and their slideshows were a great demonstration of their learning!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Personalized Learning Spaces With The Brain in Mind - November 14 & 15 Conference, #PLS15

It was the last warm weekend in November. Sixty degrees and sunny! I can't deny I was a little reluctant to dedicate this weekend to be inside learning about personalized learning spaces. Boy am I glad I did!  This conference, Personalized Learning Spaces with the Brain in Mind was time well spent with great practical ideas and plenty of inspiration.  We examined how learning environments can help our students to engage, collaborate and personalize their learning.  By giving students voice and choice over their environments and learning, they are freed to be more creative and engaged. We had sessions on personalizing spaces on a budget, mobile makerspaces, personalized learning and genius hour. Erin Klein, Naomi Harm and Brad Gustafson were just a few of the guest speakers.  My Lakeville colleagues and I were immersed in ideas about ways to give students more control over how they learn. I thought this video, 2015 SchoolPower Fund-A-Need gave great insight into the topic of personalized learning spaces.

I found myself pondering back to my own days in school and wishing that my teachers had taken a weekend to consider these ideas too! Don't get me wrong, I had great teachers, but we didn't have many opportunities to collaborate or create.

When I arrived home from the conference, I was inspired.  How could I make my space more personalized for my students.  I used one of the tools shared at the conference to create a plan for the OHE library!  Classroom Architect -  I would love to add some collaborative arrangements, a few soft surfaces (all of mine are hard surfaces), high top surfaces for students to stand if they wish and mobile maker carts to share with the entire building.  It was fun to dream!

The #PLS15 was a buzz all weekend as conference participants shared their learning!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

1st Graders Publish A New eBook - Dinosaurs in the Library!

This week 1st graders turned our library into Jurassic Park...kinda!?! We began our adventure with a delightful rhyming book by Timothy Knapman entitled Dinosaurs in the Supermarket. Students snickered and giggled as I read about the dinosaurs being naughty in the supermarket! Spilling, hiding, and smashing, the dinosaurs made a huge mess, thrilling my students along the way!

So my students used this great example to make a book entitled, Dinosaurs in the Library! Students began by taking a photo of an area in the library. They took photos of the book checkout computer, book shelves, tables, door and computers.  Their photos became the backdrop for their page in our upcoming publication!

Once the students had their photos in the camera roll, they imported them into the free iPad app called Paint Sparkle.  

Then all that was left was to create dinosaurs in the library using sparkling paint! Students were creative in imagining what their dinosaur was doing while in the library.  It was fun hearing their imaginations run wild with tales of naughty dinosaurs.

Students used the PicCollage iPad app to add text to their dinosaur page. From Paint Sparkle, they saved their dino picture to the camera roll and then imported it into PicCollage to add a sentence explaining what their dinosaur was doing! I have only added a few of their pages so far, but once we added all of their pages together, they will have created a fun new ebook!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Fantastic 1st Graders Learn Coding Logic Using!

This week 1st graders are learning the logic of coding using the fantastic tools on! The Course 1 skills that are addressed are specifically designed to help step young learners into coding. These early lessons are teaching students about sequencing, commands, and repeat loops. I really like the thoughtful lesson design of lessons because it allows student to move at their own pace, as well as a logical sequence that build student skills. It is also designed to maximize student engagement! Fun and educational!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Following The Birds From Froodle, 2nd Graders Share Their Uniqueness Using PicCollage!

Oak Hills 2nd graders loved reading the book, Froodle, by Antoinette Portis! They really loved the silly words that pepper this story of birds who learn to be themselves. I am always looking for ways for students to share their own voice by combining digital tools and books!  Froodle was a great example of a book with a message that my students could embrace!


After reading the book, I asked students to think of characteristic or preferences that made them unique! I used myself as an example to get them started! I am a teacher and a mom. I am honest and diligent. I love digital tools at school and at home. I love reading and I get a special thrill browsing book stores!  I then asked my 2nd graders to think of a characteristics or preferences that made them unique. Students had great fun sharing their characteristics and preferences! Like the birds in Froodle, students are learning to appreciate themselves!

Students used our "go to" app, PicCollage, to create themselves as a bird and share something about themselves. They added a "silly" word like the birds in Froodle! In a few cases students created a rhyme! We uploaded their Froodle picture to their Google Drive. Later, when we create their portfolio website in 4th grade, we will add this picture to show off our 2nd grade selves!

60 Years Later, Kindergarteners Still Love Harold And The Purple Crayon!

It is always fun sharing the 1955 book Harold and the Purple Crayon with a new class of kindergarteners! There are lots of new books with the same theme. The 2013 Caldecott Honor book Journey, by Aaron Becker, is a more colorful updated version of the classic Harold book that I am excited to share with kindergartener too! Even with newer fantastic options, I still love returning to this classic on occasion. Crockett Johnson's book still comes alive for my students.

Today, kindergarteners read the classic book and then using the free iPad app PaintSparkle, students tried to follow Harold's example! They did a wonderful job of creating art work that they would like to jump into!

Kindergarteners also wanted to share the words and numbers they were learning in their classroom this week. Once they shared their imaginary picture, I let them share their words for the week! (look, see, in, like, to were just a few!) They were so excited to share!