Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Diary of a Teacher : #1 Flipping Multiply Yourself!

I think everyone would agree that the world of education is changing in many ways.  Technology has played a huge part in this change.  What teachers and students are capable of doing in (and out of) the classroom is radically changing due to this technology.  As teachers it is our responsibility to embrace this change for the sake of our students' future.  This series is documenting the attempt to make these  changes.

#1 Flipping Instruction Inside the Classroom: first attempt 

After attending the MACUL conference in Detroit flipping instruction within the classroom seemed like the answer to so many problems; I needed 5 more of me, I wasn't differentiating like I wanted, math was boring, students didn't have any choice on how to learn, etc.   Here are the first steps...

Students were divided into 3 groups.  These groups are mixed and not tracked by ability.  Originally they were tracked but it was difficult to help all of the students that were struggling in one group.  It seems easier to spread out the students that will need extra support.  For each math unit/chapter, student groups can be formed from the results of a pre-test.


The stations are as follows: 
  • iPad: math apps and/or IXL 
  • Math Games: hands on math games that can be played with partners or alone.  
  • Teacher: Videos created by the teacher and posted on Educreations.  
iPads
Students are either given free choice within the different math folders or they are given certain standards to work on in IXL.  We have divided our math apps into 3 different folders: 
Math 1 - math facts
Math 2 - other (fractions, time, etc). 
Math 3 - number sense

Math Games
These are hands on games that students can play with a partner or alone.  Everything from Addition War to HotDot pens to pattern blocks.  Check out the Math Centers and Games on Kids Count by Shari Sloane for some great games.

Teacher
The teacher station is where the flipping within the classroom starts.  Each student gets their own personal teacher and lesson to watch as they work to complete a worksheet.  There are many different ways to get the videos students but the point is is that students are able to watch, and re-watch, the lesson.  Some lessons can complete the entire worksheet with the student and others just complete half of it so that students can try some problems independently.  During these stations the teacher is now able to pull students to work in small groups.  This allows for students to get the attention they need in order for mastery to take place.

Helpful Hint: Keep the video short and don't worry if you make a mistake while recording, just keep going.  


This video was done on Educreations.  It is as simple as taking a photo of the worksheet and then putting it into the app.  Educreations allows you to record your voice and any writing you do on top of the picture.  Students can then retrieve this video from your class website (e.g. Edmodo).  I have my students all logged into my Educreation account and they just watch the lesson from the app itself.  ExplainEverything, Screenchomp or Camtasia are other apps or programs that could be used to record lessons.


What's Next...
Because this is a work in progress the next step would be to record all the lessons for each unit and allow students to move through them at their own pace.  I envision students completing the unit and then taking a test to show mastery.  This will allow them to move at their own pace within each unit.


Helpful Resources:

Monday, May 5, 2014

We Can Write the Rainbow! 1st Grade Color Poems

In honor of Poetry Month, we spent the last week of April writing Color Poems. 

MONDAY-
The lesson is introduced by listening to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. While the music is playing, students are looking at the pictures in this beautiful book written by George David Weiss:
Click HERE to find it on Amazon.
After being inspired by Mr. Armstrong, students use their Story Buddy app to create their own "Colors of the Rainbow" book. They create six color pages: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. They work with their friends to make lists for each page. 
TUESDAY-
Students choose one color from their Story Buddy book to create a "Color" graphic organizer using their Popplet app. First, we make one as a class using the color black (See below). We discuss how important it is to be descriptive.
WEDNESDAY:
Students use the Popplet they created on Tuesday and write their color poem using paper and pencil. As much as we love using our iPads, this is a great opportunity for students to work on neat handwriting, spacing, capital letters and end marks. 
            
THURSDAY:
As students are finishing their poems, they hand them in to me and I type them with the font they have picked out (Getting to pick a font from my computer excited them more than anything!) After it's printed, they get to illustrate their poems. 
The beauty of this project when they finish one poem, they can start on another with a different color.

FRIDAY:
Students use the Audioboo app to record themselves reading their poems. Then they can tweet it on our class account.  Click HERE to visit our class Twitter account.
We also hung the students poems in the hallway with a QR Code of their Audioboo recording.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Nonfiction Isn't Always Real

Our first graders love reading and writing nonfiction books. They have spent the school year learning how to recognize nonfiction text features and then use them to gather information while reading and to include them in their own writing.

We put a spin on nonfiction writing and asked our students to create a new never-seen-before breed of animal and create a book tetelling about it using the nonfiction text features we have studied.

To start the activity, we read a fabulous read-aloud - "Horton Hatches an Egg" by Dr. Seuss. At the end of the story, Horton ends up hatching an elephant bird. Students used this as inspiration for creating their own animal to hatch out of an egg. There were lots of great ideas: Dog Shark, Cheetah Bird, Camel Elephant.

Students then used Popplet to create a graphic organizer to organize their ideas about their new animal. They used these headings: Habitat, How it moves, What it eats, What it looks like, and Predators.


After completing a Popplet, they wrote a "nonfiction" book about their animal using nonfiction text features- Headings, Realistic pictures with captions, Diagrams with labels, Sidebars, Table of Contents, Maps. They were asked to include at least three nonfiction text features in their book. They also were able to choose whether they wanted to create a paper and pencil book or use the Story Buddy app on their iPad.

Students always enjoy sharing the books they write, so we took pictures of each page (either a picture or a screen shot depending on which medium they chose) and uploaded it into Explain Everything. They created a slide for each page and recorded themselves reading their book. When they were finished we were able to save it in their Dropbox folder so they could either put it on Kidblog or tweet it to their families using our class Twitter account.

Here are links to some of our completed books:

Kitten Puppy  By: Addie
Peacock Cheetah  By: Ruby
Tiger Lion  By: Peter
Camel Elephant  By: Dylan

As a final activity, we created egg art work to go with our books and put them in the hallway. We created QR Codes to tape on the students pictures so readers can listen to their book.


This was a great week long activity for students to be creative AND to showcase their knowledge of nonfiction text features.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our Very First Virtual Field Trip in Kindergarten!

The idea of the Virtual Field Trip has become increasingly more popular as the use of technology increases in schools around the world. Finally, just a couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to take part in our very first VFT in kindergarten! Very conveniently one of our kindergarten teacher's sisters is a pediatric dentist in Seattle. One Friday, she graciously arrived at work early, in order to accommodate the time change, and invited us right into her dental office using Google Hangout.



We were able to watch as she showed us all of her equipment, so as not to be afraid when we go to the dentist ourselves, and we were even able to watch as she performed a mock dental exam on her model, "Molar the Monkey". We had an amazing time learning about dental health as well as what to be prepared for at the dentist during our own visits. Before saying goodbye, Dr. Stieber walked us through the steps of brushing our teeth, and after we hung up we wrote about the steps during Writer's Workshop.

It is easy to say that our first virtual field trip was a great success. We can't wait to think up our next one!

Friday, March 14, 2014

MACUL 2014 - What We Learned

This week we were lucky enough to attend the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  If you love all things technology in education YOU MUST ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE. 

We learned so much we thought we would share with all of our TECHi TiKE friends. 


THE CONNECTED CLASSROOM


Our good friend Kim Powell is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to ways to implement technology into your classroom curriculum.  Over the last few years she has been working on connecting classrooms with such projects as Mystery Skype, Video Story Problems and Digital Book Trailers to name a few.

Check out the different resources Kim gave us:

  • Skype in the Classroom - Skype with another classroom, take a virtual field trip or host a guest speaker.
  • Cybraryman an overwhelming amount of helpful links for parents, educators and students
  • Skype an Author Network a list of authors that will Skype with classrooms along with some video examples
  • Edu Hangouts Just like Skype but the videoconferencing is done through your Google account
  • TWICE  sign up to be apart of videoconferencing projects with other classrooms from around the world

STUDENT SHOWCASE

 

MACUL always has a student showcase on the Thursday of the conference.  For us this tends to be one of the more valuable learning times because we can see our fellow teachers in action.  One booth we couldn't walk by without stopping was the St. Stephen School (the kids were about as cute as they come too!).  The 1st and 2nd grade students showed us how they use KidBlog to showcase a variety of apps such as Shadow Puppets, Telegami and Puppet Pals, along with web tools such as Storybird, Hour of Code and Discovery Education Board Builder. 

Check out these TECHi TiKES...
  • SS Second Grade Blog Students read their writing using an avatar in Telegami.  Students write code to create their own Flappy Bird game.






FLIPPING THE CLASSROOM INSIDE THE CLASSROOM

Teachers from North Creek Elementary in Chelsea, Michigan showed us how they flip their classroom while in it.  

  • Using apps like Educreations teachers can clone themselves by making "how-to" videos for students to use while they work with small groups. 
  • Ask3 and Educreation apps allows you to record your lessons for when you are out of the classroom.
  • Record your lessons to post/email to parents for examples.

MINECRAFT WITH JENNIFER BOND

"Get to Know Minecraft" by Jennifer Bond

Jennifer Bond is a 3rd grade teacher in Walled Lake, Michigan.  Her session covered all the awesome ways to use Minecraft in your classroom and tie it into your curriculum.  Here are a few...
  • Science: Create and explore different landforms 
  • Social Studies: Design models of Early Michigan settlements 
  • Math: Find the area and volume of figures
  • Language Arts: Write about the different creations in Minecraft

 Jennifer has many great Minecraft resources on her "Cheers to Creativity and Innovation" site, check out the Minecraft Articles and Minecraft Resource Links.  

If you aren't convinced yet to use Minecraft in your classroom check out Jennifer's students when she tells them what they are doing for the day.  The power of using tools that motivate and inspire kids...





Before we started talking about Minecraft the session was kicked off using this great tool called Kahoot!.  Kahoot! is a FREE "game-based classroom response system" for classrooms, universities or businesses.  This tool is recommended for all K-12 students.

 



VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS

Whether it be the lack of great museums in your area or funds to support a field trip Virtual Field Trips are becoming more and more the solution to the hangups of exploring the world outside of our four classroom walls.  Marybeth Miller from Pinckney Community Schools provided us with a wealth of information on VFT's for K-12 students in all subject areas.  


It is our belief that teachers are better when they work together freely.  If you have any resources you would like to share from MACUL14 please feel free to contact us or post them in the comment section below.  Resources for all the sessions held at MACUL14 are available on their website.  


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Going Green

If you are going to use a worksheet for an assignment or assessment, paperless is the way to go! We want to share with you how our students receive an assignment, complete it, and hand it in to us - without ever having to run to the copy machine. It is as simple and quick as taking a picture! 

Before you get started, we listed below the three free apps students will need on their iPads:
  • Chirp (This is an iPhone app)
  • Skitch
  • Dropbox (Students will need to be logged in under your Dropbox account and have their own folder created to house their work.
Students are each given their own folder on our class Dropbox account. 
Simply click on the names of the apps to download them from the iTunes Store.

STEP 1: Open the Chirp app on your iPad and take a picture of the sheet you want students to complete. Have your students open Chirp on their iPads and "Chirp" it to them. This is an AMAZINGLY fun app to use. (Click HERE to read Mrs. Wideen's post about how to use Chirp)  After students receive the picture with the Chirp app, they save it on their camera roll by clicking on the picture and touching "Save".
Use Chirp to take a picture of the sheet and then send it to students. 
STEP 2: Have students open the picture from their camera roll in the Skitch app. They can write, draw, and/or type on the worksheet. When they are finished, they can save the completed assignment to their camera roll by simply clicking "Share". Students can also send their work to Dropbox by following the steps below. 
Students open the picture in Skitch and can then complete the assignment. 
STEP 3: From Skitch, students can upload their completed worksheet to our class Dropbox account and place it in their individual folder. Our students are each assigned a number at the beginning of the year- their folder is their number. 
Here are the directions for uploading a picture from Skitch into a student's individual Dropbox folder.

After showing students these steps once or twice, they quickly catch on and can complete the process independently. 

Go paperless and go green! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let The Games Begin!

Are you looking for a way to incorporate the Winter Olympics into your classroom curriculum?  Check out our latest iTunesU course on the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  Through this course students will be able to explore and develop their curiosity for the sports that make up the Winter Games and the country that is hosting them.  Whether you have 1 iPad or an entire class set this course provides teachers and students with great resources and activities to explore all aspects of the Olympics.

(Appropriate for grades K-4)