Monthly Archives: March 2017

What Pet Should I Get?

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, my first graders created mini books in The Book Creator app on iPads.  I read aloud a Dr. Seuss book published in 2015 called “What Pet Should I Get?”  In this book a brother and sister consider many different pets at a pet store such as a dog, cat, rabbit, bird and fish along with some fictional pets including a Yent.  The brother makes a point in the story as more and more choices present themselves concerning what pet they should get:  “Oh, boy! It is something to make a mind up!” We considered the process that people go through when selecting a pet such as determining if they have space, have time to care for it, have money to buy food and pay the vet who will care for it and have affection to love on it.

I asked my students to celebrate Dr. Seuss by creating a book to describe which pet that they would choose, reasons why they would choose it, a picture of the pet and if possible, a voice recording of them as they gave their opinion on their pet wish.  I only see them for 45 minutes every eight school days in the Technology Lab.  In the past they had created books on Outer Space in Book Creator and were familiar with how to do it.  I like how Book Creator app gives kids multiple ways to represent ideas with text, various fonts, sizes and colors of text, colors to draw and voice recording ability.  You can also add photos and videos but time didn’t allow for that today!

As kids create their individual books, you can hear them as they give each other tips on how to make the letters capital on the iPad or how to adjust the color.  I noticed one student who went above and beyond to help a friend discover how to spell the words for his title by bringing the friend to my book to show him and pointed to each word.  These two writers stuck together like peanut butter and jelly for the rest of the class as they consulted each other on what would be typed and drawn next.  Even though the books were not created with multiple authors on one book, I love how the children sit close and lean into each other to see mentors all around them as they work.  The final step was to share their books with a friend so that the digital book authors could be celebrated!

Here are some of the moments that I captured as they enthusiastically created:


NCTIES 2017

Images of my awesome NCTIES experiences!breakoutedukristin-ziemkencties17lisabeckancties17

At the beginning of March each year, I prepare to travel to Raleigh, NC for the North Carolina Technology in Education Society’s Conference known as NCTIES.  This year, like two out of the last three years, I had been preparing to present a session with an amazing colleague of mine, Rebecca Thompson. When you pour your time and effort into preparing the right sequence of information to share with the people who will choose your session, you feel that your words must stand out and be ones that they can carry with them.  We had planned and revised our presentation.  I arrived Tuesday night feeling excited.

On Wednesday morning, I attended the Pre Conference which has always been a way for me to dive deep into a topic.  I get to spend three hours with a morning presenter in a room that will hold 30 people or so then spend the afternoon with another presenter.  This year, I got to spend my morning with Kristin Ziemke.  I have read her “Amplify” book which gave me a variety of ways to have my students use technology to amplify their learning.  I really liked that she encouraged me to promote writing about visual images.

First of all, Kristin introduced me to a website which has people draw various shapes for 20 seconds then places the drawings in a database so that a computer can recognize drawings from many different people.  This site is called Doodle drawing and can be reached here:  Goo.gl/2wiPgN

Kristen told us that research reveals that the first 17 minutes of a class is prime time for students to learn.  She called on teachers to do high yield activities at the start of a lesson to reach more modalities.  Research is also revealing that doodling helps learners retain their new content.  When we doodle as we are thinking, we retain the new information better.  As a result, a new definition of note taking is taking shape through the use of Sketch Noting.

In our world, kids know how to use Smart Phones and technology, but this awareness of technology does not necessarily equal understanding of how to create with the digital devices.  They know how to be entertained but not as a tool for learning.  She shared an infographic from Common Sense Media which shows that 81% of 6-8 year olds watch You Tube regularly and 76 % of 9-12 year olds access content on You Tube.  This means that kids are interested in viewing many types of videos to understand the world but may not be able to read the information yet depending on their age.  I love that she said to “put kids in a place of possible and have them publish”.  In order to hook students and engage them from the beginning of a lesson, she suggested starting lessons with video or images and have kids ask questions about them such as:

What do I see?

Why is that in the picture?

I wonder why…

How does this photo or video communicate a message?

Why did the photographer take it?  

She shared images with us from the NY Times Learning Network.  Every Monday, this site places a picture on it in a series called,  “What’s going on in this picture?”  The site has suggestions on how to guide students to closely read the picture.  Teachers and students are invited to leave a comment and read other comments.  The site previews comments to be sure they are appropriate before the comments are posted.  On Thursdays, the site posts an update and tells you what is going on.  The picture comes from some place around the world so that students are given a global perspective and gain empathy as they view others in situations that are not like their own.

Kristen referred to the fact that visuals are processed 65,000 times faster than text through our eyes.  Text plus visuals stimulate both sides of the brain requiring more synthesis, retention increased comprehension.  She encouraged teachers to use the interests of students to show images and graphics which they can compare.  One of the people who have had an impact on her understanding of how reading develops is Smokey Daniels who says we should ask kids as they view images this question:

“What do you see, think and wonder?”

Not only should we ask kids to ponder, but teachers should model how to do this type of thinking out loud.

In the afternoon, I was able to use the steps of Design Thinking which is what engineers use as I developed a video game.  We went through the following steps:

Empathize

Define

Ideate

Prototype

Test

Darren Hudgins, the presenter, told us that Design Thinking is ugly at first filled with uncertainty, patterns, insights and research.  When engineers come up with a concept, they develop a prototype then test, gain feedback and keep designing.

In order for us to go through the Design Thinking steps, each participant had to plan out their game on a grid sheet then develop their fame by building it with colored cubes in a black grid.  Next, we scanned the cubes and the cubes became the setting of our video game.  I knew about Bloxels Builder but had never gone through the design process to create a game.  It was a valuable and difficult process to go through, but I can see the value to allow kids to go through this same design process to build a game.  Partners tested out each others’ games and provided feedback.  The games were not perfect, but they allowed us to see where we needed to make changes.  My favorite part was when we were told that each of us would get to take our Bloxels Builder Set home as our gift.  I have requested a set of 15 Bloxels Builder Kits as a part of a recent grant and hope that I will get them.  They will motivate students to build games based on book settings, characters, science or social studies topics.  Here is the link to the Bloxels website:  Play.bloxelsbuilder.com

On Thursday, Rebecca and I shared our presentation.  Since we had worked tirelessly on this project for the past few months, it was so good to finally share our ideas.  We had researched HyperDocs and begun to use them this year in our teaching.  I also had brought my eight Lego Storymaker Kits to provide participants with the chance to create Lego scenes and create a digital story using Pic Collage or Google Slides.  I am sharing the link to our presentation here:  goo.gl/uXRbhT

Breakout EDU was another interesting experience.  I worked with a group of teachers as we solved clues to open locks on a box.  Each clue was fairly difficult but we brainstormed together on how to break out or open the box.  Here is the link to the presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1IYL347lGD-amuhW1Yi-ZPvo5JRtP3FAtGGA7cVoWOlI/edit?usp=sharing

I always enjoy hearing Richard Byrne give the “Best of the Web” for each year.  Here are some tools that he mentioned.  Some of them I already knew about but there are several others that I plan to check out:

A beta version of a Creative Commons search engine

Inklewriter.com – It allows kids to write “Choose your own adventure” story and think about logic then publish on web.

Thehistoryproject.com – This is a timeline tool that has built in recording piece.  Example Project:  Record interview with grandma and save as podcast.

Edublogs.org – Almost all premium features are not completely free on Edublogs as of last month.

Splashapp.co – Like Snapchat but with virtual reality.  Android with ios coming soon.

bit.ly/divvr – Create your own DIY Virtual Reality Headset

CoSpaces.io lets you design a VR experience and publish.

NathanHall.com – Has Webtools that don’t require registration so kids can go and make things.

Sworkitkids.com – 30 sec. Exercises for a brain break for kids

CheckItOut is a google form and great to keep track of who borrowed stuff and get them to bring it back.

Flippity.net – add on that makes Google Sheets templates in one click.  Quiz Shows, flashcard with voices and pics,

OpeneBooks.com or app has a ton of e-books

TeachYourMonsterToRead.com  – has letter matching games

Quill Connect – a new quill.org feature.  Helps students learn to see fragments that they must arrange into complete sentences.

Choosito! – a search engine that ranks websites to their readability levels 

CamFind app – take a pic of anything and it will tell you stuff about it.

Littlebridge.com – website of how to interact responsibly online and teach through games how to be responsibile citizens

Classtools.net (developed by guy from France)

Wiser.me – blending worksheets together. Interactive quizzes and share through Google Classroom

Formative.com – new features in next month that will give you more data and give them more option on how for students to give feedback.

JoeZoo – Grade and edit students writing.  Create comments to enter into Google Docs to use when grading writing

Quizalize.com – Quizzes which can be done anytime.  Teachers could have families take a quiz night and do a link that starts between certain times.  They play game and see score of others but less of a race.

Triventy – lets kids contribute to a quiz, students can collaborate on what they think should be in quiz and teacher approves them

Nudgemath.com and it is an app – Interactive math lessons

On Friday, I was blown away by two colleagues of mine in my school district, Suzanne Blaszak and Chris Grabon.  They presented “Content Creation with Chromebooks”.  I am sharing their Google Slide presentation so that the world can also take their teaching with the Google Suite of tools up a notch!  They love Google Drawings and now, I do too!  There are so many templates that they gave which we can modify and push out to our students by having them make a copy of the Google Drawing or Google Slides.  Check it out:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/12YrB5KPv-S53Orc3RnUtpJOToR5nFfcMLn2L0c31w5Y/edit#slide=id.p

Chris shared how to make stories or interactive timelines using www.sutori.com from the History Channel.  Wow!  It has an interactive timeline which the kids could bring in more multimedia that they create!  Adobe Spark poster, You Tube clips, iPad Green Screen creations that are uploaded to You Tube and Audio Files can be placed on the timeline.  I can’t wait to try this with my kiddos! Kids will join my class which I create and in the free version you get 200 free views.  The students can create and share stories on a Google Sites website, collaborate with others, upload media directly and create up to 3 groups with 50 students in a group.  For example, Chris created an Explorer Group for his class to join.  You can put questions in a quiz format in Sutori for audience participation.  They also have a “Did you know?” feature to add cool facts to their story or timeline.

He encouraged us to have students add the Awesome Screenshot Google Extension on their Chromebooks.  He has his fifth graders take a screenshot then with the Awesome Screenshot extension, capture a certain area of the picture then annotate on top of the image.  When students locate an image, they can make it their own and add to it.  You can also blur faces on an image with this extension.

When he wants students to record their voice, he likes Recordmp3online to record audio.  He likes Vocaroo to record audio too.  In Vocaroo, kids would convert the recording to mp3 then save link and place on your website.

Suzanne shared Adobe Spark which allows us to create pictures and videos or posts.  She likes students to use Adobe Spark Page where you can add text, images, add video, add a glideshow option to layer text on pictures in background and link to an example on a web page.  Here is an example of a student ‘s presentation.  Students usually post their Adobe Spark link to a Padlet for their classmates to see and provide feedback as they look through each one in Padlet.  In Adobe Spark Video, Suzanne’s student included season images created in Google Drawings.  They brought the images into Spark Video and recorded their voices to narrate reasons for the seasons.  Here is the video example!

Adobe Spark states that kids have to be supervised by the teacher.  Some teachers create a class account.  You can have students to login to their Google accounts and then give them the teacher’s birthday to prove that the teacher is supervising them.  Adobe Spark is also an app for iOS users.

I have dear friends, Jennifer Moore and Melissa Toner, who used to be at my school but have moved to other schools this year.  They presented on Friday on “Connecting with 1:1 Technology in the Special Area Class”.  Jennifer is a former Music teacher and know is a Technology Facilitator at a K-8 Oaklawn Language Immersion Magnet School in Charlotte.  Melissa is a Media Specialist at Park Road Montessori school, a  K-6 school in Charlotte. I miss them dearly at my school but they mentored me so much and I will always adore them! Their amazing presentation can be found here:  goo.gl/vP46wn

I was able to catch another session from Kristin Ziemke on Friday.

Kristin emphasized that teachers put power in the hands of kids when we invite them to track their thinking, fluency, and opinions of books. She likes for young learners to do Visual Book Reviews.  She will have first graders rank a book with stars that kids draw on top of their picture while they are holding their favorite book.  Teachers can set up kids to guide others in book selection.   Communities of readers talk about their books so when teachers print the Book Reviews and place on class walls to let kids see book recommendations from other kids, it empowers kids.  It is important for teachers to model for kids how to upload a picture of themselves with a book to a Padlet space.  Kids can scan a QR code to get to the Padlet quickly.  Then they learn how to leave a comment in Padlet about their picture too.

In addition, Kristin spoke about the fact that we put power in hands of kids when we invite them to track their thinking, fluency, and opinions of books.  Kids listen to audio snapshots that they took of themselves reading a book and chart what they need to work on as a next step.   She talked about helping kids craft a vision for how to record themselves and talk about their thinking.  For example, on Chromebooks, use Movenote to have kids talk about their thinking.  Ex.  What did you learn in science?

She also encouraged us to have a space online to capture, narrate and illustrate ideas using a limited amount of tools.  She differentiated between Practices vs. projects.  The nature of a project signals the end of unit every couple of weeks.  If it is a practice, then it happens consistently across subjects different times a week.  They go deeper with thinking if they know the tool already.

She has templates at her website to place directions at a center to remind them how to record to capture, record and share.

She teaches kids to represent in a drawing tool to capture, narrate and illustrate their thinking.  Less is more because they know these tools very well.

Here are some of her favorite tools for students to capture, narrate and illustrate their thinking:

Book Creator

Padlet

Kidblog

Explain Everything

iMovie

Camera on iPad

Google Drive

 

She has her students write and blog for real audiences and have blogging partners.  Wonder Wednesday is when kids blog what they wonder about.  Then blogging partner can respond back.

I also was able to learn more about the Dash and Dot Robots.  There is a ton of information at bit.ly/dashdotcurriculum about how to use them.  They won’t work with iPads 1 or 2, but will work with iPad 3, 4 and iPad Air or Kindles.  I am hoping to get some Dash Robots in a Charlotte Hornets Innovation Grant.  There are so many ways to build in coding experiences in Blockly or in the Wonder app with Dash.   We can tell kids that we can program Dash to do word problems to test dimensions that they would generate for area and perimeter review.  For example, If a rectangle has a Perimeter of 200 cm., what could the dimensions be for the rectangle that Dash will create?  One teacher, drew the perimeter on pieces of chart paper to allow students to self check so that if their Dash robot stayed on the rectangle, then they would know that they had programmed Dash correctly.

Here are some incredible ideas that the teachers from Forestville Road Elemenary School shared in their session:

In Literacy, kids can retell a story, make costume for Dash to retell the story, explore the setting of story and create a map for Dash to go through based on the story.  In science, have students travel at different speeds to knock down a tower to focus on force and motion.  Students can build a “body part” for Dash that will give him new abilities. There are ways to build with Legos on top of Spheros.  Ex.  Create a butler Dash to bring snacks and drinks to others.  The kids can program Dash to go to points on a paper timeline and have it stop to tell important information at each point.  Dash can be programmed to line dance.  Pick a song from GoNoodle.com and create a line dance for Dash (more forward, left,right, lights to represent claps) then they have to line up and dance with Dash!  The xylophone attachment is awesome to have kids program a song.

Here is a great idea called “Trick or Treating with Dash” – The teacher made a 15 foot Wonder Way and placed 8 houses on it along the path which has signs that has the type of candy that will be given out.  Each child had a job:

Recorder

Materials

Time Keeper

Speaker

Each child had chance to program Dash to get to the house that they wanted to go to.  They kept commands on a chart at first.  They had to program the Dash robot to roll to their chosen house, program a doorbell sound, record their voice saying “Trick or Treat?” and program Dash to get back to start.  They would look at what they wrote and troubleshoot to see what worked and what didn’t to get Dash to his destination.  Those who did all the steps, got to design a costume for Dash.

The Wonder League is a competition that students can do that has challenges.  You can use mats such as a Twister Board, vinyl tablecloth, tape on the floor (use tiles as a guide) or print banners.

She also charges multiple Dash robots with a USB charger that has 12 USB ports and stores them in mini boxes.  The Dash robots do spin sometimes as they are charging.

NCTIES is a place to wrap my head around innovative lessons and always supports me in developing ideas for the future in my classroom.