iPad Shape Hunts

Shape Hunt

Shape Hunt

When the weather gets warmer, the kids get ….. let’s say…..more active 🙂

So in the last few weeks of school, I’m always looking for fun ways to keep our learning going, but also make it fun and active. We are in our unit about geometric shapes, including 2-D and 3-D.

Since the weather has provided some nice days for us here, we took our iPads outside with us and spent some time “hunting” for shapes.

We did this on two different days, one day looking for 2-D shapes, and the other for 3-D.

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

On the day we looked for 2-D shapes, the students used the Doceri app and drew pictures of what they found.

Doceri

Doceri

My love for Doceri is strong…. here is just one post I’ve made about it. It’s basically an interactive white board.

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

On the day we looked for 3-D shapes, the kids took pictures of the shapes they found, simply using the camera on their iPads.

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

While we were outside, one student was SO EXCITED because she’d found a piece of paper that had a QR code on it! I was pretty excited too 🙂

After we worked each time, we sat in a circle and shared some of the shapes we had found.

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

Shapes

On this particular day, the weather was just perfect. So was the sky. Which of course meant that after we shared what was on our iPads, we laid back and looked for shapes in the clouds. See? There are shapes everywhere! 🙂

 

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back soon!

Fairy Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

We are smack dab in the middle of our fairy tales unit. Each week we’re focusing on a new fairy tale, summarizing the story elements.

Last week, we were all about Jack and the Beanstalk.

Conveniently, we just finished our unit on Macaque Monkeys (the type of monkey featured in Disney’s Monkey Kingdom movie, which our whole school studied and saw together). For this unit, I had made a paper tree outside my room. How is this convenient? Well, it’s funny how easily a tree can be turned into a beanstalk with just a little more green added….

Beanstalk

Beanstalk

We always start the week by reading the book and going over some of the vocab words.

Vocab

Vocab

By picking words from the story, the kids have something to make a connection too. Plus, the pictures help the kids understand and remember.

We did so many other fun things with this book that I just had to share a few!

Planting Beanstalks

One of the fun things we did after we read the story was plant our own “magic” beans. The kids all got a small cup of soil and put in two bean seeds pea seeds {I know, I know- it should have been bean seeds, but there were none when I went *gulp* last minute to Wal-Mart on my way to work…. so pea seeds it was!} 🙂

Any which way, the seeds were planted and to make this even cuter, the kids made “castles” on sticks to put in the cups. That way when the plants started growing, they looked like the bean stalks growing up to the sky.

Bean Cups

Bean Cups

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds

STEM Activity: Create a Parachute

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. We’ve never tried a STEM like activity in our room, but the first grade team of teachers saw an idea to use for this unit and knew we had to give it a try!

The first step was posing a question to the students:

STEM Question

STEM Question

I gave the students this question. Then, I told them it was up to them to design something that would help Jack get down slowly from the beanstalk if he were to jump. The kids were put into groups, allowed to pick the supplies they wanted from this pile….

Supplies

Supplies

Supplies

Supplies

… and they were off!

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Designing

Now one of the hardest things about this {for ME} is not answering all of their questions. The point of this is to let them design something, try it out, and then make adjustments. It’s very hard when all you want to do is run over to a group and say “Now what if you just do this….”. It’s the first grade teacher in me 🙂

Before long though, the groups were dropping their “Jack’s” and “parachutes” by standing on chairs, to test it out- which I thought was a great idea. Some groups saw their designs worked, while others knew they had to try something else.

The next day, we headed outside and the kiddos got to drop their designs off the playground. The groups climbed to the top of a structure and dropped it. The rest of us watched from below.

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

After all the teams had a chance to go, we let the two teams whose designs had slowed down “Jack” the most to go against each other. Then, we talked about these two groups designs and why we think they were the most successful. {They didn’t have a lot of weight on them, they looked like a parachute, they had a big pieces of material to catch the wind} The kids had so much fun and it was great to see them design something, test it out, and be able to evaluate the results.

Testing our Designs

Testing our Designs

If I Climbed a Beanstalk

We ended the week with a writing prompt: If I climbed a beanstalk, I would find….

The kids had some great ideas about this. My personal favorite was “If I climbed a beanstalk, I would find my dog. And I would be so surprised to find my dog up there” Yea, I would be too! 🙂

We had to make these even cuter by attaching the kids pictures and having them add a “Jack” inspired green hat.

Jack Writing

Jack Writing

Jack Writing

Jack Writing

Jack Writing

Jack Writing

So, those are a few fun ways to incorporate reading, writing, and science into this unit. We had a blast and are still learning about other fairy tales. Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

QR Code to Differentiation

It’s been an embarrassing amount of time since I’ve posted last…. I don’t really have any excuses for this, except I’ve been busy with this….

Hello!

Hello!

and busy with this…

Monkeys!

Monkeys!

and busy with this….

Movie!

Movie!

and in general, busy with this….

Math

Math

Math

Math

Writing

Writing

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..

We are just going to jump back in and get into one of the special things we’ve been doing lately in first grade: QR Codes to differentiate.

QR Code Differentiation

QR Code Differentiation

Ok, we all know what QR codes are. If you still haven’t made a QR code or are nervous about making one, please take my advice and START! It couldn’t be easier and the possibilities are endless {Some of my favorite ways to use QR codes are Vocaroo, for kids to record their own voices and turn into QR codes. Also, I love making QR codes linking QRVoice for directions}

A few months ago, I attended the ICE conference, a technology conference in the Midwest for teachers. I learned a lot, but my favorite thing was using colored QR codes to help students differentiate their learning.

On some QR code making websites, you can easily change the color of the QR code. After you link the website, picture, or voice recording you want to make into the QR code, you have the option to change the color of the code itself.

Here’s how I used this technique in my room to differentiate. 

We were learning about light waves, the basic idea being that light moves in a straight line. This was the central idea that I wanted all the students to understand. We were also beginning to learn that light will only change directions if it’s reflected.

As it often is in a first grade room, there are ability levels across the board. And as it more often is, it can be very difficult to teach to all these different levels at the same time.

After a few days into the unit, I wanted to design an activity where some students were able to focus on the basic idea of the unit, where some students were able to move on to how light is reflected, and where some students were able to apply that knowledge to a new situation. In doing so, I would be able to  tackle the challenge of how to target specific ability levels by controlling the type of question and responses I wanted the students to have.

QR Codes

QR Codes

I grouped the kids into 3 different levels: beginning, middle, and accelerating. In this particular activity, we were differentiating based the content. The topic was all the same (light), but the specific ideas or content was altered to meet the kids levels. The kids names were under a specific colored QR code, with each group having a different worksheet.

QR Codes

QR Codes

The kids came up and scanned the specific QR code with their name on it. They sat with the other students who also had the same color as them.

The students who were at the basic level (and whose focus was on how light moves) saw this picture when they scanned their QR code, which helped enforce the idea that light moves in straight lines.

Level 1

Level 1

The students were were at a middle level and beginning to understand the idea that light can change direction by being reflected saw this when they scanned, which enforced the idea that light can change directions when it’s reflected.

Reflection

Reflection

And the accelerated group, who were posed the question “How can light help us solve problems?” were shown this, light being reflected multiple times to light a plant on the ground.

Reflection

Reflection

The students worksheets corresponded to their pictures. The kids worked with their color teams to answer the question they were asked, which related to their pictures.

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

In the same activity, there were three different things happening, but all the kids were still learning about light. Some students were re-learning, some students were practicing a new idea, and some students were being challenged to apply their knowledge and explain a new situation.

In all, it was a great activity! It was simple enough to plan and this concept can be applied to any subject. You just need to pick the idea and change it for the students who need to relearn it, the students who need to practice it, and the students who have mastered it and can move on.

What’s also great is that it allows each level of student to feel confident in their own learning. My students working on the basic level had pride in their work because they were able to share their own ideas to the class. Because they were working at their own levels, they were able to understand the material and had ownership of the information. The same goes for the other groups. The kids were able to share with kids from different color groups and learn from each other.

Having fun!

Having fun!

I love using QR codes (just search QR Codes on this blog and you’ll find TONS of other posts I’ve made about my obsession with them) and I hope you can try this idea in your class as well!

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back soon- and I’ll try to post again this week! 🙂