Light {Shadow Puppet Theater}

 

It's spring!

It’s spring!

It’s been a LOOOOOONG time since I’ve last posted. This time of the school year just gets INSANE! With testing, breaks, report cards, etc- it’s just been busy! But we’ve also been doing a lot of exciting things. For starters, how fun is the above photo! We saw a similar picture on Pinterest and decided to tackle the project as a first grade team! Each of us picked a color and we did a handprint garden. It was pretty simple, actually! And how cool did they all turn out? We love them hanging in the hallway and how they all look a little different.

Speaking of our first grade team, today was pajama day…. and can you tell we’re on the same page?

Twins!

Twins!

Two of us were pajama twins today! Great minds think alike 🙂 (this also reflects our shared loved of Target!)

But back to the topic of this post- LIGHT!

I’ve already made lots of posts about the NGSS standard of light waves. It’s a topic we cover each year and the kids really love it. It can seem overwhelming at first (you teach about light waves to first graders!?) but honestly- it’s a fun, engaging unit!

Light Pack

Light Pack

If you click on the picture, it will take you to my Light unit on TpT. It’s filled with everything you need to teach light to first graders.

Reflecting

Reflecting

One of the best things is watching kids discover how they can change the direction of light waves. Because of course, the first aspect we learn about is that light moves in straight lines. By using a mirror, we start to discover the meaning of “reflect” and how we can change lights direction.

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

It’s a fun process. Kids love a challenge, so have them point their flashlights a certain way and then have them use the mirror to get the light on something else. For example, have them all point their lights up towards the ceiling. Then, using the mirror and NOT moving the flashlight, have them reflect the light on the board. It’s really fun and the kids love challenging themselves in this way! Plus, it’s showing them how light moves and what reflect means.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This year, we also did something new at the end of our light unit. Because we’d learned about shadows and transparent objects, we put together all our knowledge to make a shadow puppet theater. To make it even more fun, we combined this idea with our last literacy unit- fables.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This idea came straight from the fabulous first grade teacher on our team, Ms. Rios! 🙂

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

We combined our classes and had pairs of students write their very own fable. Once they had a story, they used black construction paper and sticks to make shadow puppet characters. Finally, we constructed a “theater” using a box and white paper. When we shined a light from behind the box, the students presented their shadow fables!

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

I can’t even describe how amazing this was! Some of the morals they created included:

-Don’t disturb princes and princesses

-You shouldn’t eat children

-Real friends can’t be unfriended

….. just to name a few 🙂

 

Their stories were amazing, the morals were just perfect, and the shadow puppets added an awesome science connection and element to the whole thing. It was such a fun idea and the kids had a blast doing it! It was a great way to combine our two units, and end our light unit.

Thanks for checking into our adventure!

What Melts In The Sun? {Experiment!}

 

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

Do your kiddlets love science experiments as much as mine do? Because we focus so much on the “scientific process” in the beginning of the year, my kids know what whenever we start a new science unit, they are in for some FUN experiments! When I announced we were doing a science experiment Friday, the kids started saying, “We’re going to ask questions!”, “We’re going to do experiments!”, “We’re going to be scientists!”. It sounds like I’m making that up, but really- my kids LOVE science and all that comes along with it!

We’re right in the middle of our science unit about the Sun. Why are we doing a unit about the Sun? Because our NGSS {our national science standards} ask the kids to understand the patterns they see in the sky. This is why our last unit was on the seasons and why this one is about the Sun! For the kids to understand the pattern of the Sun, they first need to learn about the Sun!

Sun circle map

Sun circle map

My favorite way to start any unit is with a circle map. When I introduced this unit last week, I wrote the word “Sun” in the middle of the map and had the kids tell me things they knew…. or thought they knew…. about the Sun. This is all the writing you see in green. Some of it is right on- “hot”, “bigger than Earth”, “very far away”. Those are great! Some showed misconceptions- “flashing lines” {meaning it has wiggling lines coming off it like we draw in pictures}, “fire”, “tilts”. While I loved that the kids brought in their knowledge from the last unit {i.e. The Earth is titled}, this isn’t true for the Sun.

BUT –  WRITE IT ON THE MAP ANYWAY! It’s WAY more meaningful for the kids to discover this on their own, than for me to correct them in the moment.

Next, we spent that day exploring things about the Sun. We looked at a diagram of the solar system, we looked at photographs online, we watched a Brainpop video, and we read a short informational text. By the end of that day, we could go back to the Circle Map and add/change things we’d written {that’s the pink writing}. Now, the kids could tell me that the sun wasn’t just yellow, but a mix of yellow, red, and orange. They knew it wasn’t made of fire, but burning gases. They knew it didn’t tilt, but didn’t move in the middle {**** I realize the Sun rotates in a circle, and we did get to this at another day. For that day, we just discovered it stayed in the middle of our solar system. There’s only so much knowledge we can cover in a day} 🙂

Anyways, I wanted to share this method for introducing a topic. The kids love it, I can see misconceptions, and it’s so great for the kids to discover things on their own. The map is still up in our room and we add to it as we learn new things.

Experiment

Experiment

After a week of learning more about the Sun, we had a great experiment, with the driving question- “What melts in the Sun?”

I saw the idea from Pinterest {Here!} and copied the idea in my room. The gist is, you put objects in a muffin tray and have the kids predict what will melt and what won’t melt.

Objects

Objects

We used ice, butter, a wood block, a crayon, a lego, a bell, chocolate, and cheese. You can obviously mix up what you use, but these worked for me!

Predictions

Predictions

Because we are good little scientists, the first thing we did was write down our essential question and our hypothesis. What did we think would melt? We talked a lot about how we were pretending our light was the “Sun”.

{In the experiment link, they put their tray outside in the sunlight. But, it’s December here….gray….cloudy…..cold….. So being the wonderful wife that I am, had my husband go out into our frozen, snowy yard and bring in our outside flood light to use as the Sun substitute. And of course I remembered to ask him to do this well in advance and not five minutes before I had to leave the house Friday morning 🙂 }

The kids got to take an up-close look at all the items before they made their predictions and before anything started melting.

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

At their seats, they drew what the experiment looked like.

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Sooooo, we had to give our “Sun” some time to melt our objects. What did we do in the meantime? We enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus “Gets Lost in Space”, of course! Although, it did make me feel old when the video referenced 1998 as the next year coming up. Sigh.

Magic School Bus

Magic School Bus

The 20 minute video gave our experiment plenty of time to work! When the movie was over, we went back over to see what had happened!

Melted!

Melted!

The ice cubes look gone- but the water is there! The butter and chocolate also melted!

Wow!

Wow!

It led to a fun conversation about objects having different melting points. For example, ALL these things would have melted if they were on the REAL sun. The cheese and crayon would have melted if our “Sun” was a little hotter. But none the less, it was so much fun and helped them further develop the idea that the Sun is very hot, affects us, and affects objects around us. 

My little scientists wrote down the results of the experiment.

Results!

Results!

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

Nature Walk {NGSS Patterns in the Sky}

 

Nature Walk

Nature Walk

It’s fall around these parts! That means a lot of scarves, a lot of leaves, and a lot of fun! 🙂

We’ve fallen right into our new science unit, which is about patterns in the sky. It’s really stated as “Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year”.  Additionally, students should be able to observe, predict, and describe the amount of sunlight and patterns of sunshine/sunset.

What does this look like in first grade?

We have a driving question in this unit, which is “How does the sun affect the seasons?” Since we’ve been talking about what makes us scientists, this is what is our question. So now, we’ve been collecting data to help us answer this question. (This relates to the NGSS standard because once we know about the seasons, we will be able to describe how the seasons are driven by the sun and tilting of the Earth. Each season has a different amount of sunlight, relating back to the standard)

To start, we took a nature walk around the school, to learn more about the season we’re in {fall} and to talk about how the changes we are seeing are being fueled by the sun.

Garden

Garden

First stop, our school garden. We noticed changed in the plants and flowers there. Why are they dying? What’s causing these changes?

Tree changes

Tree changes

We stopped to look at the trees. What changes were happening to the trees? Why are the leaves falling off?

11012109_10101222888703723_6555458497716129327_n

Dandelions

 

 

As we walked, we saw dandelion plants that were all white and fluffy. Weren’t these yellow a few weeks ago? How are they changing? What’s making them change?

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

As long as we were outside, we made a detour to the playground field to pick out a leaf. In math we are doing measuring, so we each picked a leaf that we would measure back inside. I’ve blogged about this before, so more details on this activity can be found HERE!

Class Mural

Class Mural

The next day, we used what we are seen yesterday on our walk and made a collaborative class mural. Each table group was assigned one of the things we’d observed outside yesterday (grass, rocks, leaves, plants, trees). We talked about making this mural as a team, showing the things we saw and that shows our current season.

Cutting paper

Cutting paper

Making our mural

Making our mural

Honestly, those were the only two pictures I took because the rest of the time I was helping groups with ideas, arranging things, and helping glue. But take a look at how it turned out….

Our Fall Mural!

Our Fall Mural!

I mean, it’s is just amazing!? I love it so much! As we worked, the kids would stand back and say, “Wow, this looks really good!” And they are right!

As they worked, I also asked kids to make labels. Their inventive spelling was just awesome and right on! I think this really turned out to be a wonderful group project, showed our knowledge so far, and helps us see the season of fall.

We will of course relate all of this knowledge back to our essential question- how is the sun affecting these changes we see in fall?

Mural

Mural

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure!

iPads {Science Sink & Float}

We are in the swing of things around here, each and every day jam packed with learning, laughing, and lovin’ first grade! My last post was about getting our iPads, so I figured I’d post a follow up on how it’s going.

iPads

iPads

Teaching with 1:1 iPads is such an amazing privilege. I love it and honestly, I can’t imagine not having them at this point. I get asked a lot how we use the iPads throughout the day and in different subject areas. Here’s a quick look into how you can use iPads in a science lesson- in a very SIMPLE, EASY way!

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

In science we are learning about things that sink and things that float.

Well…. really we are learning about how to be scientists and the scientific process {asking questions, making a hypothesis, doing an experiment, looking at results, and sharing with others} But what a fun way to practice these steps/qualities than putting them into action with sink/float experiments!

So, before we tested the above fruits and veggies, we used our iPads to complete a quick worksheet on our questions and hypothesis about which fruits and veggies would sink or float. We used the Handouts app.

Handouts

Handouts

Its a super simple app that allows me to send the kids something, have them work on it on their iPads, send it back to me, and allow me to see there work. Think of it as a digital “worksheet”.

After our predictions, it was time to experiment!

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

 

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

The kids loved this experiment! How fun!

After our experiment, we discussed the results together, relating them back to our predictions and initial questions. Then, my little scientists used their iPads to draw what happened in this experiment. Again, another quick and simple use of our iPads! Although simple, it’s also a great way for the kids to process what they just saw and what they just learned. It also allows me to see who understands what happened, who understand what sink means, and who understands what float means.

Drawings can show us so much as to what kids know, understand, and learned!

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

This is just ONE way you can use iPads in science to check for understanding and make initial predictions.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to leave your comments, ideas, and questions below! We love to hear from you!

 

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! 🙂

 

 

App Smashing 2.0: The Moon

 

Me!

Me!

A couple of things…. first, how cute is that picture? One of my kiddlets drew this for me during indoor recess and it made me smile! I love it and this is obviously how I stand all the time in class 🙂

Another thing…

Ariel!

Ariel!

It’s been a long weekend for the hubs and I. We spent the day in the car yesterday making the 8+ hour drive to pick up our new fur-baby. Her name is Ariel and she is a two year old terrier/hound mix. She’s a rescue dog and was brought in after a neglect call. They believe she spent her whole two years chained outside. We love her already and are so happy to welcome her to our family!

App Smashing

Back in the classroom, we spent Friday on another app smashing activity. Not sure what app smashing is? Check out THIS POST I MADE ABOUT APP-SMASHING to learn more about it.

Basically, app smashing is creating something in one app and then enhancing that product in a second (or more) app. 

Just like before, we used Doceri and ChatterPix.

We’ve been learning all about the moon. The kids know so many interesting facts and are continually coming up with wonderful things to say about the moon. I was pretty impressed when during a discussion one of my little ones said, “The moon is Earth’s closest neighbor”. Isn’t that the cutest- and true-est- thing? (yes, true-est is totally a word) 😉

Anyways, as a way for them to “show what you know” (which is what we call our formative, ongoing assessments), the students were told to make a ChatterPix video telling everything they know about the moon.

First up, they needed to draw an accurate picture in Doceri.

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Doceri Moon Drawing

Look at how wonderfully detailed these pictures are! The kids did such a good job incorporating things we’ve learned about the moon into their pictures. Before we drew, one little thinker asked if he could draw the moon in different phases. I told them that would be a WONDERFUL idea, however, I didn’t want to see the moon as just a little piece. If they simply drew a crescent shape, for example, that tells me that they think the moon is actually changing shapes. I told them to draw the full round moon, but shade in a certain area to show the shadow of the Earth making the phase. Does this sound too hard for my little scientist? Nope! They nailed it!

Moon Phase

Moon Phase

Moon Phase

Moon Phase

Moon Phase

Moon Phase

I also loved this picture, where the student explained to me that he wanted to show that the light from the Sun reflects off the moon, and that’s why we see the moon lit up in the sky.

Moon Reflecting Light

Moon Reflecting Light

I love that all their pictures are showing their knowledge, but are all different. The iPad is such a wonderful tool to allow creativity! I’m always impressed by how well they use this app too. Look at how well, and easily, they manipulate the color wheels and pick their own shades on the color spectrum.

Picking Colors

Picking Colors

Picking Colors

Picking Colors

Here are just a few more pictures, I can’t help myself. They are all so good!

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Wondering what the colors are? The student remembered (and explained to me) that stars can be different colors, including red, yellow, orange, and blue. He’s right! 🙂

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Moon Doceri Drawings

Enter the app smashing part. When we talk about app smashing with my kids, I have them hold up two fists. One fist we talk about being the first app, the second fist we talk about being the second app. Then, we make our fists “smash” together, which they love- and add sound effects for 🙂

We talk about how when we smash apps, we are putting two things together.

So the first thing we had to do we take a screen shot of our Doceri picture, so that it would be saved to the iPads camera roll.

Taking A Screen Shot

Taking A Screen Shot

Easy-peasy.

Then, the students opened up the ChatterPix app. They open their camera roll and import the picture they just took from their Doceri app. Then, they draw a mouth line for their moon. Last, the students were told to record all the facts they could think of about the moon.

We spread out around the room. It helps with the noise control with 26 little voices are recording at once 🙂

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording In ChatterPix

Recording in ChatterPix

Recording in ChatterPix

After recording, ChatterPix has a lot of add-on options, like color effects (think Instagram), stickers, or the option to type on top of the picture. I’ve found that at times, adding stickers can get kinda of silly. So, I told the kids they could only use the typing feature to add words if they wanted.

Typing

Typing

Typing

Typing

Typing

Typing

Finally, they save their project and export it to their camera roll.

Exporting to Camera Roll

Exporting to Camera Roll

The last thing we did was share our videos with each other. We are still working on having the students use AirPlay to reflect their own iPads into the board, so for now, we simply put their iPads under the Doc Cam to share.

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

It was another excellent adventure in app smashing! And- it was a quick formative check for me! What do the kids understand and remember about the moon? Are they able to express their knowledge? Are they able to speak in full sentences? How is their speaking and listening skills? It’s a way to quickly check for a variety of skills!

By the way, this whole activity was done in about 30 minutes. I know that sounds fast, but the kids get so fast at it! It doesn’t need to take a lot of time to do something fun like this.

And if you’re thinking, “Well this is great, but I only have 5 iPads in room. I can’t do something like this”. I’m here to tell you- this type of thing can TOTALLY be done in small groups too. Last year, I only had 5 iPads in my room and I did this same activity with groups. Only have 1 iPad in your room? Make this a center! You can still watch their videos and see their understanding as they get a chance to make their video.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back anytime or comment on how you are using iPads in your classroom. Any other app smashing ideas? I’ve love to hear them!

O-R-E-O…. Yummy Moon Phases

 

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Let’s set the scene.

It was a Friday afternoon.

We’re talking 3:00 on a FRIDAY afternoon.

3:00 on a Friday afternoon after a solid 2 weeks of indoor recess.

3:00 on a Friday afternoon after a solid 2 weeks of indoor recess and the day after the kids just had a sub.

One can imagine the squirminess of my little ones 😉

So how does one reel in a group of six and seven year olds, whose minds are on everything but the science we are suppose to be learning? Well, on this day…. it was with Oreos! Have you ever seen the focus on a group of kids when you mention this word? Try it anytime to see 100%, undivided attention 🙂

We were learning about the different phases of the moon. On the backside of the worksheet (I forgot to take a picture of it) we looked at all the phases of the moon. We talked about it’s pattern, how it appears to be “growing” and “shrinking”.

Then, we flipped it over and looked at four of these phases specifically. It started like this…

Me: “Do you know what these moon pictures look like to me?”

Students: “What?”

Me: “Oreo cookies”

Students: “Oooooh yeah!”

Me: “You know what? I wish I had some cookies here and could use them to make the moon phases”

Students: “OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH ME TOOOOOOOOO!”

Me: **Pulls out a bag with Oreo boxes*** “Well, it’s a good thing I have some right here”

Students: “AHSKHJDFLKSUHFLASKUHFLAKSDHFALSDKJH!” (This is first grade language which means, “We are so excited”, but it sounds much more like the letters above)

Basically, that’s how it went 🙂

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

The kids jobs were to take their Oreos and make them look like one of the four Moon phases we were looking at. They were extra careful!

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Then, we described each one of these phases below the cookie. We did this together- under the strict directions that no cookies were to be harmed (eaten) during this process 😉

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

We described each phase. We wrote things like “bright”, “full” and “round” for the first phase.

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

For other phases, we talked about what part of the Moon was lit and what part was dark. The kids were especially focused during this writing process. Hmmm, I wonder what was keeping their focus 😉

Ok, so after we finished these Tree Maps, the kids got to…. clean up. Just kidding! You know they got their little treat.

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

While eating, we watched Sid the Science Kid and the episode about the moon. We got through about half of it before we had to pack up for the day. This was really a fun day for us! It’s not often we do things like this with food and the kids had a blast! Also, as much fun as it was, it also helped them see the different ways the Moon looks.

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

Constellation Kids!

Remember this post from a few days ago…

iPads= iConstellations

If you don’t, check it out! We wrapped up learning about constellations last week and as a culminating project, the kids used all their knowledge about stars to make a constellation of… themselves! It started earlier in the week when I took pictures of all the kiddlets, posing as their constellation.

This was a lot of fun and caused lots of giggles. I told the kids to lay on the carpet and I stood on a chair above them to get the shot. I told them to pose like a constellation. Some students had a very clear idea of what they wanted to look like, while others chose to look like a constellation we’ve already learned about. All of them turned out awesome! (Side note- I loved the kid who told me they were posing like a move we do in yoga! Yes!)

So, afterwards at home I printed off the photos (much to my sweet husband’s dismay- “You’re going to print all of those off in color?” Yes sweetie, I am) 🙂

And the next day, the kids opened up their trusty iPads and used the Doceri app to draw the constellation. But this time, they were imagining how the constellation of themselves would look.

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

I can’t tell you how much fun this was or how much the kids loved it! It was also a great lesson in how to think abstractly. They knew they weren’t suppose to just draw a picture of themselves. We wanted these to be constellations, imaginary pictures in the stars. This is a pretty “outside the box” visualization, but the kids did so well!

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Notice the constellation has a mohawk. I love their imaginations!

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

After we got to practice drawing on the iPads, the kids used that to help them transfer the picture of a piece of black construction paper. I think that since they had the chance to practice drawing it many times on the iPad, this made the drawing process very simple and smooth.

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Agh, these really couldn’t be any cuter! I was really impressed with how well the students did at making these! We finished this off by students writing about their project. I put sentence starters on the board that said, “I made…” and “It looks like…”. The kids did really well at finishing these with great thoughts. A good one was, “I made myself look like a girl because I am a girl”. Nothing like a true statement from a six year old 🙂

Anyways, this was a wonderful end of our constellation unit. It combined everything they’ve learned and put it together in a fun, digital, and innovative way.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure. As always, check back in with us to see what new things we are doing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPads = iConstellations

The Hunter

The Hunter

Constellations

Constellations

 

Right now, we’re smack dab in the middle of our constellation unit. It’s one of my favorites because it combines the science of learning about stars, but the fun of the stories of constellations. The kids love the idea that there are imaginary pictures in the sky and the creativity of trying to make up their own. It was a blast last year and I couldn’t wait to try some new things this year now that we each had our iPads.

It’s always fun to pass out constellation flashcards, pictures of both the stars of how they really look in the sky, and the matching “picture” of the constellation. The kids cut out the cards and match them together.

Last year at this point, I passed out white boards and markers. The kids drew the constellations on the white boards and it worked out great.

But this year…. iPads! We opened the Doceri app to draw these sky pictures.

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

 

You’ll notice all their background colors in Doceri are switched to black. Was this my idea? No, although I wish I thought of it because it’s so brilliantly perfect.

I just told the kiddlets to open Doceri and use a black color to draw the constellations and stars. But one little friend raised his hand and asked if we could change the background color to black and then use a white marker to draw with. Um, YES! I love it when they have these great ideas- things I NEVER would think of that make the lesson so much better. I love my little kiddos 🙂

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

So, the kids had the pictures of the constellations in front of them, and they practiced drawing both the way they stars look, as well as the imaginary picture. It was a lot of fun and got them more familiar with the constellations in the sky. Plus, it’s a skill to be able to re-create something. It was a lot of focused fun as they had to count the amount of stars, try to draw them in the correct places, and talk about what they were drawing.

Constellations

Constellations

 

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

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

 

 

App Smashing: Doceri and ChatterPix

 

App smashing

App smashing

What is App Smashing? When I heard this term for the first time, I immediately pictured two apps crashing together. I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, how to use it, what it was for, etc.

After hearing many people talking about this idea, I decided it was time to do some Goog-ing (you know I love an abbrev) 🙂

Here’s a definition of app smashing from ipads4schools.org that I think is very easy to understand:

App smashing is “content created in one app transferred to and enhanced by a second app and sometimes third. Preferably the final product is then published to the web”. The website goes on to tell the reasons who might do app smashing …

Reasons to App Smash:

  1. It demands creative thinking
  2. It demands more from the technology (value for money)
  3. It turns the issue of not having a ‘wonder app’ into a positive
  4. It removes any restrictions to take a topic as far as it can be taken.
  5. It often results in more engaging learning products
  6. It’s a fun challenge for ‘digital natives’

So let’s break it down. Basically app smashing is creating something in one app and then transferring that information/picture/story/etc to another app. In the second app, you enhance the first product by adding or doing something more/different to it within that app.

How can this look in a first grade classroom?

We did our first app smashing adventure in science, where we are doing a unit on the sun. This relates to our Common Core Next Generation Science standards which states “Students can describe patterns in the sky”. One of those patterns is how the sun “moves” across our sky. To build their prior knowledge on the subject, we began by focusing on learning about the sun itself.

After a few days of building our knowledge, we completed this worksheet together about the sun.

The Sun

The Sun

The Sun

The Sun

I think that for us, it’s an important step for us to still start with paper and pencil first. My kiddlets need as much time as they can get with writing/spelling/word practice, so I like starting here instead of going straight to the iPad.

After the worksheet, the students got their iPads and opened the Doceri app.

Doceri

Doceri

I’ve talked about this app HERE and other ways we’ve used it. This time, we used Doceri to draw a picture of the Sun. The kids knew to use “right”colors (yellow, red, and orange) and immediately had a blast adding details to their pictures.

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

You can see in the photo above, the kids are experts on how to change the colors in Doceri, as well as changing the size of the drawing tool and what kind of drawing tool they are using. It’s pretty seamless at this point and when you watch them, they are constantly changing the shade of the colors, size of the marker, and much, much more.

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

 

After our drawings were complete, we took a screen shot of our iPads. The kids know how to do this from practice in class, but I still like to have a student verbally explain it each time we try.

Screen shot

Screen shot

Above is a student explaining to the class how to take a screen shot of their drawing. Of course we are still practicing this skill (learning that we only need to do it ONCE and that just because it makes a fun sound doesn’t mean we have to do it ten times) 😉

When you take a screen shot of something, it goes to your camera roll. Back to the ipads4schools.org website, one of their tips is:

Key rules for successful App Smashing:

  1. Use the Camera Roll as your main conduit between apps

I didn’t know this before hand- but check it out! I planned this on my own 🙂

It did make it very easy because having the picture in the camera roll makes it simple to transfer to any other app. For us, it was the app Chatter Pix for kids.

Chatter Pix Kids

Chatter Pix Kids

This is where we begin the app smashing- we began to use a second app to enhance what we did in the first app. The students now opened up the ChatterPix app. Within the app, they imported the picture they had just saved to the camera roll (the picture they drew of the sun).

They used the ChatterPix app to record themselves talking about facts of the sun. Remember how the first thing we did was write that paper together with the facts of the sun? That’s what my students used to record from. Not only did this give them clear directions on what to say, but helped them practice their reading skills.

So the kiddlets found a place around the room (it gets kind of loud when 26 little ones are all recording) 🙂

And they were off! Record in….3….2….1….Go!

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

The app gives the kids 30 seconds to record themselves. This is a good amount of time for the kids and gives them plenty of time to say what they need to. If you’re not familiar with this app, it’s very adorable. After you record your voice, it makes the picture moves it’s “mouth” saying what you said. So for us, the sun’s mouths moved, saying the facts the students recorded.

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

You do have to draw on the “mouth line”, as seen in the above photo.

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

After, the students gathered back at their tables with their iPads and ChatterPix presentations. They shared them with the kids at their tables. They really love this app, they giggle and smile and loved to hear each other as the “Suns”.

One thing we’re still working on is learning that you don’t have to record yourself TIME AND TIME AND TIME again in the app. They find it very fun, and I know they are six and seven, but this is still something that we practice 🙂

So there you have it- App Smashing in our first grade classroom. The website where I got my info from gives another great tip…

Key rules for successful App Smashing:

  1. Use the Camera Roll as your main conduit between apps
  2. Leave the app choice to the students

So, that will be a goal for me as we move forward. I think I have to expose the kids to using two different apps together and truly make sure we understand how to use each app first. Then, I want to allow them to pick the two (or three) apps they want to create a product.

Thank you for checking in on our adventure! Make sure to stop by again to see what we’re up to! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Experiment {Build Something That Floats}

If you remember, we’ve been learning about the scientific process by finding things that sink and things that float.

On Monday, the kids split into teams and they were given a challenge: Use your knowledge about materials that float and materials that sink to build an object that will float when put in water.

The kids were instantly excited!

First, I showed the kiddlets the rubric. Using rubrics is new for them and so we talked about how a rubric shows you how to do your best job. For this project, I would be checking to see if they are working like a team, trying their best, finishing their experiment, and using the correct vocabulary words.

Then, the teams met together to talk about what they could build. One team at a time came over to the table where I had a variety of materials: popsicle sticks, straws, paper, paper towel rolls, recyclable materials, and tape. TEACHER TIP: Last year, I had the kids come over to get a piece of tape from me when they needed it- a.k.a. there was a huge line of kids waiting for tape the whole time. This year, I got smart and had 6 rolls of tape ready for the 6 teams. I was a little nervous how this would go {I pictured HUGE pieces being ripped off and tape balls being thrown around} but I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely they used them!

The building began!

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Also learning from last year, I made sure to tell the kids that the building needs to happen first. Last year, a lot of my kiddos spent too much time “decorating” the sticks or the paper and didn’t get around to actually putting it all together. This year, I made sure that the kids knew to build first and if they had time, they could use markers to color. This worked out MUCH better!

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

The next day, the kids got their objects again and started recording some of the information on their worksheets. The first thing they had to do was write down all the members names in their group. Then, they had to record all of the materials they used. And finally, they had to draw a picture of their object.

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

 

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Building Something that Floats

Then it was time….. drum roll please…….drrrrrrmmmmm……

FOR THE EXPERIMENT!

I filled a large clear bin with water and set it on the bookcase. The students sat on the carpet and one team’s object was tested at a time.

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

I don’t think I even need to say how excited they were during this. Their faces say it all 🙂

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

Does it float?

And all of the teams were successful! Every object they built floated! It was a great time and showed that the students knew what to use to make things float.

I love starting off the science year with this unit. It’s an engaging and fun way to learn about experiments and how to work like a team. We’re not quite done with this unit yet, so keep checking back for other fun activities!

Thanks for joining us on our adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sink or Float {Partner Experiments}

 

Too cute!

Too cute!

Ok… I had to start with this picture. Last weekend, my nephew and niece met for the first time. How cute!? I love the way he’s looking at her like, “I’m not sure about this” 😉

Really, he was so cute with her, giving her hugs and kisses. I love those two kiddos so much! XO

Sink or Float

We’ve been learning all about sink and float during science time. I love starting with this unit because it introduces a lot of essential science vocabulary in a fun way. We learn words like “hypothesis”, “predict”, “experiment”, “observe” and “results”. Plus, who doesn’t like splashing around a little? 🙂

I know my kiddlets do!

We’ve spent a lot of time doing the process together. We pick an object, make predictions on if the object will sink or float, and then test the object to record the results.

Last week, the students got together with their learning partners and got to pick 3 objects of their own to test.

(To facilitate this, I put a bunch of objects on a table. I called partners over one at a time and told them they had to work like a team to pick 3 objects to test. Most of the groups did a really good job picking the objects out they wanted to test)

The partners went back to their seats and made predictions together. By the way, they used the partner worksheets that can be found HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE! on my TpT store!

The next day (or in all honesty, a few days later- it’s been crazy around here!) the students got to test their objects.

Testing

Testing

I gathered extra bins I had around the room and filled them about 1/4 full with water. (In further honesty, I was NERVOUS about this. Kids having their own water bins!? What!? But it turned out allllll good, as Pete the Cat would say) 🙂

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

The kids used their prediction papers from the previous day and recorded the results of what happened in their experiment.

Testing

Testing

Testing

Testing

Overall, this was a very successful experiment! The kids did a great job testing their objects and you can tell just how much fun they had!

We will continue exploring sink/float this week and we have many more fun activities to try our and experiments to test!

Thanks for joining in on our adventure and be sure to check back to see what else we’re doing!

 

 

 

Compare and Contrast Butterfly Projects

Working

Working

GOOOOOOOD MORNING!

This post is all about a compare and contrast project my students did last week. We have been learning all about butterflies. The kids know the process and vocabulary words inside and out- so it was time to put that knowledge to good use!

The students got to pick any other animal they wanted to compare to a butterfly. Using a top hat organizer, the students listed all the facts they knew about butterflies on one side, all the facts about the animal they chose on the other, and then included reasons/way they are the same.

Working

Working

Working

Working

This is a great way to differentiate because it includes student choice and student interest into their work. When kids get to choose to work on something that interests them, in this case their favorite animal, they are immediately engaged and focused.

After they had written down all their facts, we reviewed the projects rubric together. The student knew they had to use their facts to make a project, which had to include 4 things: butterfly facts, the other animal facts, how they are the same, and effort.

The kids got options on how to present their information… did they want to make a book? A poster? Writing? Or did they want to use the iPads to create a Doceri video? A Chatterpix video? A Haiku Deck presentation?

I only have 6 iPads in the room, so only 6 kids used them, the rest picked one of the other choices.

They got to work right away!

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

The kids spread out all over the room and got started on their project. They were very busy, excited, and focused during this time. I spent the time walking around and facilitating, reminding students to include all the things that are on the rubric.

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

Working on presentations

As a side note, this was a 3 day process. We only had about 25 minutes each day to work on the projects, so in total, they probably had about an hour of work time. It was definitely not done in one day’s time!

Finally it was time to present! The kids got their projects and spent 5 minutes on their own practicing what to say. I wrote sentence starters on the board for them, like “I made _________ about the animals ________”. It was a good reminder for them when they were introducing their projects.

Presenting

Presenting

Presenting

Presenting

The kids who used iPads reflected the image onto the board so that we could all see what they had created.

Presenting

Presenting

 

Presenting

Presenting

Other students read and shared their projects out loud.

Presenting

Presenting

Presenting

Presenting

Here is a quick glimpse at some of the presentations…

I was so proud of each one of these kiddos. They were so well spoken in front of the room and shared with the class so many wonderful facts. Not only did they apply their knowledge about butterflies to a great creative project, but they also taught the class facts about their favorite animal. It was fantastic and a wonderful project!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smule App (turning voices into raps)

Hello hello!

Thanks for checking back in to our class blog as the school year is winding down- and yet still just as busy as ever 🙂

I hope your kids have been telling you everything we’ve been observing in class, including plants and butterflies. The students rush into the classroom each morning, so excited to check on their seeds and the caterpillars (who are currently chrysalis’).

During science, we’re talking and learning all about life cycles, specifically about plant life cycles and butterfly life cycles. The kids work with sequence cards, have discussions, and write and draw all about the life cycles of each one mentioned.

Then last week, I presented at a professional development session on technology. Also there was an AMAZING teacher from Chicago Public Schools, named Kristen Ziemke. Not only does she use technology with her first graders, but she’s also the co-author of the book Connecting Comprehension and Technology, FOUND HERE!

Book

Book

Her presentation blew my mind and I went home thinking of all the ways I could begin to introduce some of the things she uses into my classroom.

One of the apps she talked about was Songify…. however, that’s not free, and also only an i-phone app, not for i-pads. So, after looking, I found Smule, which is essentially the same thing- ONLY FREE!

It’s very simple to use. First, the app records your voice. You just talk normally and record whatever it is that you want to say.

Then, the app turns your voice into a auto-tuned rap song. Yes, you heard me right. Your recording automatically becomes a song. It’s pretty amazing! I knew we could use this in our classroom and the kids would have fun, but also be engaged in their learning.

Since we are learning about the butterfly life cycle, the students wrote informative pieces about the stages in a butterfly life cycle. They wrote about each step in the process, including as many details as they could. After they’d written their pieces, they got together in a small group (I made six groups because we have 6 i-pads to work with).

The students took turns reading what they wrote and recording themselves using the Smule app.

Recording

Recording

Recording

Recording

The other students were listening when the one member of their group was recording.

After recording, one button push and it’s a song! The group’s job was to listen to each persons song and listen for all the facts they could hear about the process.

 

Listening

Listening

While listening to the songs, the classroom was both quiet and full of smiles/giggles. When the kids were listening, they were focused, but also full of smiles at this awesome app and the amazing songs!

When we all finished, we played a few as a whole class and recorded the facts we heard in the songs.

Here is a video example of one in progress…

Reading his informative piece

And here is a link to the reading turned into a rap song…

Smule app song

All in all, it’s a very very awesome app and lets kids turn their learning into something they never imagined! It’s a creative way to allow students to show their knowledge and could be used in a variety of different ways for different subjects.

Thanks for checking in with us!

 

Eric Carle Projects, Writing, and QR Codes

First things first, here are some quick photo updates on what we’ve been doing:

Movies

Movies

Movies

Movies

1. We went to Disney’s Bears last week as a whole school. It was an adorable movie and a really fun experience to go a movie with the entire school. The kids had so much fun!

Movie

Movie

Movie

Movie

Bus

Bus

Movie

Movie

2. We are learning all about life cycles in class- butterflies and plants! So, we’ve been raising caterpillars, who are already chrysalis’, and planting seeds!

Caterpillar Cup

Caterpillar Cup

Plants

Plants

That brings us to our Eric Carle projects.

Brown bea

Brown bea

During our bear unit, we did a mini author study on Eric Carle, specially all of this bear books, including Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Panda Bear, Panda Bear and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, and Baby Bear, Baby Bear. Whew! Did you know there were so many?

We talked a lot about how he illustrates his books. He paints several pieces of paper, all different shades and textures. Then, he cuts out pieces and puts them together to create a picture that is unique.

We created our own Eric Carle bear pictures by doing the same thing! The kids painted papers in various shades of brown. Then they used forks, straws, and paper to texture their papers.

The next day, we cut out the painted paper. To make our projects fun and a variety of shades, we mixed up the pieces we cut out, so everyone had pieces that were from other people. This made the end product fun shades and textures!

Gluing

Gluing

The kids worked to glue together the pieces and add a face.

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

You can see on their desks a writing paper. The day before, we’d used the writing prompt “First Grader, First Graders, what do you see?”, similar to Eric Carle’s books. The kids had so much fun writing about the things they see in our classroom and school.

The bears were glued to their writing papers to make the project.

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

The best part? Do you see the QR code? When scanned, you will hear that student reading their writing that is shown. WHAT!? Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? I KNOW 🙂

It’s called vocaroo.

Vocaroo

Vocaroo

It’s a website where students can record themselves talking and turn it into a QR code. When scanned, you hear what was recorded.

The catch- it has to be recorded from a computer, no an iPad. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s something to know. I just called the kids over one at a time and had them read their writing. What’s great is that there is no limit, the kids read their whole writing and it wasn’t cut off at all!

They love being able to scan each others and hear what they say. It was a great project and really fun to make!

Thanks for checking in!