MLK Jr. Research {& some math!}

Our current literacy unit is informational text. The kids are reading about real people, real places, and real things. With all of this, we are summarizing! The kids are turning into real pro’s. They identify the topic of the text and then find details about that topic.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. We’ve been reading, researching and learning all about him.

When we started this topic, the first thing we did was make a Circle Map. A Circle Map is a wonderful way to gather student’s knowledge before you start a topic. It gives the teacher insight into what they already know and what ideas they might not understand. The kiddo’s initial ideas were so great!

They worked in their table teams (teams of 4) to write one fact they already knew about Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Post it's

Post it’s

 

Post it's

Post it’s

Post it's

Post it’s

{As a first grade teacher, this is easy for me to read. But for others, let me translate- Martin wanted everyone to be together} 🙂

Aren’t these the best? We put them together on a Circle Map.

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

The cool thing about doing it on post-it’s is that as our unit progressed, we kept adding more post-it’s. We used different colors each time we added more, so that by the end of the unit, we had a wonderful map that showed everything we’d learned!

Another fun way that we learned more about MLK Jr. was by researching him using the kid-safe search engine KidRex. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really check it out!

KidRex

KidRex

Just go to www.kidrex.org. It’s a filtered search engine for kids. KEEP IN MIND- You should always monitor kids searching anything on-line, but I’ve only had great experiences using this with my kids.

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

I love allowing my kids to learn more by researching and reading things themselves. The more we do this type of research, the better my kids get at it.

The first times you have first graders search something, they are mostly just clicking pages and looking at pictures. But by now, my kids are really reading some of the facts they see and sharing what they find with the others around them. It’s really awesome to see them start this journey in their education, it’s such a skill they will need as they get older!

And going back to the Circle Map, as they found new facts, we wrote them on post-it’s to add to our knowledge!

Subtraction Games

I just wanted to mention a SIMPLE, QUICK game to practice subtraction. I’m always looking for fun and simple ways for my kids to have hands-on ways to practice the skills we are learning. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to get together a bunch of materials when you only have 20 minutes to play something.

I was looking at the materials I had ready and came up with an easy game that helped reinforce the idea that subtraction means to take something away. After six years of teaching first grade, I’ve always found that some of my kids still struggle with the difference between addition and subtraction. I wanted them to really understand that when we subtract, we take things away.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

All you need for this game is a cup with counters inside and dice. My kids worked in partners, each pair getting a cup with 20 counters and a die.

To start the game, each kid takes 10 counters {this number could be adjusted up to as high as you’d like}. They take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, they have to put that many back inside the cup.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

In essence, each roll is a “subtraction”. They have to take away from their own counters and put them in the cup. Their pile is getting smaller- the main idea of what it means to subtract.

The kids play until one of them runs out of counters. Then, they start over.

And do you want to know something? THEY. LOVED. THIS. GAME.

We played it for 3 days in a row {using larger amounts of counter chips} because they were BEGGING to play.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

We only played in small time segments, but a great way to kick this game up a notch would be to have them write the subtraction sentence each time they roll. So if they start with 10 counters and roll a 3, they could write 10 – 3 = 7.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

I just wanted to share because it was an amazing game. Not only was it simple to set up, but the kids loved it and it truly enforced the idea of subtraction!

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

Book Character Day!

 

Happy fall!

Happy fall!

 

The puppies have been enjoying the fall weather, as well as our break the past few days. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed time to eat, relax, and maybe even do some school work fun activities!

Book Character Day

A couple of weeks ago, it was National Reading week. We did a lot of fun things at our school to celebrate, like our Fall Reading & Family night. It was a blast! Families came back to school and rotated through different stations, which included story time, fall games, and even a guest singer who led the crowd in reading songs!

Another way we celebrated was our Book Character dress-up day. Our entire school picked their favorite character from a book. On our special day, everyone came to school dressed up as that character!

Book Character Day!

Book Character Day!

Here are some of the first grade teachers (myself included!) dressed as someone you might recognize 🙂

Emily Elizabeth!

Emily Elizabeth!

Here’s a second grade teacher as Emily Elizabeth from Clifford- isn’t it just perfect!?

The kids came to school as a character they got to choose themselves. They all looked SO AWESOME and we had so much fun.

We had some Elsa’s….

Frozen

Frozen

some Pete the Cat’s…..

Pete!

Pete!

a Rudolph, Woody, Darth Vader, a Ninja Turtle, a vampire, a Minion, and another Cat in the Hat!

Characters!

Characters!

Plus, some Tin men {from Wizard of Oz!}- which we just finished reading!

Tin men (and woman!)

Tin men (and woman!)

It was a really fun day, filled with lots of reading activities.

Book Mapping

Book Mapping

Since I was the Cat in the Hat, we read that story and worked in partners to map it. The kids drew the characters, the setting, the problem, and solution of the story.

Mapping

Mapping

We also worked on rhyming words, using lots that we found in the story. The kids used their iPads and the Doceri app to write words that rhymed with a given word.

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

Rhyming Words

During writing time, the kids wrote about who they were. Since we’ve been working on describing things using details and adjectives, this fit right in! The kids drew themselves as their character and told all about themselves!

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Character Writing

Speaking of adjectives, the kids also got to do a fun activity in grammar. We started by drawing ourselves in the middle of a bubble map. Then, the kids used adjectives, or describing words, to tell more about themselves (or really, about their character)

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Next, we used our iPads and the Popplet app to take this and digitalize it! Basically, we made the exact same map, just on our iPads. But this time, we took a selfie and used that as the middle picture!

My example

My example

You can see my example above. It always amazes me how quickly the kids learn new apps. This was probably only the second or third time we’ve used this app, but the kids were already pro’s!

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

Describing their Character

By the way, you didn’t think our class pet Spot would miss out on the fun, did you? Of course he was Thing 2, matching with my Cat in the Hat theme 🙂

Spot!

Spot!

It was such a fun day! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

All Smiles

All Smiles

Quizizz

Quizizz….. it’s a fun word to say. It’s also a fun way to quiz your kiddos!

Quizizz

Quizizz

It’s a fun, engaging way for kids to review. The multi-player format allows kids to play together and you have the option for kids to play against each other for points. Your kids can take the quiz on a computer, an iPad, or any device that connects to the internet. The multiple choice format makes for quick, fun, and easy quizzes!

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

It’s really simple to do {and to set up, from a teacher’s standpoint}. When you login, you can create your own quizzes by writing questions and answers. You can use a picture as a question, write your own question, or select pre-made questions/quizzes.

Quizizz

Quizizz

Like you see in the above picture, it’s simple! You just type a question, type answers, and select which answer is the correct one. You can add as many questions as you’d like.

Once the quiz is made, you simply select the “Play Live” option.

There are tons of settings you can pick from, allowing kids to play against each other, set timers, add funny Memes, and jumbling the questions.

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

When you select the options you want and the quiz is ready to be played, it gives you a code for the kids to enter so they can join.

Quizizz

Quizizz

The kids just have to go to join.quizizz.com and enter the code for the quiz. {NOTE: The above code is simply for a quiz I found online. It’s just there for a visual reference) 🙂

For me, I put the link to “join.quizizz.com” on our Google Classroom page. The way, the kids just have to click on the link which takes them to the joining page and enter the code. It’s so quick and the kids LOVE it!

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

Quizizz

When the kids put in their code and first names, it gives them a “character”. This makes their day! When the teachers ready, they just press go and the quiz starts for all the kids on their devices. And let me tell you- THEY. LOVE. THIS.

It’s seriously the best quiz tool I’ve found that the kids just love. They have so much fun when we take these quizzes and love playing against each other.

I love that they have fun, but what I love more is this….

Quizizz

Quizizz

When they finish, you can see all the questions the kids got right and wrong. In this way, you can tell the questions your kids are struggling with and the ones they understand. You can pinpoint the specific students who need more help and the ones you need to enrich. It’s really a wonderful tool that the kids love!

Check it out in your room and see how it goes! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

iPad Updates AND QR Codes!

Doceri

Doceri

Welcome back to our adventure!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about us starting our 1:1 iPad adventure this year! {If you missed that post, CHECK IT OUT HERE!}

This post will show a glimpse into us using our iPads during phonics time, as well as how I’ve been using QR codes!

Writing

Writing

Sometimes we use iPads as a basic white board substitution. For those of you who are all things “SAMR“, I’m talking about the “substitution” level of the continuum. Those of you who need a refresher, check out my post about SAMR here 😉

Doceri

Doceri

One of our most used/loved app is Doceri. I’ve posted about it TONS (just search Doceri along the right hand side of this blog, and you’ll find so many posts!)

dOCERI

Doceri

I love that the kids are already exploring all the inner-workings of the app, including changing the colors by using the color palette.

Doceri

Doceri

Doceri can be applied in MANY different ways, taking it anywhere along the SAMR continuum, but for the first few weeks of school, we are reviewing the letters and sounds of the alphabet. On this day, we were practicing “Q”. You can see in the first few pictures the students using the iPad to write the letter. It’s simple, quick, and motivating 🙂

QR stands for quick response. QR codes are on anything and everything  They can link to websites, QR voice, videos, pictures, words, etc. QR codes are really one of the easiest things to make yourself or use in the classroom with kids.

You really only need: a QR code reader (there are a variety of free apps) and some type of device to use the app on!

QR Codes

QR Codes

One way we use QR codes in our classroom are to review our sight words. Big shout out to the TpT seller Alma Almazan, who makes this product QR Codes (Scan it, Read it, Find it, Write it). I. JUST. LOVE. IT.

It comes in English and Spanish. One page is filled with QR codes, the only gives the kids writing lines. They scan QR code number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

And the QR code links them to a page that shows a sight word. They write that word down on line number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It’s so much fun! It’s an awesome review for the kids and so much fun for them to complete!

We’ve been doing this on Fridays as an engaging review. After, the kids have been picking up a QR code story to listen to.

QR Code stories

QR Code stories

This comes right from ANOTHER TpT seller, “TECHing it up”, who makes this product which links kids to the Storyline Online stories. These are stories you can play from a computer or device that are books read by famous actors/actress’.

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

It’s another great way we use QR codes in the room.

It’s also a great thing for your early finishers to do while the other kids are finishing up their work {SIDE NOTE- This is ALSO what my kids use for Listen to Reading during our Daily 5 time}

Thank you for checking out all the ways we we’ve been using QR codes so far. We are having such a fun adventure in first grade 🙂

 

iPads {Nursery Rhymes & Chatterpix App}

 

My Heart :)

My Heart 🙂

Last week was my birthday. The love the kids showed me was overwhelming. This is such an amazing bunch of kiddos and they make me smile everyday. The above paper is a song some of the kids write themselves, practiced at recess, and performed for me. I can’t even begin to say how cute this was- totally melted my heart!

In other news, we are also working on nursery rhymes during shared reading time. Each week we’ve been focusing on a different nursery rhyme, working hard on our literacy skill of the month: predicting. Of course we do a lot of other things too, like vocabulary, thinking maps, writing, etc.

One of the fun things we did the past week was with our iPads and the Chatterpix app.

Chatter Pix Kids

Chatter Pix Kids

This is probably one of my favorite apps and the possibilities of ways to use it are endless. Basically the app brings a picture to life. The kids can take a photo, record themselves, and the app makes the mouth of the picture you took move with your recording.

Here’s how we used it in reading.

We were working on the rhyme Humpty Dumpty. After a couple days working with the rhyme, we were ready to use this special app of record ourselves reciting it.

It started by me projecting a picture of Humpty Dumpty.

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

The kids used their iPads to take a picture of the photo I had projected.

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

This in itself is a big skill. As adults, we think taking a picture is simple- something we do all the time. For kids, it can be a little tricky. The iPad is big, holding it can be hard, and doing all this while focusing on a picture is tough. It’s a skill we need to practice and develop.

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

Taking a picture

After the kids had this picture on their iPads, we were ready to use the Chatterpix app. The first thing we did was import the picture we had just taken.

Finding the picture

Finding the picture

Then, the kids used their fingers to draw a line on the mouth of Humpty (This tells the app where to make the “mouth” move later on)

Recording

Making the mouth line

Making the Mouth Line

Making the Mouth Line

Next, the kids recorded themselves reciting the familiar rhyme.

 

Recording

Recording

Recording

Recording

The results are SOOOOOO amazing. I wish I could show you how awesome their videos turned out. After the kids record, it takes the picture of Humpty, make the mouth of the picture move, and it moves to the kids recording of the rhymes. It’s awesome! The kids love it and it’s such a fun way to remember the rhyme, practicing our speaking skills, and use technology.

We shared our projects with each other.

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

These kids are already using technology is some pretty amazing ways! Thanks for checking in on our adventure. Be sure to leave your comments, ideas, and questions below!

 

 

Using iPads for Writing {and AirPlay!}

Hello!

Hello!

Ariel wanted to pop in to say hello! Or really, she’s trying to convince me to play fetch with her. She’s such a sweetie and this is the face I often look at as I’m trying to get work down on my computer. She can be quite persuasive 🙂

iPads with Writing

I hear the question a lot “You can’t use iPads for everything, right?”, as well as the comment “I don’t think my kids could handle that”.

After a full year of being 1:1 with iPads in my first grade room, I can honestly say I’ve learned so much about management, ideas, creativity, etc… probably learned more this year than my kiddos!

It’s been such an incredible journey. I started slowly…. incorporating them more and more, until now the iPads are integrated seamlessly all day long.

At the same time, there is a natural balance that happens.

For instance, we use the iPads during writing time.

But, OF COURSE, I believe that my students need to know how to use a pencil, they need to know how to write on paper, and my kids have plenty of opportunities to use both paper/pencil and iPads for writing time. I usually switch off weeks- 1 week we write on the iPads and one week we write with paper.

There are also times when I let them pick which way they want to write.

What’s interesting is this- since my kids have the opportunity to use an iPad everyday, they are just as happy to use paper and pencil too. I think it’s the ability to choose their own choice, the variety, and knowing their strengths that makes them excited.

One of the ways I’ve been using the iPads during paper writing time is this…

Writing

Writing

 

As you can see, on the desk is the writing piece we spent the week completing {Our week of writing is spent with a teacher model, student writing, student’s adding more, editing, and sharing}

Then, I had the kids use the app ChatterPix to take a picture of themselves and read their writing pieces.

Chatter Pix Kids

Chatter Pix Kids

The app records the kids voices and makes it look like their mouth is moving.

Writing

Writing

Then, I had the kids leave their own iPads at their desks. They got to walk around to the other iPads around the room and listen to their friends writing pieces.

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

It’s a simple, easy way for the kids to share their writing with multiple people. The kids also love it because 1.) It’s fun to walk around the room, 2.) It’s a silly app, and 3.) iPads are fun plain fun!

Another big accomplishment this year has been my students learning how to AirPlay, or reflect what is on their own iPads onto my computer {which is then projected} so everyone can see.

AirPlay

AirPlay

It’s been amazing and something I definitely want to start earlier in the year next year.

I mentioned earlier in this post the comment I hear a lot that “My kids can’t do that” related to technology. I can honestly say- my first graders amaze me daily with what they can accomplish. This can be no more true than when related to tech.

I intro’ed AirPlay one day and that’s really all it took. They love any chance I give them to share through AirPlay and it’s a great way for me to see what they’ve accomplished.

So, have I come across anything on the iPads they can’t handle? Nope, not yet 🙂

Thanks for seeing this quick way we use our iPads during writing time. I hope you can use it on your adventure!

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!

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! 🙂

 

 

SAMR Model: iPads to Modify Writing

 

Puppy

Puppy

Good morning, good morning! The puppy (old dog) wanted to drop by and say hello to you too! He’s busy having some doggie play time and we’ve been busy in our first grade classroom too 🙂

You know we are 1:1 this year with iPads. When the year started, I was really using the iPads as a substitution for paper. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- and it’s definitely a place to start!

But as the year has gone on, I’ve tried hard to find ways to use the iPad to modify and redefine our learning in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before.

(***This words- Substitute, Augment, Modify, Redefine– are based on the technology continuum called the SAMR MODEL***)

 

SAMR

SAMR

This picture is from the source linked above. If you click the link and log into Thinglink, you can touch each one of those apps and learn more about it. It should also be noted that most of those apps can really fit into different categories, depending on how you are using it.

The goal of this model is to help educators- and ultimately students- use technology in ways that allow them to create and share things that wouldn’t have been possible before.

iPads to Redefine Writing Time

We follow the “Be A Writer” writing program in our school. It’s a weekly writing program based on a anchor text each week. The story we read relates to the writing idea of the week.

I love it and love the books we read through the program.

This week, we read the story “Down The Road”.

Be A Writer

Be A Writer

It’s the story of a young girl named Hetty, who wants to walk down the road all by herself to get eggs for breakfast. It’s a theme my firsties can really relate too- this is the age where they want to do EVERYTHING by themselves AND want to be a “big kid”.

So, our writing theme this week was writing about themselves and something they can do by themselves. Also, we’ve been working on writing stories with a beginning, middle, and end. That meant, this week the kids were suppose to think of something they can do by themselves and write a story about that with a B, M, and E.

Typically, we spend Monday brainstorming ideas. The kids work with their learning partners and orally tell their stories. Then the next day, the kids begin writing. I like this format….

…..but the trouble always is, some of the kids forget what they want to write about or lose the focus from the day before.

The other problem of most first graders in writing is, it’s very hard to get their ideas from their brains down onto the paper. And for my ELL class, it’s hard for them to write complete sentences, without leaving out words that help make the story make sense. (For example, they might write shorter sentences like “Play sister” instead of “I play with my sister”).

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Enter the iPads. After we had brainstormed ideas and talked with partners on Monday, the kids got their iPads and recorded videos of themselves saying their idea.

We shared these videos and talked about how some students added details in their videos. For example, some students simply said in their video “I can ride my bike”, but some kids said “I can ride my bike. I ride my bike fast and I ride my bike slow”. After seeing these great examples, some kids went back and changed their videos to add more.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

The next day, there was no kid who forgot their idea because they could instantly watch their video and remember!

After shared writing (doing an example like a team together), the kids were ready to write their own story!

We started by having students find a spot in the room. They brought with their iPads and writing papers.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

They were told to watch their videos as much as they needed. Around the room you’d hear lots of videos playing, but the kids were totally focused and working.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Each time they watched their video, they better remembered and thought about their idea. And for my English language learners, the more they listened, the more they remembered all those little words to make their sentence make sense!

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

We started with drawing the pictures first this time, three pictures for beginning, middle, and end describing the special thing they can do by themselves.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

After their pictures were drawn, they were able to write sentences about each part.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

I am telling you, I had students writing and working in a way I haven’t seen them do before. Writing time is always quiet, but has never been this focused. I had students who seriously struggle with writing and putting down their ideas that were now EXCELLING! It was such a motivation for all the students, and a wonderful support for my kids who struggle with putting their ideas into words. By being able to watch their video again and again, they never lost sight of the main idea.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Also, they were able to hear all the words they needed to write. And, at times, they were able to hear themselves making oral speaking mistakes. I had one student who said, “Oh, I didn’t say that right”. They were able to hear their mistakes and fix it in their writing.

This was such an amazing beginning to our writing this week! Be sure to check back as I update this post to include additional steps to enhance this project- APP SMASHING!

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

 

 

Genius Hour {The Who’s, What’s, When’s, Where’s, and Why’s}

It’s that time of year. Can you smell it in the air? It’s the spring testing season!

During this crazy special time of the year, the kids are busy, busy, busy bees taking tons of assessments. This means a lot of things, one of which being that we don’t have computer/library time. It can be hard to fill this time slot in our schedule. It’s also hard for the kids to not have a break in their day. I’ve tried lots of different ways to both give the kids that slight break they need, but still keep them engaged and behaving.

It’s tough!

A few weeks ago I went to the ICE Conference (a technology conference in the region) and spent one session on “Genius Hour”. I’d heard about it before from other teachers in my school and district implementing this idea, but hadn’t really tried it myself. When I saw this teacher showing the projects her students had created, I knew I had to give it a try!

So what is Genius Hour?

The website  GENIUS HOUR.COM defines Genius Hour as:

“… a movement in schools that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.”

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Basically, it’s a time for students to ask a question, explore an answer, and create a presentation/project to show what they’ve discovered. Ideally, they should share these projects with each other. The idea they explore should be one that is interesting to that particular student.

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour can look very different in different places and different grade levels.

In my classroom, since we are 1:1 and all my kids have iPads, we did this project entirely on our devices. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. Students could make posters, pictures, diagrams, visual aides, anything to show their answers. Also, students should be able to pick the way they want to present their information…. in our case, eventually this is the goal. To begin, we’ve all been using the same app to show our work. Goals people! 🙂

Setting Expectations

Setting Expectations

We began our FIRST Genius Hour by talking about what the word “genius” even means. I said that during this time, we would be creating something that was interesting to us.

I told them that they would be given a question and have to create a presentation to show others the answers. (We also had to go over what a presentation is. Sometimes we think kids know all these words, but you really need to break it down).

In my first grade room, I started by giving my students a Genius question to investigate. The questions have been some-what simple and relate to their favorite things. For my little ones just starting out, our first Genius Question was:

Question

Question

This is a question that kids love to talk about and have lots of answers for! While it doesn’t take researching, it does give them an opportunity to create something that is important and interesting to them that they can share with others.

Then, I introduced the app Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck

It’s an easy to navigate/use app that is similar to a PowerPoint presentation. The kids create slides by pressing the white plus sign down in the right corner.

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

When they add a slide, they can choose how they want to layout (the text) to look.

Layout

Layout

Then, they can search pictures WITHIN THE APP. This is probably my favorite aspect of this app.

Pictures

Pictures

I’ve noticed that the pictures are generally very kid-friendly- of course if they are searching kid-friendly words. 🙂

The kids click on the picture they want and it appears to the right as a preview. The kids can resize the image by using two fingers. They click save and it appears on their slide.

Along the bottom of the screen is their total presentation. They can scroll through all the slides, move the order of the slides, or delete a slide if they need to.

Here is a student’s final presentation that gives you a good idea of what it looks like when they are finished and scroll through all their slides:

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

How cool is that? This was made by a student ALL ON THEIR OWN. They had to create a slide, write the word, search a picture, pick the layout, and put it all together.

So why is this important? Why should you do this in your room?

1. It differentiates instantly based on level and interest. You students are working on their own projects, instantly at their own level. They are based on their interest, which engages them and helps them want to focus.

2. It allows them to practice creating a presentation. Making presentations to show their learning is something they will HAVE to be able to do as adults. This also helps them get excited about doing things like this in the future!

3. It practices speaking and listening skills. When the kids present, they are working on expressing themselves to others and listening as people present.

4. They are still learning about your curriculum. While I began Genius Hour with a question about their favorite food, you can make them pick a question based on your unit. If you’re learning about stars, have them come up with a Genius Question about stars they want to know more about. There is no loss of instructional time. Only engaged, active thinking, research time!

5. They are focusing on technology skills. Researching, importing pictures, typing on a device. These are all skills that students need. Doing Genius Hour with iPads, computers, etc allow students to practice all of these skills.

 

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

 

 

Whew, it’s a lot of information. But here are some tips when trying this with your kids:

Before you begin, set clear expectations! This is no different than any other time of the day and the kids need to know that if they are misusing materials, they will lose them. This is a time they are having fun, but they still need to be held accountable for their work. How can they be held accountable? In my first grade room, I stopped them about every 10 minutes and had them hold up their iPads as a “quick check”. I needed to see progress being made. If they were holding up an iPad that showed no work, I knew the students who needed more focus.

Pick a spot for you to sit and let the students know your role during this time. I told my students that during Genius Hour, I would be sitting at our back table (which is called the technology table).

My spot

My spot

I told them I was there to help them as they were searching for pictures and putting together their presentation. I was there for technical help.  I was NOT there to do things like help them spell words. Your role during Genius Hour is a facilitator, you are there to monitor. You are there to help them clarify their thinking or help lead them to different ideas. You are not there to give them their idea, to tell them what to do, or to find things for them.

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

If a student had a question, they would bring their iPad over to me and we’d solve it together.

Give students a choice of where they work. I allowed my students to pick their own spots around the room. You can see that even though they are all spread out, they are all on-task.

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Genius Hour with Haiku Deck

Let students know the consequences for off-task behavior. Again, this is no different than any other part of your day. But since this is a much more student-centered time, the kids need to know that they are still required to work and follow rules. Before my kids started, I went over our MAPS (what Materials they needed, their Attitudes, where their sitting Placement would be, and what their Speaking voice should be)

In all, Genius Hour is an amazing time for you and your students. We’ve done it twice now. My kids love it and it’s a way to fill that computer time when we don’t have a special. I love it and so do the kiddlets. They ask me when we are doing “smart time” again 🙂

Check it out in your own room and see how it goes. Are you able to let your kids pick their own questions?

Thanks for checking in on our adventure- be sure to come 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using the Handouts App

Pie Crust

Pie Crust

Before the post today, I wanted to share this adorable pie crust I made last week for Thanksgiving. I was in charge of making the pecan pie and started scrolling through Pinterest  to find a recipe. I came across a pie that had the cutest crust, made from a cookie cutter that looked like a leaf.

So the Wednesday after school let out, I drove up to Bed Bath and Beyond, hoping to find a similar cutter. I walked around and couldn’t find anything! I was getting pretty bummed until I noticed some Christmas cookie cutters and thought the holly shaped one might work. And… it did! After making the crust, I cut out extra pieces using the holly cutter and then used a knife to cut in the vein patterns. It turned out great!

All done

All done

It reminds me a lot of a sunflower, but still really cute 🙂

Microphones

This year, my kiddlets are very active 🙂

They love sharing ideas and talking with their group, but sometimes need a little help when talking in a team. We practice and model how it should look, but sometimes their excitement takes over. I decided to try something new… using a paper microphone as a visual aid and reminder of who is the speaker.

Microphone

Microphone

Oh my goodness- that picture melts my heart!

Microphone

Microphone

Microphone

Microphone

The kids really loved this! They understood that the person holding the microphone was the only person who could talk. All the other kids watched- and listened!- to the person holding the microphone. During this activity, we were summarizing the Tall Tale we had just read. The kids took turns orally summarizing the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Microphone

Microphone

Sometimes all it takes is a small thing to make a big difference. When I pull out these microphones, all my kids get really excited. It’s even a helpful tool for my quiet ones- it makes them excited to try and allows them to be heard. It’s a wonderful tool to try!

Handout App

Handouts

Handouts

 

A couple weeks ago at my District’s Leader Learner meeting (our district’s tech team), I was sitting next to someone who is also 1:1 with iPads in his class. I- being new to 1:1 in my room- wanted to know EVERYTHING! How did he set it up in his room , what kinds of apps did he use, how did things run? He patiently and nicely answered all my questions and told me about this app called Handouts.

Handouts is a way for me to upload (take a picture of) a worksheet and then send it to my students iPads (through the app). The kids work on the worksheet on their iPads and when they’re done, they submitted it back to me (through their iPads). I see all their work, can grade it, make comments on it, draw on it, put on “stickers”, and send it back for them to see. Basically, it’s the same process you do now with all your worksheets- only there are NO PAPER worksheets involved!

When you click on the app, you’ll see this…

Login screen

Login screen

This first step for me was to login in as a teacher. When you do, you can create accounts for all your kids. I made their usernames their first and last name, and then everyone’s password my last name. It’s just simple that way! You can also upload a picture for each student, making it easy to see who is who (BTW- these pictures are just from a google search, not my kids) 🙂

Pictures

Pictures

Next, you can upload a worksheet by taking a picture of one you already have, choosing from your library, adding something from Dropbox, Google drive, or the cloud. Also- it doesn’t have to be a worksheet. It could be a picture, a writing template, a graphic organizer, etc. Anything!

Assignments

Assignments

You select what you want to send to the kids and click distribute. It gets sent to the kids accounts.

When the kids click the app, they sign in under student with their usernames and passwords. The great thing about this app is that once you sign in- you STAY SIGNED IN. Sigh. This is an amazing feature for a first grade room  🙂

The kids will see the assignment you sent them right away. They click on it and begin to work just like a normal worksheet.

Worksheet

Worksheet

From this picture, you can see along the top row there are different color pencils they can pick from. There is also an erase to fix any mistakes. Not only can you draw, but there is a typing function as well.

When they finish, they click on the green check mark in the upper right hand corner. That sends it back to me! (Just like turning it in to a basket when they finish).

Then, their finished work gets sent back to my app. When I log in, I can see all their writing, drawing, and work completed. I can grade it, check for understanding, and save their work in a portfolio and even save their grades!

So how are we using this in class?

Commas in a series

Commas in a series

Well, we’re working on the concepts of using commas in a series. I projected the worksheet on the board for us all to see. The kids had the same worksheet open on their iPads using the Handouts app.

We went through each sentence together, talking about the items in the series and where the commas needed to go. As I did it on my paper worksheet, the kids did it on their iPads.

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

(By the way, the reason they also have a paper next to them is that we did a similar worksheet first. Then, we did this additional one on Handouts) 🙂

It’s really motivating for the kids to be able to do something like this on the iPad. For them, it’s WAY more fun! They get to pick the color, they can erase and do it again, and it makes the learning quick and simple. It’s a great way to get them involved in their learning!

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Like I said in the last post, I’m also LOVING how as we work, they problem solve together. Or they find things out on their own. They are learning to say things like, “I discovered that…” and share with others new functions of the apps we are using.

During this lesson, I saw one of the girls had discovered how to zoom in, making it easier to draw the commas. I whispered to her to share this with the group. She was SO proud of herself and loved telling everyone how to do this!

Handouts App

Handouts App

A little while later, a student raised his hand and said that when he zoomed in, he couldn’t move the screen to a different part of the page. He could only see the part he zoomed in on and when he tried to move the page after that, it didn’t go. I asked the class to try to solve this problem. A few seconds later, a student said, “You can’t take your fingers off the screen when you zoom. If you take them off, it stays on that part, but if you keep them on you can move the page all around”.

He was right.

Problem solved. 🙂

It’s been amazing watching them solve things like this. It’s also hard for me to not step in 🙂

But, I’m learning that they are totally capable to figuring out problems like this and it’s such a better experience if they can problem solve together. See? This is a learning experience for everyone!

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

Handouts App

So that’s it for this post! Handouts has been an amazing additional to our classroom. The kids love it, I love it, and I can’t wait to explore it more!

By the way… did I mention this is A FREE APP!? That makes it even more wonderful!

Thank you for checking in with our adventure. Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QR Codes and Grammar

Good morning, good morning! It’s Thursday, but I’m sitting at home on the couch, snuggling with one of the puppies, and watching reruns on TV. Not because I’m sick, but because it’s Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love the food, seeing family, and watching the parade. But mostly I love this time of the year and the holiday season that follows. Thanksgiving is like the big kick-off! It’s also a time to reflect on things your thankful for. And while obviously I am beyond thankful for all the important people in my life, all the great things I have, my new item to that list is….. I’m thankful for being able to explore and use iPads 1:1 with my students this year!

 

My classroom family

My classroom family

I spend my whole day with these amazing kiddlets and I am continually amazed at all they can do. Being 1:1, I’ve noticed that one of the best ways to introduce a new app or activity is just to present it to them, and then let them explore it for 5 minutes first. As I sit and listen to them during this time, you hear them naturally discover things, ask questions, and help each other. For example, the other day we started exploring Story Kit- an app that is used to make books, write stories, and illustrate them. As the kids were exploring, one of them said out loud, “How do you erase in this?”. Another kid across the room said, “I don’t know!”. Other kids started chiming in and someone said, “I know. You need to go into the color and just use white. The white color erases what you drew.” The first kid said, “Thanks!”. And it was as easy as that. It’s a great example to show how they naturally find out how things work and can problem solve together. I’m thankful for their problem solving skills!

QR CODES

QR stands for quick response and are on literally everything you see. In fact, since I’ve introduced my kids to QR codes, my kids love pointing them out to me on their water bottles, food boxes, crayon boxes, etc. It’s really cute and kind of like a continual scavenger hunt.

QR Codes

QR Codes

When I introduced these to my kids, we first used them during grammar time. We’ve been working on using capital letters for proper nouns. I found this pack on TpT that allows the kids to find mistakes with capitals, scan the QR code, and check their answers. We did this as a class. First we circled the answer we thought was correct, then we’d scan the code and see if we were right.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It can be a little hard for them to scan the QR code because when they are close together, it’s tough to see if you are scanning the correct one. I taught the kids to point with one finger to the right code, and then make sure they see their finger as they are scanning.

QR Codes

QR Codes

That seems to help a lot with my little ones. They really loved doing this! They thought it was so cool that the answer popped up right away.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR codes can be used in so many different ways. I can’t wait to post about a Tall Tales project we did this past week, which not only incorporated QR codes, but also the app Chatterpix and a craft project.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

Make sure to check back next week to see all about it and more! It’s always an adventure with us and I am thankful for that! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPads = iLearning

Good morning all! It’s a gray, chilly morning and I’m sitting here sipping my coffee and thinking about my past week at school. It’s been exciting, stressful, wonderful, crazy, frustrating, joyous, and about any other emotion you can think of. Why is this you ask? Well, our first grade class has been lucky enough to pilot being 1:1 this school year. If you aren’t sure what that is, it means that each student in my room has their own device, in our case- iPads.

In this past week, I’ve already learned things that go REALLY well with my kiddlets and also things that DON’T go really well 🙂

It’s been a learning experience for sure, both for the students and myself. But it’s already been great and I am looking forward to practicing, working, and moving towards more enhanced learning with our devices! Our ultimate goal is not to use our iPads to simply substitute paper and pencil for the exact same thing electronically (See SAMR MODEL EXPLAINED for more information), but instead to allow for opportunities that students can create and design things that extend their knowledge.

But, you have to start with the basics and the majority of our week was spent on RULES! We’ve been practicing walking around our room safely, the parts of our iPads, and listening to directions even though we have these super cool iPads on our desks 🙂 Which, is a hard thing for adults to do and equally as hard for six year olds 😉 But hey, we’re trying!

Friday, we started using our iPads in some different ways, beginning with getting familiar with the Doceri app.

Doceri

Doceri

There is lots to do with this app, but at it’s core, it can be used as a type of white board. I began by allowing the students to click on the app and told them to explore it for 5 minutes. Immediately, the kids were already figuring out all of the different functions with no assistance from me. After the time, I asked them what this app did and they all said it was a drawing app. For the purpose of our activities that day, they were exactly right.

We started in grammar, where the students are learning the difference between proper nouns and common nouns. I found a great flip chart on Promethean Planet.

Flipchart

Flipchart

I loved it because it asked for examples and non-examples. I showed the question and the student used the Doceri app to write the answer.

Using our iPads

Using our iPads

Using our iPads

Using our iPads

Using our iPads

Using our iPads

Yes, this is a very basic task to use with iPads (as example of the substitution stage of the SAMR model), but a great intro for first graders. It was the perfect activity to talk about iPad safety, focusing on the teacher while still using your iPad, and getting them used to using them. The kids really had a great time using them for this task and it was a fun first activity!

Later that morning during shared reading, we were wrapping up our Tall Tale story on John Henry. Each day that week, we’d been reading different texts about him and summarizing/retelling the story (which is our Common Core focus for this unit). We began by writing a WAS, HAD, COULD paragraph about him together.

Writing

Writing

As the students finished their writing, I told them their job was to go into the same app as earlier, Doceri, and use their knowledge of John Henry to draw a picture of him and the setting of the story.

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Do you want to see a first grader motivated to write? Tell them they get to use their iPad to draw when they finish! I don’t know if I’d ever seen them so focused!

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Again, a simple beginning activity for us to get started with our iPads. However, this was also a great formative assessment for me as well! Did the students know this character? Did they know the setting of the story? Could they remember details about the text? From their drawings, I could tell all of this! And since they were using the iPads, the kids were super engaged, adding lots of details, and really excited to talk about their drawings.

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

Drawing with Doceri

As I sit here reflecting on how it went and how I can improve on these types of lessons, I’m thinking this might be a wonderful activity to do backwards. Meaning, I might have the students start with the drawing. They were so excited and provided so many details. From there, they could write about their drawing. Since they have it in front of them, they could use the picture to help them write details about the character.

Woooooo. It was a busy week, full of trying, trying again, and not giving up. I hope the students are as excited as I am about their iPads. It’s going to be a long journey, but one we’re all excited to take! 🙂

Thank you for checking into our adventure- check back soon!