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!

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!

 

 

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!

 

And It Begins…. iPads!

Good morning and happy Labor day! 🙂

I hope you are having a relaxing day and had a nice weekend.

 

Birthday girl!

Birthday girl!

 

This weekend was my niece’s first birthday. How cute is she!? I think the picture says it all, she loved her party, presents, and of course her cake 🙂

It’s Monday, which means most teachers out there are gearing up for school tomorrow. As I sit here thinking about the upcoming week, I know a large part of it will be focused on learning how to {safely} use our iPads.

iPads

iPads

My students and myself are lucky enough to be a 1:1 classroom, meaning that each of my students has an iPad to use in class and take home each night. Of course we take this process slowly, and last week we just started learning how to walk with our iPads correctly.

Walking

Walking

One of the rules we follow in class is holding our iPads with care. This means two hands and holding it close. We practice this by walking around the room with our iPads. The kids love it, plus its the first time they actually got their iPad!

Walking

Walking

We also practiced putting our iPads away in the charing cart. This seems simple, right? But just like anything in first grade, you need to practice practice, practice to form a routine! Right now, I help the students put their iPads in the cart, but eventually, the kids will be able to do this with no help at all.

Cart

Cart

You can see that at the top of the cart, there are numbers. This is great because each student has their own slot. But…. I quickly learned last year that a number at the top doesn’t really help my kiddos find the right spot {it is quite tricky to find the right slot below}. So…..

Labels

Labels

Last year I realized labeled the bottom of the slot also helps! This year, I also color coordinated the charging cable to match their number color. Those cords are often tangled and hard to match. I’m hoping the color cord will help this year!

Bar Graphs

Before I sign out for the day, one of the other things I wanted to share that we’ve been doing is bar graphs. Our first math unit covers counting to 120 and graphs/data. We are tackling bar graphs first, making our own to really discover what a bar graph is….

Bar graph

Bar graph

We answered the question: Which food do you like best? Their choices were pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, and tacos. The kids each got a post-it and made their vote.

Graphs

Graphs

The kids loved putting up their post-its. After, we talked about how this information is called “data”. We can use the data to answer questions.

Graphs

Graphs

So what was the winner? Pizza 🙂

 

Have a fabulous rest of your Labor day and I hope you are all rested up and ready for a great week ahead. Thanks for checking into our adventure!

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!

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!

 

 

Fables

 

Fables

Fables

 

Our new literacy unit started a few weeks ago and our genre is FABLES! Each day before we begin our read aloud and shared reading time, we review the characteristics of fables. The kids are getting really good at understanding what makes a fable special.

Vocab

Vocab

Then, we always go over the rich vocabulary words from the fable of the day. There are so many amazing words in these stories! Not only do these words build our vocabulary, but they also are important for us to understand so we understand the story.

Can you tell that the words above are from the fable The Fox and the Grapes?

After this review, we get into our fable.

Fable

Fable

We’ve been using our iPads a lot to send out the fable through the Handouts app. It’s great because the students can annotate directly on the iPad. You can see in the picture above that we highlighted all the special vocabulary words on their iPads before we read.

After we read the fable a few times, we used an organizer to summarize the story.

Fables

Fables

Fables

Fables

I love how the kids can go back and forth between the iPads and the paper. They are getting so good at look for “text evidence” from the passages we read to find answers. The iPads are a engaging way for the kids to look back at the text to find supporting evidence.

Extension

Extension

On this day, we also completed a worksheet about what the fox in the fable should have done instead of giving up. The kids ideas were so wonderful and showed how creative they can think! Check out their ideas of what the fox in the story should have done to keep going and get the grapes!

Extension

Extension

The fox could have tried…..

Extension

Extension

….to shake the tree…..

Extension

Extension

…..to put books under the tree to make a ladder….

Extension

Extension

…..tried jumping higher….

Extension

Extension

…..or shaken the tree (again) 🙂

This unit is off to a great start!

Each week we read 2 fables, summarize the fables, and then compare/contrast the two. The kids are learning reading skills, comparing skills, and reviewing our summarizing skills. It’s been wonderful so far!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teens Are Groups of Ten and Ones!

1.NBT.2.B: The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.

The above math standard has been the main focus on our math lessons for the past few days. On the surface, it seems pretty simple. Teen numbers right? Easy-peasy.

…Or is it?

Dun, dun, dun! 🙂

Well it’s not as scary as I’m making it seem, but it can be a complex idea when you need to kiddlets to understand that all of these numbers have a bundle (group of 10) in them and then additional “ones”. And even more complex when you need them to understand that this is why we write the numbers the way we do. For example, we write the number twelve the way we do because it has 1 group of ten and 2 ones ( 1 and 2 put together make the 12!)

Poster

Poster

I started by making this anchor chart. I like it because it shows that each of the teen numbers has a group of ten in it, and I also like how it shows the ones “growing”. After we discussed this, the kids used their iPads to make the same teen numbers.

We did this a bunch. I’d call out a teen number and the kids would make it. After a while, we made all the teen numbers, just like the poster.

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

 

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

The cool thing about the kids being able to manipulate these pieces on the app, is that it allows them to really see the pattern in teen numbers. As the kids were building, so many of them kept saying, “Hey it looks like a pattern!” or my favorite, “It looks like stairs!” 🙂

This has been a big focus on this standard, so yes, I love that they were really seeing that the teen numbers all have the one ten group and then the ones were “growing”, adding one more to each numeral.

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

 

Number Pieces app

Number Pieces app

Number chains…. I saw this on Pinterest (source) and knew I had to have my kiddos make them!

Number Chains

Number Chains

Again, I love that they reinforce the group of ten that all the teens have, and then the ones attached. My kids worked in their assigned learning partners, each group making the group of ten first.

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

As they finished their bundle of ten, then I assigned the duo their teen number. If they got 16, they had to pick one new color and add 6 ones. If they got 14, they had to pick one new color and add 4 ones.

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

Making Number Chains

It was a really fun activity and once they were hung up, it was another wonderful visual for the kids.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back to stay up to date on all the fun things we’re doing in first grade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!