Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Story Kit for Science Observations?


I know I frequently reference Story Kit on this blog. However, I thought it would be worthy of your time to see how flexible apps on the iPod Touch or iPad really are.
I am posting an example of how first graders were recording their science experiments with a worm bin. Mrs. Munk from the Kendallville Public Library provided Mrs. Yoder from Avilla with a worm bin. To record their observations, they took a picture within Story Kit. After they took their picture, a sentence was written to describe the picture. (You could also rely on audio recordings.)


Overall, I thought it was an excellent idea.

Checkout this example:

storkit

Perfect Captions


I placed Perfect Captions in Presentation Tools because it really does not apply to a specific subject area. It really could be used for any subject. I recently have used Perfect Captions with several first grade classrooms. Students can use it to share a picture of their learning, or a picture that the teacher has provided for a project. The student then can place text directly on the picture.
Wifth first grade students, I had students create their own book reviews to introduce it. They took a picture of the book's cover, and wrote a sentence to share what they like about the book. Please also keep in mind that this is the first time they have used the app. It does take a little practice.
Here are several examples of a student work:


Perfect Captions


I also did this with a first grade class to make a Christmas card. For this class, I had a set of pictures that I collected in a Box.com shared folder. I taught the kids how to download the pictures to their device. They then imported the picture from their camera roll, and typed a holiday message. It was a fun, first project using the application. The students quickly caught on to using it and were able to make a Christmas card in a short period of time. Here is an example of a Christmas Card they made:


Perfect captions christmas

Monday, December 10, 2012

Long Division Touch


Long Division Touch focuses on the standard algorithm. It gives step-by-step directions. It also give students practice time without all the detailed steps. A valuable tool for students that need to go through the process through another avenue. It may also be a good tool for teaching the process for teachers that are not in a 1:1 school district using iPads or iPods.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ScootPad



ScootPad is a resource that allows students to practice mathematics and language skills. The activities are more skill and drill, but the data is very valuable. For students that are not able to read fluently, it does have a feature that will read the questions aloud. However, students using the website will need to learn to be patient when using it. The sound does not play instantaneously; it will require a few seconds of wait time.

For those of you that are familiar with SumDog, the account creation process is very similar. The teacher must create an account; then create their student accounts according to grade level needs.

There is an iPad app available for free to download. The app does not work on the iPod touch, but with some training, younger students could use the website to accomplish the tasks. I included a link on the East Noble First Grade Symbaloo site.

Go Animate!



Go Animate is a fun resource to use. Students typically think of it as more of a thing for entertainment purposes. However, if you click here, you will find a great example of how it can be used as an instructional resource. Mrs. Ortiz's students used it to tell about the plot structure of the book, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. What a fun and exciting way to integrate technology into the classroom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

todaysmeet.com



TodaysMeet happens to be one of my favorite sites to use when traveling from classroom to classroom. (That and any site that works on all devices is a friend to me.) I typically use TodaysMeet when I want to generate a class dialogue using their devices. It has been about cyberbullying, digital footprints, or even what restaraunt they wish they could have in school. It is a great place to start to train students how to speak online. The reason? You can set the site to last as long as you want. If you want it for a day, you can set it for the day, and it will be gone tomorrow. I do not have to create accounts for all the students. They do not need a password. I can create it, send the link to the site, and be done with it.

If you are interested in doing some blogging or online discussion, but do not want to invest the time to setup nor maintain a blog, I would recommend checking TodaysMeet out.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/bBym4Jaerqs]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bill Atkinson PhotoCard



How many ways could you incorporate sending postcards in the classroom? Many teachers already have students write letters or postcards for students to share their knowledge, write to characters, and ultimately produce a product that is usable for assessment. The Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app is intended to be used so that you can have real photo-cards made, however, the user can save their work to their camera roll as well. Since it can be saved to the camera roll, this allows the students to then email the product to their teacher.

There is one little hiccup in using the app. I have found that it really likes to suggest that you signup for an account so that you can purchase photo-cards. The students will need to be trained to cancel that action when it comes up. That is the price one pays when attempting to use an app intended for business in the education realm.

However, the products are great and might be well worth your time.

Here is a YouTube from Bill introducing his app!

iBrainstorm



So many times I walk into classrooms that have posters or bulletin boards coated with post-it notes. iBrainstorm is a virtual post-it launcher. Students can be using their iPods or iPads and launch their own notes to your devices with the flick of a finger. This would be a fun way during reading to share vocabulary words or demonstrate their reading strategies. In math, students could launch answers to the teacher's device.

You as the teacher could choose to do what you wanted with the materials just like you did with your posters/bulletin boards full of post-its. Print it, post it on your website, email to your students, post on Edmodo, blog about it, etc.

Monday, November 12, 2012

ENA Interview

ENA Interview

East  Noble School Corporation has without a doubt taken advantage of the opportunity to use www.biguniverse.com. ENA contacted me in October wanting to know if they could do a success story on our school district's usage of the site. Apparently our usage is unusually high in comparison to the average school district. Some of that have to do with our being a 1:1 technology school district. Either way, it is exciting to know that we have been recognized. 

This week, the CEO of Big Universe (Anil Hemrajani) will be visiting our district to meet teachers and students. He wants to see it in action. This is a great opportunity for our district to shine. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Help Guides

I have been working lately on quite a few "help guides" that will hopefully make things a little smoother. They can all be found on the Peer Coach Resource page. However, I thought it might be good to blog about it as well. Mrs. Baker at South Side Elementary brought it to my attention that it is often so confusing when a teacher receives a new student. It is hard to remember all the things they might need to include when getting an iPad going. It is often hard to remember how to go about doing all those things that may need included. So I put together a really long document that hopefully will be useful to you. It has quick links to different pages so that you do not have to rooting through the whole document to find answers. I call this document, "The New Student Pack." The beauty of it all is that since I created it through Google Docs, you will always have the most updated version. I do not have to continually email you new ones. You can view this on your computer or your iPad. It works the same as a powerpoint slideshow.  Let me know if apps have changed. I can make corrections as needed. Also, please let me know if you have any suggestions that may need added to the document. You can readily access this file on your iPad by saving it as a homescreen button. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doceri

Teachers that do not have wireless projectors sometimes find that they become frustrated by the inability to be within proximity of their students. All educators have had classes where that proximity was essential in their day to day efforts to manage the classroom. Doceri is an iPad app that allows the teacher to control their laptop and actually write on the screen. How is this useful? The laptop can remain plugged into a projector while the teacher can remotely control it from their iPad. Thus allowing the teacher to roam the classroom, assist students, and even have students respond directly from their iPad.

It also requires a download from doceri.com

Please let Zack or myself know if you are interested in using this tool.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MlI2_Rseut8]

ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse has provided a bunch of free books that would work well for your kindergarten and first grade students. The books are interactive and they also provide some examples of traditional literature. I have nine of them linked on my Pinterest account. (Yes, I am afraid I just said I have a Pinterest account.)

https://pinterest.com/mrlyoder/abc-mouse/

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Youtube

Interested in knowing more about Youtube and how you can use it as an East Noble teacher? Look no further. The following presentation included features Youtube has to offer for video editing. It also includes how to embed the video within the Edline (Blackboard Exchange) website.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B8cEFqEAOKZONHhLQlpTdENUb3c

Has Symbaloo Run Away?

Frequently, I get a request to put Symbaloo back on someone's iPod/iPad because they cannot find it in the App Store. Well, there is a problem. Symbaloo is not an app. It is only a website. In fact, all teachers could make their own Symbaloo by going to http://edu.symbaloo.com. Zack and I merely created a Symbaloo page for every grade level so that the staff of East Noble can use Symbaloo without spending a lot of time making their own. However, making your own would allow you to tailor it to your class needs.

So if your students accidentally delete the symbaloo link from their device, the following should be good information for you to know:

Here is the address to access all the East Noble Elementary Peer Coach Symbaloo Pages: http://tinyurl.com/ensymbaloo

If you would like detailed instructions on how to install it on a device if it is missing or if you get a brand new student:
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1pxs8KWlRscZtJVN1jS5Y4lgzrlk6bLTZemrbkjuZSP4/edit

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome to Mooresville

Mooresville, NC is the location of our Teaming for Transformation conference. Here we are finding out about the journey taken by Mooresville schools toward becoming a 1:1 district. Since they have been participating for a few more years than East Noble, this has been a great opportunity to see how we measure up. The good news is that we are doing very similar things in our classrooms. It is very encouraging. So, great work East Noble teachers as you have been doing a great job preparing our students for using technology as a tool for learning!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What if My Apps are Gone?

What if My Apps are Gone?

Occasionally Zack and I have had an email from a teacher that claims that the apps are not on the sync cart computer in their building. This does happen from time to time because something happened to the Macbook, and it had to be cleaned off. Don't worry, your apps are not gone. This link will provide directions on how to get them back onto the computer so you that you can sync your devices once again.

Story Kit

Story Kit

Story Kit still remains one of my favorite apps to use in the classroom. Yesterday I had the opportunity to introduce it to two first grade classrooms at Avilla Elementary. It took a little time to get things going, but once the students got started, they were quickly able to complete a small e-book with text, pictures, and audio. The project was to create a five senses book. Prior to yesterday, both classes took a walk outside to find things that they can hear, see, touch, and smell. (They had to take a picture of something to taste later so that we could discourage them from tasting objects outside!) Yesterday, they used the pictures saved in their camera roll to make a short book. The results were great, and the best part is that the app no longer continually crashes on the students as they use it.

Here is an example that I particularly liked. The student didn't exactly record what was written, but it was too much fun so I couldn't resist sharing. 

Five Senses Book

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Directions for Getting to Tumblebooks (Kindergarten and First Grade Teachers)

I recently made a document that you could print out and hang on your wall to assist students in finding the Tumblebooks link. There are quite a few steps, so it might be helpful for your students to use it as a guide. This is mostly applicable to East Noble students using iPods. Feel free to use as necessary.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B8cEFqEAOKZOSWVMU21oVVdzblk

Also, for this to apply to your classroom, you need to be using the Symbaloo links that Zack and I created. You can get those working on your iPods by viewing this link:

http://enscteachertools.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/symbaloo-is-a-g/

App Snapshots for Classroom Management

App Snapshots for Classroom Management

Monday, September 17, 2012

Videolicious

Videolicious has been one of my favorite apps over the past year. It provides teachers with the ability to have quick video projects so that students do not have to spend a lot of time making a quality product. I was working with Mrs. Erexson's second graders today, and I discovered that some dramatic changes had been made to this app. It now includes the option to change the pictures manually and does not appear to have the time constraints the original had. I also found that it allows the user to adjust the volume level of the background music which was also preset on the original version.

Here are the basics of the app:
1. Select pictures
2. The students record his/herself discussing the pictures
3. Choose background music

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Here is a basic preview for what the app can do: Videolicious Preview







Brainpop and Brainpop Jr.

I normally place app reviews under the various subject areas, however, Brainpop covers all subject areas. Brainpop has not been a secret to East Noble School Corporation, but I want to be sure that all teachers are aware that we do have membership access to all videos. This is especially exciting since a Brainpop Jr. app was released for iOS devices this summer. I have already introduced the apps to a few classrooms so that students feel comfortable navigating and are able to sign in using the East Noble username and password. There is also a teacher username and password so that teachers may view the materials outside of school hours. Please contact Zack or myself if you need account information or would like assistance with getting students to use the login. Below are pictures showing the screens that will appear when a login is required. Take some time to look over the materials Brainpop offers. It is a great resource.



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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I recently collaborated with a number of Kindergarten...

I recently collaborated with a number of Kindergarten teachers about getting the classroom set of iPods setup on WiFi. They also wanted to get their email accounts inputted into the devices. These were tasks that Zack and I tediously accomplished last year for many classrooms. I don't know how many email addresses I setup, but I was starting to dream about it at night! This year I have a new suggestion: ask current fifth graders to help you input the information. Why fifth graders you ask? Last year, these students used iPads, and most of them setup their own email accounts. You wouldn't need a lot of helpers. Just ask a fifth grade teacher if you can borrow three or four of his/her students for about half an hour. I have created directions that the students can use to get the iPods up and running. You can locate and email these directions to them by using the following link:
http://www.eastnoble.net/files/_gFJPj_/1a3594b41acbfaa03745a49013852ec4/Instructions_for_Students_to_Setup_Wifi_and_Email_on_an_iPod_Touch.pdf
If you highlight the link, right-click, and copy the address, you will be able to paste it in an email and send it to the helpers so that they can use their laptops as a reference guide. No need to print and waste valuable ink.

The directions, however, are missing a key component: that is the passwords. Please, if you have student helpers, do not have them put the actual passwords for the email accounts into the devices. They should not have access to this information. What will need to happen is that you or another adult will need to finish the job by putting the passwords into the devices. Yes, this is a tedious task, however, it should save you valuable time since the password is the only information you should have to put into the devices. Here are the directions for putting in the passwords:
http://www.eastnoble.net/files/_gFJu1_/4a0e562174ea88ca3745a49013852ec4/Passwords_for_Email_Accounts.pdf

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Electric Company: Feel Electric

The Electric Company: Feel Electric completely focuses on emotions and feelings. However, it is great for building vocabulary. The students can select how they feel each day and keep a running record of it. If they are not sure what an emotion means, they simply can hold down on it to view and hear the definition. There are also other activities a lot like Mad Libs. The students select various words and the app applies the words to a story. The story is then read aloud to the user as they have the text in front of them to follow along. A lot of potential for primary grades in building reading skills within an app that builds character.

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iPad/iPod Numbers

Here's a great concept: make student numbers the background on the ipads! Then you can easily see if students have the correct device and also makes it obvious if the students have been changing the background images. (Which they love to do instead of use their device for learning.) I cannot take credit for this idea. It actually was given to me by Michelle Yoder, who found it on this site by a teacher named "Jennifer Magiera." I only made my own collection of them because the East Noble filter was blocking Ms. Magiera's website on the iPads/iPods due to it being a blog. So I decided to just house the pictures myself.

The following document shows the steps to making the numbers appear on the background of the iOS devices: Making iPad Numbers on the Background.

East Noble Symbaloo

Symbaloo is a great resource if you have a variety of websites you would like the students to access, or if you have a website you quickly want the students to access. This eliminates the need to make bookmarks on each device as you sit at your own computer, make a link, and update every student device with one click of a button. Zack and I have taken some time to make a few collections for grade levels. We are always willing to help the teachers of East Noble by accepting suggestions for links or organization. We can make a link permanent or keep one up for just a few days if needed. To access the East Noble elementary peer coach Symbaloo links, visit http://tinyurl.com/eastnoble. If you would like specific instructions on how to have your students install them on their iPod, iPad, or laptop, click here. If you would rather make your own, create an account at http://edu.symbaloo.com. It is free!

Then look for this banner:

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Look for your grade level:

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Try some of the links:

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I also created a music and transition mix full of YouTube videos. This one is not so much intended for students to use. It is for teachers to provide activities and transitional slides. This is especially applicable to our tablet and smartboard users in the primary grades.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Spelling City

Spelling City has been a great resource for teachers and spelling practice for quite some time. However, since k-4 teachers in East Noble School Corporation are using iOS devices, Spelling City has been used on a limited basis. Recently, an app was released! This is exciting news. Here in this review, I will discuss using the teacher account, as well as the iPad app. This is also based upon using the services on a free basis. However, there is a subscription that allows the teacher to have more control and data collection.

[gallery link="file" columns="5" orderby="title"]

On the student side:
Video review of the Spelling City App

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Knight-Time Technology Conference

East Noble School Corporation just wrapped up the first ever Knight-Time Technology conference over the last three days. We had many talented individuals share their insights and experiences with integrating technology in the classroom. We also had the opportunity to make new friends as we had numerous visitors from outside of the district participate. I want to thank anyone that was involved in some way. It was a lot of fun sharing some of the treasures Zack and I have come across as we scour the technology world looking for the best (don't forget free) resources out there.

Please keep in mind that many of the resources that were collected will continue to be stored here . Feel free to come back anytime to check out anything you may have missed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Doc Scan HD

Doc Scan HD is an app that allows you to take a picture of a document with your iPad, and create a PDF file. How this comes in handy for the teacher is that they can take a picture of a worksheet or project directions of which they normally make numerous copies, turn it into a PDF, and finally send it out to the students so that they can digitally complete it on their iPad or iPod.

Great apps for the students to use to write directly on the PDF are: Type on PDF and Paperport Notes. You can find a review of Paperport notes here.

Here is a quick video on how to create your own PDF files using the app:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHhmISGBMxk?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite

What is the simplest way to help a student improve fluency? Have them practice read a piece multiple times to make sure that they are accurate and can read smoothly. K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite provides 25 leveled texts for K-4. (There is also a full version that provides 250 texts.) The idea is that students practice reading the piece while the timer runs. When the student is finished reading, they will receive a report with how many words per minute they read. A simple and easy app for students to use.

[gallery columns="5" orderby="title"]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Socrative

Last January, Zack and I attended the FETC conference. There we were able to gather lots of ideas and brainstorm ways we can better serve the teachers in East Noble School Corporation, as well as any teacher that happen to pass on through while on the internet. One of the things we found humorous was that many vendors at the conference were pushing clicker systems. Sure clicker systems are great, but my question was why invest the money in a clicker system when you can have a class set of iPods, iPads, or computers (which do much more) and use Socrative? The only reason I could think of is that clicker systems are cheaper, but you are also very limited by them.

Socrative is an awesome way to get students to become engaged in a class discussion because it gives them a voice. You can pose an open-ended question or create a quiz for students to respond. (Students especially love open-ended questions.) Think about being in the midst of your read aloud, and you throw a question out there. The students could type a response, have it pop up on the screen, and then students can even vote for which answer they think is best.



Socrative also allows you to save and share quizzes! You have the option to save a multiple choice or open response quiz to their site, receive a code, and give that code to your colleagues for sharing. This allows you to quickly gather data within you and your colleagues. Those quizzes will also be waiting in your account for future use.



Socrative even provides reports in Excel spreadsheets. If you mark your multiple choice quizzes with correct answers, it will even grade them for you by color coding correct answers in green. These reports are available for download anytime from the app as well as their website.



Lastly, Socrative is available on all platforms. You can have a mix of devices all connecting to the teacher device. Students can log into it by using the iPod/iPad app, or going to www.socrative.com and clicking on the student login button. This is handy because I found a little problem with using the app a few weeks ago in a fourth grade class. As it turns out, my version of the app was different than the student's. For whatever reason, this caused the students to not be able to receive my questions when I launched them. If I had them go to the website to login, they would have had the latest version and had no issues connecting. So if you are using an iOS device, it might be better for your students to create a home screen button to www.socrative.com instead of the app. It will function exactly the same way.

Originally, I had created a video tutorial, but I had come across this one on Youtube. Since this lady has a much better voice than my Midwestern accent, I decided to use hers instead. :)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mgMDEShsVI?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Nearpod

Nearpod

If you are a 1:1 technology school with iPads or iPods, Nearpod is an absolute must. Imagine creating your lessons with presentation slides that your students view on their own device. Imagine it only going to the slide you send to them so that they cannot flip forward or backward. Imagine being able to add in questions for them to answer by handwriting, drawing, multiple choice, typing, circling, or underlining and having the responses all go to your iPad (in alphabetical order to boot) with their names and responses side by side. Imagine being able to take one of those responses, send it out to the student iPads (or iPods) for them to view so that you can discuss it. Sounds pretty engaging for students, doesn't it?

Check out this video to get a better picture:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOhwDAC-aok?rel=0]

The link I included for you is the teacher version. The students have their own version and that can be found by clicking here. The students must have the student version to connect to your iPad. To get an account, you must get it through your iPad. Once you have done that, you can download existing presentations. However, to create your own, you will have to go to the Nearpod website with a laptop or desktop computer and "upgrade your account." I think think the reason they do this is to make it clear that you have to create your own presentations on their website, not on your iPad app.

Here is how you can create a presentation:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rV10wYjL1Q?rel=0]

Lastly, here is a video for you to see students and teachers using the app in the classroom. The testimonials are very accurate as I have attempted to use this app myself on a couple of instances. This app can replace the need for paper and pencil assessments as you can easily incorporate questions in a digital manner.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkO5T5MOXN4?rel=0&w=853&h=480]

The ENSC Elementary Edline Template

I recently created a template for Edline. I also put together a video on the process of getting the template to work on your website. (Don't worry, you have not been given access to your site yet.) I also go through a little preview on how to navigate through the template and make changes to it. I hope that it will be as simple as I think I have made it. Let me know what you think. Do you have any recommendations? Do you think it will meet your needs as a teacher? If you are not from East Noble School Corporation, what things do you find necessary on your own teacher website?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL1IgVZJMDg?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pic Collage in the Classroom

Yesterday, I was in Mrs. Savage's third grade class using the Pic Collage app on the iPad. (It is also available on the iPod.) I reported about this app in the Presentation Tools section of the blog awhile back, but this is the first that I have had the opportunity to try it out in a classroom. The activity was to put together a collage of pictures that  Ms. Savage had taken over the year and to write a caption for those pictures. The students found the pictures directly from Ms. Savage's website; this helped to avoid using Google images or finding inappropriate pictures. The students saved them in their camera roll and then were able to access them in the app. The students were able to quickly put together a collage, and I think they had a lot of fun doing it. Ms. Savage had the wheels turning in her mind as she realized that she could apply this app to almost any learning experience. It would be a quick and easy way for the students to produce a piece of work to demonstrate what they learned.

However, there was a downer to the moment as we suddenly realized that the students could find background images directly from the internet if they typed in a search. None of the students searched subjects that were completely out of line, thankfully. I did test it myself to see how it worked on the East Noble filter; for the most part it seems to filter the bulk of inappropriate content. It is vital that I keep you informed when situations like this occur. I apologize that I had not caught it earlier in my first evaluation of the app.

As I have traveled amongst the five elementary buildings this year, I have been so impressed with the teaching staff of East Noble School Corporation. We have some excellent teachers, and Ms. Savage handled the situation just like so many of the teachers in this district have. She made it clear to her students that when they use Pic Collage, they need to only use pictures that are in their camera roll and backgrounds that are already available instead of doing a search for new ones. Her reasoning was because she wanted to see the text and the pictures they posted, and not be distracted by a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks (or other pop culture icons). I was so impressed because a lot of times our natural response is to dismiss an app or use of the internet due to the potential danger. Setting clear expectations and guidelines is the key because apps like Pic Collage hold so much potential for the students to demonstrate their learning in a quick and creative fashion.

To top it all off, I started to get emails that afternoon asking about Pic Collage due to Ms. Savage sharing the experience. Keep spreading the word to each other as you come across great digital learning tools. Don't forget to share them with me too! Share them here; then more people can benefit from your advice!

Here is a great collage one of  Ms. Savage's third graders created:

[caption id="attachment_773" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Using Pic Collage could be an easy way for students to record their thoughts or learning about any subject.[/caption]

 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PhysicalSci

PhysicalSci is an interactive study tool for the topics of matter and energy. It provides simulations, videos, vocabulary flash cards, and a glossary for all the topics covered. It is like having the textbook with animated experiments for the students to observe. Much of the material is geared more towards upper elementary, middle school, and high school. However, as a former fourth grade teacher, there are plenty of resources I would use within this app for teaching science. As I am looking through the Indiana science standards, it would supplement the physical science as well as the science, engineering and technology standards for third and fourth grade well.

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Rocket Speller

Rocket Speller is a free app for both the iPod and iPad. It is geared more towards the primary levels. The thing I like most about this app (other than it being free) is it does not allow the student to put the letters in the wrong order. It does sound silly that I am making a big deal about that issue, however, many of the spelling apps I have come across allow the user to put the letters in the middle or end of the word in first. When teachers give their students spelling words to practice, we expect the student to spell the word left to right. App designers should have the same expectation. The app features four levels of difficulty. The first two levels have the letters already in order; so the students just have to match the letters together to spell the word correctly. The last two levels do not have this feature, which will make it more appropriate for your more advanced spellers. As the students spell the words, they are able to get parts to a rocket. Once they get all the parts, they are able to launch the rocket and collect as many stars as possible during the flight.[gallery columns="5"]

Google Search Education

Google has provided Google Search Education for teachers, and it is a great opportunity. It is, however, geared more towards upper elementary through high school, but many of the concepts could be adjusted accordingly.  Almost everyone uses Google, but most of us (including myself) do not know of all its capabilities. This site provides lesson plans and webinars on how to be more proficient searchers. It talks about the tools Google has to offer within the search, how to analyze sources, and issues of copyright. Check it out for yourself.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9yZco8bwI8?rel=0]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whiteboard Lite as a Collaborative Writing Tool

Click on the picture to see the app in iTunes.

I came across this blog today of a teacher using Whiteboard Lite as a collaborative tool. I think some good lessons have been learned by this teacher as she allowed her students to find solutions for her. I am curious to see how well this would work with students within East Noble School Corporation. This would be a great opportunity to collaborate here with comments about how to organize it and/or factors we may need to consider before making this happen. One factor I can think of right now is: Will this work over our network?

http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2012/05/08/poetry-slamming-with-ipads/

 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sushi Monster

[slideshow]

Sushi Monster is an addition and multiplication app that requires more thinking than just your basic recall of facts. The player has to figure out which order to choose the numbers to reach a target number (top-left corner of the pictures), and if not done correctly, will not proceed to the next level. Early levels are fairly easy and basic recall of math facts. Later on, however, it includes much more difficult mental math work. The levels are also timed; this affects the student's ability to progress to the next level. Quick thinking, fact accuracy, and problem solving skills are necessary to feed the sushi monster. Your students that need a challenge will love this!

Reading the Ruler

Image

Image

Reading the Ruler is a great resource for attempting to introduce the Standard Unit of Measurement, and the Metric system. It features the first two inches and also the first three centimeters. The student can slide his/her finger along the ruler to see what each mark equals. This will provide students with an interactive reference which would especially be helpful with those tricky fractional portions of the inch. Let me know how helpful this app is to your students.

(Click either picture to view in iTunes.)

Geoboard

Geoboard

Those of you that have attempted to use geoboards in the classroom know exactly why this app is useful. Now, imagine the kids not flipping the rubber bands. Also, imagine the kids being able to clean them up with a push of the trashcan icon. This is available for both the iPod and iPad. (Click the picture to view it in itunes.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Writer

Little Writer is one of those free apps that you know the day is coming that it won't be free any longer. This app is great for students that need to work on letter formation. It features accurate animation that is easy for the student to understand. So often, it is hard for students to understand how the letters are to be formed, but the letters that require a change in direction will stop at those points so that the expectation is clear. The app features capitals, lower case, numbers, shapes, and also word writing.

[caption id="attachment_240" align="alignleft" width="225"] The animation continues as the letter has a change in direction.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_239" align="alignleft" width="225"] Only animates the first motion. The moves the animal towards the food.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_241" align="alignleft" width="225"] You can also add your own words with your voice and a picture.[/caption]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

kidblog.org

Blogging in the classroom can be a powerful way to motivate your students to write. They can write about what they are learning, an exciting event at at school, share about a book they are reading, or even as a place to publish their writing. One of my biggest struggles was finding a blogsite that would work well for me as a teacher...without paying money. As I was scouring the internet for resources, I came across this gem: kidblog.org. It is built on the same engine as Wordpress or Edublogs. If you are familiar with those, this is a more simplefied version that includes some of the really good features that you usually can't get unless you pay money.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaVXfHVddHY?rel=0]

How to get the Wordpress app to work on your kidblog can be answered here.

Virtual Field Trip Extravaganza - TOMORROW!!!

I apologize for the short notice, but I didn't come across this until today. Tomorrow, May 4th, there will be four virtual field trips. There are as follows:

In order to participate, you just need to visit the following link: http://www.lifesize.com/social/earthday2012

You will need to make sure your students will be able to view it by plugging your laptop into a projector and having plenty of sound. I am curious if the video feed would work on the student iPods/iPads. If so, you may want to have your earbuds ready!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nature Explorers

http://www.naturegrid.org.uk/children.html


If you are looking for a website on the environment that is easy for students to use, look no further. Nature Explorers is a free website that will meet the needs of a wide range of learning levels and abilities. It provides lesson plans, online activities, and field guides for multiple age levels. It will meet the needs for you as a teacher and the student when attempting to tackle our natural environment in the classroom. Have the students connect our natural world with the digital realm.


Here are some of the topics it covers:




[caption id="attachment_68" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Basic plant model that works on all platforms."][/caption]



    • animals


    • plants


    • grasslands


    • woodlands


    • ponds


    • watercycle


    • rivers


    • recylcing





[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignright" width="300" caption="After students click on the part of the plant, they get a short description of that part's role."][/caption]


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paperport Notes

If you like Type on PDF or Neu.Annotate, you are going to love Paperport Notes. It has the simplicity of Type on PDF with some of the freedoms of Neu.Annotate. This is a simple way you can save paper in the classroom and get yourself as well as your students comfortable using the iPad as a learning tool on a regular basis. You can create PDF files using Microsoft Word or there are also apps out there that allow you to take pictures of documents and create PDF files (DocScan.) This PDF editor is easy to use. I do have a basic instructional video (sorry for the poor quality) that you may view yourself or use in your classroom.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDtM0aGpqt0?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Digital Citizenship

I was back to my old roots today; teaching fourth grade at Wayne Center Elementary. My old teaching partner, Mrs. Page, graciously lets me visit her classroom to throw any technology I want at her students. A few weeks ago I introduced Scribble Press to her class, and they loved it. They started making books about predictions in their text. They would write what was happening on one page, illustrate it, and then write their prediction on the next page. However, we never got to the part where they need to sign-up for a Scribble Press account to be able to publish their piece. I have found it to be easier to teach them how to use the app first then later have them get an account so that they are not twitching with boredom in their seat.

Before we even got to the point of putting in their personal information to get an account, I spent a lengthy time discussing what it means to be a digital citizen. We started with discussing what being a good citizen is. After some discussion, they came to the conclusion that being a citizen means to do things that will benefit everyone as a whole. Perfect! That is exactly what it means to be a good digital citizen. We talked about all the garbage that people put on the internet that really just wastes everyone's time. We talked about how irritating it is when someone litters on the ground, and it is the same when someone litters the internet. It is an annoyance to other people. I think the greatest example (and most relevant to them) is YouTube. There is some great stuff on YouTube that is worthwhile watching, but there is also an abundance of litter on it with pointless videos and reckless comments.

So...how does this all relate to Scribble Press? Scribble Press is a site where the students can upload their books for the whole world to see. I stressed how vital it is for them to be good digital citizens, and not litter their website. So before they post, they must ask for permission first.

It is ironic however, because the students as soon as the students were in, they were able to download books from people on Scribble Press. What did they find? Quite a bit of litter. Here is an example you could even use with your students to discuss being a good digital citizen

[caption id="attachment_731" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Angry Bird book on Scribble Press"][/caption]



I understand this example could have been a legitimate attempt for the child that created it (which is why I didn't include the direct link to the book), but generally the students understand that this book could be of better quality. It isn't even necessarily that bad of an example, but I think we have to show the students a book that is just substandard enough to communicate the expectation there needs to be when posting online.

I encourage any of you using apps that post materials to the Internet to have this discussion with your students. It will benefit everyone in the long run. It is never too early to discuss it with your students. The earlier they learn this lesson, the less likely they are to behave poorly online in the future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Storylines for Schools

I am happy to announce that Storylines for Schools is now working on the East Noble Network. I posted about this app way back in February, but we had quite a few issues with it being blocked. If you would like to know more about it, my old post is found here.  Please make sure you download the Storylines for Schools version. There is a regular Storylines app that is for the public to play.

[caption id="attachment_58" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Storylines is like playing telephone with sentences and pictures."]Storylines for Schools[/caption]

 

Britannica Kids: Rainforests

Britannica Kids has multiple quality apps on various topics spanning the subjects of science and social studies. At this moment, this app is a free one and worth your time. (Thanks, Julie Becker, for bringing it to my attention.) It has articles, vivid pictures with captions, and puzzles all relating to the rainforest. The contents will keep the students engaged as they learn about various plants, animals, and landforms of the rain-forests. What a great opportunity for students to explore our world!
(There is a spanish version available at the moment as well.)
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Math is Fun

Math is Fun is a great resource for students and teachers alike. It provides numerous tutorials on math concepts as well as interactive examples. (Most of the interactive tools do not work on iOS devices.) I came across this site because I was listening in on a lesson in a small group. There was some debate upon the different types of triangles (isosceles, scalene, equilateral, etc.). Not only did this site clarify the definitions of the triangles, but also provided interactive examples to change the degrees of the vertices and length of sides. Part of the reason I like this site is that it is pretty straightforward. There isn't the huge distraction of flashy games or advertisements.

One simple way you could use it is by sending the link to concept you would like the students to use as a reference tool. For example: Mrs. Sibert contacted me today asking for supplemental resources on fractions. I sent her the direct link to this page so that she could send it to her students as well. Now her students can create a homescreen button and refer to it throughout their fraction study.

[caption id="attachment_45" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Math is Fun offers a simple explanation on a wide range of mathematics concepts. It also provides a simple dictionary for math vocabulary."]Main Menu[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_46" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="An example of a concept explanation."]Examples[/caption]

 


[caption id="attachment_47" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="An example of an interactive tool. In this example, students drag coins over to match the dollar amount."]Interactive Tools[/caption]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History is a great iPod app for the purpose of touring the museum in New York City. Not all the features are available since the user is supposed to actually be inside the museum while it is in use. This mostly includes the mapping portion of the app. However, it will provide a great virtual tour for students with short snippets of facts about the exhibits. You as a teacher could create a questionnaire/scavenger hunt as the students visit different parts of the museum. It would be a fun way to take a field trip...without the worry of losing a student. You could still have parents come in as chaperones!

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20120423-211852.jpg

Got Brainy



www.gotbrainy.com is a fun word site where you can upload pictures, choose a word from their list to match the picture, and write a sentence using that word. This is good that they have their own word list otherwise the risk of inappropriate material for school would increase. This site provides a great opportunity for students, as well as adults, to improve vocabulary in a fun interactive way. You also have the opportunity vote on the usage that others have posted as to whether or not they used the word correctly.



The main issue is that students need to create an account in order to contribute. For those of you that are in the elementary realm, this is a genuine concern and I do have some suggestions for you as to how you could use this site. (Also, it is because you cannot upload pictures to this site with an iPod/iPad.)

1. Have one account for the whole class and have students only post on your computer or only use it as a whole class activity. This will allow you to also ensure that the content that your students are submitting is under your approval. Maybe keep the word list available, have students look up the words, and think about pictures they could take to match the word prior to posting.

2. Only read examples and use it for voting purposes. It would a fun activity for the class or a group of students to make decisions as to whether or not the author is using the word correctly. This would eliminate the need for an account altogether.

3. Have students do a similar activity using an app like Doodle Buddy. Then the students could have a picture, vocabulary word, and the sentence matching the picture. This would avoid the issues of students having accounts, but yet they are still integrating technology into their vocabulary study.