Thursday, May 24, 2012
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:
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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. :)
Check out this video to get a better picture:
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:
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.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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?
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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 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.)
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
[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
How to get the Wordpress app to work on your kidblog can be answered here.
- 9 am CST Houston Audobon Society- "Birds of the Wild"
- 10 am CST Indianapolis Zoo- "Adventures with Animals"
- 12 pm CST Storybook Hour- "Stories Come to Life in Live Readings" (This is a casual story hour for the younger children where we will read some of their favorite stories)
- 2 pm CST Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park, Dallas
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
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]
[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]