Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flippity.net



Flippity.net is a free and easy resource to use. It creates a set of virtual index cards for study notes using Google Spreadsheets. Index cards have been used for years to memorize terms. However, to insert a picture, it would require some old magazines, scissors, and some paste. :) What is also fun is the fact that Youtube videos can be inserted into the cards. So if you are looking for an easy way to distribute study notes to students, Flippity might be for you.


Since Flippity works on any platform, I think it would be a great idea to copy the link to your deck of cards and create a QR code. Then students can quickly access the terms and practice as they enter or exit a classroom. The benefit of no account required allows you to distribute the deck to parents as well. This allows them to stay informed about the learning expectations in your classroom.
Use a QR Code for Quick Student Access
Also available on Flippity.net is a quiz show (much like jeopardy), certificate quiz (which allows them to keep trying until they get a certificate), and progress indicator bars. The directions are supplied just as the note cards.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Todaysmeet Reading Groups

First Grade Discussion on TodaysMeet
One fun way to use TodaysMeet is to have small groups of students discuss a text. This gives an opportunity for the kids to read and respond in a manner that will provide a challenge. It also provides practice of digital citizenship skills with how to speak on the Internet. This discussion didn't go to the extent of students chatting with each other as they were only responding to my questions. However, it is a start and a good one at that as this was the first that they had used TodaysMeet in this format.

To set up the lesson, I made a scan of the text, created a TodaysMeet room, grabbed the QR code, and pieced it together with Pic Wall. That way the students could get to my meeting as soon as they were finished reading just by scanning the code. (More information on how to set up a TodaysMeet can be found here.)
Directions, QR Code, and Article Made with Pic Wall

The Transcript of the Discussion:



With older grades or high ability students, it would be great to train them to be the moderators of these discussions. The teacher could offer a few questions to ask ahead of time and the moderator could add to them. They could learn to keep the flow of the conversation going and maintain the room while the teacher meets with other students or moderates another group using Todaysmeet.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Create-a-Graph


Recently, a teacher dropped me an email asking about graphing tools her daughter could use for science fair...other than Excel. Excel can feel a little cumbersome to elementary students. So I decided to go into my banks of resource and "plot" around for some good web-based graphing tools that span across computing platforms. 

The graphing tool of choice for elementary students is from NCES. It doesn't require an account, it is free to use, the tools are well organized and easy to read, students can preview their graph before to tweak it to their liking, and it works on a variety of different platforms. Students can save it as an image to their camera roll by long-pressing on the image. If students download it as a PDF, they can import it into Google Drive or OneNote. 



The NCES graphs would be great for any presentation tool, infographics, or even videos. A little non-traditional use would be with Chatterpix. Imagine the fun students would have if they could make the graph explain the data in 30 seconds. Import their Chatterpix into an app like Shadow Puppet and piece it together as a video, and now you're talking about an engaging presentation/video!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Instagram: Embed Your Posts


Parents and community members are on various forms of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, most individuals utilize some form of social media outlet. These social media outlets provide an opportunity for teachers/student to share and communicate in ways that in a few short years ago seemed inconceivable.

This post is more of a continuation from two previous posts. One I gave a few practical tips and an overview of how to use Instagram. The second post shows how to insert and "Instagram Badge" on your website/blog. Here I am featuring how to embed individual images from Instagram on your blog/website.

Why should you want to embed individual Instagram posts?

  1. It will draw your audience to more social media outlets than just your website. Family and community members need to know when you update your blog/website so that they can continually stay informed. A connection between your social media outlets will help keep those reminders flowing. I also highly recommend pushing your Instagram posts out to your class Twitter/Facebook page as well. Essentially, Instagram can become the hub of all your classroom information.
  2. Keeping class images that you want to use in Instagram will help you stay organized. One of the most difficult things is remembering where I kept images of different events. Posting the good/important images you take in Instagram and giving a description will help document those moments. Embedding them on your blog/website is where you can expound upon the event. 
Want to know how to embed your posts? The directions are below. (Also note that I show how to copy the embed code by selecting all and copying. I did this because the "copy code" button was not working on my laptop. This was a method to ensure the code was copied.) 




Example Post from Instagram

A photo posted by Lance Yoder (@edgaged) on

This week the kindergarten students shared their thinking while a book was read aloud. The students used Hello Crayon on their iPad to draw what they could picture in their mind, and also wrote a sentence about their thinking. We then uploaded it to a Google Drive folder so that everyone could see the thoughts illustrated on the iPad. Parents, please try this at home. Have students illustrate their thinking while you read aloud to them. It creates a fun discussion. 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Instagram for Teachers


Teachers are frequently asking for easy ways to manage their classroom images. They want a quick and convenient way to communicate information to parents and the community. Teachers have utilized Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other social media outlets. Instagram is a great platform because you can post to all three and embed the images on your class blog/website.

Last week I "put the cart before the horse" and posted about how to put an "Instagram Badge" on your class blog. It seemed somewhat important to provide a little information about using an Instagram account. So here is a quick overview of how to use Instagram on your mobile device:
Before you jump into Instagram and other forms of social media for your classroom, here are some tips:  
  1. Keep students' names (especially students under 13) out of your posts. If you accidentally get a name tag in your image, you can easily blur it out with Skitch. It is important to respect their privacy as you want parents to be an advocate, not an adversary for you. 
  2. Find out if you have parents that have revoked permission to post images of their children. East Noble Schools has a policy that parents sign at the beginning of the year granting permission to use photos of students on websites and social media. Occasionally there are parents that refuse to sign the policy. Make sure you are aware of any parents that deny permission.
  3. Use the square photo feature in iOS. Instagram's photos are in a square format. I recommend using your regular iOS camera and posting to Instagram later instead of taking the picture directly from the Instagram app. This allows the teacher to review their pictures before posting. 
  4. Keep Instagram for professional purposes. It is wise to keep your personal photos separate from a class Instagram account. I'm a firm believer in separating professional and personal accounts with social media. Even though we as teachers know we need to behave personal online with our personal accounts, it is good to "not mix business with pleasure". 
  5. Connect a class Facebook page/group and Twitter account with Instagram. Not all parents use Facebook. Not all parents use Instagram. Not all parents use Twitter. Since this is the case, you cover more bases by exporting to all of them. Sharon Davison is a kindergarten teacher in Vermont that engages her students and families by posting their work through social media. She provides sound advice for utilizing a class Twitter account. 
  6. Take advantage of your Instagram photos and embed them on your class blog or website. Insert a picture of an exciting learning opportunity and expound upon it. This will draw parents to your site/blog, and keep that flow of communication going. 
Keeping parents and the community informed is extremely powerful. Parents want to know what is happening in their child's classroom. Putting it in a format that is easy and convenient to follow makes it even better. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

The New Big Universe


Mrs. McKibben's fourth grade on Big Universe
Three years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Anil Hemrajani, CEO of Big Universe. After being one year into East Noble School Corporation's digital conversion, Anil came to visit due to the high volume of activity coming from our schools (Rome City Elementary, in particular.) It was quite an experience for our students to meet him and share their love for reading.

Every teacher knows that the greatest impact on a student improving as a reader is to give the students a lot of practice reading. Big Universe even provides research that their product alone will help to make students do just that. As a former fourth-grade teacher, it was always my goal to turn students into lifelong readers. Providing the material in a format that suits the interest and need of a student is an essential part of creating lifelong readers. If a student prefers reading in a digital format, Big Universe is a great place to look.

Recently I had requested an overview of the newly designed Big Universe. Much to my surprise, Anil joined in the tour. Some of the new features allow for more access on iOS devices as they have transitioned to HTML5. Now students can take the quizzes and the writing portion will be revamped as well. The new design is also easier to navigate for both students and teachers. Please, view the video overview to get a better picture of the new changes in Big Universe.



As teachers dig into Big Universe, they will notice that many of the management tools have changed location. To assist with this transition, I've provided a quick tutorial guide if teachers need to know how assign books, add students or find reports. 


Thanks to Anil for the virtual tour. It was great to meet with you again. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

QR Code Craze

QR codes are nothing new, but kids sure do love to scan them. It is fun for them whether it takes them to a website or has a "secret" message. What is really fun is when you allow the kids to make their own QR Codes.

Vocabulary Words

A photo posted by Lance Yoder (@edgaged) on
With Mrs. Jackson's third grade, I had students dig through their books for what I like to call "juicy words". These are words that stand out; words that are not common to their everyday conversations. Next, they used the context clues to determine the meaning, and double-checked the definition using the dictionary on their iPad. After that, they went to QRStuff.com and selected the "plain text" option. They then wrote the definition of the word and saved the QR code to the camera roll. To label the QR code with the vocabulary word, we used Pic Wall so that Mrs. Jackson could keep straight which QR code belongs with the vocabulary word.

Book Reviews

Mrs. Herber, second grade teacher at Rome City Elementary, has been having students create book reviews with Shadow Puppet. She was having students upload them into Google Drive to make a collection, but she wanted to have the review available when a student picks up a book. This will help them make book choices. QR codes were just the ticket as they could copy the link straight from Shadow Puppet, paste it into QRstuff.com, and download their QR code to the book review. Like Mrs. Jackson's third graders, we imported the image into PicWall. We also included the photo of the book to help Mrs. Herber match the QR code with the book. What a fun way to share the love of reading! 
I'd love to hear more great ideas of how students can be engaged in the learning process with QR codes. Scanning QR codes is one thing, but how often can they share their work through a code? I imagine this would be a great way for students to share their works that are in video format with their parents at home. The teacher could print the QR code and send it home with the student. Yet another way to increase teacher/parent communication.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Grade Digital Citizens

Social media is a part of our world. Like everything online, we need to "take the bad with the good." This was the discussion I had with FIRST GRADERS today. I say this with hope that the future of the Internet will be a friendlier place. I say this with the hope that they will understand that their online choices WILL effect their future. Teaching students how to speak online and the concept of a "digital footprint" is essential...even with first graders.


I started with a discussion about my own digital footprint. I showed them my Twitter feed. I showed them the types of things I post. I showed them how other teachers help me because they post good ideas and ways to become a better teacher/tech-nerd. I'm not saying that my digital footprint has always been squeaky clean as we have all made at least a few mistakes here and there. As a technology integration specialist, I have to maintain a digital footprint that represents the good aspects of social media. I'm reminded of this each day as I work with students.

To give them practice, we used TodaysMeet because they do not need an account to participate. Students under 13 cannot participate in most social media realms. Providing them with safe avenues, like todaysmeet.com and kidblog.org, will give experience with sharing and collaborating online.

To get students going, I used the QR code feature in the "room tools". It is a great way to quickly get students on the site without having to worry about pushing a link or typing in a web address. That and the kids love to scan QR codes.

A great way to try out TodaysMeet is to treat it as a discussion point. Pose a question and have the students respond. To set the tone, I asked a couple questions in regards to their character.
  1. What makes a good friend?
  2. What is responsibility? (Character pillar of the month.)
Elementary teachers could use this discussion board as their anchor chart the next time they want to address the same topic. 

Feel free to check out the conversation that took place. I thought these first graders did a fantastic job of sharing their thinking online for their first time on TodaysMeet.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mystery 3D Shapes

Can You Guess the Shape?

My wife, Michelle Yoder, is the real genius behind this activity. She started this project a couple years ago when East Noble was in the second year of its digital transition. Because of her innovative ideas for utilizing technology with first grade students, she was awarded the Jacob's Educator award from Indiana University. It was a proud moment for me. 

Using Chatterpix (Michelle used Puppet Pals), I worked with Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. O'Neill's classes to create the same magic. Plus I expanded upon it a little now that our district has access to GAFE accounts (Google Apps for Education). Because of our Google Accounts, the students were able to easily upload their videos into a Google Drive folder for me. I then uploaded them into Youtube, and from there I was able to import them into a Google Form and Kahoot game. 

The Lesson:

1. Students went on a photo scavenger hunt. They looked for 3D shapes throughout the classroom and snapped a few photos that they could use for the project. 
2. The students filled out a script to list the attributes of their shape. This required a little extra help as some of the students were describing the shape, but not necessarily listing the attributes. 
3. Using Chatterpix, I quickly demonstrated how to record and disguise their 3D shape. It is also important to note that they need reminders how to save their work to the camera roll as first grade students are more excited about watching their video than actually saving it. 
4. As students finished their projects, I reminded a few students how to upload their work to a shared Google Drive folder so that the class had a gallery of examples to view. Those students in turn became the teachers and assisted their classmates in the uploading process. The students love the opportunity to watch the videos their classmates create. 

Assessment: 

I'm collecting assessment a couple ways in this project. One way is to assess the video itself. There is a lot of valuable information when the students share. You can quickly tell how well the students understand the concept by how they articulate their thinking. I measure this through the use of a rubric I created that is linked here

For the second part of the assessment, I selected a couple of avenues. One way Mrs. McDonald came up with was to create a Kahoot game. I thought this was a fun way to assess the students, but the problem is the subject area. Because Kahoot has shapes in their answer choices, I was afraid this would confuse the first grade students. See below:
Click Here to Access the Kahoot 3D Shape Game
Because of the shape issue, I put Mrs. O'Neill's first grade videos in Google Forms. I believe this will be a better format for the subject area. Try it out for yourself! 

(Remember to scroll to the bottom of the form to submit.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Instagram on Blogger


I recently started utilizing Instagram for the purpose of collecting photos and short videos pertaining to my work as a technology integration specialist. It is by no means a perfect solution, but it helps to separate my work world from my home life. 

Much to my surprise, one of my teachers started following me on Instagram. The account was clearly intended to be a class account as the username had the teacher's name the word "class" after it. When I asked the teacher about using Instagram, she was looking for an easy way to send photos out to parents. Instagram certainly does the job as you have one location for all your class photos to appear. 

Instagram can also be easily added to your teacher website. By visiting http://www.instagram.com/accounts/badges, you can copy an embed code to paste into an HTML enabled box on your website. My teachers utilize Blogger. Here are directions on how to place an Instagram Badge on your Blogger blog:


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Word Wall Words and Chatterpix


Kindergarten students absolutely love to express their learning using an iPad. Touch enabled devices, whether Android or iOS, give them the opportunity to utilize digital tools at a very efficient rate. Combine it with the ability to share through Google Drive, and you have a powerful learning experience as students can view their classmate's work in a shared folder. 

In the video below, I recorded myself teaching Mrs. Kuehnert's kindergarten at Wayne Center Elementary. (I apologize for the poor sound quality.) Mrs. Kuehnert wanted to integrate more technology tools into her independent word work time. One portion of their word work time is to use dry erase boards. I also have been working quite a bit with them on using Chatterpix. So I decided to combine the two and show them the photo-edit and typing features in Chatterpix to add onto their prior experiences. Here you will see students write their word wall words on a dry erase board, take a picture with Chatterpix and record their voice, type their words, and upload it to Google Drive. 



I love how the students started to help each other post to Google Drive toward the end. Mrs. Kuehnert has several students that pick up on where to upload their videos very quickly. Once they know how, they spread the information around the group as students came back to the meeting area. I really only had to get a few students going. The sharing portion is powerful as they can watch and discuss the videos. It is fun to listen to their conversations. 

At the very end of the video, I have several samples posted. I'll post a few here as well as I believe these short 30-second videos provide a wealth of information about the students. Yes, the activity is engaging and the students love completing the task with their iPad. The teacher can also essentially count these as conferences as the students are not only showing their work, but vocalizing. You can hear several students that copied their words correctly, but were not sure how to decode them. Now you have a teaching point the next time you meet with the student. 





I love the versatility of Chatterpix. Mrs. Kuehnert is discovering this as well as we continue to utilize one tool for different purposes. It is powerful as the students begin to recognize that they can use these tools to express their learning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chatterpix Sentences


Chatterpix has been my go-to app as of late. 30 seconds of a student recording their thinking can give you a plethora of information about them. That and the fun-factor makes it a winner for every class with iOS devices.

In Mrs. Friend's first grade, we had students write a sentence on a dry erase board, record the sentence read aloud, and used a stamp to cover the punctuation. Thus making it a mystery as to which type of sentence was recorded. (Declarative, imperative, interrogative, exclamatory.) Of course, I had the students upload it to a Google Drive folder for all students to view. In the video above, you can see Mrs. Friend showing the entire class a few samples and discussing which type of sentence the student created.

Next, I had the idea to take some samples of student Chatterpix sentence videos and put them into a Google Form. In a sense, the students created quite a bit of assessment for the teacher as I created a rubric for the video as well as the Google Form with questions using the videos. Go ahead and look at the rubric for the video and try the form.

Sentences Rubric

Google Form


I will be attempting the same idea with Google Forms and 3D shapes with Mrs. McDonald's first grade. The students are in the process of making a Chatterpix with the attributes of a mystery shape. After they upload their examples to Google Drive, I plan on importing them into a Google Form to see if students can guess what the shape is based upon the attributes given.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Animoto: Easy Photo Slideshows

 

Last year, I launched the initiative to move elementary teachers to Blogger for their website. It is an effective communication tool for teachers to share learning, projects or any event happening in the classroom. Ms. Abbee, Wayne Center Elementary, particularly likes the opportunity to share classroom happenings. I get frequent emails asking how she can continue to reach out to the families of her classroom. Click here to get a little taste of what Blogger can provide for a teacher website. 

If you talk to Ms. Abbee, she will tell you that the most effective way to get a family involved with your blog is to post images. Parents love to see what is happening. If you blog frequently and include images, they will visit your site.

Animoto allows users to create 30-second slideshows for free. (There is an option to have longer videos at a cost.) This video features how to create a video using the website from your web-browser:


Animoto does support embed codes. However, many of my teachers prefer to have their videos on Youtube. The reason: Blogger allows the user to access their Youtube account without using embed codes. Animoto provides a direct upload to Youtube. You can do this with any browser by logging into animoto.com. After it is uploaded, you can post it on your Blogger blog without an embed code.


If you have an iPad, Animoto just made everything a lot easier. Their app provides the convenience of uploading all your videos straight from your camera roll. (The same goes for the Android app.) You cannot upload to Youtube from the app. However, you can go in through Safari (or Chrome) and visit the web-based version to upload to Youtube.


Feel free to send some links to your Animoto videos or your blog to me when you try this. I'd like to see how you are enhancing your teacher website with images and video. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

ISTEP Tiger Ambush!

Mrs. Jackson's third graders at Wayne Center started ISTEP today. (Indiana's Standardized Test is the ISTEP.) She recently contacted me asking what we could do to encourage students to be confident when taking it. I suggested we have students use Crayola Mix-N-Mash to create some pride posters as an encouragement to their classmates as well as the rest of the school. The students certainly had fun making it.

Here is a quick Animoto video I put together so that you can see a few samples:


After the students made their posters, they uploaded them to their class Kidblog. There the students can view and comment on each other's posts. Students having the opportunity to post on Kidblog provides a safe place for students to practice social media skills. It also provides a great opportunity to work on those essential read and respond skills. Students have to carefully consider what a classmate is attempting to communicate before responding. 

Kidblog can be used in a variety of ways. Allowing them to post creations from another app is a fun way to mix up their blogging experience and communicate a clear purpose for their writing. Crayola Photo Mix-N-Mash is a great outlet for this type of activity.

Writing about ISTEP and giving the students opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings about ISTEP is important as well. It lends itself to an opportunity to encourage and build confidence. I'm confident in Mrs. Jackson's third grade students as they have a great leader backing them up.