Incorporating Technology into Marzano’s High Yield Strategies

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been slack on my educational technology reading.  I took the summer to relax, swim, and enjoy my family.  Oh, and move my classroom across the county as I transferred schools.  Turns out that unpacking a classroom that has been packed up for summer, to repack it into boxes, to move it to a smaller room, and then unpack again, is a very time consuming endeavor!

But I digress, summer is officially over… I’ll be spending part of the next week with my old staff helping deliver some professional development on technology.  Our incredible curriculum specialist is gathering our teachers to discuss and plan a set of specially designed lessons that will address specific student needs.  My role is to help teachers better incorporate technology into these lessons.  They will be focusing on Marzano’s High Yield Strategies and work to incorporate at least five of them into daily instruction and practice.  You can read about Marzano’s work on his site, or check out this summary from Palm Beach Schools.

Because my role in the professional development is to help teachers effectively incorporate technology into lessons featuring these strategies, I created a Prezi focusing on three of the main strategies.  I wanted to post the Prezi on here in case there were any other teachers starting back to school with professional development on Marzano.  The Prezi certainly isn’t a stand alone presentation, and will need some discussion.  Please comment below or email me if you need something clarified.

Professional Development Prezi on Incorporating Technology into Marzano's High Yield Strategies

Professional Development Prezi on Incorporating Technology into Marzano’s High Yield Strategies

Incorporating Technology using Marzano’s High Yield Strategies Prezi

 

Next Year’s Valentine’s Day Apptivity!

Heart CamI cross my heart, this is my last augmented reality post for a while.  And it’s just a quick hit.  I found the Heart Cam app and just wanted to share.  This one is just for fun.  Simply print out the trigger image and let the kids pose.  It’s an easy and fun way to incorporate augmented reality.  My plan is to use this one for Valentine’s Day next year.  Maybe a writing activity: Dear Teacher, You stole my heart… and ask the students to write a love letter to their favorite teacher?  We might use the app and take pictures with our favorite teachers stealing our hearts!

Photo Mar 24, 7 30 13 AMDo you have a way to incorporate this app?  Comment below and give us some great ideas!

 

Bringing Writing to Life – Literally!

In the last post, I gave you a great free app to get you started on augmented reality.  Are you ready for the next step?  This was my first big iLesson that incorporated AR and the kids LOVED it.  This began as a plain old writing lesson, inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest.  It morphed (as good teaching usually does) mid-lesson into an iLesson.

Found this image on Headproduct's Tumblr page.

Found this image on Headproduct’s Tumblr page.

Students were given the task of beginning a story from this picture from Headproduct on Tumblr.  I found the image on Pinterest and had saved it for a writing prompt.  Students had to begin the story from the point where they saw the dragon in their hand.  It had to incorporate narrative writing characteristics and had to ultimately tell the reader what happened to the dragon.  Otherwise, there were no constraints to the task.

After students edited their rough draft, they published the piece in Word, with a twist.  I used the washed out picture settings in Microsoft Word and loaded a lighter version of the image as the background for the written piece.  Creative publishing is always an easy way to hook writers.  As if that weren’t enough, I decided to have my first go with adding augmented reality to the kids’ writing.

aurasmaWe gave augmented reality a try using the app Aurasma.  It was ridiculously easy to use! Students created a trigger image by taking a photo of their published dragon narrative.  We then selected a dragon Aura from the images provided by the app.  Some came up as just images, but other belched fire or flew across the screen.  After saving our auras, we were done. It was just that simple.  Now, using the Aurasma app, viewers could scan the students’ written work and watch it come to life.  Literally!

The work I got from my students was some of the best writing I’ve seen this year.  But, the best part about this entire assignment?  It was finished in two days.  By two days, I mean two writing classes.  By finished, I mean from rough draft, to edited, to published, to augmented.  Two class periods.  That was it.  A writing task like this easily takes us five days.  Because my students couldn’t wait to add their auras, they whizzed through the assignment (and the typing) faster than they’ve ever worked.  That is just another reason why technology is such a great tool.  In this lesson, it served solely as the ‘hook’.  It was the aspect of the project that kids most wanted to get to, so they worked hard to get there.  And their work paid off!  I’ve uploaded a few of my students’ finished pieces for you to try out.  Feel free to load the documents and scan them with the Aurasma app.  For the best results, make sure to get the entire page into the screen – Enjoy!

Dragon Narrative 1

Dragon Narrative 2

 

 

Getting Hooked on Augmented Reality

So obviously, I didn’t make my goal of one post a week for the remainder of the school year…Ha!  So I’m going to post all of my iLessons from the end of the year during the summer months.  When teachers actually have time to write and read blog posts!

I spent the spring getting hooked on augmented reality.  For those who haven’t gotten hooked yet – just  try it.  Seriously.  Augmented reality is basically using your iPad to add depth, dimension, sound, or even video to a two dimensional object.  There are some great apps that deal with augmenting reality, but this post is just a quickie to get you started.

Shape QuestIf you’ve never experienced an app that deals with augmented reality, try PBS Kids’ Cyberchase Shape Quest.  First of all it’s free.  Secondly, it’s educational.  Third, it’s awesome!  The app focuses on manipulating shapes to complete a path.  Teachers read: shape identification, shape rotation, and combining shapes to create larger images.

shape questTo begin with, you’ll need to print a game board here.  Then simply open the app, point it at the game board, and follow the directions.  The game comes to life right in front of your eyes.  Users need to help Buzz and Delete save the animals and transport them across the board.  Unfortunately, the path is broken.  Players must pick up the correct pieces and rotate them to fit the path.

Shape Quest   DSCN0384

This app kept my fifth and sixth grade boys busy for weeks!  I did use it, legitimately, one day during a geometry lesson.  The boys were obsessed and used every free moment to beat the levels.  And we’re talking end of the year chaos time… it was awesome.  The “Wow Factor” kept them actively engaged in an educational game, and I couldn’t have been happier.  I’ve also used it with my five year old, but he still requires a bit of hand-over-hand to manipulate the pieces.

If you haven’t given augmented reality a try.  Download this one and give it a go; you won’t regret it.

 

Area, Perimeter, and Student Created Tutorials

We’re moving into the downhill slide of school, which means geometry and measurement in math.  I like that these units fall toward the end of the year because they are more hands on, and typically more engaging.   We started with area and perimeter a couple of weeks ago.  While we did the standard practice activities, including marking out shapes in the hallway to calculate perimeter, I augmented with a couple of iLessons to keep the kids engaged.

Jungle GeometryAt the start of the unit, I taught the kids how to use the app Jungle Geometry.  This is a great app, with a wide variety of different geometry and measurement tasks.  My students used the area and perimeter tasks in the app this time, but we’ll use this app again when we do more of the geometry standards.  Jungle Geometry is a favorite of mine because I can customize the levels, measurement units and tools, and differentiate for each student within the app.  There are a ton of customization tools, making this perfect for my multi-level group.  You can read more about Jungle Geometry in my review here at FunEducationalApps.com.

By far my favorite activity was the students’ performance assessment.  Students were given the task of creating a tutorial for how to find area and perimeter.  I had already created my own tutorial that the students utilized for a note-making activity.  Now it was their turn.  Students were given a rubric of what needed to be in the tutorial: definitions of both area and perimeter, formulas, examples and directions for solving problems, and example problems with pictures.  Students could work in pairs or alone – with the stipulation that I had to hear both voices if students worked together.  The results were amazing!

My students are very familiar with the app Explain Everything, so we used that as our platform for creating the tutorials.  Students utilized the shape and drawing tools, the text features, and even added some photos they took of the shapes we had measured in the hallway.  Narrations went from 40 seconds to 9 minutes.  And they all were great.

As a teacher, one of the best things about students creating tutorials, are the videos that aren’t right.  I had a student who kept calculating perimeter wrong every time, and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing.  Because he created the tutorial and had to explain his thinking as he did it, I was able to analyze his errors.  He was adding every side twice, because in the examples of rectangles I had given the class, each short and long side was added twice.  So when he found the perimeter of a pentagon, he added each side twice.  I never would have figured this out if he hadn’t explained his thinking in the tutorial.  It was an easy fix.  I just needed to know where the problem was.

Area and Perimeter Tutorial Rubric

Meeting Michelangelo

I posted last week about Why I Use Google Chrome on the iPad.  That post spawned from our research project on Michelangelo.  And no, I don’t teach art.  I teach fourth and fifth grade special education.  The point of the project was to conduct a research project in a small group setting so that I could guide and model the steps an independent learner would take to begin a research project.  Honestly, I struggled with the topic selection – should I choose a science or social studies topic to span content areas and address more standards?  Or was it okay to choose this random artist that the rest of the world has been exposed to, but my rural students had never heard of?  I decided to give my students the art.  Why shouldn’t they, too, have the experience of fine art.

 

Strategic use of Pic Collage made the David school appropriate.

Strategic use of Pic Collage made the David school appropriate.

Now, there were several obstacles to overcome before I ever began this project.  First and foremost – a lot of Michelangelo’s artwork was done in the nude.  So not going there with my ten and eleven year olds!  Instead, I made good use of the Pic Collage app!  I found images of some of Michelangelo’s best known works – The Pieta, David, and The Sistine Chapel – using the search feature in the app, and then cut and pasted some decorative leaves for the artwork.  I liked Pic Collage for this because searching for the images, cutting out the leaf, and saving my work was all self-contained.  I didn’t have to go between the Internet and the app.

Pic Collage

Next, I dropped the images I had edited into a quick little slideshow using Sonic Pics.  This was only about a minute long, but let me narrate the images so that my students got a look at Michelangelo’s most famous works.  The kids viewed this on their iPads and had about 5 minutes to view the other images in the Michelangelo Dropbox folder I shared with them.  This way they could free explore the images and play with the zoom features.

As this was a group research project, we developed a series of questions we wanted to answer together.  I then chose some appropriate websites and placed them in a folder in Google Chrome.  (Yay for syncing bookmarks across devices!)  We discussed appropriate search terms and practiced asking the questions into the Google microphone.  We also utilized the accessibility features and speak selection options to have the websites read to us.    Read more about our actual research in the prior post.

Our last activity was not techy at all, but it was awesome!  After publishing, the kids painted the Sistine Chapel.  I taped some paper underneath my kidney tables and my students created their own masterpieces.  While we learned in our research that Michelangelo didn’t really lay down to paint the Sistine Chapel, we did it anyway just to get the experience of painting like that.  The kids (an adults who visited) loved it!

 Photo Mar 17, 8 25 32 PM Painting the Sistine Chapel  DSCN0346

Why I Use Google Chrome on the iPad

I love my iPad, but I’m a Google girl at heart.  Safari works fine, and I have no issues with it.  But Google Chrome just fits my teaching so much better.  It has several features that just make it super easy to access and perfect for elementary classroom use.

Google Chrome appWe’ve been working this week on a research project about Michelangelo, the artist, not the Ninja Turtle.  (Give me a week – I’ll be posting about that next time.)  Being a special education teacher, research projects are normally the bane of my existence.  Turns out research projects are tough on a good day, but imagine not being able to spell your search criteria or read your sources.  Enter Google Chrome.

1. Google Chrome syncs with all your other Google Chromes – making bookmarks accessible across devices.  So let’s say I started a folder with child-friendly Michelangelo resources on my laptop at home and then added another site to it from my school iPad while waiting for a faculty meeting to start, and then found a few more sites after school on my school computer.  Since Google Chrome syncs across devices, each of my student iPads now has the same folder with the same content to begin our research with.  This means no messy searching, web address typing, or “Is this the right one?” for my students.

2. Google Chrome has a microphone option to search with.  It’s tough to research a topic if you can’t spell the words in your search criteria.  Unless my kids are typing verbatim from a notes page (and how original is that thought?), chances are they aren’t going to spell their query correctly.  Google Chrome removes that challenge.  With a little practice enunciating, my kids can ask their own questions as we research.  It was great to see where their thoughts went, beyond the general questions.  They had some really insightful questions, that I would never have thought to include in an elementary research project.  Just another example of why student ownership is so important.

Enable narration of text in  Settings, under the Accessibility menu.

Enable narration of text in Settings, under the Accessibility menu.

3. Accessibility – okay this isn’t Google Chrome, but fits into the post beautifully.  I hope everyone is aware of the Accessibility options on the iPad.  In the Settings menu, users can choose to turn on the Speak Selection in the Accessibility menu.  After doing this, students can highlight the text they want to have read aloud, and simply tap Speak to hear the narration.  We found that we had to slow the voice way down in order to have it read slow enough for us to comprehend and make notes.  As a side note, I thought the navigation of tapping and dragging to highlight whole sections of text would prove to be difficult for my fourth graders.  Not at all.  They were able to do so with ease.

Google Chrome just makes my job a little bit easier.  Anything that makes learning more accessible to my students is worth a try.  Plus, their research papers are coming out great.  Check back next week to see how the rest of the project went.