Posted in Uncategorized

SCSHA Presentation

I am super excited to be presenting Friday at the South Carolina Speech Language and Hearing Association convention!  A couple of colleagues and I are giving a session called Tying Technology to the Common Core.  It will focus on creation based learning using the iPad in both therapy and education.  Participants will leave the session with a list of iLesson ideas and ways that they can immediately go back to their settings and begin incorporating tech.  We are focusing on just a handful of really well done apps and giving examples of how we’ve used them within our own classrooms.  We’ve even talked to the developers of these apps and gotten over 50 promo codes for various apps to give away at the end. If you are interested in checking out our session – join us tomorrow at 2:00 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Charleston.  Hope to see some of you there – please come introduce yourself if you stop by!

scsha

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Posted in Apps, iLesson, Paperless

Inference iLessons

We’ve been working on inferring this week. Whew. Inferencing is not a concrete idea, and therefore it is something hard for my students to grasp. To help them focus on the skill of making inferences, and not on the challenge of reading, I presented activities in several modalities.We began by making observations and using those observations to support inferences in pictures. I loaded five different photos to a shared Dropbox folder and asked students to create T-charts in their interactive notebooks with observations on one side and inferences on the other. I tried to pick high interest pictures that would provoke ideas. The underwater hotel and sand-boarding picture got some great inferences.

 inference pics underwater hotel
kenny chesneyNext, we used Kenny Chesney’s song “The Boys of Fall” to make inferences. Given that reading is a challenge for my students, I love using song lyrics as text. Children can listen to the text aloud while also looking at the lyrics. We always listen to music twice. The first time we listen and soak it in, the second time I ask them to write down the lyrics. I always give the students a copy of the lyrics, but I’ve found that if the kids have to write them down, they are focused on the actual words and not on the tune. The task with this song was to infer that the song was about football. Students then had to support their inference with evidence from the text by highlighting portions of the lyrics.You're The DetectiveWe also used the app You’re the Detective to do some small group instruction. This app is full of various cases. We read the written case files aloud, investigated the picture, and then answered questions in an attempt to solve a mystery. In a way, isn’t inferring simply using clues to make a guess? The kids really did well connecting inferring to solving mysteries. This may have been the best connections lesson of the bunch.  If you want to know more about this app, you can read my review for Fun Educational Apps here.

Our performance assessment again involved pictures. Each child was given the same image. Students used the app Explain Everything to annotate the image and record their thoughts. Students were responsible for giving me two observations and two inferences about the picture.  By recording themselves talking about the picture, I got way better responses than I would have if I had asked them to write.

Posted in Apps, iLesson, iPod and iPad Implementation

Oh The Snowmanity! A Great App for Teaching Point of View

snowmanityJust a quick post about an app that is currently free.  Oh the Snowmanity! is a super cute story telling about the life of a snowman, through the snowman’s eyes.  The rhyming story is written in an engaging font that bounces around the screen and is narrated by an expressive voice.  It has a few interactions for readers, but the app is mostly about the story.  And the plot is great.  It tells the woes of a snowman’s life in a way that readers have probably never thought about.  From wondering why he’s got buttons but no jacket, to the horrible thing his new friend the dog does, the story is a really great example of how point of view affects the story.

My Pinterest board is currently full of ideas for winter writing.  Oh The Snowmanity would fit beautifully with a writing prompt like “If I lived in a snow globe…” or the prompts about melting snowmen.  We used it with our fifth graders today.  They’ve just done a writing project on perspective and building a snowman from the ground up.  Today we tried a Quick Write and asked the students to write a journal entry from the point of view of the snowman.  We used this app to get them started and give an example of point of view.  I think the biggest hook was the page of the book that talks about the beauty of the snow fall, but then tells how the snowman was freaked out by the bits of flesh falling on him.  It was definitely a light bulb moment for the my kids!  If you are looking for a great way to ease into integrating technology, this would be a great place to start.  Grab it for free before it goes back to full price.

snowmanity2

Posted in website

Loving ThatQuiz.org

thatquiz

I’m not sure how long it has been around, but ThatQuiz.org is my new favorite teaching tool.  The site is a quiz generating site, one that has infinite customization options.  While there are science and vocabulary quizzes available, ThatQuiz focuses on math.

Teachers register for a free account and set up their classes.  Then users choose a quiz from the huge variety of pre-made quizzes.  The initial menu features Integers, Fractions, Concepts and Geometry.  Each of these is then broken down into various skills from Kindergarten to high school.  To make life even better, each quiz has many different customization options.  For example, in the homework assignment on time skills that I created I had to choose between 10-100 questions, one of four difficulty levels, time limit, order, simple clocks or elapsed time, addition or subtraction of time, converting time, or time zones.  Each concept has just as many, if not more, options for editing.  If you don’t like the questions featured, you can also create your own.  Or browse and download quizzes made by other educators.  I’m telling you, this site has unlimited possibilities.

thatquiz_grades
The teacher’s grade book gives a quick overview of assignments. I have a pre-assessment and homework assignment setup for our time unit.

To make this site even better, it collects data on each of your children.  When a test is generated you are given a unique test code.  As long as the student has this code, they can access the test from anywhere.  Once they log in and take the test, you can analyze your grade book to see how the kids do.  You can also delete scores to allow children to retest.

This site is perfect for creating quick assessments to check student knowledge.  I love using a ThatQuiz as a pre-assessment to see what my students know before the start of a unit.  As you can see from our grade book on Time, I have some work ahead of me!  I also really like using it for homework.  I mostly hate assigning homework, but have certain requirements from my administration.  I’ll often assign a ThatQuiz for homework on Monday, but have it due on Friday.  Students without internet access then have a full week of homeroom or library time to get the assignment done.

 

Posted in Apps, iLesson, Paperless

Adding Fractions

Fractions, fractions, fractions, and more fractions.  We’ve finished up equivalent fractions and moved on to adding fractions.

Image           Image          Image          fractions+

To begin with, I’ve used a variety of fraction apps as station based learning so that I can work in small groups with students.  One of my favorites is Slice It!, an app where students have to split shapes into equal pieces.  I like this one because of the focus on equal sized pieces.  I also like Smart Pirates, as it deals with fraction identification, equivalents, and adding fractions.  Another app that the kids like is Fractions+.  Matching fractions to pieces and connecting rows make this game-like app a favorite.  But one of my iLessons began with the app Oh No Fractions!  The full version (worth the money) has equivalent fractions plus all four operations.  I gave the students no guidance other than to play the adding fractions game and be able to tell me at the end, how to find equivalent fractions.  The app has both a Show Me feature and an I’ve Got It part.  It guides children through creating common denominators and then adding.  The kids had to turn in an index card at the end of the activity telling how to add fractions.  About 40% of the kids found the key before I ever gave any instruction.  I love inquiry based learning.

I also created an adding fraction tutorial for my students.  As I posted earlier, I love the tutorial idea because it allows my children to access the instruction whenever they want to.  While a few of my students access the video from our class site at home, the bulk of my kids use it in class.  By having the tutorial accessible on their iPads, students can use the video whenever they need it.  Those needing less support can work from the tutorial while I work with a small group who needs more intensive support.

While working on adding fractions, we also did a performance assessment.  Students had to use fraction pieces to create pairs of fractions.  They then took pictures using the iPads of each pair of fractions.  The following day, students uploaded their photos into Doodle Buddy and created number sentences using their own fraction pieces.  After solving the problems, they uploaded them to Dropbox for grading.  I love it when the kids own their work.  I gave them no portion of this assignment.  They created everything themselves.

Adding Frations       Photo Dec 27, 3 00 37 PM

Posted in Apps, iLesson

Ugly Christmas Sweater Writing Prompt

Looking for an activity that wouldn’t increase the already hefty Christmas/Full Moon hype, I stumbled across the Ugly Christmas Sweater writing idea from iintegratetechnology.  Utilizing the popularity of the ugly holiday sweater theme, I was able to hook my kids on a writing task that kept them occupied those last few days before Christmas.

Ugly Sweater AppI began by making sure that all of my kids knew what the ugly holiday sweater theme was all about.   We watched

Children used the Ugly Holiday Sweater app to write descriptively.
Children used the Ugly Holiday Sweater app to write descriptively.

the popular television commercial for Bank of America on Youtube.  Next, we used the app Ugly Holiday Sweaters to ugly sweater ourselves for the holiday season.  Some of these pictures were absolutely great!  Keep in mind, I’ve not yet given the writing prompt.  After students worked with a partner to get a photo of themselves in their ugly sweater, I finally gave the directions.  Students had to write descriptively and persuasively to convince me that their’s was the most beautiful sweater in the world.  Oh the moans and groans!

photocardThe children wrote great essays about their sweaters.  To publish, students used Bill Atkinson’s Photocard app.  On one side of the postcard was an image of them in their ugly holiday sweater, and on the other side they typed their written piece.

Posted in iLesson

Equivalent Fractions – Year 2

I posted last year about a neat way that we worked on equivalent fractions.  We ate our way through equivalent fractions. The lesson was so engaging, that I tweaked it a bit, and used it again.

I used my awesome Ken-a-Vision document camera and the corresponding app Educam to send my students an image of three different candy bars.  Students had to split each candy bar into equivalent fractions using the annotation tools in Educam.  Educam has pen and text tools that let students illustrate an image I send from the document camera.  I particularly love this tool because it is so easy to use.  Just check out my students’ work.

Photo Nov 15, 8 24 08 AM         Photo Nov 15, 9 08 20 AM

I also utilized a Explain Everything to create a tutorial video for my students.  So many of my students need extra help and often I just can’t get to everyone.  By putting this video in Dropbox, my kids can access it anytime from their iPads.  I also put it on my school website so that students and parents can access it at home too.

I’ve decided tutorials are a really great way to give my students direct instruction, even when I can’t get to them physically.  I’ll definitely be using more of these in class.