Class Picture

Class Picture

Monday, May 5, 2014

Language Arts Extravaganza +Technolgy

Ever since my classroom went to 1:1 with iPads in January, I have been looking for ways to excite my students about learning. I want/wanted for my students to see how learning can connect them to the world around them. That learning takes place everywhere and at any time.  

My iPad coach, +Brent Catlett, has encouraged me to stay connected to the world through +Twitter and Google+ communities. I periodically would search through communities that I had joined. I would see ways other classrooms connected with classrooms across the US and in other countries too. So, I found a classroom looking to connect and do a project and I finally jumped on board and responded. I got "connected" to another classroom in Grimes, Iowa, and we got started on a reading, writing and art project. 

The project was to read the book, Boy + BOT, by Ame Dyckman. The book is about a boy, his robot and their adventure. Cute read! Then students in each class designed their own robot. The other teacher, +Mindy Schoop and I, electronically sent pictures of the robots to each other. Next, we assigned partners and students got busy writing an adventure story for their new robot picture. 

Since we are 1:1, it made it a lot easier for each student to have a color copy of their new robot. I sent them their picture and they were able to look at it while creating their adventure story. 
         We spent the next few days writing and editing stories.  

The final part of the plan was to read the stories via a Google Hangout. We arranged the first hangout to meet each other and check out the computer logistics. It worked well, so the plan went forward.  

It took two additional hangouts for each student to 
read their robot adventure story. 

Overall, this was a great experience! It was cool to meet other 2nd graders. Students got to read, write and draw. They also worked on their speaking and listening skills. It was a Language Arts extravaganza with a technology twist!

I am not sure I would have even thought of or known how to do this activity unless +Brent Catlett had not become an integral part of my teaching and my classroom. This only happened due to the iPad Academy. Being part of the iPad Academy has shown me many new ways to improve the way I teach. It just shows how something new can inspire a teacher, which then passes on the excitement and enthusiasm to the students. My students want to do more connecting. I know this activity will be an experience they will remember from their year in second grade.  I know I will start connecting with other classrooms in August next year and not wait until April! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

iShare iPad Parent Day

     The date was set and the invitation was made. It was finally time for my iPad parent meeting. My students and I were both extremely excited to share all of our iPad work and learning with our parents. I can't remember a day when I was so nervous and excited at the same time. Parents come to class parties, field trips and to conferences. They don't usually come and spend and hour in class watching their child during school. And on this day, they would be watching their child show his/her learning in a new way -- with an iPad.

     Our event got started right after lunch. Everyday after lunch my students complete something we call our "Afternoon Think Sheet." So today was no different. Students opened up their iPad and pulled up the Afternoon Think Sheet in Notability. The think sheet is a combination of word work, math and science. Before the iPads in class, students did the same activity in a notebook with paper and pencil. It takes about 5 minutes and is a great review of everyday skills.

     Next, students and parents had a little fun with the iPad. They went into Photo Booth and took some pictures together. Students were able to show their parents how they could blur images, add crazy effects and distort parts of the pictures. They had to save at least one picture for an activity at the end of our iShare Day. 

     After the pictures, we started an interactive math activity. My students just finished up units on fractions and geometry. For a fun review, I created some questions and pictures in an App called Geoboard. I then created a QR code for each picture, printed them out and posted them throughout the classroom and in the hallway. Students used a QR code reader App called I-nigma to access the picture link to each picture. Students opened the link, answered the question and recorded their answer on an answer sheet. Then they had to use one of my favorite Apps StickAround to solve a puzzle with the answers on the answer sheet.  When students use more than one App to complete an assignment we call that App Smashing. Parents really enjoyed watching their child flip in and out of the different Apps to solve the answers to the questions. They were impressed by the ease and expertise their child displayed using the iPad to demonstrate their math knowledge. Plus it was fun too!    

Pic Collage of Math Question pictures made in Geoboard App
Screen Shot of the StickAround Math QR Code Puzzle
     The next activity was to complete a project in Pic Collage. Students had to create a collage of pictures for our current science topic, Natural Resources. They had to find images/pictures of ways that people use the natural resource of plants and trees. This App allows students to use real-life pictures in their project. I saw several students pass the iPad to their parents and teach their parents how to use this App. I really enjoyed watching the parents work with their child. 

     As students finished up, I encouraged them to go into KidBlog and co-author a post with their parents. I told them to upload their crazy photo from Photo Booth too.  This was also a way to show their parents that they can follow, read and make comments to their child's blog from home. 

     The very last part of the iShare iPad Day was a question and answer time for parents. My students went to the Media Center and my amazing iPad Coach +Brent Catlett and I were able to talk with parents.  Many great comments were made and lots of question were asked. I feel that all parents left excited about the opportunity their child has had this year with using iPads in class this year.

     Overall, it was huge success.  Parents got to work with their child and see many different ways we use the iPad as a tool for our learning.  I couldn't have asked for a better turn-out or response from the parents. These are the other pictures that I took of our exciting day together.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My blogging is so far behind, but I have been busy moving forward with using iPads in my classroom.  So here is the update on my classroom...

I had an amazing opportunity to attend Edcamp Omaha on March 22nd. Thanks to +Josh Allen and +Kristina Peters for organizing such an amazing day of fun and learning. I was able to attend many session about topics of my interest.

I began my day in a session led by the one and only +Brent Catlett. His session was like a "Speed Dating" experience but technology style.  I was able to talk to passionate educators about Apps that they were using and I got to share about things I was doing too. It was a totally reciprocal fast paced session. I even got to see some Google Glass! That was way cool!

Next, I went to a session about App Smashing led by +Craig Badura and +Heather Callihan. They showed me some amazing new Apps that could be "smashed" together for students to create a final finished project. They showed +30hands, Zoobe, Funny Movie Maker and +Pic Collage. I have tried and used all these Apps in the classroom since attending this session. I can't believe how much my students love to make projects in +Pic Collage. We have used +Pic Collage in Health, Science and Social Studies. Students have made a nutritional meal collage, a collage of Goods and Services and a collage of Natural Resources.  We have used +30hands to explain condensation and evaporation and to also explain area and perimeter. We have smashed all sorts of Apps together to enhance our learning. Had I not attended this session, I would have missed learning about some great new FREE Apps!

After lunch, I attended a session lead by a co-worker of mine, +Michelle Boyce. She shared her wonderful story of changing her typical classroom to an Agile Classroom. I want to take some of her ideas and apply them to my classroom. I would like to have more "soft spots" for students to use in my classroom, just have to think more on it and then make the changes needed.

Overall, I left EdCamp Omaha with some amazing ideas and even more excitement for teaching. The 1:1 iPad model my district is using has revived my desire to teach. Even though I have only had the iPads for about 3 months, I couldn't imagine not having them now. I feel like I am an even more effective teacher than ever before. And most of all, my students are engaged in learning, working together, and being creative.  Excited teacher = excited students!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Words Their Way iPad Style

Next year my school district will be using Words Their Way for spelling curriculum. I have been piloting WTW since November. It took me a while to adjust my spelling instruction and figure out some management issues. I believe WTW is an effective way to differentiate spelling for students. I am excited to keep using it with my students next year too.

So when my classroom became a 1:1 iPad classroom in January,  I began to think about ways I could use the iPad for different WTW activities. I created an iTunes U Course with Pages. Students open the iTunes U Course in Notability which gives them the opportunity to write and draw and complete the activities with their Word Sort for the week on their iPad. The WTW Journal is laid out so that students can chose from a variety of activities to practice their spelling words. They can then upload the completed work to their Google Drive for viewing by myself or their parents. It's also nice because it is virtually paperless!

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with members of my district's iPad Academy. (Other teachers that are also 1:1 iPad Classrooms) WTW was being discussed and I shared my WTW Journal with many of the teachers. They encouraged me to share my work in my blog, so that's what I decided to do! Sharing this information also made me realize how many skills my young students have learned to do on their iPad. I guess I just never realized how much "app smashing" we do on a daily basis. Way to go 2nd graders!

Here are what some of the activities look like in my WTW Journal.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Virtual Valentine Project

It seems like I have been unplugged a little bit lately, but its really just been the complete opposite. This blogpost is going to fill you in on what I have been working on with my students and the iPads the past week.

Back in January, I saw a projected in a Google Community about Virtual Valentines. I read the information and thought it sounded like something fun and educational to do with my students. So, I signed up and was assigned a class from Round Rock, Texas. The guidelines were to find the distance from city to city in kilometers and make any connections you wanted. So off we went to discover!

We got the iPads busy learning some basic ways to search for information on the Internet. Then we organized the information we found and picked the important things we wanted to share. We looked for connections we could make. Our 2nd grade Social Studies curriculum is all based on communities. What better way to share what we know about where we live, than to tell someone who doesn't live here! The question became... How is Round Rock like Bellevue and how is it different? We also just learned about landforms in social studies, so we found the features of Round Rock.  We used Google Earth to look at the land and to get a real picture of how Round Rock looks. My students noticed that many of the houses had swimming pools in the backyards. We then had a discussion about how the weather is different from place to place.  Each day we searched for information brought about new discussions. My students were engaged, motivated and enthusiastic about learning!

The last part of the project was to share about your city and what you learned with your partner class. We used our Notes on the iPad and wrote down what we were going to say. Then used the camera to video our information and found some pictures using Google Images. Last, we put all the videos together in iMovie and have a finished project to share.

I would definitely do a project like this again. We incorporated reading, writing, math, social studies and technology all together.  And it was fun!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Good... The Hard... and The Possibilities

Well its been just over a week since my classroom went to a 1:1 iPad classroom. We have had a lot of feelings during this week. We have been excited, confused, busy, amazing, engaged, loud and sometimes lost. But overall it has been a fantastic educational experience!

The Good...
What have we been doing?

We have been creating, learning, sharing and teaching... Antonyms and landforms in Popplet, journaling and spelling in Notability, math problems in Screen Chomp, teaching Screen Chomp to 5th graders (thanks +Michelle Boyce), and on Friday, +Brent Catlett, my outstanding, motivating iPad Coach, helped us learn a little in Tellagami. I know that is only 4 Apps, but each App has so many steps and features for students to learn. I am very impressed with how my students have been able to tackle these tasks and they are not the least bit intimidated! Kids are the best!
Popplet - Antonyms by Clara
Popplet - Landforms by Hawk

The Hard...

There have been some bumps along the way! My students and myself have had to make changes. Changes in our schedule... Things seem to take a little longer than I'm used to. We are having to be flexible and sometimes do social studies in the morning, math at a different time and we actually forgot to go to specials on Monday because we were working on the iPads. I've needed help too! I had several conversations with members of the +iPad Academy members this week. I am glad I'm not doing this alone. The help has been so useful, motivating and unlimited! So thanks to those who have listened to me! I know things will get easier... and I need to have patience... and I need to go slow. I have to lay the foundation, set the expectations and teach students how to navigate and use the Apps on the iPad. These steps are vital and eventually things will go back to a normal pace. 

The possibilities... are endless! 

I need to keep remembering that! I am very excited for the upcoming week. I plan to have students continue to work in the Apps we have learned. I want them to improve on the content of their work. I know things will get easier as we go and that I have a great support network when I need it! I also have 21 eager little 2nd graders that inspire me the most. That's what this is all about... my students and their learning. Anything is possible with the right attitude!

Friday, January 24, 2014

iPads Are Here!!!

The anticipation is finally over. My class received their iPads on Wednesday. It has been a busy, exciting and not always perfect three days. 

My students have done a great job! They are so eager to learn new Apps and help each other. I am amazed at how quickly they have been able to learn to navigate on the iPad. They chomp, swipe and do a two finger pinch with ease. They love using a stylus which surprises me too!

On the first day, my wonderful iPad coach, +Brent Catlett, got us all started. He talked to my students about how our class would be using the iPads. He walked the class through the parts of the iPad, the buttons, ways to navigate, safety, and then we got started. They learned to copy, paste, take photos, use Photo Booth, change their wallpaper and use Skitch. This was all in about an hour! It was amazing to watch and assist.  

Then, I was left alone! I kind of felt like a 1st year teacher again. But that was only for a moment. In the afternoon, I introduced Popplet and walked them through a project that we titled, "All About Me." It was really fun to see them create their first project on the iPad. They ended the day publishing a blog in Kidblog about our first day with the iPads.

Day two was a lot like day one. We reviewed everything we learned and did on the iPad. Then, I introduced a new App called Screen Chomp. They wrote down math problems and solved them. They liked recording themselves explain and solving the problems. Then were able to watch the replay of the short video. It was also the 100th day of school so we started making a list of 100 things we learned on the iPad. The list kept growing throughout the day. Next, I thought a game would be a good change of pace. I showed them Spelling Monsters. They had to enter their spelling words and then could choose from 3 games to play.  Coach Catlett stopped by in the afternoon. He taught the class how to find images on Google and save them to the camera roll. We searched for pictures of landforms. Another fun day learning!

On day three, I introduced an iTunes U course. The course is something that will replace a morning routine. My class fill outs a Daily Think Sheet that encompasses a lot of skills related to reading, spelling and math. They learned to open the iTunes U course and export it to Notability so that they can fill it out on the iPad. So, then Notability had to be introduced and taught. I'm hoping they remember all the steps on Monday! In time, I know they will. Next, we learned about how to write a good comment on a blog. They then left comments on another classes' blog page. We ended the day creating another project in Popplet using the landform pictures from yesterday.

As I read over my blog, I am very happy with all that we were able to accomplish in just 3 days of school. There were a few mis-haps with some Apps, a few warnings for not following directions and some technical issues. But the learning, excitement and possibilities far out weigh any of the small problems encountered!

Here is a short video of all the iPad action in class!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's Almost Time...

It's finally January and my excitement is bursting at the seams. My class will be receiving our iPads some time this month. Today upon their arrival back from Christmas break and an extra "extreme cold" day off from school, one of the first questions asked was, "Do we get our iPads today?" I had to tell them, "No, but very soon I hope." They were so cute about it!

Thinking about using iPads has really encompassed my mind recently. I spent a lot of time over break reading blogs, online articles, watching YouTube videos and searching/trying out different Apps about using iPads in an elementary classroom. Lots of advice was given and suggestions were made. It really just further pumped up my excitement and started a little build up of anxiety about the task ahead of me too.

I know that my wonderful iPad Academy coach @catlett1 will help me with any issues. I will also have a great team of teachers (#FVFirebirds) who will be embarking on this journey with me to bounce ideas with.

So the time is almost here. I am super excited to use the iPad to support my district curriculum and spark a lot of creativity in my students. We even wrote New Year's Resolutions in class today. My resolution is to find ways to make learning fun for my students. I have been given a new, exciting tool to use to enhance my current ways of instruction and change the way my students share their learn. It's truly an exciting point in my teaching career.