Wednesday, January 28, 2015

iMovie Rollout in 4th Grade Science

One of my awesome teachers had really been wanting to integrate iMovie somehow into her Math / Science lessons but was waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so. Last week in passing she was like, "Hey, I want you to come show my class iMovie next week when we build circuits!" Obviously, I was more than thrilled to show her class the awesomeness of this app! Every time we passed in the hallway we would talk about how we wanted it to look, what would be introduced, etc Since it was their very first time using this app (in school), the teacher thought it would be a great idea to use a rubric to help guide students. She decided to create the rubric and I would type up the expectations of what the mini-challenge was all about. Basically in 23 minutes, students had to: take two pictures and label them with the names of the item they were photographing, insert a video explaining how they were making the circuit, creating and inserting a title slide and most importantly, keeping all of this creativity to under 1 minute 30 seconds! We thoroughly explained the basics of iMovie and from there the students began their challenge. To make this project more rigorous for the students, we told them that we neither myself or their teacher were going to help them (with the technology piece.) The students pretty much flipped out at that point, but it wasnt before long until they started relying on their partner to help get them through this task! Sure enough majority of the people finished the task. It was chaotic, but in a good way! Not one person was sitting in their chair, but instead trying to get the "perfect angle" so that they could hear their partner's voice as well as get a good shot of their circuit!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NewsELA Roll Out

For the past few month I have been really trying to integrate technology into English / Language Arts. This has been a big challenge for me because it's not as flexible as math in activities we can do. After talking to a few people and researching it on Twitter, I found out about a service called NewsELA. NewsELA is a site full of current event articles which are VERY interesting! It also tracks the student's reading level over time to see if they are progressing or not via mini quizzes.  To further increase the rigor of the center, students then take what they learn in the article and write about a) thei main idea, b)author's purpose c)why the author wrote used the picture they did. They do this part all in Edmodo! We showed the students how to share their responses with the class so that other students can add feedback to what they had said. It does take a while for students to complete all of this since they are tracking their thoughts, taking a quiz, etc etc. However after interviewing the students, they find these stories and activities really engaging and dare I say.... fun??!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Shooting for the Stars in 1st Grade

I had the opportunity to introduce "Nearpod" to one of our awesome teachers this week. This teacher has excellent classroom management and the kiddos are hungry for technology! (More on Nearpod in a minute.) Last week as we were planning I challenged this teacher to really push the boundaries of what her lesson(s) and activities looked like. I reminded her that I'd be with her and her kiddos every step of the way and would assist in anyway needed! With that said- we had come up with a few awesome ideas that would challenge her, her students as well as myself!

Book Review Library:
A few months ago a few of our teachers across our district were able to network with each other. Since then it's been an amazing ride with these teachers! Both of them trade ideas on what they do in their classrooms. One of the things that we are working on is a Book Review Library in which students will produce book reviews over books that they had read. They are using iMovie for this task. Once the movie is created, they will put it on their teacher's YouTube channel. From there, the teacher and I will work our magic and put it on a Google Site in which other elementary campuses in our district will be able to see and hopefully make an informed decision on a book that they are wanting to read.
This is a huge work in progress that will definitely take the rest of the year but it will sure be rewarding!

Nearpod Rollout:
I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to show this teacher a really sweet app called "Nearpod," She was introducing "objects in the sky" this week. However, instead of just having printables or such, I showed her the power of Nearpod! She immediately fell in love with this app used it for the first time on her own today! I had never heard so many "Ooohhs and Ahhhs" from a class before! The students were absolutely amazed on what they were seeing in front of them! Stars! Clouds! Sun and Moon! It was very "in your face!" The teacher was also thrilled about having "total control" of the student's iPad! I have a feeling that this teacher is going to be using it on a regular basis!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Lots of Stuff Going on in 5th Grade!

This past week I had spent a lot of time in 5th grade! I was so excited for my 5th Grade ELA and Math/Science Teachers because a lot of the activities that we did were ideas originated from the teacher! To get started 5th Grade ELA did their first activity in Edmodo. I know that I talked about Edmodo in the past, but this assignment was actually a graded one. To make this happen, the teacher had them log into their Edmodo accounts and download a .pdf file of a graphic organizer. From there it let us directly export it into Explain Everything in which the students could work on it. Once they were done with their work, they had to screen-shot it in which it would go to the camera roll. Students would then toggle back to Edmodo and turn in their assignment. While this might not sound like a lot, there were actually a lot of steps to make this happen and all of the students were able to successfully turn in their assignment! Better yet, this boosted the teacher's confidence in using Edmodo on a regular basis.

In 5th Grade Math and Science the teacher told me that they had were going to work on plotting points / input and output. My co-worker and I helped her design this lesson and tweaked it to what the teacher needed to get across to the students. Students had to download a pre-made template into Explain Everything and first "warmed up" with basic plotting points. Once students were refreshed on how to plot points, they then had to create their input/output tables in Explain Everything. Students then had to plot points and create a line graph using their points. One they were done, they had to submit it to the T's Google Drive.

In 5th Grade Science, the teacher told me that she wanted to incorporate iMovie again into their experiments. Both the teacher and students REALLY love iMovie. However, me and the teacher talked about how we wanted it to be very structured and decided that using a rubric would be an excellent way to set expectations for the students. Some of the expectations that we had wanted were for students to: keep the movie under 4 minutes long, have titles / text on slides that were introducing something, and to have a minimum of 4 videos and 4 pictures. It was actually interesting to see students take their 8 minute video and find ways to trim it down to 4 minutes! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"I'd Rather Stay and Work on my Project than go to Recess!"

Wow. Where to start?!? There has been so much awesomeness going on at my campus it isn't even funny! To make it better, majority of the ideas have come directly from the teacher! I was there just to help facilitate what was going on.  This blog post contains many more pictures than my usual posts so I will try and tell the story behind each group of pictures rather than do individual blog posts about each one.

The project in the two pictures below are of a 3rd grade teacher who wanted to take an expository text article and have students track their thoughts along with talking about what the main idea the story is.  This teacher had a great idea of having students take pictures of various articles and track their thoughts on the side. Once they were done they had to type the main idea of the article. What makes this task interesting is the fact that they had to save and retrieve their work every day using Google Drive! The final day of this project will include the student talking about the main idea and then exporting it to the T's Google Drive as a video file!

 This next project happened today. I knew it was going to be a great day when my 5th grade teacher told me, "Hey, I want to use iMovie today in my Science Projects." I literally got chills when she told me that! This teacher has progressed A LOT over the course of the year with tech integration! For her to ask me to incorporate iMovie all on her own was a special feeling! In this project students were using play-dough, sand, sludge and all sorts of other things to build glaciers, valleys and other types of landforms. She wanted the students to video each step of the process and have them take pictures of the different steps. I had never seen students so engaged! Literally! I couldn't believe how many perfectionists were in the class! I kept hearing comments like, "How do I crop this video?" or "How do I re-arrange the pictures and video clips?" The awesome thing about this project was the fact that technology played just a small part of the project, yet had such a positive impact in student engagement.  Once the students are done with their videos, they are going to post them on the teacher's YouTube Channel so they can watch later on. Two side notes about this project: when the teacher mentioned the word "iMovie" the student's eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning! The other great moment was that we had students wanting to skip their conference and work on their projects! (I told them after all of this excitement, their teacher needed a break!)

One of the focuses that my 2nd grade teacher and I have been talking about is beefing up his small groups with technology driven activities. We talked about creating word sorts on the iPad to where students can easily move around the words (and eventually recording their voices while they say the word.) Since this class is GT, we gave the word sort list to a student and had them create the template along with typing out the words for the word sort. Today was our first day using this in a small group and the students really enjoyed it. I think the plan is to start recording voices next week. 

Today we also rolled out Edmodo to our 5th Grade ELA kiddos. For some odd reason, I have always been very resistant/hesitant to use Edmodo. There was just something about the interface that I thought might be too difficult for the students to use. Needless to say, I was wrong!! In small groups, I met with students to set up their accounts. Today I followed up again with them to see if they remembered their log-ins. Sure enough, most of them did! I had the teacher post a "poll" so that students could practice replying to one another (this totally blew up her mailbox!) Students picked it up pretty quickly which was awesome! Next week, I think she plans to post her first official assignment on their for the kids. Props to this teacher! She has been doing some really awesome things and I know that she is going to progress even farther over the next few months!

In 4th Grade, I have a teacher who is about to start her Master's in EdTech in a few weeks. This teacher is already comfortable designing her own lesson templates in Explain Everything and wanted to do everything on her own. She just wanted me to help facilitate the technology which was more than okay with me! She was teaching her students about comparing fractions with different denominators. She put together about an 8 page template which explained the process. Students then had to work out a few problems on their own in partners. Once finished, they had to submit their work via Google Drive. Major props to this teacher for putting this all together all on her own!

In 1st and 2nd Grade, they are covering weather. We had talked about the idea of students having to research cities on Once they identified the city, they had to look for information (city name, weather condition, and temperature.) From there, they used Pic Collage to record this information and take a picture of what the weather condition was (ie: cloudy, sunny, etc) The students really enjoyed this project! We had to go back and tweak how this was done in 1st grade, but the second time was a charm! I think the students really enjoyed the challenge of having to multi-task!