Tuesday, November 22, 2011

baby steps

Today we began taking the baby steps needed to do our first app to app creation project and the kids, albeit a bit chatty knowing it was the last day before a long break, did a fantastic job.

Looking at it play by play...
We started by locating our new iDress for the Weather app, which I mentioned in yesterday's post, (you never know where the new apps may land when the iTouches are sync'd) and moved them to our home pages so they are next to our other weather app for easy access. We then checked out the app and learned how to take a screen shot. This was a little tricky for some, but after a few tries, they got the hang of it.
Next, we went into the photo app to be sure it had worked and to see where screen shots go when you take them. After this, we opened up our Doodle Buddy apps and learned how to import our screen shot into the drawing program and how to write/draw on them. This is where we ended the day. The iTouches are now happily plugged in for our long break and are awaiting the next step which will require me to spend an afternoon loading in each kiddos email, my email, and their parent's email. A task I'm not looking forward to but it will be well worth it for the payoff that is around the corner.

My kiddos have already begun to exceed my expectations on what they can do. When I applied for this grant, I wanted to show that
1st graders can do these things but instead I am able to show that
1st graders ARE doing these things!!!

I'm excited to share this with others and will have one of my first opportunities the 2nd week of December when all 5 model technology classrooms will be presenting to our Board of Education. From here, 4 of us are heading to the Wisconsin School Board Association Convention to present again. Exciting times!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

app to app creation and sharing

We've officially got usernames and passwords!!!
In our district only grade 2-12 kiddos get usernames and passwords and K and 1 all use the same generic username and password combination... great in a lot of ways when using the lab but not when it comes to wanting to teach kids the way things really are or when wanting to have my kiddos email their creations from the iPads/iTouches. So... I set off to find out if my kiddos can get their own for the sake of the model classroom and viola~ we got 'em!

You might be asking what in the world do I plan to do with them... well I've got several ideas brewing in my head right now (YIKES- run while you can!) 

I wish it were 72- see below for
the real temp here!
First, I DO NOT want my classroom to be only a game-based app classroom, granted, apps have their time and place, but I truly want my kiddos using apps to create and share. SO for starters we have been checking the weather on the SMARTboard as a class for our city as well as that of our Skype buddies. This week, we started doing it on our iTouches. I had the kiddos go into the settings of the weather app and add both of our cities to each of their devices. This was awesome and the kids LOVE the fact that they can check whenever they like.

My next goal is for us to check our weather on the app called idress for the weather. This app provides a
♥bold display of the current temp
♥daily high/low temps
♥clear and beautiful visual presentation of current conditions
♥current and accurate weather conditions provided by WeatherBug

Kiddos will check the weather and the clothes recommended for the temp. We will then take a screen shot of the main page and open it up in the  Doodle Buddy app and kiddos will draw themselves in the appropriate attire for the day's weather. When they are done, they will save their creation in their camera roll and then email me and their parents their picture (hence the usernames and passwords as their iTouches will be set up with their personal accounts)  I think this will be a wonderful start to making our classroom learning more transparent to our parents in addition to giving my kiddos an authentic audience.

This is just the beginning of app to app creation and sharing as I have also found a couple of fantastic apps for writing and for sending e-postcards. More about those later. I'm still working out the kinks on those before introducing them to my class. I know these are just baby steps in the direction of creating and sharing, but with 1st graders and this being my 1st year with 1:1 devices, I think we're heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cross-curricular integration = Cool!

How many of you saw this You Tube video that went viral last year?

Well, it spurred an idea on a much smaller scale. After seeing this, I went to the music teacher and mentioned to him that I would love to collaborate on some sort of  production with our iTouches and that I would be more than willing  to help however possible. Well, it's happening ! We are collaborating to create an iEnsemble for the Christmas concert and we will be performing Feliz Navidad!! Now keep in mind, we are on a MUCH smaller scale, but talk about a bunch of excited first graders. 

Students are learning and practicing how to use several instrument apps on the iTouches and iPads. Today kiddos got the chance to work with these apps and to try-out for an electronic part. More info and pics to come as the project progresses.
Concentrating on playing the congas

Word Work with a Tech Twist

I am working to embed multiple technologies into our Daily 5 Word Work routine to give students a more hands-on, multiple intelligence approach to learning and practicing our high frequency words and our vocabulary words.

Smartboard games

Currently, students have several options available to them and I hope to add more as they are ready.
One of the current options is to use our SMARTboard to play various games that I have created or modified to go along with our weekly high frequency words and our Words Their Way sorts. I created a folder on my desktop that houses each of the files that my students are allowed to use at this time. When I first introduced this option, I modeled how to get into and out of each document, how to minimize what was currently on the board such as our D5 rotations documents, and how to solve little glitches that come up. My students have done a fantastic job of using this area independently. I only allow 2 kiddos on the board at a time.

using Prezi
 Another option, or rather once a week requirement, is using our iPad to review the week's vocabulary words from our reading series. I introduce the words whole group on the SMARTboard using Prezis that I have created. Students then grab an iPad at some point during the week to review our vocab Prezi at their own pace and then write them in their vocabulary notebooks using the Prezi Viewer app which is free!

The other option that my students have is to use their iTouch to work on various sight word based apps. Currently we are using Teach Me 1st grade and Word Bingo by ABCya. I have several other great apps but am introducing things slowly so that students are comfortable problem solving and are able to work independently so that I am able to meet with my guided reading groups.

At one point, I had given each of my students a Word Work 3 In A Row card which I had laminated. It was their job to X off their choice each day and when they got three in a row, they received a small prize. I strategically place my "have-to" areas (Vocab prezis) on the chart so that they would have to do it to get 3 in a row. I have since abandoned this as it was time consuming for the kiddos to go and get their sheet and X things off prior to starting. Not to mention, it was turning into a nightmare for me to manage. We now are checking in on the SMARTboard and kiddos know that if they choose Word Work that they need to pick one of the above options.
As glad as I am to be done with the wonderful idea, I do think that it had its benefits at the beginning of the year in giving my students a visual of all their choices. Will I use these again next year? Hmmm... ask me in the fall... still pondering that one or how I can tweak it just a tad to make it more manageable.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Voki intro

Excitement as the Voki comes together.
This week we learned about Vokis. We spent a bit of time learning the ins and outs of creating Vokis on the SMARTboard as a whole group last week. This week we went to the lab and spent a bit of time exploring and creating before students were asked to create a Voki that looked like themselves. This really got the creative juices flowing.

Totally engaged!

When students were finished, they  were to have their Voki talk by telling their name and something they liked by using the microphone option. We felt this would be the easiest for 1st graders to handle. Unfortunately, we ran into some technology glitches (love technology when it works, but a good lesson for the kiddos to learn... it doesn't always) so.. we'll try that again next time. Seeing as this was an exposure lesson for future projects we won't worry about it.

The kiddos really seemed to enjoy this project, and were thoroughly engaged for the entire time.
Check out a couple of our finished products. Can you see the similarities between the student and the Voki?
A striking resemblance don't you think?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

so sorry

What a CRAZY busy start to the school year! I can't believe it's November already and I am just now feeling like I am starting to get into a little bit of a swing with the Model Tech classroom. I've spent a considerable amount of time looking for apps that fit my curriculum in addition to many that I can use to help modify and reinforce learning for some of my out-of-sync learners.

With the little bit of extra time I've had after all of the other obligations (mentoring new teachers, meetings, new curriculum, meetings, family life, meetings, committee work, and did I already mention meetings?) I've been working to fine tune my classroom blog, The Dog Blog, while also posting regularly to keep parents abreast of all that we are doing in our classroom. Several of the projects we've done are featured, so feel free to stop over for a peek. Parents have been extremely receptive this year and had MANY positive comments at conferences!

My hope is to start  highlighting many of the apps and projects that we've done on this site in the coming days as well in a more teacher friendly format, so please stay tuned!

In the meantime, there are several free Everyday Math apps in the iTunes store though tomorrow, November 11th. See this post to see which ones are available. https://www.mheonline.com/apps