Thursday, November 28, 2013


I've talked about my love for the PicCollage app on several occasions but it truly is a wonderful creation app for first graders to use independently. Last week in math we worked on the topic of capacity. Throughout the lessons we discussed what capacity was and worked with several examples. On one of our math journal pages students were asked to write down other examples of items 
that had capacity. We made it a bit more engaging and authentic by taking pictures of items with our iPads which we then imported into PicCollage. After students finished with their creations, we used Air Server to project our creations onto the Smartboard for all to see and discuss. In my opinion, this ended up being a much more engaging and collaborative way of addressing the 
same learning target. It may have taken us 5-10 minutes longer but I truly believe the learning will last longer having done it this way as well. Overall, taking the pics and creating the collage took us all of 10 minutes! Using Air Server was another story, but it was our first time trying it out as a class- new learning always takes longer.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Doodlecast Pro

So much for being better about blogging... I don't know where this year is going but I have been beyond crazy busy! I'm enjoying having a few days off for the holidays to catch up, relax, and do some long overdue blogging- both reading and writing!

While I was catching up on the blogs I follow I came across the fact that DoodleCast Pro is currently FREE- regularly $2.99 This is one of my favorite apps for having students "Show what they know" It is easy to use and has the ability to record your voice as you draw. One of the reasons I like this app better than Educreations or ScreenChomp is that you can save your videos directly to the camera roll which makes it easy for first graders to then share their creations with my or their parents through email in addition to importing them into iMovie. 

I have used this app to have students share text-to-self connections, create fact family books, and share number stories to name a few. Another nice feature is that you have the ability to create multiple pages easily. Matt Gomez wrote about his use of this app in reading in writing in kindergarten recently on his blog. Check it out here. For those that haven't discovered his blog, stay awhile and check it out... he has many great ideas, tips, and tidbits for technology integration. HIs is one of my main go-to blogs for integration in early primary classrooms.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Spider research

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but in this case, an explanation would probably be appreciated, so here is the story to go with the pictures... FINALLY!!

We have 30/day dedicated to intervention and enrichment in which we take all 90+ of our first graders and group them according to their needs. My group currently consists of 19 kiddos that are reading above grade level for this time of year and so my group is structured as an enrichment group.
My focus last month was on having them read for information. Seeing as my kiddos are reading anywhere from level F - I, I needed text that would be appropriate for all but still allow me to focus on the reading or information objective. To alleviate this issue, I purchase National Geographic's book, Spiders in eBook format through Scholastic and then was able to put it on my iPads using the free Storia app. This was a perfect solution as students were still able to "read" the text but also had the option of having the text read to them if needed.
You can see this groups facts beginning to
be organized on the easel behind them.
While students were "reading" they were give a pack of post-it notes to record their new learning and/or interesting facts on. After we finished recording our facts, students worked with their partners to sort and organize their information into categories of their choice (babies, where they live, what they eat, etc) We had done this once prior as a group when we dug into bats and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with how well they did independently! Once their post-its were organized, they glued them down onto a 12x18 piece of construction paper so we wouldn't have to resort each day.

Last, students used their information to write an informative piece about spiders. This technique worked very well and gave them the resources and information they needed to write from experience and independently in their own words.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Social Skills, Rock Brain, and Sock Puppets

During our social skills time we have been learning about The Unthinkables. This week we learned about Rock Brain. A Rock Brain is someone who gets stuck in their thinking and is unable to move around a problem. 

After our lesson, kiddos worked with a partner to create an exit ticket telling one thing they learned about Rock Brains and/or Super Flex thinking. We used the Sock Puppet app to tell what we learned. This is an easy app for for kiddos to use independently. The free version works well but does have limitations as far as sharing and length of videos. If wanting to save your videos to your camera roll or extend your recording times, you will need to purchase these extras through in-app purchases which unfortunately can be tricky ifusing school accounts.