Monday, September 15, 2014

Dot Day Success!

Our Dot Day was a success today! To help get my students excited about the day, each of them got this sheet on their desks this morning. Their job was to color a picture inside of "the dot".

Once they finished their coloring, they opened an app called, colAR Mix on their iPads and pointed their iPad at their image. As they held their iPad on their sheet, the center area came to life in a 3D way. You can click on the link above to download this free app and try it yourself. There are other neat pictures to color and use the app on as well. My 2nd grade son has printed some of the sheets to practice his spelling words on. He's always excited to see what it will do. This has definitely been a motivator for him! (Whatever works!!!)

 After watching the story on YouTube, we used the Drawing Pad app to create digital dot pictures. Here are our finished digital dot art pieces. Kiddos not only learned how to navigate the new app Drawing Pad, but also how to use a stylus, how to take a screen shot and how to save their images to their camera roll today as well. It was a fantastic day of embedding technology into our learning!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Dot Project

Are you looking for a collaborative digital project to start your year that doesn't take much prep? If you answered yes, I've got just the place for you to start! It's The Dot Project!

Monday, September 15th is International Dot Day- a day to celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration. Yes, I know that tomorrow is the 15th which doesn't leave you much time, but remember... I said it doesn't take much prep?!

If you are interested in participating in this project, go to the The Dot Club to sign up.  You simply need to share the book by Peter Reynolds called, The Dot and then find a creative way to help make YOUR mark. They have a fantastic PDF that gives lots of ideas, may of which are as simple as taking a piece of paper and having your class create their own dot pictures. Can't get much simpler than that!

My class will be participating this year and will be enjoying the book via the YouTube video below. (I've made even less prep for you by embedding it below) We will then talk about creativity, self expression, and taking risks.  As part of this project, we will then create our own dot projects and see what just a dot can turn into when it comes from different people's imaginations. We will be doing our projects digitally on our iPads using either the Doodle Buddy app (free) or the Drawing Pad app ($1.99 or 99 cents if volume purchased). 

Once we finish our projects, we will share them with our parents via our classroom blog. We also plan to Skype with our buddy class from Canada and share our creations with them as well.

So... what are you waiting for? Go sign up and take part in this year's International Dot Day! The video is below and everyone has paper to do pictures with. If you're interested in connecting with a class after the project, we'd be happy to hook up with you as well!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

iPad licenses and PicCollage

Well it's day 5 of the school year and we are digging further into iPad use than we ever have by this time of year. I truly think a big part of it is the amount of technology that kiddos have available to them at home as well as the digital native aspect of our young learners and their willingness to take risks.  

We are already well into taking pictures with our iPads and using the app PicCollage. We've also been working hard to earn our iPad licenses by knowing how to carry our iPad, how to adjust the volume, where to put them when they need charging, how to enter and exit apps, and more. Half of our class has earned their licenses and the privilege of creating on their iPads in some of the fun areas in our classroom such as the stools, crate chairs, etc. 

This week we discussed how to take pictures. We learned how to zoom in and out, how to change our vantage point by turning the iPad horizontal versus vertical and what makes a good picture. The kiddos did a fantastic job and it was neat to see the pictures they took as their eye for a great picture is often different than what we might expect. I made sure to go around and conference with each of the kiddos regarding their pictures to find out what they thought (were they blurry, too far away, or maybe didn't show what they wanted?) If they had some that didn't meet the criteria or their expectations, we discussed how to delete those pics and redo them.
After finishing our pictures of the items in our Me Bags, we learned how to import our pictures into the app, PicCollage. This is a free app that allows you to collage your pictures, add text and stickers, and change fonts and backgrounds. It's a powerful, but very easy app to use.  

Each of the kiddos then moved and re-sized their pictures to create their own unique version of their Me Bags. They also learned how to add text, change the font, color and background of the fonts!  We will be sharing these with parents as soon as we have our email accounts set up.

Pandora in the classroom

Just wanted to share a fantastic find for those of you the listen to Pandora in the classroom. I love listening to Pandora but have found that the ads are annoying to the point of not wanting to have it on if students are in the room for fear of what the ad content may be. Well, there is a fantastic, easy, awesome solution... and it's as easy as a quick click on a Google extension. It's called, Pandora Audio Ad Remover. After adding it to Google Chrome, you simply click on the icon in your extension list and Pandora will pop up in a separate window with no ads whatsoever!! It also removes the audio ads!! All the shows up is the album cover, the station name, and your thumbs up/down and play/pause.

I am absolutely loving this and have loved being able to have Pandora on now while we are writing. One of favorite stations to listen to is Lorie Line. I love instrumental stations when we are trying to work as kiddos are able to still focus on their work. 

I definitely recommend giving this a try for yourself. If you do, let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite station that you listen to with your class? Comment below and let us know!