Wednesday, November 14, 2012

...and more PicCollage

The more I use PicCollage, the more I like it and the more ways I can think of integrating it. After our first attempt at PicCollage this year (see below for the  disaster... well maybe not disaster, but not quite how I expected the project to fall apart come together) we tried it again during Spanish and lo and behold, they did FANTASTICALLY! 

Students worked with a partner to explore a website that Senora gave us. To make it easily accessible, we added the link to our class blog. We use our blog as a portal for many sites as it gives kiddos independence as well as providing access to our various sites from home so they can again be independent and/or share with their parents. 

After clicking on the site,students were shown how to navigate the site and how to take a screenshot. They then found 3-5 pictures of animals from CostaRica (1 mammal, 1 bird, and 1-3 others) Student then worked with their partner to PicCollage their 3-5 pictures. This ended up being a 2 day lesson (3o minutes each)- Day 1 we learned how to get to the site from our blog, navigate the sit and find the animals, pinch and zoom in as well as screenshot. Day 2 we finished finding our animals and then did our Pic Collage. Having the background knowledge of using the app once before, my kiddos were literally able to put their collages together in 5-10 minutes including adding their names and title to the collage.

Today I found another use for this app. I put together a picture board for a student to use at home showing the steps for getting ready for school (get up, get dressed, teeth brushed, jacket on). This student and I talked about the picture board and came up with a little ditty to help remember it as well. Then I had the idea of having him pic collage the pics to help him take ownership of what he needed to do. This is what he came up with. 

The uses are endless, and in my opinion, a very valuable option for students to reinforce concepts and showcase their learning.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's raining cats and dogs!

Oh my.... for those of you that know me and my classroom, you already know that I am a dog lover and my room is dog-themed. Well, I couldn't have been more thrilled when I came across my new favorite app, Weather Puppy

We had been using a free weather app as part of our calendar time but I had found that the one we were using had more information than we really needed and the interface was set up in such a way that for 1st graders, it was a bit overwhelming. That being said, the hunt was on to try and find something more 1st grade friendly that was free (big factor) and had all the information that we wanted for our calendar. I currently also use the app, iDress, to check the temperature and then relate that information into what we should be wearing. You can see a previous post here about how we've used this app in our learning.

Weather puppy has been the perfect fit on so many levels (never mind the fact that it's dog themed and it's FREE!!!) I love how the interface is simple and easy to read, the weather symbols match those that we use on our graph, and we get the high/low temps for the day.  My kiddos also love the fact that they can customize their app to have an outdoorsy dog theme or a glamour dog theme. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween and Pic Collage

I think my standard beginning post this year is going to be.... "Sorry I haven't posted in awhile" Gosh, I'm just not sure where time is going? I know it couldn't possibly be working full time, being a mom to 2 active little boys, being on several committees, reviewing apps, and doing staff presentations. I promise to try my best to be better at getting our projects, successful and not, up here for the world to see. Sometimes the worst projects can lead to the best brainstorms!

So here it goes...
This year as part of our Halloween celebration, we did The Candy Corn Bandit project from Abby's The Inspired Apple blog. If you've never checked out her blog, it's a definite "must do" on your ever growing To-do list! The kids had a blast inferring and predicting while following the clues that had been left around our building in hopes of retrieving our stolen jar of candy corn.

To put a tech twist on it, we learned how to use the cameras on our iPads. We discussed many of the basics such as holding still while taking the picture (something that is difficult for many of my munchkins), as well as how to zoom in to get a closer picture. Then as we went in search of our missing candy corn, we took pictures along the way to document the various clues we found. 

Later that day, we learned how to use the app PicCollage. This is a free app that allows the user to import pictures and then crop and rotate them however they'd like to create a collage. I've used this app before with 1st graders with great success so was excited to try it again. So here's where it all falls apart... some of my kiddos did a fantastic job but other's really struggled. In hind sight, I think it was because we had taken so many pictures as many had become shutter happy that the sheer number of pics and the fact that many of them looked so similar became a hindrance. In hindsight, I think next time I'd have them look at their pics first and delete the doubles and ones that didn't turn out and then begin our project. 
I'm a firm believer in trial and error so I'm not saying this project didn't have merit, just needs some fine tuning.
Looking forward to the next time we use PicCollage as I'm sure it will go much better seeing as they now have background information to guide them as well.