Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Gotta love a good sale! Thanks to my Twitter friend Traci Pilz for this find. I've been waiting for Monster Squeeze to go free again and not only did she find it but also found that many of McGraw-Hill's Everyday Math apps are currently free. Many of these are normally $1.99 each. Not sure how long this sale will last for, so if you're interested, jump on this as fast as you can! You can click on the picture to access the sites

As a first grade teacher my kiddos used Monster Squeeze and Addition and Subtraction Top It. My boys have also used Baseball Multiplication and Equivalent Fractions at home.

For my district colleagues, I did put in a request for Monster Squeeze, Addition Top It, Subtraction Top It, and the Multiplication Baseball apps. Hopefully they will get purchased before the sale ends.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ho Ho Ho! Epic Pals December is Ready to Go!

Ho Ho Ho! 
#EpicPals December is ready to go!

Click on the EpicPals banner above or on either of the images of this month's book selections below to access the #EpicPals GoogleDoc (both the primary and intermediate versions are on the same doc- just scroll down to page 2 for the Intermediate version). As always, thank you to my Twitter buddy, Bobbie Hopkins (@bhopteacher) who works to create the intermediate version of #EpicPals each month. Thanks Bobbi!!
December's Primary Version
December's Intermediate Version
*Special Project*
I'm trying something new this month with one of our books, Memoirs of an Elf. On the Padlet board, I've left a special direction for kiddos to use page 21 as a springboard to this question:
 What are some other clever and creative ways that Santa can get Tugboat back home? Share your idea by drawing a picture (digital or on paper) to share with everyone and post it here or mail it to: Mrs Malchow. 
I've left my school mailing address on the Padlet board and would LOVE it if you could send your students' creations to me or email me any digital creations (please include first name and state).
If you're mailing your submissions, please have them in the mail by Fri, Dec 18th so I receive them before school is out for the holiday break. If you're going to send them digitally, I'll take them right up until Christmas Eve- sjmalchow@pulaskischools (dot) org
My intent is to then create an iMovie with all of the submissions and share it out with everyone via the blog and Twitter. I will share the completed iMovie along with January's new EpicPals selections. I thought this might be a neat way to come back after our holiday breaks and see what others have contributed and shared based on a common story. I hope that you and your class will take part!! Please let me know if you have any questions!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Need some additional information about EpicPals? Want a few tips and tidbits to get it set up in your room? If so, head over the the #EpicPals page at the top of the blog for additional information.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hand Pollinators

Is your class studying engineering concepts? Have your students created their own hand pollinators as part of their study?

Use this checklist/poster with your students to help guide them through taking a picture of their hand pollinator, recording their thoughts and reflections and then uploading to Seesaw to share their learning with their parents.

You can find this resource on my TPT store for free.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kahoot your way to Thanksgiving this week

Have a few gaps in your schedule this week? Looking for some ideas that are still academic but tie-in with Thanksgiving? Want to tackle a Kahoot with your kiddos? 

Here a couple of Kahoots that I've made/done with my kiddos in the past that were tied in with a couple of the stories I always shared with my classes.

Read Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey. This is a great story that follows the cadence of Twas the Night Before Christmas with a typical Dav Pilkey silly side. 

Don't have the book? You can also watch it on YouTube: or access it through this SafeShareTV link:

After enjoying the story use this Kahoot:

Here's another of my Thanksgiving favorites-
Read Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano (I always read this in conjunction with our disguising turkey project

As you're doing the Kahoot, take time after some of the questions to discuss finding evidence in the text. Have students use the text to locate their evidence. 

Use this Kahoot quiz:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

How do you want to utilize iPads?

 I recently presented a day long workshop for elementary teachers and asked them to post what they wanted from the apps that they utilized in their classrooms on a Padlet board. I was extremely excited to see that the transformation from skill-based app use to purposeful, daily use for learning, creating and parent involvement was something that these teachers were realizing needed to happen.

iPads are a PHENOMENAL tool and so often, are underutilized in our classrooms due to our lack of knowledge, time, or the perception that our students are too young to handle the creation-based apps and collaborative aspect that iPads can bring. 

As a former 1st grade teacher, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that even our youngest students can handle these skills! My first graders never ceased to amaze me with how they handled the challenges I put in front of them. Every time I thought we reached the pinnacle of what was developmentally appropriate they proved me wrong. 

Please don't short change your students by handing them an iPad to "play on" during Daily 5. Skill-based apps certainly have a time and place and can be a great addition to pieces of our curriculum for short term practice but the true power happens when your students can use the ipad as a TOOL and show what they know, showcase their learning and share that knowledge with others. 

I often times have people tell me that that transformation just isn't possible with limited devices and unfortunately I often times am not the one that they will believe when I tell them it is totally possible as I was fortunate to be 1:1. I may not be able to say it from my own practice, but I can tell you that I have been in classrooms that only have 5 devices or use a shared cart of devices that are making these transformational shifts in their students' learning. Angela Gadtke, a former kindergarten teacher from MN (now Seesaw employee extraordinaire), was one of these teachers. As I followed her on Twitter and then had the privilege to meet her at TIES and talk with her in person I realized even more the great things that were happening in her classroom with five and six year olds. Yes, FIVE AND SIX. It can be done my friends!!! Does it take hard work, creativity and perseverance? You bet! Will it be worth it in the end? Oh my, YES!!!!!  I challenge you to see out those that you know are transforming the learning landscape in their classrooms and follow them on Twitter or if they're in your building, find some time to stop in and spend a few minutes in their room to see what they and their students are doing. Transformation happens in small steps, and this is a simple step to take on the journey.

Another resource I encourage you to take a peek at is the book, Innovate with iPad by Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen. Here's the website with more information about the book. For more amazing ideas/information, check out Karen's blog and Kristen's blog. I also wrote about this book in a previous blog post.

And here's 1 more resource you should check out from fellow ADE, Ryan Wiggins (@1stgradetech). He's written a book, Highlighting What You Can Do With 1 iPad in K-2, which is available for free in the iBooks store. Check out his website for even more ideas and inspiration.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Epic! just released an Epic update!!

Epic has done it again! Yesterday they release an update with several new features/enhancements, but the one that I am most excited about it  Voice Search. Students now have the ability to click on a microphone in the search bar and and say the title of the book or topic they are looking for. This is going to be such a game changer for our youngest learners as their writing ability will no longer be a hindrance when trying to independently use Epic!                                                                                 I tried this new feature out yesterday and searched for alligators as well as Robert Munsch and was succesful finding books with both searches. I am so excited to see the positive impact this will have on not only our youngest students, but even our upper grade students who struggle with their writing skills.
Thank you Epic for always listening to teachers and their requests! This will definitely have a lot of us jumping for joy and doing a happy dance!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BreakoutEDU rocks!

Have you ever participated in a BreakoutEDU?

 The 5th graders in one my buildings had their first exposure to this innovative style of learning! In order to be successful, students had to put their collaborative, problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork skills to the test AND they had to do it in 45 minutes!

Here's a quick video that I put together to showcase the event

If you're interested in learning more- check out the BreakoutEDU website

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am thankful for... PicCollage

Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I truly can say, I don't know where this year has gone. As i reflect back on the past few months I have much to be thankful for including my health, my family, and my new job-which I am really enjoying.

As a (former) first grade teacher, we often spent some time discussing the things we were thankful for and incorporated our ideas into some small writing project. Today when I checked my email I found that Melonheadz Illustrating had added their Thanksgiving coloring page freebie to TPT! Melonheadz is one of my favorite clip art creators, and yes, I AM an Official Melonheadz Addict)!!

Click the image above to access the free download on
the Melonheadz TPT store
I soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to send the link on to my colleagues as it was just too cute to not pass along, however,  the more I thought about it, the more I started to think about ways that I could enhance it just a bit by integrating a little technology. 

I thought of two things- both pretty simple, as I didn't want to take too much time out of learning time and wanted it to be something that could be done with a limited number of iPads as well.

My first thought, which is very simple and provides an easy integration idea for our youngest learners, is to simply have your students color the picture and write or draw the things they are thankful for using the template as is. When done, have students take a picture of their paper, upload it to Seesaw, and then use the recording tool to tell their parents the things they are thankful for.

My son and I colored this example together and he then
uploaded and did the PicCollage part
For those comfortable with taking it one step further, I thought of a way to app smash it with PicCollage. Start by having your students color their paper but leave the "I am Thankful for" area empty. When they are done coloring, have them snap a picture and upload it into the free PicCollage app. Once the picture is uploaded, rotate it so it's in landscape format, tap on the picture and touch "Use as Background". Now have students use the text tool, stickers, and web search to add items that they are thankful for to the empty space. When done, save it to the camera roll and upload it into Seesaw where again, students can share it with their parents and use the recording tool to tell more about their items.  You can also upload to Seesaw directly from PicCollage but we have found the workflow easier for students to add it to the camera roll and upload from there. 

Want to print your pics or put them all into a slide show?
After saving to the CameraRoll have students AirDrop their completed projects to you so that all of the pictures are now on your device and you can send to the location you need to print. Need help with AirDrop? Check out this post.

If you use this idea, I'd love to see some of your finished creations. Tweet them out using the hashtag, #DigitalThankfulFor OR tag me in the photo (@smalchow)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Air Drop to the rescue!

Over the past few weeks my students have become increasingly confused when using our library shared iPads. Inadvertently some of the kiddos have clicked on the update to iOs 10 button and now some of the iPads "Slide to unlock" while the newly upgraded iPads require you to press the home button to unlock. Ugh!

With the blessing of our tech department, it was time to get them all switched over to iOs10 so we could have some consistency once again. I also had the grandiose idea wanting to add a little more consistency as all of our screen savers were different as well so I decided to add add a home page screensaver with the number of the iPad and a lock screen image with our iPad expectations. 

With as busy as I've been, I didn't have time to create my own so I went in search of a premade template and found these movie themed backgrounds and Super Hero backgrounds by Erintegration that were fun looking, gender neutral and not too primary looking since our library iPads are used by K-4. Erih has great directions for getting these on to your iPads, but with having to do 43 iPads between my 2 buildings, I needed something faster.... enter Air Drop!!!

If you've not used AirDrop, it's a great way to get pictures from one iPad to another quickly and easily which has wonderful benefits when needing to get pics to students to create projects or alleviate image searches for youngers. This is handy when needing to share field trip pictures from one iPad to many or wanting to have your device preloaded with pictures for your word sort, etc. (Side note: AirDrop works on iPad 4s and later and you have to be running iOs 7 or later)

To share content you need to first swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open your control center. Tap on Air Drop and then choose an option- I chose AirDrop: Everyone as the shared iPads are not part of my contacts. (On my personal device, I leave this as Contacts Only and switch to Everyone only when needed) 

Next, go to your photos and tap on the content that you want to share. Once you've made your selections,  touch the sharing arrow in the top, left corner.
After you click on the sharing arrow you will see a list of devices that are available to Air Drop to. Click on the devices you want to share your content with. If you don't see the device you are wanting to send to, make sure that the device is powered on and that the AirDrop settings for that device are also changed to Everyone.

On the receiving iPad you will see a pop up like this one asking if you want to decline or accept the photos. Once you accept, the photos will be placed in your camera roll. Easy Peazy!!  After doing a couple, I found a great way to set my devices up so that I basically had a processing line set up and I was able to get all of the iPads done in about 30 minutes! Awesome! And they look great! The excitement from the kiddos siad it all when they powered them on for the first time and didn't realize what I had done- LOTS of ooohs and ahhhs!!
This also works great in reverse as well.  After sharing this information with my staff, one of the teachers asked if her kiddos could AirDrop their finished detective PicCollages from our shared iPads directly to her teacher iPad rather than sending her an email- guess what? Yup! They sure could and it made things easier for her as she didn't have 15 emails to sort through but rather had all 15 right in her camera roll ready to use as she wished!!!!

Here are the directions in a quick format: