Friday, December 13, 2013

The Giving Tree & The Best Christmas Gift

We read "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein and "Auntie Clause" by Elise Primavera a couple weeks ago.  Since then we have been talking about giving a lot, I especially wanted to focus on what we could do for each other at school.  We made a list of occasions when we were being giving.
  • giving respect when others were sharing their thinking
  • giving attention when others were talking
  • giving others what they want (sharing)
  • giving time and patience in line
  • giving kind words to each other
  • giving help when others needed
It was so great to see my students realize it didn't take much to give to others.  It was not all about toys and money!  When we were giving, it made all of us feel good inside.  We extended our thinking to home as well.  What can we give at home?  I'm pretty sure every parent will appreciate a simple gift of love, help, and kindness at home.  We drew pictures of our ideas using the app called Drawp.  

It was our first time using the app.  I like the simplicity and color options.  My students were able to create and save their drawings on the camera roll with ease.  To record their voice and publish on their blog, they used the app 30hands. (Some students drew pictures and recorded all in 30hands.)
**Click the image to play.

I got this project idea from my co-worker/team mate.  When I started brainstorming out loud on Twitter, Melvina Kurashige (@mkurashige) and Karen Lirenman (@KLirenman) joined the conversation.  I love collaborating with these brilliant ladies!! Melvina's sixth grade students made leaves for my students to display our ideas.  They also wrote what they are grateful for on the leaves and flowers to share with us.  My first graders were so excited to receive a package from Hawaii!



 Karen had a great idea of making this tree project more interactive.  I created a QR code for each student's blog post so that other students can view and leave comments.



We also talked about what could be the best Christmas gift from their parents.  What if they could not buy any toys?  After the initial devastation, they realized that they will still be happy as long as they have their parents' love.  We made a card that shows how much their parent's love means to them.

When flip open the present, this is what they see.

 We also made this project into augmented reality using the app Aurasma.  The gift picture is the trigger image.  The students recorded themselves talking about the best gift.  If the parents have a devise with the app, they can view the video on the card.  If not, they will still have this wonderful card!! I will also email the link of video clip.

If you have Aurasma app, tap http://auras.ma/s/HKP9Q to view my Aura.  Otherwise this is what you would see.


Pretty lovely, right?  Our classroom is filled with holiday spirit!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Global Read Aloud Projects

Thanks to Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp for organizing a great project, the Global Read Aloud. http://globalreadaloud.wikispaces.com/

My class participated in the Eric Carle author study. My students loved Eric Carle's art and stories, and I loved discussing the central message of each story with my students.  We were excited to see another class joined our discussion on Twitter!



GRA also gave us opportunities to connect and collaborate with other classes.  The classes we connected were:
Karen Lirenman's grade one students in Canada(@KLirenman) "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
Amanda Cavin's first grade students in Georgia (@CavinAmandacav) "The Rooster off to See the World"
Melvina Kurashige's sixth grade Japanese class in Hawaii (@mkurashige) "Where Are You Going?"

We met them via Skype to read the stories together as a kick-off for a collaboration projects.  Ms. Kurashige's sixth graders read the story "Where Are You Going?" in Japanese to us.  My students' eyes were as round as could be to hear a different language!  We tried reading the story in Japanese after the Skype call:)  We want to know more words in Japanese.  We hope to connect with them for another Japanese lesson in the future!

With Karen and Amanda's classes, we co-created books that followed the pattern of Eric Carle's books. Each student created a page and saved them in the shared Dropbox files.  We put the pages together on iMovie.

One of six "The Very Hungry Student" books
**App used by my students for this book; Explain Everything 

One of four "First Graders Off to See the World" books

**Apps used by my students for this book; PicCollage, Doodle Buddy & Explain Everything 

The students are so proud to be such wonderful authors and illustrators.  Collaborating with other classes made this experience even more special.  I'm so fortunate that I have gotten to know these great teachers through Twitter.  When I approached them with these projects, they were so open to discuss via Skype or over GoogleDoc, and bounce some ideas around to make it successful for all students.  I am looking forward to future collaboration!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Augmented Reality

I have been wanting to use augmented reality in my classroom quite some time, and we finally did it! I have to say that I am pretty excited, and so are my students.  We used an app called Aurasma for this project.
We have been studying about plants last few weeks.  Last week we learned about the importance of plants.  First we watched a short clip that explained some of the ways people and animals use plants.  As the students watched the clip, they partnered up and recorded the ideas on the Padlet board.  (We used a QR code for an easy access to the Padlet.)  We also read a few books to learn more about why plants are important to us.



After collecting information, the students worked with the same partner to draw a picture, which became a trigger image for the Aura.  Then the students recorded themselves explaining why plants are important to us.  We could have made a video within the app Aurasma, but since this was our first time video recording ourselves, we decided to use the camera app.

Here are some trigger images.  If you have the app, tap http://auras.ma/s/HKP9Q to view my Aura.




If you don't have the app, this is one of the overlay videos that you would see on your devise.

The students enjoyed learning from each other's Auras.  What I liked about using augmented reality was how easy it was for my first graders to share their learning.  At this point, it is so much easier for them to talk than write down sentences.  It also allows us to add a bit of personal touch.  For example my students used their own drawing as a trigger image.  I like the app Aurasma since we can create all on an iPad.

One question you may ask... augmented reality or QR code?
Here are my thoughts:

Augmented Reality

  • more personalized
  • easy to share video clips
  • first graders can create the whole project
  • need the app and join channel to view
  • need to keep a devise over a trigger image (could be challenging with first graders at times:) **You can double tap on the video once launched then it will stay on even if you walk away. 
QR code

  • scan and go! No need to stay at the code.
  • any app would work
  • easy to share the codes
  • more steps to create (especially video clips)           

My answer is... it depends on the activities! I can see us using both augmented reality and QR codes in our classroom in the future!  If you have some great ideas, please share them with me!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

International Dot Day

Our class had a blast celebrating International Dot Day!
We made a dot together....

made a school logo with dots...

tried Pointillism or designing dots...
(the students had choices of using water colors, markers, crayons or iPad app)
made a sculpture using the Dots candy...
(Each student posted their creation on their Kidblog.)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Publishing Animal Research


Our animal inquiry unit has been bringing a lot of wondering, reading, researching on iPad, talking, discussing, writing and more talking in my classroom!

After going through an inquiry process as a whole group once, I let my students go!! They have been mostly working in a small group or in a pair to research.

This week we are onto the third animal of their choice!  This time, I asked them to publish what they researched on the iPad.  

First, the students searched the images to use in their book on Google.  I showed them how to do advanced search to find the images that are categorized as "free to use share or modify." They saved the images in the photo album on their iPads.  

They used Skitch app to label the body parts.


I suggested two apps for creating book pages. 

Pic Collage --- The pages have more traditional book look. The students enjoyed changing the background. 
                                

Haiku Deck --- This was our first time using this app.  I love it! You can actually search images within the app. I think the pages look stunning! 


After completing all the pages, they saved the pages to the photo album/camera roll (They took a screen shot of Haiku Deck pages). uploaded them to 30hands app to record their voices.


                          


                          

They all posted the book on their blog.  We had a little viewing session and learned from each other.

Here is a link to our class blog. http://kidblog.org/MrsDeGrootsClass2012-2013/

Monday, May 13, 2013

Skype! Skype! Skype! Twitter!

My class has been having a blast learning math with Karen Lirenman's  (@KLirenman) class via Skype and Twitter.  A few weeks ago when we were studying 3D shapes, our students exchanged shape riddles through Skype calls.  Last week, we started asking and answering math story problems to each other on Skype.



Ms. Lirenman's class was also Tweeting math story problems.  My class thought it was great to be able to Tweet back the answers.  But then, one student asked me why we couldn't Tweet a problem also.  Well, that was an excellent question!  Of course!!





So...what's so great about Skype and Twitter?  In my class (and Ms. Lirenman's class), Skype and Twitter are one of the choices for practicing their math skills.  Therefore, the students who participate in these activities are intrinsically motivated to work on math and are willing to share the journey with others.  Also, as I stated above, my class was inspired by another first grade class to do more than I expected.  It was my students who WANTED to write a story problem to share with the world! I also think that by connecting through Skype and Twitter, my students' world is so much broader than my world when I was 7 years old.  When I talk about sharing, in their mind it's not just within our classroom but they are thinking about the world!  

Speaking of broadening the students' world, one of my students and my son had a great opportunity last week.  It all started with this Twitter post.
I was so impressed with this sixth grader's creation on Google Earth and asked Avia if I could have Jason teach us how he created his story. Jason's Google Earth Story
Thanks to Aviva for her open mind and flexibility, two first graders in Iowa and Jason who lives in Canada were connected via Skype the following week. 

Look at their proud faces:)  I decided to choose these boys since they both love to write, but they are somewhat stuck in the Spongebob and Minecraft world:) What a perfect opportunity it was for them to learn a new tool and idea for writing!  Jason was very patient with the boys throughout the process even though it took them a while to complete a sample project.  He was a rock star!  I also have to thank our school technology integrationist, Mrs. Sievert (@valsievert) for being there to support the boys. They are working on their new writing project right now.  I hope to post their stories here when they complete them.

This Skype thing has got me and my students hooked!  Today we even tried Skype math sessions with another first grade class in our school (two doors down:)!  We tried a new app called Whiteboard Lite.


We connected two iPads through this app so that the students were able to see what each other was writing and how they were solving the problems.  It added one more fun aspect to the Skype math:)

Also another wonderful teacher I have got to know through Twitter, Amy Rudd (@aruddteacher100) had a brilliant idea to play "I have... Who has...?" on Twitter.  Now, how clever is that?  I introduced it to my students today, and they were all over it! Can't wait to see what comes next:)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Record Learning & Stay Connected with Today's Meet


Record Learning!

I absolutely love my Twitter #1stchat PLN friends. They introduced me to Today's Meet a few weeks ago.  I have used Padlet and Lino to record their schema and wonders before, and they worked great.  The first idea to incorporate Today's Meet to my lesson was to do the same.  So I decided to give it a try.

We started an animal unit in science.  My students are expected to research and write reports on various animals.  This week I modeled how the research process goes.  The research subject was camels!

Another exciting thing that I learned this year form #1stchat PLN is an inquiry approach.  So I first had my students record their schema and wonders on camels.  Since my students are used to recording their thoughts on Padlet, I posted the QR codes for a schema and wonder page on the wall in the morning.  The students were asked to record what they know and want to know about camels during the Daily 5 or math free choice time.




I was impressed with how efficiently my students recorded their thoughts. When we started our science time, all the recording was done! I remember not liking filling out a KWL chart because it took a long time going through students one by one, and it was a lot of just sitting and listening for young students.

After this process, we read books and watched short video clips on camels.  Then my students recorded what they learned on Today's Meet.  

 We kept revisiting the Padlet walls and Today's Meet when we filled out a web to organize our learning.  I felt that it was easier for us to read what they wrote on Today's Meet. 


Stay Connected!
On Friday, I had to be away from my classroom.  When I work on a sub plan, I try to make things as simple yet meaningful as possible.  I decided to show a DVD on animal adaptations and have them record their learning on Today's Meet.  I left the QR code for an easy access to the Meet.  I had to smile when I read what they said while I was away.  I could just see my students talking with partners and typing their learning.

I felt pretty connected with my class even though I was not in my classroom:)  Now, I could have joined their conversation if I could join them real time, right?  We will revisit their learning on Monday to discuss more about animal adaptations.

Your Ideas?
So far I have only tried using Today's Meet with my class.  I know it's possible to collaborate with another class on Today's Meet.  That would be fantastic!  Do you have a good idea for collaboration?  We will be learning a lot about animals.  If your class want to post wonders of a certain animal, my students could try answering questions.  Leve me a comment if you are interested meeting us on Today's Meet!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fractions Web on Popplet

I have to confess that fractions are not my favorite math concept to teach to first graders. To get myself excited about fractions, I had to bring in... FOOD!!  After my students explored equal parts with play dough, paper shapes, and white board drawing, I decided that they were ready for real sharing!

The students were to show me whole, half and quarter or fourth of the food items.  We had:

  • sliced cheese
  • cheese sticks
  • cookies
  • vanilla wafers                                 ** They used frosting to "cut" the cookies and wafers.

The students worked with a partner.  They had a choice of app to record their learning.  





Today, they ALL chose Popplet.  (They never all choose the same app!!)



One challenge that some students encountered was to cut a wafer into 4 equal parts.  Some struggle to know how many times they need to cut to get 4 pieces. They worked together and eventually figured it out:)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Community Project


Here is a book that we made about our community.





Please take a few minutes to answer questions my students have.  Thank you!



My original plan was to ask my students' families to go out and take pictures of our community, however, the weather condition in our area was AWEFUL this week.  We had ice & snow storm go through.  I decided to use images on the web instead.  My first option for image search is http://www.pics4learning.com/ which has copyright friendly pictures.  However, this site was not a best option for us today since we were looking for specific photos of our community.

Do you have your students search images in your classroom?  If so, what site do you use?  Do you teach your students how to cite the sources?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spirit Hour and 30hands App

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about sharing students' learning and thinking. Click here to read the post.  I have chosen a name for our sharing session.  Inspired by Genius Hour and also taking part of our school name, I chose Spirit Hour!
Also, I have decided to dedicate one hour a week for Spirit Hour instead of spreading it over two days.   I have to be honest.  I haven't been able to take 30 minute slot two days a week.  We always had something we had to finish.  One of my goals till the end of school year is to keep Spirit Hour going!

My students are still getting used to the idea of "they can share anything they want."  I have to say that my students are used to choices.  I believe in giving my students ownership of their learning.  However, when I give them no choice, they go blank... I encourage them to take a risk! Any thinking, any learning, anything they are proud of!

Starting next week, I will put a chart paper on the wall so that the students can jot down the ideas for sharing during the week.  Can't wait to see them running to the chart to "save" their thoughts!

Today I would like to share my new found love, 30hands app.

This year my students are into writing a story.  They love making a book with paper and pencil.  30hands app allows my students to take a photo of each page and record their voice.  Publishing is so easy since they can save it to the camera roll.  

One think I learned about this app is that you should not use any symbols such as ?, ', in a title. I had a problem uploading photos a few weeks ago.  The support staff from 30hands were VERY helpful.  At the end we figured out the problem.  Other than that, I just love the simplicity of the app, and it is so easy for my first graders to use.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kidblog Avatar

I wanted to set up my students' avatar for their Kidblog account.  Since I love my first graders' art work, I decided to let them design their own avatar.  I gave my students choices of either drawing their avatar on iPad or on paper.

Those who chose to draw on iPad used the Doodle Buddy app.  They saved their work on the album.

 The students who drew a picture on paper took a picture of their work with the iPad so that their picture was saved on the album.



I showed them how to get into their profile on Kidblog to upload their avatar.

Now... this is where I encountered a problem.  Once they uploaded the avatar, they needed to crop their picture or adjust a cropping frame by clicking on little squares on a crop box.  HOWEVER, it did not work on iPad!!!  There was no way to click and drag the box...  When I was trying this out ahead of time, I was using my laptop so I was able to crop the avatar.



I had to think quick!  They ended up putting their avatar in a Dropbox file to send it to my laptop.  Then the students came to my laptop one by one to upload and crop their avatar.

It took longer than I planned, but I was impressed with how flexible my students were and able to upload their work on my Dropbox when things didn't go as I planned.  Now our Kidblog page look so much better!  http://kidblog.org/MrsDeGrootsClass2012-2013/


By the way, I contacted Kidblog via Twitter regarding this problem.  LOVE Twitter!