Monday, January 28, 2013

100th Day Math QR Code Scavenger Hunt

I have always been wanting to use QR codes activity in my classroom, so I was very excited when I read this post by Andrew Fenstermaker.  He even put all I needed for this activity on Teachers Pay Teachers!!  However, when I started checking out the questions that he had for this activity, I realized that I needed to change the questions to fit my own curriculum.  Well, thanks to Andrew's great instructions, I was able to create my very own QR code hunt.  There are 29 questions on this activity.  I have talked my team into doing this hunt together.  Our 100th day will be next Monday (if we don't have any cancellation).  80 first graders will be hunting for QR code and working on math problems to reveal a secret message:)

Questions #1-5      Skip counting
Questions #6-10    Time to the hour & half hour
Questions #11-14  Numbers
Questions #15-16  Odd or even
Questions #17-20  True or false equation
Questions #21-24  Equation missing number
Questions #25-28  Coins
Question #29         Fact family

Or click here to get a scavenger hunt set.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sharing with the Box app

Thanks to Matt Gomez and Andrew Fenstmaker for their posts about Martin's Big Words activity on Skitch (click on their names to go to their original post).  My students tried the same activity and did a wonderful job.

Right away I wanted to tell my students to take a screenshot of their work and post it on their Kidblog page.  Then... I had to STOP!!!  Since I use my students' real name on their blog, I did not want them to post their photo.  I could have made a book like Andrew did with his students' work, but I am not familiar with that app... so this time I used an easy solution.  A few months ago I set up an account at and created a folder for each student.  I invited the parents to be my collaborator so whenever we upload a new document or video, they will be notified and be able to download them.  It basically works just like Dropbox.  I use the Dropbox for my school files so I did not want to mix with my students' files.  Box app works just great.  Each iPad has the app, and my students know how to upload their work into their files.  I also like the fact that I can view updates and know if all the parents had viewed the students' work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kidblog as Digital Portfolio

Last year, my students blogged during the Daily 5.  It was one of the choices that they had for Work on Writing.  This year since we started using iPads in my classroom, I have started using blog as a digital portfolio as well.  There are many creation apps that are simple to use, create and also share.  Many apps have sharing options including an embed code.  My students also take screenshots of their creation and insert it onto their blog.  I like the fact we can share their learning right away with their parents.  They don't have to wait until Friday to see what comes home in a folder.

This week as we continue investigating matter, my students made a lesson on solids using Educreations and post it on their blog.

In writing, they wrote a nonfiction piece called "Snowman at Night" focusing on word choice.  Many students chose to record their story using Audioboo then post it on their blog.

They also enjoy just writing during Daily 5.  Since we Face Timed with one of the students' mom who is visiting India, some students decided to blog about what they learned.

It is very exciting to see first graders getting so excited about sharing their learning.  At the end of first grade, their blog will be filled with their learning and thinking!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Three States of Matter on Pic Collage

To show their understanding of three states of matter, my students partnered up again to take pictures around the room to create a poster using Pic Collage app.

Just like many other creation apps, this is a very simple app to insert photos and add text.  I used to have my students work on a sorting worksheet, but this activity was a lot more relevant to them.  My students had to get a little bit creative to show gas in the classroom:)  After creating the collage, the students posted it on their blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fostering Independency

When I look into iPad apps, I always think about independency.  Can my students use this app independently?  Will I have to do a lot of management work to publish and share their work?  
Here is a system that I have in place in my classroom to foster independence.
  •  Invest some time to train students. --- Even though we have a million things that we have to get done each day, it will be worth it to spend some quality time for training.  If possible, invite extra adult (technology integrationist, parent volunteer, older students, ect.) to co-teach.  It is so helpful to have extra sets of hands to go around and answer the questions that students may have.  Our school has a wonderful technology integrationist.  She is always willing to come in and co-teach with me or even work with small groups of students!
  • Find student experts! --- We can always find some students who are very techie, right?  I post their names as student helpers so that when students have some questions they can go ask those students instead of coming to me right away.
  • Make a step-by-step poster. --- I am a very visual person, and so are many of my students.  I used screenshots and the app called Skitch to create posters that show every step for some creation apps.  When my students say, "I forgot what to do next..."  I would direct them to the poster.  The posters work very well. 
I have to say this system works pretty well.  Today while I was working with small groups of students, my students created a math problem on the app called Educreations independently.  They worked on this project the other day (click here to view the post) with a help from our tech integrationist.  They had a poster that looked like below for support.  Well, I was never interrupted by students who were working on iPads.  I was amazed how independent they were!  My hope is that as students get comfortable using these creation apps, they will use their creativity to share their learning independently as well!



Monday, January 7, 2013

Dropbox & SMART Board

We are learning about three states of matter in science.
My students went around the classroom to find matter then took a picture of them with the iPod Touches.
I'm sure many of you use Dropbox.  All the iPod Touches in my classroom have the Dropbox app so that I was able to get all the photos that my students took on my laptop.  No more USB cables, hooray!

After getting the photos, I went into a SMART Notebook page and used a screen capture tool to import all the images onto the Notebook page.  The capture tool lets me clip the photo and automatically pastes it onto the Notebook page.  No going back and forth to paste the images.

After these simple steps, I had a page that my students could sort the objects into solids, liquids and gasses.  Tomorrow I am planning on having them make a poster on iPad using the photos that they took.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Educreations and Kidblog Day 2

Here is a follow up for the last post.  On Friday my students visited their friends' blog posts, viewed their math problems, solved, then posted their answer on the blog.

Later they checked to see if their friends solved the problems right.  They were very excited to find the comments left on their blog.  They also told me to let their parents know how to get to their blog:)  You can visit my students' blog by clicking here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Educreations and Kidblog

My students have had plenty of practice solving story problems through CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) and have shown me amazing ways of thinking and solving math problems. Today I challenged them to write a story problem.  I was inspired by what Matt Gomez's kindergarten students were doing (click HERE to view his post) and decided to have my first graders try the app Educreations.

They worked with a partner to write a story and find the images.  After we created the lesson, we inserted the video onto our student blog post.  Tomorrow the students will visit their friends' blogs, solve their story problems and write a matching number sentence and answer as a comment.

In the future, I want my students to be able to do this independently during my Math Daily 5 time.  It would be a great Math Writing option.