Sunday, December 14, 2014

Demonstrating & Recording ELA CCSS on iPad

This month my class is focusing on opinion writing as it is a part of our ELA writing standards.
  • Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure. (W.1.1.)
Because it is a holiday season, I thought it would be fun to have my students write an opinion piece on whether they should be on Santa's naughty list or nice list. Of course everyone chose a nice list:) They successfully stated two reasons why they should be on the nice list. I enjoyed reading their opinion writing so much that I decided have them record their writing use an app, Tellagmi.

I like the Tellagami app since it is very simple to use. Even though I wish they had kid-looking avatars, my students have always enjoyed their creation. This app used to be entirely free, but now they have added some paid features. We still use the free version, and in my opinion it is just fine for classroom use.

My students also wrote about the book they enjoyed reading. They recorded their opinions using the app ChatterPix Kids.

Then we attached the created video to the book using an augmented reality app Aurasma.
This is what it looks like when students scan the book using Aurasma.

The students have been enjoying viewing their friends' recommendations and reading the books.

Another focus has been on describing a character in a story. My students worked on describing Santa Claus using an anchor chart.
Then they rewrote the information from Santa's point of view. "I am _____________." " I have ________." "I (do)_____________." Since my students did such a wonderful job on this assignment, I wanted them to share their writing using the app called Puppet Pals.
Since we have a director's pack (paid), we have an access to Christmas characters. My students enjoyed recording their writing project, but also adding a little bit of creativity and personality!

So much fun!

All of their projects are posted on the students' blog. This year my students have been labeling their posts by subject areas, so that their blogs serve as a digital portfolio and easy to track their performance & progress.

Math Talks on Twitter

Last year a wonderful teacher in my PLN, Amanda Cavin and I started Twitter number talks using #1stnumbertalks. We posted a weekly open ended math question, and let the students post their ideas on Twitter. Every time we reviewed other students' responses, it led us to great discussions and learning.

Unfortunately for me (luckily for her students) Amanda has moved to a 5th grade position this year, but a great learning opportunity must go on! I renamed the hashtag from #1stnumbertalks to #mtgr1 (Math Talks Grade 1) because the old one was simply too long, and I knew that many Canadian students were joining the talks (no "first graders" in Canada, but "grade 1 students").

I have to say we are off to a great start! The questions that I have posted so far are the followings:

  • The answer is 8. What is the problem? Archives
  • The answer is 9 turkeys. What is the problem?
  • What math do you see in this image? Archives 
  • What math do you see in this image? Archives 
  • There are 10 presents. Each present has a red, yellow or blue bow. How many red, yellow and blue bows are there? Archives
When my students did the first image math talks (acorns & leaves one), they only focused on numbers and number sentences, such as 7 (acorns) + 4 (leaves) = 11 While it was not a wrong or bad answer, I wanted them to see beyond additions and subtractions. Then we saw tweets like the followings:

I knew my students' wheels were turning. The following week I used another image to talk math. It was great to see my students use what they learned the previous week and apply it to another image. Also read this tweet from ShLoe Maurer.

Wow! How powerful is that? I love it when I see students transfering their learning to the real world!!
Are you or your students on Twitter? Join us with #mtgr1, great learning opportunity!

Hour of Code

My class participated in the "Hour of Code" again this year. My students enjoyed coding and  collaborating with a third grade class last year. So, it was time to take it to a grade level collaboration this year. All four sections of first grade classes and all three sections of third grade classes participated in "Hour of Code" this year.

My students explored coding using the following apps:
Daisy the Dinosaur

On Friday we got together with third graders. The third graders brought their Chrome Books and showed us the following sites.
The excitement of working with the older students was in the air!

We only had about 30 minutes to work with them, but what was great was I witnessed so many 21st century skills demonstrated during this activity.
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • creative thinking
  • problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • technology skills
  • flexibility
  • leadership
One third grade teacher mentioned that it was hard for some third graders to give up control on their Chrome Book and let first graders try it. That's a great learning moment, isn't it?

I would like my students to keep exploring coding throughout the year. A few more apps to add to our coding practice:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

"My Father's Dragon" Book Club #2

WOW! The book club was a huge success! I never imagined this book club would bring this much learning, sharing and excitement!! Power of collaboration is a great thing... I have been reading this chapter book to my first graders for years, but I have to say I had never had this much fun before:)

Thanks to Tim Kagei for creating a map of participating classes.  Here is a list of participants.
 Each day we read a chapter and shared out what we thought about. Check out all the learning that happened in two weeks.

Making predictions

 Character analysis

Making personal connections

Map skills


Retelling story
Favorite parts of story
Our class also met with Ms. Lirenman's class via Skype to discuss favorite part of the book.
Math connections

WOW (again...) there are so many more great tweets. I just couldn't list them all!! Thank you to all the participants for making this book club such a successful learning opportunity. I can't wait to do this again next year! (#1bc15)

 ***Some of us are reading the second book in Elmer series called "Elmer and the Dragon" now:)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tech Integration & Student Choices in Science Animal Unit

We are in the middle of animal unit. Every year before we get deeply into animal inquiry and research, we spend some time learning about animal adaptations. After reading some information on this website, we watched a DVD to learn more. As we watched the DVD, my students recorded something they learned on Today's Meet. This is a part of students' recording.

This is a great way to ensure students' engagement during any type of video. The DVD was about 20 minutes long, and it was packed with great information. I sectioned the video and stopped it several times to give my students time to record. By the end of the video, my students had created a list that we can go back to review animal adaptations.

The following week after learning more about some animals, I asked my students to record and share what they knew about animal adaptations. The students were to:
  1. pick an animal
  2. show the animal and label its special body part for adaptation
  3. write how the animal uses the adaptation on Kidblog
For this activity, I provided my students with some choices. Of course they were able to pick an animal of their choice. Also they choose a way how they were going to show the animal. The choices were:
  • Choice 1; draw the animal on a piece of paper
  • Choice 2; draw the animal on iPad 
  • Choice 3; use a photo of the animal
  • Choice 4; make a play dough model of the animal
Here are some of the students' blog post.

Choice 1
<Praying mantis>
Choice 2 (Doodle Buddy)

Choice 3 (PicCollage)

Choice 4

We have 12 iPads for 22 students. I did this activity in two groups. It was quite busy to get them going, but once everyone got started, they were very engaged and willing to help each other. 

I believe that providing choices to young learners teaches them to take ownership to their own learning, help with self discovery and building confidence. Some choices in my classroom may be small, but I love seeing my first graders give serious thoughts before making decisions because they are here to learn for themselves, not to do what they are told all day long!

You can also read about providing choices in math here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"My Father's Dragon" Book Club

"My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gunnett was one of my childhood favorite books. Every year I read this book to my first graders.
I was so excited when I found out that a first grade teacher from my Twitter PLN, Jenna Dixon (@JennaVDixon) also read this book to her first grade class. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to have a mini-Global Read Aloud collaboration. So... here is what we are thinking.

When & what to read?--- Starting on Monday, April 14, we will read a chapter a day.
How do we collaborate?--- via Twitter using #1bc14 (short for 1st grade book club:)
What do students share? --- Anything they want to discuss and share about the book; students can ask each other questions, visualize what is happening in the story, make predictions, etc.

There is no need to sign up for this project, but if you fill out this form I will make sure to follow you or your class.

We are looking forward to reading this book with you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Interactive Community Mural with Augmented Reality

During our social studies "Me on a Map" unit, we had a discussion on community. We listed things we have in our community. The students came to a conclusion that they wanted to live in a community that is safe, clean and fun. They also wanted places where they can buy things and learn new things.
I divided the class into five groups. They worked together to come up with things that they want in a community that they are going to create. Here is a list of things they came up with. 

Then they got busy making buildings and places for the community mural.

I wanted to make this mural more interactive, so we added augmented reality using the Aurasma app. Each student recorded themselves talking about why they wanted certain place/thing in their community. They used their drawing as a trigger image. If you have Aurasma on your device, tap to view my Aura.

If you do not have the app, this is one of the auras you would see.

My students were so proud to make this mural together. They also had a great time taking a AR tour of their community!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Twitter, Skype & Backchannel in Primary Classrooms

This year my students and I are having so much fun learning with other classes outside of our school. Here are some ways we have been connecting:

1. Skype & Google Hangouts 
Skype and Google Hangouts are great way to connect. The students can see each other therefore they feel more connected. I try my best to start any collaboration relationship with a Skype call. Now what do we do once we are connected via Skype? I always make sure that I have a clear goal or agenda for the session. For my first grade class I like to keep it short and sweet so that I don't loose my students' focus or attention. We have tried a couple of mystery number Skype with Ms. Lirenman's class (@MsLsClass) this year. It was challenging and fun at the same time. My favorifor a whole group Skype is reading. We kicked off the Global Reading Project with Skype calls this year. You can read about it here. Another way of incorporating reading and also my favorite Skype activity is "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together" by Mary Ann Hoberman
        Here is a clip of my class and Mr. Ross's class (@1stGradeRoss) in Webster City, Iowa reading one of the stories from the book.

I also like using Skype as a station work. You can read about it here and here.

For Valentine's Day celebration, Mr. Ross's class and my class shared the candy hearts sorting data via Skype and Google Hangout. We had two stations going at the same time! The students asked each other about their findings. It was so much fun listening to them take initiative to learning and guiding one another. Here is one of my students talking about some of the findings.

2. Twitter
Last year I started a class Twitter account. We are slowly but surely starting to use this tool to share our wonders, thinking and learning. Mrs. Cavin's class (@MrsCavinsClass) in Georgia and my class are having fun practicing out math skills on Twitter. Here is what we did with shapes. Last year Amy Rudd (@aruddteacher100) came up with a great idea to play "I have ... Who has ...?" with shapes on Twitter. So Mrs. Cavin and I decided to do the same activity. Our students found shapes around the room and tweeted back and forth.

The students had a great time playing this. You can view the entire session here.

We also started to have number talks of the week on Twitter using the hashtag #1stnumbertalks. Here is how we started last week.
 One of the many great ideas is here.
Mrs. Cavin's class recorded their thinking using Educreation.

I loved that another class decided join the fun!
You can view the week 1 number talks here.

3. Backchannel
I use Today's Meet and Padlet in my classroom quite a bit to have my students jot down their wonders and schema on a topic. On Digital Learning Day, Mr. Ross and my class met up in Today's Meet room to work on a writing activity. Both classes viewed the photo below.

Mr. Ross's class wrote from the fish's point of view and ours as the cat. The students had a blast!! I do not have the archive to the meet, but the conversation went like...

                    Fish "Don't eat me!"
                    Cat "I'm going to eat you!"
                    Fish "I'm going to get a shark!!"
                    Cat "I want to be your friend. What is your name?"
                    Fish "Goldie"

Thanks to @WriteAboutThis for a great photo. They have a great Pinterest page with full of great images with writing prompts.

Are you connecting with other classes? Please let me know if you have any good ideas and activities!