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!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Aurasma Number Puzzle

Back in November I saw these tweets.
Click HERE to view the YouTube.

Brad's comment gave me an idea for my number puzzle project.  I wanted my students to be able to put the number cards in order as they appear on a 100 chart, such as shown below. However, the white square cards were not distinctive enough to be a trigger image. It was triggering an overlay even if the numbers were not in the right place.

So we used different shapes and colors. Do you have the Aurasma app? Tap to view my Aura.

The students used the overlay from the library.

After creating the puzzles, the students tried out each others' puzzle. It worked great! Only when they put the numbers in the right places, it triggered the overlay.

I like using Aurasma app since my first graders can create the Auras all on their own on the iPads.  They can create station work for each other independently.

A few more ideas for using the shape puzzle cards.

  • Building math facts; for example, my students are practicing making 10 right now. They can put the right number combinations for trigger images.
  • Building a word; students can practice spelling sight words or spelling words.
  • Building a sentence; they can rearrange word cards to build a sentence.
Do you have any good ideas? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

100th Day Celebration

We had a blast celebrating the 100th day.
We made a hat with 100 fringes:)

Then we visited Mrs. Cassidy's blog and Ms. Lirenman's blog to see how their students celebrated the 100th day of school in the past.  Then each student chose how to celebrate the number 100.

Some chose to draw 100 things...

Some built with 100 things.

He tossed 100 pompoms into a bucket. He made 72 in:)

She found 100 pencils in the classroom!

 Some counted a 100 collection by 10's.

She ran for 100 seconds.

 He kicked a ball 100 times!

Passing a ball 100 times:)

One student searched for numbers 1-100 in the classroom and took pictures of them. He missed a couple, but did a great job! (I should have put some music on this clip:(

We also went on a QR code scavenger hunt that I created last year. 
We had a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Geometry Unit Menu & Collaboration Part 1

I have met so many wonderful educators on Twitter. Amanda Cavin (@CavinAmandacav) approached me with some collaboration ideas for the upcoming geometry unit in math. Amanda's first graders and my class collaborated on the Global Read Aloud project, so my answer was YES! Amanda and I created a Google Doc planning page and started brainstorming. We decided to do a mystery shape Skype session as one of the daily activities. Karen Lirenman (@KLirenman) and my class enjoyed the mystery shape sessions last year. I knew that this year's students will have fun with Amanda's class.

Amanda also shared her shape unit menu. She had a list of activities for students to choose from. I LOVED that idea! So here is what I created for my class. The students chose one or two activities from each standard and had about a week to work on the tasks. They posted the projects on their blog to share. What was great about the menu was that the students had choices. Some students watched other students do a task and got motivated to try it. My classroom was filled with buzz of students talking about shapes and helped each other use the apps also. 
Here are some students' work.

Shape Hunt

Mystery Shape Skype

We learned a new shape, triangular prism from Mrs. Cavin's class!

Shape Riddle
This was our first time using the app called Tiny Tap. This app allows students to make multiple choice games.  Since games created are saved on each devise, I made QR codes for each game. Other students enjoyed scanning the codes to download the games created by their friends and play them.

Here is a planning page for this project.

Build a Tower

Here is a planning page for this project.

Pattern Block Art
Click on the image to play the clip.

Here is a planning page for this project.

Constructing a Shape

Amanda and I are planning on having a "I have... Who has...?" shape game on Twitter soon. I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Let them Wonder!

During our science water cycle unit, I had so much fun watching my students wonder, discuss, explain and try figuring out the answers to their wonders.

The first big wonder came up when they were sharing what they knew about evaporation after watching a video clip. Here is a Today's Meet feed.

It was clear to me that they knew the sun played a big role on evaporation. Then...somehow the students started talking about sunlight. "Yeah, water evaporates when it is light outside." "Yeah!" "No" "Yeah!"  Okay... so... I asked them why they said yes and why some said no. Some were sticking with the idea of the sun's heat. Some chose both.

My next question was "How can we find out?" Ooooo... I know my students don't always appreciate this question:) One student once said politely, "Why don't you tell us the answer?" But this time it was different!! One student suggested an experiment. How? After a long discussion and a little help from me, we chose a flashlight and a burner as an alternative to the sun's light and heat. They were so excited to find the answer after conducting the experiment. 

The second wonder came up when I was reading a book about water cycle. One of the students asked a question. “How long would it take for water to go around the cycle?” I responded with “How do you think we can find out?” The responses were; by reading the book, looking up on the internet, Tweeting the question. Then one student’s face brightened up. “Maybe we can color the water. Then it will make colored clouds and come back as colored rain, then we will know!” This idea sparked more wonders from other students. I sent them back to record their wonders on a sticky note. Since we had been studying water cycle for a while, the students were answering each other's questions as much as they could. Then I remembered about a weather guy on Twitter! I tweeted the questions to him and he replied back to us.

My students were excited to hear the answers but a bit disappointed about no rainbow colored clouds and rain:)

On both days my lessons did not go as I planned because it was interrupted by my students' thinking and wonders. But you know what? I was more than thrilled to be  interrupted! I always encourage my students to wonder. Now they are wondering on their own when they want to! I am one happy teacher;)