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: