The students are working on nonfiction books and need photographs! To do this, we are using a safe image search. The website is http://www.safeimages.safesearchkids.com/ The students put this website on their home screen so they can search for images when needed that match their books. Check it out!
Matter week has been amazing! Before this unit began, Mr. Schreurs and I created a book creator book with all of the information the students would need. It included vocabulary, poetry, and outlines of experiments. Throughout the week, the students have been both referring to their books and adding to them. For example, today they were doing an ice cube melting experiment. They recorded their plan for melting the ice cube the quickest. Then, one person in the group was using the timer to time the experiment and another person was taking videos and pictures. The third person was following the steps of their plan. After the ice cube melted, the students shared their videos and pictures and were able to record their reflections of how they felt their plan went and what they might do differently next time. They had many opportunities for these types of reflections throughout the week. When the week is over, they will have a really complete, interactive book of everything they learned about matter. I would definitely like to organize more units like this in the future.
I've been working with a small group on a digital discussion board. We've been using the website Padlet. I've been reading a book aloud to these students and every few pages, I have the students type their questions and answer any of the others that they think they can from the group. The students were so motivated to work on their padlet that they asked for extra time to work on it after their morning routine was done. The students were discussing and typing at the same time. It was fun to see how excited they were to add ideas to the board. Below is the padlet they are working on for the book Fly Away Home.
Last year I ordered a subscription to Scholastic's Weekly Reader magazine for each child so that we would have them all of this year. The magazines came with a cool online feature that we've been using lately. There is a Scholastic magazine app that allows us to read our magazines on the ipads. It also has cool enhancements, like videos, that show more details than just reading the paper copy of the magazine. The past couple weeks we've used this app to learn more about Chinese New Year and Dr. Seuss for World Read Aloud Week. I can't wait to see what the next month's current events will be!
Today, the students used nearpod to learn about nonfiction text features. We looked at examples of the features and were able to do some activities along the way to check our learning.
After our nearpod lesson, it was time to apply what we learned. I put out a basket of nonfiction books and the students had to hunt for different features. They created a book creator book of all the features they found. They took pictures of the feature, typed why it was important, and recorded themselves explaining it. The students were very engaged and did a great job! I know they will pay special attention to these features when they are reading nonfiction books from now on.
There's nothing better than every student in class contributing to a board about things they love! On Valentine's Day I posted a QR code outside of our classroom that led them to a website called Padlet. Padlet is a digital cork board. Every student can contribute to the board at the same time by posting a note. They can add as many notes as they want. The notes can have words, pictures, or videos. On this particular board, the students were typing things that they love. It was neat to see all the students reading each other's responses and wanting to keep adding more. I would love to use Padlet to gather ideas more often!
This weekend, the students are bringing their ipads home to take some pictures. Next week, they will be learning how to write reviews of places and things. This weekend, they are gathering pictures of places and things they want to write their reviews on. I am excited about this addition to the unit because although I have taught writing reviews before, we have never been able to include pictures of the actual things the students are reviewing. For example, if they are reviewing a restaurant, they can tell us about their meal and then show a picture of their actual food. It will completely enhance the project and I'm so excited to see what things the students are planning to review.
Over the past few months, we have been learning a lot about ourselves and other people through our social emotional program, Second Step. In these lessons, the students have had a chance to read each others' facial expressions and body language. Then, each student created a feelings book using book creator. We generated a list of emotions that people feel. Then, the students each created a book of themselves displaying those emotions. They took a picture of themselves showing the feeling and then either typed or recorded themselves telling how you can tell they are feeling that way. For example, if a student was showing sad, they would say that you can tell they are sad because they are frowning and looking down. It was a great review of all of the lessons we've done so far and shows that the students are really in tune with how each other is feeling.
This weekend the iPads went home for the first time! In the past, we have had students draw pictures of their collections from home, which was very time consuming for them and sometimes difficult for the class to see accurate pictures of what their collections are. This time, the students were able to take pictures of their collections and then make collages to rank the order in which they like the items in their collection. I am excited to see the change in this unit because of the iPads. We will be doing some other iPad incorporated lessons coming up that will support the idea of making opinion pieces come to life.
I have found that beginning units with a nearpod activity has been extremely engaging and helpful. The students get so excited to see what's coming on each page. And they love the interactive activities! In our wants and needs nearpod, I was able to show the students examples of both and then have them circle examples of each. I could see immediately who got it and who needed more time learning these concepts. It has been a great teaching tool.
Then, I've been ending each unit of study with a quiz using the socrative app. This app also gives me immediate feedback and allows me to work with kids who need help right away. I also have a quiz already graded for me the minute we are done. This app saves me time and gets me right to the students who need my help. It was fun to teach the wants and needs unit from beginning to end with the ipads in the students' hands.
Popplet has quickly become my favorite app because we've been using it in all different ways. Recently, the students in my small reading groups have been making popplets to practice sequencing. They've been reading stories such as "Making Pizza" and using popplet to recall the order of what they learned in the books. I've also been using popplet with my team literacy group. We've been working on asking questions. This app allows the students to organize their questions and color code them into questions they have before they start reading, while they are reading, and after they are done reading. Everyone in the class made popplets to show what they learned about wants and needs after our unit. They categorized things that people need and things people want and created their own webs to organize their ideas. I am so proud of the students and how much information they are organizing!
We've been having a great time meeting up with our Pre-K buddies! Today, the students got in groups and created a pic collage to get to know each other. I used airdrop to send my students some images. Then, they met with their buddies and asked them which images they liked. Some examples were airplanes, flowers, and rainbows. They pulled these images out and created a collage with just the pictures of things their buddy liked.
To extend the project, the students took pictures of each other. Then, they put their names, photos, and collages in a book creator book. We will also be adding videos the students are making about how they are bucket fillers. Eventually, each group's digital books will be saved into video files and posted so everyone can view them.
Our students, like many others around the world, participated in several Hour of Code activities this week. One of our activities was using the app Tynker. Tynker is a fun way for kids to learn basic computer programming skills. You are faced with the challenge of making a creature walk and hop over objects to reach a piece of candy. The students had to use different codes to make it happen. They got increasingly difficult challenges until some students completed all of the levels! *We did not use the app kodable, but if your children are looking for another coding activity, this one would be a lot of fun for them and they should give it a try!
To kick off our mapping unit, I created a nearpod lesson. Nearpod is an awesome app that allows teachers to make completely interactive lessons for students. It has some wonderful features that make teaching and learning engaging and meaningful. In my mapping lesson, I was able to keep all of my students on the same slides because the teacher can control the pace of the lessons. We were able to have discussions and all be viewing the same images and content on their own iPads. Then, during the lesson, I can make it interactive and get instant work from the students. In my particular lesson, I was teaching the students how to read a map key. They were then able to look at a map with a map key and mark up their map based on reading the map key. They send me the drawings and I can instantly see who understood what to do and who still needs help. I can also push out student examples if I want the whole class to be able to see someone's work. And I can have quizzes throughout the lesson as well. Having a question or two throughout the lesson allowed me to see if the majority of the class was understanding what we were talking about and it also showed me exactly who wasn't getting it so I know who to help. And all of these results get sent to me immediately! The students were already asking when we would be using nearpod next. I am excited to begin developing more nearpod lessons and continuing to teach in a completely interactive way!
We just ended our geometry unit in math. One of the final projects some students decided to do was to build a place out of three dimensional shapes. When their places were done, they took a picture of their place in the app Skitch. Then, they used Skitch to label the shapes they used to build their places. Skitch is a nice labeling app because it allows the students to create arrows of all different sizes and move them to where they want them. It was neat to see the students discussing and labeling the different shapes they used for their creations.
We have finally gotten student portfolios figured out, and now it was time to teach the students how to use them! This year we are going to test out the app Blogger Jr for our individual student portfolios. The app allows the students to put a picture or movie of their projects into the app and lets them tell about it. They can say how they did the project or what they learned from the assignment. We are testing it out with their thankful popplets. The students took a picture of their popplet webs and then recorded themselves in Blogger Jr. telling about it. Hopefully it will work well and they will be able to add things to their portfolios throughout the rest of the year!
Today we started to get into the Thanksgiving spirit by doing some brainstorming about what we are thankful for. To web out our ideas, we used an app called Popplet. Popplet allows you to create popples, which are thought bubbles. You can type in them, draw in them, or put in pictures. Then, you can make connecting lines or color code them so your thoughts are neatly webbed. The students loved this app and worked really hard on their first popplets. I can see this app being used a lot in our upcoming units of study!
Today we took a social studies quiz using the app socrative. I created a quiz with questions based on the three chapters we had read so far. The students were able to see the questions and click on the answers. This is a neat app because the results are instant. I don't have to take the time to grade the quizzes, I can see the students' answers immediately. I would like to use this type of assessment tool more often because it will help me to guide my instruction.
This week the students have been learning about the life cycle of a plant. They are also learning why each part is important and what its job is. Today we went out in the gardens and took pictures of the parts of the plants. We got pictures of seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Then, I sent them an outline of a book in book creator through airdrop. They filled the book in with their own pictures. Next, they are working on adding either text or their voice to explain why each part is important. It is neat to see the students creating their own books using their own pictures and voices!
I used pic collage to create a collage of ways to figure out and display a subtraction problem. We used airdrop to get these collages into everyone's ipads. Then, the students opened absolute board and got the picture to the app. In absolute board, they were able to solve the problems using the subtraction mat. We projected student work on the smartboard to see how our classmates were solving the problems. They were able to save their work within the app. It was a great way to show our work and talk about how we solved the problems in different ways.
Our class was having a bit of trouble writing our small moment stories during writer's workshop. So today we started something new. Instead of writing the books the traditional way, we are trying to use the app Book Creator to help us. The first things we are doing are drawing sketches across the pages of the book to help us generate our ideas. Next, the students are recording what each page is about using the voice recorder. These are the prewriting steps we are trying to help us organize and remember the details in our story. We will see if using our ipads will help us create more focused "seed" stories.
Today we practiced both letter formation and spelling using absolute board. I typed up some of our word wall words that all first graders are expected to know in Pic Collage. I used air drop to get all the students that image. Then, they opened the words in absolute board. In this app, they were able to trace the words and save their work within the app. They will continue to practice spelling these important words throughout the year.
Raz Kids is an app that has impressed me. I used this app a few years ago and it was not as reliable as it is now. The students have login information in their yellow folders so they can use it both at school and at home. I set the level to what I thought would be a good starting point for reading independently. Here is what the students are supposed to do in this order:
1. Read the book yourself.
2. Record your voice reading the book.
3. Take the comprehension quiz.
4. Listen to the story.
If students work on the stories in this order, they are able to practice their reading strategies on their first read, practice their fluency while recording themselves, check how well they know the story in the comprehension quiz, and then listen to someone else read the story at the end. The students work on Raz Kids at school during their listening to reading literacy choice a couple times a week.
Today we used an app called Shadow Puppets. I've been trying to find the best app to record student fluency throughout the year. This app was very simple to use and has many possibilities for other projects. The students took pictures of a book they felt very comfortable reading fluently. Then, they recorded themselves reading the book as they were scrolling through the pages. I am hoping to have the students record a book each month so they can hear how their reading improves throughout first grade. I'm also excited to see what else we can do with this app!
Today I introduced the students to the website ixl.com. Some of your children may have used this website last year. Today the students were given a username and password. IXL is a great website that gives the students lots of extra practice on skills we are working on in math. It keeps track of their progress and if they get something wrong, it explains the problem to them. The students will be given specific skills to work on that match the math units we are working on. This should have been in their take home folder. If they finish the skills on the list, they can go back to kindergarten skills and practice those. IXL can be done at home and at school. I am looking forward to having the students use this website for additional math practice.