Recently I have been training the staff at my schools how to use the ActivEngage software. It turns the cart laptops into a student responders so that teachers can get instant feedback. You can learn more about it here. I’m happy to do a demo lesson in your class if you’d like to see it in action. Today I showed 2nd graders at Laburnum how to use it. I asked them a few questions about the famous Americans they’ve been studying (SOL2.11) using a simple GoogleDoc but then I sent them to TodaysMeet to generate their own questions. You can see some of their questions here. Even though ActivEngage works with ActivInspire flipcharts, you can actually use anything (PDFs, Word documents, websites, etc) to display the questions you want to ask. You just need the ExpressPoll program to be open so that you can receive the students’ input. Another free option that’s available if you want to implement a student response system in your class is to try Socrative. You set up a quiz on the website, and then then your students log in with the link to your class. They can respond in many different ways and even play online competitions.
Archive for the ‘1st Grade’Category
Today 1st grade students at Chamberlayne Elementary created their own community maps using ScribbleMaps (SOL1.4 & 1.5). Since I knew it would be kind of tricky for 1st graders to find their school on the map, I put a direct link to it in their classroom folder on the computers. With ScribbleMaps, there’s no log in so we could get started right away. First we talked about what we saw on the map and how it showed their community from above. We located their school and the different parts (playground, bus loop, cafeteria, their classroom, etc.), and we also located the nearby shopping center. I showed them how to select a color and size for the marker tool and they drew on the roads. Then we clicked the “Create a Legend” link in the top left, and they added a colored line to the map key identifying it as a road. Next we discussed how maps often use symbols for places, so we clicked on the “Place Marker” tool and added a symbol of a school to our maps (it can be found in the Places folder under “Geology/Locations”). We also added that same symbol to our map key. Finally we went to the folder called “Places-High Detail” and found a symbol of our choice to represent the shopping center. We added that to the map and to our map key. Each symbol on the map has a label so we labeled the school “Chamberlayne Elementary” and the shopping center “Dollar General.” Some students went on to add descriptive sentences (photos can also be added to the labels). Since I wanted to publish all of their maps to one page for easy access, I created a form for them to copy and paste their links (I had to help with this). Then I published the results here.
Learning the difference between the past and present (SOL 1.1) is a difficult concept for first graders to understand since they have little to no experience of life in the past. Providing lots of opportunities to see and hear about the past through videos, stories, and pictures is essential for helping them understand the differences. So today first grade students in Ms. Edmonds’ class at Holladay Elementary created pictures about the past using Kerpoof. Pixie would be another good option, but this class already had lots of experience with Pixie, so they wanted to try something new. Kerpoof has a relatively large collection of clip art, and many of them relate to life in the past. First we chose “Create a Picture” and they selected a background for their picture. We discussed which backgrounds would be good for the past (nature scenes) and which ones would not (cities, schools, sports fields, etc). Then the students added clip art to their pictures. We focused on family life and transportation. I gave them a few words they could search for in order to find good clip art (cabin, past, horse, wagon, pilgrim work well). If they couldn’t find a particular picture, they could draw their own. To practice this, all the students drew a fire and added it to their scene. Another cool feature of Kerpoof is that each clip art object has a speech bubble icon that can be used to make the object “talk” or to create a label. Some of the advanced students were able to use that feature. Finally we posted the pictures online so the students could see each others’ scenes. They could then use these pictures to write a story or they could contrast them with pictures from the present.
First grade students in Esra Kazanoglu’s class at Laburnum Elementary are preparing for a boat race! After studying Christopher Columbus’s ship (SOL 1.3) and understanding the principles of force and motion (SOL 1.2), each group of students must design a boat using various materials supplied by the teacher (milk cartons, cups, spoons, popsicle sticks, foil, paper plates, etc). Then they will test their boats in water in order to determine what adjustments they need to make before the big race. On the day of the race, the groups will attempt to make their boat go the farthest down a water-filled gutter within a certain time limit. They will measure the distance and record the race using the iPads. As you can see, this is an great example of cross-curricular project-based learning. So my job today was to help them create a diagram of their ship using Pixie. Since this was a group project, we discussed the importance of taking turns at the computer and the jobs of the students who weren’t on the computer at that time (to gather the materials in order to draw them correctly, to research spelling, to brainstorm ideas, etc.). First I showed the students how to add a creative title and change the font, size, and color of it. Next I explained how to draw a clear diagram using the paint tools. Finally, I taught them how to add text boxes for the labels and use a small paintbrush to connect them to the correct spot on the diagram. Using Pixie instead of paper and pencil allowed the students to move things around and make corrections easier (especially after their “test” run), plus the diagrams were a lot neater. You can see all the group’s diagrams by clicking here.
First graders in Mrs. McLean’s class at Chamberlayne Elementary have been learning all about the fall. They’ve studied the weather and how people, plants, and animals adapt to the changes. Today they demonstrated their understanding of these concepts by creating short video clips about the fall using Keynote. I gave them a Keynote template that you can download by clicking here. It has a title slide and various other slides for Weather, Plants, Animals, and People. I also gave them a file of fall photos to choose from (which you can download by clicking here). The students browsed the pictures and selected the ones they wanted to drag onto each slide which matched the title. Next I showed them how to add animated transitions and record their voice to narrate the slideshow. I wanted them to sound natural and to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts so we didn’t prepare a script for the audio. Most of the students did a great job using Keynote for the first time! You can see some student samples here and here.
First graders at Holladay Elementary have been learning about patterns, so today they did a partner activity using Pixie to see if they could create patterns to stump their friends. I showed them how to use the stamps and stickers to create patterns. Then they added photos of themselves and painted their bodies using the paint brush tool. The last step was to try to figure out their partners’ patterns. They used the recording feature to record their voices saying the patterns using letters like they have learned in class (for example: A-B-A-B or A-A-B-B). The students checked each others’ work to see if they were correct. I exported the projects as QuickTime videos so they could be shared online. Click here to view a sample.
First graders in Ms. Reese’s class at Laburnum Elementary have been learning about how the location of a community and its climate affect the way people live, dress, and eat (SOL 1.6). So today each student chose a type of community and created a talking person who lives there using a cool site called Voiki. With Voiki, you create a character by choosing the background, skin color, facial features, and clothing. Then you make them talk by choosing a voice and typing what you want them to say. There are even some famous people to choose from like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and President Barack Obama! The students made their characters describe the place where they live, its climate, the clothing they wear, the activities they do, and the foods they eat. When they were finished I published all the links into one GoogleDoc for easy access. Take a look at these student examples: Beach Lady, Japanese Guy, Snow Woman, and Beach Lady 2.
First graders in Ms. Murray’s class at Laburnum Elementary have been learning about recycling (SOL1.8). They have also been learning about graphing. So we wanted to see if they could collect some recycling data and make a graph about it (and even do a little bit of data analysis on a first grade level). I created a Google Form for them to collect their data. You can view the form by clicking here. They collected data about what they recycled at home and also wrote about things they reuse or try to reduce using at home. After everyone entered their information, I showed them the data set (you can see it here). We discovered that when the data is presented like that, it doesn’t make much sense. So I gave them a Numbers template for graphing the data. You can download it here. The students entered the information about what their classmates recycled and noticed some patterns right away! They were able to discuss ways they could improve their recycling habits at home. You could adapt this idea to almost any data collection and graphing lesson. Let me know how I can help!
March is Music Month at Laburnum Elementary and Ms. Allison is always eager to try new things. So I set up a website for her of interactive links that range from letting students play a virtual keyboard to learning about the different instruments in the symphony and much more! I worked with her today during a couple of her classes, and then she went on to use the site in all her other classes. The great thing about online resources is that the students can use them at home too. I’ve compiled a more extensive list of resources for a workshop I conducted for elementary and secondary art and music teachers. Many of these web tools can be used by regular classroom teachers as well, such as recording an mp3 or painting a picture. I made a page of Art Resources and Music Resources. There’s plenty to keep you and your students busily creating for months! (The picture used in this post was of an online keyboard funkified with Pixlr-o-Matic).
First graders at Laburnum Elementary have been learning all about Economics (SOLs 1.7, 1.8, 1.9). Today they worked on a project to demonstrate how well they understood goods and services in a business. Their task was to create their own business and make a poster for it showing the goods and services involved. I gave them a Pixie template that you can download by clicking here. First they came up with a name for their business and I showed them how to change the font, size, and color of the text. Next, the students found a sticker of a worker and added their head to it. They put the person on the services side and thought about the services their business would provide. Then they thought about what goods are involved in their business and found stickers of those items. We discussed prices for their goods and services, and they added money stickers to their poster. We did not have time to finish, but a final step would be to record a short description or a commercial for their business using the audio recording feature.