Today teachers at Davis Elementary created their own online yearbooks for free using Google slides and Flipsnack. First the students logged into Google classroom where I posted a Google slides template that all of them could edit. You can do that when you post an assignment by choosing the “Students can edit file” option. The students opened the slideshow, and each student got a slide that corresponded with their student number. They wrote their name on the slide and added a photo of themselves using the webcam (Insert > Image > Take a snapshot). Then they typed a few sentences about their favorite memories of this school year. Finally they added more photos using the Google Image search or taking snapshots with their friends. When they were finished, I exported the slideshows as PDF documents (File > Download As > PDF Document) and uploaded them to Flipsnack, a webtool that converts PDFs into online flipbooks. This made it easier for parents to access the yearbook, plus it looks really cool. You can take a look at a few yearbooks here: Eller, Bennett, Cousins. UPDATE: I taught a similar lesson with Ms. Conway’s class at Laburnum, but this time I converted the slideshow to images (File > Download As > JPG Image) and uploaded them to Animoto to make a video yearbook with music.
It’s getting close to the end of the year, so many classes are recalling the good times they’ve had together. Today First graders at Holladay Elementary created memory walls using Padlet. Padlet is an online bulletin board where students can post notes, pictures, videos, and files. Teachers create accounts, but students don’t need to sign in or anything, so it’s very easy for them to use. We gave the students a link to their teacher’s boards, and all they had to do was double click on the board to create a new post. They typed their name at the top, then they typed a sentence or two about their favorite memory of first grade. Next they used the webcam to take a snapshot of themselves and added that to the note. With Padlet, posts appear on the board immediately, so students can see each other’s work, and even offer helpful suggestions. You can take a look at their memory walls here: Valvoda, French, and Schemmel.
Ms. Elsea at Davis Elementary told me about a great project her class was doing here at the end of the year. They were making a student-created science show where they taught a different topic for each episode. She was wondering if I knew of an online tool to help them plan out their videos. I suggested StoryboardThat, and today I went to her class to show them how to use it. First they logged in using their Google accounts and clicked “Create a Storyboard.” They set up a 3×2 panel using the “Add Cells” button at the bottom of the editor. Then they used the “Scenes” tab at the top to add backgrounds, or settings, to each panel. Next they added characters and props using the top toolbar or the search feature. I showed them how to customize the colors, poses, and facial expressions of the characters. Finally they added text bubbles, or “textables,” and typed what each character would say. Now that they had their scripts and scenes planned out, they were ready to record their videos! You can take a look at their storyboards here.
First graders at Laburnum have been learning about spring (Science SOL1.7) and fractions (Math SOL1.3). So today students in Ms. Wingfield’s class made spring flower fraction graphs. First we helped them log into Google classroom where I gave them a Google spreadsheet template that you can copy here (File > Make a Copy). The students had a choice of four flower bouquets photos. They picked one and deleted the others. Then they counted the number of flowers for each color. They typed the color and the number into the correct columns on the spreadsheet and a graph was automatically generated. Below the graph, you can see the fractions of the group. Click the sample tab at the bottom of the template to see a finished product. You can also take a look at the student samples here.
Ms. Allison, the music teacher at Laburnum Elementary, wanted to make an educational music video with her fifth grade students. She knew they were studying sound (SOL5.2) in science, and she also knew that singing is an excellent way to improve learning and recall information (see also this article). So she wrote a song with lyrics that reviewed the various sound concepts such as wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. Then over a period of several weekly classes, the fifth grade students rehearsed the song, memorized their lines, and practiced playing different instruments. Today I filmed their performance, and they did a great job! You can see their final video here. The students enjoy seeing themselves on film and will watch the video repeatedly, which is a great way to review! If you’d like me to help with a video project in your class just let me know.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary have been learning about famous Virginians in the 20th century (VS.9d), so today we brought them to life with the magic of technology! First the students decided whether they wanted to work in groups or alone. This project, like any project that uses an online tool, goes a lot smoother if students are working in groups since less computers are using the bandwidth. Once they selected their group, they chose a famous Virginian and found an image of the person online. I explained that they needed a good clear photo of the person’s face looking straight ahead. Next we downloaded a screen recording Chrome extension called Screencastify. We would need this tool in the last step to record our videos. Now we were ready to go to SitePal where the real magic happens. We clicked “Create Your Own” talking avatar and uploaded the image of our famous Virginian. The site guides you through the process of animating the head. Then the students wrote a paragraph in the Text-to-Speech section with facts for the “talking head” to say. They also chose a voice. We used Screencastify to record the videos since there isn’t another way to save them. Finally they posted their videos to Google classroom so they could watch each others’. You can watch them too by clicking here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary have been reviewing for upcoming end-of-the-year tests, so today students in Ms. White’s class helped each other by preparing review videos on various topics. First the they decided whether they wanted to work in groups or alone. This project actually works better if most of the students are in groups since it is bandwidth intensive. Once they were with their groups, they agreed on a topic and did some quick research using the Internet and their class notes. They also collected images to use in their video. Next we went to WeVideo, which is a great site for making and editing online videos. The students signed in with their Google accounts and opened the movie editor. We used the storyboard mode, instead of the timeline mode, since it was simpler for their first video (click the 3 lines in the top left corner to switch from one mode to the other). They uploaded the images they collected and recorded a few clips of themselves explaining the topic. Then they organized their media in the editor, added a Title screen and captions, and selected a theme. Themes make it easy to add filters, transitions, and music automatically, but each of those effects can also be changed individually. Finally the students published their videos, copied the links, and posted them to Google classroom so they could watch each others’ movies for review. You can see some of them here.
First graders at Davis Elementary have been learning about the changes that happen in the weather, plants, animals, and people in the spring (SOL1.7), so today students in Ms. Long’s class created animated spring pictures using PowToon. First we discussed some of the changes that happen, and I showed them a few samples so they would get an idea of how a finished PowToon animation looks. Once they had their ideas, we helped them log into PowToon with their Google accounts and get started. First we changed the background and added text. I showed them how each element has it’s own timeline for when it appears and when it leaves. Next we looked through the various free clipart galleries and added some images that were spring related. The last step was to add a speech bubble and make one of the characters say a sentence about the spring. We copied the links to our finished PowToons and posted them to Google classroom so our classmates could watch our animations. You can see a few samples here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary have been learning about plant anatomy and life processes (SOL4.4), so today students in Mr. Cochran’s class created interactive plant diagrams using ArtPad and ThingLink. I usually use ArtPad in the lower grades, but older grades love it too, and it’s a great tool for creating a quick drawing. The students used ArtPad to draw their plant, then they used the snipping tool to get a screenshot of it, and they uploaded it to ThingLink. Next they added icons to label the parts of their plant. Each icon can be customized to show text, images, videos, and links that appear when a visitor rolls over the icon. The students wrote sentences describing the function of each part, and they also linked to the ArtPad replay of their drawing (since they really liked that feature). Finally they posted the links to their interactive diagrams on Google classroom so their classmates could see their work. You can explore a few examples here. I was impressed to see that some students went on afterwards and used ArtPad to draw maps of the regions of Virginia like this.
Third graders at Holladay Elementary have been learning about natural resources, capital resources, and human resources in economics (SOL3.7). Their benchmark tests also revealed that they need additional practice identifying the main idea and details in what they read (SOL3.5,3.6). Making a diagram is a great way to clarify main idea and details, so today students in Ms. Middleton’s class created business diagrams using Popplet. First the students decided what kind of business they wanted to have, and they created a bubble with the name of their business. I showed them how to change the color of the bubble and draw a picture. Then we added three bubbles connected to that bubble (click the little dots around the bubble to add connecting bubbles). We labeled them natural resources, capital resources, and human resources. We also drew a picture for each one and made the bubbles different colors. I explained that if we were going to write a paragraph about our business, those would be the main ideas for three paragraphs. Now we would add the details. Students added connecting bubbles to each type of resource with items from their business that pertained to that category. When they were finished, they downloaded their images and posted them to Google classroom so they could see each others’ work. You can take a look at some of them here.