5th Grade Light & Sound Animations

Fifth graders at all my schools have been learning about light (SOL5.3) and sound (SOL5.2), so these past few weeks we have been using ABCYa!Animate to illustrate light and sound waves. First we reviewed waves, frequencies, and amplitudes using a variety of websites: IKnowThat, Virtual Oscilloscope, Wave On A String, Digital Keyboard, Bouncy Balls, and the Interactive Ear. We also discussed how waves can be reflected or refracted. Students had to choose one of these principles to illustrate in their animation. We went to ABCYa!Animate, and I showed them how to choose a background image or use the square tool to make a solid-colored background. Next, they chose images from the Images library or drew their own images with the paint tool. Once they finished their first frame, I explained how to copy the image with the Copy Cat button and move things around a little bit or add things in each subsequent frame to give the illusion of motion. We also used the Text tool to write labels or descriptive sentences. You can see their light animations here, their sound animations here, and some students combined light and sound in the same animation. You can see those here. (NOTE: Ms.Sharpe’s class had already created animations this year, so we tried something different–movies with WeVideo).




2nd Grade Student-Created Money Quizzes

Second graders at Holladay Elementary have been learning how to count and compare a collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters whose total value is
$2.00 or less and correctly use the cent symbol, dollar symbol, and decimal point (SOL2.10). Today they created their own money quizzes using Google Drawings and Google Forms. First we had to use Google Drawings to create the image of money to use in our quiz. We went to our Google drive and clicked New > More > Google Drawings. Then we clicked the Image button and clicked “Search” to find pictures of the bills and coins we needed. I explained that students could make any amount of money up to $2.00, but they had to know how much money it was for their quiz. When the students were finished making their money picture, we clicked File > Download As > JPEG Image. Then we went back to our Google Drive and clicked New > More > Google Forms. They titled their form, “Money Test” and wrote the question, “How much money is this?” Next, they typed in several answer choices, making sure to include the correct one. We also clicked the Add Image button to upload the money drawing that we created. Finally, to turn the form into a quiz, we clicked Settings (the gear icon) > Quizzes and changed it to a quiz (you may want to change some of the other settings as well). We marked the correct answer choice, clicked “Send,” copied the link, and pasted it to Google classroom so everyone could take our quizzes. You can see them all here. (NOTE: I taught a similar lesson with Mr. Williams’ 5th graders at Varina Elementary where we created quizzes for finding perimeter, area, and volume here)




5th Grade Circles On The Earth

Fifth graders at Laburnum Elementary are learning about circles and their measurements: circumference, diameter, radius, and chord (SOL5.9). Today students in Ms. Henry’s class learned how to show those measurements with Google Drawings and Google Earth. First I gave them each a copy of a blank Google slideshow in Google classroom. We created a title page on the first slide, and on the second slide I showed them how to use the shapes tool to make 4 circles (hold Shift while clicking and dragging the circle to make it perfectly round). We used the paint bucket tool to change the fill color of the circles, and they discovered another new feature that I didn’t know about (I already mentioned in this post, how students found the gradient feature). If you click Custom at the bottom of the colors panel, you can adjust the fill colors’ transparency! Next, I showed them how to use the Line tool to draw a radius, diameter, and chord on different circles. We changed the color of the lines and their thicknesses using the buttons in the toolbar. Then we labeled each measurement with a text box. For the last slide I wanted them to find a real life circle in Google Earth and measure its radius, diameter or a chord. So we went to Google Maps, clicked the Google Earth button in the bottom left corner, and searched for circles. TIPS: Look near rivers for water treatment plants, look out west for crop circles (the panhandle of Texas especially), look on the roofs of buildings for fans, look in backyards for pools and trampolines. To make a measurement, right click where you want the line to start, choose “Measure distance,” then double-click where you want the line to end. Finally, students took a screenshot of their real life circle (using the Snipping Tool) and pasted it to their slideshow with a text box explaining the measurement. You can see all their slideshows here.




3rd Grade Explorers Spreadsheet & Map

Third graders at Laburnum Elementary have been learning about the first European explorers in the New World (SOL3.5c,d). Today students in Ms. Burgess’ class learned how to enter data about the explorers into a spreadsheet and upload it into a Google map. I gave each student a copy of an “Explorers Spreadsheet” (you can make a copy of the spreadsheet here). The explorers’ names are already on the spreadsheet, but students had to do research to enter the remaining information – sponsor country, final destination, and length of trip. For the length of the trip, we first tried finding the mileage of the trip, but realized it was easier to find the length of the trip in days. We were surprised by what we discovered in our research because the lengths of the various trips were very different from our initial predictions. After we entered the data, we highlighted it all and clicked the graph button to make a bar graph. Next we went to “My Google Maps” and clicked the “Add Layer” button. We imported our spreadsheet from Google Drive and checked off “Sponsor” for the placemarks and “Explorer” for the label. Then Google maps automatically created the placemarks in the correct spots. To create an additional set of placemarks for the destinations, we repeated the steps above, but checked off “Landed” for the placemarks. Finally, students could customize the placemarkers by changing the colors and adding photos. You can see a sample spreadsheet here (they were all pretty much the same) and a sample map here.




Kindergarten Living & Nonliving Things

Kindergarten students at Holladay Elementary have been learning about living and nonliving things in Science (SOL K.6) and how to spell words phonetically to describe pictures in Language Arts (SOL K.12c). Today students in Ms. Ambrose’s class used ABCYa!Storymaker to draw and write about a living or nonliving thing. First we brainstormed a variety of things so that the students weren’t all drawing the same ones. Then they used the paint tools to draw a picture of the item they chose. This requires the students to practice clicking and dragging, which is an important computer skill. They also quickly learned how to use the undo button to fix mistakes (and we explained that, unfortunately, life doesn’t have an undo button). Next, we clicked the writing button on the side and a familiar-looking sheet of lined paper appeared on the screen. I showed them how to use Shift to make a capital letter, and we all typed the first word of our sentence, “I.” Then we typed “am a,” and the students finished their sentences with the name of their object, spelled phonetically. You can see them all here.




3rd Grade Animated Water Cycle

Third graders at Varina Elementary have been learning about the water cycle (SOL3.9), so today students in Ms. Cathcart’s class created animated water cycles using ABCYa!Animate. Before we got started, we reviewed the parts of the cycle and what was happening in each part: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and runoff. On the first frame of our animation we painted a scene with water and land and typed the title. We duplicated the scene with the copycat button and added some evaporation. I pointed out that evaporation is actually invisible, but we had to show it somehow. On subsequent frames we continued adding parts to the cycle until we finished with water runoff from the land back into the sea. We clicked the Looping button so our animation would play repeatedly, then exported it as a .GIF file using the orange Export button. To share our animations, we uploaded them to a Padlet that you can see here.




5th Grade Midwest Region Comics

Fifth graders at Trevvett Elementary have been learning about the regions of the United States this year, and they are currently focusing on the Midwest Region. Today students in Ms. Adamonis’ class created comics about the Midwest using StoryboardThat. First, we spent a few minutes researching the Midwest (SOL5.9). I encouraged them to look for interesting facts that their classmates may not already know. Some key words to use in search engines are: midwest + interesting facts, fun facts, interesting places, landmarks, trivia, etc. We also discussed how to double check their facts and evaluate the reliability of websites, since we found some “facts” that weren’t true (like roller skates weren’t actually invented in the midwest as this site claimed). Next, the students chose three of the most interesting facts to illustrate in their comic. We went to StoryboardThat and created a new comic with three panels (one for each fact). I explained that they should create their comic like a storyboard for a tv show or a documentary. The students chose different backgrounds and characters and customized them using the blue “Edit” button. Then they added speech bubbles (textables) and typed the facts they discovered in their research. Finally, we took screenshots of our comics and uploaded them to CoMemories. We have been using Schoology albums to share our work, but we found that comics do not display large enough in this format, so that’s why we chose CoMemories instead. You can see all their midwest comics here.




3rd Grade Goods & Services Websites

Third graders at Holladay Elementary have been learning about goods and services in Social Studies (SOL3.7) and main idea/summarizing in Language Arts (SOL3.6f,g,h). So today students in Ms. Edelblut’s and Ms. Howard’s classes practiced these skills by creating their own websites. First, we reviewed main idea/details using a web. The main idea is the center of the web, and the details are the branches. After several examples, we determined that knowing the main idea helps you summarize. Next, the students decided whether they wanted to make a website about goods or services. We used Popplet to make a main idea/details web for planning out our websites. We wrote a summarizing sentence about goods or services in the center, then provided examples of specific goods and services in the branches. I showed them how to change the colors of the bubbles and even draw images inside. We saved the diagram as a .JPG image (Gear > Export > As JPG File). Then we went to their Google drive and clicked New > More > Google Sites. We created a new Google Site and wrote the title, “Goods” or “Services” and their names. We uploaded our Popplet diagram, then typed a paragraph about our topic, using the diagram for guidance. We made sure the first sentence was the main idea or summarizing sentence. Then we wrote additional sentences for the details. Finally we added images of our specific examples (the details) and published our websites. We shared the links on Google classroom, but you can see them all here.




5th Grade Shapes with Google Drawings

Fifth graders at Varina Elementary have been learning about 2-D shapes: parts of a circle (SOL5.9), angles and triangles (SOL5.12), and plane figures (SOL5.13). Today, students in Ms. Shiew’s class used Google Drawing to illustrate a variety of these shapes. First we went to their Google drive and clicked New > More > Google Drawings. I showed them how to use the Shapes tool to create a shape then use the paint bucket to change the fill color. The students actually found a new feature I hadn’t seen before–you can now have a gradient fill! I also showed them how to use the line tool to create congruent markers on equal sides of the shapes or to add chord, diameter, or radius lines to the circle. They used the editing tools to change the color, thickness, and endpoints of the lines (and shape outlines). To label the endpoints, students used the text box tool and typed letters. Finally, we clicked File > Download As > PNG Image. I explained that one difference between PNG and JPG images is that the PNG image will have a transparent background. We shared our images on Google classroom with questions for our classmates to answer, like “What is the line AB on the circle?” or “What type of triangle is in my picture?” You can see all their shapes here.




Kindergarten Baby Animals

Kindergarteners at Trevvett Elementary have been learning about baby animals and how they look different from the adult animals, and sometimes they have special names (K.7d). Today students in Ms. Gouldman’s and Ms. Haskins’ classes created animated images showing a baby animal turning into an adult. First we brainstormed different kinds of animals and their babies so that we had a variety of ideas. There are also some great websites you can use to review: Cricket (match the baby to the adult), National Wildlife Federation (show what a baby will look like when it grows up), BBC (match the baby animal to its parents), National Geographic (baby animals memory), and Turtle Diary (help the adult find the baby). After our review, the students chose the animal they wanted to illustrate. Then we went to ABCYa! Animate, and I showed the students how to use the drawing tools to draw a baby animal. Next, we clicked the second frame at the top and drew the adult version of the animal. We slowed down the animation with the speed button and set it to loop so it would repeat (just like a life cycle). Finally we pressed the Export button to save it as a .GIF file and uploaded it to a Padlet so we could see everyone’s. You can take a look at their animations here.