First graders at Davis Elementary have been studying past and present (SOL1.1), so today students in Ms. Long’s class created past/present comics using StoryboardThat. First we helped them log into Google classroom where I posted the link. Then I showed them how to search for a background from the past and a background from the present. Next we added a person from the past and a person from the present to the correct background. We discussed the differences in clothing, buildings, and technology. I showed the students how they could customize the colors of the characters. Finally we added speech bubbles (called textables) and wrote complete sentences with the characters telling whether they were from the past or the present. I helped them take screenshots of their finished comics, and we posted them to Google classroom. You can take a look at some students samples here.
Third graders at Davis Elementary have been working on pumpkin creative writing projects. Each student decorated a pumpkin like a story character and chose from a variety of suggested ideas for writing about their pumpkin (journal, interview, comic, etc). The 3rd grade teachers wanted a technology activity as one of the choices, and Ms. Parkinson came up with the Facebook idea. I developed a template that you can download here and gave a copy to each student through Google classroom. The students right clicked on an image, chose “Replace image,” then clicked “Take a snapshot.” This opens the webcam so students could take a photo of their pumpkin. Next they typed their pumpkin’s name and some information about their pumpkin. They also typed a post that their pumpkin would have made on Facebook. Their favorite part was walking around taking pictures of the other pumpkins in the same way as they took the first picture and adding posts from their pumpkin “friends.” You can see some student samples by clicking here.
Second graders at Davis Elementary have been learning about different types of storms in Science (SOL2.6a) and sequence words in Language Arts (SOL2.6c). So today in Ms. Becker’s room we created weather sequence diagrams using Popplet. This was my first lesson using Popplet since their recent update. Since students aren’t allowed to create accounts, we need to use the demo mode. It used to be full-featured, but now the demo mode has some restrictions (you can’t delete bubbles, and you can’t change the title of the bubbles). Due to these restrictions, I’ll probably use Google diagrams instead of Popplet for future lessons. First the students chose a type of storm: thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, blizzard, flood. Then they created three bubbles to tell their storm story in sequence. They used words like “first,””next,” and “then.” Using the connectors they connected the bubbles together in order. The students also drew a picture in each bubble (that is one feature of Popplet I really like). We exported the images as .JPG files and then published them to Google classroom. The students were instructed to finish each others’ stories in the comments section using words like “Finally” or “Last.” You can take a look at some samples here.
Third graders at Davis Elementary have been learning about homophones (SOL3.4a), so today we created homophone flip pics. First we reviewed different types of homophones so everyone wouldn’t do the same one (even though we still got many repeats). The students chose a homophone pair and illustrated each one using Pixie. I showed them how to add a text box and change the font, size, and color so the words would stand out. Next we exported our pictures as .JPG files and saved them to the Desktop. To create the animation we used Gickr. The students uploaded their pictures, chose a size and a speed for the animation, then Gickr turned them into animated gifs! The students posted them to Google classroom so they could comment on each others’ flip pics. You can take a look at some samples here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary have been learning how to add and subtract decimals in Math (SOL4.5c), and they have been studying Virginia industries in Social Studies (VS.10b). Today I showed them how to use Google Docs to create interactive decimal word problems about the industries of Virginia. First I shared a blank template with them in Google classroom. I reviewed how to add a title and change the font, size, and color. The students chose a region and an industry, then they wrote a word problem that involved adding or subtracting decimals. They also added a photo of the industry (Insert > Image). For the interactive part, we created multiple choice answers that, when clicked, would let the visitor know if they were right or wrong. The process involved using bookmarks and links. First we skipped about 20 lines down the document and wrote a “correct” message, like “You’re right!” Then we skipped about 20 more lines and wrote an “incorrect” message, like “Try again!” We added a bookmark next to the title, the correct message, and the incorrect message (Insert > Bookmark). Next we highlighted each answer choice and turned it into a link by clicking the link button (it has a chain icon) and linked the choices to the correct bookmark. Finally we highlighted the correct and incorrect messages and linked them to the title bookmark so visitors could click them and go back to the top. Take a look at some student examples here.
Fifth graders in Ms. Bailey’s class at Davis Elementary have been learning about plot development (SOL5.5c) as they read the exciting book, Escaping the Giant Wave by Peg Kehret. Today I showed them how to create a Google slideshow highlighting important events in the plot of the story. We used StoryboardThat to illustrate each scene. StoryboardThat includes a variety of backgrounds and characters that can be customized. The students searched for special items they wanted to add to their pictures, like fire and waves. Then we took screenshots of the pictures and imported them into our Google slideshow. Next we added text boxes to each slide identifying the parts of the “plot mountain”: introduction/problem, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. I showed them how to change the background color of the slides and add transitions. Finally we published the links to Google classroom where students could view each others’ slideshows and discuss similarities and differences. The featured image is from Sarah’s slideshow, but you can see them all here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary are learning about weather in science (SOL4.6), Virginia regions in social studies (VS.2b), and graphing in math (SOL4.14). So today students in Mr. Cochran’s class researched current temperatures in different regions of Virginia and graphed them. I gave them a template that you can copy here. First we clicked the “City” link and looked at the current temperatures in different Virginia cities. I showed them how they could click the column headings to sort by that category, so we sorted by temperature. We took a city from the highest temperatures (Virginia Beach), a city in the middle temperatures (Richmond), and a city in the low temperatures (Staunton). Then we located those cities on a map of Virginia and discussed why the temperatures might be different. The students noticed that the colder cities were further west (higher altitude) and north (higher latitude). Next we looked at the weekly forecast for the three cities (linked on the spreadsheet). Your students could choose their own cities to graph, but we just graphed the temperatures for the three cities we researched to save time. On the spreadsheet I showed them how they could click the “Thursday” cell and drag the small blue square handle down through seven more cells to have them fill in with the days of the week. Then they filled in the rest of the cells with the temperatures. Next we clicked the graph button and chose a line graph. I showed them how to customize the color and thickness of the lines, and we added a title. They posted their graphs to Google classroom, but you can take a look at some here.
Fifth graders at Davis Elementary are reviewing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (SOL5.4) as well as studying number patterns (SOL5.17). So today students in Mr. Cangelosi’s class created number patterns for their classmates to solve using Google spreadsheets. First I gave them a template to use and shared it using Google classroom. Feel free to make a copy of the template for yourself. There’s a sheet on the template with an example for your reference. We discussed how spreadsheets work and how each cell has a name (like C5). Then we looked at the first formula to see how it was written to create a pattern. The students changed the formula to create their own pattern. Then they dragged the blue square from the cell that had the formula across the other cells in the row to continue the pattern. Next they changed the answer responses in the other formulas to reflect the correct answers and wrote their own feedback words (like, “Way to go!” or “Did you spell it correctly?”). Finally they posted their spreadsheets to Google classroom so their classmates could try to figure out their patterns. You can try to solve some here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary are learning about primary and secondary sources (VS.1a), so today students in Ms. White’s and Ms. Bennett’s classes collected and analysed their own primary sources. First we discussed primary sources and why they are valuable. We looked at some Civil War photos, some photos of Abraham Lincoln, and a contemporary painting of George Washington. The students correctly identified all of these as primary sources. I explained that they would be going back in time today to take a photograph of a place, and then we would be comparing that old photo with a modern one. First we opened up Google Earth, and I told them to find a place in which they were interested. We discussed examples like their neighborhood, a favorite vacation spot, or a place that was important to their family. We zoomed in fairly close, so we were able to see roads and buildings. Next I showed them how to use the timeline feature and we went back in time. I asked if this was a primary or secondary source. We figured out that it was a primary source because it was a photograph taken by a satellite at that time. We used the Snipping Tool to take a screenshot of the place and saved it to our desktop. Then we dragged the timeline to the present and took another screenshot. We combined the two images using a cool webtool called Juxtapose. The images have to be hosted online to get the links, so we uploaded them to Comemories. Then we copied the links and pasted them in Juxtapose. Juxtapose turns them into a before/after comparison complete with a slider. The students could now compare the images and see how the places changed over time. Take a look at some student examples here.
Many schools have a superhero theme this year, and there are lots of cool websites for turning yourself into a superhero. Some of my favorites are: Hero Machine, Marvel Commics, and Heroized. Today 2nd graders in Ms. Becker’s class and 5th graders in Mr. Cangelosi’s class at Davis Elementary turned themselves into superheroes using Pixie and Google slides. First we opened up Pixie and painted a superhero body. Then we used the webcam tool to add our photo to the body. We exported the pictures as PNG images with transparent backgrounds. Next we opened up a Google slides template that I shared on Google classroom. Each student was assigned a slide, and they added a background image. Then they uploaded their superhero picture to their slide. Finally they wrote a sentence or two about their superpower and maybe their weakness (that was optional). Take a look at the Davis superheroes here: Becker and Cangelosi.