This year, with the new Dells and new log in procedures, I am encouraging my teachers to use Google classroom. Since all Henrico students have Google accounts now, it provides a great way for them to share their work. Today I showed Ms. Crostic’s class at Holladay how to log into Google classroom and work on their first Google doc (online word processing). My focus this year is on math and writing, so I decided to combine some writing with ordinal numbers (SOL2.2), which is what they are currently studying in math. First I instructed them to search for a picture of a group of objects and insert it into their document (Insert > Image > Search). We discovered that it was better to type the words “line of…” instead of “group of…” when doing the search so we could get an orderly group for identifying the ordinal numbers. After they got their pictures, they wrote questions for a partner to answer such as “Which car is red? What color candy is 6th?” I showed them how to change the font size and color, and we discussed the importance of using capital letters and question marks. Then they switched seats and answered each others’ questions in a different color. Since all their work was posted to Google classroom, Ms. Crostic had a quick and easy way to access them. You can see some student examples here.
First graders in Ms. Gerrard’s class at Davis Elementary have been studying different types of motion: straight, circular, pushing, pulling, vibrating, and back and forth motions. Animations are a great way to show motion! Today we used ABCYa! Animate to illustrate different motions. I instructed the students to pick a motion and to try to make it unique, something the other students in the class wouldn’t think of doing. Then they started drawing the first scene. I showed them how to duplicate it several times with the Copy Cat button to slow down the animation. Then they changed the image slightly to show the type of motion they were trying to display and duplicated that several times as well. Since it’s a loop, the motion just continues through the two different images and it looks like constant motion. They saved it as a GIF file, and I published them all to a Google Doc that you can see here. As you can see, Ms. Gerrard’s first graders did a great job being creative and sharing unique types of motion!
Today I tried out two new web tools with Ms. Edmond’s first graders at Holladay Elementary. She’s always willing to try new things! They have been learning about fact families in math (SOL1.5) so we illustrated some fact families with QuikSlides and SketchToy. I like both of these sites a lot because they are easy to use and don’t require a login. QuikSlides is a way to make a simple slideshow. You can change the font and color of the slides and even link to online images and videos. You can also set a password so you can go back and edit your slideshow later. The slideshows can be viewed online with any device including the iPads! The students made a new slide for each of the four members of the fact family that they wanted to show. You can see their slideshows by clicking here. Next we created animated illustrations of those fact families using SketchToy. With SketchToy you can draw pictures and then watch an animated replay of your drawing. The students especially liked how they could adjust the vibration of the lines. The students drew a picture showing the number of objects in their fact families and then wrote out the corresponding addition and subtraction equations. I instructed them to make the color of the objects match the numbers. Most of them did a great job following directions. I put all their links together into a Google doc that you can check out here:
Ms. Lee’s kindergarten students at Davis Elementary have been learning about the butterfly life cycle in science (SOLK.6). Since a life cycle is a sequence that involves change, it’s a perfect subject for an animation. So today we made animations of the butterfly life cycle using a site called ArtPad. First the students used the paint brush to illustrate each of the four stages: egg, larva (or caterpillar), pupa (or chrysalis), and adult. The paint brush tool is easy to use and you can change the size by simply dragging a button. The paint brush actually changes appearance as well. When they were finished, I showed them how to publish their drawings and get the link. If they click the link, they can watch the animated replay of their painting from start to finish, so it shows the sequence of the life cycle. It’s actually really cool to watch and the students loved it! I gathered all their links together and put them on a Google Doc that you can take a look at by clicking here.
First graders in Ms. Smith’s class at Laburnum Elementary have been learning about poetry in language arts and spring in science, so today they wrote an acrostic poem that spelled out SPRING. They came up with their own words or phrases to go with each letter and typed them on a Pages document. When they were finished, I showed them how to highlight the first letter of each line and change the font, size, and color so it stood out. Next we went online and I showed them how to do a Google image search to find spring pictures that went along with their ideas. They learned how to drag and drop the pictures from the browser onto their document (that took a lot of practice for some of them)! Finally, they saved their acrostic poems, and I combined them together into one document. I exported it as a PDF and uploaded it to another publishing site called Issuu. You can take a look at their finished project by clicking here.
Kindergarten students in Ms. Fennell’s class have been working hard all year to get to the point where they are finally ready to write complete sentences. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, considering when they started in September they were just learning to identify their ABCs! They had previously written a sentence on paper about their wishes and drawn a picture, so today we were making a digital copy for their portfolios. I was also teaching them some basic word processing skills such as using Shift to make capital letters and using the space bar and punctuation keys. First I gave them a Pages template with the font already set to a large size. They typed their sentences and added their names. Then I showed them how to use Photo Booth to take a picture of their drawings. Ms. Fennell and I helped them drag the photos to their Pages documents. They saved their files, then I combined them together into one document and uploaded them to Flipsnack for publishing. You can take a look at it online here or download the complete PDF here. I love how their wishes are all unique and some are quite moving.
Third graders in Ms. Leo’s class at Varina Elementary have been learning about simple machines (SOL3.2). Since simple machines involve motion, making animations is a great way to demonstrate and understand how they work. Today we used ABCYa! Animate to create short animations of the simple machines: lever, pulley, wheel and axle, wedge, inclined plane and screw. The students picked a simple machine to illustrate and then used the drawing tools and the clip art to design their animations. They could also use the text tool to label their machines. Most of the animations were just two frames long so they move kind of quickly, but you can slow them them down by clicking the Copy Cat button a couple of times for each picture. The students downloaded their animated GIFs, and I published them online. You can take a look at their projects by clicking here.
Third graders in Ms. Eller’s class at Davis Elementary are getting ready for their upcoming SOL tests, and they have been reviewing the ancient civilizations from 2nd and 3rd grade: China, Egypt (SOL2.1), Greece, Rome (SOL3.1), and Mali (SOL3.2). Ms. Eller wanted to practice reviewing with ActivEngage2, a student response system by Promethean. So while the students created questions using Padlet I showed her how to set up her computer to access the ActivEngage2 hub. Padlet is a great way to generate lots of review questions because the students are motivated to write difficult questions to stump their friends. They also enjoy seeing all their classmate’s notes appear instantly (although it can get confusing). Another thing I like about Padlet is the students can only edit and move their own notes, the other notes are locked for them. Teachers, of course, and edit and move all the notes as they wish. I usually leave the layout as Freeform while the students are typing, but when it comes time to display the questions for review, I switch to the Stream layout and project them on the Promethean Board right from Padlet. You can take a look at their questions by clicking here. The students answered their questions using the ActivEngage2 format, giving instant feedback to their teacher, but if you don’t have that, you could do the same thing using an online tool like Socrative or Infuse Learning. You can see more examples of this lesson from other 3rd grade classes I’ve taught: Ms. Ford’s class from Laburnum and Ms. Middleton’s class from Holladay.
Fourth graders in Ms. Cousins’ class at Davis Elementary have been studying the Civil War for several weeks now (SOLVS.7), and today they wanted a fun way to review the important people. I listed all of them on the board and the students chose one that they wanted to research. I explained that they would be making animated characters using Voki and they should try to make them look as much like the real people as possible. So part of their research involved looking at old photos of them. I showed them how to change the skin, hair, and eye color, and how to add different backgrounds and clothing. Once their character looked relatively realistic, they clicked the voice tab and chose text to speech. They typed a few facts for their person to say, explaining who they were and their important accomplishments. Then I showed them how to pick an accent, which is one of the best parts! Another thing I really like about Voki is that students can publish their creations without having to create an account. So each student published their animation and saved the link to their folder. I put all the links together on one Google Doc that you can see here.
First graders in Ms. Long’s class at Davis Elementary have been learning about flowers and how they grow (SOL1.4) so today we made animations of growing flowers using ABCYa! Animate. I taught a similar lesson last year but I learned a couple of lessons since then. First, I learned a big lesson about modeling. I have found that if I draw a picture while modeling the steps in a process, the majority of students will end up copying my drawing. That’s what happened in my last lesson… almost all of the students’ flowers were red like mine. So this time I purposely drew an ugly grey flower that resembles Medusa. None of the children copied it. Also I learned how to make the animated GIF actually animate in the Google Doc (host the images on another site and link to the URL instead of importing them directly into the Google Doc and then link to the publicly shared Google Doc instead of the published web version). Finally, in order to keep the animations from moving too quickly, we pushed the Copy Cat button a few times for each picture so there were duplicates. You can see their finished projects here.