Plate Tectonics in Google Maps

A 5th grade teacher approached me with an idea to introduce tectonic plates to her students. In the past, she had the students plot the coordinates on an overhead sheet with the world map on it. Then they would lay the overhead sheets on top of one another and see where the volcanoes and earthquakes occurred and see where the tectonic plates are located. After planning together, we realized that Google Maps would have the same effect, with more student engagement and collaboration.

In preparation for this lesson, the teacher created a Google Map with 5 layers on that one map, and then she shared the map with her student’s Henrico Google accounts. When the students went to the apps and clicked on Maps, they were able to locate the map that was shared with them. Within the classroom the students were divided into 5 groups as well. Everyone had a role within the group and they rotated jobs. One student called out the given longitude and latitude. Another student plotted this point on the paper map, while another student plotted the point on the Google Map. They worked together as a team to ensure that the pins on the map were in the correct location based on the longitude and latitude on the paper map. The students were plotting the given data, not realizing that the points they were plotting were the longitude and latitude of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have occurred.

Once all the groups have plotted their points (black pins for earthquakes and red pins for volcanoes), the students will be able to see all of the plots for all 5 groups and better be able to see patterns with the data. This will help students to realize that these are tectonic plates. What a great intro to their study of the Earth’s boundaries!

Here is their finished map.

Position Words in Pixie

In math, the students have been working on position words (above, below, next to, etc.). To familiarize the students with the new Pixie app, the students created a fall scene by following verbal directions which included the position words they have been working on. Here is the script I used for this lesson. You can change it up to meet the needs of your students. Here is a finished student sample.

Repeating and Growing Patterns in Educreations

The students had a lot of fun creating repeating and growing patterns and explaining their thought process using the voice recorder and pen tool in the Educreations app. Prior to the lesson, the classroom teacher made baskets for each team with a variety of manipulatives that they could use to make a pattern. She also created an Educreations account and signed into her account on the iPads so that her students could easily save and share their work.

After the students created a pattern at their desk, their teacher and I went around with the iPads and showed them how to record and draw in Educreations. After showing one student, I then asked that student to take the iPad and walk their neighbor through the steps of recording in this app. This way it was like having 2 additional instructors in the room and it was helping the students who were training their classmates to retain that information. As we got going, other students had an opportunity to teach their classmates and really seemed to love that responsibility.

In addition, their understanding of patterns grew because as they were recording, they would be writing on their pattern and notice a place where what they were saying and what the pattern showed were not matching up. They would stop the recording, update their pattern and then re-record. Some students created repeated patterns and others opted for growing patterns. They did an awesome job. Here are some of their recordings:

On Target With Decimals

The 5th Grade students have been working on Decimal Place value this week, which provided me the perfect opportunity to combine two things I love…good deals & Target!

I went to Target and snapped some photos of the items on the shelf and their price tag. Using Dropbox, I transferred the pictures from my phone to my computer and used them to create this presentation. This Google Presentation was set up to be a station so the directions are provided to the students on each slide. I dropped this presentation into a class templates folder that the teacher created and shared on Google Drive. From there, the students were able to log into their Henrico Google accounts, open the activity from the templates folder, and make a copy to their own account so that they would have editing rights. This is a great way to have a station activity and get a quick assessment of your student’s understanding of decimals.

Read & Write for Google

Image from Chrome Web Store for Read & Write Google

Yesterday, I attended the RVA Unconference that was hosted by Henrico County.  I went to one session called Google Apps for K-2, and the facilitator shared with us a resource that I think would be very beneficial.  It’s a Google Chrome extension called Read to Write for Google.  It allows you to have the text in the doc highlight and read aloud to the students.  To add it to your account, launch Chrome and log into your Henrico Google Account.  Then click on this link:  Chrome Web Store  This will take you to the extension in the Chrome Web Store where you can get the free extension.   The YouTube video about this extension does a great job explaining how this product works.  Once the extension is added, whenever you open a new doc, this icon will pop up at the top of your doc and give you access to the tools of Read & Write for Google.

  Today, I practiced with a Kindergarten class to see how it would work.  I created a doc with a sight word list.  You could use the Tyner Sight Word Lists found on Virtual Share.  The doc reads through the word list for the student.  Then it reads the story I typed using those sight words.  Finally, I typed some directions for the students for what to do next.  After listening to the words a few times, the students can try to read the words aloud using Quick Voice on the iPad.  Then they can draw a picture of what was happening in the story so that the teacher can check for comprehension.

Here’s a quick example of this activity in action.  It was a trial run for all involved, and it’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point.  If you have other ideas of ways this could be used, I would love to hear them!




Composing & Editing Writing with Google Docs

This year, the elementary students are able to log into their Henrico Google Account and use the Google Applications. For this lesson, I set up the usernames and passwords for Ms. Herod’s 5th grade class at Longan. The students logged into their account and opened a new Doc. Ms. Herod gave them a prompt and we allowed them to type their descriptive paragraph(s) for about 30 minutes.

Next the students went to the share settings and shared their document with a classmate and their teacher. When the students clicked on their Shared with Me folder, they saw a document from one of their classmates. This allowed them to open their classmate’s Doc and use the commenting feature to suggest ways in which they could improve their paragraph. Students were looking for grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, run on sentences, etc.

At the end of the lesson, the students asked if they could continue editing their friend’s writing for homework, so I think they enjoyed this new way of editing writing!

Henrico 21 Awards Ceremony

What a great year we have had! The Henrico 21 submissions this year were incredible! I am happy to announce that the Henrico Hometown Heroes project from Springfield Park is a Henrico 21 Finalist in the Project category! Way to go 5th grade team! You can learn more about their project on the Henrico 21 Site.

In addition, 3 students from Springfield Park will be recognized for their outstanding work! Ravi has been working on computer programming using SCRATCH. Check out his winning project here!

The students in Mrs. Nowicki’s 5th grade class created memorials for someone they thought was deserving. These students finished products went above and beyond the project expectations and have earned these students recognition at the Henrico 21 ceremony. Check out their work here: Katie & Gwen

Congratulations to these student winners and teacher finalists! You can see more innovative lessons and student products at the Henrico 21 Ceremony, Thursday, May 30th at Glen Allen High School. The student fair will take place from 5:30-6:30 and the ceremony will begin shortly after that. I hope to see you there!

How A Book Gets Published Prezi

The students in Mrs. Pierce’s 5th Grade class at Springfield Park have been working on researching and sharing the many steps that go into publishing a book. They brainstormed the different jobs that are a part of publishing and selling a book and split into teams to conduct research on that topic. Then they collaborated on a class Prezi to explain how a book on the bookshelf is just the tip of the iceberg. In their presentation, they explain the roles and responsibilities of each person/group involved in publishing a book. Here is what they have so far:

After working on their Prezi, invited a local author to come into their classroom and discuss the steps involved in publishing a book. Information they gained from interviewing Ellery Adams will help them to edit their Prezi. Next, they would like to Skype with a publisher or someone who works at a publishing company to check their facts and edit their Prezi even further. It’s a work in progress, but they are learning a lot of skills from this experience.