Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poetry Apps

Poetry Month is here! Some new apps are on our iPads, all of which are by Read Write Think.


First up is Word Mover, which is magnetic poetry for the iPads. Students can choose words from a word bank or write their own, and save, share, or print their poems.


Theme Poems introduces students to theme or shape poems, and has various images for students to choose from to brainstorm and write their poem.


Acrostic Poems has students brainstorm and write acrostic poems using any word of their choice. It also gives "hint" words for each letter to help students write their poems.


Finally, the Haiku app teaches students how to write a haiku, and includes brainstorming with syllable counts to help students get familiar with counting the syllables when writing their haiku.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ICE Top 3

Have you ever been to a professional development conference and had FUN? That's how #ICE14 was for me last week. I learned so much and was rejuvenated and inspired. I am so excited to share everything I've learned at upcoming Academy 39 classes! Here's the top 3 things that I took away last week:

3. #OurKidsTeach
Kristin Ziemke (@KristinZiemke) and Katie Muhtaris (@literacyspark) are teachers at Burley School in CPS. They build their classroom environments so that "The community teaches the community, not just teacher to student, student to student"
One of the ways they build their classroom community is through blogging using Kidblog. This has created a shift in their classroom - "Kids are no longer looking to their teacher asking, “is this what you want”? They are thinking, "hmm what would my followers want!" If you don't have a blog up and running in your classroom currently and want to start one this year we can sit down together and set it up - or look for an Academy 39 class this summer!

2. Padlet is my new favorite tool.
Are you in my Appy Hour class? Good, because this is what I'm showing next week! Padlet is one of those tools that I'd heard of before, but until I saw it in action during Kristin Ziemke's and Carolyn Skibba's (@skibtech) "Beyond Apps" workshop, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. It's an online bulletin board. Sounds simple? It is, and that is why it has SO much potential! It can be a backchannel, discussion board, KWL chart, a stream of student work, and more. It works on an iPad or a computer, so students can share the work they've done and post it on the "bulletin board". Here's an example that was shared that students have created of Rainforest Fish (Sorry for my fuzzy iPad photography):


Here are two examples we created in the workshop: uploading pictures from Drawing Pad, and uploading ScreenChomps

1. "Technology doesn't equal engagement."

Harsh, I know. But George Couros (@gcouros) (who is one of my new favorite educators), really pushed the envelope on my thinking during his keynote speech at ICE. Here are some of the things he said that resonated with me:





And finally... he always says to ask yourself "what's best for kids"? That should be your guiding question day in and day out. They're the reason we're here of course! :-)

George Couros has also done a TED talk if you're interested in being inspired and have 20 minutes to spare. It's worth it! I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face, or your money back. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PD in your PJs

As I was reading Scholastic Instructor today, I came across a catchy headline - "PD in your PJs". It seemed very fitting for this week, since we had our Township institute day just yesterday. 
 

I think what we can all agree upon is that we want PD that inspires us and meets our needs as educators. "That's the beauty of the Internet: Instead of spending your PD sessions poking at stale bagels and discussing irrelevant topics, you can curl up with your laptop and seek out training that matters to you."  So, whether Tuesday inspired you or left you wanting more, here are some resources that can give you a daily dose of PD.


Offers free MOOC's (Massive Open Online Course) such as "Student Thinking at the Core" and "Teaching Character and Promoting Positive Classrooms".

Free social and professional network that offers webinars.

Subscribe to a daily news brief with the latest news in education. 

One of my favorites! Blogs, videos, articles, and more. 

"EdReach provides a platform for passionate, outspoken educators, aiming to strengthen their voices by highlighting innovation in the field of education, through the reporting of critical educational news and providing commentary and criticism on the educational issues of the day."

Don't forget that we also have a district subscription to Atomic Learning, which is another great resource to learn something new!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Digital Learning Day



"Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and a career. We urge you to make a difference with digital learning in America's schools and take the pledge to support the effective use of technology to improve education for all students."

Their website has various classroom lessons and ideas, so check it out if you're looking for something new to share with your students. Thanks to Danielle K. for sharing the site!

Liz K., the librarian at Highcrest, also reminded me that PBS Learning is a great resource for multimedia! You can search by subject and grade level.

Happy innovating!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Drawing Pad App

A new app was just installed on our iPads: Drawing Pad.


It's actually a pretty impressive drawing app! I decided to get a new drawing app after experiencing a lot of trouble with Doodle Buddy lately. (So, for those of you who used Doodle Buddy before, Drawing Pad is its replacement.) 

Check out this video to see it in action:


There's a drawer full of art supplies, including paintbrushes of different sizes, crayons, markers, roller pens, paper choices, stickers, stencils, charcoal pencils, chalk, text tools, erasers and more! Once you are finished drawing, pictures can easily be saved to the Camera Roll (just like with Doodle Buddy) to integrate with other apps, or it can be printed or emailed right from Drawing Pad.


Let me know how you like it!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PicLab HD

One of my favorite FUN apps is FREE... TODAY ONLY!!
PicLab HD creates beautiful, funky, and creative text overlays on your photos. They have a free version, but PicLab HD has more free fonts and editing features than regular old PicLab.

Here are some examples of what it looks like:


So why am I sharing a photo editing app? Well, I think that 3rd and 4th graders especially would love it. It makes me cringe when they ask me if I am on Instagram, but this is their digital world and what is "cool" in it. 

Some of the ideas I had were:
- Create a New Year's Resolution image
- Create a picture of a quote from a book 
- After reading, design an image for the moral of a story


Look for it on our iPads after the New Year.. but download it today if you're interested!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Flipped Classroom


This afternoon at our faculty meeting, we will be starting a discussion around the concept of the flipped classroom. A Google search on the topic of the "elementary flipped classroom" brought up 12,700,000 results. WOW! 


So, what is the flipped classroom? First, it is NOT just about watching videos for homework. It is a fuller cycle of learning, with deeper connections to both the content and the learning community members. Learning tasks can become engaging, relevant, authentic, and exciting. The flipped classroom also doesn't center around videos - teachers are still responsible for making decisions about which tools will best meet the needs of their students, keeping the overall learning climate and objectives in mind.

Jon Bergmann (@jonbergmann) has been coined as a co-founder of the flipped learning concept, and has an entire website dedicated to Flipped Learning, including videos, blogs, and resources on the topic. 




One piece of advice he gives to elementary teachers is to not assign the video as homework, but make it a center in your classroom. The new term I have heard for this is The Cloned Teacher, from Jennie Magiera. I LOVE this term because it fits much better with our elementary classrooms and students. 


Ready to try it? Here are examples I have found of what it could look like at each grade level:

Kindergarten


1st Grade


2nd Grade


3rd Grade


4th Grade


YOU! (Yes, you can be a flipped learner too! Searching YouTube to find what you want to do is an awesome way to learn!)


Wait, wait, wait.. are you saying I have to make all these videos for my kids? NO! There are hundreds upon thousands of videos that you can already use...! Here are just a few:
And even BrainPop & BrainPop Jr!

One final video... Salman Khan's TED talk: Let's use video to reinvent education. 



Additional Articles & Resources: