Monday, April 28, 2014

Interactive Lessons at Middle

Many of our buildings are using SMART boards with SMARTNotebook for instructional purposes. One of my favorite interactive and simple to use features in SMARTNotebooks is the interactive dice.

To find the interactive dice go to the "Gallery Essentials" tab on the side (looks like a picture frame). Search for "Dice." Navigate to "Interactive and Multimedia" and you will find many different kinds. Here are a few I often used...

 Multiple Dice

Using this feature allows you to tap the board once and have multiple dice roll. You can roll up to eight dice at a time. If you touch the yellow arrow it will show all of the numbers rolled and add it up.

  Dice- keyword
Using this feature you are able to add any text you would like. This is helpful for learning new vocabulary words as well as choosing student groups. Just like the multiple dice, if you touch the yellow arrow it will put text of the word rolled onto your document.


Using this feature you are able to replace what would be numbers or text with images. I often would put pictures of students on the dice as a way to get to know each other.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 11 Library and Reference

In our school district we have been focusing on using ebooks with MackinVia. In the first year of implementation we looked at having all books with multi user license and with the capability to download for offline use.  It is nice having one app with all of the books inside of it. Each student has a unique username and password. They get to add books to their "backpack" for ease of access and the books remember what page they were on when they left the app.

Personally, I use the OverDrive app with Great River Regional Library. I am big fan of all of the ebooks they have available to their patrons. I also like that they take suggestions for books I want to read that they do not have yet. The one downside to many of the books I want to read is the wait list. Just like in the physical library there have bought limited numbers of books. When they are all checked out you are put on a wait list and receive an email when it is ready for you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 10 Sharing Photos

I am a huge fan of learning from one another via Personal Learning Networks (PLN) and Instargram is a less popular site for this. If you get a change go to Instagram and search the following hashtags (#)

  • #teachersofinstagram
  • #teachersfollowteachers
  • #teachertalktuesday
  • #teacherblogger
  • #wordwall
Not only for specified teaching conversations but pictures of places in real time. For example, say you are teaching a lesson on the Berlin wall. You could go to Instagram ahead of time and pull some pictures to use in class. 

23 Mobile Things #9 Taking and Editing Photos

Great tip on the CamMe app. I love it. I can see this working great for students who want to showcase their work and have them in the picture. I can also see this being helpful at family gatherings. I can't wait to use it and share it with others. Another app I like to use for photos, but is a paid app, is CP Pro. It helps make iPhone pictures look like they were taken with an expensive camera.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sharing Poetery

Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining Shelia's second grade class. We made our first attempt at logging into Google Drive and creating Google Presentations to share poems they wrote in class.

Prior to this afternoon, Shelia worked with her students in their classroom on creating their poems and with her media specialists and I on setting up the documents.

Each student worked on creating a poem in their classroom and had a final copy on paper ready to use in the lab. In whole group time at the SMARTboard in their classroom, Shelia lead a quick demonstration as to what they would be doing in the computer lab. How to:

  • Type the link to get to the class list
  • Where to type in their user name and password
  • What a Google Presentation looks like
  • How to edit the text and add images

As the second graders entered the computer lab, they each had their poem in hand. All students sat at their assigned computer spot and put one hand on their head and the other on their tummy to show us they were ready to go. Having previously taught kindergarten, I a  big fan of giving students a task right away and making expectations clear from the start.

Once everyone was seated, we demonstrated on the projector the next steps. Having already seen these steps, yet not memorizing them, we used Anita Archer's strategy of "I do, We do, You do." Sheila had done it first in the classroom, then we did it together and next time some may have the freedom to do it on their own.

We did run into some issues:

  • Students trying to log in to their Google account on a computer and the previous student had not signed out. If this happens to you there are a few different things you can do...

    • Open another tab and type then click on the student user name in the upper right corner and sign out.
    • "Add Account" if this student is in their assigned spot and will use the computer again in the future you can add their account and they will not have to type their user name again in the future, Google will remember it.
  • This was the first time for all of the students signing into their account and they had to agree to the terms of use and enter a bunch of numbers.

Although the first few minutes were a little hectic, we found out from this experience that second grade students are able to log into their Google accounts. With Jennifer, Shelia and I walking around the computer lab we were able to successfully get everyone into their account and working on their presentation within 20 minutes.

The back end
Shelia (2nd grade teacher), Jennifer (media specialist) and I met twice. Our first meeting involved talking with Sheila to find out what her end goal was. We decided that a Google presentation would be the best fit for her goal of having her students create a digital presentation of poems they had been working on in class. Shelia logged into her account and created a template of what her expectations would be for the students in a Google Presentation. Our next meeting was to create the documents. We used the add-on "Doctopus." Doctopus created a Google Presentation for each student, shared it with the student and teacher and co-teachers and created a spreadsheet with all of the student presentations. This was very helpful for both the teacher and the student. By doing it this way it took the "Share" steps away from the student end. It also helped organize all of the documents making it easy for the teacher to quickly access them. One more bonus feature is the ability to transfer ownership of the documents at the end of the school year from the teacher to the student.