Saturday, April 26, 2014

Google Presentation...Rainforest Animal Research

Its Spring and that means one thing in our 1:1 iPad classroom...creative technology projects to finish out the year STRONG! The spring time for me brings some stress as I get ready for end of the year testing, TPRI, IPT testing for bilingual students, LPACS and the list goes on and on. It's also my favorite time for learning new content in science. We have been studying the rainforest, the layers and its plants and animals for two weeks now. The students have chosen their favorite animal to research. I have designed lessons that will help the students incorporate lots of rich technology into their research. We are trying out some new apps and exploring +GoogleTools to enhance their research skills. 

I began the unit by asking students if they knew what kinds of animals lived in the rainforest or what they knew about the rainforest in general. Hands went up in the air as I began to generate a list of their facts on the board. But prior to starting the lesson, I called one of our district technology specialist several days before to design a research template in google presentation to help the students type their facts. The template was adorable to say the least!! The next day, I "chirped", one of my favorites apps, the link of the website that the students would be using for their research (Facts4Me) I use the Chirp app all the time when I want students to go to a website. They open the link in Safari and takes them straight to it. The students used this website to transfer their research to a hard copy of the template created in google presentation. 

After they completed the research, I reserved the computer lab for several days for students to work on their presentation. They completed their presentation in two visits, not a surprise, as they had prior experience working in google for various projects earlier in the year. So the following week, I introduce them to a new app called "facetalk". We were learning about acrostic poems in RLA. I had the students create an acrostic poem on manila paper of their rainforest animal and draw a picture of it. They took a screenshot of their poem and uploaded to "facetalk". Here, they can record their voice and email their recording to the teacher to post on various social media platforms. I use my class YouTube channel to post all projects for parents to see and leave comments. 

It was time to create their own "rainforest" in groups. My classroom environment is one that "fosters" creative learning and thinking. I have no desks or chairs in my class this year and this kind of environment has had a HUGE impact on digital learning! The collaboration and discussions have benefitted their English language development when working in groups. Having that mobility throughout the day keeps their little minds active. I can't imagine going back to having desks and chairs. I hope to gain new knowledge through their blogs as they will reflect on how we can improve as 21st century learners for next year. I can't wait to see what year two will bring! In the meantime, I will continue to design engaging lessons that inspire creative thinking and learning! Here is a sneak peek into our week....

Students working on their research in google presentation

Facetalk App (student example lessons)

Manuel's Video

Jacqueline's video

James Video

Sasha's Video

Group Work

Looking Back...What a Difference A Year Makes!

Spring brings lots of exciting learning in my classroom. I can't believe we just have 6 weeks of school left. As I reflect back on this years learning in a mobile 1:1 iPad classroom, I can't help but think about where I was this time last year. I am a looping teacher which means I teach 2nd and 3rd grade bilingual. My third graders last year had the opportunity to use iPads for a short time after our roll out in January. The end of the year was so exciting as I planned new and exciting technology projects for my new 2nd graders coming in this year. I can honestly say that having these devices in a classroom for a whole year has made a HUGE impact on learning! Their confidence level has boosted their enthusiasm for learning in all content areas and they continue to be "fearless learners and leaders"! So here is what I have noticed this year from my students. They come in every morning waiting anxiously to hear what our days schedule will be and if it will involve technology. The questions start at my door before they come in..."what are we learning today Mrs. Lackey? "What projects are we going to be working on this week and the next?" "Can we work on coding?" "Are we going to have another google hangout with someone new?" The list goes on and on. The environment in my classroom this year has impacted their "hunger" for creative learning. I see and feel their excitement and this kind of attitude "inspires" me to continue designing lessons that will challenge and motivate my bilingual students to be 21st century learners! Their eagerness for learning and their desire to be "fearless learners" has inspired me to start my Masters Program this summer in Instructional Technology and Leadership! These are exciting times in education and for a veteran teacher like myself, I KNOW there is so much more that I can do to help teachers and children continue this quest of "digital learning" in what seems to be endless! I am so blessed beyond measure and so proud of what my students have accomplished this year in the world of mobile device learning!  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

FaceTalk App

Wow oh wow!! Spring has arrived and it has been a busy two weeks in my classroom and in my personal life as TRI season and summer running have arrived!! Spring brings lots of new learning and we have discovered a new app that continues to help my students with their fluency in English. We have been learning about area in math and how to find the total square units of a shape. The students created their very own robot on graph paper and decorated it. They had to add the total number of square units that their robot equaled. I let the students work in groups to help those that may have needed some help. They took a screen shot of their robot with their iPad and uploaded it to the app @Facetalk.  If you haven't explored this app, you will quickly notice the students having fun with it. It allows you to choose a mouth to place (drag) over your photo's face so that it looks as if your person or animal is talking! The students record their voice and it creates a video of your person or animal talking! This is great for developing fluency or vocabulary for ELL learners! The app allows the student to email the short video to their teacher where you can export to various social media platforms! I uploaded the videos to my class YouTube Channel for parents to visit as well as our class Twitter account. Next week, the students will be learning about the Rainforest and they will be choosing their favorite rainforest animal to research. We will be using the FaceTalk app as students share facts about their animal. I love this app and have lots of ideas on how to use across the subject areas! Be sure to check it out or share ideas on how your class has used it. Here are a few videos that were created by my students.