Monday, June 5, 2017

3rd Graders Create Cause & Effect Comic Strips With StoryboardThat.com


Recently 3rd grade teachers asked for my help as their students were focusing on identifying cause and effect relationships. Along with cause and effect, teachers wanted students to make the subsequent inferences about these cause and effect relationships. Third graders need to be able to recognize these relationships in their reading and in life! My challenge was to give students an opportunity to digitize this valuable lesson!

I found a solution in the web app StoryboardThat.com! Once teachers had introduced the topic, I introduced StoryboardThat.com. Students were asked to create their own cause and effect relationship and identify the inference in the form of a comic strip! 


Students learned how to add a backgrounds, add characters, speech bubbles and text boxes to their cause/effect comic strip! They were really quick at figuring out the "how tos" which made the lesson fun! StoryboardThat was the perfect web app to demonstrate cause and effect in pictures! 


Friday, June 2, 2017

4th Graders Use Glogster To Present Answers To Their Own Guiding Questions...

In April, our 4th grade teachers wanted to give students the opportunity to do research. Rather than decide for their students what they would research, traditionally it has been state reports, this year our 4th grade teachers wanted students to choose their own topic...to answer a guiding question based on their individual interests and passions. I applaud our 4th grade teachers, Mr. Hemann, Mrs. Osborn and Ms. Warfield for challenging themselves and their students to personalize their research. Having every student choose their own guiding question and research based on their own interest adds a level of complexity to their job as teachers. They wanted to encourage students to be curious and to learn that research isn't only something they do for school reports, but something they do for life! So our 4th grade teachers took a deep breath and plunged in. They asked for my help with selecting a digital tool for students to create a presentation. (They weren't quite ready to let each student choose their own digital tool. One step at a time 😉 ) Together we decided to try Glogster.

The first task was helping students turn their interests and passions into a guiding question. Many students knew what they wanted to research, but struggled to frame a question that would help them get to the answers they were seeking! I was amazed by the variety of their interests and depth of their curiosity!


Once students selected a topic and wrote a guiding question, they researched the answer. I was invited to show students how to use Glogster and support them as they created their Glogster to present their research findings. This gave me a chance to discuss online safety and copyright with students along the way. Students learned how to use Glogster by adding text features, speech bubbles, images and even embedding videos! These digital posters were visually engaging and gave students polished projects that they were proud to present to their class and families! Most importantly, students found answers to their own questions!






Thursday, June 1, 2017

Students Share Their Learning & Their Voice With The iMovie App!

I always LOVE finding new digital tools. Finding a new tool is like finding a shiny new pebble on the beach. These gems keep us, students and educators alike, energized with new ways of creating, collaborating and sharing our learning! They're fun! Recently, however, I was reminded that even with the constant pursuit for new and better digital tools, an old favorite (5 years :) has never stopped shining. The iMovie app gives students the opportunity to share their voice and their learning with an intuitive interface and polished final product. (I only wish Apple would update the background music options!! PLEASE! 😏 )

1st Grade Mealworm Life Cycle

Our first graders just completed several projects using iMovie. In Mrs. Johnson's class, students took pictures to document their mealworm over a period of days as it transitioned from a larvae to a beetle. They studied their mealworms and learned about it's life cycle. Once their mealworm transitioned through it's phases, they created iMovies to share what they had learned! They learned how to create their iMovies by adding their mealworm photos, background music, text and voice recordings. Students uploaded their iMovies to SeeSaw so their parents could see their learning!





1st Grade "Me On The Map" iMovies

1st graders also used iMovie to share their "Me On The Map" projects. Students shared their house, city, state, country, continent and world using pictures of maps!


Mrs. Khanhkeo shared her student's iMovies with families using a Padlet!


Fifth Grade Famous Hero Projects

Like our first graders, fifth graders used iMovie to demonstrate and share their learning in greater depth. The project goal was the share their learning about their choice of famous American.


Following their research, students created their iMovie by adding images, text, music, and voice recordings about their famous person. They learned about pacing, how to rearrange images and match their voice recordings to the images by editing the length of each image. They learned how to edit the display of each image using the "Ken Burns Effect". They personalized their iMovies with interesting facts that would keep their audience interested! Their final movies were uploaded to Google Drive, shared with their teacher and viewed by the entire class.



Can You Spot the Giant Loon? 3rd Graders Share Their Loon Research Using Google Slides!

Nothing creates more buzz around a 3rd grade loon research project than a giant loon, complete with a "Lunch To Go" bag full of fish! Mr. Labatte, our OHE principal, stole the show for our 3rd graders who were studying loons, our Minnesota State Bird! 

Our 3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Lorenson, Mrs. McCollough, and Mrs. Ryan, pulled out all the stops to help students learn about loons! They invited a guest speaker from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to share insights, and they gave students a chance to create their own paper mache loons!



Finally, our teachers asked students to create and share their learning digitally using Google Slides. This was the first time our 3rd graders created a digital slideshow, so we had to begin with the a few basics. As part of their research, students gathered facts about the loon habitat, food, appearance, calls and fun facts. Once they had their facts, they began their slides. I shared with students a few "how to" tips along the way, like adding a theme, images and text, along with formatting "dos & don'ts".


Once students created their Google Slides, they digitally shared their finished slideshow with their teacher via Google's sharing options. They also had a special day to share their slideshows with our OHE 1st Graders! This project wove together so many elements (creative, digital, & research) for students, and their finished projects were wonderful reflections of their learning!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

A First Grade Maker Fair! Check Out These Student Makers!


A few weeks ago, our 1st grade teachers ask me to plan a 1st Grade Maker Fair. They wanted a day dedicated to student making! This would be a trial run for the new MakerSpace tools I have been gathering in the media center. It would also give teachers an idea of how it would look if they began to integrate maker opportunities more frequently into their year of academics! I need to give a huge shout out to our 1st grade teachers who are always challenging their students and themselves! 

So what were the goals of our Maker Fair? We wanted students to have an opportunity to try multiple maker tools. We wanted students to collaborate with each other to build, design, engineer and code. We wanted our students to figure things out for themselves, so for the most part we gave them tools and let them go! (Except Ozobots & Robot Mouse which did require some explanation before students began!) We did suggest challenges to make sure each maker activity provided deeper thinking for our students.  

We learned some things along the way.  
1. Maker Fairs, like MakerSpaces, require lots of space!
2. We need more of certain maker tools. We need more Gears, which turned out to be a great engineering tool! 
3. We provided 25 minutes for each maker tool...not nearly enough time for students! 
4. Finally, we learned what may seem obvious, first graders (and teachers) began to wear out after their first few maker challenges. This is another reason that maker activities should be an ongoing challenge for students rather than a one day marathon.  

Despite our lessons learned, it was a huge success! Students were engaged and seemed to be having a blast! For me the greatest take away is that maker opportunities give our students the much needed chance to problem solve things for themselves. It was a blast to listen in on their conversations as they reasoned through their challenges! I can't wait to do it again! 





New Books For Our Library! Better Late Than Never!