When the dynamic Erin Snelling approached me about wanting to do videos for cell division in her high school biology classes, I was quick to send back some ideas of what she could have students use. After going in her room to assist, I quickly saw that she wanted stop animation for this project.
Because of the ease of adding apps to the Chromebooks, I was able to quickly push Stop Motion Animator out to her students. This has to be one of the easiest apps to use. Students needed very little guidance to get going on this, exploring and figuring it out for themselves. To be honest, this app needs very little explaining - very simple.
Students were given chalk and neon markers and were told to draw on the tables. Gasp! Yes, draw on the tables. Erin has black-topped tables, which were perfect for the chalk markers (we recommend Expo neon markers because they were the brightest). Students would draw a little, snap a photo, draw a little, snap a photo, and so on. When they needed to erase, they grabbed a wet towel and a dry towel, did their business, and continued on with the videos.
Students drew the stages, using their notes, and were told to label specific parts. Erin gave them a directions sheet the day they started, which had their requirements listed for each phase of mitosis.
Something I found interesting, students who typically weren't engaged in other classes I had seen them in, were engaged in this lesson. Although some of them were chatting or slightly off-topic, their work was still getting done and they would problem-solve together. Students were engaged and participating in their learning...they got excited when they heard they were asked to draw on the tables. Just by drawing on their desks, this adds engagement to the lesson. Seriously, this makes me want to buy markers for everyone just for them to write on their tables! I am including some of the finished products for your viewing pleasure! Please comment or retweet this to someone who may be inspired! Note: they may have added some silly photos in the endings of their vids...just playing around with the tool! Lol!
**A couple of great appy things - some kids had to come back to their videos the next day, and it was easy to load their videos from the day before and move forward. Then some of them finished and were able to move their videos to their Drive and share them.
After watching Kristin Ziemke speak at the TAWL conference, I knew I wanted to utilize some of the great things she was doing with her students in her classroom. One of those was having students in the lower grades record their voices talking about the books they are reading.
She had this great idea for creating a recording booth for kids, where they can sit and record their conversation about reading on an iPad, or other recording device, and send it to the teacher.
I searched around for what app I wanted to test this out with, and settled on Educreations. I thought this would be a simple app for 1st graders to use, and I was right! I went in to a couple of classrooms, Ms. Sutter and Mrs. Hague were kind enough to share some of their kiddos with me, and worked with a couple students.
They were handed the iPad, took a photo of their book, pushed the record button, talked about either the plot of their book or their favorite part, and then rated it by drawing 1-5 stars on the image.
Of course they did a wonderful job! This would be a great tool to use for fluency checks and for retelling. I think about all those times that I would intend to get through 5-6 conferences with kids, only to get stuck on conference number 2 or get called away in the middle to tend to something else. If a teacher had a "recording corner" in their room and a rotation schedule, students could talk about their reading often and the teacher could listen to it when it best suited them, as well as have a recording to keep for student records.
Below, I have linked these videos for you to view. One thing about Educreations, to download the video you have to buy the Pro account. If you don't have the Pro account, you can copy the links to the videos to share them!
A teacher wanted to have her students retell the stories they were reading by doing videos. As I set off to find something brilliant for them to use, I found Toontastic from our high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Vollrath. She talked about how she had her high schoolers use them for storytelling when practicing their Spanish.
After downloading the app, I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was! The app lets students pick from an array of different settings and characters. It also emphasizes the story arc. I knew this was going to be a great app for what we were going to do.
The students had such an excellent time recording these! It was so easy to use and the kids liked getting to personalize their videos. They were so PROUD of their videos! Check them out here!
Reasons I love Toontastic
Have you heard of this website? If not, you need to go there ASAP! This is called Newsela, and it could be a game-changer in your classroom.
Imagine you want students to read an article on space. You know that Student A is reading at a 400L (Lexile) and Student B is reading at a 1010L. They aren't going to read the article the same, and they are going to get different information out of it.
What if I told you that Newsela can offer the SAME article at a student's reading level? You can customize articles to meet the needs of your students. Check out the graphic below where you can see just how easy it is to change the reading level.
Mind blown, right? This article can be read by all students, getting the important information, but differentiated to benefit all students.
If you go to their site to sign up, sign in with your Google account, then put in the Hallsville zip code to choose your school. Then you can create a class. This is pretty cool...you can assign and quiz students over articles in Newsela. Pretty awesome! They can make notes when they are logged in to their account, too. There is a PRO version that gives more options as far as collaboration is concerned, but there are other ways we can work on that if you don't have the money to spend on this.
It is also a Google Chrome app for Newsela. This is one of the most talked about apps at the conferences I have attended. This is great for grades 2-12.
Betsy O'Day came into my office at the beginning of the school year, excited about an available app. This app is called Plickers, and it can be great for classrooms that have limited technology, but still boosts student engagement!
This is a great FREE app if you don't have a clicker system in the classroom. We know how expensive those systems are, so it is hard to purchase them for all classrooms. This solution allows the teacher to print out cards that have a code similar to a zoomed-in QR (quick response) code. A card may look like this:
There are different cards that have different designs, which lessons the chances of a student copying someone's answers. Each side is assigned a letter, A, B, C, D, and these are the answers to questions you create on the Plickers website. You form classes, assigning each student a number. They should get these cards and use them each time they are in class. Recommendations I have seen include having students tape them in a notebook they always bring to class. Or if you want to reuse the cards for multiple classes, leave them at the desks. One teacher tried laminating them, but the glare caused problems when it came to scanning.
The scanning is done by your phone or other mobile device with 3G, 4G, or WiFi accessibility. You have the app on your phone and then when the students answer the questions, they hold up their cards. From anywhere in the room, you should be able to scan their cards. You do not have to walk up to each card and do it. It can scan multiple cards at a time.
If you have a projector, you can show these results in real time. It will show who got the answers correct and incorrect. It will also show if you were unable to scan their card. Hello, formative assessment!
Need help using this amazing tool?? Ask me, and I will come help! This is free for Android and for Apple!
Check out this Getting Started page and How-To video by Jennifer Zurawski!
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom