Mrs. D’Elia and I were thrilled to have five of our great fifth graders attend Edcamp Boston this year to share their experiences in 1:1 iPad classrooms. The event was attended by over 200 educators from across New England and New Jersey, and the students spoke before a group of 50 educators who asked them some very tough questions about how they handle working on the iPad and what they liked or didn’t like about it. It was an amazing experience, and they made us incredibly proud. Thank you so much to Ashlyn, Dilan, Judy, Kenan, and Sammy, as well as their parents, for joining us on Saturday!
See the Storify below to see pictures of the students in action and the reactions of all of the educators who saw them!
Over the last couple of weeks, the LTC has been working with first grade to create their very own comics! We were looking for just the right project to work on with Mrs. Hayes when she heard all about our new graphic novel collection. She knew that the graphic novels would fit in great with her ELA class’s learning about the parts of a story. So we came up with a plan to use the iPads to make some great comics.
We started off by doing some dramatic interpretations of Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems to demonstrate the use of dialogue and speech bubbles to tell a story. Then Mrs. D’Elia spent some more time over the next few days introducing students to the graphic novels in our collection and exploring graphic novels on the web site The Professor Garfield TOON Book Reader. We learned new storytelling features such as panels, speech bubbles, and facial expressions. After discussing the parts of a story, students started to develop their comic strips which would include characters, a setting, a problem, and a solution to the problem. At first we thought we would simplify things by making the comic strips limited to 4 panels, but the students had so much to write that we let them choose their number of panels.
After outlining their ideas and then creating rough drafts on paper, we got to create our pictures on the iPad. The art tool of choice at Pine Glen is Drawing Pad, an excellent Elementary-level art creation tool, and one of our Core iPad Apps. Our art teacher, Miss Fallon, was on hand to help the students realize their vision of what they wanted in their panels, making sure they had good details but still left room for the speech bubbles.
Once students created their panels, it was time to make them into comics! We used the Strip Designer app on the iPad to choose our page layouts and add speech bubbles and sound effects. You can see the completed comic book embedded below.
I recently had the chance to work with Ms. Marcus‘ 5th grade ELA class on creating some books. But not just any books! We created nonfiction books about nonfiction text features using those very same text features. This was a great chance for students to show what they know about the different kinds of text features.
Students were given a list of text features they had to include in their book, as well as some optional ones to choose from in order to fill out their books. They were tasked with creating their books in Book Creator, and they were supposed to use the features they were learning about in the books as much as they could. Students first went on a scavenger hunt for the text features in a variety of nonfiction books, taking pictures of them using their iPad’s camera. They then imported the pictures into Book Creator, where they also were able to design their pages and lay out their text the way they wanted to. Here’s a couple of examples:
Book Creator is one of Pine Glen’s core apps! It’s in heavy use currently in several 5th grade projects, and will be used for an upcoming project in 2nd grade.
One of our core iPad apps at Pine Glen is Explain Everything. This is a rich app with lots of functionality that makes it perfect for tasks where students have to demonstrate their learning. For base level functionality, it can be used as a drawing tool, a a collage creator, and a slideshow creator. The really rich functionality, however, comes in with its recording capabilities. Explain Everything can record both audio and what’s happening on screen at the same time.
Second grade students have a science unit in the Fall on trees. I met with Miss Varrell a few weeks ago to talk about how I could work with her on this unit. Last fall we had the second grade students go outside to take pictures of trees and create a collage using Skrappy. This year we decided to make the technology component a stronger part of the assessment process for the unit by switching to Explain Everything. Students would now record themselves explaining the evidence they discovered for either deciduous or coniferous trees.
Unit outline (technology piece only)
- Review iPad procedures and introduce Explain Everything App’s drawing and recording functionalities
- Introduce Camera app, go outside and take pictures of either Deciduous or Coniferous Tree Evidence
- Introduce picture import and text features of Explain Everything, students create collages
- After writing with teacher, students record audio over their collages and upload to YouTube
Massachusetts Writing Standards:
- 2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
- 2.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
Massachusetts Speaking & Listening Standards:
- 2.5 Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add ￼drawings or other visual displays to stories or
- recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Massachusetts Life Science Standards, PK-2:
- Recognize that plants and animals have life cycles, and that life cycles vary for different living things.
- Recognize changes in appearance that animals and plants go through as the seasons change.
Burlington Public Schools Information & Digital Literacy Standards:
- P2.1 Demonstrate the proper handling of devices and applications
- P2.2 Learn about input devices and a variety of keyboarding options
- P2.5 Use devices and applications to create content
- Observed students for proper care of iPads and basic functionality
- Completed video includes at least 5 photographs, a title, the student’s name, and audio recording. In Explain Everything, the file was saved with the student’s name as its filename.
One of the things I love the most at Pine Glen is how so many classrooms come together with their families to celebrate all of the great writing they’ve done this year. I’m pleased to note that the LTC played an important role in activities that the students are sharing in these last few weeks.
For first grade, the students in Mrs. Guanci’s and Mrs. Hayes’ classes chose one of their favorite pieces of narrative writing or poetry from this year, and then I had the pleasure of working with them to turn those written pieces into ePub books that can be read in Apple’s iBooks app on the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone. Students started by producing wonderful illustrations in the Drawing Pad app, and then they took those illustrations and put them into Book Creator. They then typed their text into the books. As a final step, Book Creator and iBooks both support audio, so we recorded the students reading their books. On each page you can click the sound icon and hear the child reading their book to you. All of the books are available for download here.
In second grade, the students wrote books about insects, reptiles, or amphibians. They started by learning about the research process with Mrs. D’Elia, then moved on to taking their notes. They then converted their notes into fully developed sentences. When the students came to the computer lab, they were introduced to Google Docs, where they produced their books using a template in the presentation editor. Students inserted images they found using Google Image Search. We met with Miss Varrell to work out the basic structure of the insect project. The structure of the amphibian/reptile book and source recommendations for the project were adapted from a previous project created by Miss Anderson and Miss McLaughlin.
In third grade, the students created presentations about an animal’s habitat. We worked with Mrs. Cunha to create the overall structure of this project, heavily revising a previous project done by the third grade. Again, the students started by learning about the research process and note-taking with Mrs. D’Elia. When they came to the computer lab, they first had to type their scripts into the notes section of their presentation. We introduced the third graders to using Creative Commons Images in their presentations, so they could freely share their presentations online if they wanted to. Students also inserted a YouTube video into their presentations. I got to attend the author’s tea in Mrs. Lynch’s room and see the students give their presentations, as they learned to navigate between speaking, reading, and looking at their audience and screen.