Saturday, September 2, 2017

Then There Were Two!

Have you heard the news? The NEW Student Stories is coming to Class Dojo on Sept.15th. I must admit when I first started tweeting about the release, it was all about trying to win a Chrome Book. Then I messed around and actually watched the video! And my mind started reeling! Literally...

You see, I've been trying to streamline the technology I use in my class for ever! For obvious reasons parents can get overwhelmed when there is too much technology. Students can get overwhelmed. Let's be real...I can get overwhelmed.

I always tried to make sure each piece I used had a specific purpose: I used Remind for reminders, Edmodo to share content and make assignments, Class Dojo to communicate social and behavioral skills, and Seesaw to share academic progress with my students' families.  Each of these programs is great and I have used them all for several years!  But a little birdie (actually, it was our County's Technology Director) kept telling me that I needed to streamline the technology I used in my class...for parents.

I have a 1:1 iPad class and between the different apps and programs, it can be a bit much.  Especially at the beginning of the year. This year I decided to use OneNote Class Notebook exclusively to assign work and share content with my students.  I also made a conscious decision to use Class Dojo to message AND remind my parents. Yes! I stopped using Edmodo and Remind...Gasp!

Then there were two: Class Dojo and Seesaw! I started the year sending photos of the class on Class Story with messages throughout the day. Unlike Remind, Class Dojo allows me to message 1 parent, a group of parents, or the whole group. Low and behold this has been the first year I have had 100% of my parents join Class Dojo!

Did I forget to mention that Dojo sends a Friday report to parents? But that's not what prompted me to write this post. Hold on to your hat!

Now Class Dojo is changing their Student Stories. Students can share what they are learning in class with their parents.  See for yourself.



Now the big question I'm asking myself is will Class Dojo ever replace Seesaw in my class?  I'm not ready to go that far! Seesaw has proven to be an easy tool for my student's to use to share their work with families and I can easily see the work my students have produced throughout the year.

Right now I'm just happy that I've got it down to just two! I bet Cristin will be happy about that as well.

Side Note: Class Dojo requires a parent email before students can connect and post.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Global Learners

Are you a global learner?  Are your students? Technology can connect people who under normal circumstances would never cross paths.

This year I have had the privilege of introducing my students to students across the globe through Mystery Skype. What is Mystery Skype? Check out this post by Mr. Solarz for a great explanation.

When I look back, I think it all started a few years ago with The Global Read Aloud. I saw then how my students looked forward to using technology to connect with other students. This year (through Twitter and Mystery Skype) I was introduced to World Read Aloud Day by a wonderful teacher in Wisconsin, Jackie Trebiatowski.

Together our classes created a book using the app Book Creator. Students worked to photograph their school and interview staff members. Once each class had their portion of the book completed, I compiled the two books for our final book, A Tale of Two Schools. We each read the book to our class and then met via Internet to learn more about our new friends. What were the most surprising things we learned about our new friends? Our class was surprised to find out they have recess unless it's below 0 degrees AND they have recess twice a day! They were surprised to find out we have a pet snake and our school has over 1,000 students!


If you have not tried Book Creator, I would highly recommend you try the free version. You can create 1 book with the free version, but you will need the paid version to combine books or create more than 1 book. Students can create their own books to share with others.

This year we created our Reading and Math Journals using Book Creator. At the end of Reading Workshop, my students add a reflection about what they have read independently. I originally gave them a template to get started, but now they are free to use any format they want as long as they include the date, title of the book, author, and their reflection.


We were working on figurative language.


I just recently learned about #BookSnaps on Twitter from Tara Martin. What an awesome way for students to document their reading comprehension!

For our math journal, I Airdrop the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge (GMTTC24) each week.


I also send them grade specific Global Math Tasks throughout the week for them to solve. After my students solve the challenges, I share their solutions on Twitter. This year our class had the privilege of contributing math problems for other students to solve. They got a kick out of seeing how other students solved their problems.





Students share both journals with me and their parents on Seesaw. Parents love seeing their child's work and students love the feedback they get from their parents and peers on Seesaw. Like it or not, we are all global learners. And as educators we owe it to ourselves and our students to make those connections.

The world is waiting!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Celebrate!

As of today we have officially been in school for 4 weeks! Four weeks mind you! And today was actually the first day that I have felt like we had it together, or maybe I should say "I" had it together.

We have been fine tuning some of our procedures since Day 1 and I really mean fine tuning. Like only 4 feet on the purple carpet at one time. That means only 2 people can be in their cubbies at the same time....all about crowd control. And stacking chairs and balls BEFORE specials rather than rushing afterward made a huge difference. My personal favorite was what to do while we are waiting for everyone to come to the carpet to share after Reading Workshop.  That proved to be the perfect time for kids to update their reading logs in their Reader's Notebooks; something that was never done consistently in the past. It's the little things!

It is soooo important to take time to teach procedures at the beginning of the year.  Someone (can't remember who) said "If you consequate, you must educate".  How can we hold kids accountable for things we have not taught them?

Like I said, today things fell into place. So much so that we physically came together in a huddle before they left to go to the buses and gave a loud "team on 3" with high 5s all around!  As I looked at the kids I saw lots of smiling faces. Kids really do want to do the right thing.  I think we will add that celebration to our dismissal every day!

What are some routines and celebrations you practice in your class?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action!

If someone would have told me that me that my third grade students would not only record a green screen movie using DoInk, but would then upload that video to iMovie to edit (add titles, credits, and background music) and finally post that movie on Seesaw for their parents and other classmates to enjoy I probably would not have believed it. Heck! I didn't know how to do all that myself!

My students used Do Ink to record public-service announcements about recycling. We were having problems with some of the videos.  I wasn't really sure how to use the app, let alone how to edit the final product, but I knew it could be done; my fifth graders had just done it just a couple of years ago. They were pros at it.  They did it all, recording and editing. They did it so well that I didn't pay attention to HOW they did it.  They seemed to figure it all out. Now as a third grade teacher I needed know "how" they did it. . . or did I?

That's when it hit me.  I flipped my class for content, surely there are videos on how to use DoInk and iMovie.  So I went on YouTube and searched "how to add titles and credits using iMovie". Then I thought "Hey! I can google how to use DoInk". So I did.  Next, I created a technology folder on Edmond and upload those videos to our Edmodo class page. I don't know why I hadn't done that before! I told one of my students who was particularly tech  Savvy, "I want you to go home, watch these videos and figure out how to add titles and credits to your Do Ink video using iMovie". And guess what. He did it! He posted the edited version of the video on Edmodo. It was awesome!

When he came back to school the next day, we had a little tutorial session and he showed other students in the class how to use iMovie to edit their videos. Now everyone is doing it, including me!  I learned the "hows" of recording and editing right along side my students!

My students were able to figure it out without my direct instruction!  I guess what I really wanted to say was you don't have to know how to do everything BEFORE you give that experience to your students. You just have to have the resources available and they will figure it out! Yes, even in third grade they will figure it out!

Here are two videos that were created with DoInk and then edited with iMovie.  Enjoy!


We learned how to make the recycling bin fly in from watching the tutorial video! Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

OneNote: Organizing Your Table of Contents

It's the little things that keep me excited!  I just found out today that if I make subpages in OneNote, then I can organize my Table of Contents.  Let me explain.   After adding so many different things to my student's notebooks it was becoming a little overwhelming, especially for third graders!   Things were starting to look a little cluttered.

So I starting adding dates to the titles to make it easier for them to find stuff.

Flippinginfifth.com


A little better, but not so much!  This was actually my first attempt at trying to organize the Table of Contents. I even thought about just deleting pages we had already used and starting fresh each marking period. I didn't want to do that because there are some entries I wanted them to refer to time and time again. I also wanted them to have a record of their work and their growth throughout the year.

So I kept playing around with the TOC and I literally just discovered that if you make subpages you can collapse the different sections. So how do you make a subpage?  Just "right-click" on the page name and select the option "Make Subpage".  It's that simple! 

Flippinginfifth.com

If you think about it, it's like putting those subject dividers in your regular - (I hate to say it, "old fashioned" ) notebooks. LOVE IT!
Flippinginfifth.com

I will continue to add the date at the beginning of  assignments, but it's not necessary for the other resources I add to their notebooks. Hopefully this little tip will go along way toward organizing my student's digital notebooks. 

Are you using OneNote EDU?  I would love to hear about some tips you use to help your students organize their digital notebooks!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Perfect Fitt

 
I am so excited!  My wonderful administrative team was awarding two $1,000 grants for a class makeover.  I applied and I won!  What did I win?  Only something I have wanted for almost 5 years . . . a class set of Wittfitt Stability balls. There is lots of research to support using stability balls in the classroom; especially for students with attention related challenges. Click here and here to read more.
 
 
 
There are 3 main reasons for using stability balls and incorporating movement into your classroom:
  1. Movement increases blood flow to the brain, which is better for brain function and learning
  2. Movement helps children "get the wiggles out" which aides their natural need to move.  This actually helps them focus by expending the excess energy they build up throughout the day.
  3. Sitting on a stability ball supports and builds their core muscles. This also helps develop large motor muscles, which support small motor muscles (writing and hand strength).
 Of course, you will need to teach proper sitting techniques.  Students must sit on top of the ball with both feet on the floor.  We also discuss appropriate movement while sitting on the ball.  Our general rule is if your movement is distracting to other, then you need to adjust.
 

They're here!
Why Wittfitt balls?
These balls have these little (for lack of a better word) teats on the bottom, so the balls stay where you put them.  They can be placed on tables at the end of the day for storage and they won't roll off. When the kids get up from their table, I just remind them to "tuck their balls" and they move them underneath their tables. I was always a stickler for pushing chairs under too.

When you order a class set, they come with a pump, a measuring tape with guidelines for maximum capacity, and an instructional manual.  The manual has lessons for incorporating the balls in class. It also includes guidelines for inflating each ball for each child.
 

The balls can easily be inflated to just the right height for each child.  I teach third grade, so Lisa suggested the blue balls for my kids. When I first got the balls, I thought "these are going to be too small for my kids".  Not so!   I had them sit on their ball and made sure their hips were slightly above their knees and then let out air or added more air for each child. This is the best position for good posture and back support. It is really important that you inflate each ball for each individual student.  My kids know which ball is theirs because they fit them! I also had to lower my tables.


I have been very pleased.  Not only am I encouraging good posture and developing core strength, but I am giving my students an outlet to get the wiggles out and stay focused!  That's a win-win in my book!


Then There Were Two!

Have you heard the news? The NEW Student Stories is coming to Class Dojo on Sept.15th. I must admit when I first started tweeting about the ...