Last month my class played tic-tac-toe live using Google Docs with our twitter friends in Montana (see here) Today we stepped up to connect four and it was a blast. I enjoyed connect four more because it is a longer game than tic-tac-toe and more kids got a chance to play. Connect four is also more challenging of a game and requires the kids to focus with all the different ways to win. Special thanks to @JonFines for making the template. You are welcome to use the template and play your own game with classes around the world using this link.
Playing these games is fun but Jon and I know the kids are learning important lessons about collaborating, being respectful and digital citizenship. I love the tweet his class sent my class after the game was over.
Last week one of my twitter friends (@barbinnebraska) asked if my class would record the Texas pledge for her students in Nebraska. I jumped on the chance for my kids to share about their state and we used Explain Everything to create the video. The first step was having the kids think of images we could add to our slides that would represent Texas. This was a great review of Texas symbols from earlier in the year when we had created a book for some friends in Japan (see here) After gathering many images we started creating the slides in Explain Everything by adding the text and pictures. Once we had all the slides created I recorded the students saying the words for each slide and exported it to my camera roll as a video. If you need more info on using Explain Everything look here. Next year I think I will have my class create both the US and Texas pledge at the beginning fo the year as we work to learn them. The kids really liked making the video and sharing it on our blog and to their twitter friends.
There are three different ABCmouse Zoo apps and they are all FREE. Each one covers five different animals. You can download set 1 here, set 2 here and set 3 here. We have been using this app to write animal the animal facts in a literacy center (pictured above). If you would like to use the same sheet I used you can download the PDF file hereor the Microsoft Word file here. When the kids visit an animal in the app the screen below will appear and all they need to do it touch the screen for the zookeeper to start sharing facts about the animal. What I really like about the app is the “show fact” feature, when they click on that the screen will change to show the words as they are read to them (second image below.) The last cool feature of the app is there is a quiz option that my class loves! All they have to do is click “quiz me” and the quiz starts (third image below.)
I sent a Mother’s Day video card to all the parents today using the Explain Everything app (example below) The first thing I did was to take a picture of the card they made using their hand print (I will post that printable here soon so you can use it if you want) Next we took two videos per child. One video they said something nice and then I love you and the second clip they said “Happy Mother’s Day.” I have found that breaking up what they say into segments is actually faster to get done because we have fewer retakes but you could of course record it all in one clip. Then I imported the picture into Explain Everything along with the first video and recorded that video playing. After that I imported their second video and just placed it in top of the first one and recorded that video playing. The last step was saving it to the camera roll. If you need some more details on using the app try this post. Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Haiku Deck is a great FREE app that I have had my eye on for a while but never used much in my Kindergarten class. That changed a few weeks ago when @iPadSammymentioned the new graph feature. If you are not familiar with Haiku Deck it is an app similar to Power Point that lets you create slick and simple slide shows. The best feature is the ability to search 1000′s of creative commons pictures within the app that can be easily added to the presentation. I certainly suggest checking out all the app can do but for this post I am going to focus on the graph feature.
When you first open the app you will be given a brief tutorial and then land on a screen similar to the one below. Click the plus sign to get started with your first deck.
Here is how I used the app in my class to graph our favorite ice cream flavors. First, we made a list on the white board of different kinds of ice cream and from that list I picked five for our graph. As you can see in the image below I used the “Tt” (blue arrow) option so the first slide would have a format with a title and numbered choices. To edit the text on the slide all you have to do is touch the area you want to edit or type on. Once we had this slide complete I had my class vote for their favorite flavor and I collected that data on the whiteboard. Using that data we moved to the next step of showing the data in a graph and added a new slide to our deck using the plus sign (yellow arrow.)
For the next slide I picked the image option (red arrow below). Next select the graph option (orange arrow) and then pick the type of graph you want to use. We used the bar graph this week (green arrow) and will work with the pie graph next week. Last click the “Done” button to create the slide. Also want to point out that you can switch between the slide you are editing at the bottom of the screen (blue arrow)
After you finish the step above you will see a screen similar to the one below. Editing the data is super simple with Haiku Deck which is why I love this app. To add more columns to the graph click the plus sign (red arrow) and to delete a column press the red “x” (green arrow.) Editing the label for each column simply by clicking the word under each column (yellow arrow.) Changing the number or total for each column by dragging the dot at the top of each column (blue arrow.) I know it seems like a lot of steps but if you practice it once it is very simple to repeat. The last tip is to edit the units for the graph (orange arrow.) This will allow you to change the Y-axis units to better match the data in your graph.
Sharing the deck is also very easy by going back to the main menu (top left of the app) and then pressing the share button for your deck. When you choose share you will be given the options below. Click here to see the finished Haiku deck from this post.
I continue to find fun way to use Popplet. The past two weeks we have used the app for the kids to show they understand a concept we have learned in the classroom. For the example above they made a noun word web and we also used it to make a word web of insects (example at bottom of page.) To set up for this center I first search for the images they will need and save them on the iPad. Saving them is a simple as doing an image search in Safari and then holding your finger on top of an image for a few seconds until “save image” pops up. Those images are saved to your camera roll. Another option is to create a folder through syncing, you can find more info on that here. For the insects activity I even added some pictures that were not insects to the camera roll so they had to think before adding images. They really liked that challenge.
As part of the center for both of these activities I printed a “starter sheet” so the kids would be able to write the center part the Popplet correctly. You are welcome to use those if you like. To create them I took a screenshot of the iPad and inserted that image into Microsoft word.
One thing you might notice is the noun example has invented spelling and the insect one is spelled correctly. For the noun center I only gave the kids the noun starter page, but for the insect center I also gave them a sheet with all the names of the insects. I switch back and forth from letting them sound out words and letting them find the correct words from a list because I see value in both.
After the kids are done creating the Popplet I save their finished product as a .jpeg and email that to my computer. Their favorite part is I print those finished images( black and white) onto a half sheet of paper and they get to take them home. Again, I use Microsoft word for printing the finished products by simply inserting the .jpeg.
Quick tutorial on using Popplet. Orange arrow is how to add text to a box. Red arrow is for adding images. The white dots around the box is how you add new boxes to create the web. Saving the finished project by pressing export (blue arrow)