My class had a unique and fun experience on twitter recently when they were able to tweet with two local weather experts. It all started when I tweeted to several news stations asking if they would be interested in tweeting with my Kindergarten class. I think reaching out to these experts on twitter is much more effective than email because the people you are looking for need to be familiar with the tool anyway. Thankfully I got a response from two news stations and I worked with them to set up the tweeting. Twitter is a great way to connect with experts because it is not time sensitive allowing them to respond whenever they have a chance. I told them my class was used to waiting for responses on twitter and that as long as they would respond within around 48 hours it would work for us. Mr. Delkus from Channel 8 in Dallas agreed and we sent him several tweets that he responded to the next day and he even responded to a follow-up question they had. Ms. Shade from NBC Channel 5 in Dallas also agreed to tweet but was willing to do a live tweet session with my class. We spent about 20 minutes sending tweets back and forth with her on twitter. You can see some of the tweets below.
After tweeting we wrote in our interactive journals and also the kids made books about weather on the iPad.
The highlights for me…
* The look on the girls face when they realized one of our weather experts was a girl!
* Showing my class that you can connect with experts
* Introducing my class to people passionate about science
* My class seeing some of the technology used by weather experts
* Tracking the weather forecast Mr. Delkus gave us
Last week my class had a fun experience. We used Google docs to play a live tic-tac-toe game with our twitter friends in Montana (@JonFines class) We had already played a few games with the class over an extended period of time, each taking turns and tweeting once we had played but never at the same time. That was a great way to start but the live game was amazing. As you can see from the picture they were a bit excited to win the first game. Jon’s class won the second game and he sent me a few pictures of his class playing so I could show my class their “setup.” On my side of the game I let one child decide where to move each time it was our turn. The entire class was scheming and planning on how to win but the one child had the final choice each turn. The picture below shows our setup. We are already scheming what is next for our two classes, my ultimate goal is to have Kindergarten kids playing chess against friends across the world.
Here is a link to the Tic-Tac-Toe Template. You are welcome to copy this to your google docs and use. Thanks to Jon for creating it!
Twitter Board at TCEA
One of the great parts about going to conferences is meeting new people and connecting with old friends. Twitter is one of the main tools I use to connect with others and there was a great list of twitter stars created by @RobynHrivnatz that was shared at TCEA. If you are looking for some great people to follow I highly recommend this list – Twitter Stars
I also tweeted out a google doc where people can add their own name and some info about themselves. Please check out this list as well and follow a few more great tweeps. Make sure to add your name as well! - TCEA Twitter Stars
A few months ago I started seeing people post pictures like the one above on my Instagram feed from an app called InstaWeather Pro ($0.99) I played around with the app and have enjoyed using it from time to time but I immediately saw potential for the app in my class. Weather is always a big topic in Kindergarten, especially since we are connected with other classes around the world.
This week we started using the app to document the weather and I plan to use the app several times a week. Right now I am taking the pictures each morning and just showing the class the results. Next week I will let them take the picture each morning, something that would be much easier if I had more iDevices. There are many different ways to display the weather with this app but I prefer the one below (snow picture.) It shows the current temperature, current weather, expected low temp, expected high temp, wind speed and wind direction. I think this is great information for the kids to see along with an image. I am excited to see how our garden changes with the weather and these images will be great review as the year progresses. Once we have a few months of pictures I plan to use them as a timeline to discuss the changes that happen.
One thing I want to point out is that I removed the location for the snow picture so that we could tweet it without our location. To do this I just edited the saved image in my camera roll and cropped off the top that shows the location.
The app gives you the choice of taking a picture from within the app or to use an image from the camera roll. Once you take a picture or choose one from the camera roll you click the “share” button and are given the options below. All I do is pick the “save to library” option and that image is saved for me to use.
Here are a few other options for displaying the weather with the app. The displays that show the expected weather for the day, next few days or the week could be used to discuss predicting the weather or to check the accuracy of the forecast. There is a lot of data that can be displayed and I am sure there are many other ways this app could be used in the classroom.
It has been a while since I posted about one of my favorite websites, Wonderopolis (read more about it here) Today, we visited Wonderopolis as part of our morning routine and the wonder of the day was “Who Lives On Easter Island.” The wonder included a beautiful time-lapse video of the island that the kids asked to watch several times. Then, like every time we visit, I asked the class “what do you wonder?” We talked about the definition of an island and then a one kid asked “how do you make islands”. We already had some background knowledge about islands thanks to the book our twitter friends from Japan sent us earlier this year, (read about that connection here) but we had not discussed how islands are formed. So I showed the class with a real simple drawing how some islands are formed from volcanoes (pictured above). The class wanted to share this picture with their twitter friends and parents so we decided to label it with the Skitch app before posting it to the blog. The kids were so excited as we discussed magma, lava, and erupting. They even asked if there was a video of an island being made so I found one to show later in the day (see below) This is why I love wonderopolis, even thought the wonder itself didn’t fit exactly with our learning standards it still was valuable because the kids were interested. I find these teaching tangents happen often when we visit the site and I love the learning journey it leads to.
Video: Lava Enters the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii – I use safeshare to show YouTube videos without all the ads and similar videos. More info here
Here is one of the pages from the book our friends from Japan sent.