Book Creator + Twitter = Students Connected Globally

BOOK CREATOR

Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Class

What does Thanksgiving mean to a second grader?  I always ask my students each year what they are thankful for. It is a time for reflection, and the students love to listen and respond to each other.  It is my favorite time of the year. My students amaze me every day! The one thing my students all had in common, they were very thankful for FAMILY! Our Thanksgiving project was not what I thought it was going to be this year. One night while on Twitter, my favorite resource finder, I came across a teacher searching for classes to join her Thanksgiving project. Val Johnson wanted to connect her second grade students with students around the world.  She started “Our Global Thanksgiving Project”  with her students. Follow Val Johnson on Twitter, @vjohnsonsdb. Mrs. Johnson’s class of second graders wanted to give thanks by creating an eBook of classrooms all over the world telling one thing that they are thankful for. Once published to iBooks, students around the world will be able to read what they are thankful for. I immediately sent her a message and asked if our class could be a part of the project.  What an amazing way to show what our students are thankful for!  My students had already been working on a Thinglink project and Animoto video about Thanksgiving.  Mrs. Johnson sent a step by step link of how to create the eBook using Book Creator.  We created our pages by inserting our Animoto video, Tag Cloud, and a student writing sample about Thanksgiving.  My students are very excited about this project and that it will be published in iBooks.  They are also very excited to read the other pages that will complete the book.  The power of Twitter enabled Mrs. Johnson’s wonderful project to connect students around the world.  My students are blessed to be a part of this Global Thanksgiving Project.  We look forward to the final eBook!

http://toteach21st.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/a-global-thanksgiving/

Our Class Thankful Thinglink  –

ThingLink + Thanksgiving = Techy Turkeys

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Mrs. Marino’s 4th Grade Class

Are you new to technology and looking for something simple to start off with?  I have the tool for you.  It is an app called ThingLink.  When I say it is simple, I mean SIMPLE! This lesson took all of twenty minutes, but the kids loved it.  What is ThingLink?  Well, basically it is what the name says.  It is a picture of some”thing” with links to some”thing” else embedded in it.  If you look at the picture above there are about twenty different targets on it.  If you are in the ThingLink app and you touch the targets, something pops up.  It can be a website, a picture, words, even a video.  In this case it is simple text from my students saying what they are thankful for.  We took my iPad down to the Pre-K hall and took a picture of their precious turkey that they have worked so hard on.  Good job, Pre-K!  We then went into my ThingLink app and chose the turkey picture.  When you tap on the picture the option comes up to add text or add media.  You choose which one you want.  We chose text.  Each student told me one thing that they were thankful for.  We all listened and commented on each other’s responses.  It was a great time of reflection for the kids and myself. I always love to hear what they come up with.  When we were finished we passed the iPad around and all had the chance to press the targets and see whose popped up.  The great thing about this project is that we then could upload it to the school’s Facebook page.  I told my students to make sure they showed their parents their Techy Turkey that night.  The kids love when they get to show their parents things that they have created as a whole.  Without technology, this would be almost impossible.  So what is Mrs. Marino thankful for this year?  The ability to connect with other educators, the ability to teach my students beyond the four walls of our classroom, and the chance to share it all with you.

Techer Testimonial – Sara Micheal Boucher

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SARA BOUCHER

msgeekyteach.weebly.com

Sara Boucher is a geeky second year teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a rare commodity, in part, because she was born and raised in Las Vegas.  Currently she is cultivating the next crop of super-geeks in her second grade class.  They are a spunky bunch who are growing to love technology just as much as Sara does.  Her value as a nerd extends well beyond the classroom.  She has performed professional development trainings on a variety of issues such as; SMARTBoard use and application, understanding Dropbox, designing e-portfolios for UNLV student teachers, and basic computer applications.  In her ample free time, Sara is also the Steven G. Schorr Elementary webmaster and unpaid de-facto ECS. As a hobby Sara also tutors afterschool, is earning a master’s degree in Educational Technology, is working on a blended learning certification, and enjoys long walks on the beach.  Sara is invigorated everyday by the ever increasing use of technology among her students and their ever increasing understanding and enjoyment of it.

Through and through Sara is a born and bred digital native. Her heart is full of love for her students and anything technology.  Follow Sara on Twitter, @MsGeekyTeach.

Favorite Tech Tools- Skype, ColAR Mix,  QR codes or any AR application, my awesome Chromebooks,  Sumdog.com, Dance Mat Typing, and Google Docs.  For my personal use, Twitter, where I connect with my amazing PLN!

Upcoming Projects – I’m presenting at an Educational Meet Up in December and at the NCTM Conference in New Orleans next year. I’m also going to have my students blog  in the coming new year, and hopefully start coding.  Besides going for Master’s Degree and my certification in Blended/Online Learning, that’s all I’m doing 🙂

Aurasma + Touchcast + Cynthia Rylant = Bad to the Bone Book Reports

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Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Class

We decided to put a spin on the traditional book report.  My class has been working on an author study of Cynthia Rylant.  We have read many of her books.  She is a wonderful author.  Her books are very vibrant, and full of wonderful descriptions that children love.  The past few weeks the students have read her books trying to decide on the ONE book they liked the most.  Let me tell you…hard decision!  Once they found their book, they had to write a great summary.  As teachers, you know summary is a difficult task for students.  After several drafts, they got it!  They created new book covers.  Students love to be creative and use their imaginations! I have several artists in my classroom. The book covers are very important because they will be the trigger when they create their own Augmented Reality.   We are now in the producing stage of our projects. We are creating Aurasma and Touchcast projects.  The kids are super excited.  The first project consists of the students recording their summary and making it into an Aura.  They will scan their drawing, which is the trigger, and their video of their summary will pop up. Talk about bringing book reports to a new level….WOW!  The students are engaged, collaborating together, and learning is enhanced!  Once they have finished their Aurasmas, they will then create a Touchcast video.  They love this app!  They feel as though they are in control.  Almost like they are the teacher!  Their Touchcast will include a video of the student reading the summary, a Vapp of a website of Cynthia Rylant, and a book rating. They really like the book rating.  It allows them to click on up to 5 stars. They are learning and having fun.

I love when my students preview their work for the first time!  Their eyes light up and they are amazed at what they have accomplished!  We are learning and growing together in my 2nd grade class, and I’m loving it!

http://www.touchcast.com/mocast/review_of_cynthia_rylant_by_corley

Twitter + Teachers = Moving Beyond the 4 Walls

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Have you ever felt isolated?  Alone?  (Does this sound like the beginning of a self-help book?)  For the past seven years I have been the only 4th grade writing teacher on my campus.  I have not had anyone to plan with, create with, collaborate with or bounce ideas off of.  Don’t get me wrong, I work with wonderful women that have guided me through all of my teaching firsts:  first day of school, first TAKS test, first parent/teacher conference, first field trip, first field day, first last day of school.  They teach other subjects than I do, other grade levels, so I have not had anyone solely to talk with about 4th grade writing. So….I got in a rut.  I did the same thing, year, after year, after year.  We had fun, I loved my students, I think they loved me, we learned, we made great scores on our TAKS test, but something was missing.  I didn’t know what or how to fix it until late one Tuesday night.  I couldn’t sleep.  I had already read my entire Facebook stream like three times, so I thought I might as well look at the Twitter feed that I was FORCED (joking….kind of) to get.  You see, I thought Twitter was trashy.  Stupid.  Pointless.  A place for teenagers to post filth and adults to post food.  Weird.  So I steered clear of it.  Until I couldn’t anymore.  It was suggested, when I made my account, to follow Matt B. Gomez and Erin Klein.  Matt is a Kindergarten teacher in the Dallas area, and Erin teaches 2nd grade in Michigan. Both have amazing ideas that I adapt to my 4th grade class all the time. The night I got hooked on Twitter, the night “I really got it” was that Tuesday night when I couldn’t sleep. I saw a post by Erin Klein on Augmented Reality. (See previous posts) I read it, taught myself how to do it, then I stepped back for a moment and realized what just happened. I connected with an educator in Michigan and used her ideas in my class. I had a friend. Someone to question, get ideas from, collaborate with. An expert in her field. Someone that I could turn to when I wanted to shake things up a little in my classroom. Now I have 1300 friends to go to. I never run out of new ideas anymore. I just click that little blue bird and off I go. I have established a wonderful PLN (personal learning network) that I go to daily for almost anything. I know who knows what, who is an expert at what, who is positive when the mundane tasks of grading papers etc. are getting to me. If I need help with Google, I tweet Alice Keeler in California. If I need help with Augmented Reality, Drew and Brad are the guys to go to. I’m never alone. I always have an answer from a real educator doing real things every day in their class. Twitter is awesome. Twitter is the absolute best way to connect with educators around the world. Twitter is the best way for ME to stay on top of my game, stay inspired, and be the best teacher I can be for my students. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

Below is the link to my Prezi on Twitter and also a list of great educators to follow.

http://www.prezi.com/g6dcezgztpgc/

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Enthusiasm for Learning + Teaching for Today = Collaboration 2.0

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Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Classroom

Do you dread Professional Development days at school? I will admit, I was that teacher.  The one that thought I had better things to do, than to listen to someone speak about something I needed to be doing in my classroom.  Well times have changed for Mrs. Moses!  I have become a life learner.  I now thrive on learning more to inspire my kids to want more and to learn more! I grow each year as a teacher while watching my students grow.  As teachers, why should we stop learning just because we hold our degree? We should not be afraid to dig deep and ask questions that will make us better educators. The students will reap the benefits from our inquisitions.  We need to model learning for our students.  I’m blessed to work at district that allows us to push beyond our classrooms, which enables us to expand our knowledge so we can create critical thinkers!

The past month I attended Mobile Mania at Region 5 in Beaumont and the Star Tech Conference at Region 6 in Huntsville.  Mobile Mania was AWESOME!! While at Mobile Mania, I met Todd Nesloney. He is an amazing educator with great ideas.  Oh and get this…he shares them!  The power of collaboration and sharing resources among teachers is growing by the day.  If you are not a connected teacher, do it!!  There are many resources on Twitter and Google!  You need to follow Todd on Twitter, @TechNinjaTodd.  When I left Mobile Mania I felt refreshed.  It was the BEST day! So many educators sharing resources under one roof!  Professional Development needs to be meaningful to teachers.  We need to be able to find what will work in OUR classroom.  Have you ever attended or heard of EdCamps?  If not, I recommend you find one in your area.  We have one on April 26th, 2014 in Houston, @EdCampHouston.  The great feature of an EdCamp is that there is no schedule.  You go and learn about topics that apply to you and your classroom.  WOW!  It’s free and meaningful for teachers!  Last Thursday and Friday,  I attended the Tech Conference at Region 6.  Like Mobile Mania, they had so many sessions to choose from!  I met Kristy Vincent (@BigPurpleHat), Jake Duncan (@duncanbilingual), and Jessica Johnston (@edtechchic).  I was inspired by each of their sessions!  Jake Duncan gave several free resources to Gamify your classroom!  I was ready to leave and use Kahoot.it with my students! I thought I knew Google, clearly I did not!  Kristy and Jessica gave great presentations showing the power of Google in the classroom! I was giddy over Google!

Professional Development workshops/conferences have evolved. It is a way for  teachers to gain access to technology and useful curriculum in the classroom.  I look at each conference or workshop as an opportunity to help my students become successful in the classroom.  These opportunities have created a spark for learning, and my students are definitely benefiting and growing day by day!  Connect, collaborate, and share your ideas! You never know, you might just get to build a robot!

Techer Testamonial – Summer Len Diamond

@Sumlendia

Bio: My name is Summer Len Diamond, and I teach 5th grade (Reading/Language Arts) at Little Cypress Intermediate School in Orange, Texas. I discovered the power of social media in education last April when I created a Twitter account while attending a local technology conference. Through Twitter I learned about ISTE, and made it a personal goal to attend that year.  Between following amazing educators using my new Twitter account and attending ISTE, I began to feel something I had been missing- excitement! Throughout my ten years of teaching, my enthusiasm for education and the purpose we stand for as educators never wavered, but my excitement for bringing new and exciting ways for my students to explore the world around them and create content rather than consume it did.

This year, my eleventh year to teach, has been an amazing journey of trying new things- some of which cause me to step out of my comfort zone. My students are working on using a blog to publish their writing for a real-world audience. We’ve connected with other classes around the world using Skype and Google Hangouts. And we’ve learned many reading skills, as well as many everyday life lessons, by participating in Global Read Aloud Project with thousands of other schools.

I think my “a-ha” moment was not too long ago when I switched up a lesson the night before by adding several fabulous links I wanted my students to visit in an online lesson as a preview of material. The morning of the lesson, I quickly discovered the way I set it up wouldn’t work due to certain things being blocked. While my typical response in the past would be sheer panic, followed by frustration, followed by a mini in-my-head meltdown, followed by a Diet Coke on my conference- I (oddly) didn’t have any of those feelings. I got my students started on one thing and found a work-around that still included the essential pieces I needed for the lesson to be successful and carried on happily.   There are so many options out there and so many fabulous ideas by fellow educators, the possibilities are endless.

I think my biggest take-away piece of advice is to realistically look at how you are using technology in your classroom and grow from there. Set small, attainable goals for yourself, as well as your students. Find other tech-savvy people on your campus or in your district to collaborate with! And know that you’re never alone. Twitter is an AMAZING tool to grow support and friendships; as well as a wealth of ideas and knowledge.  

 

My Favs: Kidblog.org; Today’s Meet; Quizlet; Google Forms; Skype/GHO, and iMovie.

 

Upcoming tech projects: Our next project incorporating tech will hopefully be student-created auras using Aurasma with students’ original writing.

 

 

Aurasma Studio + YouTube = Lessons for all Types of Learners

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Do you want to hear about something amazing?  This summer when I started researching Aurasma I came across one of Erin Klein’s (follow her on Twitter) blog posts on http://www.kleinspiration.com that talked about how she embedded  a YouTube video into a book for her kids.  WHHHAAATTT???  I know!  I could not believe it.  I started thinking about the different possibilities that could happen with these two great tools.  There are so many great videos on YouTube that I show my students already.  Nouns, commas, verbs, everything.  These videos are innovative, funny and they definitely catch my students attention.  Up until this point, we have viewed the videos as a class.  With Aurasma, I can now embed videos into books around my classroom. Now when students have a device, they can hover over these marked pages and view supplemental videos that will enhance skills that we have already targeted that week in class.  Because kids are holding the device in their hands and watching a catchy video…learning is fun, learning is interactive, learning is something that they want to do.  This is my goal.  I want to foster a love for learning in my students that will last a lifetime.  How can you do this?  Sounds hard?  It’s not; I promise.  This is what I did:

Hopefully , you have read my previous posts on Aurasma and the power it holds for creating unforgettable lessons in your classroom.  If not, please go back and read them, or this may be a little confusing. Here we go.  My son loves anything to do with the Titantic.  His favorite book is called Headlines.  We found a Kid’s National Geographic video on YouTube about the Titanic.  We converted the video to an MP4 and used it as the overlay for the aura we created in the Aurasma Studio. Now, when you hover over the picture of the Titanic in his book, the video pops up.  So the kids are reading about the Titanic, seeing pictures of the Titanic, and then viewing a video about the Titanic all within one book.  Talk about differentiation.  Talk about targeting all types of learners.  This sounds complicated, but trust me it’s not!  If I can figure it out, anyone can.  Did I mention that my husband has multiple degrees and most are in computers. He is extremely smart, and for the past 11 years I have depended on him to do anything “technology related” for me.  I almost asked him to convert the video for me, but I wanted to prove to myself that this was easy enough for anyone to do.  Guess what, I did it by myself.  I converted it, embedded it, it worked, and my son thought I was a ROCK Star mom.  This process took less than an hour.  I would say that less than an hour of your time is nothing compared to the impactful lessons that you are creating for your students. Try it out, and if you need help I am a tweet or e-mail away.  Be awesome!

The Aurasma Studio has step by step tutorials for you on how to build an Aura.  It’s simple.  To convert the YouTube video to a MP4, I used a convertor that I found on Google.  

Magnetic ABC + Elementary Students = Learning at their fingertips!

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Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Class

Are you missing ABC letters? Are your alphabet arcs falling apart? If the answer is yes, then your classroom is like mine! My students are always losing the letters or mixing them up into different bags! It’s a never ending battle! I love teaching reading. Elementary students need to be able to move and manipulate ABC’s to make the letter/sound connections. Our technology department recently added Magnetic ABC to our iPads. It truly is learning at their fingertips. My students make words each week with their chunks. I love when we have the iPads because this is a very visual tech tool for students.The app has moveable letters. The students drag ABC’s into the pattern needed. It is very colorful and students can pull as many of each letter as needed. When finished , clear the board. The app also has themed pictures. This feature is great for students that need to connect objects with words.  We want students to build words independently and become fluent readers.  Fluency and comprehension is the end result!  The best part…..no more sorting letters and laminating arcs!

Popplet + Peer Tutoring = Perfect Presentations

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Mrs. Marino’s 4th Grade Class

Do you get tired of the same ‘ol graphic organizers?  Me, too!  When I heard about Popplet last April, I was instantly hooked.  The wheels in my head started spinning ninety miles to nothing.  Typical.  Popplet has endless possibilities for any subject and grade level.  That’s why I love it.  It is so versatile.  No matter what I am teaching, we can make a Popplet to brainstorm or to assess what we’ve learned so far.  I have already used Popplet several times this year.  Sometimes I use it with my iPad and Apple TV, and we all brainstorm together.  Other times the kids are making their own Popplets at their desk.  Today, though, something magical happened.  My students’ assignment was to make a Popplet using the homophones for “there”.  When finished,  THEY ASKED to go even further.  They added on to the other side of their homophone box (all their idea) and started to do the homophones for “to”.  Then they branched off even further and added even more.  The part that was amazing to me was when they started helping each other.  I like to “steal” the screen with their iPads and project what they are working on.  When I put one little girl’s Popplet up on the SMART board the other students noticed that she color-coded her homophones. They instantly wanted to do the same.  So, two little girls popped out of their seats and started circulating around the class helping other students.  It was a good moment.  Plus, it was super cute.  The other kids listened, too.  They didn’t teach them how to do long division or how to diagram a sentence.  They simply taught them a few design techniques for this app we call Popplet.  But they used their own voices, and in that moment they were the teachers.  And I am beyond proud.  I seriously love my job.

The picture below shows a Popplet created for older students.  Also, note that on the right side you have the option to e-mail your Popplet straight to your teacher and parents.

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