Biomes for Everybody

Our fifth grade has been working on biomes, interdependence between plants and animals, and food webs. Some of the classes came and did research on it in the library but each focused on it in different ways. One class researched the biomes, but wanted more focus on the interdependence portion and then used Discover Ed to create boards about their biome. Another class researched the same things but then focused more on going in depth on particular animals in the biome to trace out food webs for the biome. We will be creating a Google Slides presentation showing the information and creating a food  web with images or using shapes. Here are a few pictures of some of the boards they created in Discovery Ed. There are more to them than what you can see if you scrolled down the pages, but I couldn’t fit it all in to take a picture. (We talked about making the backgrounds reflect their biome and they did a great job while still being creative, I think!)

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Happy Fall Y’all!

We are back and already almost to the end of the first quarter! Here are a few pumpkin life cycles my Kinders made recently after reading about pumpkins and going through the Super 3 process. We will also read some fiction pumpkin stories to compare fiction and non-fiction in our next class. I was trying to work on sequencing and also connecting back to our lesson the week before on apples and their life cycle.

What Pet to Get?

I introduced the Super 3 to my Kinders recently and wanted to use a real life situation to help them understand the process. So, we talked about getting a new pet. We talked about the questions you would need to think about before you get a new pet, how you could learn about it, and then we voted using the SMARTboard to see what pet we would research that day to help us decide what to get. I think it is important for kids to see how the research process is not just for school but also for thinking through any real life decision or question. It was really interesting that different classes had different animals that won the vote, two classes were dogs, one was cats, and two were gerbils. Here are some photos of one of the classes voting. This also let us practice 1 to 1 counting and which is the biggest number when we counted up the votes.

Polar Chatterpix

Third graders have been working on our research process, the Big 6. Lately, we have been researching a polar animal and then working together to combine their information to write a script and create a Chatterpix. They did a great job! One note to remember is that the Chatterpix Kids app only allows you to narrate up to 30 seconds, so some of them wrote more but it wouldn’t all fit. We used the ipads we got with our grant earlier this year, but it would go a lot faster if we had more than two.

Here are some of the final ones we have filmed so far.

Polar Bears

I am finishing up a short unit on polar bears with second grade. We spent a couple of weeks on it and covered things like our Super 3 research process, sources of information, considering the actual source of information, and organizing our information. The second graders looked at a nonfiction polar bear e-book and how to log in to our e-books first. Then, we used some videos from Polar Bears International and talked about sources from people studying polar bears are going to be more trusted sources than random videos we could find on google. Finally, we looked at National Geographic’s webpage. We made these flip booklets as we went. Here are some shots of a few finished ones.

More Moon Animations

Here are a few more stop motion moon animations. They are getting a little better as I can show better ideas of how to get it started, have things organized, and add extra frames to slow it down a little. Here they are!

Moon Phases and Stop Motion Animation

I posted a few weeks ago about trying out stop motion animation with a small group in Kindergarten. I jumped off the high dive this time and tried it with curriculum content and 4th graders in whole class settings…with 27-28 kids each class…and only 2 iPads. Well, it didn’t bomb, and I learned a lot about how to make it go better in the future. The biggest thing would be if we could have more iPads I think, so each group could film at one time instead of trying to get one group to finish quickly so the next can film. If each table had their own, they could take their time to make it the way they wanted it.

I found I needed to model what pieces might be needed and an example of one I made so they can see one photo of each phase would make a 1 second video that didn’t show much. They had to use their diagrams they researched to make and label the phases, and to put them in the correct order. (You may notice a couple of mistakes, but they did pretty well.)

Here is my example that I made to show the kids first:

And here are a couple of the final results from the kids. I did have to hurry them up at the end because others needed the iPads all at the same time. I asked them to have their moons drawn and in the correct order with the labels ready before they filmed, gave them a quick rundown of how to use Stikbot to film it, and let them do all the photos and movements themselves.

I think next time, we will actually storyboard it and take a little more time on it. I thought the moon diagrams they had done would act in the same way as a storyboard, but I think they need to think it through a little more and lay out the pieces better. Smaller groups would also help, but with only 2 iPads, I didn’t want to stack up too many groups waiting to film.

Have any of you done any stop motion animation? How do you help students think it through? Any ideas how to get more iPads? I tried a Donors Choose, but it didn’t get funded…