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.
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.
Our flip booklet to organize our information
I have been working my way through the NCCBA books with my K-2 students, and always think of so many ways I can use them in later years for other lessons. This past week, we were reading Finding Winnie and it was one of those books. As I was reading it, there were so many tangents you could go on – how transportation and life has changed in the last 100 years, biographies, WWI, family trees, and so on – but my favorite idea that I think I can see myself using a lot is PRIMARY SOURCES. The book has a section at the back with photos of the actual people involved in the story along with photos of items like Harry’s diary where he wrote he bought a bear and the zoo card that showed Winnie coming to the zoo and some other information about her such as date acquired, where from, death date, etc. This could be an excellent introduction to primary sources in future years, and could even start with these BEFORE we read the story and have them make predictions about the story the evidence tells. Then, we could use other primary sources sets from the Library of Congress to do something similar and make predictions about what the sources or photos tell us.
We have recently purchased two iPad minis for the library to use with classes thanks to a grant. We are hoping to eventually get up to about 10 or 12 so students can work in small groups to use apps (you can help us do this with our Donor’s Choose project!). The first ones I am considering using are the Stickbot app for stop motion animation, Chatterpix for kids to do something similar to Blabberize (but easier), and Shadowpuppets edu that allows kids to create narrated slide shows. All would still include research, but would give them some different, more fun and more thoughtful presentation forms than simply writing it out somehow. Did I mention these are all free apps? (Although I did buy a Stikbot kit that includes a green screen, a blue screen, and some poseable people from Costco.)
I am especially excited about the stop motion animation because in order to create it, the students have to actually understand it, storyboard it, think of how to represent it, and then create. I also think it will get them far more engaged and excited about a project.
What apps do you use in the classroom or library and what would you recommend for me?
I try to do something with a bit of the season without doing Halloween in my classes, so I often do owls and bats with my first graders. They do Stellaluna and a bat/bird comparison in class, so we do bats and owls and take it a little different direction with adding some type of technology. This year we started with a PowerPoint because the kids have not practiced with images and typing much yet and they loved it! We spend a week on owl research, a week on bats, and a week on dividing similarities and differences. We are finishing up typing the information and will add images this week. Here are a few “in progress” shots. (Sorry some are sideways! I upload them and rotate them, then it changes back!)
In starting off the year with 1st graders, I wanted to combine some fiction/nonfiction discussions with some research. Our school mascot is the crocodile, but I had more alligator fiction books that I wanted to use, so we did alligators because it was pretty close. (We did talk about how alligators and crocodiles are different animals though!)
The first week, we read Snip Snap What’s That and A Girl and Her Gator. After talking about the different points of view between the two books, the students chose if they would want an alligator or not and why. Then, they wrote why and drew a picture to support their answer.
The books we read.
I would like an alligator. Because I would watch tv with her.
I would not like an alligator. Alligators look weird.
I would like an alligator because it will help me read a book. And I get to name him Joanna.
I would like an alligator. Because he would be my friend.
The following week, we reviewed the Super 3 and read about real alligators. I modeled and then they wrote three things they learned about alligators with pictures to support their statements. We have been talking a lot about how the pictures need to show what the words say, so if you are talking about their teeth, your picture needs to show their teeth.
Alligators have sharp teeth. Alligators can swim. Alligators can walk.
They have sharp teeth. They have scales. They have look like logs.
Alligators sharp teeth. Alligators eat fish and turtles. Alligators have long tails.