Category Archives: Technology

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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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.

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…

NCCBA and Chatterpix Kids

We are winding down with our NCCBA lessons (North Carolina Children’s Book Awards) and I wanted to try to get everyone close to the same place again after the snow days, work days, holidays, field trips, etc of January! So, some classes have voted and a couple still need to, but I had two second grade classes that voted last week and I wanted to wait till next week to start everyone on our next project the same week. Long story short (or shorter anyways…), I came up with a mini lesson for those classes this week.

I told the kids each table was now a team and that team would choose one of the nominee books, write a summary, and we would create a Chatterpix Kids with it. (If you are not familiar with Chatterpix Kids, you can take a photo and draw a line, have the kids narrate, and the photo talks. Similar to Blabberize, but infinitely easier as long as you have an iPad.) We have 2 iPads, thanks to a grant I got. I still need more and would like more so each table can have one and do the whole process on their own start to finish.

After they chose their book, I gave them the option of drawing a picture or choosing one from the book to “narrate”. (In the future, due to time, I think they will just choose a picture and eliminate some arguing and let them all focus on the summary more.) They also wrote a summary that left a cliffhanger of some sort to encourage others to read the book and practiced reading it aloud before we recorded it. Some of course worked in teams better than others, but practicing as a team will hopefully help over time.

Here are some of the final results. We had six of them, but one somehow didn’t safe to my camera roll. That made me sad. But, here are the other five of them. We did the whole thing start to finish in one class, but it was cutting it close and I had to really be going around to the tables helping them work through the summary. We also had already read all the books in previous classes.

 

 

First Try at Stop Motion Animation…

…with KINDERGARTENERS! I know it is not the group most people would try something new with, but I had the perfect opportunity. We have 6 K classes and 5 days of specials, so one class sends 4-5 kids with each other class. Well, our main class one day last week was on a field trip, so I ONLY had the 5 kids. I didn’t want to move on with our regular lesson and have the rest of the class miss it, so we tried this out. It went GREAT!

We used the Stikbot app which is free. I also have a Stikbot kit that gives you posable people and a green/blue screen to use, but we didn’t use the green screen capability this time. You can see the blue screen in the background of the dinosaur video though. I brought in some of my son’s old toys to give them a choice between dinosaurs, zoo animals, and vehicles of community helpers (like fire trucks, police cars, garbage trucks, and mail trucks). The kids decided what to do (with a little guidance) and moved the pieces themselves while I took the pictures to keep the camera steady. I think older kids could do the picture taking themselves.

The kids were so into it and loved it! I had two groups, one decided to do dinosaurs and a volcano with dinosaurs hatching and running from the volcano. The other group made a zoo and had the zookeepers feeding the animals. (I am attempting to embed them below but the links should work too.) The hardest parts were 1) getting them to remember to move them just a little bit at a time, but the shadow feature on the Stikbot app we used helped a lot. It shows a ghost of where the pieces were so you can line things up or see how much you moved them.  2) The videos are short, even when we slowed them down. It takes about 10 pictures for 1 second of video, therefore, they only had about 2 seconds to say what they wanted to narrate. I had big ideas of researching animals and talking about facts and such with the narration, but time is a factor for planning and filming, plus the narration can only be as long as the video.

 

 

Hour of Code

So, I am a little late on this post, but before Christmas my fifth graders participated in the Hour of Code, and they LOVED it! the Code.org website uses Blockly to introduce students to coding and how to tell the computer what to do using popular characters such as Minecraft, Star Wars, and Frozen. I had planned to do with each grade, but my technology teacher had the same plans. Great minds think alike! So, she is doing it now with 4th and then 3rd grades.

Some other resources that my son has used at home are the board game Robot Turtles, which requires zero technology and not even any batteries! Also, for Christmas, he got a Code and Go set from Learning Resources with a robot mouse that you code to go through maze challenges. Either of these could be great for a center or intro to coding for younger kids.

Here are some shots of my 5th graders coding away!