SafeShare TV

I am late to the party on this one, but if you don’t know about this resource already and you use YouTube videos in your classes, bookmark this site! SafeShare TV allows you to paste in a YouTube link and get a SafeShare TV link that allows you to show the video without the commercials at the beginning or any of the YouTube suggested links all around the video. I think there is a way to crop parts of the video out as well, though I have not tried it yet. It is great for using in school!

 

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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.

 

 

Finding Winnie

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.

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3-2-1

I try to introduce research starting in Kindergarten and have the students start working on it on their own by the end of Kindergarten or beginning of first grade, often it depends on if the teachers want to do projects and what my schedule looks like as far as how much flex time we have. I usually use this 3-2-1 format (3 facts, 2 questions, and 1 thing most interesting) with my 1st graders to start out with. It encourages them to find information, brainstorm questions, and can be applied to any topic.

We usually do it together the first time about crocodiles (Caleb the Ctoc is our school mascot). The next week, I pull some 1st grade level books about various animals. With a partner, they choose a book and complete the 3-2-1 on their own the following week. We also practice adding the title and author and start talking about citations and sources.

Here are a couple of the ones they completed just before Christmas.

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!

Apps for iPad Minis

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?