Thursday, October 9, 2014


"Shiver Me Timbers its been a long time since my last blog!! "
As I have navigated through some "stormy waters" I have found me "Inner Pirate"again and am ready for the next adventure!  I am commandeering a new vessel this year (the third grade ship) with all me old crew from last year!   Keeping the pirates code close to me heart (Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm) I have challenged me-self to lead by example as any captain would, fight the battles that are in the best interest of me crew, and celebrate the treasures that we discover upon our adventurous journey! 

As I embarked on this first quarter adventure with me crew, I navigated through some VERY stormy and rough waters!  At times I think me ship might sink with all the canon fire and water we were taking on!  It even crossed me mind to walk me own plank!!  Luckily, I found me senses and remembered why I became a pirate to begin with!    I never back down from a challenge and it is me duty to speak the truth and fight the battles that are important to me crew and fellow pirates!  I will battle "The Crackin," face the rough seas, and NEVER lose sight of me crew as I know they depend on me to navigate our ship no matter what kind of waters or battles that lay ahead!   I will keep me wits about me an steer the course!  Me crew reminded of the beauty and possibilities that lay ahead on the horizon.  

To all me fellow pirates out there  swashbuckling through your days, remind yourself that we pirates have to stick together!  We are pirates for a reason, we don't follow the "normal" calm waters as that would not challenge the pirate within us.  We celebrate adventure and embrace a "good fight" for we all know that the treasures in the end are worth it!   A big  "AARRR" to all me fellow pirates who inspire me each and every day! 

It's A Pirates Life For Me!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

iCan Use Raz Kids On The iPad For Running Records

     Yes!  You read the title of the blog right!  I have been RAZZLE DAZZLED by the Raz- Kids app and the  capabilities of the running records and benchmark assessments done COMPLETELY on the iPAD!  From recording to the running record it can all be done within the app!!  LOVE IT!!  

  I assign a running record to each student in my class and once finished the students' recordings are sent to my "In Basket" where I can access them anywhere at anytime!    I choose to listen to their recordings at home in a quiet environment and make the necessary notations about their reading on the running record scoring sheet.  I am able to listen to each recording as many times as I need to in order to mark errors accurately.  

Notice the "scorecard" on the right hand side has all the information about the student's reading.  You can easily mark errors utilizing their great and very simple format!  All recordings and benchmark assessments are saved under the child's name.   It's a wonderful way to share accuracy and fluency growth with the child and their family!  Not to mention you do not have a paper trail to contend with!!  It is all located in the teacher portion of the RAZ-KIDS APP! 

By utilizing this app I have saved valuable instructional time. The data that I collect daily is used to help drive my instruction for each student.  I can easily identify their independent comprehension strengths as well as their weaknesses. Here is a sample of a report I am able to collect daily on each child's individual independent reading abilities. You can see which skills he has encountered and where his strengths are and where he needs support.
Here is a report that shares their reading level progress.  This one is from the past 90 days.  Again, what a great way to share information with the student and parents!

 From the data I am able to collect at the touch of a button I can create my strategy groups and my RTI intervention needs!! 
 RAZ-KIDS definitely is a gold mine when it come to data collection!! It is well worth your time and effort to get to know this app and use it with your students!  
You too may be RAZZLE - DAZZLED!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

iCan Make Anything Talk On My iPad!

My second graders have learned a new app that can turn ANY image into a talking image!  The app we used was ChatterPix Kids.  This app is super easy and allows kids to record their voices onto any image!   Student have thirty seconds to make a voice recording for their image to speak.  Listed below is a snowman that one of the students used in his Keynote for States Of Matter.  He loved having his snowman share the information he learned and can't wait to share his Keynote with his family.  The kids all agreed that making the ChatterPix slide was their favorite in the Keynote.

Once you show this app to your kids, let the creativity begin!  It is a great app to appsmash with other apps!
  It was super easy to import into Keynote as we found out!
The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Student Teacher + 1:1 iPads + Science Curriculum Objectives+ Creativity = States of Matter Understandings!!

    Can you imagine a snowman talking to you and telling you his freezing and melting points?  How about turning solid chocolate into a liquid, by adding heat and then turning that liquid chocolate back into a solid by adding cold and documenting the whole experience with pictures that you can turn into diagrams?  Would you consider making things explode to build and understanding of gas and recording it?   These are just a few examples of what is possible with with the help of an iPad and a highly motivated student teacher!!

 When my student teacher first started she came to class without any kind of 1:1 iPad training, but to see her teaching now, you would think she has been teaching this way for years!  Her initial hesitation and concern have evolved into motivation and inspiration!  As she became familiar with the apps we were using and the management that was necessary to have in place to be successful, she was off and running!

Through her creativity and understanding of the curricular objectives, States of Matter has taken a whole new path of hands on learning opportunities, documentation of student understanding (via camera and video possibilities), and app smashing opportunities galore! The unit began with making the decision to use Keynote

 as our application to document and share our learning and understanding for the States of Matter Unit.  Each student created their own Keynote to reflect what they learned from their science investigations, collaboration, science literature, and group discussions.  App smashing was such a fun way to add information to their slides!  And a great way to think "out of the box" to share what we learned.   We used Skitch for  labeling our pictures to create diagrams. Here is an example that one student made for their Keynote slide.

She introduced a new app called Chatterkids to add a new opportunity for kids to explain the freezing point and melting point of solids.  They ABSOLUTELY loved this app! Here is a sample that a student made and recorded:
I can't wait to post the final project to share how and why matter MATTERS to our second grade students!!

I wrote this blog specifically to let educators know that with training and support anything is possible!  My student teacher embraced the opportunity to learn how to use iPads as a tool to drive learning!  She overcame her initial hesitation and jumped in with both feet and head first.  She stepped out of her comfort zone and embraced the opportunity to teach 21st century skills with enthusiasm and creativity.  While she had challenges she reflected on her lessons daily and made the necessary adjustments to meet the diverse needs of students. 
 Anything is possible with the right attitude and support.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

This One Time...At EdCamp...

This one Edcamp...

     I met the most amazing group of individuals with a passion for education that is nothing like I have experienced before...kind of like "dogs and cats living together in mass hysteria!"  Since it was my first time attending, I felt completely overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge and expertise that was in the room.  I spent the entire time absorbing as much as my mind and iPad would allow me to take in.  I felt like I had the GOLDEN TICKET to a day of inspiration and collaboration with innovative, creative, and passionate people who all meet for the purpose of sharing and learning with one another.  

      As I moved from one session to another I just kept thinking that this kind of professional development needs to be the model that districts should aspire to provide!   The "speed dating" style of sharing was the perfect way to start the day!  I was able to meet so many people with fantastic ideas in a short amount of time, and I loved seeing the faces of those who I had been "tweeting" with or those I have been following in edchats.  It was surprising to see how quickly and easily conversations developed and the laughter and positive vibe that filled the room was energizing!  Each session that I attended was driven by the participants and evolved through great conversations and powerful thought provoking questions.  I even had the opportunity to check out and try on some Google Glassess which were AMAZING!!  Thanks to Stacy Behmer for allowing me to try them out!  
 Now I COMPLETELY understood how and why participants came from all over to take part in such a great experience.  I have decided to make it my goal to road trip to another edcamp, for another fun learning adventure! 

     What happens at Edcamp doesn't stay at Edcamp ...thank goodness!  I can't wait to share what I have learned with my students and colleagues!  Time to follow the yellow brick road of optimism, enthusiasm, and innovation.   It's going to be a fun journey!  Thanks to all the people who made it happen!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

iCan iPad At Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences!

Mirror Mirror On The Wall...
Our Self Reflections Tell It All!!

When parents arrived at conferences students were prepared and ready to share their "Self Reflections About Our Learning."  Of course we couldn't display something that didn't have a technology twist to it, so parents were in for a big surprise when they looked in the mirror of their child's artwork with the iPad!
As you can see, the children drew themselves as if they were looking into the mirror.  Then the best part of course 
was attaching our    
technology piece to the lesson! We used an app called Aurasma!! 

When the parents held the iPad over the child's reflection in the mirror, a video created by the student launched from the  student's mirror picture and appeared on the iPad.  The Arasma app made this possible!! Parents were speechless!! 
There were lots of ooh's and ahh's from parents, siblings, and 
on-lookers.  The kids were so proud to hear such positive responses for their work.  This was such a GREAT way to begin conferences.   
The self reflections about learning couldn't have been portrayed any better!

Under our self reflection pieces we displayed our personal narratives.  During the third quarter our writing curriculum focuses on teaching students to write personal narratives. Throughout the third quarter we had opportunities to practice writing different types of narratives.  As our culminating writing piece we created our "Personal Narrative Stories"  These narratives tied in perfectly with our "Self Reflections Theme" for conferences.  Here are some examples:

Parents enjoyed reading these narratives and were pleased to see that the technology focus that we have in the classroom with the blog writing that we do, the Keynotes we create, and the comic strips that are written, are all adding to our writing capabilities! 
 Our personal narratives are evidence of what is possible when 
technology and pedagogy meet!  

The kids shared our QR code wall where families could use our QR code readers on our iPad or their phones to read their child's blog spot. 
Parent enjoyed reading our newest blog posts about Dr. Seuss Week which we saved as a surprise just for conferences.
This was the perfect way to start our parent teacher conference!  

Mirror Mirror On The Wall
Technology has helped us tell it ALL!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

iAm " APPy " About Classroom Management Opportunities With The iPad!

If you haven't had an opportunity to explore the apps Too Noisy or Group Maker you might might be missing out on some great management tools!
I use both in my classroom and the kids LOVE them!!
They add "hAPPy"  and fun opportunities for classroom management!

The Too Noisy app is great way for monitoring noise levels in a classroom.  A free and paid version are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad.  This app can be projected on the iPad 2 and newer iPad models.  Both the free and paid versions of this app have cute backgrounds that work well for elementary age kids.  As the noise level in your classroom increases, the picture on the screen changes from a happy face, to a sad face,  and then to a crying face that is plugging his ears.  In the paid version (Too Noisy Pro) the screen cracks and makes a loud noise to get the attention of the children.  Also in the paid version the teacher can control the level of noise that is permitted for each activity.  Since classroom activities vary (from silent reading, to group work, to whole group and so forth) this paid app version  easily allows the teacher to change the noise level meter to match the acceptable levels of student activity.  The paid version also has a counter where kids can earn stars for working together within acceptable limits.  If they operate out of the limits the alarm will go off.  Having a student teacher this semester, it was a great way of helping her to set classroom working parameters and expectations.  I used my personal iPad to load the paid version of this app which allowed me to use the district iPad for instruction.
If you have some time, give it a look!

Group Maker is another wonderful app that was shared with me that I have embraced using in the classroom as well!  It is the best app for quickly creating diverse groups not to mention that it is also free!  My second graders love it when group maker chooses who gets to answer the question and they all know that anyone can randomly be picked by the app at any time. Sometimes the app will pick the same student twice in a row just to keep them focused and accountable!  I do have a "pass" if a student does not wish to answer.  I do suggest you allow one pass per session.   I have found that the "pass" has not be used at this point yet and all want to be able to share their answers.  The kids really like it when we use this app to pick who is going to reflect their work up onto the "big screen" (with the help of reflector) its a great opportunity to share what they know!  Group Maker is easy to use and takes little time to set up!!  I have chosen to use their photos for the app rather than the icons that the app provides to make it more personal. Give it a look too!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

On the Loose With Dr. Seuss And An iPad

Can you use iPads here or there?....We can use them anywhere! 
We love our iPads so we say and we want to share what we learned each day!  
 Dr. Seuss week was busy and the learning was fun, 
our iPads helped us capture and reflect upon each one! 

On Monday we started with The Cat in the Hat!  
You can imagine what fun we had with that!  
We had so many fun things to do, 
thank goodness we had the help of Thing 1 and Thing 2!!
 Our goal was to learn about narrative elements that day.  
We read a Seuss story to teach us the right way!  
We listened carefully to the story as it was read,
then it was time to show what was up in our head.  
 Here is a picture of a hat that was done,
 learning story elements sure can be fun!
 Here is a close up of what the kids had to do,  
its hard to believe that they were learning something new! 
The narrative elements were written down with great care 
and the pictures that went with it, I just had to share!
The hats turned out great I really must say! 
 But it wasn't the only Seuss activity for the day!  
Check out the estimation activity with the help of some fish 
that we stored and made ready to take home in a dish!
 Once math was over a special treat was prepared
 to help us with states of matter we had plenty to share! 
One fish two fish...we found the red fish in a blue dish! 
The treat was the perfect way... to end a fun and special day!  

Tuesday was just as busy and fun it was true. 
 We had some cooking of Green Eggs and Ham to do!
We wrote a special "Green Eggs and Ham" music rap. 
We used Garage Band to help... it's  a really FUN app!
 Here is our video we made for the day!  
The kids worked so hard to learn just what to say!

We took pictures of our Green Eggs and Ham!  We enjoyed eating them with Mrs. Klamm!
We graphed out predictions before we ate, then after we had cleaned our plate! 

On Wednesday we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and it is true 
that we learned how to make Oobleck too! 
 Was it a solid?  Was it a liquid?  It was hard to tell, 
but made it ourselves and did very well!
Was Oobleck a solid or liquid it was hard to say,
 But we sure had fun exploring it today!

On Thursday we read Dr. Seuss's Butter Battle Book
Then we made our own butter which we shook and shook!
We started with heavy whipping cream inside of our cup
We shook it back and forth and danced to mix it all up!
We made our own butter it is true 
We learned how easy it was to do!
We made our breakfast snack of homemade butter and bread
It tasted delicious most the kids said! 

On Friday we reflected upon all of our fun!
The kids started blogging there was work to be done!
They each chose their favorite Seuss activity
Then blogged about it for all to see!

Monday, February 17, 2014

iCanTeach Fascinating Fractions On The iPad

Fractions on the iPad, yep it is possible!  I began by creating an iTunes U course called "Fascinating Fractions" which is also the name of my math Pinterest board.  In this course  I included Youtube videos, stories about fractions, songs about fractions, and learning opportunities and activities about fractions that will build upon their understandings.  The kids LOVED learning this way!  We uploaded practice opportunities into the Notability app and students were able to work together to figure out problems and then email their work to me.  One of the student's favorite activities was figuring out what fractions of m&m colors they had in their individual bags.  Included below are two pictures of the activity.  My buddy Kyla let me take her picture while she figured out the "whole"and the "parts" of that whole. 

Below is the PDF that we recorded our fractions on.  This was one of the activities that I included in my Itunes U course!  I  can't take credit for  the idea, this is one of those "M"-azing ideas that I found on Pinterest and added to my "Fascinating Fractions Board".   Lots of great thinking and problem solving were generated through this activity.  It was taking what we learned and applying it in addition to explaining the understandings  to someone else.  THE KIDS LOVED IT!!  Math they can eat!  How could you go wrong?!

I love to create courses in iTunes U and the best part is they can have things added or omitted as you see fit.  Notability is a great way for students to upload their work and share what they are learning!!  This was an "M"-azing Unit!! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

iCan Learn About Our World's Geographic Features By AppSmashing On The iPad

iCan't believe how "AppSmashing" on the iPads helped us to further develop our understanding about geographic features in our world.  Thanks to the app Google Earth I was able to take my students to places all over the world! I taught them how to navigate the app by first finding our school. The loved seeing all the different views. Among the "oohing and ahhhing" I was able to show them how this app would help them explore the world!   Then I gave them the  challenge to find their homes as their first stop in their world exploration.   Well let's just say the door to a whole "NEW WORLD"  of learning was opened to them and they were inspired!  I gave them time to become world travelers and allowed them to visit places they wanted to see (Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, the White House, the Great Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, just to name a few.) The kids loved all the different views and couldn't wait to show me the places that they visited. 

Google Earth was my anticipatory set for teaching about our world and its geographic features.  It generated so much interest and excitement!  Talk about on task behaviors and teaching and learning together.  This activity lent itself to great sharing and conversations!  I then had the kids blog about the places that they went to on their exploration.    We uploaded pictures of the places we visited on our blog spots. Then they shared with our readers where they went and how they did it!  THE KIDS LOVED THIS!!   

Here is an example of one of our blog posts:

Next, we started to use Google Earth to find landform representations that our school district essential objectives outline.  It was my hope that we could have searched just "mountains" in Google Earth and we would have a ton to choose from, but you do have to put in specific names in order to find what you need.  For example you need to type in "Death Valley" in order to get a picture of a "valley".  So it's a good idea ahead of time to have several places listed for the students to type in specifically to select from. We searched for mountains, valleys, hills, plains, peninsulas, and islands to meet our objectives.  Once students found the pictures they wanted, I had them take a screen shot and upload it to their camera rolls.   Then for our next lesson, we used the Skitch app to label our landforms and include its definition right on the picture.  Here is an example of "plains" created by one of my students.  They loved using the Skitch tools.
Once student were happy with their landform pictures, they took a new screenshot  and uploaded it to their camera roll.  Then we opened up our Keynote app and created our "Landform Keynotes" where all their landform pictures and definitions would be added.  Students were also able to add transitions within the Keynote app for extra effect.  

I can't say enough how impressed I am with my student's abilities to move from one app to the next with complete competence and enthusiasm.  They loved "smashing the apps" to make "cool projects" about their learning.  I am always challenging myself to think how I can take a pencil paper task and bring it to life with the iPads so my students will learn as much as possible.  The only thing I would change for the next time is that I will have the kids use the Tellagami app to voice record the definitions of each landform and include them in their final product.  One more way to add to our "App Smash!"  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

iCan Use Google Earth On The iPad and The World Is At My Fingertips!

Ga Ga for Google Earth, Google Earth Is Great,  Google Earth Is Amazing,  Google Earth Rocks, these are just some of the titles that kids used for their Kidblogs that defined their experience using the Google Earth app.  Thanks to the iPad and one quick demonstration, the world just got a whole lot smaller and a lot more interesting to my second graders!  The world was literally at their fingertips!  Enthusiasm and excitement don't even come close to capturing the whole Google Earth learning experience.   I used this app as the anticipatory set to introduce our unit on Geography and "IT ROCKED" according to my students.  They are eager to learn more about their world!  Here is a link to our class blog site.  If you are interested in seeing what the kids had so say about their experience, please click the link below.  We would love to hear your comment.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

iCan Develop A SOLID Understanding of Geomety With The iPad!

Our geometry unit began with learning the difference between plan figures and solid figures.  Once we all had and understanding and common vocabulary we were ready to begin and take our learning and understandings to a whole new level.  What better way to get kids motivated about learning geometry than participating in a scavenger hunt and collecting the evidence on an iPad?!  Students LOVED working together in pairs searching for real-world objects that represented various solid figures, everything from rectangular prisms and spheres to pryamids and cubes.  Once students found a good representation of their solid,  they snapped the picture with their iPad,  uploaded it to their camera roll, and headed for the next idea.  Students had a blast and were very creative in their thinking!  They loved the opportunity to move around our school building completing their task.   This is an activity I will use again for sure!  It was so much more engaging and pushed their thinking when compared to the math lesson that we would have learned with our math curriculum.  This is why I am so passionate about what the iPads can do and how it helps students to think and organize information.  It is real world activities with open ended opportunities!   Here is an example of how student uploaded their scavenger hunt pictures to create Keynote slides representing each solid figure:

The next day after learning about the vocabulary used to identify and describe geometric solids (number of faces, edges, and vertices), we added this information to it's respective slide.  Here are two examples:

  The best part was that no two Keynotes were the same.  The freedom to add their background, pictures, fonts, styles, picture selections, and definitions added to their learning enthusiasm.  Students were completely engaged throughout the assignment. 

     As we worked throughout the geometry unit, I tried diligently to think of innovative ways to add to our Keynote with what we were learning.   I was able to introduce congruent shapes with the help of an app called Geoboard.  This app is basically two different sized geoboard with a whole lot more capabilities when compared to the hands on variety.  The kids LOVED the iPad Geoboard app.  They loved all of its capabilities.  I had them take screen shots of their work and upload it to their camera roll for use in their Keynotes.  
Take a look at the examples of congruent figures we created using Geoboard:
Look at all these congruent squares!
Alexis created a barn using congruent shapes!  Such the creative one!

We used this same app to practice our TRANSLATIONS, REFLECTIONS, and ROTATIONS with shapes.  Here are a couple of examples:
Koen just made a reflection on his Geoboard iPad app!

Miles created a rotation example with his triangles!
Brady is working on creating a translation example!
We also used the app Dragon Shapes during our geometry unit.  It provided great fun and practice for students in learning how to manipulate shapes (translation, reflection, and rotation).  It was a challenge for many to get the correct placement in the picture to complete the task but they did not give up.  The kids loved it!

We can't wait to show our parents our Solid Geometric Keynotes with our families.  I was so happy to see their finished products!  I think the higher level thinking skills that went into this project greatly exceeded any pencil paper.  Students worked together and helped one another, it was easily differentiated for all ability levels, and students were able to use several different apps to build their understandings.  Geometry on the iPad is a great thing!  We have a SOLID understanding!!
(I just couldn't resist the pun:0)