Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
Best WP Theme Ever!
Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
17 Oct 2011
Comments: 1

Government vs. Puppets

I had the rare treat to sit in on an AP Government class today at Reagan H.S. (Christi Robinson, ITS for Reagan HS and Bush MS invited me to visit) and observe their court case project share-out. Thanks to Puppet Pals Director’s Pass donation, students were able to use the teacher’s iPad to create their own court case puppet show. Ms. Newton, the AP Government teacher, also allowed them to explore other submission venues (e.g. Sock Puppets app, Myths & Legends Story Creator, and video-taping their own sock puppet productions old-school style.)

When the class of 38 students was polled, we found that 37 of the 38 students had a personal iPod/iPhone/iPad mobile device. As I have seen many puppet products in elementary and middle school, it was a great experience for me to see how the same apps could be used in a high school setting. Worried that some of the students would find it childish or infantile, I was thoroughly thrilled to find out that not only did they love the apps… many of them downloaded the apps to their own devices and worked at home to complete the project.

“Students will understand the structure, functions, and powers of Congress, the legislative process, and its relationship the branch of government.”

Court Cases

The Task was to research a court case (they randomly drew one), storyboard their accounts (used the template in Pages), and create a video product that highlighted all of the specifics below:

  1. Name of Case  (and brief summary)
  2. Date
  3. Court Decision
  4. Constitutionality
  5. Impact

 

Since knowing and understand court cases is such an integral part of STAAR and AP exams, creating these shows is a useful and vital tool for students to learn the case as well as review the case before the test (as the majority of the videos were posted to Youtube by students for easy access). Another way to collect these resources for later review would be to use Videodropper and download the student videos to a class Dropbox that could be shared with all of the students and accessed from student devices.

 

In class, we came across the free Court Case app that provides a list of famous court cases and includes the opinion of the court, case citation, dissent, and syllabus. Wish we had found this app prior to the project. Alas, it will still be a good review before students take the exam.
Without further ado… will everyone rise? The honorable Judge Techchef4u will be highlighting these student-created court cases:
 

Miranda vs. Arizona (created with Sock Puppets)

Greg. vs. Georgia (created with Sock Puppets)


Board vs. Education (created with Puppet Pals)

Gibbons vs. Ogden (created with Sock Puppets)

Roe vs. Wade (created with Puppet Pals)

Suggestions & Strategies: As Christi and I sat in on the projects, we made a few notes on suggestions and strategies to use next semester when this project will be presented again:
  1. utilize the court cases app for research prior to storyboarding
  2. utilize T-Chart app to document and weight pros/cons (in this case arguments for the plaintiff and arguments for the defendant)
  3. set a time limit for the video
  4. consider using Videolicious for other video projects
  5. consider using characters to resemble the traits of real individuals in the case (as seen in Miranda vs. Arizona)
  6. use music to create mood and tone (as some students did)
  7. alter the pitch in some apps for students who have high-picthed
  8. create a common tag(s) in YouTube so that they can search later to review
  9. create a shared Dropbox to house the YouTube videos utilizing Videodropper (make sure you select optimize for iPhone/iPod)
  10. set up videos in stations (rather than present to the class as a whole), and have each student complete two circles of reflections for each case  they viewed. (e.g. how did the verdict of this court case directly affect….)

Original Source: Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher

 

Many thanks to Christi Robinson, Ms. Newton, and the students of AP Government at Reagan HS for sharing their projects and their class time with me. It is such a joy to see how technology can be seamlessly integrated to foster learning and support the curriculum.

Want More?. Check out other projects and lesson resources highlighting Sock Puppets & Puppet Pals app(s) as well as a follow-up post to this one which includes more student projects.

 

 


13 Oct 2011
Comments: 0

A Day in the Life of Elementary Flat Stanley

I have always loved Flat Stanley to promote literacy, story-telling, geography, and global awareness. I decided to use him to promote literacy and local tourism for a monthly mommy blog that I am a guest blogger for. The original idea was to give the gift of learning and technology integration to local moms and highlight local events and places around town…

Flat Stanley New Braunfels

 

…then I discovered that the Flat Stanley app was free and decided to work it into an iDevice and Web 2.0 lesson. Here are three ways to utilize Flat Stanley in your classroom:

  1. QR Codes for Education

    Flat Stanley on an iDevice: Take pictures around the campus and incorporate them into StoryRobe to create a video. The Flat Stanley app will allow students to take pictures in the app but will not save the pictures to the PhotoRoll. The best way I found to get the photos into the PhotoRoll is to email each photo to myself, open the emails on the device, and tap and hold the image to save to the device. Another option would be to email them to the teacher and have the teacher load them into iTunes and sync them manually. From there I imported the photos into StoryRobe (I found storyboarding the order of the images and the narration prior to recording was very useful) and record narration for each photo to compile a complete video.

  2. Flat Stanley & Web 2.0: If teachers do not have an iPod or iPad, they could have students create their own Flat Stanleys (see these printable templates: Flat Stanley Project & Flat Stanley Book Template), take pics of each around campus or in the classroom, and use Little Bird Tales to achieve a similar student product. (See Signs of Math example)
  3. Flat Stanley & QR Codes: Have students create their own Flat Stanleys and research a location for them to have adventures (research could be done on the computer through virtual trips or on the iPad using apps like ArounderTouch, Fotopedia Heritage, or Google Earth). From there, students can write a story, a letter, or a journal of Flat Stanley’s adventure and even create a podcast. Share your adventures with others by creating QR codes to information, videos, photos, or Google Maps locations from the places they visit. Print these out and place them next to student’s Flat Stanleys and set up a Flat Stanley Scavenger Hunt.

 


11 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Suprisingly Educational, Entertaining, and Engaging

I came across the lite version of MyPlayHome this week. The Lite version gives you full access and interactivity to two rooms, the kitchen and living room. Those two rooms alone kept my preschool son, also known as the app critic, busy for 30-45 minutes. His favorite discovery was that throwing away a piece of food in the kitchen replaces it in its prior location (e.g. table, cabinet, etc…). I later decided to check out the full version and was very pleased with the two extra rooms, bathroom and bedroom. Another fantastic bonus to the app is it will grow over time with more rooms and accessories. If they are taking suggestions, I would request a backyard with a grill, sandbox, picnic table, and flower/vegetable garden. What other toys can you say have that economical feature?

My PlayHome: DoodleBuddy Vocab

With that said, I will transfer my mommy hat to my educator cap… While this app may appear like a “doll house for the iPad generation”, it holds far more educational inspiration than sheer interactive entertainment. Thus, I have compiled a list of 7 ways I would use this app in the classroom:

  1. Have students create dialogue based on what the characters are doing in the house. This would be a great way for students to practice sentence structure, pronouns, and adjectives. (Consider taking screenshots and adding the dialogue with another app… like Doodle Buddy).
  2. Have students practice sequencing. Give students a series of directions or have students come up with a first/next/then structure for a task. (This could also be achieved with screenshots and Popplet Lite.)
  3. Have students practice vocabulary/spelling by taking a screenshot and opening it up in Doodle Buddy and adding words to annotate a room in the house.
  4. Have students discuss their own routines/traditions for getting ready in the morning, going to bed, family time, etc… (Consider having students take a screenshot and then discuss it in ShowMe or ScreenChomp.)
  5. Have students create/solve a math problem based on a scenario inspired by one of the rooms. (Challenge students to find/classify various shapes in each room.)
  6. Have students compare/contrast a room in the play home to the same room in their home.
  7. Have students write a descriptive paragraph about a room.

My PlayHome: Sequencing with Popplet Lite

 

 

 


07 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

HOT App 4 Analysis: iCard Sort

One of the first posts and series I created on my fledgling techchef4u blog was “Hot Apps 4 HOTS“. The series was assembled to highlight free apps that could be used in multiple content areas and grade levels to support Bloom’s Taxonomy. (Kathy Schrock classifies iCardSort as a tool for supporting “analysis” in her Bloomin’ iPad chart.)

 

 

As the “HOT Apps 4 HOTS” series was created as a resource for our district technology camp in June (and will now be offered at TCEA 2012), the original post was a supplement to the course and came fully loaded with screen-shots and suggestions for use as well as a full Math Vocabulary Lesson (e.g. teacher handout, student handout, sample Excel grid, and extension activities) utilizing the app. (Download the Math Vocabulary deck!)

After I posted the original series to my social networks (LinkedIn and Twitter), I received a message from Julio Barros, the iCardSort app developer, he said he loved the lesson and was in the process of building a site to compile the card lessons and decks that educators created.

E-String Newsletter Excerpt

Flash-forward three months…

… and not only does the the new version of iCardSort Lite (iCardSort) allow access to a public repository of decks people can share but also allows for users to acquire decks from more specific websites / wikis.

 

As if that wasn’t app-erific enough, E-string has just sent out a fantastic newsletter which includes the original techchef4u HOTS Math Vocabulary lesson and some app-tastic Vimeo videos that highlight how to use iCardSort and how the app can be used in a literature circle.

iCardSort during literature circle from Ipad Cabell on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for upcoming “appy hours 4 you” episode which will feature iCardSort with other apps that can be used for brainstorming and mind-mapping!

 


05 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Give Your Classroom a Voice with Songify

Appy Hours 4 You: As I mentioned in my Fakebook post, my passion is locating, assembling, and creating resources and lesson ideas to support existing technology (whether it be Web 2.0 tools or iPads). Starting our blog talk radio show was one more way that I wanted to support teachers in the district. While we offer multiple face-to-face courses for the iPad, I still have many teachers ask me what you can do with the device. Even a list of suggested apps can be cumbersome if teachers don’t have a goody bag of ideas to accompany the app or an explanation of how products can be removed from the app or device (e.g. emailed, synced from the photo roll, uploaded to Youtube, downloaded from a random url, etc…).

Thus the reason I felt such a calling to create our “appy hours 4 you” talk show and the portable format. While the show does air live, the intent was for it to be streamed later in the day (e.g. during lunch or while folding laundry at home later that evening) or downloaded to iTunes and listened to on the way to work or at the doctor’s office. Lesson to Go… if you will. Supporting our intent to create a portable learning tool, the vast majority of our listens have been to archived shows. As I do not have information as to the actual listeners of the show (just how many have listened), I am always curious as to who the users are and what they have done with the information shared.

2nd Grade Songify Project

 

Where is Short U? created with Songify

Songify: On Friday, I had to look no further than my inbox. I received a enthusiastic email from Ms. Carnazzo, a second grade teacher in the district, who had been using my blog resources throughout the summer. This was her first year to have an iPad in her classroom and she wanted to share her Songify class project with me. Overjoyed, I clicked on the link she sent me and found a beautiful Glogster EDU page with pictures of the students (she had full internet permissions for each child) decked out in colorful boas and sunglasses posing with a microphone and their iPad. As if that wasn’t adorable enough, she had five different short vowel songs posted (with a text box above each for the lyrics). Each of the songs were created by recording the students singing using Songify (one of the apps we highlighted in our first episode).

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

What’s Next for our Appolicious Elementary Stars and their Teacher? Not only did the students love the project, Ms. Carnazzo has decided to have students complete a similar project with Talking Tom and a math song. As she wants the song to be one piece, she has decided to record each excerpt separately and then piece them together in a video editing tool like iMovie.

As my intention for the radio show was to instruct, inspire, and instill an autonomy for building lessons with the iPad that supports student learning and engagement, I would love to hear from others who have used or adapted the lesson ideas we have shared on our show.

Please email or comment with your lesson summary and apps used.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Adobe Reader X Offers "Read Out Loud"

Web 2.0 Tools for Revising & Editing via Scoop.it

I have been working on assembling and updating a list of tools that could be used for brainstorming, revising, and editing in the secondary ELAR classroom. A particular interest of mine is the text to speech feature on a Mac (“Voice Over”) as it is a great way to review a paper in an auditory manner to catch mistakes you may have overlooked in previous revisions. It is also a wonderful tool to use with ELL/ESL  and SE students. But what happens if you don’t have a Mac or an iPad?

Well, my initial suggestions were HearWho which will turn any text into mp3 for free using text to speech technology but it has limitations of 400 characters without a login. Google Translate is another tool but sometimes the translations and text to speech features are a bit wonky.

Then I came across Adobe Reader X which I use on a daily basis. As most users, I never truly explored all of the functionality of this free tool. Did you know that Adobe Reader not only allows you to comment, and highlight…. but…wait for it….

Adobe Reader X: Highlight, Annotate, and "Read Out Loud"

 

… offers text to speech (“read out loud” option found under the view tab)! I was floored and had to share it immediately with the world… or at the very least my global community. I immediately added it to my Scoop.it page for Web 2.0 tools for Revising & Editing and set to compose a post to share my new yummy tech morsel.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Inspire and Ignite Political Debate in the Classroom

Container Ban on River Passes

As a local New Braunfels resident and an educator, I thought the current river ban debate would make an excellent post for a research and persuasive paper assignment. It is also is a nice pairing with my recent Fakebook post as there are Facebook pages both for (“It’s Time to Protect Our Comal and Guadalupe Rivers“) and against the ban (“The River Belongs to Us Not City Council” & “Sign the Referendum to Recall the New Braunfels Container Ban Ordinance“). While I would not recommend using the actual Facebook pages for research as some of the comments have proven to be heated and inappropriate, teachers could glean both pages for arguments and direct quotes from both sides to provide a point of reference for the debate.

Last night the New Braunfels City Council by a vote to 5 to 1 banned disposable food and beverages from waterways within the city limits. This ban has ignited the interest of many residents who may or would not have been active in local government and want to have a voice… and a vote.

River Video taken August 15th, 2011 after a clean-up. 

Ignite Debate: Such a hot topic also proves to be a great fodder for classroom discussion and a wonderful vehicle for debate. Trying to say as unbiased as possible, I decided to build off of my previous Fakebook post:

New Braunfels City Council Meeting

  1. Teachers could create a simulated discussion to highlight basic arguments from both sides (by pulling quotes and posts from FB).
  2. Students would then get a RAFTS  assignment. (Consider all of the the parties (roles) that the ban will affect and all of the vested entities: NB City Council, NB Police, locals, residents on the river, river-oriented business, NB businesses, tourists, the media, state politicians). See Reading Rockets RAFTS info and templates.
  3. Based on their given or selected role, students would research arguments, statistics, and facts/info that would support their stance on the issue. The recent article from My San Antonio provides a great start.
  4. Students would complete a graphic organizer to record their findings before finalizing their project.
    1. Web 2.0: ExploratreePopplet, or HOLT Interactive Graphic Organizers
    2. iPad: Popplet or T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
    3. iPod: T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
  5. Students could then present their persuasive argument in multiple formats:

    Created with T-Chart app

    1. a news broadcast (using Videolicious and images from the council meeting and river)
    2. an letter/email to a local Congressman (When writing a letter/email, remind students to: know their facts, state their purpose, be personal, stay on message, don’t be partisan, be courteous, and request a response). Researching voting records and public stances for multiple congressional figures may help students locate Senators and Representatives that would be more sympathetic to their cause.)
    3. a website (Glogster EDU) or brochure/flier with all information gathered for or against ban that could be presented to locals and/or voters
    4. a persuasive essay
    5. a debate (live or virtually with Edmodo)
    6. a song/rap/poem (quick songs could be completed in using Songify)
    7. a proposal to provide alternate solutions to the ban or a revised law
    8. a 30-second commercial for or against the ban (check out Photostory)
    9. an interview with a RAFTS stakeholder

 River Video taken after Memorial Day, 2011 used in the media to support the ban


23 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Fakebook Profiles aren't just for English classes

One of the favorite parts of my job as an Instructional Technology Specialist is to research and locate tools to support teachers in the classroom. I had co-taught a few lessons with Mr. Wayment last year and had been excited to receive his email of tentative lesson ideas and themes a few days ago. He outlined 5 or 6 lessons with an overarching theme/topic with suggested student projects and had requested my assistance in locating Web 2.0 tool or apps to facilitate and support the execution of his lessons.

Read Write Think Profile Publisher

Autobiographical Profile: The first lesson idea was to have students create an autobiographical Facebook-like profile of themselves. As this project was scheduled for early September, I wanted to focus on a tool that did not require logins or the ability to have profiles post or comment to other students’ walls. My first thought was Read Write Think’s Profile Publisher. The tool is free and allows you to create a profile for yourself or a fictional character highlighting a favorite song, quote, about me, latest blog entry, and favorites/interests. The interactive tool doesn’t require a login and is very easy to use. The end product is a printed page. The main downside is that students would have to hand draw their profile pic or copy and paste one on the sheet.

Another option would be to download a PPT template, Word template, Google Docs template which would be a functional option but might require more time in class to complete.

Scholastic Character Scrapbook: Ophelia

Literary Character Profile: Once the students were familiar with the tool(s), they could create a Facebook-like profile for a literary character from a fictional story. If teachers would like to have students simulate the online discussion feed, they could have students create a static profile with one of the tools above and use Todays Meet for the actual debate or discussion.

If teachers are looking for a tool that has the profile and feed capabilities all in one, they might want to test out Fakebook or My FakeWall. Of the two, my preference is Fakebook. It doesn’t require a login to utilize the standard features. Students can upload a profile pic, edit basic profile info, add posts and friends, and even include YouTube videos (which would be great to utilize Talking Heads, Sock Puppets, Puppet Pals, or Videolicious to create your own content or use current YouTube videos as a point of reference.) The Fakebook can be saved and generates a random URL which the user creates a password for to edit. If the ads become too distracting, there is a paid premium option. Fakebook can be exported as a PDF or embedded in a website or blog.

View Fullscreen |I created a sample with Ophelia: http://www.classtools.net/fb/28/PDQ4DW.

MyFakewall might be a bit more robust but will require logins. As it is still in beta, students may also experience some glitchyness. 

 

Fakebook profiles aren’t just for English: Consider using them across the curriculum:

Aphrodite's Wall via Shmoop

 



01 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 3: Interactive Books

In an effort to provide my audience with more bite size morsels of technology, I have divided my interactive books section in to two parts. As students are out of school and many visit the library for pleasure reading books to fulfill their reading list quota, it only make sense to consider the iPad to fulfill the need and desire for literacy.

Ebooks for Kids on iDevices

The authors listed below are my son’s favorites from the bookshelf and the iPad. These are not books that were created solely for the iPad. Rather, they are interactive versions of the original (and beloved) work of art published for the new generation of digital learners. (All apps listed are paid.)

  1. Dr. Seuss (universal app): Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Truly? Now you can read Dr. Seuss’s classics on the iPad with a few more bonus features:

    Image Edited with Rollip

    "Lots of good fun that is funny"

    1. read to me/read to myself/auto-play options
    2. highlighted text as it is read
    3. picture/word association (e.g. words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched)
    4. background audio (e.g. car motors, talking underwater, train whistle)
  2. Berenstein Bears (universal app): My 4-year old son has loved these books (as well as the corresponding videos) so we were delighted to find them available on the iPad. It also has all of the features the Dr. Seuss books offer.
  3. Eileen Christelow: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (universal app): My son has loved the Five Little Monkeys series for years and these interactive books stay true to the joy and engaging story line that each book provides. They also offer the same features as the Dr. Seuss & Berenstein Bears ebooks do.
  4. Mercer Mayer: (universal app): Not only do these Little Critter books offer the same features as Dr. Seuss, the Berenstein Bears, and Eileen Christelow, they also include a “find the creature mini-game”.
  5. Sandra Boynton: “The Going to Bed Book” (iPad only): These books are so humorous and fun to read. This book goes far beyond the other ones listed as it offers more interaction with the characters and objects (e.g. you can touch, turn, and pull) and allows to tilt your device to watch things tilt and cascade. The ebook also features two reading modes:
    1. “The Big Guy Reads It”: Billy J. Kramer narrates with word highlighting
    2. “I want to read to myself”: Your little one reads at their own pace and can hear individual words pronounced with the tap of a finger

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 3: More eBooks and Part 4: Storytelling. Did you miss Part 1: Imaginative Play & Games or Part 2: Virtual Vacation?

If you missed Summer Technology 4 Kids on Social Geek Radio, you can now download the episode in iTunes.

Please comment with your favorite children’s ebooks and authors?


21 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 2: Virtual Vacation

Travel the World at the Drop of a Pin

Virtual Vacation: As heat, inflated gas prices, and the economy deter us from travel, consider a staycation via a virtual field trip. Consider taking a free trip to Paris, the National Zoo, Ellis Island, or the Taj Mahal without paying a cent or leaving your wonderfully climate-controlled abode.

iPad: Aroundertouch (by far my favorite… can’t believe it is still free), Tour Wrist (totally my new favorite: your iOS device becomes a portal to the world. You really have to see it ti believe it!), Fotopedia Heritage (also has a website) & Paris, Atlas of the World, GTTZoo Lite, Pocket Zoo Free (has live webcams of penguins and polar bears as well as videos of other animals), World Book’s World of Animals (free through 7/10), Cooper’s Pack Seattle or Alaska (both paid), Kids World Map, Library of Congress Virtual Tour, Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History

Web 2.0: Fraboom (interactive online Children’s Museum for ages 6-12), Google Art Project, 360 CitiesScholastic Global Trek, National Zoo Webcams (Switcheroo Zoo: Make & Play with Animals at this virtual zoo), 100 Virtual Trips, 7 Panorama Wonders of the World, A Walk in the Woods (Spanish), Ellis Island, Virtual Space

Virtual Tourism Lesson

Have your child send a postcard from the destinations they visit: Post Card Creator (Web 2.0) or Animal Greetings, Flat Stanley (paid app), or Card Shop (paid app). Consider creating a travel journal using the apps iDiary For Kids or MaxJournal (both paid) or Catch Notes (which allows you to capture ideas and experiences in text, voice, images, and locations). Collect thoughts on summer travels and anecdotes for a future scrapbook. Compose a top ten list of places they would like to visit.

Wanna have even more fun? Create your own panoramas using Photosynth (also a website ** with multiple examples), AutoStitch Panorama or Panoramatic 360 (last two paid). Share your panoramas at ViewAt.org or Photosynth. (If you plan on actually traveling this summer – what better memories to keep than 360 tours of some of your favorite spots.)

Even consider creating your own geocache treasure or scavenger hunt using an iDevice and Google Maps and/or Google Earth (both have app and website counterparts). Did you know Google Maps now has street view? Put on some ambient music to set the tone (check out NatureSpace), order some ethnic cuisine, and it is almost as if you were there.

Landa Park 360 Tour with Photosynth

For all of you Voracious Virtual Voyagers, check out Google’s: What Do You Love Site (as seen on Mashup) to locate more information (e.g. articles, photos, blogs, books, discussion groups, videos, maps, and debates) on any of the places you visit that spark your interest.

Google: WDYL (Eiffel Tower)

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 3: Books & Storytelling and Part 4: Scrapbooks, Timelines, Arts & Crafts. Did you miss Part 1: Imaginative Play & Games?

Tune in: Thursday June 23rd at 8pm to Social Geek Radio where I will be a guest discussing cool technology for kids (apps and Web 2.0 tools) that they can utilize on these hot summer days.

**If the virtual tour doesn’t work on your computer, you will need to download Silverlight. It is quick and painless and it fixes the issue once you exit and reload your browser.

Please Comment with your favorite apps (and Web 2.0 tools) for virtual trips and tours.