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30 Oct 2011
Comments: 0

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

Last week I received an email from Donita O’Hair of Frisco ISD. She sent me a very sweet note: “Hi Lisa, I love your site and have gotton so many great ideas! Someone sent it to me that got it from a workshop. I hope you don’t mind… I used the teachers idea (Ms. Carnazzo’s original) for the sums of 10 activity and redid it. I just had a 5th grade student recreate an example for me.”
 

Ms. Carnazzo's Sums of 10

Mrs. O’Hair cooked up her version of the “sums of ten” video with a teacher task intro and blended it with iMovie. She also mentioned she shared a few techchef4u sock puppet examples via QR codes. She stated they are just getting started with iPads at Borchardt – they have approximately 60 iPads and 75 iTouches.

I am always pleased to find that teachers and technology specialists are using the resources that I and/or other guest chefs cook up. My main reason for blogging is to provide anyone with a healthy app-etite… a tech cuisine that can be consumed and adapted.

Please note that all resources on the site are copyrighted “©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce materials for classroom use granted.”

 

While permission to reproduce is granted and attribution is not required, I do appreciate attribution in apptivities that are adapted. Mrs. O’Hair included a statement “adapted from an original techchef4u post” in the video notes of her adaptation of sums of 10.

Mrs. O’Hair has also been so kind to share some of her previous and upcoming apptivities and iLessons from her district. I am truly thrilled to collaborate and see what others cook up. Looking forward to a medley of inspiration, collaboration, and technology integration.

Surprisingly Educational Apps: Check out “Surprisingly Educational Apps” – the show that served as inspiration for how Talking Tom and friends could be used instructionaly. (We are now available in iTunes – search directly for “appy hours 4 u” or “techchef4u”)

 


27 Sep 2011
Comments: 6

Double Your Learning! Double Your Fun!

 

Carnazzos' Class: Two of Everything

Ms. Carnazzosclass is back at it again – integrating the iPad into innovative learning experiences. Thanks to a gracious donation from the app developer of Puppet Pals’s Director’s Pass, her class received a promo code for the full version including all of the characters and backgrounds as well as the ability to create your own characters and backgrounds.

In Math, Ms. Carnazzos’ class read the book “Two of Everything” by Lily Toy Hong. The story describes a magic pot that doubles everything that is put inside it.

Using her class iPad, Ms. Carnazzo achieved the trifecta of integration melding literacy, mathematics, and technology into this wonderfully crafted iLesson.

 

 

Here’s how she did it:

Two of Everything

  1. Students worked in cooperative groups of 4. They decided together what their number sentence would be and what object they would put into the pot. Then they each had to solve and explain their strategy on paper.
  2. Each group met with Ms. Canazzo to solidify their story plot.
  3. After the initial teacher conference, students got to choose their setting and each student chose a character. (This helped the group decide who would have what lines.)
  4. Students practiced their lines on their own and with Ms. Carnazzo a few times. Then they recorded their final show. (This process took 3 or 4 times to get it right due to…. forgotten lines, background noise, voice recording being too soft, trouble moving their character while they spoke right into the mic on the ipad.)
  5. While a small group was recording, the large group worked on math stations or independent work as the room needed to be quiet for recording.

 

Carnazzos' Class: Two of Everything

Additional Notes: The picture of the pot came from a website that housed a bank of teacher lessons. While the students did not complete an official storyboard (just ran through the dialogue a few times), Ms. Carnazzo suggested that it might help with the flow (… though she did prefer the less scripted quality where it sounds like the students are just talking and not reading lines.) “Two of Everything” Extension.

Extensions & Ideas: If you would like to create a lesson like this or need further suggestions for how to integrate Puppet Pals into your classroom (at any grade level and with any content area)… check out this full Puppet Pals iLesson post.

 


21 Sep 2011
Comments: 2

Chalk it Up to a Learning Experience!:

Came across this a few days ago and actually had a few minutes to play with it this evening. No fancy alliteration this morning – just the facts (and perhaps an idiom)!

 

  1. It is NOT an app – just a website that only works with the iPad.
  2. Type in the url (chalk.37signals.com) in Safari on your device (would recommend creating a webclip – you are going to like this one)
  3. Chalk up your thoughts, create a chalk outline, work out a problem, map out a plot, create a Frayer model or a KWL chart (use 2 dif. colors of chalk and realistic eraser)
  4. Press send arrow box for instructions on how to save your creation (image saves to your photo roll where it can then be emailed)

 



19 Sep 2011
Comments: 2

Middle School Math: Modular Learning

Middle School Math Modules

As a former Middle School Math teacher, I am always eager to check out the latest math apps for secondary. I met Dave Brown, the app developer, through LinkedIn and through a series of conversations, he shared with me the intent of this app and sent a nifty promo code my way to review it. Since I had a three hour drive to the beach and the boys were either napping or tethered to an iPad, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a few minutes and review the app.

Dave had mentioned that the app will always be a work in progress and they are looking to have 10 modules by Christmas. Currently, the app has 7 modules with instructions and objectives for most of them. Out of the 7, 3 made my favorites list. As with anything app-related, they require users as ourselves to test the apps and provide formative feedback to make changes that will truly benefit the end user… our students. With that said, let me introduce Middle School Math:

 

    1. Pinpoint (Winner): This wins my first place vote. Simple and intuitive. Students choose 1 of 8 animals to graph based on given coordinates. The app will also notifyusers when they miss the mark. While the activity presented a learning objective and step-by-step instructions, I didn’t find them integral to my mastering the activity.
    2. Shape Board (Runner-Up): This is a basic Geo Board with rubber bands. It doesn’t have an info section and I had wished it did because I had some initial issues with the rubber bands (thought I had to pull multiple ones like line segments rather than stretch the first one I pulled.) Once I figured that out, I was golden. App also calculates perimeter and area which is a nice self-check feature. As a teacher, I would create a task-card for this directing students to create certain shapes (e.g. polygon, isosceles triangle, regular hexagon) with varying lengths. All in all, this activity has a lot of possibilities.
    3. Data Magnet (Second Runner-Up): This activity has a lot of klout especially in a classroom with limited iPads. Students compose a survey question with multiple choice answers. It took a while to set it all up (as there is no dial to choose a set number of students – 10, 15, 20, etc…). However, once that was done it was easy to see the possibilities this activity possesses. A teacher could simply pass the iPad around from student to student until every one had made their selection. From there, the data can be graphed as a bar graph or pie chart. The only “wish it did this” moment was that the graphs are labeled with “option 1, option 2” rather than the actual choices given. The survey can be saved for later and students can always take a screenshot of the results and incorporate it into another project.

 

Collage created with Photovisi

The other 4 activities included in the app are:

  1. Place Value: students drag digits to match a number in written form
  2. Ordering Numbers: students stomp on caveman in order from least to greatest. Three settings included: integers, decimals, and fractions.
  3. Multiple Conveyor: students drop numbers in slots (reminded me a bit of Plinko for some reason) based on their divisibility. The first categories were multiples of 2, multiples of 2 &3, and multiples of 3.
  4. Algebra Vault: students can work through multiple steps to solve one-step and two-step equations.

 

 

Many thanks to Dave Brown, Interactive Elementary for generously donating promo codes for South San ISD’s middle school mathematics teachers to demo the app next Saturday during the iPad Camp techchef4u is presenting.


12 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Carnazzo's Class Creations

Sums of 10 with Talking Heads

One of the most fulfilling parts of my jobs is to know that the technology recipes I create and present in my techchef4u blog are not only well-received but utilized to impact student learning. Ms. Carnazzo, a second grade teacher at Longs Creek in NEISD, has been such a wonderful inspiration for showcasing how these recipes can be used in an elementary classroom. It was a little over a week ago that I received her first email highlighting how she used Songify with her second grade class to practice short vowel sounds. This morning I received yet another email with a link to a “sums of 10” project she had her students complete with the free versions of the talking heads apps. Needless to say, if she keeps concocting these app-tastic lessons, I may just have to create a section for her on my blog entitled: Carnazzo’s Class Creations.

Carnazzo's Class Creation

Intrigued, I wanted to gain a little more insight in to her classroom and project management for the device. With only one iPad for her classroom, here is how she structured her latest creation:

  1. Students worked with a partner. They were given time to practice their portion prior to recording.
  2. While Ms. Carnazzo worked with the partners in a “quiet spot” to record their individual songs, the large group was playing a Tens Go Fish game
  3. When recording, one student would sing the first part and the other student would sing the response
  4. After all of the students had recorded, Ms. Carnazzo emailed the videos to herself and compiled them in iMovie to create one complete song.

 

While the students LOVE using the iPad any time, they are so proud of their products and always want to know when they will be posted online to share with their parents. What an app-laudable way to keep parents informed and to highlight student products while integrating technology to impact student learning!

Thanks to a generous PuppetPals Director’s Pass code donation, Ms. Carnazzo’s class (and a few others in the district) will be concocting a puppet show creation in the near future. Stay tuned for app-erific greatness!

The apps discussed here were highlighted in our

“appy hour 4 u”: surprisingly educational apps show.


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!

 


29 Aug 2011
Comments: 2

Everything Explained: Devour Deluxe Screencasting

In the techchef4u kitchen, ingredients and tools tend to be free… but I am making an exception…

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

I am typically quite skeptical when I come across paid apps that do the same thing as free ones. That being said… I have been looking for an advanced screencasting app for some time and was quite elated with the features, design, and potential Explain Everything promised. While I am still partial to Screenchomp (as it is free, simple to use, and offers the ability to download an mp4 video file without having to upload it to Youtube), it only offers simple color annotation with no shapes or arrows and will not allow you to annotate over documents, presentations, or multiple images. While this is perfect for elementary and Khan-esque videos, secondary students, teachers, and the tech world need the advanced functionality that Explain Everything offers.

In corresponding with the Explain Everything app developer, I discovered the reason I truly love this app. As you will see it is easy to use with profound functionality, but the real “you had me at slide to unlock” moment was the innate educational value and potential the app possessed. With this said, I wasn’t at all surprised that a Director of Educational Technology was behind such a polished gem.

So without further ado… let’s delve into the features of Explain Everything:

Explain Everything features:

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

  1. Multiple ways to access your documents: Begin with a blank project or import from photos (similar to Screenchomp) as well as import from Evernote and Dropbox. While there are a few files that were not compatible for import, I did like the fact that you could import a group of photos rather than one at a time.
  2. Slide Sorter: If you have imported multiple pages/images, you have the option to change the order of the slides (or images) and delete them (much like in PPT). Users also have the option to add a blank side in the beginning, middle, or end of a presentation.
  3. Annotation: You can write/highlight and add shapes, lines, arrows, and text. Within each of the annotation drop-downs, you have options to change color, size, transparency, font size, fill color, etc… (Note: the drop-down menu features accessed during your recording do not appear in the final recording).
  4. Insert images: You can insert and edit images (crop and rotate) from Dropbox, Evernote, Camera, or Photo Roll. (Note: The process of importing and editing the image will not appear in the video – recording automatically pauses during this process.)
  5. Layers: You can layer images as well as resize them on the canvas. (This is a slick feature!)
  6. Undo: You have the option to undo/remove a whole object rather than have to erase it in sections (Note: this is selected in the “preferences”: drawings become objects.)
  7. Save: You can save within the app.
  8. Export Images: Images can be exported to the photo roll, emailed, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote.
  9. Export Video: Videos can be saved to the photo roll, emailed, uploaded to youtube, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote. Projects can be emailed or saved to Dropbox or Evernote (they appear to save as an xpl file).
  10. Help menu: Though the app is extremely user-friendly and straight-forward, they do offer a wonderful help section with screenshots and further directions if needed. (If that wasn’t enough, they offer a video and print guide on their site.)

Problem-Solving Explained: While I created the first video to highlight all of the features available in the Explain Everything app, I wanted to model how the Explain Everything app could be used as a vehicle for instruction and learning in the video above. I had previously created this story problem with Prezi to model how the tool could be used as a problem-solving piece in mathematics. In hindsight, I truly believe Explain Everything is a far more useful tool for this purpose as teachers can create instructional videos and students can compose a rich problem-solving process in mere minutes.

  1. Students could create their own story problems with Doodle Buddy (free), Comic Touch Lite (free), or Cartoon Studio Free images saved to the photo roll. (Consider using 123 Charts (free) to produce more advanced data for word problems and critical-thinking projects.)
  2. Teachers could also create images in a Web 2.0 tool and save to Dropbox.

The idea of narrating, presenting, critical-thinking, problem-solving, story-telling, analyzing text, and creating screencasts/tutorials can be adjusted and modified in any content area or grade level to meet the diverse needs of teachers and students making the Explain Everything app a staple in any school setting. (Visit Explain Everything’s site to see the showcase of user examples and submit your own.)

 

Note: Stay tuned for an update in the next few weeks. I have been informed features to be released are:

  • *PPT, PPTX, and Keynote files now auto-separate into slides (like multi-page PDFS)
  • *Added a new Draw Tool pen tip option (a “hard” tip in addition to the default “soft” tip)
  • *Option to export the MP4 file without the audio track
  • *Option to save a copy of the movie to your iPad photo roll when you do an export to YouTube

While the app doesn’t currently allow for the ability to import and annotate over a video due to current iPad processing and memory specifications, the developer suggested using Explain Everything products in conjunction with the iMovie app, so you could get very creative and make a production using video clips, Explain Everything exports, and iTunes music.


20 Jul 2011
Comments: 4

Spaces and Places: Part 2: Setting up the Instructional Space

Classroom Architect Tool Layout @ 4Teachers.org

Inspired after a great meeting of the minds, I brought the spaces & places concept to a middle school math curriculum planning session I had been invited to at one of my campuses, Ed White Middle School. The idea itself was originally intended to create assisted and unassisted learning zones and literacy work stations that support student learning and independence in the preschool and elementary classroom.

While the concept was not intended for the secondary classroom, our middle schol math teachers teach in 90 minute blocks which lend themselves to stations, mini-activities, and learning centers. With the big push to integrate technology and utilize existing campus resources (e.g. iPads, iPods, computers with interactive sites, document cameras to record student work, etc…) to foster engagement and achievement, the idea of creating a student-centered secondary classroom is not so far-fetched. I realized that not every teacher would feel comfortable with removing his/her teacher desk from the classroom and allowing someone to have creative control over the initial setup. Nevertheless, a risk-taker and change agent, I tossed the idea out there and surprisingly was met with eagerness and willingness from one teacher in particular, Ms. Scalia. I jumped on the opportunity and we scheduled a date to work on the room.

Since the rooms had been cleaned over the summer and most teachers had to pack up and move out, the classrooms were pretty much a blank canvas. Working with an older building, technology truly has to be the driving force in creating the space. I noticed we had 5 internet drops on one wall (not including two drops on the teacher raceway) and two on the opposite wall. Before moving furniture, we decided to take inventory of the current pieces we had and the locations of drops and outlets. From there, we sketched a crude blueprint and began assigning each piece a home.

We moved a table to the front right of the room to create a Teaching Station which would house an Avermedia document camera and laptop dock with the intention that it would be accessible for the teacher during direct teach time and the students during guided practice or reteach. We then opted to use a teacher’s desk as a computer station on the end of the far right wall. The drawers to the desk could easily be used for daily supplies, manipulatives, and activities for the day or computer supplies like headsets and wipes. Another table was moved between the original table and the teacher’s desk (now a student computer station) and created a place for two student computers. As we were running short on tables, we left a place closer to the front open to house another two computers.

Scalia had two filing cabinets available. Not feeling too confident in moving them ourselves and not wanting to scrape up the freshly waxed floor, we asked a custodian to help us move them on either side of the student computer station. This provided a divided workspace as well as a place to have task cards & activity menus, or a Magnetic Center on the front and sides of each.

From there we moved the four mobile student tables in the center of the room and added 8 student desks on each side (2 rows of 4). This arrangement provides enough seating for 24 students (not including the newly created computer work stations) and gave us an opportunity to remove some of the broken and graffiti’d desks from the classroom to give it a more uniform and fresh look. Scalia already had 6 stools that could be used as seating for the student tables and a few chairs for the computer stations so we placed those as well. Removing the 2 teacher desks (one was an inclusion teacher’s) not only freed up at least 20-30 square feet of usable instructional space, it changed the focus of the room to a more student-focused environment.

Skeleton Classroom

All in all, the whole process took about an hour and a half. Before we left, we made a list of the other items we would like to add to the room: 5 more desktop computers, 2 more student tables (and perhaps a kidney-shaped one to work with small groups under the dry-erase board in the Proof Place, and a few more stools and chairs. Ideally, she would like to have all student desks removed in favor of the mobile tables but we are still in the process of hunting these pieces down. We even discussed how she could use one of her cabinets to house teacher supplies, trays to turn in work, and other classroom trappings that students would have access to on a daily basis but would typically be cluttering a table top. Using the Classroom Architect Tool layout, I compiled the existing pieces and layout with the additional requested items to show what the finished classroom layout will look like.

I am looking forward to returning and seeing how she has organized the student cabinet, created interactive bulletin boards, and added her own personal charm and warmth to the space. Perhaps she will even create a Scalia Store (or Shop) and a Practice Plaza. While Scalia’s classroom was once a theater room and boasts a 6 inch raised stage platform (purple square rug) with a SMARTboard (green rectangle) mounted where the curtains might have been, I am confident that she will take a more “guide on the side” role rather than a “sage on the stage”.

Check out some of these sites for further info on learning stations for secondary students: Using Learning Centers in High School (also some great MS info), Launching Learning Centers in the Middle Grades, Learning Centers in the Middle School Classroom (loved the idea of reciprocal teaching), TeacherVision Learning Centers (highlights different types of centers: enrichment, skill, interest and exploratory, and how to set up the parts of a learning center), and Problem Solving Learning Centers in Mathematics (consider using the computer stations to create a multi-step cartoon to solve an algebraic equation).

Also see Part 1: Removing the Instructional Clutter


27 May 2011
Comments: 8

HOT Apps for HOTS: Contacts and Bump

Signs of Math images in Photovisi collage

Bump it Up: Signs of Math Activity

While my focus is highlighting apps for HOTS, I also wanted to model how the iPad can be used in conjunction with Web 2.0 tools like Little Bird Tales which allows students or a teacher to create a video with images, text, & narration. I have used the tale as inspiration & direction for the activity. (Little Bird Tales now offers a mp4 download of your tale which cam be played on any iDevice – the cost is 99 cents per tale.)

Signs of Math Directions: Bump_Lesson (PDF Handout)

  1. Watch the tale as a class and discuss it (or view it in small groups or in stations with a task card).
  2. After you finish the tale, jot down 3-5 specific signs (signs do not have to be literally signs) of Math you see each day and what characteristics they possess to make them magically mathematical. Students could post the types of signs with info on a Today’s Meet chat from the computer or an iDevice.
  3. Spend some time gathering photographic evidence of signs of Math. (Either take a photo from the device’s camera or save images from the internet).** If teachers wanted to create a more directed activity, they could provide students with a list of objects to locate (e.g. square, right angle, polygon, sphere, fraction, etc…)
  4. Create a Math Sign Contact:
    1. Launch the Contacts app.
    2. Tap the “+” to create a new contact.
    3. Tap “add photo”. You will be given the option to “take photo” or “choose photo”. If you have already captured images, you will want to select “choose photo”. Tap the arrow to expand your camera roll. Tap the desired image to select it.
    4. Move and scale your image to best fit the frame by pinching in and out and and dragging up and down. Tap “Choose” when satisfied.
    5. Naming your sign: In the First field, type the name of your sign (e.g. parallel lines, acute angle, triangle, etc…). In the Last field, type the first letter of the first name
    6. Tap “+” to add field. Swipe down to the Notes section. Tap on Notes (In testing this, we did find the notes were not “bumped” – students may want to add the notes once their collection is complete) and write a definition or description of the math displayed in the picture.
  5. Bump your Math Signs to create a larger database. Who can collect the most? This might be a great time to discuss exponential growth.

After students have created a database, they can choose one image from their database and create a Popplet with it. This is fairly simple. When in Contacts, students can press and hold the image and they will be prompted to “save image”. This will save the image to their camera roll. Now they are ready to create a Popplet. Their task would be to take an image and list multiple attributes of that image annotating each image to highlight those attributes (as seen below).

Additional options would be to highlight different attributes of the same image, create a Frayer Model, or a Venn Diagram to classify multiple images:

Attributes: have students choose an image and highlight different elements (not all attributes of the same family). For example, a student could have an image of a kite and discuss intersecting lines, fractions, symmetry, polygons, triangles, angles, area, etc…

Frayer Model: another angle would be to create a Frayer Model for one image (e.g. definition, examples, nonexamples, characteristics).

Venn Diagram: classify images that fell into one or more categories (e.g. polygons &  quadrilaterals).

Cartoons: Another extension would be to have students create a math problem cartoon using images or the concepts they have learned from the Signs of Math activity. Check out Yolanda B’s Garden of Equations (secondary example) cartoon using Pixton & my Alien Pet Shop Prezi (elementary example). If you are interested in pursuing a cartoon project, check out the ToonDoo_student_directions handout and the teacher resource page Cartoons in the Classroom.

Check out similar activities highlighting the use of Bump and digital trading cards featured on apptivities.org. Consider using the Flashcardlet app (in conjunction with Quizlet) to create your own Math Signs Flash Cards.

** I dug up an old video from my classroom archives for more inspiration. It is entitled, “Geometry in My World” and it should give some good examples of items we encounter in our everyday world and how you can view them with a geometric eye.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU591Sgufd0&hl=en&fs=1]

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted.


25 May 2011
Comments: 2

Appy Hour: Math App-Teasers

Appy Hour will provide you with a fast-paced introductory approach to FREE apps that are appropriate for secondary students. App-teasers for Math will be sampled. After this class you will think beyond the concept of an App as simply being a game – you will leave with a menu of appealing concrete lesson ideas you can serve as soon as you are back with your students! An iPad with all required apps will be included for use during the duration of the class.

Math Appy Hour (Jog the Web Tour)

Jog iTunes with Me

app_happy_math (Menu of Math Apps Sampled)

Sample Parent Handout

Check out More Apps for Math

Check Out Podcasts For Math

 

 

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted