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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


08 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Scoop.it!

As I was searching for iPad-related education sites, I kept coming across pages that were composed of various articles and sites on a particular topic (e.g. iPad in de Klas & iPods & iPads in Education) that were made to look like a newspaper. Intrigued, I decided to request a private beta account. Less than 24 hours later, I had my very own Scoop.it! account and could begin curating my own news topics.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnr6QKKcsII?rel=0]

Since I have iPad terrets, I immediately dove into the process of creating an iPad Lesson site. Unfortunately, while there may be many relevant posts and articles on “lesson learned about the iPad”, there are very few available that are actually devoted to iPad lessons and apptivities. I am hoping to gather more sites that house and generate iPad lessons from suggestions and the Scoop.it! web crawler. In the meantime, I found it best practice to choose a topic that has a wealth of information available to curate. Once you have a prolific and meaty topic, it is fairly simple to initiate the process. When you create your topic, be mindful of the title, description, and keywords that you choose as they will not only drive the information and topics that Scoop.it! and other users suggest to you but how useful and apparent your site is to those looking for information on your topic. Scoop.it! also offers some aesthetic options such as uploading a topic icon image, and customizing you background color and image if you are so inclined.

Choose a Meaty Topic

After compiling one scoop, I had a better vision for how the next one would be assembled. With Scoop.it!’s plugin installed in my browser, I was able to locate sites I had already reviewed and compiled on a topic and then click on the site’s url in the address window and have it populate my Scoop.it! window. If a site did not provide its own information and a usable or relevant image, I would take a screenshot and upload it and give a brief description of the site before posting it. Between the sites that I had compiled and the ones that Scoop.it! suggested from its web crawls, I felt pretty confident I had a meaty and healthy portion of Web 2.0 sites and resources. (My vision for this page was to house sites that gave reviews and categorized lists of Web 2.0 tools so I could quickly locate specific tools and my favorite sites faster.)

Uses for education

Since you have to create a login and the sharing capabilities are linked to Facebook and Twitter, I envision Scoop.it! as more of a tool for educators and less of a product for students. While I think their intent was to create newspapers that were more composed of articles and relevant blog posts, the tool lends itself to thematic study, resource repositories, and professional development:

  1. Thematic & Guided Study: teachers can create a page for articles and sites for the Civil War or Geometry (citing discussion questions or assignments in the info box for the site).
  2. Resource Repository: teachers can create a page housing lists of SMART resources, Web 2.0 tools and reviews, student projects, or even interactive Math sites for students to practice with at home
  3. Professional Development: schools and districts can compile available professional development opportunities (e.g. online learning communities, webinars, Atomic Learning, Region 20, TCEA, etc…) into one place. Or even create a page that is a learning opportunity: my next venture is a “Cartoons in the Classroom” page highlighting all of the Web 2.0 tools for cartoon creation with a few words and tips about each to guide teachers. I have also been working on a Web 2.0 tools for Revising & Editing page for secondary ELAR.

Why use Scoop.it! over a static website with hyperlinks? Good question. First reason, the interface allows a more graphic output of each scooped site (which can be customized) as well as user input towards the description or focus of that site. Second reason, Scoop.it! has a built in “curating” feature which suggests content based on the original content and tags you have created and compiled thus fostering future and continued learning opportunities. And if I haven’t given you tweachers reason enough to Scoop.it!, the sharing to Twitter capabilities are first rate!


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.


14 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

12 Tips for Blogging Success

As I was listening to the Newsworthy Blogging podcast from the Social Geek Radio show on my way to work, I had the desire to take notes (should have launched Dragon Dictation). While the tips from Susan Young were intended for blogging for business purposes, the ideas themselves are truly for a universal audience and apply not only to blogging but education. Below I have compiled the 12 Tips for Blogging Success gleaned from Susan Young’s Social Geek Radio blogtalk and have added some anecdotal insight.

My Six Word Memoir

  1. Purpose – What is the purpose of your blog? This is about content. Find your niche and stick to it. People need to know what to expect. Also make sure you have enough knowledge, resources, and content to generate multiple posts on the topic. (I chose Techchef4u for a few reasons. I wanted to make sure it was general enough to encompass any instructional technology I discussed but clear enough to convey the message that I enjoyed creating technology integration resources for anyone and everyone that choose to dine on them. Much like the Joy Of Cooking. =)
  2. Frequency – How often should you write? Susan likened blog posts to a phone call. If you have something to say, call (post a blog). If you have a valuable message and don’t just post to post, this will build credibility. (I keep a notebook of ideas for blog entries and will prioritize them based on teacher and instructional need. I try to keep it timely… Blog on Demand, if you will.)
  3. Good Headlines – The headline and first few opening lines are crucial to keeping reader interest and letting them know what to expect. Look to magazines with snappy headlines and borrow and adjust accordingly. (Oftentimes, I will have a vision for the entry but will not compose the title till the body is complete.)
  4. Keywords: This gets in to a bit of search engine optimization. She mentioned using Google to determine the percentage of people searching for a phrase (the order and arrangement of the words counts) and that these engines like fresh content (no repeats or old info) and numbers in the headlines.(While I have written a 5 part iPad series, this was more due to the fact that I didn’t want to publish 5,000 word blogs. I don’t think I have truly capitalized on the top 10 lists but want to really try and focus on these bulleted lists to drive some of my posts).

    Questions to Ponder

  5. Word Count: This goes back to adding value. There is no set length for a post. It is more about presenting a clear message… whether it be in 3 sentences or 3 paragraphs. (I tend to have to reel myself in as I want to compile and assemble all available information and research on a topic. I will spend hours searching through other posts that mention or discuss a similar topic (e.g. Flipping the Classroom) and incorporate them as additional information in my post. I need to reconcile with myself that it is okay to have a simple post … not a research analysis of a topic.)
  6. Grammar: Blogs are not reports. They tend to be more conversational. Don’t ramble. Present a clear, concise message that carries your writing style. (I really enjoy this aspect of blogging. Being a Leo and Italian, I naturally like to talk and love this form of media to be conversational and yet still convey my message. So much better than a static handout or info sheet).
  7. Reader-friendly: Readers are bombarded by media. If they see a list of 100 tips or large bodies of text… most will not commit to read your blog. Make sure it is full of white space, easy on the eyes, and something that your reader can gleen the gist by scanning. (I will typically write all of the text first and then break it up into smaller sections to make reading and searching for information a more user-friendly experience)
  8. Photos: include relevant images and photos that connect to the written message, break up the text, and highlight some of your personality. My goal for each post is to try to highlight Web 2.0 tool(s) (Google Squared, Big Huge Labs, Flikr PoetQuiki, etc..) using screenshots or embed code. My intent is to ensure that everyone leaves my blog with something they can use…whether it be an idea or a tool).Big Huge Labs Billboard
    1. (If I just need a cool photo, I will use Morgue File
    2. If I have photos that I would like to add some pizazz too, I use PhotoFunia.
  9. Videos: To reach all learners and communicators, incorporate a video or vodcast from time to time to highlight multiple modes of communication. It is also a great way to attract and build rapport with your readers as this will highlight your manners and personality. Consider transcribing it for those who would prefer a text version. (I love including videos but many of them are project-based in nature, like Sock Puppet Shakespeare or Signs of Math. I am looking forward to starting to sprinkle my blog entries with personal vodcasts. For now, these are still scripted. I am too much of a perfectionist to get these in one take.)
  10. Humor & Creativity: You have the podium. Are readers engaged enough to read on? Drop the jargon and be yourself. Weave in your personality and style. Ask open-ended questions to engage your reader and promote discussion. (I tend to like to play with words and be conversational so the media of blogging has been a great outlet for me to test new recipes and ideas.)
  11. Comments: Respond to and acknowledge comments. No one wants to be ignored. We want our message to be well-received. Just because you didn’t receive any comments, doesn’t mean that nobody read it. (Just because someone didn’t fill out a comment card doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy their meal or experience. It was just a few weeks ago that I learned about “pingbacks” and started seeing other blogs hyperlink to mine as I had done to theirs. I am hoping I get the opportunity to have a more personal level of communication, but for now I am just enthused that people are visiting the kitchen and sampling the dishes… hoping I will soon receive a few comment cards.)
  12. Reposting & Repackaging: If you are going to repost a blog entry, it can’t be dated. Freshen it up a bit. Consider repackaging your top 10 blog entries or a series as an ebook or PDF document as a resource for teachers. (I will typically repost an entry if I have revised or added to it (e.g. added Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps to Hot Apps for HOTS post). Yet I had never considered creating ebooks for various topics. I love the idea as well as the accessibility of repurposing it. Hoping to have a Joy of Cooking: the iPad edition released towards the end of summer.)

Here is my first vodcast. This was inspired by the idea of truisms & six word memoirs.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImqwNLPJXkE?rel=0&w=425&h=349]

I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a guest on Social Geek Radio Thursday June 23rd at 8pm. We will be discussing cool technology for kids (apps and Web 2.0 tools) that they can utilize on these hot summer days.

Check out Miguel Guhlin’s post for more blogging tips. (Thanks, Miguel, for the tips and the feature.)


06 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Edistorm

I was so inspired by this on Friday I just had to set up an account and start playing! I have created this Edistorm for my iPad Lessons course as a forum and repository.

“The name Edistorm is a mashup of Thomas Edison and Brainstorm and is inspired by Thomas Edison’s idea factories” – gotta love the clever nature of the mashup – not to be confused with editstorm.

Features: Below are the samples of the iPad edistorm I created for my tech camp class. The interface is very easy to use and provides multiple storm templates (e.g. 3up, Reading & Analyzing Nonfiction, Features Advantages Benefits, Pros Vs. Cons, and a 2 & 3 Circle Venn Diagram). You can add additional idea sticky in multiple colors, respond/comment to any additional idea (all comments on that idea are threaded within the sticky note), use idea votes (a “dotmocracy”), and even get ideas for your storm from the idea bots. Very clever and fully functional… did I mention it was all in real time and there is no limit to contributors? Edistorm also offers a Report feature which allows users to export the storm to a spreadsheet or PDF.

Edistorm: Category 2

Edistorm: Category 1

There’s an App for it: Another nice feature is the Edistorm app. You have to sign in to your account to access your storms. Once you do, you have full access to vote, comment, and view posts. This is great for teachers to keep track of their storms and students to contribute to their storms on the go. Gotta love the mobility! (The site also works on the iPad without the app).

Edistorm App

Edistorm works w/out the app too!

Here is a great video highlighting the features of Edistorm with a To Kill a Mockingbird theme.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMYobdFJ8ps&w=560&h=349]

Sharing & Collaboration: While I was really excited about the prospects of the storms, public does not necessarily mean “public”. Public is only accessible to anyone with a Edistorm account so users who want to participate must create a free account. I was initially hoping that there was just a link I could send users and they could participate with out having to log in. There is…. but it is only found by making the edistorm private and then they still had to login. Wishing there was an embed code on this and that the sharing was a little more intuitive. (If I am missing something… please let me know… =). Due to the sharing confusion, I decided to send out emails to all students who were enrolled in the class. When they sign up for an account, they will need to create the account with the email address that the storm was originally shared with. Once they sign in, my storm will be available for editing, collaborating, and contributing. This was my work around.

Examples of Use in the Classroom:

It appears that they will be announcing new educational features at ISTE so stay tuned… 

I am very eager and excited to see what they have in store! (Follow them on Twitter.)


03 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Today's Meet

Todays Meet is a Web 2.0 tool that is free, requires no logins, and works off of any iDevice. It allows teachers to instantly create a virtual room for students to speak up. The tool can be used for discussions, brainstorming, preflecting, formative assessment, and even exit tickets. Responses are limited to 140 characters or less (much like Twitter). This type of online response is considered micro-blogging due to the size of the post.

myspace graphic is done on Gickr.com
Make your own animation

Other Ideas for Todays Meet:

  • Pop-Up Discussion: Try spicing up an educational video clip by creating a Today’s Meet virtual room via mobile devices. Students could post questions and answers to the film as they go or could even highlight character traits, discover elements of light and dark imagery, discuss misconceptions and vocabulary, analyze quotes, practice Socratic questioning, summarize, or locate Shakespearean references (see Raise the Curtain & Raise the Bar post) – almost like a virtual dialectical notebook. VH1 used to do something similar with Pop-Up Videos and many television shows (the Voice which claims to be the “most digitally integrated show on television”) will run Twitter feeds at the bottom of the screen. Not only is this form of media engaging – it is a great way to track comprehension and to have an ongoing discussion.
  • Evaluate Posts: Todays Meet also allows you to print a transcript of the discussion which is wonderful for counting and evaluating posts. I even had a teacher print it out, black out the names, and use it for a starter the next day. Students were asked to evaluate the spelling and grammar in the posts. What a great extension!

Things to be mindful of:

  • Public Access: Because there are no logins, anyone with the url can access and contribute to the group (which could be good if you wanted to chat with another class in another district, city, around the world, etc… but not so good for other obvious reasons. This is why I typically only leave the room open for two hours.). 
  • Student Info protection: it may be wise to have students use names that are generic or give them a # to avoid having student information made publicly accessible.
  • Inappropriate Comments: There is no way to remove or delete the comment from the feed. This may worry some teachers but I liken it to a student blurting out an inappropriate comment in the classroom. There would be no way to delete this comment from the minds or ears of his/her fellow classmates either. I would handle this incident similarly to how a teacher would handle the student who blurted out in class.
  • Setting Ground Rules: Ground rules should be taught prior to conducting a Todays Meet discussion. Students should be give a purpose for the discussion and instructed to stay on topic, be respectful, and post quality not quantity. If you want your students to raise the discussion level, these guidelines should be set and reiterated prior to initiating the discussion.

Do not let these issues deter you from using the tool in your classroom. Just be vigilant and have a plan in place for tackling these issues if and when they arise. While the site is publicly accessible, I have had no issue with inappropriate use to this date.

Using Todays Meet with an iDevice: using Todays Meet in conjunction with a mobile device virtually eliminates many of the limitation issues of the tool in that the devices can be used in the classroom, lab, or an auditorium, and they provide more of a 1:1 solution. If using Todays Meet on an iDevice, the easiest way to approach this is to create a web clip to the Todays Meet site on each device and then have students launch the web clip and simply type in the name of the room after the url. This way if the room changes every two hours, students aren’t redirected to other rooms and the web clip will work all year in any classroom.

Check out this video from LearnitN5 for a quick tutorial and explanation

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na_rg6Ok7LM]

Check out some articles which reference how it is used in the classroom:

Interested in Web 2.0 tools for discussion? Check out Edmodo, Edistorm (this one is phenomenal – check out this video), LinoIt (works on iDevices), and Corkboard.me.
Below is a screenshot of the Todays Meet handout for the site and some supporting resources

 

 

Check out some of the responses from our Appy Hour via Today’s Meet!

 

pimp myspace with Gickr
Make your own animation


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.


19 May 2011
Comments: 4

Part 5: Techchef4U iPad Lessons

I came across this tool earlier today in the TCEA Twitter feed and it is just so cool (and easy to use) that I had to share! This Flipsnack I created is using my iPad Lessons(since they were already PDF’s and I needed them for this year’s Tech Camp). (Check out more blogs about Flipsnacks).

I found it was best to link all of the PDF’s into one document using Adobe Acrobat (“create a PDf from multiple files”) prior to uploading the PDF. Otherwise I found each book only had one page. The site does require a login but will give you a free link and embed code and allow you to upload up to 500 pages. This is a very cool way to highlight information and create a cool book of student work or resources. And the embedded hyperlinks in the document still work!!

I have included other links for Web 2.0 sites, resources, and supporting materials that will accompany the iPad Lessons above on my Teacher Web.

Thank you Apps in Education for featuring my lessons in your blog. These are a labor of love and I am so honored that people are getting a chance to see them and use them. As you write your lessons, please share them out. Inspiration and passion for technology integration are oftentimes contagious. Let the appapalooza commence!

iPad lesson development is universal & global: Just saw Jan Gamres blog (Norwegian) referencing the lesson process I stated in my last entry: Using the power of Google Translator, I was able to read it. What a wonderful world we live in! Translate it for some great tips on iPad Lesson development.

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


17 May 2011
Comments: 1

The Tree Doth Giveth

Hasn’t the tree given us enough? Go paperless on your next project!

It is that time of year when many schools are working on projects. Here are a few ways you can incorporate Web 2.0 tools in conjunction with the study of personification, simile, and metaphor. All of these tools focus on the tree as inspiration.

Big Huge Labs: Upload an image to create a magazine cover. Create a dialogue or poem to overlay on top of the image.

Tagxedo: Compose a poem and choose a color, theme, layout, shape etc… Tagxedo will give emphasis tow words (Tagxedo_instructions)

Pizap: Upload an image and add text and speech bubbles to it.

Images can be captured by students or taken from copyright free image sites like Pics4Learning & Morgue File.

While most of these sites do not require copyright attribution, it is always a good practice to do so. Since all of these sites do not auto-save or edit text, it is a good idea to write text in another program (Word, Pages, Text File) and copy & paste into tool.

All 3 sites have no required login and have the ability to easily save images as a jpeg for later use in another work.

Have students compose their poem on a word processor, create an accompanying image using one of the 3 Web 2.0 tools listed, and save it as a PDF. Compile the PDF’s to create a class poetry book using Flip Snack (see iPad Lesson section for example & instructions).

Ethemes offers a list of sites that provide lessons and interactives for writing similes & metaphorspersonification.


12 May 2011
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Science Interactive Resources

Here are a few interactive sites I have gathered for Science:

Here are two Glogster Learning Stations I created for teachers to use in conjunction with interactive sites as a resource : Basics of the Periodic Table, Monkey Mayhem Periodic Table

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