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24 Feb 2015
Comments: 1

App-Smashed Benjamin Franklin Biography

I guess this is what happens when your mom is both an educator and an Ed Tech…

My second grader recently brought home a bottle biography project. We finished the written portion a few weeks ago knowing that we still had the craft module to complete. Now before I continue with my story, I want to clarify a few points:

  • By no means am I saying that all student projects should be digital.
  • By no means do I believe that projects shouldn’t be sent home.
  • By no means do I think projects shouldn’t involve crafts.
  • By no means do I think the whole assigned project lacked merit or purpose.

Purposeful Crafts

Please know that I definitely enjoy doing projects with my son and I think it is great bonding time… I just believe that craft assignments should be purposeful in nature. No matter how many projects like this we get assigned, I find that the “craft” module of the project falls mostly on the parent to select and purchase the supplies and even assemble them. Now don’t get me wrong, my son helped locate rocks to fill the bottle to stabilize it and did assist with some of the assembly and design but ultimately most of the bottle project ended up in my lap. I then have to ask myself, “what did he ultimately learn from this craft?” So, this got me thinking… what could we do with this bottle craft project to elevate and extend the learning and utilize and incorporate the craft project?

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Research and Extensions

I will say that we gleaned a lot through reading the biographies together and completing the provided biography inventory. Because I felt like my son had learned more about Benjamin Franklin than he displayed in both the bottle and the handout, I decided to add a few more guidelines to the project (based on the 2nd grade standards). Many of these extended the written, visual, and oral requirements for the project:

  • MindMap of 5 Adjectives: This included a hand-drawn image from my son as well as component of typing and allowed him to display his research visually. (used Popplet Lite app)
  • Locating Origins and Birth Places: This was simple but addressed a geography component and the ability to locate places of significance. (used Google Earth app)
  • PostCard to Benjamin Franklin: This creative writing assignment  focused on expository text standards as well as addressing important contributions of historical figures. (used Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app)
  • App-Smashed Assembly: As Toontastic is now free (since it was acquired by Google), and it had a Benjamin Franklin toon within its suite, we decided this would be the perfect tool for app-smashing the aforementioned content. Not only was this a great tool to assemble all of the digital media, it also addressed the standard of creating visual displays to convey research results and touched on the component of expressing ideas orally as well. (used Toontastic app)

Within the App-Smashed Assembly, we included a few more elements:

  • Reflection on Process: I am a huge proponent of reflecting on the process – not just the final product so I made sure that my son included how Bottle Ben came to be with pics of the final product and a delineation of the materials.
  • Citations and Multiple Sources: While I am currently stationed at a HS, I have to tell you that I had my stint in elementary as well and have a special place in my heart for children’s literature. As some of the books that my son self-selected from the library proved to be above his reading level, I picked up a few from Amazon. In doing so, these books reiterated the content that we had read from his initial research and provided a diverse landscape for his learning.
  • Publishing: Publishing and Sharing writing is a a big component of the standards and I can’t tell you how excited and proud my son gets when he finds out that other schools in the district (and schools across the nation) want to share his project with their students. In fact just this morning he smiled and said, “just say ‘yes’ to anyone that asks you.”  😉

Ben Franklin copy

Final Project

So here is the final App Smashed project… One of my favorite parts is that the analog creations (e.g. Ben biography bottle and hand-drawn images) provide a introspective and unique landscape to the digital creation that could not be achieved through digital elements alone.

I have to say that had we to do this over again… I would make a few tweaks to the project:

  • Include all Original Artwork: I would have had him design a setting for Benjamin Franklin (hand-drawn) rather than using the Toontastic stock background.
  • Assemble a Timeline: I might also have suggested a timeline of major contributions or events created with Popplet Lite or RWT Timeline.
  • Dramatize a Scene: I would also have him recreate an actual scene to meet dramatization standards.

Authentic Audience

Nothing warms my heart more than to know that my son’s work is well received and that he has an authentic audience for his learning.

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Invest in Knowledge and Involve Me…

So I fortuitously happed upon this bottle of wine at Walgreen’s and in doing so learned that Benjamin Franklin had a repertoire of wine quotes as well. As none of these quotes were particularly app-licable or app-ropriate, I decided to share one of my favorite Benji (yes, we are now on a first nickname basis now) quotes about learning:

Benji Quotes.001 copy

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25 Sep 2012
Comments: 0

iMovie or uMovie?: iMovie Student Biographies

I am constantly amazed with the level of instruction and innovation in the classroom at HCMS. Mrs. Musci, the speech teacher, invited me to observe her students presenting their iMovie Biographies. The first day of the project involved students brainstorming questions to use which eventually were sorted into three categories: background, favorites, goals and future plans. Mrs. Musci had mentioned that while she had done this project in the past, it was much more fluid with iMovie and a 1:1 iPad initiative for her 8th grade students.

Over the next three days, students interviewed their partner, located supporting images from their phones and the internet, and even took video footage and photos to include in their iMovie project. They also utilized other apps to achieve a custom look and feel to their projects:

  1. Collage apps like PicStitch and InstaCollage to include multiple photos in a shot.
  2. Hokusai to edit music from their iTunes library to remove inappropriate content or irrelevant lyrics

 
On the day of the presentation, students presented their iMovie projects behind a podium and introduced their partner to the class. Another group of students filmed each presentation and burned it to a CD for each student to review for personal critiquing purposes. When asked if they would change anything about the project, one student said he would spend a little more time on the timing and slides. This project was well planned and exceptionally executed! Mrs. Musci had a very thorough road map for students and the projects clearly reflected her expectations and detailed guidelines:

Project Guidelines:

  1. Create an iMovie video with at least 15 pictures including the photo of your partner and his/her name.
  2. Include a Title and Concluding Slide.
  3. Add transitions and appropriate music.
  4. Organize your interview into an outline
  5. Write a brief introduction and conclusion
  6. Include at least one story about your partner (funny or serious)
  7. Add a video of your partner and a voice over.

 

Collage Created with PhotoGridPro

Some suggestions:

  1. Use Videolicious (especially with its new update) as a free option for iMovie and use another app to add captions to the photos like Skitch or Doodle Buddy.
  2. Create an iMovie trailer for a book or to introduce a character to the class or even as a commercial to showcase an invented product.
  3. Use Google Advanced Search on the iPad (step-by-step directions here) to locate Copyright free images.
  4. Use Popplet Lite as a way to storyboard a project.

 
Check out some other student products created with iMovie:

  1. iMovie Book Trailer
  2. iMovie Lazy Quotient Calculus
  3. iMovie Stop-Motion Art
  4. iMovie Poetry

 

300+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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23 Sep 2012
Comments: 4

Creating Digital Artifacts: Part 3

When I embarked on “family homework” with my son this year, and began thinking of ways to digitize and archive it, I had no idea or intention that it would become a series. However, over the past few weeks it has become a welcome app-ortunity to spend quality instruction time with my son that is enjoyable and engaging for both of us.

This week’s math assignment focused on locating patterns around the house. This reminded me of an old post “Math in My World” that showcased multiple ways to highlight shapes and geometry in the world around us.

Going on an iPattern Scavenger Hunt (image created with Pixlromatic's Creative Effects Pack)

 

Here are the workflow steps to create an iPattern Scavenger Hunt: 

  1. Use the iPad to capture photos of patterns around your house and outside.
  2. Use Skitch to annotate each photo to highlight the shape that creates the pattern.
  3. Import all photos into Strip Designer.
  4. Add text as necessary.
  5. Share work via email or Dropbox (comic can be saved as a PDF or a jpeg).
    1. If saved as a PDF, collect each student’s PDF and compile into one iPattern class book.

 

iPattern Comic created with Skitch and Strip Designer

 
Want more Digital Artifact Inspiration:

  1. Creating and Collecting Digital Work
  2. Creating Digital Artifacts with Sonic Pics
  3. Digital Homework Reflection with Audioboo
  4. Showcasing Digital Work: Leaving a Digital Learning Legacy

 

More TechChef4u Math iLessons HERE!

300+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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03 Jan 2012
Comments: 3

Be a Narrative Champion 4 Your Students

While it is the new year, I would be remissed if I neglected to share this bit of tech cheer from Ms. Carnazzo. While this persuasive assignment is holiday themed, the idea of writing and reading with multiple media elements is an idea that can be used the whole year long. With a media production studio in her students’ hands, Ms. Carnazzo serves as a narrative champion for her second grade class.

The Task: Students completed a written reindeer application prior to recording with the VoiceThread app. While Ms. Carnazzo did mention that the app had some glitches, thankfully students were able to use the online web app to complete the rest of the assignment. I typically shy away from apps that require logins as creating multiple student credentials and signing in and out of the app can be cumbersome. However, I can see the benefit of creating a class login and being able to continue working online (away from a mobile device) if need be.

 

After being pumped up after Tech Forum, I had scribed a blog draft highlighting seven tenets from Dean Shareski’s Keynote “What Matters Now“. For one reason or another, I never posted it. Since then, I have come across multiple situations that support his seven tenets…and decided to highlight them in a series of blogs…each blog featuring one tenet.

What Matters Now: Shareski’s sixth item was “storytelling“…and the idea of reading and writing with media. In this day and age, a persuasive essay or biography does not have to be (and should not always be) a paper and pen assignment. Consider innovative ways to share a story: blogs, videos, podcasts, cartoons, animations, ePubs and ebooks, info graphics, slideshows, etc…

A Real World “Reindeer” Example: While Ben is not applying for a position as Santa’s reindeer, he is using the innovations of multimedia (Ben For Best Job Blog) to market himself as an ideal candidate for the job of his dreams. Consider using Web 2.0 tools and apps to provide students with the multimedia tools that they need be successful in an ever-changing social and global community.

Be a Narrative Champion for your Teachers: When I think of the classroom and teacher that I would want to teach and inspire my own two boys, I instantly think of Ms. Carnazzo. Her innovative lessons and purposeful and effective use of technology engage and empower her students to be media literate global learners and inspire others to follow in her footsteps. To that end, I have nominated Ms. Carnazzo for the National School Board Association’s “20 to Watch” Award.

Also check out “Digital Story-telling: A tutorial in 10 easy steps“!


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.

 


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