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22 Jan 2013
Comments: 3

Creation Based Apps as Performance Assessments

As you know may or may not know, I am seeking to spice up the TechChef4u kitchen by diversifying content and perspectives. Thus, I am accepting guest blogging app-ortunites. If you are interested, please contact me at lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com.

Guest Blog by: Sarah Emerling (@iLessonLady)

I love creation based apps. I love them even more when my students can use two different creation based apps in conjunction with each other and create outstanding performance assessments. This happened with our lessons on number patterns.

Hundred Chart via Sarah Emerling

 

Fourth grade Common Core standards require students to create and analyze number patterns in a variety of different formats. Unfortunately, there are only so many ways a teacher can present number patterns before students start to become bored. A teacher’s job is to figure out how to keep the students engaged in what can potentially be a snooze lesson.

We used the Ken-a-vision Flexcam and the Educam app to work on number patterns using a hundred chart.  These tools have quickly become favorites in our classroom. The Flexcam is a document camera that is super easy to use. The great thing about it is that it sends images to the Educam app – where students can annotate, take notes, and manipulate the image on the iPads. Save the image to the camera roll, and then it’s an easy email or upload away from the teacher’s desk. Paperless assessments that the students are completely engaged in?  Yes, please!

 

 

This week, I sent students different images of patterns begun on hundred charts. Students had to determine if the patterns were increasing or decreasing and then continue the pattern. Students used the pen tool to finish drawing in the pattern. This in itself was a great performance assessment. After discussing how it is easy to analyze the patterns when they are shown in a hundred chart, students then had to use a screencasting app to create analytical videos describing their work. We gave the app Doceri a try and are in love!

 

Students uploaded their images from Educam to the Doceri app. From there they created videos where they had to tell how they figured out what the pattern was and analyze and illustrate how they could tell, just by looking at the hundred chart, if their patterns were correct. This allowed me not just to assess whether or not students could extend a pattern, but also whether or not they could explain themselves. Talk about a higher level of thinking!

Using just one of these apps alone would have engaged my students. But being able to easily use the two apps together really made this iLesson successful. The pride my students have exhibited as they’ve shown off their videos, of both right and wrong patterns, is a testament to the worth of creation based apps.

If you enjoyed Sarah’s first guest post, please visit her blog for more app-tastic iResources and visit the techchef4u.com blog for future guest posts from her.

 

 

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03 Jan 2013
Comments: 5

English Stripped Down Continued…

Last semester (it feels so long ago when I say it like that), I shared a “Stripped Down” series that showcased how students are using cartoon apps like Strip Designer and Comic Life to showcase learning across the curriculum.

The “Stripped Down” series included:

  • Science and Social Studies Stripped Down which showcased Laura Wright’s Class Bat research and Lisa Carnazzo’s class study of landforms.
  • History Stripped Down which featured Fiske’s class analysis of the key figures in the Enlightenment and included a student app review of Strip Designer.
  • English Stripped Down kicked the series off with a student-created rendition of a Hero’s Tale and a Beowulf retelling.
  • Digital Artifacts (while not part of the original series) shared a primary example of how Strip Designer could be used to showcase learning in the form of a pattern scavenger hunt.

 

As we are all returning to school shortly (or have already started back), I thought I would revive the series with two more student-created graphic novels created by Westlake HS Students. Both of the strips were created with the Strip Designer app which was provisioned for each high school student through the self service app on their iPad to support this type of product creation.

Rockysseus: I love that students used a combination of filtered actual photos, hand drawings, and captions to showcase their Hero’s journey. Also love the text which denotes scene changes, plot highlights, and supernatural intervention.

Rockysseus created by Westlake HS students using Strip Designer


 

The Lion King Odyssey: This comic presupposes that Mufaseus lived. I enjoyed how the students showcased point of view and how they were “playing” each one of the characters. The idea of incorporating Lion King pics and storyline allowed for a fractured fairytale or mock fan fiction element and was truly engaging.

The Lion King Odyssey created by Westlake HS students using Strip Designer

 

Westlake HS students are part of a 1:1 iPad initiative. More info about this project can be viewed here (Read my observations during a recent site visit). The Board at Eanes ISD recently approved the 1:1 iPad initiative for K-12 students (view board presentation here)!

 

WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

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27 Dec 2012
Comments: 2

Hot Apps 4 HOTS goes Dutch

It was just about this time of year last year when Yolanda and I were frantically working to finish “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” and get it submitted to the iBook store before TCEA. Well wouldn’t you know it, a year later there have been close to 20,000 international downloads and the first Dutch translation of the published iResource:

"Hot Apps 4 HOTS" goes Dutch

 

I have taken the liberty to translate Dico’s blog entry about the Dutch version below using Google Translate. The entire resource is available for FREE with a tweet or like. I feel quite honored that Dico valued the book enough to painstakenly translate and recreate it for other educators to app-reciate in their native language.

Blog Translation

 

As I was preparing for this post, I stumbled upon another Dutch blog showcasing the Explain Everything projects students created in science class before the holiday break. This always brings a smile to my face. Those of you that blog know the work is tireless and you never truly know who is reading or who is impacted unless they speak out or contact you. I hope I have not butchered this Dutch saying “Waar het hart vol van is, stroomt de mond van over” , but truly my heart is full this holiday season and my keyboard will go on… Thank you to all of you who share my app-thusiasm for iLearning and making a difference in the iClassroom. As we look forward to 2013, remember “Zonder mijn en dijn zou de wereld een hemel zijn” which I believe loosely translates to mean share and share alike will make for a better world. (More Dutch Sayings).

Another Dutch Blog highlighting TechChef4u content

 

WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

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19 Dec 2012
Comments: 9

Science Explained

At last week’s iPad site visit, a student on the panel was describing her favorite iLesson:

“It was in science. It is an interactive periodic table (app). We were learning about the elements. You click on an element and it gives you the history, who made it, how you use it, what it is used for. Another cool feature is you can make them. You can keep on adding neutrons, electrons, and protons as much as you like and every time you click on the plus or minus, it tells you what element you just made. The results were really amazing. We had more interest in the periodic table than we ever had before mainly because it was fun, it was interesting, we actually got to play around with it and see what we could make with it instead of just giving us a piece of paper and telling us ‘research these’.”

The student was referring to the NOVA Elements app. While this app clearly made an impression on the student, I was really thrilled when Ms. Greathouse contacted me about using some product-based apps to create review resources for the 8th grade test. The students were allowed to choose either Explain Everything, Strip Designer, or Keynote.

Some of the Plate Tectonic topics/concepts to choose from were:

  • A divergent boundary occurs when two plates move away from one another creating rift valleys in continental material and ridges in ocean basins.
  • Mountain ranges, volcanoes, rift valleys and other land features can be observed from space, and these images can be used to support theories about tectonic plate activity.
  • Evidence of changes that occurred in the past can be observed from space, allowing scientists to predict changes that might occur in the future due to sediment deposition, glacier movement, and river courses.

 
What a wonderful iLearning moment this was! Students collaborated and taught each other the technology skills they needed to achieve the content portion of the task in real time. I heard questions like, “How do you add arrows to Keynote?” and “Show me how you embedded an animated gif in Explain Everything?”. In between answering questions and observing the iLearning process, I took a little video footage:

iRubrics: Later, Ms. Greathouse and I discussed how she would grade the projects. She wanted to ensure that students would not just do the bare minimum  while rewarding  those who went above and beyond. We both agreed the best way to achieve this goal was with a rubric. After combining and tweaking a few online rubrics, Ms. Greathouse focused on content, writing processes, layout, and graphics, and shared the one below:

iPad Product Rubric

 

iProducts Assessment Sharecase: In this world of differentiation, product-based learning, and mobile devices, how are you assessing student productivity and iLearning? Would love to hear about your student products and assessments and even see some rubrics. Please share in the comment section below.

 

WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

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14 Dec 2012
Comments: 3

Vocabulary iCues: Trading Cards

I have been a huge fan of Read Write Think’s interactives for some time. Naturally, I was ecstatic when they started releasing app versions of them. One of my favorites is the FREE Trading Card app. The app allows for multiple student logins (which is perfect for classrooms using a shared iClassroom model) and boasts 7 different templates (fictional person, real person, fictional place, real place, object, event, and vocabulary.) Naturally, one can see the potential for this app across the curriculum and with multiple grade levels.

Trading Cards app

 

Vocabulary Bulletin Board

Vocabulary Connections: One of my English teachers here at Hill Country MS, Dixie McGrath, used this app with her students to demonstrate their knowledge of the week’s vocabulary. While this can obviously be achieved with other mediums (see visual cue cards on the bulletin board to the right), this app provides an easy template with further vocabulary connections (e.g. definition, part of speech, synonym, antonym, other word associations and clues, where it would be used in everyday life as well as people who might use it, and personal connections). The completed card can also can be saved to a photo roll to be shared with other students or collected to create a class set.

 Below are a few student examples:

 

WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

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30 Nov 2012
Comments: 7

Science and Social Studies Stripped Down

Going Batty: Hot off the iPress! I received a batty iLesson from Laura Wright, a 3rd grade teacher at Eanes Elementary (check out this Smilebox about how she manages the iPads in her classroom). She piloted a 1:1 last year and continues to trail blaze the iFrontier.

Laura shared a 5 page student-created comic which focuses on bat myths and reality (portions seen below). Her students even coined a new phrase “multi-apping” which means creating something in one app and applying it to another – wonder how long it will take for that phrase to appear in the urban dictionary? This particular method can be seen in the last page of the comic where the student set a scene in Puppet Pals, took a screenshot of said scene, exported it to the photo roll, and plopped it into the Strip Designer comic.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project

 

Laura mentioned that the students truly loved this app and let their creativity run wild as can be seen in the bat “cover page”, photos of students with bats in their hair, and the conclusion with Obama telling America that bat funding would be increased this year. This comic showcases evidence of student learning while also capturing distinct personality and humor.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project

 

Earth Landings: The very same week, second grade teacher Lisa Carnazzo sent me her class using Strip Designer. Looks like her class also experimented with some multi-apping. They explored landforms in Google Earth and classified and labeled them in Strip Designer.  (More pics and info about this iLesson can be viewed here.) Lisa did mention that while the students enjoyed the project, some of the elements proved difficult to manipulate for the primary students.

Carnazzo's Stripped Down Landforms

 

Lisa Carnazzo showcases all of her student projects on her class wiki. Check out all of her iPad Lessons on her site and read more in-depth blogs on how they were accomplished right here.

For more examples of how Strip Designer is used in the iClassroom:

  1. History Stripped Down
  2. English Stripped Down: A Student Perspective
  3. iHealthy Living
  4. iPattern Scavenger Hunt

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20 Nov 2012
Comments: 0

History Stripped Down

Fiske’s Class strikes again with an entertaining, engaging… dare I say enlightening iPad lesson using the Strip Designer app. The task was to create a comic strip to showcase the key people, philosophies, and terms of the Enlightenment and Age of Reason.

Enlightening Comics created with Strip Designer app

 

Student-created app reviews: Don’t take my word for it… check out this student app review video highlighting a few of the app’s features students love!

(Check out more student app reviews here.)

 
Stripped Down iCurriculum: This post is part of a series on using comic strip apps across the curriculum: See English Stripped Down.

Fiske Continued: More News on Fiske’s Class (Personalized Learning and Documenting iLearning).

 

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19 Nov 2012
Comments: 4

English Stripped Down: A Student's Perspective

Recently, I visited with Mrs. Haneman, a HCMS social studies teacher and mom of a Westlake student. This is the first year for both the 8th grade 1:1 iPad initiative as well as the 1:1 for freshman and sophomore’s at the high school. As we all strive to embrace this new technology and integrate it effectively into our lessons, I think it is valuable to reflect on our student’s impressions of the device as well. (Mathy Cathy showcases an excellent example of challenging student’s perceptions of math on the iPad with augmented note-taking strategies).

In this instance, I focus on “The Odyssey” and a “Hero’s Journey”. This assignment utilized the Strip Designer app and was created by Mrs. Haneman’s son. While the student admitted to appreciating all of the artistic features the app offers, he did say “it took a long time to work the mechanics, over drawing with pencil and paper, but since I’m not a good artist, I liked the result better.”  He drew the main character as a shadowy figure with no face and utilized a cross hatching technique. The app also allowed for him to use mix media and incorporate internet images for backgrounds and other characters. For an admittedly unprofessional artist, I found the comic to be easy to understand and follow and charming. (See The Golden Apple PDF and open in iBooks on a mobile device or view embedded Google PDF below.)

As graphic novels become a more and more popular art form (check out this one on the Odyssey), it is exciting to see how students are able to easily access and embrace this media using the iPad as a tool. Check out this graphic adaptation of the Battle of Troy using the Comic Life app.

Comic Life example of Battle of Troy

 

A Beowulf Retelling using ComicBook! app

And one more… a retelling of Beowulf using the ComicBook! app. Check out Yolanda Barker’s blog for more details on this assignment.

Check out more Comic iLessons using Strip Designer:

 

 

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09 Nov 2012
Comments: 1

App-tivities

Student Workflow in the iClassroom: Recently I presented at the Oregon Academic Technology Society held at the University of Portland. The topic was “Student Workflow in the iClassroom”. Apps and iLessons shared ranged from flashcards and PDF annotation to multimedia projects and presentations and workflow solutions. I compiled all of the info in a List.ly (seen below) which includes all of the apps (and resources) as well as hyperlinks to student app reviews, iLessons, and student products.

[listly id=”22k” theme=”light” layout=”full” numbered=”yes” image=”yes” items=”all”]

App-tivities: Yesterday, I had another app-ortunity to share my app-thusiasm for iLearning and student app-tivities at Tech and Learning’s Tech Forum held in Austin. Below is the archived version of the livestreamed session. The panel includes myself, Yolanda Barker, and Jon Samuleson (better known to the twitterverse as @iPadSammy). Between the three of us, we cover app-tivities and student products from elementary to high school.

Watch live streaming video from techlearning at livestream.com

 
Mix it up: Yolanda’s apps shared were cleverly showcased in an app mix as seen below:

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08 Nov 2012
Comments: 1

DIY Prezi

After I completed a round of teaching Evernote to Fiske’s class, I strolled down the hallway to say hello to Mrs. Yenca (otherwise known online as Mathy Cathy). She waved me in and I decided to stay for a while. Now, I have to say that her normal teaching methods are on par with a rock star. She knows how to orchestrate a lesson and keep students engaged like none other. BUT, today, I too fell under the spell and was mezmorized and floored by the app-tivity.

Mathy Cathy's Estimating Square Roots Zoomable PDF iLesson


 
Truly the idea of estimating square roots is nothing to write home about (or blog about for that matter). It was how she built her lesson that had me intrigued. Students used a PDF that Cathy created from a Keynote slide and zoomed in and out to problem solve. No need for extra paper or space because a PDF does not become grainy when zoomed in and out.

Zoomable PDF for Problem-Solving


 
I don’t want to steal her iThunder – for more details on this truly ingenious apptivity, visit her blog.

I do want to give you a taste of her personality, though. Few educators could enthrall a classroom and an ed tech with estimating square roots. Teachers like Cathy are ideal candidates for a Flipped Classroom and video instruction model. Her teaching methods truly match her captivating apptivity.

 

For more about Mathy Cathy, read my first Mathy Cathy post, and check out her blog.

Creative Title (e.g. DIY Prezi) credit goes to @Classroom_tech

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