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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

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 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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