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19 Oct 2017
Comments: 4

How Do you Deliver PD to Students?

At a campus of approximately 2700 students that are 1:1 iPad, you are bound to find a variety and a disparity of skills and technological prowess. iPad Base Camps were born to ensure that all students had a baseline of technical skills at the beginning of the year. This also alleviated the class time it would take in individual classes for teachers to have students set up these devices as well.

Before you dig into this post… I should mention that a dear friend has informed me that my posts are like unicorns and that I should write shorter posts to stretch out the ideas… like baby unicorns… but honestly… my brain just doesn’t work that way. I am one of those people that tells you everything I know on a topic… and then moves to the next topic in the next post. The only time I find it possible to “baby unicorn” something is if I have already outlined it (e.g. like my ScrapNotes posts) and committed to telling you that it will be in multiple doses… so please know that this post is like a giant helping of student professional development (in baby unicorn herd form)… but you can totally digest it in multiple seatings (the post… not the baby unicorn herd… that is)… if need be. 😉

What are the Basics of an iPad Base Camp?

The slide deck linked here and embedded below is pretty comprehensive when it comes to the apps and process we devised but I also want to preface it with a few bits of information:

  • Student Focus: We began with Freshman as they come to us from two different campuses and may not have had as much experience with specific apps and tools as our 10-12th grade students.
  • Time Frame: We had the span of a class period (45-50 minutes) to teach these skills.
  • Hands-Off: The approach had to be hands-off, station-based, and self-explanatory as sometimes we would have multiple classes during the same class period.
  • Fundamental: We really had to drill down to what were the most fundamental apps and processes as we could only manage 4 stations in a class period.
  • Devices: As we upgraded the devices, the stations and tasks would be slightly altered to accommodate new features (e.g. speech to text or split screen and updates to apps).

 

What are the Apps used in iPad Base Camp?

  • 2015: 2015 was our first year for the camp. We created 4 stations that focused on the 3 C’s (e.g. Critical Thinking = Popplet Lite and Paper by 53, Collaboration = Google Drive, Google Sheets, and Google Docs, Communication = Evernote and DocAs). We also added a file management station (especially since we were dealing with 16 GB iPad 2’s at the time… to address apps like iFiles, Google Calendar, and Shutterfly). I should mention that students were constantly running out of space with our 16 GB model and much of this was due to photo storage. As Shutterfly has an app with unlimited photo storage and there were very few alternatives at the time… we went with this one.
  • 2016: In 2016 we upgraded to 64 GB iPad 2 Air’s with a built in keyboard case. We revamped the 4 stations to focus on particular skills/tools we found students needed to have set up at the beginning of the year (e.g. Notable Note-taking = Notability and Google Drive, Powerful Portfolios – Google Drive and Google Docs, Capitalizing on Calendars = Google Calendar, and Mindful Mind-Mapping = Post-it Plus and Google Classroom). I should also mention that this is the year that we dropped DocAS for PDF annotation and adopted Notability for K-12. It is also the first year we used Google Classroom and the year that we provided a portfolio structure (this will have to be a baby unicorn… an will most likely end up in a future post) for students using Google Drive and a Google Doc Portfolio Index.
  • 2017: We just completed our 3rd year of iPad Base Camps. I think we have finally found a system and station flow that seems to work. The only change we made from 2016-2017 was swapped the Post-it Plus station for Keynote as Keynote had just released some upgraded features like icons and we wanted to highlight those as many students underuse this tool.
  • 2017+: I should also mention… because you will see it in the slide deck on slide 15… that we also ran another one of these for Sophomores as a precursor to a larger project. Each station focused on a different cause of war and used a different app. This allowed students to get familiarity with a variety of apps and create a digital artifact for their class. When they got to the final project, they were already familiar with the apps and could begin working.)

What are you Not Telling Me?

So, yes… there are a few things that I have neglected to mention. It is much like project-based learning in that there is tons of planning and work that goes into the front end to make the day of go smoothly.

  • Corralling Students: Sometimes we had as many as 180 students in a class period (as multiple class periods came depending on scheduling). To easily get them to their first station, we created little sheets of paper like a “ticket” (each with a different rotation of the 4 stations). This is like hitting the easy button on having students count off “1… 2… 3… 4.”
  • Checklist: If you have been reading this blog for awhile and/or no me personally… then you know that I am a tad bit OCD and I live my to do lists and checklists. After year 1 of this, I devised one as I felt I would forget something in the planning and logistics of it for year two.
  • Station Cards: I should also mention that we have cards at every station with an icon (that matches their “ticket” that have easy to follow directions. I was also pleased to find out (when we asked for feedback on the day and what was helpful to them) that many students referred to the easy to follow directions on the tables.
  • Expansion: As I noted above, we have expanded this to pre-project exposure mini-stations. We are also looking to create these for Seniors to help transition them (e.g. share their school gmail with a personal one, expose them to Evernote or another note-taking app, discuss portfolio apps like bulb, provide a seamless approach to move any school notes they want to keep to a safe place, etc…) before they graduate.

 

But… Wait… There’s More…

Clearly… no unicorn babies today… you get the whole unicorn… Ugh… now I feel like I am writing the script for an infomercial… “for a low… low price of $19.99… this can all be yours… but only if you call today.” 😉 – But seriously… I digress. I have put all 4 of the Base Camp station cards, the checklist, and the sample “tickets” in a Google Drive folder… just for you. The only thing that I ask… is if you use or adapt them… to please email me techchef4u@gmail.com or tweet me @TechChef4u and share your feedback, alterations, and how you are using them to impact students. Thanks in advance! 😉

Students Need PD too!

As you know, I am a firm believer that Students Need Professional Development too. My last two posts share some of the other initiatives I have been working on:

Thanks so much for reading. If you do something similar or have questions on this initiative (or any other), please reply in the comments and share ideas as well!

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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?

1378578_10204841519790308_4959281387267759674_n

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.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 7.46.06 PM

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

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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01 Apr 2012
Comments: 0

iFactor: Prime Factorization Cubed!

After meeting with the 5th Math Specialist to collaborate and plan, I feel like we have a really good plan for next week’s 5th Math training. The intent was to provide technology tools for teachers that would not serve as “one hit wonders.” Rather, we wanted to provide teachers with a Bag of iTricks that could be used to support multiple mathematics skills… and other content areas. The iLesson below not only reduces paper waste (the original document was 9 pages) but provides a viable alternative to a pencil and paper task.

The original document included a direct teach piece on prime factorization, a Frayer model template for Prime Numbers, 4 recording sheets for factoring numbers in multiple ways, and a template for creating your own prime numbers matching card sort. Using a combination of the apps iPen Free app and Popplet Lite, I was able to reduce the packet to a page or two.
 
Student Task 1: Frayer Model using Popplet Lite

  1. Double tap on the screen to create a popple.
  2. Tap the “T” to add text and type “Prime Number”.
  3. Tap the gray circle connector to create another popple attached to the first one.
  4. Type “Example” in the second popple.
  5. Tap the icon of the pen to draw your example.
  6. Tap the Prime Number popple to create another popple attached to it.
  7. Type “Non-Example” in the third popple.
  8. Draw your non-example example.
  9. Tap the Prime Number popple to create another popple attached to it.
  10. Type “Definition” in the fourth popple and write your definition.
  11. Tap Export and Save the image as a jpeg.
 

 
The iLesson video (Student Task 1) below was created with the Reflections web app that allows screen mirroring of your iPad.

Student Task 2: Prime Numbers Two Ways

  1. On page 1: Import your Prime Number Frayer Model that was created in Popplet Lite.
  2. On page 2:
    1. Find the Prime Factorization of 80 in red.
    2. Find a second way to factor 80 in blue.
    3. Write the prime factorization of 80 using exponents in green.
  3. On page 3: Complete steps 1-3 for 30.
  4. On page 4: Complete steps 1-3 for 72.
  5. On page 5: Complete steps 1-3 for 120.
  6. On page 6: Find the value of 3 x 3 x 3 x 5.
  7. On page 7: Find the value of 3² x 5 x 7
  8. On page 8: Complete the Reflection using a combination of pen and text.
    1. How do you know when you have found a number’s prime factorization?
    2. Does every number have a prime factorization? Explain.
    3. Can a number have more than one prime factorization? Why?
  9. On page 9: Complete the Reflection using a combination of pen and text.
    1. Find all the numbers less than 50 that have at least one 2 and at least one 5 in their prime factorization.
    2. What do you notice about these numbers?
  10. On page 10-12: Solve the following problems:
    1. Find the prime factorization of 240.
    2. Carson and Beth are comparing their secret numbers. Carson’s number has a prime factorization with 2 numbers and Beth has a prime factorization with 3 numbers. Beth says this means her number is larger. Is Beth correct? Explain and give examples.
    3. What is the value of 3² x 5³ x 7.
  11. Email your book to your teacher (there is also an option to print if you have access to an airprinter).
Factoring 2 Ways with iPen Free app

 

Student Task 3: Prime Number Matching Card Sort using Popplet Lite

  1. Create 8-10 unconnected popples.
  2. Each popple should be a number, a factorization, or a prime factorization with exponents.
  3. Include some items that could have more than one match.
  4. Pass the Popplet to your partner and have him/her connect the popplets that match (remember some popples may be connected to more than one popple).
  5. If you have any remaining items, create two popples for each unused popple to illustrate prime factorization in two ways. (Change the frame color of the left-over popples).

 

 
 
Other iLessons with Popplet & iPen:
  1. Multiplication Stories (iPen)
  2. Inferencing iValentines (Popplet)
  3. More Vocabulary & Frayer Models (Popplet)
  4. Sequencing (Popplet)
  5. Character Map (Popplet)
  6. Geometry (Popplet)
  7. Other Math iLessons

 

Popplet Lite was also featured in “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” iBook to support Bloom’s taxonomy in the iClassroom.

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12 Feb 2012
Comments: 1

Inferencing iValentines

Carnazzo’s Inferencing Valentines iProject

I was originally quite appy to see a new Talking Tom app (Talking Tom’s Love Letters), but crestfallen when I found it had no ability to actually record sound like Talking Tom and Ben Do the News.

Leave it up to Clever Carnazzo to come up with a way to not only use this surprisingly educational app but make it deliciously instructional. To support the skill of inferencing in reading, students used Talking Tom and Angela to make conjectures on character’s emotions, thoughts, and intentions based on body language and facial expressions. Students used multiple screenshots from Talking Tom’s Love Letters in Popplet Lite to showcase their inferencing skills.

Carnazzo’s Inferencing Valentines iProject

Check out all 7 student submissions: Inferencing Valentines 1 and Inferencing Valentines 2

Hungry for more Carnazzo gems… check out all of her iLessons.

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11 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Suprisingly Educational, Entertaining, and Engaging

I came across the lite version of MyPlayHome this week. The Lite version gives you full access and interactivity to two rooms, the kitchen and living room. Those two rooms alone kept my preschool son, also known as the app critic, busy for 30-45 minutes. His favorite discovery was that throwing away a piece of food in the kitchen replaces it in its prior location (e.g. table, cabinet, etc…). I later decided to check out the full version and was very pleased with the two extra rooms, bathroom and bedroom. Another fantastic bonus to the app is it will grow over time with more rooms and accessories. If they are taking suggestions, I would request a backyard with a grill, sandbox, picnic table, and flower/vegetable garden. What other toys can you say have that economical feature?

With that said, I will transfer my mommy hat to my educator cap… While this app may appear like a “doll house for the iPad generation”, it holds far more educational inspiration than sheer interactive entertainment. Thus, I have compiled a list of 7 ways I would use this app in the classroom:

  1. Have students create dialogue based on what the characters are doing in the house. This would be a great way for students to practice sentence structure, pronouns, and adjectives. (Consider taking screenshots and adding the dialogue with another app… like Doodle Buddy).
  2. Have students practice sequencing. Give students a series of directions or have students come up with a first/next/then structure for a task. (This could also be achieved with screenshots and Popplet Lite.)
  3. Have students practice vocabulary/spelling by taking a screenshot and opening it up in Doodle Buddy and adding words to annotate a room in the house.
  4. Have students discuss their own routines/traditions for getting ready in the morning, going to bed, family time, etc… (Consider having students take a screenshot and then discuss it in ShowMe or ScreenChomp.)
  5. Have students create/solve a math problem based on a scenario inspired by one of the rooms. (Challenge students to find/classify various shapes in each room.)
  6. Have students compare/contrast a room in the play home to the same room in their home.
  7. Have students write a descriptive paragraph about a room.

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14 Aug 2011
Comments: 1

Surprisingly Educational Apps: iPad Blog Hop Host

In honor of the launching of Techchef4u’s Blog Talk Radio Show “Appy Hour”, I decided to cook up my first ever iPad Blog Hop Contest (the winner will receive a $20 iTunes Gift card!). The rules are fairly simple:

  1. Compose a blog entry on your blog with the title “Surprisingly Educational Apps”.
  2. Select one free iPad/iPod app: Apps can be covertly educational like Talking Tom or Songify or somewhat transparent like U.S. Quarters and Magnetic Alphabet Lite. The task is more to shine a light on these gems and highlight how they would or could be used innovatively for educational purposes. Please hyperlink to the app’s iTunes page.
  3. Highlight how it could be creatively used in the classroom (the app must not contain inappropriate material). Please include a screen shot or video (so others will fully comprehend your vision) with your apptivity description. Screenshots of apps can be pulled into Doodle Buddy, Popplet Lite, or ScreenChomp to be easily annotated. Chosen App can be used in conjunction with another app. 
  4. Include recommended age group and content area for your apptivity suggestion(s) within your post.
  5. Finally, include a link back to the iPad Blog Hop’s host site (www.techchef4u.com).

More info: The U.S. Quarters app is not innately educational like Number Line (activity-based) or Khan Academy (instructionally-based). Other than supporting the U.S. Congress’s mission to honor the federal republic and “promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth”, the app itself doesn’t truly teach or produce anything more than basic facts about the fifty states (e.g. motto, date ratified, and symbols). Thus, it is up to us to create a surprisingly educational experience with this app… in a middle school mathematics classroom or elementary social studies… perhaps. I decided to showcase the app to teach mathematics vocabulary and proportional reasoning (scale factor)I will be including my full post on U.S. Quarters and the other apps we discuss before the 25th.

The winner will be determined by a group of Instructional Technology Specialists from NEISD and announced on my first installment of Appy Hours 4 U with my Co-host Yolanda Barker: Thursday August 25th at 10am. Submissions will be judged on creativity/ingenuity, supporting materials (screenshots, videos, etc…), and appropriateness for the classroom.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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