Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reading Response with ChatterPix Kids

Reading response is an important tool in Reading Workshop to monitor comprehension.  It is important for students to talk about books so they can better understand what they are reading.  Here are a few examples of different reading responses:

This book is about...
I like this book because...
My favorite part was _____ because...
My favorite character was _____ because...
_____ feels _____ because...
I learned...

My favorite app on the iPad to use for reading response is ChatterPix Kids.  ChatterPix Kids is very kid friendly and easy for students to use.  It allows students to practice responding about the book orally.  This is a great opportunity for our auditory learners to shine.

ChatterPix Kids
Students simply take a picture, draw a mouth, and record their ideas.  Students can also add borders and images to decorate their creation.  When they are finished, they can download their project directly to the iPad.

ChatterPix Kids can be used for reading response in different ways.  The student can take a picture of the front of the book and make the book talk.  This is great when responding "I like this book because" or "This book is about".

Students can also focus their projects on certain characters or events by taking a picture of a page in the book.  These reading responses can focus on how the character is feeling or explain different parts of the story.

ChatterPix Kids is fun and easy for the students to use.  I introduce the app whole group to the class.  This can create a loud classroom because everyone is talking at one time.  I discuss with the students how they need to try to pick a time when the classroom is quiet to record their voice and always listen to their recording to make sure that they can understand what they are saying.

Once the students can use the app independently, I use 5 iPads in the classroom for when students are doing Read to Self.  Students pick a book from their book box and complete an assigned reading response or a reading response of their choice.  When they are finished, I ask the students to keep their iPad with them but continue to read their books to themselves.  When we are finished with the rotation, I ask students to share their project with the class.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Adding a Background in Google Drawings

Happy Thanksgiving!  This week our class read the book Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr.  After reading the book, I taught the students how to write a super sentence.  We start with the sentence: The turkey ran.  After we discuss how boring this sentence is to the reader, we add more details to the sentence to make the sentence more exciting.

Once the students have written their super sentence, it is time to publish their work.  In the past, we have made a turkey out of construction paper and displayed the writing in the hallway.  However, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to teach the students how to insert a background into Google Drawings because each sentence contained a setting.  The purpose of using technology in the classroom is not to invent new lessons but insert technology into lessons that you are already teaching.

I love adding backgrounds to Google Drawings because it adds a lot of visual appeal to student projects.  The background is simply a regular image that is enlarged to fit the entire page.  Therefore, any image can be used as a background.

When inserting a background, always insert the picture first.  This is also a good time to teach students about the undo button.  There will be many times when the student will accidentally move their background, and the students quickly learn that the undo button is their friend.

The cool fat turkey ran to the trees to hid in the trees at 12 o'clock.

The students were told to insert a background that went with their setting, insert an image of a turkey that looked like their adjective, and write their super sentence.  One of my favorite features of Google Drawings is the ability to insert pictures right into the project without even leaving the program.  When the student searches for their image, there are a lot of images available.  This gives the students a lot of choice when picking the image that works best for their project.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reading Response with Google Forms

This week we are reading books based on the characters Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems. The students absolutely love these books, and they are great for teaching students various reading skills.

The students are working on improving their reading comprehension by retelling the story when they finish reading a book.  Our activity on the Chromebook was for the students to type a reading response after watching a YouTube video of the book Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems. The reading response was created by using Google Forms and shared with the students through Google Classroom.

The YouTube video was added to the Google Form so that it was easily accessible to the students. The first question was for the student to type their first and last name so that I could identify who was filling out the form.  The second question asked the student to retell the story.  I choose paragraph for this question type so that students would have enough room to write their answers.

Once the student hit submit, their answers were sent to me.  Through Google Forms, you have the option to see each individual form that is submitted or display all of the answers easily with a Google Sheet.  The teacher can also give feedback to each individual answer and assign a score to the form. 

Overall, Google Forms was very easy for the students to use.  The one problem was the size of the video.  When the students played the video in Google Forms, it was very small, and it would not let the students enlarge the video.  The students had to click the YouTube button and watch the video on the YouTube website.  This gave the students access to other videos.  Most students closed the tab when the video was finished and completed their assignment in Google Forms.  However, a few mischievous students decided to watch other YouTube videos.  These students were quickly redirected back to the assignment, and if the off task behavior continued, they were give a piece of paper and pencil to complete the assignment.  

Download a copy of the form here.

UPDATE:  Thank you @RichesonEmily for your feedback.  You can enlarge the size of the video in Google Forms the same way you enlarge an image (pulling the blue boxes in the corner).  Emily also suggested using SafeShare.tv to prevent students from venturing from the designated video; however, you will have to use SafeShare as a link in Google Forms because it cannot be embedded as a video.  Great ideas!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Collaborative Problem Solving Using Digital Manipulatives on the Chromebook

In math, students are working on writing their own math problems.  Sometimes, the students struggle with coming up with ideas.  To help the students generate ideas, we used digital manipulatives with partners to practice the process of creating word problems.  Students were asked to create a math problem and model the problem on the screen.  Their partner was to say the answer and tell the number sentence that they used to solve the problem.  Partners shared one Chromebook to complete this activity.

The digital manipulatives that we used were from McGraw-Hill Education.  We began the lesson with students using the playground as their background and modeling their problems with bears.  Once students were comfortable using the program, they were allowed to pick their own background and manipulatives.  The baseball field was a popular choice for the boys.

There are two important buttons on the toolbar that the students need to use.  The most important button is for the students to clear objects.  For some reason, the students always try to cover the screen with as many bears as possible.  Instead of removing the bears one by one, the bears can be removed with one quick button.  The other important button is to remove the background.

Students enjoyed exploring the different options that the program had to offer.  One group even set the timer for each other when it was time to solve the problem.

I should have modeled my expectations for creating word problems more for the students because there was a lot of off task behavior.  The students were playing with the digital manipulatives more than creating word problems.

About halfway through the project, I stopped the students and changed the directions.  I told the students that one student should have the Chromebook to themselves while they were designing the problem.  When they were finished setting the problem up, they should return to their partner and explain their problem to them.  This allowed the student to focus more on creating the problem and less time playing with their friend; however, the other student became bored while they were waiting for their partner to create the word problem.

Next time, I will allow both students to have their own Chromebook.  Each student can create a problem of their own with their own background and digital manipulatives.  When both students are finished creating, they can share their word problem with one another.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween Writing with the Chromebook

Our project this week was to put everything we had learned so far about Google Drawings into one activity.  The student was to insert their picture from a shared folder, insert a relevant picture, and write about their picture.  As always, the students had the freedom to pick their own fonts and colors.  Happy Halloween!

I am Ray.  What are you going to be for Halloween night?  Ray is brave.  She helps people when they are hurt.

For directions on how to set up the project for students to insert their own individual pictures from a shared folder, please click here.  To learn more about teaching students how to insert a picture into Google Drawings, please click here.

I would love to see what your class is doing with the Chromebooks.  Please comment and share the projects that your class is creating with technology.