Sunday, November 29, 2015

Keynote - Magic Move Lesson


I was working with fourth graders teaching them how to use their Keynote app prior to a big project they are going to be working on. I was looking up different ways to use Keynote and I came across the magic move feature on this YouTube video.  It was a feature I hadn't used before so I applied it to a mini lesson on pluralizing words that end in -f and -fe to -ves. The video above is one of the student's finished product. The only problem is sharing it loses the motion (darn!). We had to grade it by having students come up to us and showing us that they got the words correct and the motions to work. 

Persuasive/Argumentative Writing - 5th Grade

The other day I taught a persuasive/argumentative writing lesson...using three fifth grade classes. I was modeling how to integrate technology into a writing lesson. For the technology piece I used the new Promethean Classflow to deliver the lesson, I used to hook and engage the students, and I had students take a picture of the anchor charts I made (see pictures above) and taught them how to create an anchor chart album in their photos.

The lesson I taught was modified from a middle school lesson I found in the Classflow community on the topic that I thought was really good. The lesson can be found on Promethean Planet if you CLICK HERE.  The anchor charts were basically a play on four square writing (which the students were familiar with). I could have created the anchor charts on Classflow and had the students take pictures from that but I wanted to enter the Zaner-Bloser writing anchor chart contest I saw on We are Teachers on Facebook hence the above paper anchor charts :). 

I used a "Would you Rather" Kahoot to get students taking a side on a topic and arguing against the opposing side (the two I pulled from the Kahoot are would you rather attend Hogwarts or have a pet Sasquatch? and would you rather fly or read minds? was pretty fun to see how students argued the topics). Once the lesson was complete (approximately 20 minutes) students had 30 minutes to write to the following prompt - Would you rather be the smartest kid in the school or the best player on a sports team? They had 30 minutes because that is the time limit they will have on their end of year writing test. Most students did not finish in the time limit but they got some experience writing with a time limit and we got enough student samples to see who "got it" and those who need some extra help. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My First Green Screen Video

I finally figured out how to do a Touchcast video...after lots of practice...and attending a webinar put on by the company. I used my Studio in a Box green screen to film it. After watching it learned I definitely won't be a YouTube star, and I need some lipstick, but it was pretty easy...once I had storyboarded the whole thing out (I used the remote app on my phone to control the camera...filming it by myself...I really like that feature!). Students would really have to plan out any video they made (not a strong suit for a lot of students but this would be good practice).

Now that I have an academic sample and worked through how to put it together I think I can train students. I would like to try something "bigger" like a morning show and I have one school that wants to try it.

Right now my only two questions I have (that I need to email the company) are: (1) Why isn't the poll at the end interactive? I tried clicking it and voting but nothing happened and (2) The teleprompter feature only works when it is facing the person. What do students do about reading a script if the camera isn't facing them?

Best "You're Late" Sign

I saw this at a school and thought it was a great way to keep children from walking in late by themselves.

The school blocks off the driveway forcing parents to pull into the parking lot and bring their child in.

Halloween Costume - Ms. Frizzle

We have a new local children's librarian who came as a guest judge for a Book-o-Ween costume party at one of our schools. I loved her Ms. Frizzle costume! I asked her how she made it and she said she found a blue dress at a Goodwill shop and then cut up a ocean themed shower curtain and used fabric glue to adhere it to the dress (she bought the lizard on Amazon...I forgot to ask her how she attached it). It was so cute I decided that this is my next craft project!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Space Camp for Teachers

In 2009, when I was teaching fourth grade math and science, I applied for, and got, a scholarship to attend Space Camp in Alabama. I had a great time (read my post in 2009 here) and used a lot of resources in my classroom. I even planned a potluck space night for parents (click here to read my post on a separate blog I kept up during my years as a classroom teacher) and got a grant for "build it yourself" telescopes. I love studying space and being able to go to Space Camp...for free...was a unbelievable PD opportunity. I made a video of all my pictures to share with folks who were in the program with me (click on the link above...or here if you want to see what it was like).

I'm writing a post about it because it is that time...time to apply for a scholarship! Each scholarship covers the following: tuition for the 5-day program at U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama; round trip airfare; meals and double occupancy accommodations; program materials; and...wait for it...a flight suit :)

To be considered to receive a scholarship you must be a current or practicing educator that is teaching science or math to students ages 10-14 years old and will continue to teach these subject areas through 2017.

Here are some things I remember....I was the lowest grade level represented...there were a lot of middle and high school teacher (so I felt a little overwhelmed on the intelligence level...but I was able to hang...barely :). The dorms we stayed in were COLD...I mean freezing. A teacher from Michigan (super skinny) had to put on her flight suit to keep warm during the night. I didn't even think of that. I shivered through my first night. I could have used a space blanket :). Those were the only two negatives everything else was fun and we were kept going from sunup to literally sundown (I remember the insane schedule!).

Anyway...if you are interested in applying the window open in November and here is the LINK if you want to apply (they try to pick teachers from every state...the year I applied I was one of two teachers in the state of SC to get the scholarship).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Studio in a Box

I am super excited...I finally got my Studio in a Box by TouchCast. I ordered it this past summer when I went to the ISTE conference in Philadelphia and attended a TouchCast session (read my rave review of that session HERE).

The session attendees were offered "Early Bird" pricing for this product with the understanding that they weren't finished in production yet (hence why it took awhile to get). The "Early Bird" price was $59 (fabulous price). I was hoping that my department would reimburse me for the purchase but apparently it is easier to get permission to buy something then it is to get reimbursed for something. I purchased it at the time knowing that I might have to absorb the cost and I was fine with that.

I bought it to evaluate it for school/teacher purchasing purposes. A lot of our schools and classrooms want to set up green screen rooms for projects and morning new programs and this looked like an inexpensive way to make that happen (in conjunction with the free and totally cool TouchCast app).

I am in the processes of setting it up and playing with it (look for annoying test video posts coming soon!) but I love it. I recently attended a webinar put on by TouchCast and I feel more confident using their software (we have one school using it to do their morning program and they love is a link to one of the morning programs that aired this week...they are working on the sound issue but you get the general gist).

During that webinar someone asked about the price and apparently they are still introducing it at the Early Bird price of $59. Please note that they do tack on $15 for shipping and handling but I still think it is a good deal at $75. I think the price is certainly reasonable for a school to set up a green screen studio. It isn't too bad for a single classroom to purchase either. I would definitely use grade level money (if that is an option), get a grant, or split the cost with another teacher if money is an issue.

To see a video of unboxing everything - CLICK HERE (I found it helpful when setting up my home studio). I am on the TouchCast email list and they sent a link to this video about how not to make a TouchCast video which I thought contained some really good advice - CLICK HERE.

I am hoping to start posting sample student projects soon so stay tuned!