Friday, November 21, 2014

Appy Friday! Taking Note of Notability's Features


Notability is a powerful note-taker for both teachers and students to annotate documents,

sketch ideas, record notes, and more on iPads and other devices.

It is being used in third, fourth, and fifth grade classes in Manhattan Beach schools for student notetaking, annotation of images and text, and creation to show knowledge. Here are some of the features and uses:

Take beautiful notes
- Handwrite notes or sketch ideas using variable width ink in a variety of colors.
- Craft reports or type outlines with our full featured word processor.
- Audio recordings help you capture every detail during lessons. 
- Snap a photo of a whiteboard in the classroom or while researching in the field to add to your note.

Replay your notes
- Audio recordings automatically link to your notes.
- Review your notes in context as you listen to the audio recordings.
- Simply tap a word, drawing, or a picture to hear exactly what was said when you added it.
- Provide audio and handwritten feedback to students. 

Share your notes
- Create collections of notes to share with Google Drive.
- Collect and handout assignments between teachers and students.


Links to websites that illustrate use of Notability in the elementary classroom
-Using Notability for Guided Reading
-Top 5 iPad Apps for Teaching Across the Content Areas
-Using Notability in Classroom Observation
-Using Notability as Digital Paper

Close Reading Using Notability


Here is an easy to follow tutorial that will introduce you to the most often used features of Notability.

Appy Friday! iMovies: Make Movies Like a Boss

Why Use iMovie?
iMovie is a powerful creation tool. Teachers can create instructional videos or student exemplars and increase engagement by getting students excited about what they are going to learn. Likewise, students can use iMovie for a wide variety of projectsAnd because it is such a fun app to use (yes, learning can and should be fun!) once students are introduced to iMovie, many of them will select it as their app of choice. In terms of promoting 21st century skills, iMovie challenges all learners, both students and teachers, to think critically and be creative, and students can hone their collaboration and communication skills through creating iMovie projects in small groups.
Although Apple has designed the iMovie app to be easy to use, it is still important to pay attention to the details in order to create a high-quality product, especially if you are designing an exemplar to show to your students. So, before getting started with creating your first iMovie, here are some important filming tips to remember:


iMovie Filming Tips:
1. Hold the iPad in landscapeRemember that your movie will be displayed on a screen once it’s completed. Therefore, always film in landscape, versus portrait. Filming in portrait mode will result in black bars on either side and will make your film look distorted.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
If audio is going to be included, try to limit background noise, as the microphone will pick up all sound. Be sure you don’t accidentally cover the microphone when filming, however you will be able to record audio over a clip during the editing process.
3. Hold the iPad as steady as possible when filmingThis may take some extra time and practice, but a smooth, clean and steady shot is more pleasing to watch than shots that are unsteady. While you may want to take a panoramic shot and move the iPad to follow an object, an alternative could be to hold the iPad steady and let the action go past the camera.
4. Do not try to zoom in with your iPad when filmingThe iPad camera just isn’t sophisticated enough to achieve a professional looking zoom effect, but there is a workaround. If you want to create a zoom effect, take one shot, stop the camera, then move closer to take the next shot, and so on. Once you’ve taken all the shots you need, you can edit them together to produce the desired zoom in effect.
5. Consider the duration of the video clipsThink. Many. Short. Clips. Not one long shot that just goes on and on and is very difficult to film and will make your audience want to get up and leave the movie because it is poorly made and terrible to watch and has absolutely no point with bad acting and terrible costumes and an even more terrible soundtrack (run-on sentence humor). Short, simple shots are much easier to edit than one long video. Gathering short clips of videos also allows you to get better angels and create a much nicer looking video. Plan out the shots ahead of time (that’s the critical thinking piece) and try to keep the clips at 20 to 30 seconds; definitely no longer than one minute. If you notice in the iMovie trailer templates, the length of the clips for each shot are less than two seconds! This is no accident. A trailer is meant to generate excitement and motivate the audience to go out and see the movie the night of the premiere!
Keep these tips in mind when filming video for your iMovie project. Happy movie making!

http://jasonmarshallmbusd.blogspot.com/2014_11_01_archive.html

Friday, October 24, 2014

Appy Friday! Story Kit App


The Story Kit app is a very straightforward, user-friendly iPad tool. It is free to download, making it accessible to a variety of users. Story Kit allows the user to make an online book that is creative and uses images as well as sounds to enhance the book. When you first open the app a bookshelf pops up and you are able to create a new story with the quick click of the screen. You can use a photo from your photo library on your phone or iPad and design the background as well as add sound to the page. When a Story Kit is complete it may be opened on an Apple product (i.e., iPhone, iPad) or on any computer (Mac or PC) through an easy URL that is shared through email. Using the Story Kit app is as easy as:

1.    Open a new page
2.    Choose a picture
3.    Upload the picture to the app
4.    Record audio
4.    Type in text
5.    Color/design the background
6.    Save your wok
7.    Share (through email)
8.    Watch!


**Here is a link to a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Story Kit.


Classroom Usage: Another fabulous component to Story Kit is that it may be used both individually and in a small group. Students may need teacher guidance initially, then can begin to run their own project when they become more proficient.

There are many uses for Story Kit in the classroom. Students can use Story Kit...
  •         in writing to record their voice while reading aloud one of their own pieces.
  •         in reading to record their voice (or a partner's) to practice reading for fluency.
  •         to read a popular tale in their own, unique style.
  •         show the steps of solving a math problem (i.e., word problem).
  •         explain the rules and procedures of the classroom for incoming students.
  •         introduce a new unit (teacher directed).
  •         demonstrate their learning on a topic on the classroom.
More examples



Friday, October 17, 2014

Appy Friday! Kahoot! A Lively Game-Based Classroom Response System



What's it Like? Kahoot! is a student response system for creating and administering unique, game-like quizzes. Questions, along with answer choices, are projected onto a classroom screen while students submit responses using a personal (likely mobile) device. Kids' devices display color and symbol choices only; the actual answer must be viewed on the classroom screen. The energized, game-like atmosphere comes from the use of bright colors, along with suspenseful music. Liveliness in the game or quiz escalates as updated ranks appear on the class scoreboard after each question -- personal points data is sent to each device.

Playing a game of Kahoot! doesn't involve an account, just a game PIN from the main screen and a name. However, making quizzes (termed "kahoots") does involve entering user information.

Is It Good For Learning?
Kahoot!'s fresh format and fast access is likely to motivate students across grades and content areas. The account-free design makes it easy to get going in a snap. It's also designed to make every game a new, winnable opportunity; there aren't any high-scorers here, and Kahoot!'s competitive features should be energizing for most. The class scoreboard displays the top 5 kids, and includes the number correct for the final winner. For teachers, norm-setting to ensure competition leads to praise, and not put-downs, will be important.

How Can Teachers Use It?
Kahoot! is one of the rare, great tools that you can learn about today and actually use tomorrow as a go-to formative assessment. That said, use Kahoot! with enough lead time to adjust your unit planning. Before grouping students, you can use a kahoot right at the start of class and use the results as a guide. Kahoot!'s unique, no-answers-on-the-answer-pad format makes it a perfect review platform. You could even use actual test questions, because students won't be able to screenshot review information, perhaps using it inadvisably.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Appy Friday! Create a Custom Search Engine

I don’t always want my younger students to have full access to the internet for their research, but I want them to have an easy way to access websites that I as the teacher have reviewed and approved. I discovered a way to accomplish this by setting up a Custom Search Engine and sharing the link to the engine with my students. All my Custom Search Engines are saved using my Google account.

Screenshot 2014-10-06 18.04.02.png


To create a Custom Search Engine from scratch, you'll need to name your search and add some sites to search. Here’s what to do.

Create a new search engine:

  1. On the Google Custom Search home page, click New search engine.
  2. In the Sites to search section, add the pages you want to include in your search engine. You can include any sites you want, not just sites you own. You can include site URLs or page URLs, and you can also get fancy and use URL patterns.
  3. The name of your search engine will be automatically generated based on the URLs you select. You can change this name at any time.
  4. Select the language of your search engine. This defines the language of the buttons and other design elements of your search engine, but doesn't affect the actual search results.
  5. Click Create.
  6. To add your search engine to your site, click Get Code on the next page. Copy the code and paste it into your site wherever you want your Custom Search Engine to appear.


If you don’t want to embed your Custom Search Engine in a site, you can copy the public URL and give students access to that via a URL shortener such as goo.gl.


See an example of a third grade Custom Search Engine used by students to research information and find images of desert biomes. There are four websites in this custom search engine. http://goo.gl/eUl0WG



Screenshot 2014-10-06 18.05.15.png

Give it a try; I think you’ll love that your students can easily access enough information approved by the teacher, without the distractions and confusions that often come with “surfing” the web.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Appy Friday! App Flows in Lesson Plans

We all know that trying to do "one more new thing" is what we always do. Most of us are motivated to try out new digital tools but don't quite know how to make these tools seamlessly flow into our lessons.

App Flows provide a customizable framework that redefines the traditional lesson plan by integrating digital learning tools and content with pedagogical intent. Wow! That was a mouthful. Quite simply, you can discover tools on Graphite and then align them to each part of your lesson –- the hook, direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, and wrap-up –- thinking with purpose about your lesson redesign.  

There are three goals in mind:
  1. To guide teachers to reflect on where they're aligning digital learning tools within a lesson, why the tools best fit those particular activities, and how the activities themselves are being augmented
  2. To encourage blended learning opportunities by prompting teachers to mix in media-rich activities with traditional pencil-and-paper activities
  3. To illustrate how technology can be used throughout a lesson plan, especially if used in the teaching (for you!) and in the learning (for students!)
We recommend starting small and adding a digital tool or two in an App Flow of your own; you’ll grow in confidence and creativity from there. On Graphite, you can save and share your App Flows, and be inspired by what others are doing in their classrooms. 

Take a look at some of the App Flows they’ve created (utilizing not just apps but websites, games, and digital curricula, too). Then take that first step to create your own!

What Are App Flows?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Appy Friday! ReadWorks Reading Resources


With an emphasis on balanced literacy in reading instruction, teachers will want to check out the ReadWorks.org website for quality, research-based reading comprehension resources. The curriculum is varied and there are many ways for teachers to access and share lessons, passages, and activities. The lessons are divided into four sections:

   Skill and Strategy Units: CCSS based lesson plans with texts, lessons, and independent practice.
   Comprehension Units: Grade-level lessons revolve around a read-aloud or paired text.
   Novel Study Units: 5th and 6th grade resources include pacing guides, lessons, and assessments.
   Reading Passages: Leveled passages with corresponding question sets to support comprehension.

These reading resources are free, but teachers must register on the website to access them. You can find out more by taking an introductory video tour of the resources they offer.

If you are specifically looking for social studies or science articles to increase student reading of informational text, ReadWorks has passages searchable by domain, grade, and reading level.

Still not sure? Check out Common Sense Graphite’s website review.

Unfortunately, there is not an app with which to access these fabulous resources, but you can make your own iPad home screen bookmark by tapping the share icon to the left of the Safari browser window and “Add to Home Screen.” Touch your new “mini app” on your iPad and the website will open directly in Safari.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Appy Friday! Showing Off with the Show Me App

The ShowMe app turns the iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard, allowing you to easily record voice-over lessons and share them with your students, parents and/or colleagues. My fourth graders used the app to make their own “Noda Academy” math concept lessons to share with classmates in the spirit of Khan Academy. It is an appropriate application for students to use in science to illustrate and explain a sequence of events such as island formation or phases of the moon.ShowMe.png




Another easy way to implement ShowMe into your daily routine is to use the app for quick responses replacing the traditional whiteboard and dry erase markers. Students can switch colors whereas you can't with traditional whiteboards, plus students do not need accounts to use the app in this way. It’s a win-win!


The app is free and there is no limit what you can teach! The ShowMe community has created millions of ShowMes, from chemistry to history to football strategy and includes Common Core aligned content - and more knowledge is being shared everyday.

If your students don’t have email accounts or you’re uncomfortable letting them create accounts, don’t worry.  You can create a student account through your teacher account. Click here to learn how.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Appy Friday! Raz-Kids Tutorials

Many kindergarten through second grade teachers recently received confirmation of their Raz-Kids accounts. If you are new to Raz-Kids and are looking to get up to speed quickly, you will want to view one or more recorded webinar session to learn the basics of getting started. These tutorials guide the teacher in managing her Raz-Kids account: adding students, assigning reading activities and assessments, and reviewing student completed work. Even if you will not be using all the Raz-Kids features at the beginning of the school year, this is a great place to go to get an overview of the options available for both teachers and students, and to see what diagnostics you might want to add as the year goes on using this on-line guided reading program. 


Raz-Kids Tutorials


Monday, September 8, 2014

Geoboard App: Manipulating Shapes to Teach Elementary CCSS

Creating Shapes with the Geoboard App
Remember the old geoboards and rubber bands? Invariably, when you pulled out the boards after a summer of storage, the rubber bands had disintegrated into a sticky mess and would render the boards useless. Troubles no more...Geoboard is one of the iPad math apps that I used for several years in my 4th grade classroom. Nothing beats it for student practice in learning geometric shapes with an iPad. Learning is extended by students taking screenshots of their shapes then using a drawing app such as Doodle Buddy to label and classify the shapes. Students can culminate the activity by finding patterns in their shapes, popping their annotated images into the Educreations or Show Me app and explaining the logic behind their patterns.

In today's Edutopia blog, Monica Burns describes how first and second grade students can use the Geoboard app to manipulate and write about shapes, then document their learning to meet Common Core State Standards and engage in higher level thinking skills. Find out more about how they did this by reading the blog.

Make a Blog to Keep a Classroom Chart Inventory

Classroom chart blog that I use to keep track of my classroom charts.
Over the summer I attended the CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp at MBMS in Manhattan Beach. The volunteer, peer presenters at the conference had so many wonderful ideas to share with teachers in the sessions. An offshoot of attending Jen Roberts' amazing Close Reading Collaboratively session was discovering her method for keeping track of the myriad of classroom charts she develops for her lessons.

I was so impressed with her organization, I immediately started my own blog just to keep track of the many charts I have developed for reading, writing, and social studies. With a little help from my son and his spanking new smart phone, I'm about half done photographing and uploading my inventory from the last few years in fourth grade. It's a bit of a daunting task if you have many charts, but even if you start with just the new charts you make, you will be steps ahead in classroom organization. You may even decide to share your charts with your colleagues or students when you see how readable they are and how great they look on the blog.

Here is a link to my blog. Check it out in Flipcard or Snapshot view. Inspired? Here are simple instructions to make your own. 




If you take on this challenge and want to share your charts, put a link in the comments below.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Appy Friday! I was reminded to remind teachers about Remind.

At a Pacific first grade meeting this week, I was reminded what a great app Remind is. I added the Remind app to my iPad last year and used it with my class to get out those important last minute reminders about activities throughout the year. The beauty of the app is that it sends your texts to the people who have subscribed to your class, but your phone number is kept private and the messages are sent with no open replies. It’s a one-way text message!

Teachers might want to consider getting the app, signing up for an account, and then asking parents to sign up at Back to School Night. I seem to remember that Remind even sets you up with the flyer instructing your parents on how to sign up. Learn more here.