Saturday, February 28, 2015

Plickers Helps Me Track for Learning!

I LOVE integrating technology into each day with my kiddos...
and they LOVE "trying out" new ideas with me.
At a recent District PD Day, I was reminded about a great resource for 
teachers that only requires ONE tech device! 
Plickers is available from both the
iTunes App store and Google Play for free!

You basically need ONE device and the free printable
plicker cards from the website
and you're set to go.

I find I like using this resource during small groups better than whole group
right now... I can tailor the assessments and review more
easily to a small group and make sure I have challenging
questions for my advanced kiddos while having "just right"
questions for my kiddos that are still working on a skill.

The beauty of this tech is you don't have to input questions and answers
 into the program to get the information you need back!
Sounds weird right...but really cool feature!
My favorite blog resource for Pickers is from Mary
Sharing Kindergarten
She talks about a great idea for creating the assessment slides to use with plickers.
I created some Tracking the Learning cards to help with
my small group assessment and prep for SAT10..

I simply bring my small group back to the table and display a skill card.
They get their plicker cards ready and then we scan.
I usually have the plickers site open on my laptop so they can
see how they did immediately and then the discussion begins...

You're welcome to download the assessment cards for your classroom as well!
IF I decide to do a card whole group, I project it and have the kids show
their answer as we play "Rock, Paper, Scissors"...
Well....because when you say,
"Rock, Paper, Scissors, Show..." they aren't spending as
much time looking to see what others are showing...
They're putting more effort into showing what they know on the beat :)
Weird...but works!

Plickers for Fractions: HERE

Plickers for Missing Addends:  HERE

Plickers for Vowel Sounds of /ew/: HERE

Plickers for Long O Vowel Sounds: HERE

Plickers for Pronouns: HERE

In reality, you don't really have to use plickers to do the assessments,
you could simply have students use hand signals or cards marked with ABCD...
but how much more fun is a little technology plugged into the mix... can go back and look at the data
from the assessment and see which kiddos need
more time to work on which skill a little more...

Here's some more resources I've found on Plickers...
Ever use "Slide Share"? 
This one's created by Nadine Gilkison.

Here's a presentation using "Prezi" about Plickers. put together by Kristen Vollma.
I tried to embed the presentation, but alas...blogger would not play nice with the code Prezi was providing...however if you click on the picture below, it should take you to the Prezi page.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Movie Clip Monday Link Up

Hello All!
Linking up with Cheryl over at 
Techie Turtle Teacher
 to share a youtube video of one of my favorite books 
for the beginning of March! 
"In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb"
by Marion Dane Bauer
I love showing the video of books so that kids can hear
the fluency of adults as they read.
The person that created this video added some interesting background 
music which allows us to talk more about how the 
music helps us feel the story.
You can read about a graphing project I've used with 
this lesson on a post Here

Hop over and check out some of the other
movie clip suggestions on
Techie Turtle Teacher

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spotlight Sunday: BrainyBox Kit Review

Spotlight Sunday
Hello Al!  Thought I'd try something new and do a 
Spotlight Feature on Sunday of something
I've found useful or that someone asked me to take a look at...
Today's spotlight is for  
Viktoria Altman who is an entrepreneur 
(and a mother of 2) from NYC
She asked if I'd be interested
 taking a look at one of the products
from her new company 
called Brainy Box
She was so kind to send a "review kit" of her first 
Brainy Kit called the "Polar Kit" for my review...

Since I've moved to second grade, I contacted my buddies 
in K and PreK to see if they'd be willing to help test
the kit out with their classrooms and let me know
 how they like it...

The overall impression was that the kit was
very well put together and had a lot of interactive 
things to stimulate a child's interest.

Victoria Altman, the creator of the Brainy Kit, 
describes her kits as kits that have 
“true Montessori materials and lesson plans 
that allow a caretaker to work with a child one on one.”  

 Here's the kit we received 

It included:
7 Lesson Plans
Polar Animal Figurines
Amazing Arctic Animals, A Book About Polar Animals
Laminated Picture/Vocabulary Cards
Laminated Venn Diagram of South & North Pole Animals
Instant Snow
Penguin Montessori Puzzle
And even more:  
A sticker set, a jigsaw puzzle, a glue stick, 
and an arts and crafts mask to complete the set.

My friends felt they could adapt the kit for classroom use easily.  
It meets the need to incorporate informational text into lessons 
even at an early age.... 
After reading the story, students can use the vocabulary cards 
and figures to sort and classify arctic animals; 
describe similarities and differences between the animals; 
 identify the different habitats; 
and as a resource for writing about arctic animals.  
The hands on activities reinforce the information 
that they have learned in the story.  
The Students loved the manipulative connection!

For more information,
you can check out Victoria's website at 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Creating eBooks with BookCreator

I have ALWAYS loved creating books with my students. 
With today's technology 
there are SO many possibilities for creating
and sharing eBooks with your kiddos
one of the easiest ways to create and share is with
I'll be is RARE that I spend money on an app...
but this is one I am SO very happy that I invested in...
I tried the free version first to make sure it really did all that I wanted it to do...
and it a HUGE way!
I wrote about how we began our first eBook project with Grinch in a post

We were able to app smash 
Explain Everything and Book Creator to create this adorable book
you can download off iTunes 

The book actually takes you through how we completed the project 
as well as sharing our thoughts about making the grinch grin 
as our final projects.

It was SUPER easy to create using the BookCreator app!
and IF you have an iTunes account, you can upload books for free 
using the ePub file from the app!

Here's how we used the two apps together to create our book...
forgive the different photos...we were working on the Grinch books 
 at the same time we were working on Reindeer Fact Books my photos got mixed in and together.

We completed the art project and displayed them on a 
"Check it Out Museum Wall"
The kids opened the Explain Everything app on an iPad
and took a picture of their artwork to include in their page.
Once the picture has been sized and twisted to the direction they 
want it to look, students begin to type in the words from 
their story/paragraph. 
(I usually have them create the paragraph or story in their journal first...
then we can talk about revisions and improvements BEFORE they type.)
Explain Everything easily allows students
the ability to change fonts, colors, and sizes as they work.
They can type their words and then use the stylus to sign their finished 
product, just like real artists :)
We saved the finished pictures from the Explain Everything app 
to our class Dropbox account so we could upload each picture into 
a book made on one iPad.

Our next eBook integrated a 
project from Art Class, 
writing Non-Fiction Paragraphs using PowTide 
and a new app
We created two versions for this project...
The first one with no videos
and a second one using the movies we created with ChatterPix Movies

We formulated a TIDE graphic organizer to show the things we
had learned about Laurel Burch
Using the "tree map" organizer, we created our
rough drafts of non-fiction paragraphs about Laurel.
Student took pictures using the iPad camera and imported the picture
into the fabulous app ChatterPixKids
Then the kids had 30 seconds to record their story about Laurel Burch

So....what's so special about that???
Check out the the MOUTH MOVING!
We were able to upload the videos into Book Creator and then type our
final version of the paragraphs in our very first try at 
a two page spread for each child.

You'd be AMAZED at how quickly the students were able to pick up 
the steps to create their own pages.
They were showing each other how to change colors of the page backgrounds,
change the fonts, and make sure everything matched!
The support from Book Creator developers was fantastic!
They have tons of tutorials and answer questions super quick!

I exported the final book from the Book Creator App to my computer 
and was able to upload it to the iTunes Producer where it was  
reviewed and approved for iTunes stores.
There's a TON of techie bloggers who have created 
"how to" presentations on publishing books 
on iTunes using iTunes Producer!
I'm in the process of putting together some PD slides on how
we submit our books...keep checking back for more :)

You can also send a pdf of the completed book s
o that people without apple products
can see the final production as well. 

I hope you'll take a moment and download a copy of our books
from iTunes and check out what they look like for yourself!
I am SO incredibly excited about the possible books the students 
can create and share with the world around them... students don't know it yet, but I'm curently planning with some teachers
in other states to see if we can come up with some ways we can globally share in the 
creation of stories and publish for everyone to enjoy!
Think....googledoc, skype,...uhmmm email?

Do you create books with your kids?
Have you tried to integrate technology yet?
I'd love to hear more about how things are working for you!

PS....want to learn more about publishing on iTunes?
Check out this great set of posts...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Flashback Thursday for QR Codes ABC Order

I was looking back at some of the files I've created using QR codes and 
Found these adorable Leprechauns from

You can read more about how I use the cards in my class
and download a free set from this 

You can also find it using the 
Find It Fast
links in the margin....
under ABC order :)