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Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Activities to do on an iPad instead of a Worksheet

I always have teachers wanting to know how they can better utilize the iPad in their classrooms. I know that it's very easy when first receiving an iPad to take a worksheet that you have done for several years, and convert it to glass. But glass can be boring too, so I created this Breakfast Club session to give my teachers some ideas on ways to better utilize this powerful tool in their classrooms.
So the "activities" that I started coming up with started turning into all sorts of ideas and app suggestions.  I shared all of the ideas with the teachers that attended, but found myself particularly enjoying the conversations that we were having about some of the activities that are taking place in the classrooms at Aurora Public Schools.
Our teachers are doing great things with the iPads in their classrooms and it was great to have teachers share and learn from each other!  Here are some of the activities, ideas and apps that we talked about on how to better utilize the iPad in the classroom.

  • Create
  • Present
    • What if we allowed our students to demonstrate their understanding by NOT taking a written test? 
    • Haiku Deck, Prezi, ThingLink, PicCollage, Keynote, Presentain, Deck, Tellagami, Zoobe
    • Place word limits on slides
  • Collaborate
    • Get connected, it will revolutionize your classroom!
    • Teachers all over the world are wanting to participate in collaborative projects. 
    • Social MediaApp Suggestions-->Twitter, Hootsuite, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram
    • Monster Project, Mystery Skypes
    • Classroom Collaboration-->Google Drive, Padlet, Titan Pad
  • Code
  • Explain
    • Similar to presenting, but on a higher level
    • Download Explain Everything immediately.  This is one of the best (if not the best) app that you will have on your iPad. (All students 6-12 will have this year)
    • App Suggestions-->Educreations, ShowMe, Skitch, Adobe Voice, QR Codes (linked to or 30 Hands product)
  • App Smash
    • Combining multiple apps to create one product.  (prior blog post)
    • App smashing comes naturally to students.  Quit giving recipes (this is what I want it to look like) in your classroom and encourage app smashing! 
  • Discover
    • As human beings we are naturally curious.  Do you allow time to discover in your classroom? 
    • Allow time for students to discover the "why" using the iPad, by searching for more information about something you are teaching/learning.
    • Teach students how to better search on the internet using Google Operators
  • Explore
    • Discover and Explore are tied together
    • Are you teaching your content in a manner so that it creates a curious environment? 
    • Allow your students to explore using Google Earth, Google Maps, Social Media
  • Assess
    • Quit making trips to the copy machine and use the iPad instead!
      • Socrative
      • eBackpack quiz feature
      • Edmodo quiz feature
      • Google Forms
      • Class Dojo
      • Kahoot
      • Zondle
  • Communicate
    • Create a Twitter hashtag for your classroom or school (#aurorahuskies, #ahsbio, #ahs109)
    • Create a class Facebook page
    • Create a class Instagram account (hashtag as well)
    • Start blogging and sharing the awesome events that are taking place in your classroom!
    • Create and share an Animoto  
    • Use Remind to inform and educate parents. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sharing Items on the iPad with Sound? Just Chirp It!

I was stumped in Kindergarten.  We were creating books using the My Story app and the teacher and I wanted all of the students to be able to use the same pictures for each page of our book.  All of the pictures we wanted them to use were on Mrs. Ostdiek's iPad.  How in the world were we going to get the pictures to each student iPad? Email? Dropbox? Google Drive?  All those options had too many taps and would take too much time.

Then I remembered the Chirp app!  I had dabbled with it a couple years ago, but never really saw a good use for it...until now!

What is Chirp?  Chirp is an app that you can use to share photos, webpages, notes or links to websites....using SOUND!

We downloaded the Chirp app on our class set of iPads.  Mrs. Ostdiek then walked around the classroom "chirping" the images that she wanted to share.  We showed the students how to save the chirped images to their camera roll and our problem was solved and our books were soon completed!

I think Chirp is a great app for any classroom.  I really like the "note" and "link" feature.  You could use this app to check for understanding, chirp a website to your students/staff for immediate access or even to have students share products with the class that they have created on their iPad.

Happy Chirping!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Is the 'F' Word Holding You Back in Your Classroom?

No, I'm not talking about that word.  I am talking about the word FEAR.  In my four years as a technology coach I have had several teachers use the 'f' word in conversations with me....

"I'm fearful that my students know more about this than I do..."

"I'm afraid to change things up in my classroom, what I'm doing now has always worked..."

"I'm afraid that I will fail in front of my students..."

"I fear that the technology will fail, then my lesson will tank..."

I will admit that after about my third year of teaching, I started getting pretty comfortable with the routine(s) in my classroom.  Then in year seven, every student in grades 9-12 received a MacBook 

Fear immediately set in...

I was afraid that the device was going to be more interesting than me...

I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to engage my students...

I was afraid that I was going to have to change a lot of the things I was doing in my classroom...

I feared that the technology rich lesson I had planned would fail...

But you know what? Everything turned out alright.  I survived.  At first I allowed fear to hold me back, but slowly I started chipping away at those fears, taking chances and trying new things in my classroom. It truly was what was best for my students!

 I often think about how much better some of our classrooms could be if we could just get over the fear of changing, trying something new, teaching a different way than always have.  

I think the video below serves a powerful lesson for us as educators.  Think back to your childhood and a time that you were afraid to do something.  Now think of the moment you finally had the courage to conquer that fear.  It was exhilarating, wasn't it? It's exactly what you will see as you watch the video.

Now imagine some of the great things that would happen in your classroom if you would just quit letting FEAR hold you back.

Come on, change it up.  Get out of your comfort zones.  There are some pretty cool things waiting to happen in your classroom.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Extra! Extra! Learn All About It!"

Summer is a great time to recharge as a teacher.  It gives us that "time" that eludes us during the school year.   It's also my favorite time to teach teachers.  A very important part of my job as the technology coach of our district is to provide multiple learning opportunities for our teachers in regards to the educational technologies that are available to them.  I want these opportunities to be relevant and free of stress, and I also want teachers to be able to take something away that they can immediately use in their classrooms.

Last summer I came up with the concept of summer tech trainings that I refer to as "The Breakfast Club."  They are only an hour long and are on a variety of topics.  Teachers can learn how to become a connected educator, learn how to app smash, use social media in their classrooms,  to activities to do on an iPad instead of a worksheet.

The Breakfast Club was a hit, but I also wanted to differentiate for our teachers to best meet their individualized learning needs.  Not all learn well in a group setting, some teachers wanted a "guide by their side."

Starting this summer I will be offering a new learning opportunity called "Individualized Instruction." These trainings are tailored for the teacher in an one on one setting.  They simply email me with the details of what they would like to learn about and we set up a time to meet.  

What are you doing to make yourself a better teacher this summer?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hone Your Craft!

School is out.  All of your students are gone.  Your schedule is packed until the last week of July running your kids to and from activities, taking classes and squeezing in a family vacation.

I really hope you added some summer learning opportunities for yourself.  No, I am not talking about that grad class you are taking.  I'm talking about an opportunity to make yourself better as a teacher. Taking the time to evaluate what you taught this year and how you taught it.  Is there something that you could do differently?  You bet there is! NOW is the time to do it!  Don't teach that same lesson. It would be really easy to do, but you will become bored with it. Imagine what your students think!

Take some time to find an app that will supplement that lesson.  Find some time to start blogging or to create a website for your class.   Take time to become a connected educator (a decision you won't regret). Have that coffee with the colleague that you wanted to start a collaborative activity with but never had the time during the school year to plan.  

Have you taken time to hone your craft?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Thank you App Smashers!

Created from #appsmash4 hashtag using Tweetroot
Day four of the #appsmash4 challenge has come and gone...and I didn't complete day four!  I had every intention of sharing an app smash yesterday, but an old house got in the way.  Yes, an old house.  If you know me personally, you know that I have a weakness for old houses.  #colonyb is lucky enough to live in a 100 year old beauty and we absolutely love it. Well, long story short, a good friend of ours bought a 100 year old gem in our neighborhood and we ended up over there until 10:30 last night tearing up carpet after we figured out that there were beautiful oak floors underneath!  So much for creating sharing my day four app smash blog post as soon as I got home from golf practice.

After reviewing the #appsmash4 hashtag, I think you all had  it covered for me on day four.   All I can say is, "Wow!" Teachers from all over the world did an amazing job of sharing their favorite App Smashes.  I loved reading the tweets from teachers that saw something that piqued their interest and immediately went and turned a tweet they saw into an integration activity in their classroom(s).  Awesome!

Thank you to ALL that submitted and App Smash.  You all are doing amazing things in your classrooms.  Keep up the great work!

I want to personally thank Meghan Zigmond,  Sabba Quidwai, Holly Stachler  for their app smash contributions, and Stefanie Onieal and Jennifer Manning for having your students create and submit their app smashes!  If you haven't added these educators to your PLN, I would highly recommend doing so. They are doing some amazing things in regards to technology integration and I learned a bunch of great new ideas this week from their creative genius.

Keep on Smashing!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

#appsmash4 Challenge: Zoobe/Tellagmi in the Classroom

Day three of our #appsmash4 challenge brings us a very easy App Smash that can be done at any grade level in any subject.  This App Smash was introduced to me by our two fabulous Spanish teachers Rebecca Huls and Kara McNeese.  They do an outstanding job of enhancing their curriculums with technology in their classrooms and this App Smash is one of my favorites!

Smashing Steps
What's your objective?  Do you want students to summarize something?  Analyze? Recite?  Have them create a product for your objective using any app that will allow them to save to the photo library (Pic Collage, Doodlebuddy, Fonta, Skitch, ColorSplash, Labelbox)

Open Zoobe or Tellagami app and choose the characters (more customizing in Tellagami). Change the background to the product you just created, record your voice (or use one of the 16 voices in Tellagami). Save your finished product to your photo library.

Upload your product directly to YouTube from your photo library or you could create multiple products and stitch them all together in the iMovie app.


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