Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5+5 Great Division One Art Sites

We often don't really think of digital art for younger students, other than maybe making a card using a computer program such as MS Paint or Google Drawing. However, there are a few sites you may want to bookmark. Here are some websites for your consideration:

Five Sites Where You Can Easily Print What You Make

  1. ArtPad - A virtual canvas (good for Pointillism).
  2. Build Your Wild Self - make a digital human that has animal characteristics.
  3. Interactive Art at the Chicago Institute of Art (choose play with art, then mask maker)
  4. Make-A-Flake - A Snowflake Maker (there are a few clicks needed to be able to print)
  5. NGAkids Art Zone (you need Shockwave) 

Five Sites Where You Cannot Easily Print What You Make But Are Fun

You could print from your browser and print the screen for the sites below. Some of the following websites have ways to save and then print. However these would require a lot of steps that may make printing with younger students challenging. So just enjoy having your students creating!
  1. Jackson Pollock - make your own abstract Jackson Pollack painting by simply using a mouse.
  2. Picasso Head - make your own Picasso portrait. (you can email/save your creation and use your browser options to print)
  3. 3D Snowflake Creator
  4. Virtual Lite-Brite
  5. Zoopz Mosaic Builder

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Digital Kids, Digital Storytelling!

    Tell me a fact and I’ll learn
    Tell me a truth and I’ll believe

    Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever

    Why use Digital Storytelling?
    • Engagement: digital kids live in a world of sound, images and text
    • Student choice: allows for all learning styles to be addressed
    • Critical thinking skills: matching sound and images to text

    When to use Digital Storytelling?


    • Show What You Know in...
      • Social: Explore a province, Edmonton, etc
      • Science: Show the water cycle, life cycle, circuit
      • Math: Explain how to add,subtract or how to use a graph
      • Health: Show healthy foods
      • LA: storytelling, retellings, book reports

    Using Digital Storytelling with Division One:

    Kindergarten: For kinders, digital storytelling is best done by the teacher using student input. Check out this video using student created letters for the ABCs. Consider taking pictures of student work and uploading it to Animoto. It's a great tool for conferences!

    Grade 1: Digital storytelling in Grade 1 can follow the same idea as kinders at the beginning: the teacher uploads student work and creates the digital story. As the year progresses, older buddy classes can support Grade 1s as they develop their own digital stories. Here is an example of a collaboration between Grade 5 and Grade 1 on Edmonton Landmarks. Once this collaboration was done, the Grade 5s assisted their buddies to create another Google Slides on All About Me. Eventually, the Grade 1s were able to create their own set of Google Slides with minimal support. 

    Grade 2: If your Grade 2s don't have any experience in digital storytelling tools, then a buddy class can support them as for the Grade 1s above, leading them to independence in developing their own stories. 

    Grade 3: By Grade 3, your students are very capable of being shown and supported in creating their own stories! 

    Beginning with Digital Storytelling:

    I always suggest that you are best to start with a simple project, such as All About Me, when teaching students the use of a digital tool. Remember, you are teaching the use of the tool, not the subject, when you first begin. Once students have used the tool, they can focus on curricular objectives. A popular topic is polar bears. We find one image and use the Online Reference Centre to find one fact, create our digital story and share.

    Tools for Digital Storytelling:


    Brainstorming tools can be as simple as your whiteboard and a marker, or can be digital. Here are some digital tools that you can use as a whole class or individually in Grades 2 and 3. 
    Popplet: Mindmapping: can be printed or exported as a PDF
    Padlet: Online sticky notes
    Webbing: ReadWriteThink’s online webbing tool

    • Upload images, write short bits of text and add music to create a moving slideshow
    Animoto is a tool best introduced with a buddy class who has used it before. I have used it with Grade 3's after March, and they were able to use it, however, I had a parent volunteer who I had trained in its use help me when I first showed students how to use it.

    • Collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos
    • Allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).

    Voicethread is best used as a teacher-driven form of digital storytelling. Students can create the artwork or take the pictures, and then, using a microphone connected to the computer, narrate their story or verbalize their learning. Ways to use Voicethread in the classroom:

    • Document your last field trip.
    • Have students create a story to show their learning.
    • Use it to build a collaborative understanding of a specific image or story.
    • Grade One Voicethread on mini-legends

    Google Slides

    As a Google Apps district, Google Slides are easy to access and use with students as it is part of their student account! Once again, this is a tool that would be best introduced as a buddy activity if you want your students to create individual stories. Once they are used to it, they will be creating their own slideshows at home and sharing them with you!
    • Slideshow tool that uses pictures, videos and text to tell your story
    • Students can create their own presentation or can edit one slide to create a classroom presentation
    • Alternative to Powerpoint if you want students to work from home
    • Can also be downloaded as a PowerPoint if necessary

    Little Bird Tales is not a free site, although you can get a free personal account. With that account, you can create class stories. If you want to have an account for your whole class, it is $25. However, Little Bird Tales is wonderful for students who are in Grade 1, as it doesn't require that students be proficient readers in order to create a story.
    • Walks younger users through each step of creating a multimedia story
    • Can upload images, draw images, or record from webcams
    • Can use text or narrated by students using microphones
    • Free lesson plans on the site

    StoryJumper is a free site for teachers and students. They make their money through selling hardcover copies of student work. StoryJumper is wonderful for students who are in Grade 3 and students and parents who want to create stories together at home. Teachers can create classes through the Classroom Edition, and use the Story Starter Guide to get students started.
    • Gives students a set of intuitive tools for writing and illustrating their stories
    • Can also read other stories by students online
    • Pre-made scenes and props, or upload pictures and use students' own artwork
    • Can create your own classroom, allowing students the opportunity to work on Story Jumper at home
    • I Have Many Feelings: Book written by classroom teacher

    Back to....Beginning with Digital Storytelling:

    Digital storytelling can seem overwhelming when you are looking at a class of Division 1 students, many of whom struggle with story writing at the best of times. Think of the gift you are giving them...the understanding that a story does not ALWAYS need to be told with a pen and paper. Once they can use the technology, you are setting them free to use the higher level thinking skills that come with storytelling.
    Review the resources on this page and CHOOSE ONE. Choose one that you are comfortable with and play with it yourself. Then introduce it to your students. Bring in any parent volunteers you can or buddy yourself up with another class or teacher. You will find the time and effort worth your while!

    More Resources
    There are far more ways on heaven and earth to tell a story, Horatio! (Shakespeare as mangled by me!)

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Using the Grey Matter: Feedback On Presentations

    One Idea Leads To Another

    A little while ago, I started using Google Drawing and then Presentation for digital worksheets with students. When doing so, I often put the things I wanted the students to manipulate on the grey area beside the drawing/slide. That gave me an idea - that I could use that space to provide feedback or instructions to students. 

    Being a fan of Poirot, I liked the idea of using the little "grey cells" aka grey matter (which processes information in the brain).

    Enhancing An Old Project

    One of my first Presentation projects I did with students was having them create a cultural presentation on the Inuit. I continue to do this project for social studies. This year I decided to try providing visual feedback to students before their work was marked. The main reason for this is that I have some students not reading at grade level, so the comment function in Google Apps is not always effective for those students as they still require me to read it to them. I want to build as much independence, and with that responsibility, as possible. 

    Visual And Written Feedback

    I reduced the criteria we had set as a class into point form. 
    • 4 correct ideas and 2+ images
    • 3 correct ideas and 2+ images
    • 2 correct ideas and 1+ images
    • minimal work is correct/complete.
    In front of each phrase I drew a circle.

    Then I added this mini-rubric to each slide on my template prior to sharing it with students to work on. 

    When students were mostly done the project, I went through each Presentation and filled in the circle that I felt was representative of the work done on each slide. Then students were given one last time to work on their project.  I used green to fill in the top three circles as all of those were considered a pass. The bottom one I filled in with yellow to bring attention to that fact that that slide needed work before it was marked. If no work was done at all, no circles were filled in.

    Prior to letting them start, I went over what the each line said and we discussed that the top circle represented a "wow" great work and the bottom one represented a reminder to correct or complete work done on that slide. 

    While my students who struggle with reading might not have been able to read all the phrases, they were able to easily see and understand which slides needed to be "moved up" as one student put it. As a result they were able to start working on those slides that needed attention immediately. 

    Added Bonus

    What is nice bonus is that when students present their work using the present button, the feedback will not show. 

    Rinse and Repeat

    Like all things, the more we use something, the more effective we become at it. So I used it for the next Presentation students completed as well. This time students were doing a final project for math (3D objects). 

    Again, I reduced the marking rubric to point form and drew circles in front of each statement. Students were again reminded that the top circle represented a "wow" and the bottom represented not ready to hand in.
    • correct, in-depth, precise, purposeful
    • correct, complete, relevant , thoughtful
    • mostly correct, generally complete, acceptable  
    • minimal work is correct and/or complete.
    Below is an example of the work that was first submitted. Then I provided some feedback. The second below is my feedback and the work that resulted from it.



    In general, I was really please with how well it worked. Students were able to quickly focus on the slides that needed the most attention with more independence; it freed me up to work with students with the highest need of support .. It was also useful for me when working with students as I could do a quick scroll review/see what slides needed the most attention when helping students with their work. I will definitely continue to use this strategy.

    What's Next? Self Assessment

    Rita Sarrate had a good suggestion: You could also use it as self-assessment, by letting them underline the sentence that applies to how they think their work is, before you assess. I think once students have this system as a part of their work routine, it would interesting to see how it could be used for self assessment with younger students.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Unleash Your Students' Knowledge With ScreenChomp!

    Recently, I attended a professional learning opportunity on assessment which was led by Myron Dueck.  Myron is the author of "Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies That Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn", and a leading authority and speaker on effective assessment in the classroom.  In one of his sessions, Myron shared with us the use of using whiteboards for assessing children in the classroom.  Essentially the student shows their learning of a particular concept using a small whiteboard and marker while explaining their understanding.  The teacher or another student can record the "whiteboarding" session with a camera or tablet.  The teacher can then assess the student's learning and also show the child's learning during parent/teacher meetings or student led conferences.

    The day after the professional learning opportunity, I ordered thirty whiteboards from Scholastic using my Bonus Bank.  When the whiteboards arrived, I was eager to get started.  I gave pairs of students a whiteboard and an iPad and asked them to show six ways to represent numbers which was a concept we covered previously in math.  One student would show their knowledge on a whiteboard while the other student would record the "whiteboarding" session over the shoulder of the presenter.  This was a fantastic way to gain insight into a child's thinking and it also provided a powerful sample of work I could use for assessment and/or evaluation.

    One other reason I wanted the students to record their thinking was to share their "whiteboarding" videos on our YouTube channel so that other children who may be struggling with a specific concept could watch our student videos and hopefully learn from children their own age.  This is essentially the same strategy to learning that Khan Academy has been so successful with.  The issues I have found with the above "whiteboarding" strategy has been camera shake, lots of noise from the camera, and often a limited view of the student's work.  Enter the ScreenChomp app.

    ScreenChomp is an amazing iPad app produced by Techsmith, the same company who brings us fantastic software such as Camtasia, Snagit and Jing to name a few.  The app is completely free to download and use and the simplicity of the program is pretty amazing for division one students.  My students were able to essentially pick up the iPad and create some pretty awesome videos after playing with the app for only a few minutes.

    There are many ways that students and teachers can use ScreenChomp in the classroom.  Some examples are:
    • Students demonstrating their knowledge on specific concepts (e.g., rock/water cycle, math concepts, verbs/nouns).
    • Teaching a concept for a student who was absent or for a flipped classroom.
    • Students creating videos for other students to learn.
    • Teacher lessons and extension activities
    • Students creating videos about their families
    • Demonstrating traditional and cursive handwriting
    • The possibilities are endless

    Examples of Student Created ScreenChomp Videos

    Here are some ScreenChomp videos that students from my grade three classroom created.  This is a YouTube Playlist so you can skip between videos.  Also, text was added to the video using Movie Maker.

    ScreenChomp is extremely easy to use and I encourage you to play with it and let your students create videos on a topic of their choice.  Below is an extensive tutorial on how to use ScreenChomp.

    ScreenChomp Tutorial

    Main Screen on ScreenChomp- Refer to image below

    • Your ScreenChomp Videos - this is where your videos save to.  You can see in the image below that I have 3 created videos there.
    • Adding Backgrounds - here you can add a background image as you will see later.
    • Complete Erase - if you hold this picture down, it will erase the entire whiteboard except backgrounds.
    • Multiple Pens - you can set the pen colors/thickness ahead of time or on the fly as you will see below.
    • Eraser - this allows you to erase like a normal eraser.
    • Record Button - press this button to begin recording your whiteboarding session.

    Main Screen on ScreenChomp

    Creating Videos Using ScreenChomp

    Hannah creating a ScreenChomp video
    Adding a Background Image

    When you start creating a video on ScreenChomp, you may want to add a background image.  In this example, I am adding an image of the water cycle for a student to explain.  First you need to click on the "Background Image" tab as seen below and choose where you would like to upload the image from. You can choose an image:

    1. on your camera roll by selecting, "Choose From Library",
    2. from your Dropbox account.
    3. by taking a photo using your iPad.

    Background Choices

    After you choose your image, you can move it, resize it, or rotate it.

    Move, Zoom, or Resize the Background

    Below is the image of the water cycle inserted and ready to go for my "whiteboarding" session.

    Water Cycle Background Added

    Setting the Pens

    You can always change the pen colors and thickness while you create your video but I like to have three pen colors chosen before I record my video.  To do this, just choose one of the pens and a color/thickness screen will popup.  See the image below.  Choose a pen color and thickness for each pen.

    You Can Change the Pen Color and Thickness

    Recording Your "Whiteboarding" Session

    You are now ready to record your video.  To record, just hit the "record" button.  Once you press the record button, you will be given a countdown screen like the one below.

    Countdown to "Whiteboarding" Session

    Your ScreenChomp session will begin when the countdown session is over and you will know it is recording because you will have a microphone and timer in the upper right hand corner (see above image).  During the recording, you can do several things like pause the recording, change pens and colors, erase small sections or completely erase the entire screen except the background.  You can also scroll to a new white space.

    Full Erase and Spot Erase
    To erase everything except the background, you can hold down the "Complete Erase" image for three seconds.  A cloth will appear and will erase the screen.  The cloth does not show up in your video.  To erase only small sections of the pen drawings, you can choose the eraser and erase on the screen.  

    Two Eraser Options - Complete or Spot Erase

    While recording, you can scroll up or down.  This will give you white space where you can continue your "whiteboarding" session.  To scroll, put two fingers on the screen and scroll up or down.  See the image below.

    Scroll Up or Down While Creating Video
    When you are done creating your video, press the "stop" button and your video will be saved.

    Saving Videos Created Using ScreenChomp

    Hannah enjoying ScreenChomp 
    Viewing your video
    You are done recording your video and are ready to preview it.  Once you press the stop button, the screen below appears.  From here you can:

         1. Playback the video
         2. Delete your video and try again
         3. Give you video a title
         4. Share your video

    Options For When Your Video is Created

    Saving Your Video
    In order to save your video, you need to choose the "Share" image above.  This will save your video back on the main ScreenChomp screen.  You can see in the image below that I have three saved videos and one that is currently saving.  Videos are saved on the ScreenChomp server but I like to download them in MP4 format.  This will be covered below.

    Where Your Videos Are Saved

    Accessing Your Saved Video
    You have now saved you video and you want to access the link or download it.  To do this, choose the video you wish to access from the files of saved videos.

    Accessing Your Saved Videos

    Once you choose the video you would like to access, the screen below will open.  From there, you can:
         1. Play the video - also in full screen
    Share It
         2. Copy the link
         3. Email the Link
         4. Tweet the video
         5. Open the video in Safari

    Sharing Your ScreenChomp Videos

    Downloading Your ScreenChomp Creation

    Downloading on your iPad
         1. From the screen above, click "Open in Safari"
         2. Safari will launch with your video.  Scroll down below your video and click on the "download"

    Downloading ScreenChomp Videos
    Downloading on your computer
         1. Choose "Email Link" (see two images above).
         2. Email the link to yourself so you can open the url on your computer.
         3. When you click on the link, you will be taken to your video like the above image.  
         4. Scroll down until you get to the option to "Download".  
         5. Click on "Download" and save it to your preferred location.

    If you have any comments or questions, please post them below.  I will update this post if questions arise.