Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free iPad Apps for Practicing Money Concepts

Money always seems to be such a difficult concept for primary students, and if I’m being completely honest, I usually tend to dread teaching it.  However, this year the iPads have helped make our money centers much more engaging and interactive, and my students are really starting to grasp the tough money concepts.  Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite FREE apps for money practice.

Amazing Coin offers several interactive games dealing with identifying and counting coins, making change, and money patterns.  My students especially love the rewards that allow them to buy food in the store.

Coin Crash is a fast-paced game that requires students to flick coins up to reach the specified amount.  The levels get progressively harder and faster, but they can use bombs to keep the coins from growing out of control.  If the coins reach the top, then it’s game over!

My students love Coin Catcher Lite because they have to actually tilt their iPad to catch the specified coins.  There are ten exciting levels they must beat in order to save the princess.

For Lil’ Kitten Shopping Cart, students search through aisles of a grocery store to get specified items on a grocery list.  They get to practice real-life skills such as budgeting and saving money with this app.

Tiny Chicken Learns Currency: Farmer’s Market is a great app for practicing making change.  It gets progressively harder as the children get the change amounts correct.  This app is perfect for keeping your higher students engaged and challenged.  

In addition to these apps, we used our iPads to get up and moving around the classroom with a QR code scavenger hunt and an I Spy activity. 

I whipped up some money centers with QR codes so that my students would have some engaging center activities to do independently.  I love that my students can get immediate feedback by scanning the QR codes while I’m busy working with guided groups. 

Click here or the image below to check out my QRazy for Coins pack on TpT.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Geometry Fun With iPads

We just wrapped up my absolute favorite unit to teach—geometry.  Today I’m sharing some free apps and activities we used for practicing 2D and 3D shape concepts. 

Cyberchase Shape Quest is a free app that has three different activities included.  Patch the Path, which uses 3D augmented reality, was my students’ favorite.  They need to use spatial memory, visualization and modeling skills to “patch” the path so the animals can get across. 

For the Hide and Seek game, students must uncover the specified geometric shapes to find their animal friends.  It’s great practice for geometry vocabulary as well as number of sides, right angles, etc.  

For Feed the Critters, students use spatial reasoning to flick food to the hungry critters. 

Cyberchase 3D Builder is another free app that helps students understand how 3D shapes are made from simple 2D shapes.

Since geometry is so easily applicable to the real world, we went on a shape hunt around the school and outside the building.  When we got back to the classroom, my students compiled their pictures into collages using the free app Pic Collage.  Here’s one of the finished products.

We also used the free app Skitch to label attributes of some of the shapes they found.

Of course I had to throw some QR codes into the mix for this unit.  My kids did this 2D shape QR code scavenger hunt around the classroom.  Each time they scanned a QR code on a phone, it led them to the next shape.

They also completed some self-checking QR code task cards and other centers from my new geometry pack.

And last but not least, what’s a geometry unit without GeoBoards?!  I learned about this awesome free GeoBoard app from my friend Amanda.  We used it to practice our basic shapes and then I projected various designs onto my Apple TV for my kids to try.  I got the designs from her Geoboard Mania pack.

Monday, December 8, 2014

#Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week a.k.a. the Hour of Code kicked off today!  Last year 15 million students participated in the Hour of Code, and this year the goal is to get 100 million students worldwide to do an Hour of Code by the end of 2014!  Here’s a little intro video from Code.org if you’re unfamiliar with what The Hour of Code is all about.  

I fully support their philosophy that every 21st-century student should have the opportunity to learn computer science.  If you’ve never tried coding before, Code.org is a great place to start.  It offers a variety of self-guided tutorials from kindergarten up featuring Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, and even Frozen!  Here are a couple of my cuties working on an Angry Birds maze sequence.

There’s no prep work required of the teacher, except maybe showing one of these videos to get your students motivated.  I personally love the inspirational message from President Barack Obama.

After learning the basics from Code.org, I let my students experiment with the free app Scratch Jr. today.  They had a blast programming their characters to move, jump, dance, and even talk.  If you’re lucky enough to have iPads, I’d definitely recommend this app for little ones!

Happy coding!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

QRazy About QR Codes Guest Blogger

I’m so excited to be doing a guest blogging exchange today with Tabitha from Flapjack Educational Resources.  Tabitha may be the only person I know that's QRazier than I am.;)  Enjoy her post!

Hey, ya'll! I am so happy Kristin has given me the opportunity to collaborate with her on our love of QR codes in the classroom. My blog is FlapJack Educational Resources and be sure to check out Kristin's post there. We also are giving away our best upper elementary QR code resources to a special winner, so check that out at the end of the post!

Here are some ways I've incorporated QR codes in my 4th grade math classroom:


In this simple game, students have fun while also self-checking each other and practicing important math skills. This game practices identifying prime numbers and you can grab it for free here.




I have also created some self-checking worksheets that keep students engaged and motivated. The self-checking aspect of QR codes allows students to self-assess and also saves me a lot of time in checking their progress.


However, putting QR codes together on worksheets can really get in the way of the codes' scan-ability. I've created QR code blockers to help remedy that problem. You can download the above worksheet and the QR code blockers for free here.


Task Cards

I love creating QR code task cards and doing "Solve the Room" type activities. Kristin Kennedy's task cards are a favorite of mine. These long division cards I've created can be found for free here.


How does "Solve the Room" work? You place cards around the walls of your classroom, preferably in number order. I used the Stikki Clips found at Amazon to easily place and remove cards. Students take their math journals and solve the problems around the room, going in whichever order they choose. Recording sheets and clipboards can also be used. My kids usually work in partners because we do not have devices for every student.

I actually purchased some used iPods with my own money and I have found these pantyhose organizers at Amazon to be a super way to store them. I just sliced holes in the backs of each pocket to run the cables through to a power strip filled with charging cables.

QR Code Jenga

 We love using Jenga to practice math facts and such, so I also created some fraction QR code labels to adhere to Jenga blocks. Students must answer the problem correctly before stacking the block or pulling it out once the tower is constructed. Grab this freebie here.



Class Memories QR Code Frame

I created an Evernote list with all of our class videos I had created throughout the year. I connected the Evernote to a QR code and added it to this framed portrait for students to scan and watch our memories videos in their free time. You can find instructions and the free frame template at my YouTube channel.



Class Website QR Code Business Card

At the beginning of the year, I created a QR code business card magnet to gift to parents. Since QR codes are becoming more and more popular, many people have the app to scan them, and it's a great way to increase parent communication. It also gave a heads-up to parents that we will be using QR codes a lot in our classroom. You can see how to create your own here.


Student-Created Tutorials

I had some of my students create a demo video with the educreations app on how to do lattice multiplication. I then created QR codes of the videos in poster format for the rest of the class to scan and learn from their peers. You can find more detailed instructions here.


Multiplication QR Code Posters

Students created their own multiplication problems and their own QR answers. I displayed them on a wall and had the students solve each others problems and self-check by scanning the QR codes. See more instructions here.



QR Code Checkers

If you have a checkers game lying around, you can turn it into a fun QR code math center. I have created labels for practicing mental math skills and finding the GCF and LCD. Grab the free labels here.



QR Code Behavior Coupons

I don't know when I will stop using these coupons. Students continue to love them year after year. All you have to do is print out the squares, mix them up in a container, and allow students to randomly choose one. They don't know what they'll get until they scan it. Then they write their name and what it was on the back and save it until they're ready to use it. Most of the rewards do not cost anything. Grab the free English version here and the Spanish version here.


You can find more freebies, tutorials, and resources at my QR Code Classroom Craze page.

And be sure to stop by my blog to see all of Kristin's super QR code classroom ideas!

And now for the giveaway! Kristin and I have put together our top upper-elementary QR code resources into one big bundle! If you win, you'll receive all of the following (click on each to see more details):





The giveaway ends Saturday, December 13th, at midnight EST. Enter now for a chance to win a ton of QR code classroom fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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