Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Math and Writing Fun with Doodle Buddy App

It’s our second week of second grade and we’ve been working hard at getting our center routine down while reviewing various concepts.  I wanted to pop in and share an engaging and practical app called Doodle Buddy that we’ve already used a few times in centers. 

Our first math unit deals with writing addition number sentences, so I had my kiddos use Doodle Buddy to create their own picture representations of joining two groups together.  The Doodle Buddy app has all sorts of fun stamps to choose from and the kids can doodle their addition sentence right underneath their picture.  Here are a couple examples.

We also used Doodle Buddy in conjunction with Katie King’s Convention Camp centers to review writing complete sentences.  (Side note: Even though we’re 1:1, I feel it’s still important for children to write with pencil/paper every day.)  
My students chose a stamp and then typed a sentence about it, making sure it had the components of a “Spectacular Sentence."

I love that this app has both a doodle and a text feature.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that it’s FREE!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My First Week of Second Grade

Whew!  I made it through my first week and I’m officially a primary teacher again.  I say this every time I change grade levels, but I really think second grade is my new favorite grade.:)  I have an amazing class of only 19 kiddos this year.  I’ve always had 27 or 28, so this is a real treat for me.. even though I know it most likely won’t last. 

This year, each of my second graders will have their very own iPad to use all day at school, and they will even have the option to take it home each night.  I thought this door display would be fitting to welcome people into our 1:1 iPad classroom.  I just love the adorable iPad graphics by my friend Kate and the cute letter clipart by the amazing Megan Favre. 

After going over our technology expectations, the first thing I had my kiddos do with their iPads was take a selfie and set it as their wallpaper.  This way, the students will be able to easily tell which iPad is theirs.

We started doing some math review centers, and I was even able to throw in some QR code activities since most of my students had experience using them.  Several of my students had Amanda from Learning to the Core last year as their teacher, so they were excited to hear that they’d be using QR codes a lot in second grade.  Here they are working on a true/false addition sort from my QRazy for QR Codes pack. 

Since I plan on using QR code scavenger hunts for most of the math skills I teach, I wanted to get my students used to the format early on.  Here’s one of my boys working hard on an addition/subtraction hunt. 

In reading, we’ve been working on building our stamina during Daily 5.  I was super excited to introduce my kiddos to our QR code listening center.  

I made the center into a bulletin board that I will change out every so often with new stories.  Students walk up to the board, scan a QR code, and listen to the story at their seat or on the carpet.  I also plan on having them fill out a response sheet each time they listen to a story.

You can check out this listening center pack in my TpT store.  It comes with 40 stories, a listening center sign, and four generic response sheets that work with any fictional story. 

All in all, it was very successful first week back at school.  The highlight of my week, however, was standing up as Matron of Honor in my BFF’s wedding.  Here I am with the teeny-tiny, gorgeous bride.  
Now I'm off to spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing and resting up for another busy week of second grade!  I hope everyone's having a smooth start to their school year.:)   

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tune into Technology Linky: QR Codes (Plus a Giveaway!)

Welcome to our last link-up for this summer’s Tune into Technology series.  Thanks to everyone who has linked up and inspired us to try new techie things in our classrooms.  Keep the great ideas coming!  This week’s topic is the one I’ve been waiting for all summer—QR codes!  QR codes are such an innovative and versatile learning tool, and we can’t wait to check out how you use them in your classrooms.  You can link up at the end of this post or at Learning to the Core.
Graphics by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes
If you’ve been following my blog, then you’re probably aware that I’m *slightly* obsessed with QR codes.  We use them on a daily basis during math workshop with self-checking QR code task cards.  I love that my students can get immediate feedback while I’m busy working with small groups. 

My students use both iPads and laptops to scan QR codes.  Many people are unaware that you can scan QR codes on a laptop/desktop, but here’s a post about the app we use called QR Journal.  In the picture below, you can see one of my kiddos checking her work after solving a multi-digit subtraction problem.
I have created many QR code scavenger hunts because my kiddos often need to get up and move around during math.  Here’s how my math scavenger hunts work:  Students find the phone that says “Start” and scan the QR code to reveal the first question.  Each QR code leads them to the next phone until they complete the hunt.  They record their answers and show their work on a recording sheet, which I check at the end of math. 

I like to have my students work in partners so they can work through problems together and discuss their thinking.  Since my hunts are different colors, I can leave several skills up at the same time to differentiate and also to avoid traffic jams.  Below is a picture of two of my girls working hard on a place value scavenger hunt. 
Click HERE to try an upper elementary set for FREE!
Click HERE to try a primary set for FREE!
Another way I get my students up and moving around is with I Spy activities.  They solve a problem and get immediate feedback by scanning the QR code.  You could hang up self-checking QR code task cards around your classroom to create your own I Spy activity. 
Click HERE to try an upper elementary set for FREE!
Click HERE to try a primary set for FREE!
One of my goals for this past year was to do more student-created activities with QR codes.  A couple of my high-achievers created their own scavenger hunt for nonfiction text features.  They cut out pictures from nonfiction magazines and used QRstuff.com to create the QR code clues.  The rest of the class took turns solving the hunt, and brought it to the little smarty pants to check their work.  Here’s a picture of some of the cards from the hunt.
We used the two bulletin boards in the back of the room for student-created interactive bulletin boards.  One was an inference bulletin board for which the students used clues to describe something without giving too much away.  They checked one another’s inference puzzles by scanning the QR codes.  The other was a word problem board.  Students could create any type of word problem for their classmates to solve by checking the QR codes.  I’ve never seen my kiddos so excited to solve word problems!
Click HERE to see my previous post on this activity.
Another one of my favorites was our U.S. Regions QR code bulletin board.  My students worked in cooperative groups to research one of the regions and put together their choice of presentation as long as it included the basic information I asked for.  The QR codes you can see link to various PowerPoint presentations, iMovies, websites, and Prezis.

I’m not a big tutorial person, so if you’re looking for step-by-step tutorials on how to create some of these activities, I’d like to direct you to my friend Tabitha’s blog.  On this page you can find very detailed tutorials on how to scan QR codes, create QR code resources, attach text, hyperlinks, images, etc. to a QR code.  She’s got some great freebies too, so go check her out!

I’ve embedded some links to freebies within this post, but here’s a list with some more if you’re interested in trying out QR codes for yourself this year. 


As a thank you for participating in our linky and to give more teachers an opportunity to try QR codes in their classrooms, Amanda, Aylin and I are having a giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive their choice of $10 to spend in EACH of our stores.  That is a total of $30 worth of QR code products!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  This giveaway ends Friday night at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tune into Technology Linky: iPads

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Tune into Technology linkup!  This week we are sharing how we use iPads in the classroom.  If you are fortunate enough to have iPads, we’d love to hear about any must-have apps or management tips you have.  You can link up at the end of this post or over at Learning to the Core.
Graphics by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes
This year my students and I became infatuated with augmented reality.  If you're unfamiliar with AR, it essentially allows you to make images interactive by creating another layer—or “overlay.”  The first AR project we tried was a biography research project.  My students created “auras” of themselves speaking in the first person about the famous person they researched.  Each video was attached to a photo of that person, so when people held an iPad up to the photo, the video would magically appear.  You can read more this project and see a video of what it looked like here. 

My 4th graders also used AR to display their human body system iMovie projects.  In the picture below, you can see my students at the bulletin board watching iMovies about the various body systems.  You can read more about this project and see a couple videos of it in action here.

Here’s an example of a teacher-created AR bulletin board/science center.  After our field trip to the local zoo, I made some auras of various animals we observed.  The students watched the videos and recorded the physical and/or behavioral adaptations they observed.  Click here to see a video of this center in action.

The only app I’ve used for augmented reality is Aurasma, and it’s worked well for me.  Erin Klein has some great examples as well as tutorials if you’re interested in trying AR.

One of my kiddos’ favorite apps, Cyperchase Shape Quest, has an augmented reality aspect to it.  They have to use spatial reasoning and modeling to “patch” the path so the animals can get across.  As you can see in the picture, my student is holding the iPad over the game board, which makes it come to life.  All you have to do is print out the game board and hold the iPad up to it.. then watch the magic unfold!  This app has two other games included and it is FREE, so I highly recommend checking it out.

Chicken Coop Fraction Games was another app that we loved.  It has an estimating fractions game that’s free and super engaging.

Oh No Fractions is free app for which students have to determine whether the fraction on the left is greater than, less than, or equal to the fraction on the right.  I like that it gives the option of showing a visual model of the fractions if needed.

Marble Math Lite: Multiplication is unique in that students actually have to tilt the iPad so they could roll the marble around the board and come up with the solutions.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you probably know that we get a lot of use out of QR code scanning apps on the iPads.  I frequently put up scavenger hunts and I-Spy activities to get my students up and moving around the room.  
There are tons of free QR code scanning apps when you search in the app store, but one of my favorite free ones is i-nigma.  Next week's Tune into Technology theme is QR codes, so I will share more then.. but if you want to try an activity for free in the meantime, click on any of the images below.



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