Recently I blogged over at Technology Tools for Teachers about online practice sites that would prepare students for Technology Enhanced Items (TEI) that are appearing on Common Core and state tests. These are not the traditional type of testing questions. Instead, they are computer-delivered items that drive higher order thinking which involve special interactions for collecting responses. Some examples of TEI questions include:
What do teachers do to get books into the hands of their students?
We ALL have or had students who struggle to find a passion for reading. Teachers will do anything to get an appropriate book into the hands of their students. We give students a reading interest inventory to find out their likes and dislikes. We go to the school library and pull a collection of books to bring back to our classroom. We even head to our local libraries to bring in books from outside of the school building with the hope that our students get excited about at least one of the titles.
Why do some students detest reading?
Many reasons contribute to this question but more often than not it is because they struggle. They struggle with decoding which obviously affects comprehension. Some students can decode but have difficulty making meaning out of the text they read.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have students who are really good readers but still don't enjoy getting down with a good book. Often times these students are used to being stimulated by video games and tech based activities. What can we do about this without replacing reading with completely digital content?
Why should I make augmented reality a part of my classroom library?
Having a few books that contain an element of augmented reality (the ability to product a unique interactive experience) to supplement the text is a great way to target struggling readers as well as those who simply don't enjoy reading for few reasons:
- Seeing images, figures and diagrams come to life can help assist comprehension
- Increases background knowledge
- Increases curiosity
- Increases excitement for learning new things
- It is ENGAGING!
With that being said, I DO think it is important for children to learn how to build their reading stamina with books alone--no technology involved.
Here is an example of one of the books I mention below (same one displayed in the picture above):
Children's Books with Augmented Reality
A few years ago I was walking through the library at one of my schools and noticed the Guinness Book of World Records book that was on display. These books were MY all time favorite to read as a child. As I approached the book I noticed the 3D advertisement sticker on the front. I was THRILLED. I immediately opened my iPad, downloaded the app and called the librarian over. We spent a solid half hour flipping through the pages ooohing and ahhhing as the text literally came to life right in front of our eyes! So first up on my list are the Guinness Book of World Records Books. All books posted below are Amazon affiliate links.
It seems as though the 2016 & 2017 editions do not contain the AR component😓
Let me know if you are able to find it!
Let me know if you are able to find it!
This book is appropriate for beginning readers. The main character, Ernie, wishes to be someone else throughout the book. Eventually he finds the joys of being himself. (This book reminds me a lot of Edward the Emu)
|My dog, Riley, isn't as excited as I am...|
This is another book for beginning readers. It is about a little boy who refuses to go to bed because he would rather play. His parents decide to take him on a trip around the world with the hopes that he will eventually tire out. Each page is animated and the text is read aloud to the child! You can demo three of the pages for FREE by clicking HERE.
This is another great AR book for small children! This book brings the alphabet to life through print, audio and video. It reminds me a lot of the app, AR Flashcards, that Anita Goodwin blogged about HERE.
This book is ideal for any child who loves fairies (I know several girls who would be obsessed with this book😍). This one is a little different since it uses a computer's webcam instead of an app along with software that comes as a CD (no internet required). Each page spread contains three different animations.
This is a story of a knight and his friends who discover an ancient treasure map. Together the friends embark on a journey to find the most valuable treasure in the world.
This popular film is now available in a children's book and contains several 3D animations! Students will have a blast seeing their favorite characters pop out of the pages.
This is another popular film that has turned into a 3D experience! This book tells about all of the characters from both Monsters Inc. movies. It isn't a story but text appears that tells all about the furry friends.
This interactive book is super cool and full of some pretty neat features. It is about a girl named Lulu who prepares ingredients and makes magical cupcakes for her sister. The app not only makes every page come to life, but you can also personalize the book by using the custom voice-recording feature!
Believe it or not, this augmented reality book is used in hospitals nationwide for therapy and relaxation. It is a great read for winding down from the day!
|My other dog, Rusty, hanging out with a giraffe|
Students will have fun learning all about the basic functions of blood cells that will open their eyes to the microscopic world.
Students will take a journey through the solar system as they learn about the history of Moon exploration as well as many other exciting facts.
This book is the PERFECT text to use when teaching severe weather. Students will experience the severity of different kinds of storms and will feel like they are right in the action.
This book will make students feel like they are walking with dinosaurs! I used this one a few weeks ago during a tutoring session and the little boy I was tutoring was absolutely amazed. I hate that I didn't get any pictures of it in action😓
This book captures all of the wonders of science. Learn about atoms, elements, sound waves, gravity and so much more!
This book would be great for any geology unit as it explores issues of our planet and its origin.
Where was this book when I taught Ancient Egypt in 2nd grade? Students will enjoy 3D images, music and games as they explore the world of Egypt 5,000 years ago.
These books are great for students in grades 1st-3rd and teach them how to create origami greeting cards, ornaments, decorations and more. They can use a smartphone or tablet to scan specific pages to watch videos for each project.
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Digital Citizenship in the ClassroomDigital Citizenship is an important topic that needs to be revisited throughout the year in every classroom. It should never be just a one and done unit that is taught at the beginning of the year and then never discussed again. Ideally digital citizenship should be introduced in kindergarten and continue through high school.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Have fun incorporating technology in the classroom as you celebrate National Reading Month
March is just around the corner and is National Reading Month! Have fun celebrating with your students by incorporating some of these meaningful techie ideas into your lessons.
Using technology for assessing a student's growth and deficits has a lot of benefits. When I was a classroom teacher, I found myself so incredibly frustrated with the amount of assessing going on in public school. Pre-tests, post-tests, re-tests, benchmark tests, state tests and the list goes on! Don't get me wrong. I think assessments are needed in order to document growth and determine a child's learning level; however, the amount of testing going on in our schools is absolutely absurd. It makes me so sad to see students AND teachers constantly stressed and the main reason is attributed to test scores. Therefore, using interactive ways to assess a student's learning level so it is meaningful and effective is something I want to dig deeper into this new year🎉
Winter Mentor Text for the Reading Skill Problem & SolutionWinter is in FULL EFFECT here in Ann Arbor, Michigan! I have survived my first "Polar Vortex" and had a beautiful white Christmas. I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday and you have had a chance to relax & recharge for the New Year🎉
Go digital this New Year and have your students make their New Year's Resolutions using an iPad and the two FREE apps: PicCollage/PicCollage Kids and Lumyer. The final product will result in an animated GIF that you can embed on your class blog/website, post on a Padlet wall or drag into a collaborative Google Slides presentation or Google Doc. Here are a few examples:
Technologies That Will Help with the Writing Process
This is a guest post by Lucy Adams.
Writing is a skill that can be improved through practice and outside tools. The most common tool used to help improve writing is a person of greater knowledge. However, you now can also use technology to help you in your journey to becoming a better writer or writing teacher.
How do you feel about having your students collaborate in Google Drive?Having students collaborate in Google Drive is one of my all time FAVORITE features of the entire cloud service. However, the collaboration component can take some getting used to for both students and adults! I remember my very first experience collaborating with others on a simple Google Doc and I was shocked, excited and sea sick all at the same time.
Some teachers I have worked with in the past have been hesitant to introduce their students to the collaborative component of Google because they are worried students will delete each others' work, get off task or are afraid one student will do all of the work. Therefore, here are 5 ideas that will help your students avoid these types of disasters when students are working on the same assignment:
1. Color Code
When students are quietly working in small groups or with another person in a far away land on the same Google Document, I like for them each to pick (or you can assign) a different font color to color code their ideas. I always have a small table available in the corner of the assignment so students can type their name next to the color that will distinguish their work. When students type what they would like to add to the assignment everyone will see who contributed which ideas. This is a great way to hold everyone accountable to contributing to their group work.
Here is an example from a group of students who collaboratively took notes on a research project about Ancient Egypt:
I always have a doc ready to go preloaded with this table (notice how yellow isn't a color?) This is the FIRST thing students fill out before working on the doc. If you are interested in trying this method then click HERE for a blank copy of this doc that includes the name color chart.
2. Sharing One Folder
When working with younger students who have a hard time with typing, THIS tip will save your sanity. We all know that it could easily take 1st graders 20-30 minutes just to login to a computer. Usernames and passwords these days have more characters than a Disney movie. Help us all if a child's username has the @ symbol, - hyphen or some other character that requires the hold of the SHIFT key. This all comes in time with LOTS of practice😄 Therefore, having younger students type another student's Google username into the SHARE box could easily take the entire class period. Side note: I DO believe this is an important skill for all students to learn....eventually.
To avoid the 30 minute hunting and pecking session that the Google collaboration share settings could potentially create with elementary students, simply make ONE Google folder preloaded with the template or assignment you want students to collaboratively complete.
For example, here is a folder entitled SCIENCE PROJECTS. Inside of the folder are 5 different blank Google Slide presentations I was able to create within seconds. I entitled each presentation with the group number so students would know which one to click on. Students visit the folder, click on their presentation and then the collaboration begins!
Don't forget💡 If you end up using this method you will have to change the share settings on the folder you create so students can access and edit the files. Click on the name of the folder>Share.
Next to Private click Change...
Change it to Anyone with the link CAN EDIT.
You will then be given the URL address that you can drop into Google Classroom, share via Google (if your school has created a Group address for your class), place wherever students go to easily click on links or turn into a smaller url using free tools like Tinyurl or Bitly.
3. Revision History
To do this, open the document, presentation, spreadsheet or drawing and go to File>Revision History. On the left hand side of your screen you will see everyone who has edited the file, how often they edited and the timestamp:
You also might want to click on Show more detailed revisions at the bottom of this menu to reveal more edits:
Note: When you pull up the revision history and click on a name, text that has been added will be highlighted within the file and text that has been deleted will be shown with a strikethrough.
4. Add Tables
Here is an example of one of those docs with a table. Students had created their own website using CheckThis and the teacher wanted the students to have access to each other's websites. So students added both their name and the url of their website to this one Google Doc and then the students could click on each other's websites quickly and easily. This was a class of 24 third graders who all added their information to ONE doc. Since this was their first time seeing a collaborative Google doc in action, I called out their numbers slowly. When they heard their number they knew they could start typing in their box. Just like any skill/concept you teach, you have to go slowly in the beginning. When they start to pick it up then you can speed up the process on collaborating on the same assignment!
|You gotta love the student who misspelled their name😂|
5. Comments & Chat
Teach your students how to effectively use the comments and chat features to communicate with their team members if they are not working near each other. I always tell students that the comments and chat are strictly for:
💻 asking questions
💻 offering suggestions
We talk about how these features are important so we don't change or delete anything our team members have added that could eventually cause hurt feelings. Instead, by offering suggestions or asking for clarification on something they are able to open digital lines of communication.
For comments, highlight a word or words and click the comment icon that you see pictured to the left. It appears in the tool bar and it also pops up in a little bubble when you highlight a word or words. Type your comment in the box that pops up and then click the blue Comment button. To see exactly what someone is commenting on, click the actual comment and then the word or words are highlighted for the viewer.
For the chat feature, click the speech bubble that appears next to the icons at the top that represent who is working on the doc, presentation, spreadsheet or drawing:
A chat box will pop up:
Communicate back and forth!
Be sure to check out my FREE video all about these tips in my TpT Store:
If you are still hesitant about the collaboration piece in Google Drive, try out one of my collaborative digital books. These no-prep activities are a great way to get your students working together on the same presentation but they each have their own, individual slide. I have one for every month!
When it comes to collaboration in Google Drive my biggest piece of advice is simply to start small. Once students understand how it works and get used to multiple people working on the same assignment, it will become second nature. Last year I was working with some 5th graders on an activity in Pixie (a drawing program). They wanted to know how they could share their work with a friend so they could work on it together just like they did in Google. When I told them that feature wasn't availble in Pixie they just couldn't believe it. They told me they would much rather use Google Drawing. Amazing.
There is so much value when it comes to collaborative work. What ways do you have your students communicate and collaborate in your classroom?
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Friday, November 18, 2016
Are you looking for an email service for your child?
E-mail has become a main form of communication in today's world, both in our professional and personal lives. Kids and teens are wanting to hop on the bandwagon by creating their own e-mail accounts and even some school districts are giving elementary and middle school students a county approved e-mail address. Other districts turn off the e-mail capability (mainly for younger students) if they have access to Google Apps. Kids and teens will still find a way to create an e-mail account so our job as teachers and parents is to make sure they make educated decisions when it comes to this digital form of communication.
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