Thursday, January 14, 2016

NEW OBSESSION - Google Cardboard!!!

SERIOUSLY - I had heard about Google Cardboard about a year ago maybe?  and thought that is pretty cool.  Well, I FINALLY ordered one myself and am OBSESSED with it!!!!  If you have NEVER heard of it or seen it, for $19.99 it's worth the buy!  You simply download the Google Cardboard app, or any other of the tons of virtual reality apps compatible with is (here is a list and yet a few more) and insert your iPhone or Andriod and you are SET:)!!!  Everything from taking a virtual field trip, to riding a roller coaster, to swimming with sharks, to shooting ducks and zombies.  Really, there are NO limitations to this thing!  Here are a couple of photos of a kiddo using it so you can see what is looks like once it's in use:

NOW - to take it a step further - we sat down today and started playing to create our OWN virtual tour of our school - starting in the library.  We used the app Google StreetView and simply followed the directions on the app a VIOLA we had a virtual reality view of the media center.  Another student came in, and after learning a few tricks, like standing VERY still, and keeping the environment as consistent as possible, the second one turned out even BETTER.  I can REALLY see this becoming a part of our school here.  I am going to have the kiddos go and try and start creating virtual tours of our community - unreal!!

Ironically, as I was working on, researching and playing with this, another teacher emailed me THIS article - unbelievable!!!

Happy Day All - snow is falling hard here - hoping the wind doesn't pick up -
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fun with Padlet

  One of our 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Tonsfeldt, is reading the book I Survived: Joplin Tornado, 2011 by Lauren Tarshis with her class.  She created a Padlet for them to reflect on one of the characters:

  What a SUPER easy way to get IMMEDIATE feedback from your kids AND have a compiled list of character traits and opinions.

Here's one more that she did TODAY - again just a quick quick check:)  However, SO very interactive, all students have to participate and easy to set up!

I know that I have talked about about this website before, but it's SO WORTH mentioning again!
Start Padletting:)!!

Happy Tuesday,
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Serious Lego Obsession!!! They're Making a Come Back:)

  I have two sons!  At a very young age, they obviously wanted legos.  We started with mega blocks, moved on to duplo blocks, and finally made the transition to real legos.  Now EVERYONE knows the value in a lego - EVEN if you're a parent of a girl.  I mean WHO WOULDN'T love the new Frozen Castle or Cinderella Lego sets available for even the youngest princess:)!! The fine motor skills and creativity they create in children is something that can NOT be taught!!   However, legos are NOT just for homes anymore - legos are becoming (and I might add HAVE been for many years) a HUGE part of the education field as well.  When I was down at the TIES conference before Christmas break, I saw some REALLY neat ways that legos are being used in the classrooms.  I used them when I taught fifth grade as a "creativity" center - kids could come up with a unique car, and then change it to make it run faster, go further, or hold more weight.  They compiled bridges and buildings while trying to create sturdy structures as architectures.  Below are a few NEW ideas that I never THOUGHT of - YIKES!  SO OBVIOUS and SO SO COOL:

Basic Story Retelling:

Following Directions:
 The list could really go ON AND ON - patterns, symmetry, graphing, inquiry, etc... seriously cool cool fun!  And not TOO expensive if you collect a little bit each year over time!  PLUS you might have some parents that have legos at home that they no longer want - ALWAYS worth looking into!

Lego Robotics in particular, has been a growing area for many schools.  There are competitions ALL over the country.  Legos in Education has a TON of kits that you can use to get started with - take a look and talk to your PTA, PTO, Booster Clubs, etc.. that might have some funding available for you!

Good luck with this one!  I am going to start looking into funding in Barnesville to add this to our MakerSpace - wish me luck;)!!

Happy Wednesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

TIES was SUPERB as usual:)!!! (Part 1)

I can't even begin to tell you ALL the things that I saw and TOTALLY loved at TIES 2015.  Here is a link to ALL the break out sessions and presentations that took place this weekend - A M A Z I N G!!

Here is a QUICK breakdown of what I attended and what I learned and thought was worth my time:)!!

1. MakerSpace - this seemed to be the "theme" of the conference, or a NEW AND HIP thing, but in all actuality, it has been around for a LONG time, just called things like learning centers, rotations, etc... WITH the exception of allowing KIDS TO EXPLORE and learn through TRIAL AND ERROR, instead of US always giving THEM the answer - THEY FIND THEM:)!!   True definition might be: "creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn."  The speaker I listened to, Jen Legatt (who is a media specialist), created a MakerSpace in the media center.  Here is  a list of items that they have: puzzles, bananagrams, legos, puzzles, circuits, makey makeys, story cubes, "thinking" games, coloring books, window markers, hot glue gun, duct tape, popsicle sticks, origami, Sphero, etc...  You can really go ALL out here or as little as needed - just make is a SPACE where kiddos have a chance to create, invent and be those innovative thinkers that they are:)!!

2.  30 Webgems for the classroom - THERE WERE A TON of sites that seemed SO AMAZING!  Although I was disappointed with Mark Garrison, as he didn't do his "50 Sites in 50 Minutes," I did learn some new ones here:

Veezle - a place to find free stock photos
DaFont - go font crazy at this site - all are free! 
LunaPic - free online photo editor
iPevo Wishpool - this site grants wishes for teachers using iPevo products.  Check it out! 
PowToon - presentation creator - something a little different 
Unite for Literacy - free online books for kiddos at the elementary level 
ClassKick - As students work on a teacher-made Classkick assignment on their iPads, teachers see every students' work progressing all at once. Students can privately raise hands, teachers give individualized, real-time student feedback, and so much more.
Zaption - online videos with learning 

Exit Ticket - use them for kids to answer whenever - for leaving the room, coming to school in the morning, etc..
Plickers - SUPER cool way to check to understanding of do a quick assessment of a skill.  Print the cards and kiddos hold them up with the answer and they you scan your classroom with your Smartphone or iPad - TRY IT:)!!
Riddle - create quizzes, polls, lists, ect.. in 60 seconds - easy and quick!

3. New Google Tools - WOW:)!  Check out below:

*BUILD - = Lego + Google awesome build! Can’t save and come back must finish and publish!
*BROADCAST Broadcast URL with Sounds short link similar to URL
*CITE Access your citations across devices
*CODE fashion projects includes mentors
*GOOGLE HANGOUT place for people to collaborate together and meet
            -Google on Air to publish and share hangouts with others
*COMPOSE Composter allows you to create music scores
*DESIGN Google Art project with different art institutes that kiddos can visit many haven’t experienced this so it’s a way for them to see
*EXPERIENCE Cardboard creates 3D similar to a
*DISCOVER Google Field Trip Google will tell you when you approach something near you an then you can see things that you are interested in
*EXPLORE Historic Gallories explore primary sources that allow you to see this
*FLY Google Earth Flight Simulator allows kids to fly a plane across certain geography areas in Google Earth
*GESTURE Project Soli Google based gesture that captures the motion of your hand can change volume, start things, etc Google Class will do the Google piece but motion related
*KEEP All your lists in one place collaborative lists!
*LISTEN Chrome Extension: Speak It! Text to speech
*MAP Sheets Add-ON Mapping Sheets
*POLL Collect Data
*PRODUCE You the YouTube Editor to produce a video
*PUBLISH Students create Sites for sharing with the world
*ROLE PLAY Ingress
-augmented reality massively multiplayer online role playing location-based came created by Niantic labs, a startup within GOogle
*SEARCH BEYOND site:gov   filetype:ppt
*TRACK CHANGES Use Draftback (Google add-on) to see the development of a document
*TRAVERSE - takes you out to pieces of astronomy and explore beyond the doors of our classroom
*UNCOVER Google World Wonders cultural institute using street view technology
-pull in different data from public domains birth rates, death rate, labor populations, etc..
I have MORE TO SHARE - but that's a good list to get you going!  I still need to go and piece a few more things together!

Happy New Year all - take care and stay warm - the cold spell is coming here in MN - UGH!!
Mrs. I:)