Tuesday, January 27, 2015

QR Codes in Kindergarten

Essential Question:  How do I use letter names and sounds to form words?

Ms. Libby's Kindergarten students got a chance to use the iPads in their literacy class.  They were given a lesson on how to use the iPads correctly, including how to carefully hold and use it. They learned how to access the apps on the iPad including the app, "QRafter" an app to read QR Codes.

In this lesson, students get the opportunity to practice CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) word building while integrating technology.

This lesson features 8 CVC word task cards, covering all five vowels. The words included are: bat, bed, lid, log, sun, and cat. 

Each of the task cards has a picture depicting one these words and the written word with a missing letter (except on the cards with the missing whole word - these are blank). Students use the picture and/or word clues to find the missing letter/word, then they write the answer on their recording sheet.

All cards are numbered for easy recording on the provided sheet. Once students have written their answers, they can self-check using the QR codes at the bottom of their cards! 

All class lesson on how to do the activity.
QR Code Lesson

Student pairs rotated to eight stations,  read the card and said the missing letter.  Then, they used the app QRafter to read the QR code to find the missing letter and check to see if they had the correct answer. They wrote down the letter.

Massachusetts and Common Core Standards for ELA

RF. K. 2.Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
RF. K. 2.4  Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. 

Southwest Asia in 6th Grade

The 6th Graders have been given the challenge to become News Reporters who cover Southwest Asia.  They will conduct research on the Five Themes of Geography for their "adopted" country.

Essential Question:  What are the five themes of geography for Middle Eastern countries?

            You and your team are reporters!  Your will be reporting on the news show: “Good Morning Southwest Asia!” You and your team will be responsible for highlighting the key information about a country in southwest Asia using what you know about the five themes of geography.  There are a lot of steps in creating a news show.  Your final product will be presented on a green screen similar to those seen on television. 
            Each news show topic should have a catchy name.  Each news show topic should include information about the Location of the country first.  Make sure you include the relative location of the country as well as the absolute location of the country’s capital.  In addition, you will describe what the country is like using the theme of Place.  You will describe what Regions exist in the country.  These could be physical regions (mountains, valleys etc.,) or political/ ethnic regions.  Describe how ideas from your country have spread around the world or how people and goods get transported through the theme of Movement. Finally, you will need to find information about how people in the country have affected the environment either in a positive or negative way in the theme of Human Environment Interaction.
            Each reporter will have the responsibility to gather information about the themes.  Each reporter will be reporting out his/her information in front of the green screen.  We hope your news show wins an Emmy!

Beginning the process

Students were asked to make connections to Southwest Asia with an anticipation guide.  This included true/false questions to access previous knowledge and to elicit excitement for the project. Mrs. Bentley and Mrs. Baker are working together to have students turn their research into a digital project.  Examples of news stories and projects made using the app Green Screen by Do Ink were shown to students to give them some ideas.  

The process

Students were grouped together in teams of four to research, write, and present information for their country.  Through a lottery system, each team got to choose the country that they wanted to research.  They were given guiding questions and recorded their information on double column notes.  They typed their final copy and then turned this information into a script.  They used this script to report about their country.  

Countries in Southwest Asia

Armeniam, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraz, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Technology Integration

Students conducted research for the five themes of geography of their country by using the website, http://www.countryreports.org/.  They were given graphic organizer sheets, a template for their writing, and a rubric which with be used for assessment. Student groups then worked on their "news broadcast" and chose the format and order in which they were going to present their information.  The used their creativity, public speaking and collaboration skills to help each other with their lines, scripts, and even their props.  

Students learned how to use several iPad apps to create their news broadcast.  

Pic Collage
PicCollage is used to make a single page flyer including pictures and text.  Mrs. Baker taught the entire class how to use the app PicCollage and each student made their own collage.  Then each group made a PicCollage for the introduction and ending for their project.

Green Screen by Do Ink
Green Screen by Do Ink provides students with the opportunity to create a news broadcast video with images of their topics behind them.  Students wrote their part of the script, chose the picture(s) for their topic, and inserted them into the app program.  

After the PicCollages were made, videos were shot, and pictures were placed in Green Screen, we imported them into the iMovie app.  Here are our projects.

Students had the chance to research current events happening around the world and present them.  

Massachusetts Standards for Grade 6 Social Studies and Writing

Western Asia (The Middle East)

WA.1  and WA. 2 Locate the Middle Eastern countries on a world map.

WA. 3 Explain how the five themes of geography and how they have influenced settlement and the economies of major Middle Eastern countries.

W. 6.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

SL. 6.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


What is Blogging?

Blogging is the logging of your thoughts, ideas, experiences and more in one place on the web.  The term is short for web log.

“A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.”  Source

“Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.” Source

“A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently.”  Source

Unsure about blogging?  Watch these videos for a simple explanation of blogging.

What is Kidblog?
"Kidblog is built by teachers, for teachers, so students can get the most out of the writing process."

Kidblog is designed as a blog to help students publish their writing safely on the internet.  Students can respond to a prompt given by their teacher which may be from a reading lesson or discussion in class.  It can be used in all academic areas to enhance written communication and collaboration with a global audience.

Kidblog in 5th Grade
Students in Mrs. Anderson's 5th grade English/Language Arts classes are using Kidblog.  They were introduced to the program, given their username and password and discussed safety and digital citizenship on the internet.  
Students received several handouts to help them with blogging.
Student Checklist - Instructions on writing posts and comments.
Blogging Rubric for Teachers - How the student will be graded.
My Blog Contract   A promise to follow internet safety rules.

Thanks to Paula Klipfel for these worksheets!

Massachusetts and Common Core Standards for ELA

W.5.4   Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3.)
W.5.5   With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
W.5.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
SL.5.1   Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

4th Grade Collaboration Video

I had an amazing experience working with the 4th Grade students, teachers, and staff at Howe Manning Elementary School as we created a video to the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen.

Teacher Barbara Deeley got the idea from Donna Rogers and the Middleton PTO.  Boy did Barbara go to work.  She worked with some of her fellow teachers to rewrite the words to the song.  The theme was "Let Them Go" for the final minutes before Winter Vacation.  She set up a cast list that would include every 4th grade student and every teacher and staff member who works with the 4th grade.  Our principal, Betsy Boulanger and our superintendent, Bernie Creeden, jumped on board as well!

Filming took two days and every student and staff member were amazing to work with.  They were naturals!  It is so much fun to watch all of the personalities of the students as they performed their part. Students worked together to learn the song and practiced singing it.  They made large snowflakes and rehearsed their parts together.  They came together as a community and really bonded!

We presented our video at our annual holiday sing-along on December 23, 2014.  It was extra special because we had a ceremony for our school and Middleton community as we honored our current and former superintendent, as well as our former principal with naming surrounding roads in their honor. We had members of the school committee and Middleton selectman as well.  They were on hand to view our video.  Ira Singer, Middleton's Town Administrator pulled some strings and linked our video to the Town of Middleton's website.  He also arranged for our video to be shown on Public Access Television throughout the winter holidays.

Here's our video, I hope you enjoy it!