Sample Lesson – JH History

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Technology does not have to be fancy, and it does not have to be a new learning curve for the teacher. It is especially wonderful when you can intertwine it seamlessly into your lesson using other forms of exploration and creation as well. The final project of this history lesson was a poster. A simple poster just like we used when we were in school, but the students had to use a little technology to get there. Searching on the internet for facts is much quicker than digging through an encyclopedia. Don’t get me wrong, I love books. However, when you only have a certain amount of time to get all your TEKS covered you will use the quickest and most viable means possible.

A lot of hard work went into this junior high history project.  What better way to research Texas History than by using iPads or the computer lab at the school. Students are fluent in “Google” and can easily search for any information that they need. One of the most interesting aspects to me about this project was the fact that the students had to be able to figure out the right time span of when things were happening so that they had the correct flag and slogans for that time period. That took a lot of going back and forth and making sure things aligned.

Here are the basic instructions/criteria for the project that was completed:

Basically, students used the computer lab to do their research on their topic, either the Texas Army or Mexican Army. They had to have a minimum of three slogans and three reasons to join their army.  They also had to have photos or some type of artwork to go along with their poster.

Sample Lesson – iMovie Book Trailers

When you see an iMovie that has been created you immediately think that it was probably really hard to make; however, the app practically does everything for you. Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 9.24.00 AM3rd grade teacher Kayla Compton was very impressed with the ease in which her students grasped how to navigate this app. Within minutes of her introducing the app to them they were off and running. Students were asked to pick any book that they have read. They then mapped out and created an iMovie trailer about that book. The trailers were then shared with the class to increase excitement about reading different genres of books. The following iMovie was created by 3rd grade student Hunt Reid. I like how he got his friends involved with acting out different scenes from the book. Students being able to present their iMovies in class is certain to spark other children’s curiosity.

Let’s take it a step further. Let’s take these iMovies, create a QR Code, print it out, tape it on the library book and BAM – other students can watch the trailers to see if they would like to check out that book. Thanks to Cherie Stanley for suggesting that idea!

3rd Grade iMovie

 

 

Sample Lesson – 3rd Grade Math

From the time I started using technology in my classroom I learned quickly to pick a few favorite apps that were easy to navigate for the teacher and the students. I instantly fell in love with Popplet. This app can be used for any grade level and in any content. The sky really is the limit with this one. I love how 3rd grade teacher Kayla Compton used Popplet today in her class. This activity is great for kinesthetic learners. It gets students up out of their seats and moving around. The fact that the students are going outside makes the lesson even more memorable. Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 7.52.58 PM

We went on a geometric shape scavenger hunt today. We walked around outside the school and took pictures of different 2D and 3D shapes. Then when we returned to our room, and put the pictures in Popplet. The students had to tell me what shape it was and give me facts about that shape. This is Tanner Cox’s Popplet.  

Student Example – Tanner Cox

Sample Lesson – 3rd Grade Science

This is a great idea sent to me by one of our third grade teachers – Mrs. Loftin. The apps that they were able to choose from are both easy to navigate, so students are able to easily create and then present their project. The fact that students are having to write their paragraph and then record it with the Morfo app just helps them absorb the information that much more. Think about this – how many times will students record their paragraph, then listen to it, until they get it just perfect. A lot! That is a lot of repetition in a fun way.

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Students are working in groups to research a specific planet in our solar system. They are finding interesting facts on their planet and then taking their research to write a paragraph. Once they have their paragraph they are using technology such as the iPads to create Morfo videos or Kid Pix Collage to model the research they’ve found. Our Teks in 3rd grade include:constructing models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon,including orbits and positions; and identifying the planets in Earth’s solar system and their position in relation to the Sun.

Check out the following link to view one of the Morfo projects that 3rd grader Emily Jones made:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9fh_u7AlIDYUHg2Q09ZajE1dzVWcFA4WlVvWHFiSk00bTg4/view?usp=sharing

Sample Lessons- Writing

This post was sent to me by my sweet friend Andi McNair. She is a Gifted Education Specialist/Innovation Specialist at Bosqueville Elementary. I love this activity. Although it is very simple to implement, the concept promotes critical thinking and creativity.

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I absolutely love using writing prompts to get my students thinking when they enter my classroom each morning.  My favorite prompts can be found at photoprompts.tumblr.com.  This website is a collection of photo writing prompts that encourage critical thinking and creativity.  There are thousands of ready-to-use prompts that my students absolutely love.

We were recently learning about the Depth and Complexity icons and studying multiple perspectives.  While browsing through the prompts, I found this photo.

My students wrote the most creative stories and shared such great ideas.  The prompt provided them with an opportunity to see things differently and this helped them make connections in order to really understand multiple perspectives.

When my students come in each morning, I have the writing prompt projected onto the board.  I also share the image in Edmodo with them.   We use KidBlog to write our thoughts and share our stories about the writing prompts.  I ask them to upload the image from Edmodo into their blogs so that their audience will know what they are sharing about.  

These photo prompts are so easy to use.  Using them together with KidBlog makes it possible to go back to see the progress my students have made and how their writing has improved.  This also makes it easy to comment and share their ideas with an authentic audience.  

If you teach middle school or high school, you might find writingprompts.tumblr.com useful.  These are photo prompts as well but they include more detail and topics that are appropriate for older students.  

Both websites provide an alternative to boring journal prompts and essay questions.  The prompts engage students in a writing activity that encourages them to think outside of the box.   I am always looking for ways to provide my students with meaningful activities that not only address the standards but will also encourage creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.  These photo prompts do just that!  

#momlife

 

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You’ve heard the term “Hot Mess Express”? I am pretty sure it was tattooed on my forehead as I walked into Sunday School [late] this morning. Nothing awful happened this morning; however, I just could NOT get it together. The dog. The dog hair. Need to sweep. Need to mop. Waking kids up. Feeding and dressing little humans. My Christmas tree is still up. (Insert embarrassed emoticon here)I was standing in my living room just looking around at every single task that needs to be completed and a huge, overwhelming panic started to creep in. The week’s agenda is huge (at least in my head). How is it all going to get done? Can someone else help me out? Can I please have a maid? I really just want to sit down and crochet.

And quicker than Blue Bell vanishing off the shelves after the 2015 recall – my bad attitude appeared.

Instead of focusing on the fact that I was about to go to God’s house and worship, and learn, and fellowship, I zoned in on all the negative. The to-do list. The laundry. The dishes. I have deemed this state of mind #momlife, and oh my goodness that encompasses so much. The negative energy takes over, and it absolutely engulfs you.  I didn’t focus on the fact that where I live I GET to go to church and worship. I wasn’t focused on the fact that I have the cutest kiddos – while some woman hope and pray for years for a child of their own. If I had to go back and hashtag myself it would be the following: #selfish #brat #ungrateful #getoveryourself. When this happens (because it is not just a one time thing) I pray, and I remember how much I need Jesus to take over my life and my mind. Every. Single. Day. More of him and less of me.

As I sat down in Sunday School I felt calmer. Although I had temporarily lost my mind, God quickly reminded me that he has this. It is all going to get finished. The to-do list will be checked off, and it is going to be a really good week – if I let Jesus take control and do his thing. I just need to do one thing, and that is to seek him first.

So moms, teachers, women of this world – say a prayer, exhale deeply, smile, and know that God has the whole world in his hands, even our mom “stress”. This week when you get aggravated, agitated, and inundated with all the little things just know that you are human, but God is not. You may be cranky, tired, and totally overwhelmed, but God isn’t. Seek him first. Call out to him ALL day long. Let others see him in you (not the cranky, crazy momma).

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Sample Lesson – 1st Grade G/T

My sweet friend, Terri Eichholz, sent me this awesome lesson. She created this lesson for her Gifted & Talented 1st graders. You could absolutely modify it for the grade level that you teach. If you would like to see more of Terri’s amazing lessons, check out her blog: http://www.engagetheirminds.com

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One of the more popular posts on this blog (particularly during the winter months) is, “If I Lived in a Snow Globe, I Would Wear my Bike Helmet to Bed.”  This is a follow-up post for anyone who might want more details about the lesson I teach my gifted 1st graders.  For this project, it’s helpful to have at least one iPad and a video editing program.

First, I show my first graders the “Bumbleville” video referenced in the Bike Helmet post, and we discuss the perspective questions I listed.  We also read Snow Globe Family and compared the book to “Bumbleville.”

Next, the students brainstorm a list of interesting locations.  They can range anywhere from the jungle to Mount Rushmore.

I ask the students to choose one location and pretend they are in a snow globe at that location.  They write a rough draft of a short story describing what they see outside the snow globe.

As students finish at different times, they take each other’s picture using the iSnowdome app, which is free.  The app places you inside a snow globe, and makes a short video with the snow blowing around you.  My students sometimes like to ham it up and pose as though they are freezing cold – even though we live in San Antonio and it’s usually about 85 degrees outside.

I also take screen shots in the app of each student so I can print those out and add them to their final drafts.  The screen shots can be used for augmented reality purposes, as well.

When the students complete their final drafts, they meet with me separately and we record their stories over the iSnowdome videos in iMovie on the iPads.  (Wow, that was a lot of “i”s in one sentence!)

In iMovie the students get to choose which music will accompany their video, and that’s always interesting!

I display the stories with their pictures.  At this point, you can either send the videos home, link them on your blog, or do what I did – use Aurasma.