Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First Graders Creating Their Own Google Sites

Have you had a chance to check out the new and improved google sites? If you haven't stop what you are doing and check it out...NOW!

Here is an example of one of the awesome sites my first graders made!
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Brief overview of Google Sites

Throughout January and we studied Arctic Animals, my first graders researched various arctic animals. This year instead of making a book or interactive notebook on the arctic animals I thought… let's make a google site! I enlisted my 6 “tech helpers” to be the leaders of each group. Each group leader chose one arctic animal to research and all students got to choose the group they wanted to work in. We had researched the animals and knew key facts here is a sample of the data collection sheet I made for my students to record their data as they researched.

As my students sat on our rug I showed them how to make a google site starting from the beginning. There are a few key things you need to explicitly show them so they are able to independently create their own Google Site:
  • How to name their site
  • Add editors (collaborators)
  • Add pages
  • Embed URL's
  • Change the header wording and picture
  • Add items from their drive
***I have shown all these features in the video here.

I have each group leader these guidelines for making sites. Along with a blank template for slides I sent out for the actions and attributes page. The leader was responsible for making the site and adding their group members to collaborate together (I did have to help with sharing to the other group members)! As a group they worked together to complete all the pages. Once all the group members were added as editors or collaborators multiple students could collaborate on the site at the same time, much like a shared Google Doc.

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Students were able to use apps like My Maps to make a map of where their arctic animal lived here is a tutorial of how to make a My Map. My students really enjoyed customizing their maps by changing the title, the icon and color of the place marker. Once they have created a MyMap it is saved in their Drive and can be added directly to their Google Site!

I had originally intended for my kids to make a google drawing for the diagram tab, however when my students went to their drive they wanted to use the pixel art template made by Alice Keeler to make a diagram… why didn't I think of that?! I did not want to hinder their creativity so I allowed for them to create their diagram using any method they chose.

You may have noticed I like choice and so do my kids! We have been learning about lego movie and stop action movies so I sent out this hyperdoc on some creative options to make their own video the only direction was to give 5 facts about their arctic animal. I even had one group use the 3D printer to print out their animal! Most students chose to make an “avatar” using the PaperChibiLite on the iPad. The creation is easy but the assembly was a struggle, I allowed the students to cut their own Chibi’s with very specific directions not to cut off the tabs...some tabs got cut but that's the beauty of a hand crafted item! I had some 5th grade volunteers come in and help my kids fold their chibi’s and some even glue them.

You may have noticed that the Chibi is missing arms I told the students that could have arms if they cut them. Some opted to forgo the arms.
These students used DoInk Green Screen app with a picture of their arctic animal in the background. We used a green screen sheet draped over a desk and the students wore green soccer socks (because they were much cheaper than green gloves) over their hands/arms both items were purchased on Amazon.
I made a script outline that the student could use for their video, students were responsible to add their facts and decide who would say what. I uploaded their videos to my YouTube to ensure they were unlisted. Here is our finished project!

Tips and Tricks

We did most of the Google Site creations in small groups each group had 4 students and I tried to work with 2 groups at once (Next time I think I will limit groups to around 3 members to help facilitate collaboration). We did this daily during rotations and it took about a week. Students would ask me ALL day long if they could work on their website and I had to stay in a few recesses to let them keep working. Students would bring their parents in to the class to show them their creations after school.

Some tips: make sure YOU the teacher do the YouTube search for videos, especially for things like killer whales, we searched “orca information kids”! You can search images directly in sites so make sure your students have the correct spelling of whatever image they are searching for (i.e. Orcas, emperor penguins) for the best results. I had to change the permissions on the slides, maps, and diagrams so that “anyone with link can view” and this was on the student's account if you are using a district account you have to change this setting or the "ask for permission" page will pop up!

Next Projects

I plan to have each student make a site to showcase their work to present at open house. Because you can upload work from google drive so easily students will be able to link pictures and past work on their site, then they can add a narrative about the assignment.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little Dramatic Flair

In early spring, we had the good fortune of attending a workshop at The Ron Clark Academy.  Friends, the place was A-MAZ-ING, and the personal development was worth every penny spent!!!  Prior to our experience there, we considered ourselves to be pretty forward thinking when it comes to the way we approach learning in our classrooms, but we walked away from that glorious school, in complete awe and with heads full of new ideas we had never even considered.

Upon leaving RCA, we both knew we HAD to have stages for our classrooms.  The only thing holding us back was knowing exactly what that would look like for us.  We mulled it over for a few months, perused Pinterest and teacher blogs, as well as Facebook and Instagram, looking for inspiration.  Finally, last week, Ronalea stumbled across EXACTLY what we had both been dreaming about looking for!  It was like a gift from GOD (o.k., maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but you get the picture)! Kori Markussen, from #truetalesofateacher, was kind enough to share a stage that her dad had recently constructed for her, on Instagram.  The beauty of the one Kori and her dad built was that is was not only a modular stage that could work in several different configurations, but it doubled as bleacher/tiered seating for her kiddos as well.  We knew right away that we each HAD to have one in our lives!

Next came the hard part, roping my uber handy husband into showing us the love, by building not just one, but TWO of the darn things.  Per usual, he was a good sport and we got right to work. I wasn’t kidding when I told you we "NEEDED" these masterpieces in our lives.  There was no waiting for the grass to grow!  Ronalea sent the pic to me one day and we were already building them the next.  Should I be ashamed to admit we both felt it was a bit like Christmas?

Ronalea happened to be on vacation when this all went down, so we built, painted, and completed mine first.  Part of the fun of a project like this is putting your own blood and sweat into it.  We didn’t want to do any more work take that experience away from Ronalea, so we left hers alone until she was back home and could put her own touches on it.  Today, she and I worked as a team, sanding, painting, and adhering carpet to the pieces.  As you’ll see, the two stages are very much the same, but they are still different.  So, without any further ado, we are excited for you to check our creations.
It was built in four separate pieces

U-shaped seating
Everyone needs a runway to strut down from time to time

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Let's Create!

Hello all! Its Ronalea and I am super excited because we leave for the CUE National Conference in about 24 hours!!! Before we leave I wanted to share an awesome lesson I did this week!

As we begin to explore, learn and create with 3D printer software and apps I want to make sure that my students feel comfortable creating, making mistakes, finding fixes, and using their imaginations! I read the book Iggy Peck Architect  (it did pull at my heartstrings and made me shed a tear). In this story a little boy loves to build and his teacher does not allow him to do so at school, which breaks his heart... until one day the class takes a field trip and the class is stranded on an island because the bridge breaks. Iggy saves the day by engineering a bridge to help his classmates get back to safety.

After reading this story to my students we drew our own bridges and explained what we would make our bridges out of, I love seeing how inovative my students are!!!

If you would like a blank template of the bridge pictured above you can download it by clicking here :)

 After we had our plans to build a bridge we went into our computer lab and we used Build with Chrome it was AMAZING! It allows you to build with legos, there are several tutorials your can do in the Build Academy. Before we went to the computer lab I walked them through how to build and we also got out our class legos and practiced building. A great visual for my students was when I took out the green lego base and some red rectangle blocks and I demonstrated each time you click the mouse a block builds on top of the next. When we went into the computer lab all my students were able to get on the Build with Chrome by following a link from our classroom website. This is an example of a bridge!

 This was a wonderful introduction lesson for my students to imagine, plan and create using 3D shapes on a web based platform! This was the FIRST time they used this program, I cannot wait to see what they create next time!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

3D Printing in 1st grade... SAY WHAT?

Hello all it's Ronalea!

I have some awesome news to share! My class will be getting a 3D printer, yes that's right a 3D printer! I was very blessed to be picked as one of the LeRoy Finkel Big Idea Finalist! Read more about it here

My Big Idea was to get a 3D printer for my first grade classroom! Well, my dream is about to become a reality! My students inspire me everyday and they are the reason I was inspired to get a 3D printer. My goal is to have my students make connections between the digital world and the concrete world that they experience.

One of the first things I did was search for 3D printing in primary elementary classes... well I couldn't find much information because this technology has mostly been used in upper elementary, middle and high school levels. I was able to find some suggested texts, these are a few of the mentor texts I will be using to introduce creativity, perseverance, and 3D printing to my class!

Follow me on my journey! I will be sure to post lessons, resources, and share my experiences of using 3D printing in a first grade classroom! Follow me on twitter and use #3Dfirsties! Stay tuned on Friday 3/18 because I will be presenting at CUE for a chance to scale my project!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

QR Codes to showcase student work!

Hello there this is Ronalea!
In December I decided that I would create at LEAST one lesson that produced a QR code that would link to a student work sample! This was the project we did in December "Techy Santa"

My students love to create art, so I always try to link art to my thematic units. For this assignment I purchased the Techy Santa on TPT by Reagan Tunstall I thought it was totally adorable and my students loved that Santa had glasses and an iPad! If you scan the QR codes you will get a digital wish list! I had my students take a PDF and use PicCollage to add pictures and text for what they would like for Christmas. My favorite part about the QR codes is my students LOVE to walk around and scan each others QR codes and check out their classmates work! 

In January we were practicing writing and reading "How To" so my students used Telligami to record a reading passage about how to build a snowman and I made them a QR code to showcase their awesome work!

In F February we made these sweet little bees and they looked so bright an cheery in our room they made my heart happy! I purchased the bee template on TPT by Kindergarten Smiles. Then for the QR code we used a green screen to get a candy heart background and used photo props to take pictures, my kiddos then made these photos into ChatterKids where the mouth moves and you can record 30 seconds. My students read a fluency passage about Valentines day. I was so sad when I had to take this project down. 

Now for the March QR code! We did a guided drawing of Cat in the Hat, and then wait for it... my kids did a RESEARCH project on Dr. Seuss! It totally knocked my socks off!!!! WE used ShadowPuppetsEdu my new favorite app that allows you to make great "slideshows" and use your voice to narrate, and you can even add background music!!!

Stay tuned I plan to share all my lesson plans and give step by step directions on the "tech" part of each lesson! Let me tell you first graders love to see and share their tech projects!