# A Little Augmented Reality and Zombie Math with 1st Grade

A few weeks ago, Em Smith Headley, 1st grade teacher, asked if I could help with their math standards using the iPads.  They have been working on using a variety of strategies to solve basic addition and subtraction problems.

I pulled together just a few iPad apps for our time together that addressed basic addition and subtraction facts.  I decided to use:

• Fetch Lunch Rush: an augmented reality app that combines basic addition/subtraction, missing addends, racing, and augmented reality!
• Math Zombies:  a racing app that gives basic addition/subtraction problems along with double digit math to race against the ever-approaching zombies.  Correct answers knock them out of the way.
• Candy Count:  a sorting app that allows kids to sort candy by color and then asks several math questions about the candy in each bag.
• iXL: an app with multiple grade levels which gives standard problems and allows kids to type an answer.

I had student helpers make a 1st grade math folder on the iPads so that students could easily get to the apps.  We looked at the standard and students brainstormed several strategies that they currently use for solving math problems.  Things such as:

• number lines
• draw a picture
• count up or count back
• manipulatives
• etc.

I reminded them that these same strategies come into play when we do math digitally and sometimes the app even provides some strategies for you with hints.  I did not tell students how to play every app because they were perfectly capable of figuring that out on their own.  I spent my time helping students think about strategy and encouraging students to help one another figure out the technical details of how the games worked.  Of course, I helped students who had technical questions, too, but that wasn’t my main focus as the teacher.

Students were bursting with energy during this.  Whether we worked for 25 minutes or 40 minutes, they were extremely focused.  They were free to move in and out of the apps as needed.  We were also able to differentiate for students who needed problems that were more challenging or problems with more basic  features.

At the close, students gave some feedback on what they liked about each app.  Math Zombies and Fetch Lunch Rush was by far the favorite, and they begged to get to do this again in their classroom or the library.

# Exploring Chinese New Year with Kindergarten: Google Voice Search, Pebble Go, colAR Mix, and More

Mrs. Li’s Kindergarten class has been exploring the Chinese New Year with me in the library.  During our exploration, we’ve tried out several resources for information.  First, we used Capstone’s PebbleGo database to do some pre-reading for background information.  We did this with little discussion about the holiday, but instead just focused on listening to the information to build some shared knowledge.

Next, we thought of questions that we had about the Chinese New Year that were possibly not answered by PebbleGo.  We asked things like:

• When is Chinese New Year this year?
• When is the lantern festival?
• Where is it celebrated?
• How is it celebrated?

Before students came, I installed the Google Voice Hotword Search extension in Chrome.  This allowed us to control a Google search with our voice.  For Kindergarten students who aren’t fluent in typing, this lifted a big search barrier for them.  We took our list of questions and took turns saying:

• When is the Chinese New Year?

Google searched and spoke to us telling us that this year Chinese New Year begins on January 31st.  We continued this process to answer many of our questions.

Next, we used Grace Lin’s book Bringing in the New Year to continue our exploration.  Many facts that we had already discovered were confirmed in the text, but the book allowed us to learn some of the family structure in China and what different family member roles are.  Mrs. Li was able to help us with this part of the lesson.  Since I wasn’t sure how to pronounce some of the words, she pronounced them for us and also explained the meaning of each family member’s name.  We certainly could have used Google for this, but we had a conversation about choosing resources to answer our questions.  Since Mrs. Li was with us in the room and is an expert in Chinese culture, she was a faster option for us than taking the time to go to Google.  It’s never too early to begin surfacing the thinking process that we go through as learners when we are trying to find the answers to our questions.

During the 2nd lesson, we once again used the Google Voice Hotword Search to explore the Chinese Zodiac.  We learned that 2014 is the “Year of the Horse”.  Students were curious about their own birth years, so we used Google to look for the signs for each of their years too.  From here, we spent some time coloring a colAR mix coloring page for Chinese New Year.  Students used the iPad app to view their carousel creations.  The app uses augmented reality to bring coloring pages to life.  The carousel pops off the page and rotates to music with they year 2014 in front of the carousel.  Students were mesmerized by their coloring page brought to life.

We explored so many skills and tools in just 2 lessons.  I want to continue this transliterate thinking of how our students can experience content across multiple platforms.  In these 2 lessons, we examined print, databases, websites, search engines, crayons/markers/paper, and augmented reality.  I’m curious to ask students later what they remember about Chinese New Year and see what stands out in their minds from these 2 days.

# Maker Maniacs Enrichment Cluster Update: 3D Printing and Robotics

We are a little over halfway done with our enrichment clusters this year.  Every Friday, students across the school go to an interest-based cluster of their choosing for one hour.  During this time, students explore a topic and develop products or services related to their topic.  My cluster is called Makerspace Maniacs.  So far this year, we have explored making with duct tape, building with cardboard, lego robotics, and 3D printing.  After lots of explorations, students  are making decisions about where they want to focus.

A small group of students is focused on lego robotics.  Monica and Omarion are both committed to building a robot and programming it.  They both have varying levels of expertise.  Today, I asked another student, Ludwig, to come and work with them.  Ludwig has a lot of experience with Lego Mindstorms.  During clusters today, he worked with them to build a robot and program it.  Although they didn’t get far with the programming, he was able to show the students some tips and tricks to get the robots to work the way they wanted to.  I love using students as experts.  They hold so much knowledge that we don’t even know about.  Ludwig just happened to talk to me one day about Lego Mindstorms because he knew that I bought some.  He used Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms in other settings and told me he was willing to help me any way he could with them.  How exciting that a student offered his expertise without even being asked!

Other students in the cluster have decided to work on 3D printing.  Over the past 2 weeks, they have used a new iPad app called Blokify.  This app uses blocks to build a 3D object.  It is very user-friendly to build a 3D object in very little time.  Once built, the object can be ordered or emailed for 3D printing on your own device.  Today, students really focused on coming up with an idea and using the blocks to build.  While they were using the app, I started a Google Doc, which I will share with them, to collect what we love, wonder, and want to change about the app.  One service they will offer as a part of the cluster is to share this info with Blokify.

Today, we were also tweeting with Blokify and students were able to respond to their tweets.  Such fun!

Students prepared several files that they emailed to me.  I have them ready to go for 3D printing next week.  We’ll be printing a pirate ship, a Trojan pig, and a castle among other things.  As we progress, these students will also think about how they see this app fitting into what they are already doing in class.  We’ll come up with some lesson ideas for teachers to consider.

We only have a few weeks to go, but our speed is picking up and our focus is narrowed.  I know incredible things are going to happen with these students.

# Book Trailers with 4th Grade

Today Mrs. Rogers and her 4th grade ELT group came to the library to explore book trailers.  They are currently reading a novel together and had the idea to create book trailers for each chapter of the book.  I guess we should really call these chapter trailers.  For our lesson, we looked at three trailers:

Our purpose in watching these three trailers was to think about how different each trailer could be.   Students talked about what they noticed about each trailer after watching it.

For Carnivores, students noticed that:

• 1 actor was used
• music was used throughout
• text was used at the beginning to set the scene
• there were lots of clips put together
• the funny tone of the book came through in the trailer
• the trailer didn’t give away all the details of the book

For Boy + Bot, students noticed that:

• questions were posed for the reader to consider
• images from the book were used in between the questions
• music was used throughout
• the trailer was very short

For Wonder, students noticed that:

• there were multiple actors
• there were multiple shots that needed a lot of direction
• there was text, live action, and music
• the character’s face was never shown

Students even spent time thinking about the difficulty level of these 3 trailers and what they were each willing to commit to for their own project.  They also thought about why each type of trailer might have been picked for each book.  We talked a lot about purpose.

After this great discussion, students spent time exploring iMovie on the iPads.  This is the tool they will most likely use for their trailers.  Most had no experience with iMovie, so I invited them to spend about 20-25 minutes messing around and figuring out some of the features.  I encouraged them to share what they learned with each other, and it didn’t take long for collaboration to begin.  As soon as students figured something out, they were eager to show and help others.

Ludwig, a 4th grader,  really jumped into the trailer part of imovie.  He began planning out a quick trailer and sprang into action filming it.  He didn’t make it all the way through, but you can see what he figured out here:

Reid, another 4th grader, explored the movie part of iMovie.  He put together a little idea and started filming clips to put a quick sequence together.

We closed our time together by showing these videos and setting the stage for students to begin planning their own trailers. Once again, I was amazed  by what kids could figure out and share when given the space to explore.  I reminded them to continue to share their expertise with one another as they progress through the project.  They will continue work in their classroom, but I will also collaborate with them at various stages of the project.

# Hour of Code Days 3-5

This week has just been incredible.  It’s hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago the planning for this week began.

Even with lots of benchmark tests and wrapping up the end of the quarter, our Barrow teachers found time to bring students to the library to participate in Hour of Code.

No matter which class came, I saw similar results:  engaged students, problem solving, collaboration, suspension of time, perseverance.  Exposing students to coding has opened up a new world for them.  I loved having a conversation with students during every session about the importance of coding knowledge in their future.  Who knows what jobs will be out there when these students join the workforce, but coding is very likely going to be a part of it.

During the week, our internet has  been extremely slow, which has given us lots of problems.  It hasn’t stopped us though.  We did have to abandon some of the computer programs like Tynker because they just wouldn’t load on our machines.

Kindergarten and 1st grade continued to explore Kodable.  Second grade started exploring Light-bot on the iPad instead of Tynker.  An interesting thing started to happen with these students because they got up out of their seats and acted out the moves that their robot needed to make in order to visualize the code they needed to put in.  I loved watching the strategies that students developed to figure out the code they needed.

Students have recorded some of their thinking using a Fligrid this week, which was yet another new tool to many students.  They loved making these short videos about their learning.

A group of third graders along with the whole 4th and 5th grade explored Scratch to make an interactive holiday card.  The 4th and 5th grade groups were huge because the entire grade level came together.  I kept our whole group time very short.  I stressed the importance of not giving up, messing around to see how things work, using tutorials, and collaborating.  It was amazing to watch a group of 75+ students disperse, find their own work spaces, and get to work.  When they figured things out, they shared.  For the 4th grade group, we did a Google Hangout on Air with Sherry Gick (@LibraryFanatic) and her students who were using Blockly.  During the hangout, we each setup a computer and headset and students were able to talk to one another about what they were doing.  I picked up our laptop and walked around our library to show her students what my students were doing.  Sherry got on the microphone several times and helped some of my students with their questions too.  It was a great experiment that I definitely want to try again because it opened up our walls to student-to-student collaboration across states.  I wanted to try the idea of coders on call, and this was a step toward that for the future.  You can see how the conversations turned out in this video:

Next week, we hope to connect students again with Sherry Gick’s students in Indiana and Shannon Miller’s students in Iowa to share some of their learning and creations.  This week has sparked interest in coding, and I’m sure that coding will make its way into many of the collaborative projects during the year.  Thank you Code.org and Computer Science Education Week for putting together such a great program, inspiring videos, and helpful tutorials.  The word is out that coding is a critical skill needed by our students.

Here’s a glimpse of what happened at Barrow this week:

# Hour of Code Day 1 and 2

The entire 5th grade came together to code using Scratch.

I am so energized by the excitement I saw from Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 5th grade students yesterday and today during our Hour of Code.  Here’s what each session looked like:

1.  I asked them how many of them liked to play video games, iPad apps, computer programs, or knew someone who used Facebook.  Pretty much every hand shot up.  Then, I asked them how many of them knew how those programs were made and their hands shot down.  However, when  I asked how many of them would like to explore how computers and games are programmed, pretty much every hand went up again.

2.  We watched 1 or 2 videos like these:

3.  I briefly introduced the tool that students would use and gave them the short link.

4.  I gave some ground rules:

• Coders don’t give up.  They try, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.
• Coders collaborate.  Ask 3 other students for ideas or help before asking me.
• Have fun!

Kindergarten and 1st grade students worked with Kodable to program a rolling fuzz ball to move through a maze collecting coins.  Our 2nd graders used Tynker to program a puppy dog to perform various commands.  Our 5th graders used Scratch to design an interactive holiday card.

At tables, I watched students leap into coding.  They hit speed bumps right away.  Many began asking one another, but there was still a tendency to ask me.  I helped at times but facilitated students talking to one another most of the time.  Since I had seen all of the tables, I knew which students had figured out some of the coding tricks.  I used this knowledge to nudge students toward one another.  Many of them really stepped up to help their peers and students who weren’t always looked to as an expert suddenly found themselves being the go-to person.  It was empowering!

Another amazing thing was having the entire 5th grade working together in the library.  They were eager to jump in and use Scratch, which most of them had never seen or heard of.  For the most part, they quickly settled in around the library in groups or by themselves and got to work.  As they figured out things, they shared.  Some of them left having a complete card made.  Others left with a start.  All of them left with a better understanding of how to use Scratch and an excitement for coding.  There is great potential in this energy that has been generated.

Our days were not without problems.  Our school internet seemed particularly slow.  The Hour of Code sites were also swamped with visitors, so these two combinations made some of the tools impossible to load.  We had to completely change our 2nd grade Tynker lesson on day 1 because it wouldn’t load.  Instead, students used blockly and Kodable.  Kodable was our reliable app of the day.  When students all tried to login to Scratch, they kept getting bumped out.  Also, they had trouble signing in, so several left without a chance to save their work.  All of these glitches didn’t dampen the excitement for coding.

Throughout the days, students added some reflections about what they learned to a Flipgrid.  This grid was also shared on Twitter so that students in other schools could add as well.  We have several more lessons planned across Wednesday-Friday and next week students will participate in a coding smackdown in Google Hangouts.  They will have a chance to share their learning and creations with others around the country.

# Flipgrid Book Reviews with 2nd Grade

I have a new favorite tool:  Flipgrid.  This tools allows you to setup a grid with multiple questions and students can use webcams on computers or a free iPad app to record up to 90 second responses to the questions.

Our 2nd grade is currently working on response to literature writing.  They want to create book reviews to post onto their KidBlogs.  To kickoff the writing of book reviews, we looked at a book review written a few years ago by Kindergarten teacher, Kelly Hocking.  We decided after reading the review that it was made up of 4 parts:  A hook, a short & sweet summary, connections & opinions, and recommendations.

Next, I read the book Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat.  I wanted students to have a chance to practice writing the parts of a book review, but rather than do it whole group, we used FlipGrid.  I created a grid with 3 questions:

1. What would be a good hook for your book?
2. What connections do you have for your book?

Each question has a code for flipgrid.  I downloaded the app onto all of our iPads.  For the app, students just have to type in the code to access the question.  I printed each question with its corresponding code on paper to give to groups.  Students divided into groups of 4 and were assigned one of the 3 questions.  After doing this lesson with 2 different groups, I learned that for 2nd grade it was really important to write down what they were going to say, so students first wrote out their response to their question on an index card.  Then, they practiced reading the card and deciding who would say each part on the recording.  To record, students:

• opened the app
• typed in their code.
• touched the plus sign
• accepted terms
• took a photo
• recorded their response
• uploaded their video by typing a name and email

The videos were all sent to our grid.  We gathered back on the floor to listen to some examples of hooks, connections, and recommendations.  I also sent the link to the teachers so that they can refer back to the hooks, connections, and recommendations that were made as they begin to write their own book reviews.  I imagine that these videos could become parts of mini-lessons about what makes a strong hook or how to write a stronger recommendation.

You can listen to their responses by visiting the grid.

I’m proud of these 2nd graders and their teachers for diving into an unknown tool.  They learned about writing book reviews, but they also learned from their failures in using a new tool and passed on their learning to the groups that come after them.  We had some great discussions about what we will remember the next time we use Flipgrid, and I know that the process will get smoother each time.   I think Flipgrid will be a tool I will come back to again and again.  In fact, I’m using it tomorrow with 4th graders to create a grid of book talks about civil rights leaders.

Every year our 2nd graders write monster stories leading up to the end of October and a PACT time called Monster Mash where families come into the classrooms to engage in what students are learning.

The project has many hands involved.  In art, Ms. Foretich works with the students to create their own monsters.  She then takes digital photographs or scans of those monsters and prints out mini versions of each student’s monster.

In class, students create scenes where their monster might live, where they might terrorize, or where they might go on an adventure.  They use their monster and scene to write a story.  Through several writing workshops, students develop their pieces, revise/edit, and publish.

Teachers showed the videos during the Monster Mash PACT time.  To make sharing and viewing the videos easy, the teachers took all of the links to student videos and put them on a Thinglink.  To make these, we put all of the student monsters on a table, took a picture of them, uploaded the picture to thinglink, and attached each student video to his/her monster.  Now, when parents ask how to get to the videos, it is very easy to just share the thinglink with them.

Next year, I want to think about how to give students even more ownership in the process.  Because of the tight time frame, it was hard to let students do all of the work of filming and uploading, but I know there has to be another way.  I’m going to reflect on that and suggest some improvement for next year.  For now, we can enjoy the amazing creations of these students in art, the classroom, and the media center.

Brink

Ramseyer

Wright

Yawn

# Dot Day Fun with colAR Mix App

Every year, I enjoy celebrating International Dot Day, and it seems that every year we discover new ways to celebrate.  This year, I was excited to discover colAR Mix 3D coloring book.  I discovered the app while reading Fablevision’s posts about Dot Day.  colAR Mix is an augmented reality app that takes 2D coloring pages and brings them to life.  You can see the amazing video here:

For Dot Day, they made a special free page that allows students to design their own dots and turn them into rotating discs, falling balls, rotating solar systems, and revolving globes.  The app has a built in camera so you can take pictures of your creation, pretend that you are holding your creation in your hand, or even work with a partner to take your picture with your creation.

The students have been blown away by the coolness of this app.  Every adult that has seen it has immediately downloaded it on their phones and iPads to try it out for themselves.  Other than the coolness, I could really see this being used for multiple purposes.  When you study maps, you often have to think about something that is 3D in a flat format.  This app allows students to design something flat and see what it looks like in 3D.  Perhaps by working through this several times students would gain some understanding about how our flat maps of the world actually translate into the actual 3D world we live in.  It would be interesting to connect this with the upcoming explorers study that I am doing with 4th grade.  I would love to hear others’ ideas of how it might be used beyond dot day.