Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mrs. Cissel my iPad is haunted

Don't you just love those moments when a child reacts to something you do in the classroom.
I know I do.

If you don't know already, one of the cool things about Google docs is the ability to collaborate on a document, meaning two people can work on a document at the same time.  This is great for lesson planning or helping someone proof read an important document.  It is also great for helping students edit their writing in real time.  Instant feedback.  All you have to do is share your document with the person you want to collaborate with, each of you will have a different color cursor and all you have to do is type normally.



Ok, so remember when I told you about what a teacher does on a snow day?  One of the things that I learned was how to distribute a writing task via Google docs using a script called Doctopus.  I created a template for the students to fill out about their snow days.  While they were working on them with their iPads I told them that I could "spy" on their work and help them out using my computer.  I warned them.  I promise.  So I "spied" on A's (I know I shouldn't use students names but I hate saying 'a student' constantly so I am going to use letter's instead if that is alright with you) document and noticed that he had misspelled a word and auto-correct was trying to tell him by that red underline squiggly thingy.  I fixed it for him and he jumped out of his seat and hopped back a step.  The look on his face was priceless.  He hollered "Mrs. Cissel, my iPad is haunted."  Of course I calmed his nerves and showed him exactly what I was doing.


  The class was attentive and writing vigorously because they wanted me to "haunt" their writing too.  I think it is one of the best writing lessons of the year.

An added benefit to using this tool for writing is paperless grading.  Doctopus works together with a tool called Goobric so that I can add a rubric to the writing.
Here is one of my student's responses
Here is what the rubric looks like.  You add your own rubric.



For more information about Doctopus and Goobrics watch these  tutorials.

Doctopus 4.0 Walkthrough

Goobric Walkthrough
Thank you +Jay Atwood for these fantastic tutorials.

-happy Tekking

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What is a script and what do teachers do on a snow day?



In answer to the first question, what is a Google script, I have no idea.  However, I have learned how to use one.

In answer to the second question, what does a teacher do on a snow day, here you go.
Step 1: Build a snowman with your kids.  

Step 2: give your children hot chocolate.

Step 3: While they are watching Ice Age to help them warm up, hop on the computer and do a little self PD.  In another post, I spoke about the power of Twitter for free PD.  Check it out.

On my snow day, I learned about all of the cool things that Google Apps for Education can do for you.

Today I would like to talk about  Flubaroo. Flubaroo is a script available on Google drive that will grade tests for you.  Mind blown.  I have no clue how this thing works but here is how I used it.

First I made a quiz using Google forms.  I've played with Google forms before so I am fairly familiar with them.



After creating my quiz, I had my family test it.  I found out that this was very important because when you use Flubaroo you make your own "key" by taking the quiz yourself.  This makes short answer questions difficult because different students may use different words and spelling does count.

We returned to school on Monday and on Tuesday I gave my students the quiz on their iPads (After the painstaking process of adding it to the home screen of every iPad individually.  I know there is a better way but I haven't figured it out yet.)



When all the students were done taking their quiz.  I went into my plant quiz responses spread sheet that Google drive created from the form, added Flubaroo script and ran Flubaroo.  This video will explain better than I can.





My buddy and I teach all of third grade science and social studies so imagine how much help this will be in grading.  I also found out that like any spreadsheet, you can sort your data.  Here is what my data looked like the first time they took the quiz (you can run Flubaroo over and over again, so students can retake quizzes very easily).  I know the grades don't look so good.  I chalked that up to it being the first time they took a quiz on the iPad and gave them another try.


One of the questions that I asked my students told me clearly how they felt about taking the quiz on the iPad.  That's enough for this tech crazy teacher.


Well, now you know what teachers do on a snow day.  

-happy tekkin'








Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fantastic Free PD

As I told you at the start of this blog, I went in search of some website/blog/thing that could help me navigate the marvelous world of 1:1 iPads.  Technically I am not 1:1, I share with my team..
love ya team... Go Third Grade!
 the iPads live in my room so I can use them freely.  Anyway...

I kept running across blogs that said "Join Twitter" and "Twitter can help you be a better teacher"
I have never understood Twitter.  I have often thought of people who use Twitter as the type that say "Ok I'm leaving the house now"  then two minutes later "I'm in the car".  I am so not that kind of person.

Then I ran across a website that was perfect for naysayers like me.

Sue Waters taught me how to sign up for Twitter and what this # was all about.


I was sick on Monday so, just like the technology obsessed person I am,  I spent lots of time getting to know Twitter and how it works.  I basically followed Sue's directions to the tee.

While on Twitter I found these @2guysShow Brad & Drew from Two Guys and Some iPads
I watched their Podcast (first one ever) with Tony Vincent and learned a lot about iPads and apps and other stuff.

I also participated in an #edtechchat about Project Based learning where I learned about some cool apps that students can use when creating projects and the real definition of Project Based Learning.  I also learned there are LOTS of smart teachers out there.
 

Twitter followers can now DM you, even if you are not following them

In other words JOIN TWITTER if for nothing else than for a little extra free PD with a little fun along the way.

I am learning the importance of building my (I think they call it) PLN Personal Learning Network.

My world just got a little bigger.

Thanks to all of my new Twitter friends!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Best conference tool ever!



I don't know how many of you are familiar with balanced literacy.  It is a collection of teaching strategies designed to teach students reading while they interact with real literature rather than basals. There are many components to balanced literacy such as mini lessons, guided reading, shared reading interactive read aloud and conferencing.  This year I have been honing my conferencing skills.  In a reading conference a teacher meets one on one with a student, listens to the student read and shares a teaching point to add to the student's literacy "tool-box".

I discovered that the iPads and an app called RazKids are fantastic tools for creating an environment ideal for conferencing.
(Click on the link to learn more about RazKids and the Reading A-Z http://www.readinga-z.com/)

  • Students are engaged in practicing reading skills because duh... they are on iPads
  • Students are reading on their unique reading level
  • Comprehension is assessed with instant feedback by quizzes at the end of each story.

I had some marvelous conferences while using these tools;


  1. Student A - taught me how to zoom in on nonfiction text features,which allowed me to help student B focus on text features to help her understand the text.  We also got to "do math" because the text feature was showing a pictograph.
  2. Student C is not a very fluent reader.  He found a microphone where he could record himself reading and listen to himself read.
  3. Student D discovered that you could look back into the text as you were taking the assessment so he could reference the text.  Which allowed me to show student E how to reference the text when he was stuck on a question.

In other words every discovery that was made by one student helped me to help another student.  Cooperative learning at its finest!

Logins and all that mess

Friday I asked my students to think about passwords and how we could keep track of them.  Yesterday we had a class discussion.
Here were some of the ideas that they had:

* "We could make a notes page on our ipad and put all our passwords there."
"Great thinking babe but we share the iPad cart with other students."  This prompted a great discussion about how passwords are like toothbrushes.  We don't share toothbrushes and we don't share passwords.

*"Does IPad have Word like the computers?"
"Great question darlin'.  Sorry, but no it doesn't."

We ended up printing all of our passwords and gluing then into our notebook.  Primative, I know, but it worked.  We had a little password powwow on the carpet with glue and scissors.  

Lesson learned... Have a plan for storing passwords.  There are lots of them and they need to be organized.  Make sure students understand password safety.



As a teacher my favorite way to organize passwords is an app called Master vault lock.

I use it several times a day to recall my many different and constantly changing passwords.  You can access your passwords this way through the internet too.  You just have to remember one password key (number) and all of your passwords are ready for you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ok, so... here's the plan

My students have had the iPads in their hands a few times now.   My students love to help each other out and show each other their discoveries. I find what works best is to have the students sit in a circle on the carpet with me in the middle.  That way I can trouble shoot and be close at hand to make sure students are following iPad procedures.  The sitting at the carpet thing also reduces the distance that an iPad can drop to the ground.  At this point it is a trust thing.  The students need to earn my trust with these expensive pieces of equipment before I give them more freedom.

Here are some of the lessons that I have taught them
  • How to "wake up" and put the iPod "to sleep"
  • How to take a screen shot
  • How to write a note
  • How to open apps
Here is the plan...
 
We are going to start off very simple.

A.M.  Students will get on the iPads in small groups in lieu of morning work.

P.M.  Students will be split into three groups and work in rotation/stations.  The Ipad will be one station.  

I will talk in further posts about the apps that we will be using.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Set up

It took me way too long to set up the iPads because I didn't have a computer attached to the cart so I set up each iPad individually.  Yes, I know this was the hard way.  I have a tendency of doing things the hard way.

Here is what I did for each ipad

  • I updated all of the iPads or checked for updates
  • I made a "Teacher Only" folder and put every app I didn't want students to touch into this folder.

  • I set restrictions so students could not access email, videos, or the ability to delete apps or do in app purchases.

  • I made sure the apps I wanted were on all of the iPads and I set the iPads to automatic downloads of apps.
  • I set up individual apps for logins as required.
  • I made folders to organize the apps


  • I set the background to student numbers.  I just googled the number found a cute picture and set it to the background.

I hope this gives you some ideas about how to set up your iPads.  It took me some time but I got it done. 
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