Sunday, January 25, 2015

5th Grade Explains it All - Vertebrates Project

We kicked off the new year with a few new apps in 5th grade. (Catch up on my other iPad posts here) I've been anxious to use the app Explain Everything with my students since downloading it myself back in August. One of the (many) things that intrigued me about Explain Everything was the functionality - I could use it as a teaching tool and my students can create projects as well. 

As our first Explain Everything production, I decided to introduce the tool during my science classes (I have three sessions this year!). Mastering the five classes of vertebrates is a big deal in 5th grade and I thought it would be great - and equally fun - to introduce Explain Everything with this unit. 

My requirements for the project were the following:
Name the 5 classes of vertebrates
Provide three living examples of each vertebrate
Identify three characteristics of each vertebrate

From there.. the sky was the limit!

I strongly believe what made this project so successful (and fun.. have I mentioned how much my kids loved it?) was the intense app tutorial I provided on day one. I justified spending more time on introducing the app to eliminate confusion and frustration for the rest of the year. I simply introduced all of the features and walked through different samples with the kids. This way, they would spend more time focusing on the content of their project and not playing with the lightsaber feature. (Can you tell we had to spend time playing with the lightsaber?)

Once the kids started working on their project... they were ALL IN. Within 10 minutes, my students were showing ME the features I hadn't figured out yet. Pretty incredible! 

I anticipate our next encounter with Explain Everything will not be as elaborate. I want students to see the app as tool to demonstrate their understanding of multiple content areas. I'm excited to see what else we create this year!

Curious to see some of our projects? Check out our playlist on YouTube! (P.S. Creating a playlist was a great and easy way to share our projects with families!) 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Classifying Vertebrates Pre-Test Through Socrative!

It's amazing how, when I'm relaxing on my couch, my to-do list seems so bare... then the moment school kicks off, things are rolling at full speed again! Whew.. deep breaths!

This year, our 5th grade has been fortunate to have 6 iPads put into every class as a replacement for our laptops. As each day passes, we are finding more and more ways to utilize our iPads to impact our instruction. One of the apps I'm a BIG fan of is Socrative. One of my colleagues wrote an awesome post on our "Tech Tidbits" blog at my school about using Socrative. Check it out here ----> UETechTidbits. In the post, she gives an overview of Socrative and how to use it in the classroom.

If you're curious about Socrative, I would watch this informational video or simply follow their posts on Twitter. I'm always gaining ideas just from their tweets!

Access Socrative Twitter Profile
One of the huge benefits of Socrative is that it is not limited to just one device - even if my classroom wasn't equipped with iPads, I could still utilize this response system in my classroom. Pretty fancy, huh? 

In science, we are starting our animal classification unit. Based on a consensagram from the beginning of the year, this is the unit my students are HIGHLY anticipating and they haven't let me forget about it. Which means.. I've got to up the anty and make it worth the wait!

Now, all of my blabbing and going on and on leads me to an eight digit number. This post was was simply a ploy to get to you snag this number and use my "Shared Socrative Quiz". If you are a teacher in need of a pre-test over the five classes of vertebrates - look no more! I've got you covered!

Vertebrates Pre-Test:

SOC #:


Now... share with me find educators! How have you utilized Socrative in the classroom? I'm eager to learn more! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

That's a Wrap, 2014!

Wow! What a year it has been.
I'll spare you all of the details, but it was an absolutely amazing year and 2015 is bound to be even better. 

Last year, I created a foldable for my students to make a few new year's resolutions using the numbers "2-0-1-4" based on another folder I found through Pinterest. You can read about that foldable here

With the new year approaching and Christmas break winding down, it became time to create another foldable! Last year, my students enjoyed kicking off the new year with resolutions and I hope my crew this year enjoys it just as much. 

Download the 2015 foldable HERE

Have a safe and happy new year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Scientific Method iMovies

I'm sure you're all familiar with the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." by Laura Numeroff, right?

Well... if you give a kid an iMovie project to create...
You're going to need some patience.
If you give a kid an iMovie project, you're probably going to need some props and costumes to go along with the project.
Then, when other students see one group with a wig and a microphone.. you're PROBABLY going to need to find six more wigs, 6 more microphones, and 8 more feet in your classroom to make space for the creativity happening.

Catch my drift? :)

 In previous years, I have had students create scientific method comic strips demonstrating their understanding of the scientific method. This year, I decided to utilize iMovie and have students create a movie to illustrate their knowledge of the scientific method process.

Let's just say... it was pure chaos in my room for a few days. I started to sweat wondering if this project was even making an impact? Were they learning anything? Were they truly showing me what they knew about the scientific method?

I held my breath. Counted to ten. Crossed my fingers and toes and hoped for genuine learning to happen. I even had time to snap a few pictures and send a tweet or two:

Then... it was presentation day. I had watched the chaos, costumes, accents, and shenanigans unfold for several days and I held my breath as I pressed play on my computer.

It was like the scene from Sleeping Beauty where Aurora begins singing with the animals in perfect harmony...

Everything came together. The projects came together. They were clearly demonstrating their knowledge of the scientific method!

Despite my hestitation and worry about the project, they were a smashing success. Since then we have been on an iMovie roller coaster creating projects left and right. We just wrapped up individual goal videos, erosion and weathering videos in science, and are starting book trailers! #weloveiMovie

Share with me teachers, how do you use iMovie in your classroom?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Standing in 3 Places at Once!

I'm a BIG fan of tourist attractions. It's in my blood. I come from the family where we had to visit a historical attraction or landmark on every. single. family. vacation. At a young age, I would moan and groan... but now I'm like a kid in a candy store. I can't get enough of standing next to weird attractions that make me detour from travel or pay money to see. 

Tallest man in Branson? CHECK! 

The microphone that THE Elvis Presley sang on? Umm YES PLEASE!

Superman statue in Metropolis, Illinois? Um.. YOU BET!

Beignets at the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans? I'll take 1,000. 

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of standing by my best friend's side while she said, "I do" in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Luckily for my bf and I... we got to make a little pit stop for a kodak moment at the 3 corners!

We were standing where three states meet: Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. I felt like Mandy Moore in "A Walk To Remember" when she stood in four places at once. Okay.. I almost felt like Mandy Moore since I was only in three places at once. You get the idea!

Share with me! What are your all-time favorite pit stops, "tourist traps", or detours you've taken?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

WANTED! Elementary Meteorologists to Collect Weather Data!

We are starting our new unit in WEATHER and we need YOU! Connect with my class through our first Skype lesson. We will be collecting data throughout the month of October and we want your weather data as well. 
Check out the lesson and SHARE!

Sunday, September 28, 2014


 While visiting two friends in Springfield, Missouri recently we ate breakfast at Hurts Donut. A truly delightful little donut shop in the heart of downtown Springfield that you do. not. want. to. miss. Read a little more about Hurts Donut here from 417 Magazine. 

After staring at the cabinet of endless, weird and wacky, donuts. I settled on a donut covered in Froot Loops. Two of my favorite sweet treats. 

Now, take my advice and pop into Hurts Donut. You won't regret it!

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