Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I'm Reading Wednesday ... on a Thursday

A great stress relief for me is reading a hilarious book. The perfect night cap to a nonstop day at school if you ask me! Really... there's nothing like finding a book that literally makes you laugh out loud. 

If you haven't been introduced, let me have the honor. For your comedic pleasure, allow me to introduce, Amy Poehler. 

Aren't ready to commit? Enjoy a 5-minute excerpt from her book on YouTube. 

Seriously. If you're a fan of Amy's, SNL, Parks & Rec, or comedy in general.... you're going to enjoy this book. 

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! 

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