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Grammar Fun has activities for nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. You can concentrate on one, two, three, or use all four categories of words. You are given a sentence and must identify the parts of speech.
The sentences are not read aloud. The free version is somewhat limited. I would say the grade level would be third and up. For some reason declarative sentences do not have punctuation at the end.
Grammar Wonderland Primary tracks how each student performs. The activities are with nouns, verbs, and adjectives. There are three practice levels: easy, medium, and hard with multiple games for each level. You are given a sentence with a missing word. Words are available on cookies which you fling into the parrot’s mouth. The sentences are read aloud and the music can be turned off. Finally there is a game where you navigate around obstacles, choosing the correct word described by function. This is intended for K-2.
Grammar Wonderland Elementary is very much like its primary partner. It has a desert theme and anwers are chosen by tossing a water jug into the pack on a camel’s back. Practice skills include nouns, verbs, and adjectives in four levels: easy, medium, hard, and expert. An example of expert is “Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns.”
There is a game at the end where you fly a plane through correct answers, avoiding obstacles and flying through boosts. This is intended for grades 3-5.
Grammar Jammers Primary Edition is a collection of engaging, animated songs about adjectives, contractions, nounds, pronouns, punctuation, sentences, and verbs each followed by three practice exercises. It might be best used connected to the interactive white board, enjoyed by the whole class the first time. The same kids who continually check out the music books from the library would enjoy learning these songs to help remember these grammar concepts.
Fourth grade students wrote persuasive blog posts last month. Their teachers have embraced the effort to get students composing at the computer. This activity came from the teachers and the nuts and bolts of how to carry it off came from the grade chair, library media specialist, the gifted resource specialist, and myself collaborating. We became quite excited about it.
The fourth grade chair, N. Shultz, found five good topics her students would have opinions about. The LMS, GRT, and I searched for appropriate websites with research on those topics. The GRT and I reminded ourselves how to create a Google Custom Search engines. This allows students to search for information about their topic, but only within the vetted sites we chose.
Next the GRT and I posted the statements you see here as blog posts in the fourth grade blogs.
- Children should/should not be required to read more.
- We should/should not teach etiquette in school.
- All schools should/should not implement bullying awareness programs.
- All students should/should not wear uniforms in public schools.
- Year round school is a good/bad idea.
Students chose the topic they wanted to write about and clicked the appropriate post. This led them to the Google custom search. They read an article or two, posted replies to the original post stating facts about the issue. Each fact found was posted individually. Students in the same class working on the same issue could see each other’s replies.
Finally students wrote persuasive blog posts, each giving their opinion on the topic they chose backed up by facts they, and their peers, found in these articles.
I was very impressed by the comments the students were making on my posts during this process. I hadn’t seen such purposeful posts by most of the students here to fore. Of course we gave them this purpose but they were up to the task and they learned that blogging can have multiple purposes.
BYOD is about to begin in our school. We are in the process. The technology committee has met and talked about it. Not every teacher is going to participate even if some do. There is a problem with our students being so young I think. How can a 9 or 10 year old be responsible enough to bring a device worth $100 – $500 to school? The risk is larger than losing a beloved Pokemon card.
There are good reasons to support BYOD, however. For one, schools can’t keep up with the tehcnology that some kids have at home. We penalize a child who has a web enabled device he could bring daily, but can’t, especially if his teacher doesn’t check out the iPads or laptops often. How often is there a class discussion where a quick check of the facts would come in handy? Does the student think, “if only I had my iPad Touch?”
Students are more comfortable with their own devices. They know how to use them efficiently if they have been allowed to use them at home. They will learn new ways to use their devices at school which can help them with homework and further learning. Home use may be mostly about music and games. School use will be about skill practice, creating content, and research. This is a chance to teach students what their personally owned devices can do other than play games and update Facebook.
The key issue is teacher discomfort, especially because there could be many different devices brought into one classroom. Two points should be made here. One, the teacher does not have to participate in BYOD at all. Two, students should be expected to know how to operate the device they brought, attaching it to our wireless network, etc. No apps are to be downloaded at school. If the student discovers he is lacking an app the teacher was using, he can download it at home before it is used in class the next time. Teachers will let parents know about free apps she intends to use in the letter that goes home before devices are brought to school.
Finally, everyone is worried about theft or loss. The child has to be responsible enough to follow directions and manage the device, especially when leaving the classroom and transporting it to and from school. The teacher has to lock the classroom door when the class leaves for lunch, PE, and other specialists. It’s clearly stated that the school, including the teacher, take no responsibility for loss or theft but that won’t keep the parents from being upset if something should happen. It’s unpleasantness we all want to avoid.
What’s the answer? It’s not an easy choice for teachers or parents. Although I want to come out on the side of supporting BYOD, I see the other side of the coin, at least in elementary school. We have one brave teacher planning to try it soon. I’ll report back on how it went.
Bob shared how third graders worked on persuasive writing with Blabberize and Fotobabble. They created commercials of their own after viewing some together. They used Fotobabble to create photos and Blabberize to make them “talk” when they recorded their voices. This sounds like a possible answer to our media messages lesson needs.
I’m happy to see that there is a new version of Google Earth (7) out for DOT to push to our computers. I’ll have to put that order in soon. Students enjoy exploring Google Earth. Fara shared a lesson about Egypt geography that included Google Earth and a paid app to decode Hieroglyphics, Egyptian Decoder.
Marie G. has found a SMART Jeopardy activity that includes a way to engage the entire class, not just the students whose turn it is. She showed us a second grade weather example. Students use SMART response system clickers to answer the question presented. One team is answering using ABCD while the other team answers EFGH. Why didn’t we think of that before?
Joe shared how fifth graders at his school worked with “Sparkling Adjectives.” He found a video on Martin Luther King, Jr. that pauses periodically to show events on a calendar. This became the trigger for students to described that part of King’s life with an adjective in Today’s Meet. In the end the students created Pixie documents with these words, but I didn’t get the vision of this because we weren’t able to see it at the meeting. We need to use Today’s Meet more often. It’s a very engaging tool.
Christa described a use of Share, the Tech4Learning software I overlook. Second graders built websites about weather after researching the four main questions about blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms. They used Share to create multipage booklets, or websites about each storm. Christa had students create individual pages and then she put them together, but with Share they could work on the same document at the same time.
I was going to share my first grade Spending and Saving Pixie booklet but felt so lousy I didn’t bother. I did get involved in a discussion about paid apps and recommended iMovie which led to sharing this https://www.dropbox.com/s/5eaf05j5580ki1m/Video%20Jan%2030%2C%202%2020%2014%20PM.mov . My LMS, Wendy, was the first one at my school brave enough to take this on. Third grade students all made animal adaptations iMovie trailers before the winter break. Some of them were quite amazing. Our fifth graders are researching 1-2 famous people from the Revolutionary War Era, one group of people such as American Indians, Women, African Americans; one event such as a battle, Jack Jouett’s Ride, and the Declaration of Independence. When they finish they will choose one of those to create a movie trailer about. They will need important text phrases and about 20 graphics from the Internet.
Vicki shared some social studies websites, some of which are new to me and need some exploration. They are primarily for fifth grade.
John shared that his PTA has purchased about $500 worth of iPad apps for his school. Since we have to go through the Apple in Education Volume Purchase Program I’m not sure how that happens. It must me a check to the school bookkeeper who can then purchase the VPP voucher. I have unspent VPP money which I need to make a decision about.I’d buy Pages if I had enough money and teachers were willing to let their children write books. Watch the VSTE Webinar from December archived here on this topic.
Skitch is a companion piece to Evernote, but it can be used independently to gather photos from the Internet and crop them for projects. It is currently a free app available in iTunes.
Open Skitch and get to the New Skitch screen. Choose “Capture from Web.”
Type what you are looking for into the Google field at the top right of the screen and click search.
Once you see the links appear, click Images on the left.
Scroll through the images until you find one you would like to use. Click the image.
Click “full-size image.”
Click Snap at the bottom right of the page.
A tool bar will appear. You can add arrows, text, highlighting, blur part of the photo, or crop.
Generally we are using the crop tool to capture the portion of the photo we want. The crop tool is the last one in the tool bar.
Click the crop tool and then click one corner and drag to the opposite corner of the portion of the photo desired. Usually we are just removing white space. There may still be white space around the photo, but it will now be centered.
Now click the send to button in the upper right corner of Skitch. This is the typical box with an arrow coming from it. Choose Camera Roll to make this photo available for future projects.
- Aura – the augmented reality action that occurs when you view an overlay created with Aurasma
- Channel – the location of your auras can be a channel.
- Device – iPad 2 and up, iPhone 4 and up, high powered Android handheld devices with cameras and the Aurasma App installed.
- Menu – click the bottom of the viewfinder in Aurasma to begin creating an Aura
- Overlay – the video that pops up when viewing an Aura
- Viewfinder – when you first open Aurasma the viewfinder is usually active. You are looking through the camera lens for active auras.
Set up beforehand:
Create an Aurasma Account from the same iPad which you will use to create your auras. This is free. You will later make your new auras public on your own channel.
Take video that you want to be the overlays in your auras with the same iPad. These will be what “pops up” when you hover over a still image.
To create your Auras:
Click “Device” to create an overlay. This is the video that will play when your students discover the aura on an object.
“Create an Aura” will pop up. Click OK.
Position the iPad over the object or image from which you want the aura to play. Hold the iPad still. When the indicator is in the green position, snap the picture. Your overlay will begin playing. You can now position it on the image: make it smaller, larger, or turn it. All this is done manually with your fingers, pinching and turning.
Name your Aurasma, make it Public (if a child’s face is going to show be SURE you have a signed media release form for that child), and add it to your channel. Click finish. Test it with another device. (This worked without subscribing to If it works you are all set!)
It might be that if you aren’t on our wireless network this doesn’t work automatically. In that case, follow these additional directions.
To find our Aurasmas:
Use the search tool in the app. It looks like a magnifying glass.
Search for the channel name (ask the teacher or myself).
Choose the channel when it appears.
Bloggers love comments. These were posted on Twitter.
I had a great time at VSTE this year! It was in my home town and I was able to share it with three teachers from my school and my principal. The weather was perfect, an Indian summer in December, and I was a co-presenter in three successful sessions. I want to list the sessions I attended here so that I can remember them and go back later to post about each one. I’m reminded that I started blogging in 2007 because I wanted to remember sessions I attended at an earlier conference!
iPads: More than a Gameboy, Fara Faust
Gone Google? Let’s Collaborate in a Virginia Users’ Group! Nicole Stewart and Stephanie Carter
I won’t be posting about this one. I was a fish out of water. It was for and about districts that have adopted Google apps for student email, etc. I’m a Google apps user, but my students are too young for any email. It’s a worthy goal- collaboration among VA districts who are using Google mail and other apps with students.
Discovery Education and the iPad: Learning Gone Mobile Fountain
Spotlight Speaker Daniel Valenzuela
Keynote Speaker Steve Dembo
Creating an Apple iBook with iBook Author Ingram and Siemans
Help They Gave me an iPad and I Don’t Know What to do with It! Rogers
Appy Hour Faust and Harrison (me)
Hear Us Now! VSTE’s Theme this year: Power Up: Excite * Ignite * Inspire Butcher and Sheets
ActivInspire Tips and Tricks in the Elementary Classroom Sharil Martin from Fairfield
Professional Development in a Virtual World Alconcel and me
Get Your Avatar On Alconcel and me
Spotlight “21st Century Teaching & Learning – It’s About Time!” Tammy Worcester
Last night, as I was preparing to teach a very open ended lesson with a fifth grade class today, I decided to add blogging a response to the end of the lesson. That led me to look at their blog posts. I was delighted to find that several of them had added posts from home. I read each one and replied if I had not replied before.
I’m starting to see a formula in my replies to student posts. I first engage with their topic and remark about their main message. Even if they have little content I play off the title or main idea. I then try to find something good about their writing to compliment them on or show them I noticed. Finally I pick one thing I’d like them to go back and fix or be cognizant of in their next post. This last part is not always easy. Sometimes there are so many mechanical errors, or the post is riddled with incomplete or run on sentences that I want to ask them to delete it and start over. I don’t! I don’t tell them where the mistake is. I force myself to do what my reading resource specialist recommends and give them a hint of something to look for to correct. “Can you find some proper nouns you should have capitalized?” “Where should you add periods to show the end of a complete thought?” “I became confused in the middle of your post. I think maybe you confused two separate ideas. Can you straighten this out with two paragraphs?”
To my surprise and delight last night while going through this process one student blog was corrected while I was looking at another! I went back, read it again, and commented anew. Then I looked at the time on my computer: 10:15 PM. Was the child still up or did the parent make the correction?
I was sad to note that the classroom teacher in this class had never created her own post to her students nor commented on a single student post herself. I wonder at that. I suppose she thinks creating this blog for her students was just something she had to do for me and did not need to be engaged in it herself. Perhaps she doesn’t understand. I’ll have to try again to capture her interest.
How would you approach this?