Some 5th Graders recorded a message on friendship today for their kindergarten buddies. Kids will never stop amazing me at their thoughtfulness and genuine desire to share their wisdom. Just ask them!
We had crazy fun during Learn to Code week, December 9-15, introducing programming to elementary students. I could not wipe the smile off my face for a minute. We all had a blast. More computer programming will be happening in January and I'm hoping the kiddos develop a long-lasting love of understanding technology and learning to code.
If you are looking for awesome iPad apps to try I suggest Kodable, Daisy the dinosaur, Light-Bot and Hopscotch for starters. If you are using a computer I suggest trying Light-Bot and www.Code.org. If you haven't tried programming on an iPad I highly recommend it for the kids as young as 4.
Here are a few pictures that captured the joy of learning to code. I don't have any shots showing the "agony of defeat," as they used to say on the old ABC's Wide World of Sports. But there are some "thrill of victory" snapshots!
*Loved using AirServer to mirror my iPad on the SMART board in different classrooms this past week! However, AirServer running on a MacBook and my iPad running iOS 7 are not getting along right now. I hope Apple updates iOS 7 soon so I am back in mirroring heaven. I really, really dislike being tied to a computer at the front or side of a classroom.
2nd Graders jumped at the chance yesterday to choreograph their very own dance on the iPad using the Daisy the Dinosaur app. They had a blast exploring Daisy the Dinosaur app and making that cute dino dance to their beat!
Here's a little of what we did and more about what I would do differently next time. We started using the app in the explore more. I did a 30 second demo and let them go for it. They could work alone or in pairs. They needed to choreograph some dance moves, try the moves themselves, write down the moves on paper, and finally, use the app to have Daisy do the dance. The kids were tremendous, working very hard the whole time to design the next Michael Jackson moonwalk dance sensation.
A few things I will definitely try do next time I lead this introductory coding class for the little guys:
1. Dynamic Duos - Pairs, not optional. One partner acts out dance steps and the other partner captures the dance moves on paper. Then they code it together on one or two iPads. Coding using the drag and drop block commands, went really quickly because the first 5 minutes of the class they got familiar with what the app could and couldn't do.
2. Take screenshots of the program. We captured a few, but I need to watch the time better because the program is not saved.
3. Share. Share with the class or with other pairs. Save a little extra time at the end to display at least a few of the dances for the whole class to see. Connect the student iPads to the projector so the whole class can see the new dance performances. It's good audience practice and the giggles are infectious.
(Side note: Maybe in the near future we will get to the point where we can wirelessly display student iPads. We are not there yet, but I absolutely loved walking around while wirelessly demo'ing the app on my iPad. It was pretty funny though because looking back, I only walked back and forth near the Smart Board. Need to branch out a bit next time.)
4. Video tape the students in pairs doing their dance. This might be too hard for the little guys to remember all the steps, but then again, 2nd graders surprise me all the time! Maybe setting up stations to direct the sharing and video taping...uhm. Any thoughts? Do you think it's worth trying to capture the live performances? As a parent I think I would really be proud of my child watching a dance performance and knowing she programmed it too boot! I think this makes programming real for kids. Doing it and seeing it play out. Just my two cents.
Update from the next class: We had more time to share and watch the dinos dance which makes for an exceptional learning experience. Cheers!
My daughter made diamondFuzz, fuzzy fun! I'm going to bring it along when I use this app with 3rd graders for #HourOfCode during the week of December 9th. Having already tried the Kodable app out with a 1st grader and 3rd grader, I'm confident we'll have a blast! Maybe the kiddos will be inspired to make their own Fuzzy after our class. Hope so!
To make your very own fuzzy, try using materials you already have at home. Get creative! Here's some suggestions. We recommend starting with a small to medium sized ball. I wanted to use a basketball but we didn't have enough fabric. We used a bouncy ball that was laying around the house the size of a softball. Then we covered it with fuzzy material using a hot or cool glue gun or fabric glue. You can even use an old colorful beach or hand towel (that's fuzzy, right?!) We had some white fuzzy material left over from another project that we used. Add some googly eyes and a happy felt smile, black and red and you are all set! A "Maker event" for sure!
P.S. I say "we" but it was me hunting around for supplies with Jillian's help and Jillian making the Fuzzy Fun creature.
Ask a 7 year old, "What's a computer programmer? Do you want to be a computer programmer when you grow up?" More kids today than last week at least, can actually give you a pretty good answer to those questions. I had an eye-popping day in 2nd grade coding on the iPad last week. Candace invited her friend, Dom Lau, an IT Director at USC, with a knack for teaching kiddos to code, into her classroom. I was very fortunate and to observe the class. A-m-a-z-ing! Here are a few tips I picked up from Dom and turned around and applied in another 2nd grade classroom a half hour later. Tie programming to:
- Things kids enjoy doing (the hook to get them invested in learning)
- Simon Says
- Collaborating and
A little more detail...
1. Keep it simple, make the game and iPad lesson about showing how math applies to programming shapes. A square was the first shape kids tried out. 90 degrees times 4 is 360 degrees. We need 360 degrees to finish at the same spot we started in. So, set the rotate command to 90 in the Hopscotch program. Maybe one of your second graders can add 90 four times and maybe they can't. So, just help them and point it out. Simple. I think older students will grasp the idea very quickly.
2. Tie the idea of programming to Simon Says. Play Simon Says so the class contributes the steps to get you to walk in a square or to the door.
3. Celebrate the class' first program (getting you to walk in a square).
4. Let the kids explore the app. Trial and error is fantastic but don't let it get frustrating. It's ok to fail a couple times and then suggest students sake each other for help. Ask 3 before me, if someone gets stuck. Demonstrate the steps if you need to move more quickly but try not to. The class is not as chaotic as you would think. These little guys were so focused that they were hardly talking. Level 1 or 2 on the noise scale.
5. Save and email the program to the teacher. I need to figure out how to share them out with the whole class and their families on a website or list of links that need to be opened on an iPad. I will work on that.
I would not have believed it unless I saw it. I wrote my first Fortran program in college. These kids ran circles around me using their iPad and the Hopscotch program. Everyone had a blast using Hopscotch and some kids showed just how much of a genius that they are by creating some wild programs.
So, now I have to think about my strategy for the next classes coming up. I have quite a few free apps: Light-Bot, Kodable, Daisy the Dinosaur and Hopscotch. I've already seen a 1st grader and 3rd grader thoroughly enjoy both Light-Bot and Kodable and now 45 second graders using Hopscotch. Maybe I'll set a timer and give 5 minutes for each to introduce the app and then give them free choice for remaining time. I wonder what app they will stick with? Any guesses?
Edcamp Orange County in Irvine, CA, was an amazing day of learning and my only regret is that Christina Lee, my partner in EdTech, was not able to join me at the last minute. Next time!
Thanks to everyone for making this a wonderful learning and collaborating experience using my favorite Google apps, shiny tools (iPads), and exchanging ideas face-to-face or on Twitter. Meeting new and old friends, along with a great deal of excitement for meeting people I never thought I would ever meet in my lifetime, a professional development home run!
I am stoked about the new people that might start tweeting. Thank you Alice, @WonderTechEdu, for your kindness and sharing your brilliance, presenter of the year award! I aspire to be more like you. I thought session 1, Literacy, Technology and the Common Core, notes here if you are interested in checking out our shared Google Doc, was a big hit. I hope to inspire teachers in my district to use and to showcase more of how we are using Google Apps for Education GAFE along with other awesome apps successfully to meet the CCSS.
Thank you Elizabeth Goold and the Bedley Brothers for my new #bedleysister t-shirt which I am wearing to work this week! Chris Long, you seriously out did yourself and I am floored to be sporting a personalized Twitter magnet. It’s really fun and totally up my alley. How do I pay you back? Please let me know.
I really was super excited knowing I was going to meet some people that I have only had the chance to admire from afar, like Crystal and Chris to name just two. I am living the dream and enjoying learning from so many wonderful inspiring people. People who seem to genuinely care about helping students find joy in learning.
On a side note, there were other Edcamps at the same time in two other locations in the US. Portland would have been nice but the drive, even the flight, is pretty long for a day trip. I would love to figure out a way to collaborate with other sites down the road if the opportunity arises, maybe a digital Edcamp EduSlam on a hangout for the last session to share out and record for more sharing? Dreaming. Thanks Alison for the Guidebook app suggestion from Techlandia last night. I plan to check it out.
Social collaboration helps many learners. Free Edcamps are a brilliant way to invest in your professional growth. I have a few more I am planning on attending that aren’t that far away, time or space, like ones in Murietta and Ventura County, CA. I highly recommend you go to one Edcamp this year and see if it makes a difference in your teaching.
We are enjoying our Google Apps for Education, GAFE accounts and I couldn't resist taking the photo of my ed tech friend, Creighton, using his cool Google water bottle. I snapped a few other Google pics that I thought I'd share today. Here's one of two 3rd graders experiencing for the first time sharing documents with their teacher and classmates. I wish I had video of their giggles when they saw someone else typing in their document. It really is a magical moment! And my last picture is two phenomenal teachers using Google Docs during a staff meeting. Karla and Jenn are phenomenal teacher leaders not only because they go the extra mile for their students but because they are open to learning new tech tools and integrating tech when it makes the most sense to benefit their students. Brilliant teachers that I love learning with.
Click on the image to see more images. Have you tried Everlapse.com or the iOS iPhone app? “An addictive new collaborative flipbook sharing app.” Techcrunch. It's a new iPhone app. Saturday night watching the Techlandia podcast, Alison Anderson, @tedrosececi, shared this cool new tool and I thought I would give it a try. Really fun! Elizabeth Goold, @Elizabethgoold had a great idea, "I'm thinking I could make one and let parents contribute a pic of what they're thankful for. " Love it!
Help Desk onsite support...A novel approach? Inviting people to stop by and ask any tech question? Not really. But it was a new thing for me to be a part of and well worth everyone's time. Here is the beautiful S'more Invitation Flyer we emailed to staff. We started this week-long help desk last Friday and will continue through next week. It was incredible! Dedicated teachers and support staff made it a joy to contribute to helping each other and learning new tips and tricks about PowerSchool. Anyone could have asked about anything, hardware/software, whatever they wanted to know more about. Everyone chose PowerSchool because that is the District's new student information system this year. This whole week we are dedicated to helping answer questions and solve any problems to the best of our ability. We're trying and I think teachers and staff appreciate the effort. I'm looking forward to an awesome week working with awesome teachers!
This video vocab lesson is probably the most fun I've ever had teaching a 2nd grade iPad lesson, after selfies for screensavers. Every lesson I present needs to have have a high degree of educational value and needs to work for a range of talented students where some students might struggle or be a bit more advanced. This video vocabulary lesson was a smash hit with the students!
Thank you very much to Lisa Johnson, @TechChef4u, who shared 100+ App Task Cards and I quickly found Video Vocabulary. Oh yes a smashing success! Thank you Lisa, @TechChef4u, and Sandy Patterson, on Instagram @soaring_through_2nd, lesson and details at:
I made a few minor changes and included the files to share in this blog post.
A few planning tips:
1. Where do 2nd graders get cool images?
Give students choice to draw it, snap it or save it. Students might draw an image using the free Doodle Buddy app. Another idea is for students to take a picture of something in the classroom using the Camera app. And finally, searching for an image to save to their camera roll from a shared folder in Google Drive or posted on a class website. You might let students use a safe search engine like this one:http://www.wikikids.ws/
or this one that Sandy recommends:http://www.kidrex.org/
For the topic we chose, school pride, taking a few campus snapshots is fun. Then you can post the images on a class or school website or even Padlet.com (and Chrip the link to the students for easy access).
2. One Session or Two?
If your students already know the words you want them to write about this lesson will take 1 session (~30 minutes or so). Take two sessions if you need to teach the vocabulary.
3. The final product in this lesson can be each student recording all the words and creating their individual video or merging one sentence from each student for a video collage. Mrs. Barney's Class PRIDE video below is a video collage where each student contributed one sentence. In iMovie on an iPad, I merged the student videos and added text to the beginning and end for the video. Given more time even 2nd graders could add the text in iMovie.
Chris Long, HBUHSD Educational Technologist, championed the Halloween themed professional development effort in his district by creating a super-charged, fun and entertaining environment to learn and collaborate with awesome educators. Christina Lee and I shared a quick presentation on Growing you PLN and hope we left teachers a little more inspired to reach out and use Google+ or Twitter. Here is the TechoWeen website he created for the event and my presentation is included below.
I really felt inspired by the whole event. I think the biggest thing that I learned was that people were eager to participate and share their own experiences, big and small ideas, to make everyone a little more empowered to make the changes they need or want to make to improve student learning in their classroom. Maybe better put is to help inspire students to love learning. Or even better yet, learn differently because these educators are passionate people.
I couldn't resist taking a few pictures throughout the day. So here they are for you to check out. OMG! The decorations were brilliant weren't they? Leah hopefully won for creating the best treats. Amazing works of art from a rat in a palm tree to a mummy with googly eyes. I think she said she found some ideas on Pinterest. Love that!
Author: Jeanne Reed
Engineer turned educator, now educational technologist - sharing my passion and perspective on technology in education to improve student learning. Hope you enjoy!
Reflections by Jeanne Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.