Category Archives: K-5

Do You Want to Build a 2-Pocket-Folder-Man?

My 2nd graders have been doing some hard convergent thinking during our last couple of classes, so I thought it was time to practice creative thinking for a little while.  They love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activities, and I like to let them choose from a couple to keep things interesting.  (You can visit this old post for an explanation of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. and some suggested activities.)

Yesterday they could choose between finding a substitution for snow to build a snowman or putting reindeer to another use for the 364 days of the year they aren’t in action.  You can see some of their ideas below. I love that one student actually included a key on hers to explain the different parts!

You can see more holiday S.C.A.M.P.E.R. ideas here.  Also, you can do a search on this blog for ideas for the rest of the year.  Or, you can mosey on over to my TPT store.  I’ve got Autumn S.C.A.M.P.E.R. and S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Through the Seasons - or you can download Superhero S.C.A.M.P.E.R. for free.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Augmented Reality Reward Coupons

I confess that this is nothing new.  I offered these augmented reality reward coupons last year, and have been meaning to make some more.  However, that hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe a few enterprising students can make some for me!

music1

My students absolutely loved these last year.  In my classroom Reward Coupons are kind of a seasonal thing, which makes them extra special when I start giving them out.

These coupons, when scanned with the special Aurasma app, will “speak” the reward.  (You need to be following Hidden Forest Elementary in the app.)

If you like these, you might also want to try out the AR holiday cards that I posted last December.

New to augmented reality?  I have an Augmented Reality Page devoted to tutorials, lessons, and apps.  Also, be sure to check out Elements 4D for a great educational way to use augmented reality for teaching Chemistry!

Scratch Jr. Tutorials for Primary Students

Last week, I encouraged you to participate in this year’s Hour of Code. I know that guiding a classroom of students through an hour of programming can sound intimidating, particularly if you aren’t experienced in it yourself.  The secret is to do as I have – admit to yourself that you know nothing and your students are smarter than you.  Trust me, it makes life easier and a lot more enjoyable ;)

Any grade level can do the Hour of Code.  Code.org makes it very easy to moderate lessons for all ages and levels of experience.  But there are other resources as well.

Take Sam Patterson (@SamPatue), for example.  He teaches coding to elementary students, and decided to try out the new iPad app, Scratch Jr., with them this year.  So far, he has provided two video tutorials on his blog, “My Paperless Classroom,” and it’s my hope he will provide some more – mostly because they are exactly on my level! The first one is, “Learning about Loops,” teaches about how to have a character (sprite, as they are called) repeat an action.  The second one, “Creating a Dialog in Scratch Jr.,” shows how to have characters interact with speech in a program.  Both are good examples of integrating other curriculum with coding, and were used with 1st graders and 2nd graders respectively.  Sam’s awesome puppet, Wokka, does the video narration, making it even more appealing for young people.

I haven’t had a chance to jump in to Scratch Jr. yet with my students this year, but watching Sam’s tutorials makes me want to try it tomorrow.  It is going to be another creation tool that my classes will be able to use, and I imagine they will think of far better ideas for its use than I ever can!

UPDATE 11/18/14: For even more Scratch Jr. activities and video tutorials, check out the “Teach” section on the Scratch Jr. website.

If you’d like to access some more resource for teaching kids to code, check out my Programming for Kids Pinterest Board!

screen shot from Sam Patterson's tutorial on creating dialog
screen shot from Sam Patterson’s tutorial on creating dialog

Opt for Osmo for Optimum Fun

Woohoo!  Here we go!  This is the beginning of this year’s “Gifts for the Gifted” posts – a series of articles I do each Friday in November and December to give teachers and parents ideas for great toys and games for your children.  To see what gifts I’ve recommended in the past, take a look at my Pinterest Board.  (I also have one for Books for Gifted Children.)

gifts

 

I reviewed today’s product, Osmo, in May, but some of you may not have been readers way back then.  You should definitely check out that first post as it gives some details that I will probably leave out in the interest of brevity in this article.

Put quite simply, Osmo is a set of accessories for your iPad that allows players to interact with real physical objects that are recognized by your iPad within Osmos’ free apps.  My classes (K-5 gifted students) tested the product out last year before it hit the market, and absolutely loved it.

image from Venturebeat.com
image from Venturebeat.com

There are currently 3 free apps: Words, Tangrams, and Newton.  The apps will not work without the set that you can currently purchase for $79.99 (free shipping). The set includes a base for the iPad, a mirror to place over the iPad camera, letter tiles, and tangram pieces.

In case you are concerned that your child or students will get bored with the 3 apps, I can assure you this hasn’t happened in my classroom yet.  The company does hope to add additional apps in the future, and they have made significant updates to the current ones over the last year.  In addition, the Words app allows for customization so that you can basically create your own games using photos and words that you load yourself. (See instructions here.) This feature is tremendously powerful in a classroom setting.  You can make Osmo a center to practice certain words, differentiate with several albums, and do class play to review vocabulary by mirroring your iPad on your screen.

There are two reasons that I recommend Osmo: it’s good for kids and the company is extremely supportive of its customers – particularly educators.  If you are looking for a great gift to give a teacher (perhaps pooling money with several parents) or a unique gift to give to a younger family member, then Osmo is definitely a great choice.  You can purchase Osmo directly from their website, or at an Apple store near you.

Thanksgiving Stuff

I’m not going to lie.  This is kind of a recycled post.  But I threw in a couple of new things to keep it “fresh.”

Last year I offered “A Cornucopia of Creative and Critical Thinking Activities for Thanksgiving.”  It’s pretty relevant still. And if you’re a new reader of this blog, then you might find some things you haven’t seen before.

Or, you could meander over to Laura Moore’s blog for some November Themed Technology lessons, which include a Thanksgiving field trip using Google Earth.

For those of you who love Kahoot, here is a Thanksgiving Trivia game that might have some facts that are surprising to you (like how many turkeys are eaten each year).

I think I’m actually doing pretty good, considering I didn’t post last year’s Thanksgiving piece until November 13th.  At least this one is early enough to get some use for a couple of weeks!

Happy Thanksgiving

Star S’Mores

This week’s Phun Phriday post is the hilarious Sesame Street parody of Star Wars – Star S’Mores.

Star S'mores from Sesame Street
Star S’mores from Sesame Street

How can Flan Solo keep himself from eating his best friend and partner, Chewy? Watch the video below to find out if Darth Baker has the answer!

Beautiful Oops

Sometimes, like the main character in The Dot, we are paralyzed by the worry that we can’t do something well enough.  And other times, we try to do something well and are devastated when it doesn’t go the way we planned.  Beautiful Oops is a book by Barney Saltzberg that encourages us to make the best of our mistakes.  It is a great book for younger children – full of interactive pages and colorful pictures.

from Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
from Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

 

While I was looking for resources to accompany the book on the web, I found a great Pinterest Board from @KirstyHornblow that is full of ideas to go with the book.  For example, I am totally going to try the lemon juice/watercolor idea from artprojectsforkids.org.

from artprojectsforkids.org
from artprojectsforkids.org

Beautiful Oops is a nice way to talk about Growth Mindset with young students, and I am definitely going to add it to my Growth Mindset Pinterest Board.

By the way, I added a few extra resources to that board this weekend, including several that I found on Larry Ferlazzo’s site.  The one below, tweeted by @BradHandrich, fits the theme of this post quite well!

How Do You View Your Mistakes?