Thursday, August 22, 2013

Best K-3 apps

It's that time again..... school supplies are flying off the school shelves, the mornings are a little cooler and the drive inn starts at 9:45 (which means that sun has set pretty early in this northern town).   That little voice in the back of my head is telling me to start thinking about school but I have not let my foot step through my classroom door just yet.  How can I when we are finally getting the long awaited summer heat wave?!?!

I have let myself surf pinterest for some new ideas as well as all my favorite blogs.  I have stumbled upon some GREAT new finds!  I have ALWAYS loved Mrs. Malchow and I just have to share her fabulous post about her presentation of amazing K-3 apps.

Most of the apps are not new to me, but it is a great reminder of what I need to reinstall on my class ipads to prepare for my new batch of "firsties"!  That is going to be a huge job in itself since somehow this summer so many apps were deleted to make room for movies (to last the 8 hour vacation drive), candy crush (to support my addiction) and minecraft (to keep my kiddos quiet while they sat in the house during our 2 week cold spell).  

They are all there in my purchased folder - along with all my great new finds from Free App Fridays just waiting for this teacher to get back to work and get organizing.  This blog post was a start - the rest will happen on the next rainy day, or next week, whichever comes first!  


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bringing it all together!

So all year long we have kind of stuck with Doodlecast Pro as our go to app for creating class videos.  Mastering an app has paid off and we have created 4 wonderful videos as part of our social studies unit.

Our unit is about our community and the focus of this project was to identify buildings within our School neighbourhood.  We brainstormed a list of buildings and then set out with our Grade 7 computer buddies to take photos of the buildings.

Prior to heading out, we discussed how to take good pictures as well as taking more than 1 picture so we could later choose the best one.  Of course we also talked about traffic safety, sticking together as a group and turn taking.  When all the pictures were taken we headed back to school.

The next day we got into groups and used the Doodlecast app to create our videos.  We developed a list of criteria needed when we talked about each picture.  We said we needed to name the building and it's purpose as well as the community helper that worked there.  As a group with an adult supervisor, we talked about each picture and decided what we should say.  The adult wrote it down and then each student had a turn to read the description.  Students had the opportunity to insert the pictures and format them to fit the screen.  I am confident that most students could create their own Doodlecast if they had to!

The final step was to convert it to a youtube video - super easy and fast to do which is why I LOVE Doodlecast and then we embedded it on our class wiki!

I even learned something new with this project!!!  Voice CAN be deleted without losing the whole project!!! YAY!  That makes this app even better.  You need to click on the picture until to opens up and little box with the word trim in the bottom right corner, you can then pull the recording back to the previous picture and click trim.  It will delete just the voice for that picture.  It also deletes the picture but it is easy to reinsert!

Enjoy one of our 4 videos! I know we will enjoy viewing them tomorrow!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's Up in Grade One?

We are on the down hill slide..... once Spring Break hits, don't blink because you might just miss the rest of the school year!  I can not believe we have approximately 20 school days left! 

We have been faithfully using the ipads in our classroom on a daily basis, I have just not been so faithful when it comes to blogging about it!  So what have we been up to you ask? 

We we made a lovely Mother's Day video using DoodleCast Pro.  We played the video during our Mother's Day tea.  The video got a few laughs and had a few mom's nervous about what their kiddo might say!  We did encounter a few troubles creating the video.  We could not edit the voice recording without deleting what everyone had said - this becomes tricky when you are interviewing 20 first graders.  We also attempted to go back and add a picture on the first screen - on my ipad the picture showed up no problem.  As soon as I converted it to a Youtube file - the voice (our singing) was there but no picture!  Weird! Oh well, everyone loved the video!

We have discovered a few new apps as well.  

Learning Money With Leo:  This app is free at the itunes store

iPad Screenshot 3
I LOVE this activity.  I also LOVE that it is Canadian Money.  Thanks Royal Bank!

Patterns by EdNinja:  This app is currently FREE but has a regular price of 3.99 I believe.
iPad Screenshot 1
This app allows you to set up player profiles and track progress.  I love how the missing element is not always at the end of the pattern.

Math Kingdom:  My kiddos LOVE this one, they actually cheer for it! You practice addition or subtraction as a little "rodent" battling creatures in your kingdom!  There are 3 difficulty levels and the app encourages you to go as fast as you can!  Excellent mental math for mastering those facts!  It's 2.99, again I got it free in April, but I think this one is worth the money!  There is a Bugsy Kindergarten math app that looks very interesting to me as well.  I'll be on the look out for when it goes free!
iPhone Screenshot 3

Brain Nook Math:   I was fortunate enough to get this app free as well.  The regular price is 4.99.  It covers  many areas of the math curriculum and is excellent classroom practice.  
iPad Screenshot 1

Those are our new exciting apps, of course we continue to use some of the old favorites!

So what's in store for the next 20 days?

I have an interesting writing project in mind using the ipad camera, as well as a social studies story telling project.  Keep checking back, I promise to post about both - only 20 days to squeeze it all in!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Where Do You Find Your Free Apps?

If you wait long enough.... eventually most apps go "free" or at least on sale.  But often times there is a time limit, sometimes only an hour!  So when you see it's free, you have to get it!

So far I have found 2 places that recommend great free apps throughout the day.  One updates to my facebook account, the other comes as an email.  I have probably saved hundreds of dollars from these to sites alone!

What are they you ask?


H"appy" shopping!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Parental Control of Technology

Technology is changing so fast we can barely keep up.  Our kids know more about it than we do and as hard as we try to be educated it seems that our kids are always one step ahead.

What can we do as parents and teachers?  I think it comes down to teaching responsibility and ethics, beginning at an early age.  

We need to know what are children are up to on their devices.  We need to set restrictions and time limits and talk about the reasons why we are doing it.  We need to take the devices out of their rooms at bedtime.

My own children each have an ipod and access to my ipads.  They do not have their own itunes account, nor do they know my password.  The devices are set up to request a password for every purchase.  They both have restrictions set when it comes to music and videos.   They do not have any social media - nor do I think they need it.  Now they are only 6 and 9.  I am thinking ahead as to when is an appropriate age for such things, and I really don't have the answer to that.

As a grade one teacher I talk about responsibility and trust with our idevices all the time.  In the wake of  recent suicides across our country stemming from cyber bullying, I want to do more and I think as parents and educators we need to do more.

So I have begun with a little research into setting restrictions.  Here is what I have discovered:

And I discovered a new website dedicated to helping someone who has been cyber bullied:

I think the most important piece to talking with our kids about what is appropriate to look and post online.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cannot Connect To itunes Store

Tonight I experienced complete frustration.  Some great new apps were on "free" for today only and I needed to download them.  I could open the app store and browse through it.  As soon as I found an app I wanted to purchase I would get a little pop up screen telling me I could not connect to the itunes store.  I tried on both my ipads, neither worked.  I tried on my iphone and I could connect, but these apps were ipad only apps!  So of course I asked my good friend google.  Here is the help I came up with.  Click on the picture to get your help.


I tried powering down with no luck.  Then I tried changing the date with no luck.  Then I tried the DNS server code, no luck.  Then I reread the setting of the date and noticed you were supposed to switch it back to automatic.  After I tried this, it tried to download - only to discover I did not have enough room on my ipad.  After deleting some apps, it appears to be fixed.

Thank you for your support!!!!!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013


It's report card time!!!  

For me, I call it procrastination time!  If  there is a cupboard to clean, groceries to buy, a walk to be had, or chocolate Easter eggs to be eaten, I am on it!  It's not that I don't like report card time, it's just I have a hard time settling in and getting started.  Once I get my "game face on", I am a report card writing machine, whipping out meaningful detailed comments.  I LOVE thinking about my little firsties and smiling over just how much they have grown.  My report cards are due in about 72 hours....... so a little more procrastination with a blog post won't hurt.... right?

1.  March kicks off with a Dr. Seuss theme in my classroom.  How excited was I to see the Cat In the Hat cam app was free for a limited time only!  It is normally $1.99 but I see it is still free tonight.  Check out it out if you want to Seussify your friends!
iPhone Screenshot 3

2.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the Teach Me apps.  I was thrilled to see they have released a Teach Me 3rd Grade version just last week!  I am thinking about buying this one for the 3rd grader who lives in my house!  It's $1.99.

iPhone Screenshot 1

3.  I have been LOVING my dropbox app.  It is just what I needed and has simplified my life this past month!  Although the camera upload is certainly SLOW!

4.  Tonight as I was browsing the blogs I follow (another great way to procrastinate), I discovered the creator of one of my most favorite tech blogs created a website of all her Seasonal games.  How awesome it that.  Of course I added that short cut to the seasonal page of my class wiki!  This is TOTALLY worth checking out.  There are apps for each seasonal site too! I plan to check out the St. Pat's ones tonight!

5.  Today we held a fundraiser at our school "Ipod/Hat Day".  Students could pay $1 to wear a hat during school hours and $1 to listen to songs on their ipod (whatever device they own) during working time.  The fundraiser brings in a few hundred dollars, the kids LOVE it and my class has never been SO quiet, aside from a few "burst into song moments"  lol

So I suppose I have procrastinated long enough.  Happy weekend everyone!