Sunday, May 27, 2012

iHealth....... totally not school related, unless you are stressed out!

Last June my husband suffered a big health scare.  To make a long story short...... in the end it was his blood pressure.  It was recommended he regularly check his blood pressure.  So once a week, he'd head off to the health station at work to have it checked.  Then they lent him a home kit for about a month.  Finally they recommended he buy his own,  which of course did not happen until NOW!  I happened to be browsing the apple store when I came across the ihealth blood pressure dock.  There were many 5 star reviews and best of all, your history is recorded on your iphone.  The ihealth app is free!  The blood pressure machine was $99. It arrived at our house within a week - 3rd apple purchase of the month:)  So far - so good!  My husband thinks it's worth the 5 star rating.  He is checking his pressure twice daily!

iPhone Screenshot 4

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Show Me.... for assessmnet

Our purpose today was to demonstrate that we could create story problems using numbers smaller than 20.  We could choose to do addition or subtraction (most students chose addition).

Using the lcd projector I modelled what I was looking for and set some criteria.

  •  They needed to use words to tell a story.  
  •  They needed to use pictures to match/support the story. 
  •  The pictures should be quick with little detail.  
  •  They needed to ask a question.  
  •  They needed to solve the question with a number sentence.

The students worked 1-1 with an adult overseeing what they were doing but not helping too much with the process.  For the most part the students did an EXCELLENT job.  I would love to share them with you but am having trouble with the link the site provides.

I debated over SHOW Me or educreations.  I went with Show Me because you can pause and restart the voice recording and I like how it puts the final product altogether.  It just seems easier for the kids to focus on one task at a time.  However, educreations is much easier for sharing.  Since my purpose was not for sharing Show Me was the way to go.  It does save all the Show Me's in a folder within the app on my ipad and the plan for tomorrow is to share the Show Me's with the rest of the class for feedback and to further guide the instruction.

I am thrilled with this form of assessment.  I am already planning other ideas in my head.  I think I may create my own story problems for the kids to listen to and solve on their own.  The hardest part of creating story problems is the WRITING (this eliminated that).  The hardest part of solving problems in grade one is often the READING ( my new idea could eliminate that too!) - this link MIGHT take you to one of my examples.  If not take my word for it, it's a great assessment tool!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My new apps

So I had great plans for the weekend, I was going to search for the latest and greatest apps!  I was going to set my 2 ipads up so they look exactly alike!  I was going to find a solution to my unorganized app folders!  It is 6:18 on Monday night, my long weekend is officially over and I have done very little.  Instead I indulged in some ME time this weekend.  I am totally engrossed in my latest read, I totally recommend it! I went on a few long walks with friends and my kiddos, enjoyed a lunch and swimming with friends and I spent endless hours accompanying my daughter on her bike ride up and down the side walk of our little block of Green Street!

I did stumble across a few apps that I am excited to take a closer look at........

Spelling Magic 1, Spelling Magic2 and Spelling Magic 3....all free!

 iPhone Screenshot 1 
The apps have all kinds of settings to change the skill level and support needed.  Spelling magic 1 is simple short vowel words, Spelling Magic 3 has 3 letter blends and digraphs.

Number Magic - again free  It seems pretty easy and looks like something I will save until the fall when my kiddos are fresh out of kindergarten!
iPhone Screenshot 3

I am looking forward to the ipad adventures I have planned for this week.  I want my kiddos to use the ipad as an assessment tool using educreations or show me.  I will certainly be blogging to let you know the details of my project and how it goes!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A second ipad!!!!

It finally arrived..... after a phone call to Apple Support and it's world tour of 2 locations in China, Alaska, Memphis, Mississauga, Winnipeg and then Flin Flon (although the FED EX never did track it all the way to Flin Flon)!   

The kids were so excited!  We now have 2 iPads in our classroom to call our own.  We have added it to the pod!  I am now in the process of trying to get my 2 ipads to look alike (meaning same games in same folders).  That will take some time and organization!  Good thing it's the long weekend!

I was also pleasantly surprised with the new Apple AV digital adapter.  I have one that I use at home to watch movies and I would sometimes take it to school.  It was tempermental.  It would easily wiggle loose and lose connection.  The new one has a release button you need to push while you pull it out to prevent that from happening.  It only works with the lastest version of the Apple iOS 5.1, I know this because my husband had not updated his phone and he was the first to try it.  It gave him an error message on his screen.  I then tried it with my iphone 4S with all it's updates and voila, it worked.  It also works with both of my ipad 2's!  


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trialing a "Pod" for Math Centers

I  have the opportunity to have 4 ipads in my classroom for 1 hour during my math time in the morning, so this week I have been trying to find ways to use the pod as a part of our daily plan.

So far here is how it works:
Each day 4 students get to be the ipad math students of the day.  They get a "free pass" from doing their math journal and instead get to choose a math game to play from the math folder. All of the games I have strategically placed in there so it really does not matter which they choose (this is a little tricky since 2 of the 4 ipads are not set up the same as the other 2, that's what happens when you borrow!)  The kids LOVE it!  Also,  at the end of our math lesson, some of the fast finishers get to spend time in the math folder.  So in that hour at least 8 kids have successfully used the pod.

Today we explored a "new to us" app.  A colleague of mine said it was her class favorite (thanks Cynthia) and guess what, it was installed on our ipads already:) (One of the many that have been loaded but I have had NO time to explore)!  It's called Hungry Fish!

I introduced it on the lcd projector with my new classroom hdmi adapter!  The little fish has a number on his stomach (which you can set), he then needs to eat bubbles that equal his number.  You need to join bubbles to make the number before the fish gets too skinny and dies.  The more you feed him, the more he grows and the more points you get.  The game has addition, subtraction and negative options!  They were clapping and cheering and extremely excited to write the new app in their agendas, so I guess it was a success!

What other math apps do we use?  Well they have always loved Monkey Math School Sunshine (but it's too easy for this time in grade one).  They also love Math Bingo.  Candy Count has great vocabulary such as greatest and fewest.  Patterns is challenging and meets the curriculum outcomes for grade one.  I use skip counting on the lcd to practice oral counting of sets and many kids love to play during their ipad time.  Finally my son (who is in grade two) LOVES the other monkey math app that introduces multiplication.  We have not used it in grade one this year but it is loaded on my ipad.

How do you use ipads during math and what math apps are your kiddos loving?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

When Technology Fails Us.....

Mother's Day is upon us.  In my classroom the Friday before Mother's Day is our Mother's Day Tea!  We invite mom to spend an hour with us at school.  We entertain and enjoy the company of none other than the World's Best Mom's.  Ask the kids why they are the best and they will tell you all sorts of reasons ~ they coach our soccer, they shop with us, they snuggle with us and read us big books.  Ask me why they are the best and I would say ~ they make all the arrangements necessary to make it to school for an hour to spend with their child.  Today they are demonstrating to their child that they value education and that spending time with their son or daughter is important.  I LOVE watching them interact with each other!

I was ready.  Invitations were sent home and emailed home a month early.  Everyone RSVPed.  The room was decorated.  The cookies baked.  The iced tea bought.  The portraits drawn.  The questionaires filled out.  The video created and tested for proper volume levels throughout the room.  We were READY!

As I plugged my iPad into the hdmi connector so it would all play through my LCD I said "Technology don't fail me today."  JINX!!!!  A staff member walked in and said "The wireless is down today".  WHAT!!!!  The guests would be arriving in 3 minutes.  I thought......" well good thing we could use the wired computers and the video was on youtube.... no - I don't have a splitter for the screen to properly show from my desk top to the LCD (I always use my laptop).  Guess what I did not bring my lap top to school today...... my hands were full, I did not need it I had my iPad!!!!! "  My mind raced a mile a minute!

So off went that staff member to get her laptop (thank you!)and in came the moms.  Instead of cheerful greetings, I frantically was working with technology that was failing me!  My classroom EA took over  the tech part so I could meet and direct (thank you!)  We hooked it up.... it worked BUT the volume was so quiet playing only through the laptop speakers and 40 people were in the room!  They saw it, barely heard it and I encouraged them to go home and watch it on the wiki:(  We moved on to the entertainment.  My McIsaac staff is so great!  Within minutes, our principal was down curious about the no wireless, he then went in search of our tech guy who came super quick to help but I was already on to serving tea and had no time to talk tech troubles.  And our tech support mentor later offered all her help.  Thanks to everyone for wanting to help~ it worked, sort of.  I was just so sad because today, a day to showcase the technology I use daily failed me!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Skip Counting

The Standardized tests are done - YAHOO!  My focus now is on getting the rest of the curriculum done in the 2 short months we have left.  Will I get there - yes I believe I will survive!  At least this is what I tell myself to get through the sometimes crazy days;)

In math we have worked on all kinds of counting all year long, but one of the outcomes that we need to assess is:  Can they count sets of objects in a variety of ways using counting strategies?  I have always found this hard to assess, they always want to count by ones, or they need to separate them into piles first to count them and then you don't know did they count by ones or 5's or who knows what!  Well not anymore.... I found this great app called skip counting.  Kids can count by 1's, 2's, 3's, 5's and use skip counting for adding!  I imagine this would also be useful for intro to multiplication.  We have been using it on the LDC projector lately, counting quickly in a variety of ways.  We have been challenging ourselves to learn to count by 3's (this is not part of our grade one curriculum) and guess what we can all get to 12 with no trouble:)

It's free and worth checking out and it's FREE!

iPad Screenshot 5

And for some reason I did not push publish on this post earlier in the week - I told you I had a busy brain!  So sorry for the double post today - glad I even realized my mistake:)

What's New Lately?

In the hustle and bustle of grade one, life has been nothing short of cray -zeee lately!  I have barely had a minute to breathe let alone search out new apps, and implement them into my classroom!  However, last week I made it a priority!

We discovered this new app.... Curious Zoo.  We only previewed it in class and the kids decided it looked like fun, especially for their home devices.  It is geared at 3-5 year olds and lets them go on adventures with George feeding and washing the animals at the zoo.  There are additional educational videos about the animals, a photo gallery and mini games to add to the learning experience.  This app was free until May 1, I am not sure what the price is now.  On May 2 a second area of the zoo opened up.  I was sent an update and was not charged since I already owned the app - so that was very exciting!

We also discovered Patterns by iKidsPad.  It has beginning and advanced levels and has kids extending patterns and filling in missing pieces of the pattern.  I am using this as an assessment tool.  We practice together on the lcd projector and I hope to give each of the kids the opportunity to play the game independently so I can assess their skill level and guide my instruction.

We created a Youtube video of  our Roots of Empathy baby using the iMovie app.  I have posted about how to do this in previous posts.

We have also been using the Skip Counting app on a daily basis and I must say I see a HUGE improvement in their counting speed.   I also plan to use this app to assess their counting abilities to 30.

Finally my BIG news is, I am getting another Ipad2 in my classroom!  I had $500 to spend on something for my classroom and that was my big purchase.  I went with the iPad2 again even though the new iPad is out for a few reasons:
1.  It was $419 - which meant I had left over money to spend!  The new iPad was $519, which meant I would be investing some of my own money.
2.  With the left over money I bought an AV adapter - yay now I can stop bringing mine from home to school every day!
3.  When it arrives in its lovely little box engraved with my name from the Apple Store I will see how much money is left and I will buy an itunes card to get a few new apps!

I am really excited about having 2 iPads for my classroom.  And when I am able to use the 3rd iPad that belongs to a Special Needs student in my class, it means I have 3!  Three is a learning center!  3 is manageable to share with 17 students!  3 will be so exciting until the end of June when he and his iPad move on to grade 2, but guess what - I'll still have 2!