Sunday, April 19, 2015

A little bit of this and that!

Hello! I just wanted to share a couple of the cool things that I've been doing lately. First I was very excited to be accepted to go for one day workshop that was going put by Edtechteachers and Google. It was held at the Google headquarters and was absolutely amazing!!!! I got to spend the day with 200 other edtech nerds and it was pure Nirvana. I went to an amazing workshop on Google Classroom and got to ask questions of the actual developers. I also went to a fabulous workshop on apps and extensions.


We aren't allowed to take many pictures but I was able to get some great ones that I then uploaded to my students' Google Classroom accounts and they were able to check in while I was there. The entire day was amazing and I really feel that teacher morale would go up if we got a barista located in the front office much like Google:)

Secondly, I just wrapped up the 2nd Annual Wilke Awards with my seventh graders. Click here to see how this project started last year. They used Zimmertwins to create movies where they created a claim about ancient Egypt and then they supported them with textual evidence. We viewed the movies with all the pomp and circumstance if the Oscars including a red carpet, statuettes, green screen photos and 20 bags of microwaved popcorn in a garbage bag;)



Experience it and they will learn!

I've been trying this year to create more experiential exercises for my kids and ancient history really affords me that opportunity. My kids were about to study ancient Egypt and I knew this was going to be the perfect opportunity for my kids to experience the daily lives of ancient Egyptians. We set up the room to have eight different stations and the kiddos got to experience all levels of society from pharaoh down to slave. Each station had an activity but all activities were interrupted by the whim and fancy of the pharaoh.

We had artisans practicing their craft....

Egyptians and their families being exiled for crimes.
Peasants playing memory to learn more about their crops.
Scribes deciphering their clues.
Soldiers practicing archery and patrolling the border.
Slaves building monuments all throughout the kingdom.

The students had so much fun they've asked if I can make a similar simulation for Greec and Rome. I said if I had an extra16 hours to plan it I would!!!

If you're interested in doing this activity your class going over to Teachers Pay Teachers and check it out. Thanks!



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Humbled and Excited!

I am very lucky that when I started in my new district, last year, I quickly got to meet our amazing head of technology and our integration specialists.  They have been beyond supportive and recently they got me to apply to be a 2015 PBS Digital Innovator.

Well!  I was selected!!!!!!

How amazing is that?  Click here to see the other 99 amazing educators from all across the country that are kicking butt and using tech!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Video created a Classroom Star!

I love video! I use video for everything in my class. I create videos to launch activities and give directions.  I let my kids make videos all the time.  Since this is becoming a constant in my class, I thought it would be a good time to make a list of my favorite go to video accessories and apps.

1)  I use my iPad for most of my videos.  My best investment was purchasing a decent tripod.  I love this one I got from Amazon.
2) I was blessed and was able to get an iPad mount from my tech department.  I love it and it makes it so I can trust the kids to videotape on their own.

3)  I set up a little recording studio in my class where the kiddos can take green screen videos.  We absolutely love the app Green Screen by DoInk.

Because the kiddos often have to record while class is going on, I just invested in lapel microphones and a long cable.  

Now I place the mic in the middle of their shot and the volume is much better!

4)  On the iPad I am a huge proponent of iMovie.  I think it has an ease of use that can't be beat.  My kiddos absolutely love making videos on their phones and they find iMovie to be the best.  Once the make it they share with my on Google Drive.  I absolutely adore the ease of them getting me their videos!  Gone are the days when I ran out of space on the school server or could never buy enough flash drives.  Now it's just shoot and share!
5)  If you need to edit movies on a pc, I really like WeVideo.

WeVideo is really easy to use and can hook right up to a Google Drive account.  My students have used this software as well and they learned to use it in about ten minutes.

6) Sometimes I just like to have fun.  A great purchase was the IntroDesigner app.  I've made a class intro that the students love to see and we can easily add credits to the end.

7)  Lastly, who knew it, but my selfie stick comes in really handy in the classroom!  Kids made Common Craft inspired In Plain English movies and used my selfie stick to hold their phone as they video taped.

So, these are the things I'm doing in my class to make video a go to form of learning and creating.  What are you doing?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Murders in My Classroom Continue

Every classroom benefits from these two purchases:

So, in the weeks before the holiday break, my kiddos walked into this.....

I you are a reader of my blog, you will recognize this as an activity I did last year on the Boston Massacre.  Read about it here! For those of you that followed along last year, do you love my new tablecloth?  Bloodier than last year's window clings and I get to use it again and again.

My eighth graders were so excited because they saw the set up of this last year.  They did such an amazing job!!!  These kiddos are champions of textual evidence and totally would have gotten those British soldiers off in a court of law!

If you are interested in using this in your classroom, click here for the resources!