Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's Prancer?

First graders participated in a Polycom distance collaboration project with South Street Elementary in Vermilion, Ohio on December 11th called, "Where's Prancer?" This activity was posted on CAPSpace website by Heidi Boone.

To begin the activity, students read the book, "Where's Prancer?" by SYD Hoff in their classrooms. Then students took on the roll as Prancer. They created postcards letting Santa know where they where at. To create our postcards, students drew a picture in TuxPaint. I created a PowerPoint template for this project. The PowerPoint template was a slide that I divided in half. (The idea for using PowerPoint as a postcard came from Tammy Worcester.) I also added a stamp from After importing the TuxPaint picture in to our PowerPoint template, I helped students type a letter to Santa from Prancer.

Vermilion is located close to Lake Erie.

View Larger Map

Burrton and South Street Elementary Students met via Polycom to read their post cards and share their drawings with each others. It took about 30 minutes to share our postcards. It would have been fun to upload this presentation into Voicethread and have the students record the greeting on their postcards. However, we ran out of time. Our students begin Christmas Break at the end of today.

Where's Prancer?
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: christmas prancer)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What was Santa's First Job?

The Buffaloes (a.k.a second graders) were asked the question, "What was Santa's First Job?" Using TuxPaint and Photo Story 3 this is what we came up with!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Santa Letters

Here is a fun way to personalize letters to Santa.

My primary students (prek-3) started this lesson by drawing pictures in TuxPaint of what they would like to receive from Santa Claus for Christmas. For the younger students, prek-grade 2, I created a postcard template from Microsoft PowerPoint for the students to use. I divided the slide in half by using the line tool. If you would like specific instructions you might check out this book by Tammy Worcester, called 50 Quick and Easy Computer Activities.

I created the stamp by using to create a photo stamp. (Notice as I was typing this entry, that the direct link to the photo stamps was not working. Hopefully, that is only temporary.) Then I took a screen shot of the completed stamp and copied the image into the postcard. I used PowerPoint's crop tool to get rid of the extra stuff around the stamp, then saved the template for student use.

Tuxpaint imagines were inserted into the template. My aid and I helped the younger students type their letters to Santa. (Third grade students did all of this on their own. Second grade students typed the letter to Santa, but had help inserting the image into the template.)

I did combine all the postcards into one PowerPoint before printing. I printed the letters as handouts 2 per page and laminated each post card. Then I made a display in the hallway to hang the postcards. As student's leave for Christmas break, I will give them their Santa letter to take home to their parents as a keepsake.

I wanted to display our letters on my blog. I choose MagToo SlideShow and was really happy with the ease of this application. I saved the PowerPoint presentation in jpeg format. This made it easy to upload each Santa letter. I selected a style, skin and theme. This app was really uncluttered and easy to use. The user can even set the timing of the show and add music. It would be nice if MagToo would offer an education side where students might not be exposed to improper examples. They have a good product.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas

Third graders created their own version of the 12 Days of Christmas using Microsoft PowerPoint. Pictures were drawn in TuxPaint by the students and imported into the slides. Students were also asked to add slide transitions and custom animations to each of their slides. I unloaded a student's finished product to Slideshare and easily posted the presentation to Blogger.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Thankful Lesson

The Wordle part of this lesson is one that I picked up from someone on Plurk. I apologize for not paying attention to whom it was and giving proper credit.

We began our primary lesson (k-2) by watching a movie about Thanksgiving on brainpopjr. (It is listed as one of their free resources this month.) We also visited Scholastic's First Thanksgiving website. We opened a Microsoft Word document on the Smartboard and listed things that we are thankful for. I told my students that it was okay to repeat what someone else had previously said. After everyone had a chance to say what they were thankful for, I copied the list and pasted it into wordle.

Then while using the SmartBoard, I opened up a Venn diagram template in Inspiration. (If you do not have Inspiration, try one of this online graphic organizers or just use Microsoft Word. As a class, we completed the Venn discussing the differences between the first Thanksgiving and what the students experience today. This is what they came up with.

Descriptive Turkeys

My third graders are participating in a distance collaboration Thanksgiving project called, "Descriptive Turkeys" with another school in Kansas. Students at both schools created turkeys and wrote descriptions about their turkeys.

My third graders used Microsoft PowerPoint to display their work. Students wrote their turkey description on slide 1. Then, they inserted an outline of a turkey and layered it underneath their writing. ( provided the template of a turkey outline.) On to slide #2, third graders inserted the photograph of their turkey that we took with our digital camera. We printed the slides and stapled slide one on top of slide #2. This way students can read their turkey description to our partner school and then flip the page to show the matching turkey. It also make a nice display for the hallway.

On Tuesday, November 25 both schools will visit via Polycom to read our turkey descriptions and see if the other students can pick out which turkey belongs to each student based on their descriptive writing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leaf Man Visits Burrton

My primary students (K-2) recently participated in a web project created by Marci McGowan called, Leaf Man, Leaf Man What Do You See? Students were able to learn about the fall season while sharing writing, artwork and pictures of their communities on the Internet.

To begin the project, I read the book, Leaf Man to my students. Our Art teacher, Mrs. Cutting, created the frame of our Leaf Man. Then, my children and I decorated Leaf Man. Leaf Man is around 6 ft. tall. We used fake leaves on Leaf Man in hopes that he could be stored for future Autumn resources. After Leaf Man was decorated, he posed for several pictures around our small community.

The Primary (k-1) completed a VoiceThread. I uploaded the pictures and recorded during two class sessions of 20 minutes. This probably could have been done in one session, but we brainstormed things to say on each thread. Here is our end product.

I also wanted to play with a website that was recently introduced to me by Tammy Worcester called Issuu. With Issuu, we were able to publish student drawings from TuxPaint. The students were asked to draw pictures of what they would like to do with Leaf Man if he were alive. I copied the student drawings into Microsoft PowerPoint and then saved the file in ppt format. I used the pdfonline to convert the ppt to a pdf file. Then, I uploaded the pdf file to Issuu. Under "My Library" in Issuu, I found the html code to embed the book into my blog. Lots of steps, but this is the finished product.

With our Buffaloes (aka Second Graders), we used to create an online book. I uploaded the pictures and choose a page template to use. Then, the students helped write the text.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If I Built a Car

My primary students, (k-2) just finished a digital storytelling project using Photostory. We began our project by reading the children's book, "If I Built a Car," by Chris Van Dusen to the students. Then students were asked to think about what they would add to a car that they had the opportunity to build. Student created their cars by drawing pictures in TuxPaint . Student drawings were imported into PhotoStory and audio was added.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hero Project

Fifth graders recently used PhotoStory3 to create a story about their heroes. This was an activity designed to introduce the students to PhotoStory. First, we had students use Microsoft Word to write a paragraph about their hero. Then students used TuxPaint to draw a picture of their hero. We imported the pictures into one PhotoStory and recorded the students reading their paragraph about their hero. Below is the end result.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Lesson Plan: Shrunken Heads

Reading through the student worksheet will give you an idea of how this lesson works as I have not typed up a lesson plan for this activity yet.

This lesson can be a lot of fun during the Halloween season and it is also a great way to hit several Math and Science standards at one time. Incorporate writing standards into this lesson by having students write a descriptive paper about their finished shrunken head. Then read the papers out loud to the class. See if the students can pick out which shrunken head belongs with each paper.

Permission to Post

I think it is wonderful to be able to post student work to the web. I know my students love to view their work online!

I thought I would go ahead and share the form my district uses as the Permission to Post document. I have seen many versions of this document. You might find something out there that you like better. Or take this sample and adapt it to be whatever you need.

We hand the Permission to Post form out at the beginning of the year during Enrollment. We keep our list updated throughout the year and notify teachers of changes and additions to our "no list".

Skittle Math

The concept of using Skittles or M&M's in mathematics at the primary level has been around for a while. That is because it is a great project that can hit many standards and the kids love it! Click here for the lesson plan.

Put a twist onto this lesson by having students use Google Forms to help collect data. Then create an animated pictograph using Microsoft PowerPoint to display the data. Make sure to have students in the upper elementary grades that will be taking state assessments, share data results for tested items: minimum value, maximum value, range, mode, median, and mean.

Example of a Form which can be created within Google Docs.

Below is screen capture of an animated graph created in PowerPoint by one of my third grade students. I realized until after I posted the video, that this student left out the maximum value. But, you will get the idea of the project! I did not have my third graders figure the mean.

Video of my third grade students entering data into their Excel document to complete estimations of the total amount in an individual bag of Skittles as well as the amount of each color.