Thursday, February 26, 2009

Multiplication Baseball: A distance collaboration activity

I want to thank Stephanie Wahlstrom for organizing this lesson. Today, our third graders used our Polycom system to play a game of multiplication baseball with students at Reinhardt Elementary in Dallas, TX.

Stephanie created game pieces for our students using school mascots and the student's first names. She also created a ball diamond and used velco strips to hold the game pieces on each base. Students were shown a multiplication flash card and were asked to say the correct answer. If they answered correctly, dice were rolled. If the product of the dice was 0-5, the play was considered an out. 6-10 on the dice was single. 11-20 a double. 21-30 was a triple and 31-36 a home run. (That was actually just an example as I really do not remember how scoring went.) Three outs and it was the other school's turn.

As soon as school was out today our third grade teacher, Emily Schmidt, came down to talk to me about this lesson. She loved it and was already making plans to use the lesson in her classroom. Emily and I talked about how this could be done with Smartboard software. In a matter of minutes, Emily had created a game board to use on her Smartboard, so she could also use the basic format of this game across her curriuclum.

Let me know you have used a game such as multiplication baseball in your classroom. I would love to hear your stories and share ideas for implementation with teachers in Burrton.

Monday, February 23, 2009


A fun way to practice writing haiku is to have students write a book in haiku format. DogKu written by Andrew Clements is a great starting point for this writing project. After reading the book, third and fourth grade students wrote their own stories in Microsoft PowerPoint. Students were given the option to illustrate their stories using TuxPaint or the draw tools available in PowerPoint. Completed stories were uploaded to Issuu in pdf format.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Free Tech for Teachers

I want to send out a thank you to Richard Byrne for allowing me to be a guest blogger on Free Technology for Teachers, yesterday. If you missed the blog post, I shared that Mixbook has released their education version. If you have not already, I would suggest that you give Mixbook a try.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Comics in the Classroom

Comic Life is one of my favorite comic generators. Comic life comes as a nice little perk on Apple computers, but for a price you can also install Comic Life on Windows. If you are looking to add comics to your iPhone or iPod Touch, has unveiled Comic Touch.

There are many comic creators available online. My favorite is Pixton. A general account with Pixton is free. Pixton does offer an education version (Pixton for Schools) starting at $1.00 per machine.

Elementary teachers might want to use an application that is not tied to a social network and that does not require students to sign into a website. Therefore, you might take a look at ReadWriteThink's Comic Creator or Make Beliefs Comixs. Both Makebeliefcomixs and ReadWriteThink offer the option to print a completed comic, however a save feature is not present.

To see a list of other online comic creators and ideas for integration take a look at resources that Tuanua Swartz and I have put together on wikispaces or blogger.

Let me know if you have a comic lesson plan or an application that works well for your classroom, I would be happy to have you share.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Punny Valentine

Larry Ferlazzo helped us develop this holiday lesson plan. Larry shared a link on his blog from Mightybooks called Punny Valentine. After playing this talking book for my primary students, they had an opportunity to draw their own Punny Valentine. We used Mixbook to display our cards.

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Coming up with a pun was hard for some of my primary students, so we also recorded a Valentine greeting using Audacity. Students that had trouble creating a punny Valentine were just asked to create a Valentine card. I put the cards and the greeting together using Photostory.

5th graders used Comic Life to have a little fun creating Valentine comic strips.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Digestive System

After finishing a unit on the digestive system in science, fifth graders wrote, illustrated and narrated their own scripts for travels through the human digestive system. Students wrote scripts and illustrated pictures to go with their stories. Student drawings where then scanned and saved as images onto the computer where students then used Window's Movie Maker to build their movies. Kevin Honeycutt, TRC facilitator for Burrton, helped Mr. Robinson's class develop this lesson plan and used Garage Band to record story narrations. Two of our fifth grade girl's worked together to complete, "Life as Macaroni and Cheese".

Online Digestive System Resources:

Kitses: Digestion
Human Anatomy Online: The Digestive System
The Virtual Body: The Digestive System
BBC GGCSE Bitesize- What's for lunch?

Kid's Health: Your Stomach & Digestive System
Kid's Health: Digestive System
Digestive System: An Interactive Activity

If you subscribe to BrainPop here are two movies you might be interested in.
1. Digestive System
2. Human Body: All Systems Go

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nursery Rhymes

Preschoolers have been working on learning various nursery rhymes. In computers, I recorded students reciting nursery rhymes using Audacity. Then students used TuxPaint to draw their favorite part of Humpty Dumpty and Hey Diddle Diddle. The recording and the drawings were put together to create a movie that the students can watch over and over again.

Online nursery rhyme resources

students can listen to celebrities read animated fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folktales and lullabies.

Northumberland NGfL: Read Along Nursery Rhymes A collection of activities to use with the Smartboard.

Teletubbies: Nursery Rhymes Sing along with the Teletubbies.

Mojo's Song Lyrics Find the lyrics and listen to your favorite children's songs. There are nursery rhymes listed under the traditional music heading located on the left side of the page.

What other online sites are you using with your students?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What is Hiding in My Mitten?

This lesson plan originated from Michelle Brown of Jefferson Elementary in New York. I made contact with Michelle after Lisa Harris, Micro-Computer Specialist and AV Coordinator at Jefferson Elementary, posted a project request on CAPSpace.

After reading "The Mitten" by Jan Brett, primary students at Burrton Elementary drew pictures in TuxPaint. (I allowed the Turtles, our kindergarten, to use the stamps on TuxPaint. The first and second graders had to draw a picture of what animal was hiding in their mitten.) Using Microsoft Word, we imported the completed picture into a mitten template. Then the students typed three clues about what was hiding in their mitten. We printed the mittens, cut them apart and glued one end together.

The Turtles (aka kindergarters) printed their animal, cut out the animal, and took turns putting their animal between two large gloves that I brought from home. I filmed each student sharing what was hiding in the gloves.

On Friday, January 30th, we used our Polycom system to talk with the first graders at Jefferson Elementary in New York. The first graders from both schools took turns reading their clues and guessing what was hiding in the mittens. Afterwards, we spent about 15 minutes allowing the students to ask each other questions. Visiting with students in another region of the United States was great learning opportunity and a lot of fun.

View Larger Map

During our Polycom session, I filmed and took pictures. However, I later discovered that the way I had my camera hooked up, it caused a lot of static. I had the Honeybees (grade 1) and Buffaloes (grade 2) read their clues to me during computers on Monday while I filmed once again. Windows Movie Maker was used to edit our movie. The mitten movie was then published on TeacherTube. (I put all the primary students into one movie.)