We learn about bossy "r" words during 1st grade. After we have talked about all of the bossy "r" combinations, we use the Idea Sketch app to practice sorting words based on their bossy "r" sound. Below are some visual steps for this process.
Below is an example of a final product created by a student.
With teaching 1st graders how to read, sometimes having students listen to their own voice while reading can be very beneficial. This helps them see if they are reading like a robot, word by word or paying attention to punctuation. Parents that are not familiar with the term fluency or reading with intonation can have a hard time understanding some "teacher" talk about reading. This is where the Educreations app comes into play.
My 1st graders are becoming experts with the Educreations app. We keep digital portfolios throughout the school year. One element that we keep in the portfolio is their development with reading. Moreover, we use these portfolios to show parents what fluency sounds like as well as how reading with intonation can impact the meaning of sentences.
Below is how we use the Educreations app for cataloging our reading development.
You can take the link and place into the digital portfolio. We use Evernote to create our digital portfolios. You can even take the link and send it to parents. They can open the link to view/listen to their child's fluency.
**Students are limited to sharing links only.
**You are able to get the embed code if you save as "public" and are not signed in as a student.
Below is an embedded sample.
We have been learning all about short vowel sounds. During this time we have been working to sort pictures based on their middle vowel sound. We used the app Pic Collage to utilize our iPads, do a little formative assessment and create some cool collages.
I had posted some images around the classroom. Each image modeled a short vowel sound (a,e,i,o,u). Students were to pick one short vowel that they would be hunting for during our center time. Once students chose a short vowel, the mission was set.
During center time, students opened the Pic Collage app and created a new canvas. To add an image to the canvas, you simply click anywhere and options are displayed.
My students chose the option to use the camera. They would then snap a picture of their short vowel picture. This picture was tacked onto their canvas. They would then repeat this process until they felt like they had found all the pictures for their chosen short vowel.
The last two steps were for students to take a picture of themselves as well as add some text. The picture they took of themselves was then added to their canvas. This allowed me to see who created each canvas. The text was added to label which short vowel they were hunting for during this activity.
Below is the final product of our short vowel hunt.
We are learning about action words this week. We watched a short You Tube video about action words. This required students to get out of their seats and mirror what was happening in the video. In addition, we used a the Word Play game on Between the Lions website to learn more about action words.
After our introduction to action words, we decided to put our understanding to the test. It was super nice weather and decided to take our iPads outside for some action word adventures. Having 5 iPads, I put students into groups of five or six. They had to use the playground and model an action. When they were modeling the action, another group member would snap a picture.
Once each member of the group had a picture of an action, they used the Pic Collage app to assemble their collage of action words. Once the app was opened, students were able to import all their pictures at one time form the camera roll. After imported, they worked to move them around for their collage so that all of the pictures could be seen. The last step was to add a label to each picture with its corresponding action word.
Our collages will be printed and hung up in our classroom as we continue to study action words. In addition, we Tweeted out some of our final collages to see if other classes could add their own action words.
*Our class Twitter is @fenstysfirsties
As my 1st graders continue to learn about short vowel sounds, I try to find different ways to enrich their learning experience using the 5 iPads that we have in our classroom. We have talked about the short "a" and "i" sounds so far this year. In our previous exploration of building words, we used the Educreations app and picture cards to build words. Read about it here.
Our goal with our new activity was to hone the skill of differentiating between the sound represented by the short "a" and the sound represented by the short "i." Furthermore, I wanted them to practice their collaboration skills by working in small groups to sort pictures. There is some initial prep, but the kids loved this activity.
I created a screen cast about this process which may help clarify some of the steps that are listed below the video.
Step 1: finding pictures with short "a" and "i"
The first job I had was locating numerous images that could be used to represent the short vowel sounds of "a" and "i." Luckily for my district, we have access to iClipart for Schools. If you do not have access to clip art, check out my clip art resource page to find resources for finding royalty free clip art.
Step 2: Saving pictures to the cloud
After you have found the pictures you want to use, you can save the to a cloud service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, etc. I used Google Drive for this step. There are a couple reasons I saved it to the cloud: 1) I can reuse this or tweak it year after year instead of reinventing it each time, 2) I can get a URL for my image stored in the cloud.
Step 3: Create QR Codes
Now that you have your images saved to the cloud, you can obtain the URL for your image. In Google Drive, you can choose to share your image and change the option to "anyone who has the link can view." By doing this, you are given a link for your shared image. If you are not familiar with QR Codes, check out Common Crafts explanation.
You can use any QR Code generator you would like to create QR Codes for your images. I used QR Code Generator which I have as an app in Chrome. I copied the link of each image, and created a QR Code for each image.
Step 4: Save QR Codes
As you are creating a QR code for each of your images, it is a good idea to save them into a document or spreed sheet. Since I was using Google Drive to store my images, I just created a Google doc to house the QR codes for this activity.
I inserted a table and began adding my QR codes. This allows me to have them for future reference as well as label them so I know what the QR code represents without having to scan it.
Step 5: Print, Cut and hang QR Codes
Once you have all your QR codes created and saved, you can print them out. I printed out two copies. One that I could cut up and then one that I could keep as a master while students were doing the activity. While I was cutting, I put a "1" on the first QR code that was to get hung up and then put a "1" on my master copy. *Remember the master has a caption telling what each QR Code is without scanning it. However, I don't want my students to see what the QR Code is unless they scan so I just put a "1" on it so I could compare it to the master. This was repeated for all of the QR Codes as I hung them around the class. I had a total of 12 QR Codes hanging around.
STep 6: Groups, Pic Collage and have fun!
The final step is to put your students into small groups. Also, if your kids haven't used the Pic Collage app, it would be good to go over it first. Basically, the Pic Collage app lets you insert multiple pictures onto one "poster." You can resize, crop, rotate, layer and much more with your images. In addition you can add text to your "poster."
Each group chose either short "a" to "hunt" for first or the short "i." They set out scanning QR Codes using the Qrafter app. Once the QR code was scanned, the correlating image would be displayed on the iPad. If it matched the short vowel their group was "hunting" for then they would screen shot the image (home/power button simultaneously).
After the students found all the corresponding pictures for their chosen short vowel, they opened up the Pic Collage app. Once inside the pic collage app, students were able to create a new poster. One option is to add images from the camera roll (this is where all their screen shots saved). After they loaded all their images from the camera roll, they could add text telling what the pictures represented and move onto the next short vowel hunt.
Today we put a twist on our whole group reading instruction block. We use HMH Journeys as our reading curriculum. This week we are learning about the short "i" sound. As a component of our daily routine, we work on breaking words into pieces and blending their sounds together. This has been an activity that we do as a whole group. Even by having the students orally participate, this has been a teacher-centered activity (in my mind).
I tried something different today to hopefully make the learning more meaningful. I wanted it to be student driven, provide choices and build some collaboration skills in the process. Below is what I came up with and tried out today.
The curriculum has some picture cards. I went through and found some pictures similar to the ones above. Once I had these picture cards, I spread them around the room. I then modeled the process for my students for using Educreations to build words.
After the first student had done his/her picture, the iPad was given to the next student. Once all the students in the group had finished, they saved it to share with the class.
See the finished product by clicking the links below.
Group # 1
Group # 2
Group # 3
Group # 4
Since they all finished at different times, I wanted something for them to do as a group when finished. Another part of our curriculum is high frequency words. Each week we have a new list that we work with. I had my students use the Doodle Buddy App to practice their words in groups when they finished building their words with Educreations. Below is an example of what they had to do to practice their high frequency words in groups. They played tic-tac-toe.
One of the things that we didn't talk about prior to this activity was group expectations. After all the groups had finished we brought up the videos via the Educreations website. We watched each video together to talk about what was good and what we needed to change for the future. Here is my takeaway:
1) After done recording, you are to stay with your group and work together on spelling the word correctly as well as ensure that the words are blended correctly. *One person blended a word wrong and we talked about how the group is working together to make sure all words are built correctly.
2) When recording, make sure to hold the iPad close to your mouth and talk loud. While some students did this, there were some that were far away from the iPad or talked very quietly. I explained it was okay to chat with each other during this process because it was a collaborative project. I didn't want to tell them they all had to be quiet unless it was their turn to record.
3) When playing tic tac toe, model how to pick teams. We did this after we talked about the videos. We practiced numbering off in our small groups (1,2, 1,2, 1,2).
Overall, I thought this activity went well. It was great to see the kids working together to build words rather than having a teacher direct the activity. While there were some bumps, the students still were able to showcase their ability to build and blend words with the short "i" sound.
I came across this app recommendation from Tony Vincent's Blog Learning in Hand. Tony does a great job of highlighting the features of this app. I wanted to add to the highlights of this app by providing a screen cast of the app below.
If you are looking for a fun way to turn photos into jigsaw puzzles, Up in Pieces is the app to accomplish this. Once the image is loaded, you are able to choose the type of jigsaw puzzle you would like created. Open up your newly created puzzle and drag the puzzle pieces from the tray to create your picture.
I can see a lot of potential for this in my 1st grade classroom. Each of our Journey's reading lessons via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt introduces students to new words each week. This curriculum even comes with pre-made photo cards of the words that could be downloaded and inserted into this app for students to practice.
I was going through my blog list using Feedly and came across a post on Kevin's Meandering Mind. It was titled The Coding Video. I have embedded it below.
I couldn't help but think how much of a connection there is between being literate in today's society as well as being literate with coding. Take a look at the graphic below that is from Gary's Social Media Count. I am not sure how much validity there is to the numbers but I think it paints a good picture for how digitally driven society is today. I also only let it run for 60 seconds.
I am not trying to underscore teaching my first graders how to read but the coding video really made me think about the future. If society is dependent on computers should learning to code really be an overlooked skill in education. Teaching first grade, I know how much effort students and teachers must exhort to begin mastering the artful skill of reading our English language. The language where you have their, there and they're as well as a multitude of words that are nowhere near close to being phonetically spelled.
I wonder if the logic and reasoning of learning to code would assist in a student's ability to decipher unknown words? Would their comprehension of text improve? I feel that inferring, cause/effect, and synthesizing to name a few would benefit from the critical thinking challenges encountered in learning to code.
What do you think? Take the poll below to share your opinion on coding in elementary school.
Resources for Learning to Code---iPad
Resources for Learning to Code---Web Based
A simple design to learn to program. Drag commands into order to build your application. Much like a puzzle where the commands will only fit where they will work.
Users put their jigsaw piece commands in order to build their application. Test your application at anytime to see the progress and then return to add or delete more commands. Very visual for assisting younger kids in learning to program.
I heard about this site through Richard Byrne's blog post on Free Technology for Teachers. This site was too good not to share. With the onset of the Common Core, ReadWorks.org provides a great resource for teachers looking to help improve their students' comprehension skills.
Skill and Strategy units are categorized and listed on the left of the page.
Clicking on one of the Skill/Strategy unit expands to show grade level lesson plans.
Once you open up a lesson, you have a tab at the top that allows you to see the standards that are aligned with the lesson.
I know how precious a teacher's time can be. This site serves as a great time saver for lesson creation, prep and alignment with the Common Core.
Jumbled sentences is a total of six free apps that allow students to practice their word recognition, reading and comprehension skills. Each of the six apps has three levels. In each level, words are displayed all jumbled. The objective is to unscramble the words to make a meaningful sentence. If a student does not know the word, he/she can click on the word to receive an audio cue. After all the words have been unjumbled and placed into a sentence, the student can check the sentence. The sentence will be read aloud if correct or the incorrectly placed words will be returned to their jumbled location.
Jumbled Sentences 1
Jumbled Sentences 2
Jumbled Sentences 3
Jumbled Sentences 4
Jumbled Sentences 5
Jumbled Sentences 6
While I am not always a huge fan of utilizing an iPad as a gaming device, this series of apps does a good job of helping to reinforce word recognition, reading and comprehension. Students must use their comprehension strategies to determine the correct order of words.