Saturday, May 28, 2011

2010-2011 LIst of Apps

Last week my friend Mary Lee left me a comment and asked me for a list of the apps that I purchased and some are even free.  Thanks Mary Lee for you look at the photos you can see my list of apps.  Throughout the school year, I have blogged about the apps that my class used and also the ones that I chose to focus on for instruction. Most of these apps really were integrated into instruction this year.  I plan on this summer searching for more apps that can support curriculum that I had some "holes" in this year. I made a list throughout the school year to help me with my search. Stay tune this summer, and I will post updates.  PS: I love typing the word summer :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


With losing my voice for the past 10 days and hoping to get it back for graduation on Friday, I have had to make some hard choices for our last week of school. There are some traditions that I am not willing to give up.  As a parent, I always asked my own children, "What was new at school today?"  I hear everyone saying "NOTHING." Isn't that always the answer?  This drove me crazy as a parent because I do not teach in the same school district as my kids and I always felt like I was looking in from outside.  My kids are 18 and 21 and this was the era of no parent/teacher emails until my son got to high school, hardly a weekly newsletter or much of any communication from their school. I made a decision that my students' parents were going to be able to ask their child about the TOP TEN events of the week every Friday.

My husband and I always enjoyed watching David Letterman and especially his TOP TEN lists - so to be honest I stole his idea.  I hope he doesn't mind.  Every Friday, no matter what, we end our week with a class meeting.  Together as a class, we write all the favorite events for the week including art, library (which there is almost always a favorite activity with Mr. Prosser) etc.  The students then vote for their top five and we create our weekly TOP TEN events.  I love this idea for several reasons.  First, my top event doesn't always match their event, everyone has a voice in the list and most important the parents have a list of 10 specific events they can talk about with their child.  I have to tell you my parents LOVE this idea, and I believe it has been an integral part of our classroom climate. You might consider adding TOP TEN to your own list for next school year. 

These are examples of 2 months of top ten.

Friday, May 20, 2011

WONDER what Photos Would Say

This has been one of those weeks that were full of highs and lows.  Let's get to the lows first, last Thursday I lost my voice and as of today I am still home. I can't stand missing the second to last week of school-so many specials celebrations that I am missing makes me very sad. 

On a high note, I went to school Tuesday to celebrate with my class although probably not best of choices but all teachers KNOW when you have to do it (as Nike would say).  I am so THANKFUL that I did it-what a WONDERful celebration.  As you look above, I pulled up Wonderopolis as our model on the Smartboard and the students shared their WONDERS with their parents. Look at the top photo, see his little brother looking intently at his WONDER.  I would have hated to miss the conversations (although one sided) with the parents amazement of what their child had created.  So without a voice, I am going to add some captions and let you listen into our classroom.

Sitting on mom's lap sharing about desert tortoise!
I didn't even know there were desert tortoise.

Sharing with mom and dad about her new friend in Japan.

Notice the crutch, this mom just had surgery on Friday and she
made it to share in the WONDER.
We traveled down an unknown road and the knowledge learned and the technology used was beyond anything I would have ever imagined. As Mr. Mark said, "The students created their own web page-they built their own encyclopedia of knowledge." On a side note,  I have not learned how to upload the WONDERS to my blog, they were made on iWeb and are living on our school server. Mr. Mark and I are going to have the students burn a CD this Tuesday, so the students will have their own copy to keep forever. If anyone has any ideas on how to transfer the video for my blog. I would appreciate the suggestions. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Ready for WONDER Tuesday

I have to admit I have a bit of a compulsion with locating graphic images for my blog honestly that is sometimes the most fun for me.  I have had this graphic saved for a few months and just could not figure out when it would work and finally I have it! 

We are having our final digital literacy parent presentations this upcoming Tuesday with the students sharing their wonders which we now call Baileyopolis which is a total "steal" from Wonderopolis.  Our third trimester of reading and writing has been about how to integrate non fiction into model wonders.  This has been a huge learning experience because we started with Bloom's verbs for higher level thinking and then the students had to choose the most important research for their wonder.  The integration of videos, graphs, data, pictures to support their topic has just enhanced them to a higher level. One change that I did not make with wonder topic is CHOICE which is why I love my graphic.  Every student got to choose their topic so every visual at the top is integrated into their wonders.  I am so excited for Tuesday and will be able to post a few wonders next week!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Favorite 5th grade Apps of the Year!

With state testing finished and only three weeks left in the school year, yes we are out by May 27 even with our snow days!  I have decided to have my class reflect on their favorite apps of the year! This has been very interesting because just like multiple intelligences there are multiple apps.  As we discussed the apps, I could have predicted which ones they love because of how they learn, their favorite subject matter and all the conversations we have had this year.  So drumroll please........

#1  Math Bingo
#2  Bookworm
#3 Tap Reef
#4  White Board
#5  Rocket Math
#6  Word Fu
#7  Google Earth
#8  Dictionary
#9  Pop Geo
#10  Sonic Pic

It was fun to listen to the students discuss their favorite apps and then have to choose their top 10 favorite.   I had the students write about how the apps helped them and I will reflect on their comments this summer!  I hope this list helps you if are considering iPods in your classroom or if you just have an iPod at home!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Unexpected Learning-Check it out!

I could burst with excitement about all of the unexpected learning and experiences that the students had creating their wonder pages.  As I conferenced with the students, I sat in amazement as I listened to the thinking and research that went on behind the scenes? 

One of my HUGE goals was to allow technology to break down the wall-allow learning to go beyond our classroom.  We met this goal when we skyped with Mr. Fine's kindergarten class in MT on Poem in your Pocket Day!  Well to my complete surprise,  Kyoka and Jennifer's wonder pages took them all the way to Japan. Jennifer's wonder question was What is the difference between tsunami and earthquakes?  As the girls were talking, Kyoka offered to email some questions from Jennifer to her friend in Japan.  Kyoka translated the 10 questions and emailed them to her friend in Japan. She then translated the answers back to English and shared with Jennifer a picture of her friend as well as a picture that her friend drew for Jennifer all through email.  Talk about virtually traveling around the world for research.

Next the students are always reading and thinking about Wonderopolis and I have to admit their learning at home is happening more than the time we are spending in the classroom-what a great problem to have!  Look at these comments and the time she posted :) Notice how she connects the wonder with the book she is reading and how she made the connections to our explorer's unit.

Finally the 21st Century skills: create, communication, and collaborate. I can't even begin to explain how the students have gone above and beyond the rubric in creating their pages. Many of the students have found links that are interactive games. sites that take the reader to a specific location, and more specific facts about their wonder topic.  As far as collaboration, if I haven't written enough about allowing your students to explore and help each other then I would challenge your students the chance to solve their own tech. problems, help each other with the set up, and finally create amazing wonder projects.