Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Love These TWO New Kid Bloggers!

I have three nieces....Riley, Grayce, and Zoey.  Riley and Grayce are two of my little besties.  When I see them we talk about all kinds of things they have done since the last time I saw them.  When we celebrated my sister Heather's birthday last night, they couldn't wait to fill me in about the end of their school year and plans for the summer.

Riley showed me her journal and was very proud of everything she wrote.  I told her that she should turn her journal into a blog....she LOVED the idea.  And of course....Grayce wanted a blog too.
Riley is 8 years old and just finished 2nd grader.  She loves writing and is an amazing artist.  Riley called her blog Riley's Ramblings.  Today, Riley is going to start her very own Twitter today too!
Little Grayce is 6 years old and just finished 1st grade.  She LOVES the same things Riley and I do...writing and art!  Her blog is called Grayce's Summer Blog.

I cannot wait to see what the two of them write and create this summer.

And as Riley says in her blog....

"Ramble On!"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 2nd Graders Created Their Very Own eBook Using FlipSnack, Evernote, Mackin VIA and Skitch!

Over the last two months, the 2nd graders, their teachers and I have been working on an Evernote pilot within our school.   You can read all about the pilot in the first post, Our 2nd Graders Are Piloting Evernote At Van Meter.   
We not only taught the 2nd graders how to use Evernote on the iPads and computers, they also used
Skitch, another amazing resource from Evernote, 
to annotate and edit the photographs that they took on the iPads on our community walk around Van Meter and within the school.   Once the photographs were Skitched, they saved them into their very own Evernote accounts.  
For this project, we purchased several wonderful community themed eBooks to add to our growing collection within Mackin VIA.  The students loved reading the eBooks within the classroom, library, computer lab and at home.  
After they read several of the eBooks, the students used Skitch to annotate a few of their favorite pages.
It was fun to see which pages they picked and what they had to say about what they had read, learned, and made connections to.  As they Skitched the eBooks pages, they saved them within their Evernote accounts too.
The last few days of school, we took several of the saved pages within the student Evernote accounts and put them together into a FlipSnack flippable eBook.  Once the pages from Evernote were saved onto the laptops, we then saved them as PDF's to upload into FlipSnack.  All of the students logged into my FlipSnack account to upload their pages into the class eBook. 
The pages with text were created using Wordle.  
I love how Evernote even gave the students the information about the specific eBook within Mackin VIA that they Skitched on.  This is what we used when we put our FlipSnack eBook together.  We took small screen shots and turned them into PDF's to include at the end of our eBook.

We created Our Awesome Community...By The Van Meter 2nd Graders eBook to share with each other, parents, our school community and YOU.  Click on the link to read the entire FlipSnack eBook. 
This was just the start of all of the FUN and innovative ways we can use all of these wonderful tools and resources within the classroom and with our students.
Next month, at the ISTE convention in San Diego, my friend Nick Provenzano, @thenerdyteacher, and I will be presenting together at the Evernote for Schools Workshop on June 26th.   This will be a fun opportunity to listen to other ideas for using Evernote and to share our ideas too.  
You can find out more information and register for the workshop on this EventBrite page.

We hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just Have To Show Off The 3rd Graders Digital Country Projects, FlipSnack Recipe eBook and Little Bird Tale!

As I wrote last month, the third graders have been working on a huge digital country project over the last few months.  Last week, the third graders celebrate their hard work and what they learned with their families and community at the "3rd Grade Country Potluck".

At the potluck they shared their Little Bird Tales entitled Fun Country Facts.  They created this together as a class. You can read about the creation of the Little Bird Tales here.

The students also created digital projects using different Web 2.0 tools too.  They could use VoiceThread,

Animoto, (You can see the rest of their country Animoto's on the wiki above. Each country has their very own page for research and storing their digital project.)

FlipSnack, which makes an interactive eBook out of PDF's.  In this one, she created pages for her country facts with Wordle.

I had so much fun working with Ann Volk, the 3rd grade social studies teacher at Van Meter, and all of her amazing students.

Don't forget to check out the Third Grade Country Wiki to see all of the projects listed under each country page on the right hand side.

I can't wait to see what they create next!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Creating a County Fun Fact eBook With Our 3rd Graders and Little Bird Tales cover image
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the work that our 3rd graders, along with their teacher Ann Volk, were doing for their annual country project.

You can read about it on the post entitled Our 3rd Grade Country Project...Something a Little Different This Year.  This post discusses how we used a wiki to store their country research, digital resources for their research, and the use of Web 2.0 tools to complete amazing projects.  

We have had a FUN time over the last couple of months!  

Next week the 3rd graders have their "Country Potluck", which is held every year at the end of this unit for the students to share their wonderful work with families and our school community.  Everything on this night is about their country....the way they dress, what they bring to eat, the presentations that are given, and the facts that they share in conversations.  
This year, Ann and I wanted to create something different that could be shared throughout the event.  We also wanted it to be a collaborative project that all of the students could work on together.  

Little Bird Tales was perfect for this!

We explained the project to the students at the beginning and also added a description to the Van Meter Third Grade Country Project wiki. 

During their research, we had them find FUN country facts as part of their research.  On their wiki page, we added a place for them to also record their FUN facts.  
Within CultureGrams, one of the Iowa AEA Online databases that they used for research, there is a special place for each country called "Culture Facts and Contacts."
This was a great place for the students to find fun, interesting and unusual facts about their country.

The students then recorded what they found during their research under the "FUN Facts" heading in the wiki.
I know everyone at the country potluck will love the Little Bird Tale that our 3rd graders created.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The 2nd Graders Using Skitch and Evernote with eBooks in Mackin VIA

I have been having the best time working with the second graders on their research projects about communities and animals.  This is the third week of the project.

As they learn about Evernote and Skitch, I am learning so much too.  Just listen to Meridan tell how to use Skitch with the eBooks in Mackin VIA and store them in Evernote....You will see what I mean.
I purchased several new eBooks about "My Community" from Mackin for this project.  Once they were in Van Meter's Mackin VIA, I created a new Group called "My Community", which contains eight eBooks. Last week we let the students spend time reading and researching within the eBooks.  They were able to put them into their Backpack in VIA and encouraged them to read at home too.  
On Thursday, I taught them how to use Skitch on the desktops....they had only used it on the iPads when they Skitched the photographs they took on our town walk.  Of course, they caught on quickly as there are not a lot of differences between the two platforms.  
As they read the community eBooks, the students found pages that they wanted to annotate with Skitch and include in the class FlipSnack we are creating as a culminating activity.
 I loved seeing what pages they picked to annotate.
They had fun personalizing their reading with Skitch.  Riley made a great connection to our firefighters in Van Meter from the eBook she was reading.  
Once they had the eBook pages Skitched, I asked them to store them in their Evernote accounts.  By clicking on the "Save" in the right hand corner, they are able to sign into their account and save the Skitched image.  
After the images were saved, I had them check in the History to make sure they were in Evernote.  
I really love how the History also tells the name of the Skitched image.  It is especially nice with the eBooks as the publisher and title are automatically named. This is extremely helpful and important as the students are using eBooks and online resources in their research.
Next week, the second graders will be creating citations using EasyBib to include on a page in the back of their FlipSnack eBook.  

They will also create a super fun title page using ComicLife, Wordle and PicMonkey.  

I cannot wait to see where next week takes us as we approach the end of this project.  

And I cannot wait to share their FlipSnack's with all of you!  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Second Graders Community Walk with the iPads and Evernote

Last week, we continued the Evernote project with our second graders.  One of the classes is doing a project with communities for our Evernote pilot so Tracy Ferguson and I took them on a walk through Van Meter with the iPads.

Before we left their classroom, all of them logged into their Evernote accounts on their iPads.
They took photos of each other and themselves before we left the classroom.  This was the start of their community walk.
Being the first time that we took the iPads outside, Tracy and I spent a few minutes going over once again how we carry them around town.  :)
The second graders took their own photograph in front of the school.  
I loved watching them make sure they got the one they wanted to use in their community project.
Once they had a few photos taken, the second graders saved them within their Evernote account.
They labeled them too.
We made a quick stop at the playground...
before we set off around town.
The little people took photos of themselves in front of the Van Meter Vet Clinic...
Van Meter City Hall
and silly ones with the librarian at the Van Meter Public Library.  Riley had so much fun with Jolena Welker at the library.
We made a stop at the post office and
And our community walk wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Bob Feller Museum,
Wells Fargo bank and 
Tropical Snow...a favorite summer place for all of us.
When we got closer to the school, the second graders got great photos of the fields and school. 
When we got back to the classroom, the students took their photographs and used Skitch to make remarks about their community.  When they were finished annotating, the images were stored in their Evernote accounts.  
As you can hear from Chaney, they did an awesome job with this part of the project. 
And Riley made sure to tell us all about the fun she had with Jolena. 
This week we will continue our Evernote project by researching within the eBooks we have about communities.

We are all having so much fun and can't wait to start creating eBooks of our own in FlipSnack!