Friday, February 17, 2017

Student-Led Conferences - Students Take the Lead

Parent conferences always seem to sneak upon us before we know it. By this time of year, parents should have a clear understanding of how their child is doing academically, as well as socially. Students need the opportunity to take the leadership role and show their parents what they are learning. Since my students are the experts,  they were proud and excited to share their accomplishments and goals. When students take the lead role they become empowered and take ownership of their learning.

Another important aspect was to have student presentations tie in with district curriculum and objectives.  My fourth graders prepared, organized and led the conference with their parents.

Students created iPads out of construction paper. They included their favorite apps, as well as the QR codes for the sites they would share with their parents.  The QR codes were easy and quick to create. I used QR Code Generator

There were four to five families attending conferences each hour. The showcase of learning took place in the hallway and classroom. Once the student-led conferences started, I took the backseat, and it was wonderful watching my students take the lead. Maria Montessori's quote sums it up perfectly!

Conference Agenda

Goal Setting Presentations
Conferences started out with goal setting presentations. Students shared their successes and specific goals they set. They decided to create their presentations in either Keynote or Google Slides.  Rich conversations took place between students and parents. The link below is an example of one of my student's goal setting presentations.

Writing Station
Personal Narratives
Students wrote personal narratives for a recent reading benchmark test. At this station, each child and his/her parent used the state rubric to score the narrative he/she wrote. 

Math Station
One of our favorite apps to show our learning in math is Seesaw. It is a digital portfolio that we use in all curricular areas.  Fourth graders selected a math problem to solve. They showed their parents how they use Seesaw to record their thinking/learning of math concepts being taught. What I loved watching is parents helping his/her child solve the math problem selected. After the recording, parents who weren't currently enrolled in their child's Seesaw portfolio were able to do so on the spot with their Smartphones. Parents then had the opportunity to comment on his/her child's year-long digital portfolio.

Posters and ChatterPix
One of our recent genres in reading was biographies.  Each student selected someone they admired and created a biography poster. Each student shared his/her poster and wrote a brief summary. To add a techie twist, students created a ChatterPix of the person they researched and recorded the summary. Parents were amazed after scanning the QR code watching a video of the person with their child's voice on the recording. 
Nebraska football star and NFL Bengal's player, 
Rex Burkhead, reshared Andrew's poster and ChatterPix on Twitter.
Team Jack

Words their Way - Spelling
Stick Around
One of our favorite apps to use with Words Their Way is Stick AroundStudents create puzzles for their word patterns each week.  Students created and selected a puzzle for their parents to solve.  It was amazing watching my students explain to their parents what they needed to do. I loved seeing my students high five and congratulate their parents when they finally completed and solved the puzzle.

Reading - Fountas and Pinnell Level
Our district uses Fountas and Pinnell to track students' reading levels.  I love Literably and parents were very impressed with the information provided about their child's reading fluency and comprehension.  Students scanned a QR code which took them directly to their child's individualized reading site on Literably. Parents listened to their child read and were able to hear their child's fluency and view the comprehension data.

Overview of How Students are Performing

After scanning the QR Code parents commented on one of their child's writing posts. The link has been shared with parents each week, but it was great watching parents see what their child has actually published.

Greek and Latin Roots and Math Journals
Greek and Latin Roots are a large part of our curriculum. My fourth graders have been creating a year-long book of all the Greek and Latin Roots they are learning.  They are also creating year-long interactive math journals that they can refer back to throughout the year. Students had the opportunity to share the books with their parents during conferences. Book Creator is one of our favorite apps to use in all curricular areas.

Social Studies
For social studies, Nebraska history is part of our curriculum. Students created a ThingLink about Nebraska sharing important landmarks, the history, and interesting facts. Using ThingLink is a creative way for students to share their learning. They loved the fact that they can app smash to the links they shared about Nebraska. Click on the link below to view Rebecca, Drew, Bayer, and Alex's project.
                            Happy 150th Birthday Nebraska

You Matter
One thing my fourth grade team works on all year is spreading kindness. My students know that everyone has special talents and abilities. Students worked in groups and created You Matter Movie Trailers. +Angela Maiers is an inspirational educator to all, and she has a Choose2Matter websiteMs. Maier's message is a theme throughout my fourth graders' Movie Trailers. To plan for the trailers my students used +Tony Vincent's Movie Trailer Planners. Many shared their video creations at conferences. What an important concept for all, and my fourth graders shine! They truly know how to make a positive difference. 

Beckett and Dallin

Andrew, JD, and Gavin

Daytona, Leah, Macie, and Riley

Learning Management System
Our district uses Schoology, which is a learning management system to share content and resources with students. My fourth graders had the opportunity to show their parents how we use Schoology in content areas. They also shared how we start our day with downloading the Daily Math Spiral, Problem of the Day, and Daily Oral Language to Notability. 

Science Center
The last task on the agenda was to create a circuit board for their parents. This was one of their favorite science activities so far this year.
Scientists at Work

Celebrating student learning is what teaching is all about! I would love to hear how others are using student-led conferences to showcase their students' learning. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Digital Storytelling with Toontastic 3D

What is better than our students watching videos in class? Of course, creating them and sharing their learning with others. This is what my fourth graders quickly discovered as they began creating videos focusing on a mystery they recently wrote.  What's better yet, Toontastic 3D is free! Let the FUN and LEARNING begin! 

Toontastic 3D was a huge hit just days after my fourth graders started creating stories. Excitement filled the air as they drew, animated, and narrated their own three-dimensional adventures. Toontastic 3D is an easy for students to use in any curricular area. From school reports to science experiments, the possibilities are limitless. 

Toontastic 3D Movie Trailer

Getting Started
Students have a choice of creating a short story, classic story, or science report. Since our writing genre was mysteries, students selected the classic story. An 'idea lab' of sample animations are also provided to help get you started. There is a video lesson on storytelling by animator Austin Madison. As a story artist, he worked on several Pixar movies including Wall-E and Buzz Lightyear.

Students first select a setting or have the ability to draw their own. Amazement filled the air as they selected a three-dimensional background for their mystery. They had the choice of being in the City, Space, Atlantis, Explorers, Pirates, in a Spooky Camp, a Spy, or Airpunks. 

After the background is ready to go, you select or create your own characters. You have a wide variety of characters to choose from. Characters can also be created through the 3D drawing feature or you can be one of the characters by taking a photo. Seven characters can be added to each scene. You are then ready to record your first scene. Each character is animated and three-dimensional as you move them around to create your scenes. Students simply tap the start button at the top of the screen and start recording. Characters and props can be moved around as students are narrating. Each scene can be recorded for up to 60 seconds. 

After recording, students can add music to the background depending on the mood and tone of each scene. The emotions can be scaled up or down for intensity.

Conflict, Challenge, and Climax
For the conflict, challenge, and climax in your story, you pick a setting, characters, and mood just like in the initial setup. Another great feature is the interactive background. Simply tap the background to activate it.

When finished, you add the title and director to your movie creation. When finished you have the option of gong back to edit or simply export to your photo library. There students have a wide variety of options on where to send their movie creations. I had my fourth graders send it to their digital portfolio in SeeSaw. They can also send it to iMovie to further edit and create longer movies, or they can directly send it to YouTube. Sending movies to  Kidblog posts is also an option. 

Short Story
When creating short stories, you create a beginning, middle, and ending to your story. Students again select a setting, characters, and a mood.

Science Report
I am looking forward to using the 'Science Report" with my students. It is set up like the scientific method. 

Students wrote mysteries for one of our writing genres in the curriculum.  They created movies from the mystery they wrote. 

The Case of the Missing Dog - by Lilly

The Mystery of the Leaf - by Ryan

Graphic organizers are important and a great way for students to organize their thoughts and stories prior to video creation.

There are so many possibilities for using Toontastic 3D in the classroom that can tie in with district curriculum and essential objectives. Student can create scenes for vocabulary in any content area. Science and social studies objectives can animated. I would love to hear from other educators as they use Toontastic 3D in the classroom.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Celebrating the 100th Day of School with a Techie Twist

The 100th day of school has arrived, and it's time for my fourth graders to celebrate. What better way to celebrate our 100th day, than to add a techie twist. 

Each student has the AgingBooth app and ChatterPix on his/her iPad. I prefer to use ChatterPix, but there is ChatterPix Kids, which  can also be used too. Yes, both apps are free!

Students took a picture on AgingBooth and had fun adding features to make themselves

look ancient. (A quote from one of my students.)  It is quick and easy for students to add features to age. 

From wrinkles to gray hair, they instantly looked older. Perhaps close to 100?!  After students finished, they saved the picture to their camera roll.

Then, they opened ChatterPix and imported the picture. Now comes more fun and laughs. They drew a line where they wanted their mouth to be animated and speak. You have thirty minutes to record on ChatterPix, so you may need to use iMovie if the recording is longer. After more giggles, they recorded what they thought they may be doing when they're 100 year olds. Students can also add backgrounds, stickers. or text to their picture on ChatterPix.

After they completed the video, they sent it to their digital portfolio in Seesaw. They also wrote blog posts on Kidblog about being 100 years old, and added the video they created.