First Grade Matter Sort

The first graders in Mrs. Hall’s class are learning about Matter. Before we got started we reviewed what each state of matter was and some examples. My favorite was having a 6-year old student telling me “A solid’s molecules are tightly packed together.” WOW! I was ready to rock with this class after hearing that.

To start off the lesson, students used Pixie to draw an example of one state of matter. After drawing and labeling the picture, we exported the file as a transparent PNG file into a Matter Pictures folder I had created for the class. Once saved, the students cleared their Pixie page and created a picture of a different state of matter, saving it the same way. We did it a third time for the last state of matter. In as little as 15 minutes, we had 30 picture examples of different states of matter from the 10 pairs of student groups.

Once finished with the examples creation, the students opened up a basic Types of Matter Keynote Template I created. The students then dragged the pictures the class created into the page and sorted the examples. This was a quick and easy lesson, but really fun because the students had a blast creating the entire project. Here’s a finished example from one student:

Butterfly Life Cycle with Kindergarteners

Today I got to hang out with Mrs. Jackson’s and Mrs. Barradale’s kindergarten classes today. They are learning about life cycles. Today we focused on the life cycle of the butterfly. We’ve been working with Pixie throughout the year, so I decided the time for templates was over, and it was time for them to create their own from scratch.

After reviewing (and laughing at Mr. Hart fly around the room like a butterfly), the students opened up Pixie, and drew the four stages of the butterfly life cycle. We added our arrows, text boxes, and ended with recording our voices explaining the four stages. I was super excited to see the creativity the students came up with in their drawings. Check them out!

Mrs. Jackson’s Class:

Mrs. Barradale’s Class:

Busy Week of EdTech Goodness!

I had so much fun last week! I was so busy with so many classes and hanging out with JG and The Boys, it was too much for a blog post for each event. That being said, I still wanted to share all the fun activities students completed! It was a full eventful week!

Mrs. Koontz 2nd Grade Class made YakiTs about magnets.

Mrs. Hardimann’s Kindergarten Class Made YakiTs about globes, thermometers, and more!

Mrs. Kendrick’s 4th Grade Class made iMovie Trailers about Famous Americans from the Civil War.

3rd Graders at Johnson Elementary made Water Cycle Movies.

Comic Life:
Mrs. Hall’s 1st grade class made Time Projects.

Mrs. Hamilton’s Class made Explorer Projects.

3rd Graders at Highland Springs Elementary made Popplets about Prefixes and Suffixes.

Mrs. Filas’ Class made Keynote movies about Shapes!

Mrs. Filas’s Class also made Thinglinks about contributions from Ancient China.

Affixes iPad Palooza!


Today, JG and the Boys (Ryan SteinJim CovaisJulie Goode, and myself) took the show on the road to the 3rd graders at Highland Springs Elementary! Our focus was on affixes: prefixes, root words and suffixes.

We kicked off the lesson by rocking out to Flocabulary‘s Prefix Rap.

After a quick review of prefixes, suffixes, and root words, each student chose a word from a list that had both a prefix and suffix. Using an iPad, students clicked on a Stoodle collaboration board link. Stoodle offers real-time collaboration on a virtual whiteboard with as many pages that are needed. Julie set up each class with their own Stoodle Page with 25 pages – one for each student. Our awesome colleague, Sarah Green, had shown some of our team this awesome tool, so we had to use it in this lesson!

Once students were in their Stoodle “classroom”, each child selected their student number at the bottom of the page, previously set up by Julie. Students entered their word and were asked to circle the prefix in green, underline the root word in yellow, box the suffix in red, and use the drawing tool to draw a picture of what they thought their word represented. Once everyone was finished, students were able to click through the other pages to see their peers’ thinking.  Check out a few examples from the students:

After the Stoodle fun, students worked in small groups with an ITRT. Each ITRT station had a special project on the ipads:

Jim’s Station – Prefix/Suffix Padlet Game
Students had to write as many words with prefixes or suffixes and place them in their box. When it was their turn, they had to choose a word from any box that was not theirs. They had to figure out if the word has a prefix or suffix. Whoever had the most words left won! Here’s a picture of the game:

Tyler’s StationPopplet Prefix/Suffix Web Making
Students made prefix/suffix word web graphic organizers using the App Popplet. Students made a text box of a prefix or suffix. Then students made a web of text boxes with words that used that prefix or suffix. They also were able to take a picture or draw a picture to show what that word means. T’Kari did an awesome job!

Ryan’s Station: – YakiT Kids and Animoto
Students used YakiT to create animated pictures providing information about prefixes, suffixes, and root words.  Student imported their YakiT videos into Animoto to make more dynamic slideshows.

Julie’s Station: Pic and Vid Stitch Poster with Telagami
Students went to a Comemories site Julie made which housed a few pictures that represent affixes. They were asked to choose three to add to their camera roll and would need to be able to talk about their pictures later on. The students then uploaded the pictures into a four section template in the app, Pic and Vid Stitch. The remaining space in our template was for a talking avatar that was created in Telagami and uploaded into the Pic&Vid Stitch template. Students created their avatar in Tellagami and recorded their voices explaining the difference between prefixes, root words and suffixes. They also had to speak a little bit about the pictures they had uploaded from the Comemeories site as well.

To wrap up the lesson, students pulled up a Google Form that served as a reflection. This form asked them two questions: “How would you rate today’s lesson on a scale of 0-5?” and “How could you use the apps you used today in your classroom?”

Watch out Adams Elementary! We’re coming to see you soon!

Word Problem Haikus

Looking for a fun extension idea to use in the classroom during math, writing, or a unit on poetry? Try integrating Haikus into your Math Unit! Many times I see students struggling to come up with an idea for a poem, however, writing Haikus has just taken on a whole new purpose with trying to write word problems in the form of a Haiku. The best part about it–they don’t necessarily have to be solved. It’s just another way to get students thinking outside the box in writing.

I had an awesome teacher, Brooke Carter, at Short Pump Elementary take it to the next level with her students last year!  Here’s an example from a group, and their project of tons they came up with!  Click it to check out the picture!
Obtuse, Acute, Right

These are some angles you use
Use a protractor

Implement this lesson with your students and have them comment to this post with their creations! I would love to see what they come up with!

Here are a couple I came across on twitter that were intriguing:

My dog’s bandana
Folded into a triangle
What’s the area?

Bought a nice fishtank
We could find the volume, or
Fill it with a hose.

Two trains traveling
One east, one west; different speeds
When will they collide?

Sides of three and four,
what is your perimeter?**
I sure hope you’re right.
**It was originally hypotenuse, but I changed it for my elementary kiddos

Wonder, Aurasma, & Choose your Own Adventure!

All of the faculty and students at Holman Middle School are reading the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Once finished or throughout the reading, each content area is creating their own thematic unit to go along with the book. The school has also created a blog called All Holman Reads where the school will participate in book talks. What an awesome way to bring the entire school together and inspiring more reading.

Doug Saunders, a crazy awesome ITRT, is working with the art teachers, Vicki Kolar and Michael Elza on a Gallery Walk of sculptures and art work, based on characters from the book.  Doug and his artists want to make the Gallery Walk more interactive, so I came over to talk to Doug about Augmented Reality and Aurasma.

My favorite thing about going into meetings you are leading – learning NEW things!  I have always been a big fan for making Auras, but as I learned through some practice today, creating auras directly in the iPad App was much easier and faster!  Aurasma is getting better! That being said, you don’t get all the options in aura creation in the App as you do in, but for making auras and adding them to a channel was quick and easy!  Doug and I made a quick one as a reminder that our Henrico 21 deadline for ITRTs is quickly approaching!

After playing and practicing a little bit, we went through some of the differences that has compared to making the auras directly in the app.  I personally have never gotten this in-depth with this other than just having a video pop up, so I was interested to really find out.  The first thing that caught Doug’s and my eyes were the  “when overlay is tapped” and “when overlay is double-tapped” then “Load a URL.” I showed Doug how you can add multiple actions as well.  Suddenly it dawned on me–you can add multiple websites to an overlay!  Doug must have been thinking the same thing as he quickly blurted out, “We could make choose your own adventure projects!”  AWESOME!  We obviously had a make a quick video to show how having two websites embedded into an aura would work.

The possibilities are obviously exciting, and I can’t wait to find ways to bring this back to my teachers. I know Doug is ready to knock out his Gallery Walk project and take the crazy awesome power and potential of Aurasma to the next level! Check out my Aurasma 101 Handout on how to get started using  I’m going to have to make an addition to this handout for how to use it with the App and adding more overlays now!

Digital Storytelling with The 4 Icon Challenge!

Looking for a fun digital storytelling idea? This is for you! The basic idea of the 4 Icon Challenge is to take a story, novel, historical event, content topic, etc. and summarize it using only for basic pictures or icons. These four pictures represent the main events that happened on the topic that is being discussed. I found this idea a few years back on the ds106 website and from Kyle Tezak’s website. The example below is a 4 Icon Challenge from the famous children’s book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This is a favorite children’s book of mine, so I had a bunch of fun making this example. I used the drawing tools in Keynote to create my images. The second example was done in Pixie by a former student on the different types of pollution: air, water, noise, and land. In all honesty, this doesn’t necessarily have to be done on the computer.  I think students using crayons, markers, or colored pencils first to get the hang of the project could be a great way to start!

Wild Things 4 Icon Challenge


4 Icon Challenge

Great Promethean Flipchart Templates!

Matthew Barfield, aka @GeekMonkee, is an amazing educator who works for Promethean. Make sure you follow his blog. He has some great stuff over there!

With his permission, I “borrowed” a bunch of great flipchart templates from his blog page that you could use in your classroom. Check them out–they’re great!

Words with Buddies – Like Words with Friends
Matching Game
Addition Flash Card Game
Multiplication Flash Card Game
Sentences and Words
Perimeter and Area
Jeopardy Template #1
Jeopardy Template #2
Veteran’s/Memorial Day

Great Expectations Selfies!

At the request of an awesome teacher, Mrs. Dickey, I took the opportunity to teach two 9th Grade English classes at Deep Run High School. Yes, HIGH School. I had to put aside some of my “Elementary Teachiness.” I definitely didn’t put away the fun in the classroom, but the “Clap once if you can hear me, Clap twice if you can hear me” and “Everyone give me two, big, quiet thumbs up when your ready” would have surely brought some huge eye rolls…

Mrs. Dickey’s 9th Grade English classes are reading the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. To have the students work on their characterization and build communication and collaboration around different chapters of the book, Mrs. Dickey and I had the students create “Great Expectations Selfies” on different characters in the book at different times in the book.

Before the lesson, the students researched through the book for the character and point in the story they wanted to create. Click here for some of the scenarios. They brainstormed their character’s user name, comment, and hashtags they would use. Doing this ahead of time using the Assignment Planning Document made creation day much easier because the students only had to focus on searching for the two pictures, editing to creating the selfie, and adding the information for the text boxes. The students used the same ActivInspire Template I used for my Historical Selfie and Animal Selfie Project. My favorite part of the entire project was having the students post their finished projects to their Class Blog. The students had to write a brief description of their selfie that explained what is going on in that scene and include the chapter in which it occured. They also have to vote for the best Great Expectations Selfie Project explaining why they thought it was the best. The selfie receiving the most votes wins this very fashionable #Selfie Shirt!
Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 9.00.53 AM

I have my vote, but I’ll let you judge for yourself. Below is one great example, but to see all of them Click Here to check them out!

Taking a Selfie while making Selfies!

Taking a Selfie while making Selfies!

3rd Grade Content PortaPortal & TEI Resources

A few years back when I was still in the classroom, I compiled a list of websites broken down by content and units and made a portaportal website. If you teach third grade and are looking for quick websites to review some trouble spots your students may be having, check it out!

Mr. Hart’s 3rd Grade PortaPortal Website

Here’s a Google Doc of a few TEI Resources you might find useful as well!

Promethean TEI Practice Flipcharts Science, Math, and Reading