Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Love These Interactive Drawing Activities!

Draw A Stickman Episode One and Episode Two have been around awhile, but I have to post about them, in case you didn't know about them. I love love love these websites, and think this kind of technology is the wave of the future. If you are not familiar with them, you are prompted to draw something as part of a story. Your drawing "comes alive", moves, and is part of the story. You have to try them now!

I would use these websites/activities in my second grade classroom first as a whole group demonstration, preferably with an interactive whiteboard or a computer projected for all to see. If you have a tablet, such as a Mimio Pad, that would make it easier to draw. Then, I would let students have at it during a center. Even though the story repeats each time, I still think kids would find this fun, and it allows them to be creative. When you are done with the episode, you have the option to share your story via Facebook, Twitter or email.

There are also iPad apps that match these episodes. Find out more about the original Draw A Stickman app or the newer, second episode in the iTunes Store (both free).

I found a few other iPad apps that are similar in nature. Pirate Scribblebeard's Treasure ($2.99) prompts you to draw something, such as "..two burly pirates for my crew." These creations move around a bit, too, when you are done, and they are saved within the app. Another app, Magic Doodles HD Lite (free) asks you "What is shooting out of the cannon?" or asks you to "Draw a rocket for the astronaut". The fact that there is not one right answer/design will make all students feel successful. No saving here in this app, perhaps in the paid one?

I am wondering how else I can incorporate these into my classroom? Part of cooperative learning, classroom community building? Stimulate writing? Prompt discussions? If anyone has additional ideas, or similar interactive drawing resources, please share!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Blog Challenge! Animal Photos = Writing Prompts

I have stumbled across a fantastic idea! Everyone loves fun animal photos, right? They are perfect for writing prompts, yes?

Well, Larry Ferlazzo has started a blog challenge that exemplifies the power of sharing and inspiration that blogs, twitter, and even Pinterest have! Inspired by similar ideas from his PLN, Larry is asking teachers to submit a photograph that would be perfect to use in a "What is this animal saying or thinking?" activity. (I immediately thought of 6 Traits of Writing - Voice lessons)  You must hop over to his blog here and see the awesome picture of a koala bear that got him started. Larry has contributed two pictures of his own dogs. Now, the challenge begins - can you find a picture to contribute?

Here is a link to a picture of a silly cat I found that I think would be great, too!
I found that photo on Pinterest, and it took me to a photo sharing site I hadn't heard of before now. I am not sure about its copyright, so I am not including the actual photo here.

Speaking of Pinterest, I know I have seen several teachers creating Pinboards of photographs, creating writing prompts in the comment section. What a fabulous idea! If you know of any such Pinboards, please leave a comment below for all of us to easily find. I think I am going to start one now, titled "What Is This Animal Thinking?"!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Add This To Math List

I knew I forgot a resource last time! It was really bugging me, too! And there it was the whole time, sitting on a sticky note on my computer desktop! Saw it today when I was "cleaning up", which really means copying and pasting notes/ideas from all my sticky notes to a word doc I have called "Sticky Notes"! I probably need a better system...anyway, check out:

Primary Resources Number Board

This is an awesome way to visually demonstrate expanded notation. Click on/select parts of a big number to build it. This clearly shows kids how to say big numbers, such as 3,628: 3 thousand, 6 hundred, twenty, eight. It is easy to see what each digit represents. I wish you could type in number vs. clicking on it. I wish there was an audio component. Yet, I am still going to use this. It would be neat on an IWB, with the kids at their desks writing numbers on paper or small whiteboards! It does require Adobe ShockwaveFlash.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Few Math Resources for Primary Grades

Oh has been too long since I updated my blog. I do apologize if you have been waiting or wondering...anyway, today I wanted to share a few math resources I came across recently. I think they would be perfect in a primary classroom!

This website activity asks students to find 10 hidden dog bones on a 100 chart in one minute. The trick is the chart is blank! A number is presented, such as 62. Students have to use their knowledge of the 100 chart, such as each row is worth 10, to hop around and pinpoint the number. This game would work well on an IWB or on a computer as a math center.

Another great website, this time from the UK. This activity is perfect for developing understanding of big numbers and place value. You are given a choice if you want to play with 10's and 1's, called "units" or 100's, 10's and 1's. This is a great visual tool! Again, this would be wonderful on an IWB or an individual computer station.

Sums Stacker
This website game, from Carstens Studio, needs Adobe Shockwave to play. I love this game, which is excellent for students who need a bit of a challenge with addition facts. Sums can be represented with dice, coins, or digits. Students click and drag values from three stacks, moving them around until they make the target sum at the bottom of the stack. There is a matching iPad/iPod/iPhone app available for $0.99, which has a few more options, including fingers and Spanish number words.

Hope you find one of these useful in your teaching!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Penguins! Penguins!

I am obsessed with my newest app. It's like reality TV with animals! Pocket Penguins is a FREE iPhone app, but works just fine on my iPad as well.  The California Academy of Sciences streams the Africa penguin exhibit in real time, and the user has the ability to switch between 3 live webcams. These penguins immediately captivated my son and me! We had fun predicting which penguin would jump in the water next or wondering why two penguins started fighting.

The iTunes description mentioned live feedings at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm, California time. Sure enough, just a minute or two after 5:00 pm in the Midwest, live sound came on and two employees started talking to the crowd and answering questions. We could see one biologist get in the water and hand feed the penguins. This Q & A show lasted about 15 minutes and the penguins were very active at this time! We checked in the next day at the earlier time, saw and heard different trainers and learned even more facts about penguins. I am not sure this is a 24/7 app, though. The underwater camera seems to be dark later at night. I assume the lights are off in the exhibit then.

I started investigating, trying to find other apps like this.

I took a chance and downloaded the Pocket Zoo HD app for $1.99 I was excited because it has 17 animals webcams from around the world. It seems some are just still shots, though. Due to time zone differences, all 17 webcams are not all on at once. The meerkats were fun to watch, though, running around, quite active. The camera quality was not the best on some these web cams. But since Japan is pretty far away, I will cut them some slack! I was a little disappointed, especially since it was a PAID app, but my son was not. We are definitely going to give it another try at a different time tomorrow!

I found the San Diego Zoo app, and downloaded it because it was FREE. In the Media section, there are 3 webcams to choose from: Panda, Ape (which is an orangutan) & Polar Bear.  The camera quality was pretty good.  I haven't spent too much time with this app yet (cute penguins taking all my time!), but I'll let you know how it compares.

This reminded me of a super duper Livebinder I saw once over at this awesome blog: Check out all these resources for webcams in the classroom!

Now, here comes the fun part - integrating these apps of webcams in your classroom! Where are they a natural fit? Science, and the study of animals, is an obvious answer. Can we be creative and bring them in other ways as well? One idea I am toying with comes from the Visible Thinking website mentioned on the Tech Transformation blog . I am new to these strategies, but I think I could incorporate it in this open-ended way: After watching the animal(s), students would discuss/write/draw:

   • What do you see?
   • What do you think about that?
   • What does it make you wonder?

Any ideas out there for other webcam uses? Any other resources, websites or apps you would recommend?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thank You for the Award!

I am so excited that another blogger found my little blog and liked it enough to give me a Liebster Award for up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers! (I'd say 3 is definitely less, tee hee!)

Thank you Betsey Dixon over at
Be sure to check out her blog, I think it looks like another fabulous resource!

Here are the rules for the Liebster Awards:

1. Copy and Paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver(s) and link back to them.
3. Reveal your Top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now, I get to pass the award on to 5 deserving "baby" is getting late now, so I don't have 5 yet...but so far...

1. Marcie at 2nd Grade Learning Safari

2. Heather at Swinging Through Second Grade
Swinging Through Second Grade

3. Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives


I Tried Sqworl!

Have you heard of Sqworl? is one place you can go to organize your favorite websites in one place. What I like about Sqworl is that it includes a visual of the home page of the website you marked. I think for our little students, who might not be able to read as well, this would be helpful. I bet those student would likely remember what their favorite web page looked like. I also like that this set of websites is then given a short URL. You only need to bookmark this ONE website address in your lab or computers in your room, or share this ONE website address with your parents.

Check out my Sqworl for storybooks on-line! I think it could be used during a literacy block, in a listening center or during the Daily 5!

Hope you find this helpful!