Students in the after school Scratch Club have been using the MIT developed software, Scratch, to program their own animations and video games. Scratch is a kid-friendly tool based on color-coded programming blocks that snap together to create unique scripts, or codes. Since September, students have created interactive video games, multi-stage mazes and animations. We will also be using 2 LEGO We-Do robotics kits and the invention kit, MaKey MaKey, which uses alligator clips and USB to create interactive programs between objects and a computer. The Scratch Club is very excited to be presenting their projects at the 2013 Lesley Community of Scholars Day on March 27th.
Ms. Dillon’s second grade class studied soil and compost during the month of October. After reading books, observing the KLO garden and collecting leaves and cuttings, each student created their own compost baggie, complete with worms. Each week, the bags were taken out for observation, with students recording their hypotheses, questions, and findings in their science journals through writing and illustrations. The project was documented using the iPad camera to take snapshots of the process and the recording app to record video of student questions and reflections. Images and video were then combined into Book Creator, with the final eBook being shared with all students and families.
Screenshot from the eBook:
Each student started off creating a stop motion animation using the free web based program, JellyCam. Students have since used iPad apps such as Toontastic, PupetPals and Little Birdie Tales to create narrated digital stories and animations.
This spring, we’ve introduced Bee Bots, programmable mini bee robots, to learn basic computer programming. We’re following a STEM curriculum created by Judy Robinson Fried, which includes lessons exploring concepts in math, literacy, social studies and art. Students were introduced to the concept of programming, beginning with basic commands to move the Bee Bot (right, left, forward, back). Using a basic square number mat, students were tasked with making the Bee Bot move to different numbers. We then jumped into addition and subtraction problems using a straight number line mat, where groups would have to program the Bee Bot according to each problem. For example, if the equation was 2+3, the correct command entered on the Bee Bot would be: clear, forward, forward, pause, forward, forward, forward, go. The Bee Bot would move 2 steps, pause, and continue 3 more steps to land on 5, where it would beep happily at his destination!
Ms. Patterson’s Kindergarten class read several books on being thankful and discussed people and things for which they are grateful. Using paper and crafts, they then created a Thanksgiving table for their bulletin board that showcased the foods they would be eating with their families for Thanksgiving. Each student dictated their own thoughtful idea aloud with the teacher recording their audio using the LiveScribe pens. Family and community members could touch each student’s name on the bulletin board with the LiveScribe and hear, in their own words, each child’s message of thanks.
When looking for a tool to combine informational writing, images, links and video, the Ms. Burke’s Fifth Grade class found just what they were looking for with Glogs. Glogs are interactive online “posters” created through the website Glogster.edu. A free account allows up to 10 students and the paid account ($29.95 per year) allows up to 50 students, which isn’t bad considering you can delete and re-add students as needed.
The unit was kicked off by exploring several Native American tribes as a group. Students were then given independent time to read and choose a tribe or tribal region on which to focus their research and writing.
Glogster is a relatively intuitive program, it’s interface offering buttons that allow users to insert a text, image, video, audio or web link. Because it doesn’t include a spell check feature, it’s critical for students to first type their work into a word processing tool and copy/paste their text over into their Glog. This also allows them to separate their text into paragraphs, which will become easy to navigate separate sections.
The three second grade classrooms at Kennedy-Longfellow School spent the month of January researching and writing about non-fiction topics of their choice. Prompted by the Lucy Caulkins curriculum unit question “write about something you are an expert about”, students began entries in their writer’s notebooks on diverse topics such as Egypt, families, sharks, and math. After studying mentor texts and discussing what makes writing informational, students used their prior knowledge of the subject to plan out their chapters, or subcategories. Working closely with their teachers, each student began the process of writing and revising their work on paper. Once carefully edited, it was time to type their work into the iPad, where they would each be creating an eBook using the Book Creator app. A critical piece of the Caulkins curriculum is the student presentation of their work. Each of the second grades held an “Expert Fair”, where other students, teachers, and family members were invited to come watch and listen as students presented their eBooks on the SmartBoard.
True to traditional informational books, each student eBook included a cover page, table of contents, at least three chapters and a glossary: