Friday, February 28, 2014

Flipped Lesson

In Math today I tried my first ever flipped lesson!  First my students solved two puzzles (a review of yesterday's concepts) using the Stick Around app (@stickaroundapp).  After that, they watched a short video (Explain Everything) to review the concepts taught yesterday.  Then, I introduced today's lesson (estimating sums and differences).  I explained that they would be watching and interacting with my lesson using Explain Everything (@explainevrythng).  A lot of my kids were excited to try this new way of learning. 

After they finished watching and interacting with the video, the kids showed me their work (problems within the Explain Everything video I created).  Next time, I am going to make sure I include an answer key after the problems they solved.  I feel like that would have saved class time (a lot of them had to wait in line as I checked their problems) and provided instant feedback.   Shortly after I checked their problems, they worked on two Stick Around puzzles that allowed them to practice today's concepts. 

Next, I posed this question to my students: What are some of the benefits of a flipped lesson?  Here is what some of my students had to say:

"I like that I can go at my own pace."
"I think it is good that I can pause and go back if I am confused or need help." 
"I can go back and use it when I am working on my assignment."
"I like that it is easier to focus and there are less distractions.  Sometimes people interrupt you when you are teaching and it is hard to stay focused and pay attention to what you are teaching us."        
 "It is easier for me to see what is being taught because I can pause, go back, and it is right in front of me."                  

I told them that I could also turn the Explain Everything video into a YouTube video and share the link with them so they could watch it at home.  My students seemed to like the idea of having access to a video at home.  This would be a great resource for parents as well!   I am glad I decided to have them share their ideas as to how they could use this video in the future and how it helped them.  It was a great discussion and it really opened my eyes as to how my students feel when I am teaching a lesson. 

I feel like my students enjoyed moving through the lesson at their own pace.  They were engaged the entire time while they were watching the video.  I think it helped that they were required to practice and interact with the video as they continued to watch. This will be a great resource for them to have on their iPads.  

Although I don't foresee myself doing this with every lesson or concept in Math, I do believe flipped lessons can be helpful and beneficial for many of my students.  Students are always at different stages of learning and understanding throughout Math, but using a flipped lesson format allowed me the opportunity to meet the needs of all of my students in a more efficient way.  I was able to work one on one with students that were struggling with the concept, while others that were understanding it moved at their own pace and completed the challenge of creating a Stick Around puzzle that involved the concepts they learned about today.    They shared these puzzles with a peer and then had to solve.  There was a lot of engaged, focused, meaningful, and active learning and thinking taking place today during Math.    I am excited to try this again!  Thanks Emily Salie and Sharae Geldes for inspiring/challenging me to do a flipped lesson! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stick Around!

Today was a fantastic day in the world of hangouts, apps, and iPads!  As if hanging out with Adam Bellow, the creator of eduClipper wasn't awesome enough....this afternoon we were able to download the Stick Around app (@StickAroundApp)!  Brent Catlett and I dove into this app this afternoon with my kids!  The response from my students was amazing!  They were automatically hooked as Mr. Catlett showed them some of the puzzles that were already created as well as how to create their own.

I had students creating puzzles with content they had learned from first and second quarter!  Then students "hopped on" (reflected) and showcased their newly created puzzles!  Kids that are not too fond of Math were CHOOSING to create puzzles with various Math concepts!  

After one of my students created his puzzle he said, "Mrs. Manning, I saved my puzzle to my camera roll and I was thinking I would clip it to eduClipper and then pull it into my blog and write a post!"  I literally wanted to scream and jump for joy!  

Brent Catlett, Sharae Geldes, and I then collaborated and created a shared folder within our Drive that will be a place for teachers to share puzzles they have created!  This will ensure that we are not reinventing the wheel!

I am very excited to see where this app takes my classroom!  My students are already taking content that they have learned and are currently learning and then figuring out ways to create a puzzle!  Thanks Brent Catlett for taking the lead and introducing Stick Around to my students.  I can't wait to show my students how this app can be used in all subject areas!

The Possibilities are Endless

Mr. Catlett (@catlett1) and I introduced the app, eduClipper (@educlipper), awhile back in my classroom.  Since then, my students have created projects with the concepts we have been working on in class.  Then they clip those projects in eduClipper to share with other students and educators.  It has been a great way for them to showcase their hard work and learning.  In the future, I hope to have my students create portfolios of their work!  

Knowing what is possible with eduClipper, I have tweeted the links to students' projects on eduClipper.  My students have also shared their thoughts about eduClipper within their blog posts (! Adam Bellow (@adambellow), the creator of eduClipper, was kind enough to leave comments for some of my students!  They were so shocked and couldn't believe he read their posts!  In our classroom, he is basically a celebrity! Ever since then, they have had several questions for him, one being, "How did he come up with the idea for the app and how did he create it?"

Well today my 4th grade class had the privilege of being a part of a Google Hangout with eduClipper's creator, Adam Bellow, as well as Mrs. Boyce, Mr. Sims, Mrs. Geldes, Mrs. Evon, and Mr. Toelle (1:1 iPad Classrooms)! All thanks to Brent Catlett and his efforts to set up this once in a lifetime opportunity for our students!

Students were given the opportunity to ask questions as they learned more about eduClipper!  The kids were able to see and talk to Mr. Bellow.  He was very inspiring and talked about very important skills that we want to instill in all of our students.  Teamwork, hard work, cooperation, collaboration, perseverance, and patience were some of the topics Mr. Bellow talked about as he described what it takes to create an app!

Mr. Bellow also talked about the first time he coded, which was in third grade.  The kids were blown away by this, because some of them have already learned how to code!  I think it opened their eyes as to what they could do in the future!  They were starting to realize that creating an app is something that they could possibly do!

The students were also blown away when Mr. Bellow wrote down a suggestion that they had for his developers!  Their mouths dropped open and you could hear gasps around the classroom!  Their suggestion was being taken into consideration for an update with the eduClipper app!

A huge thank you to Brent Catlett and Mr. Bellow for taking the time to set up and be a part of the hangout!  It was such a powerful learning experience for all of our students!  Students are excited and curious about learning and creating, knowing that the possibilities are endless if you work hard, have patience, and collaborate!  INSPIRING day for all students as well as the teachers involved!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Do you want to Hangout?

Who knew "hanging out" could be an opportunity to teach about and learn so many important skills? 

My class has participated in two Mystery Hangouts with a class from Colorado and Vermont.  They have also participated in two practice Mystery Hangouts with Brent Catlett and a group of teachers he was educating about Mystery Hangouts as well as Emily Salie's class.  

There have been many lessons as well as an opportunity for self and class assessment/reflection!  As a class we discuss what went well and what we could improve upon for our next hangout.  Part of the fun is trying to be the first class to guess the mystery state (we are a little competitive), but another very important part of these hangouts are the skills that are being incorporated before, during, and after each hangout.  

Here are just a few skills that students are learning and practicing during our Mystery Hangouts:

- Using a map
- Locating various landforms, bodies of water, states, bordering countries, etc...
- Cardinal Directions
- Asking various types of questions
- Teamwork
- Problem Solving
- Math Computation-Calculating mileage and hours/mins
- Communication skills
- Writing-Blogging about the Mystery Hangouts 
- Researching-finding information about each state/region that have been in our Mystery Hangouts
- Sorting/Comparing-We have had discussions about the types of questions that have been asked during our hangouts.  We compare/sort the questions that have been asked by both classrooms.

Students are also engaged throughout, because they each have a job during the hangout. I highly recommend joining a Google + Community as well as Twitter in order to give your students the opportunity to travel across the United States and possibly the world without having to leave the classroom!   I have already made some great connections with various educators through Google + Communities and Twitter.  Giving students the opportunity to make connections with what they are learning in the classroom and the REAL WORLD or even their lives is SO IMPORTANT!  I have and will continue to make learning relevant and meaningful for my students!  

A HUGE thank you to Brent Catlett and Sharae Geldes for introducing to the world of Google + Communities and Twitter!  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Animals, Athletes, and Verbs OH MY!

Today we learned about verbs using Popplet!  I wanted to find a way to grab their attention, so I started with a rap video about verbs.  This got them up and moving.  Then we brainstormed a list of verbs that we heard in the rap.

I then asked each student to pick their favorite athlete or animal.  This captured the attention of a lot of my students (many are sports fans and love animals).  The next task was to list 10 verbs (actions) associated with that person or animal.  They picked five of their favorites out of the 10 they listed.

Students then searched for pictures of their athlete or animal doing the actions that they listed.  They inserted those pictures within their Popplet, wrote a sentence, and identified the verb.  My room was silent and when I looked and walked around EVERYONE in my room was engaged and working!

Such a simple lesson, but I found a way to make verbs REAL for my students.  They were taking something they liked or were passionate about and tying it in with Language Arts!  I walked away from that lesson knowing that my students have a good grasp on the concept that was taught!

I was also able to teach mini writing lessons as they showed me their Popplets.  I was able to cover proper nouns, capitalization, punctuation, apostrophes, possessive pronouns/nouns, and grammar usage in general!  So much learning took place today when they created a Verb Popplet about their favorite athlete or animal!

Check out some of their Popplets and blog posts!

Mrs. Manning's Class Blogs

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mystery Hangout

Mappers working hard to eliminate
states and find the mystery state!
Today we participated in our first Mystery Hangout with a 4th grade class from Colorado!  It was perfect timing, because we are currently studying the Western Region of the United States.  The kids did a great job of asking close ended questions.  They used various landforms and rivers that we have learned about in Social Studies to narrow down where the mystery state was.  We had a great discussion about quality questions and what type of questions are most beneficial to ask during hangouts (great teachable moment). Very excited to participate in another hangout with classrooms from all over the United States and possibly the world.  What an amazing experience for kids to see and hear from students in other places!  Definitely helped my students make a connection with what we are learning about in Social Studies and the REAL WORLD! 

Check out the blog posts the kids created about our hangout!  
Blog Posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Learning about eduClipper

Mr. Catlett introducing eduClipper
eduClipper is up and running in my classroom!  Brent Catlett stopped by and helped my students set up their eduClipper app!  They were able to create an avatar, clipboards, share a Popplet they created, and re-clip others' images, sites, and work.  This will be an excellent way for students to create, clip, and share work in a digital portfolio that will follow them throughout their educational years.  Students also came to the realization that they will be able to access eduClipper from home, which is a great way to include parents in on what we are learning about in the classroom as well as continue learning from home!  

Going to share their Wyoming
 Popplet on eduClipper!
My students were using their free time to create clipboards and re-clip items they have found.  This will be a great way for students to see what other students in other classrooms are creating!   How powerful for students to receive comments and have their items re-clipped by other students! 

I was able to add a Social Studies website that will give my kids some guidance as to how to search and find accurate information.   I plan to upload some educational videos as well as videos where I am teaching/explaining a concept, other websites, and have the students start to create portfolios.  There is even the option to provide feedback in the form of typing/comment, voice, or a video!  Very powerful for students to receive feedback about the work they are creating.  As with other apps we have been using, they are able to annotate over items!  Mr. Catlett and I are interested in seeing if the work students are creating in various apps will be able to be shared through eduClipper! There are so many ideas that Brent Catlett and I want to explore with this app!   I definitely recommend checking out eduClipper!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Teaching, Reflecting, and Making Changes


Today was a very productive day!  I introduced Doceri during Math.  The kids and I created a sample problem and recorded each step for subtracting fractions with unlike denominators!  Then, they worked on problems independently and listened to each other's recordings.  During their independent work time it was amazing how many students were swiping between apps to complete their work.  They were listening to the Doceri examples they created and then taking that information and applying it to the problem they were working on!  They are taking ownership of their learning and work.  My students are getting a better grasp on the concepts we are learning about because they are being required to explain the process and their thinking!  


My students have already had experience with Keynote thanks to Mrs. Geldes!  They were able to show me some of the ins and outs as we started our vocabulary journals for the week.  Taking what I reflected upon and learned last week, we had a big discussion as to what quality work looks like on the iPad.   It was a great learning experience for the kids and for me.  Modeling each task they are about to take on is so important as they continue their learning adventure on the iPads.  I have modeled things for the kids in the past, but never with an iPad.  I assumed they would take what they know about my expectations and quality work and apply it to their work on the iPads.  It was a great refresher for all students and as I walked around to view their Keynotes, I noticed a huge improvement from last week! 

Hop On, Hop Off

If you come into my classroom, you will hear the words Hop On, Hop Off multiple times!   As we learn about new apps, students are discovering the amazing things each app allows us to do!  The kids hop on and off of reflector to teach the class about the items they have discovered!  I have so many students right now that are proud, taking responsibility, helping, sharing, actively learning, and TEACHING!  They are eager to share what they discovered!  I am not the only person teaching in my classroom and it is so amazing to watch and listen to all of the learning taking place!