Thursday, April 9, 2015

Roses are Red, Laptops are Blue...

Poetry, Teresa Grau Ros, Flickr
April is Poetry Month, an annual reminder of the need to expose students to poetry as a form of literature. No longer is teaching specific types of poetry found in the standards, but reading with comprehension is (grades 1 and up). In fact, for each grade level numerous classic poems are included in Appendix B of the CCSS.  

Poetry is also a genre students can use to express their thoughts, compare themes, understand figurative language, etc., as part of the writing process. Teaching students how to write a haiku for a science lesson on weather, for example, is a fun way to blend science with ELA. An ode to geometric shapes gives students the opportunity to show what they know about polygons in a lyrical way.   

Poetry becomes more meaningful when it has a visual element. Meaning comes to life and gives substance to the creator’s intent. Using technology can add both a creative and the collaborative dimension to the writing process.

A favorite illustration of the use of poetry, science and technology is this VoiceThread created by Mrs. Mattson’s 3rd grade class a couple years ago. Not only did the students have an opportunity to write and draw, but also reflect on their learning, and share their work with a more global audience. The students received supportive feedback from not only their teacher, but classmates, friends and family too.

Here are some other ideas on how to integrate technology with poetry:

Share your ideas, we always want to know!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

iPads, Photos and the Art of Content Creation

One of the most valuable apps on your iPad is ... Photos. Yes, that innocuous button that resembles the NBC peacock holds the key to effective content creation, and ultimately higher levels of student learning.  To get the most out of the iPad as a content creation tool, students need to understand a few important features of Photos, the iPad camera, and photo curation.

First, teach your students how to take a quality photo with their iPad. Some camera features students should know include tap to focus and pinch to zoom. These features allow students to get the clearest photo with little effort. The should also learn how to use the grid (turn on in Settings) so they can practice The Rule of Thirds. As you see in this photo, the subject is not centered, but in the right third, making the photo more interesting.

Next, show students how to find photo albums on their iPad. Here is where they locate their photos, as well as content created on third party apps like Tellagami, Skitch and Shadow Puppet EDU. In Moments, you will see Albums at the bottom of the screen.

More and more, applications like those noted above save the content to Photos. This is an important feature to look for when shopping for apps, as it makes access to content so much easier. Many apps now upload from Photos too, so pulling in saved photos is a snap. Using Google to find an image? Simply search in Google and find the image you want. Hold down on the image until you see Save Image pop up. Tap on it, and off it goes to your Photos. Then students can upload the photo to projects created in other applications (in a copyright-friendly manner!).

Better yet, take your students outside and have them take pictures. It's a great way to see and capture math and science in the real world. And who knows, some may develop a life-long love of photography from the experience. Then teach them how to protect their own work with a Creative Commons license!

Have classroom photo tips to share? Please comment and let us know!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

iPad to Google Drive Workflow

The iPad is a great tool for creating interesting, high quality results to demonstrate learning. But, sometimes it's a pain to get the content from the iPad to someplace easy to share (like... the web). This is particularly true if you're also trying to take advantage of Google Apps for Education.

Here's a presentation we did last weekend at CUE that starts to address the issues and opportunities regarding iPad to Google workflow.

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