One of the activities our first graders have been working on recently is creating bird's eye view floor plans using the iPad built-in camera and Doozla. Have a look!
We have been experimenting with the Sphero robot by Orbotix and getting acquainted with the Sphero Drive app.
We did a lot of prep work in the computer lab to get ready for Earth Day, including writing letters to the presidents of Mexico and The United States and to the Prime Minister of Canada.
Well, things have settled down nicely here in the computer lab, and I am very happy to be back in action with my Lower School favorites! We have been working on some fun things since my return at the end of January and we hope you'll check back often to see what we have been up to!
We have been working on building our understanding of robotics and programming using our friendly Lovett robot named "Rommy" (Row-me). Even though the first graders haven't yet programmed Rommy to make his way around the school, they have begun working with this site to get good programming practice in. We've been talking about left and right turns, repeated commands, rotations, etc. The children have loved learning a bit about programming, and we have plans to continue with these skills.
One first grade class experimented with the app, Tellagami on the iPad. Tellegami invites users to create talking, moving, interactive avatars, and we used them to create short "Welcome to Lovett" "gamis" or videos. I find this app easy to use because the finished product is saved to the iPad's camera roll. It's free in the App Store for a limited time!
Another first grade class is using the iPad app My Story to create opinion pieces (reviews) of some delicious snacks that were sent into school by class parents. The children are working in trios to do this work and each member of the group has a role (typist, illustrator, checker). Stay tuned for this work!
Finally, we have been using BrainPop, Jr. with first graders to complement their geography learning. There is a great video about continents and oceans and another about reading maps that the children have enjoyed watching. Please remember that our Lovett BrainPop subscription is available to anyone at home--on the computer and mobile device!
Upon my return, the second graders were jazzed about coding and their excitement was infectious...so, we continued with our coding activities (Kodable, Angry Bird, Light Bot, Hopscotch) for two letter-day cycles before taking a break to do some other things. We learned how to play a new board game called Robot Turtles (check it out, here) to practice programming skills in a different context and it was a big hit!
We also used the app Drawing Carl to create our own Olympic events on the iPads.
We practiced interpreting data using the final medal count table posted on the official Sochi 2014 website.
Finally, there is new content in Ten Marks for all second graders. We will be participating in their "Math Madness" competition beginning next week!
We have been working on additional coding activities in third grade as well. These guys got really good at LightBot--I'm proud of them! Some students have even come to me to share that they have talked to their parents about purchasing the full version of LightBot so they can progress through those higher and higher levels at home. Awesome!
Our big project in third grade has been the creation of Earth Week-themed memes. Everyone has seen those silly photos on Instagram, Facebook, and various websites where a humorous caption is pasted on top of a photograph, right? The third graders have worked hard to create their own memes that share some kind of earth-related message. Here's an example of a mainstream meme and a Lovett student's interpretation:
Stay tuned for their finished products on the bulletin board and on my webpage.
Here are some photos from our computer lab happenings lately. Enjoy!
Well, just as I thought, my time with your children is racing along. It has been a lovely opportunity to reconnect with so many familiar faces and families, and I am enjoying the gift of improving my own technology skills as well. Mrs. Bullock will remain cozily at home with her boys until after the first of the year, and I know you will warmly welcome her back come mid-January.
In the meantime, here’s a brief update on some of the activities I have completed with the students over the recent weeks.
All students in first and second grades have enjoyed holiday games of varying kinds: Transylvania, Turkey Bowl, and Where’s is Rudolph seem to be some of their favorites. If you haven’t already, you can access all of these games from Mrs. Bullock’s webpage.
First graders have enjoyed drawing with the Doozla program, illustrating amounts of money in different ways. They have also used Doozla to illustrate and write about what they were thankful for at Thanksgiving, the emphasis being on capitalization and punctuation. Most first graders have had the chance to practice their keyboarding skills via Dance Mat Typing, and currently, students are typing, punctuating and capitalizing again as they write down their wish lists for giving this holiday season.
Second graders have tried their hand at creating animated videos using the program ABCya animation, and they have had a little bit of extra math practice drawing pictures using only geometric shapes. You can see their pictures on their teacher’s respective webpage.
Third graders have been working hard to complete their units of study using the Digital Passport computer program. We are discussing many issues related to appropriate use of technology, including but not limited to the following: what to do when cyberbullying occurs, when to use a cell phone or send a text message, what is appropriate to share online, how to avoid plagiarism, what does copyright mean, and how to begin an online search on a topic you might be exploring in the classroom. These topics are revisited consistently throughout the year, but the Digital Passport lessons give us a chance to talk explicitly and openly about these issues in order to troubleshoot future problems.
Perhaps most importantly is the work the 2nd and 3rd grade students have been doing to participate in Computer Science Week and the Week of Code. As a nation we are realizing that our coding skills are falling behind and some very important names in the industry are encouraging children to start coding NOW. The students have really enjoyed the apps and on-line work introducing them to coding and we hope, as a family, you will too.
Boys and Girls (and Moms and Dads),
Just a quick note to tell you all "Hello," and to say that Mrs. Bullock is excited to announce the arrival of her baby boy, John Holder Bullock. "Holder" arrived Thursday, October 24. He weighed 8 lbs, and measured 21 inches. As soon as I can, I will try to have some pictures of Holder for you to see in class. He is a cutie pie!
I am delighted to see so many familiar faces and I am looking forward to this time with all of you. Never fear! I haven't forgotten how to speak French and Spanish, and we just might delve into some bilingual technology lessons before too long. You might remember I am full of surprises.
See you soon,
Our new little boy is due to arrive any day now, so I wanted to introduce the teacher who will be holding down fort in the computer lab until my return in January...Mrs. Susie Davis! Mrs. Davis has already visited our classroom several times, and she and I have been planning lots of great activities to keep the children focused and engaged through the end of this year and the beginning of the next. Does Mrs. Davis looks familiar? Of course she does! She taught language classes in the Lower School for several years before making the decision to stay home with her two beautiful daughters. I am so blessed to have such a fantastic teacher and gifted professional working with my students while I am away. Please stop by and say hello to Mrs. Davis in room 108 very soon!
Our iPad cart has arrived and is already seeing a TON of use in the Lower School. We are so very grateful for this gift from Lovett's LPA and it's auction efforts last spring--thank you, thank you, thank you! This week I spent time offering orientation sessions for interested teachers, and the turnout was fantastic! Look for news of the iPad cart being used in various classrooms around the school very soon!
One group of first graders recently used the iPads to record one another sharing what they have been learning about skip counting. The pretended to interview one another using the built-in iPad camera, and I have uploaded the videos for your viewing pleasure, here. Our other first graders have been using the iPads to try out different apps such as Bluster (for practice with rhyming words), Top-It (for addition practice), and Sushi Monster (also for addition practice). We have been learning the routines of using iPads in the computer lab. If you would like to see a list of the apps loaded onto our iPad cart, please click here.
Our versions of the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear are nearly finished! You can see Mrs. Murphy's class project here and Mrs. Smilack's class project here. Our children's self-portraits look great, and I love the fact that by viewing the slideshows, you can put a voice with a "face." We had a lot of fun with this project, and it helped us learn more about keyboarding, develop mouse control, and learn basic computer functions.
In second grade, the children have been using the iPads to complete a couple of different activities. Firstly, they used an app called Bee-Bot to practice their programming skills. We have a Lower School robotics unit, and using this app has whet the second graders' appetites to do more with programming and giving life to inanimate objects. The Bee-Bot app offers this age group the challenge they need. Additionally, two of our second grade classes used the built-in camera on the iPads to walk around the Lower School and snap pictures of different number representations. They then created collages using an app called Pic Collage to arrange their pictures into creative number sentences. Take a look at Mrs. Smith's classwork here and Mrs. MacEwen's classwork here. Several second graders have let me know that they continue to work on Ten Marks activities as well.. Way to go!
Our third graders have been working hard to complete digital passport lessons, both at school and at home. They are learning important lessons about when is an appropriate time to use cell phones and what constitutes a good reason to use one. Lessons in digital citizenship will continue as the fall progresses. The third grade teachers are also fully engaged in a social studies unit about the regions of the U.S. To supplement their research of written texts, the children have been doing online research using Image Quest and various links (click here) to gather additional information and pictures that are representative of their regions. Here is an example of one child's work with pictures.
Please remember to refer to the passwords flyer that came home in your Parent Night folder for Lovett's program and website passwords.
We are off to a great start for the month of September, and the biggest news I have to share is that the Lower School will be receiving a cart of 22 iPads for computer lab and classroom use! With help from Ms. Becker and Señora Hoyos, we have pulled together a list of the BEST and most innovative apps for our children that will stretch across all subject areas. Click here to see that list.
In first grade we have started working on our own versions of the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. We are painting detailed portraits of ourselves (digitally, of course) and writing captions for our paintings using the keyboard--all with an application called Doozla. Some skills that we're covering include: capitalization, using commas, correct spacing, question marks, and exclamation points. Stay tuned for the finished products!
In second grade we have begun using one of our favorite websites called Ten Marks. Ten Marks is an online math practice program where the activities students complete are selected by the teacher. As the children complete activities, they are motivated to earn certificates and unlock online educational games. Our second graders have unique usernames and passwords to use Ten Marks, and both the classroom teachers and I have access to that information should you need it at home.
Most of our third graders are rocking and rolling with Common Sense Media's Digital Passport program. The children participate in this program to build their online citizenship skills, learn how to make smart decisions online, and grow increasingly prepared to thrive in a world that is becoming more and more connected. They are encouraged to use the site at home; feel free to email Mrs. Bullock for username and password information. At the same time as the implementation of the Digital Passport program, we are launching use of the Writers (portable keyboards) to get the children building their typing skills in preparation for the 4th and 5th grades. The Writers are used primarily in the lead teacher's classroom and do not go home with the children.