Monday, March 24, 2014

iPaddling through Student-Led Conferences

Eight short weeks ago, our third grade team transformed into the most amazing learning environment possible!  Not only is learning individualized and differentiated on a daily basis, but so was our student-led conferences! 

This being my 28th year in the education profession, I would have to say this was one of my most successful, favorite, and truly student-led conferences.  By this time of year, parents have a clear understanding of how their child is doing academical as well as socially! Students need the opportunity to show their parents what they are learning and what they know!  Each child needs the opportunity to take a leadership role and teach his/her parent!  I have never seen a prouder group of third graders and their parents in awe of what their child is accomplishing and learning on a daily basis in school! 

One of the most important goals I had, was to have student presentations tie in with district curriculum and expectations.  I also knew I had to keep it manageable for my students and myself.

As a class we brainstormed what we would include in each student-led presentation.  After the guidelines were established,  students were on their own.


Helping, sharing, creating, and learning as a team!

Students decided to use  Keynote for their presentations.  As students worked in Keynote, there was a lot of higher level thinking taking place, as well as some frustration!  The Friday prior to conferences we were struggling with some of the components of Keynote.  On Friday night, I received an email that made my week!  Natalie, solved the problem we were having on Keynote! I am learning so much from my third graders!

Goal setting for any student is of utmost importance.  As a team we knew it was important to share with parents, successes, as well as fourth quarter goals each student will strive to achieve.  They created their goals in Explain Everything.  After they created this they used iMovie on their iPad to edit, publish, and add to their Keynote. They are becoming expert "app smashers"!


My students and I learned how to App Smash from our district tech coaches +Ann Feldmann, +Brent Catlett, and +Jennifer Krzystowczyk!  Here is a link to Tech Tools for Teachers and app smashing.

Third graders also used Explain Everything to create a math problem they are currently working on in the curriculum and explain it to their parents. They app smashed once again and edited in iMovie.

Tellagami was the next app they used to share their favorite app with their parents and how it tied in with district curriculum.  In Tellagami, they exported it to iMovie to edit and then they sent it to YouTube. Two or our favorite apps in  third grade  are +Adam Bellow's eduClipper app and +Tony Vincent's Stick Around app.  Parents shared how their child loved the Google Hangouts with Mr. Bellow and Mr. Vincent!  Parents also shared that they had no idea what a hangout was until their child explained it to them! Love how parents are learning from their children!

Our Google Hangout with Mr. Adam Bellow!

Stick Around

Our Google Hangout with Mr. Tony Vincent!

Students shared their science journals on Skitch and Notability, their individual reading bookcase on RAZ Kid's, and their blog posts on Kidblog!  They also shared how they are participating in a Global Blog Challenge set up by +Janine Crain! Check out the link of all the classrooms who are participating around the world!  Global Blog Challenge!

Science-Essential Objective 3 

 Blogging Away

Presentations Finished...Next Up...Time to Share with Parents!

We had some teary-eyed parents at the end of their conference, after each child thanked his/her parent for their help, support, and encouragement as they iPaddle through third grade in preparation of becoming a fourth grader!  I have to admit I was teary-eyed too, as I watched how proud each parent was of his/her child!


Who would ever imagine parents learning so much from their third grader!  I am in awe of my students on a daily basis!

21st Century Student-Led Conferences at its BEST!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

iPaddling through Guided Reading

It's hard to contain my excitement and enthusiasm when it comes to Guided Reading and having a 1:1 classroom. Mastery of district curriculum and essential objectives is what it is all about. I now have unlimited opportunities for students in my classroom.  Our guided reading block is every afternoon for an hour.  Differentiation of instruction, individualized and small group instruction, and student engagement happens at its best on a daily basis! I feel I am meeting all students' instructional needs each day.

Daily Five and a 1:1 Classroom
I have created a 1:1 iPad Menu for Guided Reading.  Being new to a 1:1 classroom I continue to tweak it according to student and curriculum needs.  Below is an example of a menu my students receive at the beginning of each week.

Click below for a copy of the 1:1 Menu that will allow you to edit as you wish.

There are several apps that I use that tie in with essential learning and our district curriculum.

Raz Kids is a leveled reading program.  Each of my students have their own book room at their specific independent reading level.  After each selection they read, students complete a comprehension quiz.  In addition to using our district curriculum and Fountas and Pinnell, the information gathered from Raz Kids helps plan future instruction and RTI groups.   Raz Kids not only ties in with common core, but gives teachers access to each student's activity report, assignment progress, assessments, and a skills report.

My students use this recording sheet when they read a new book from their book room.  They write the level of the book which correlates with the reading levels of Fountas and Pinnell,  the title of the selection, and the score they earn on their quiz.  The skills column lists what particular questions they missed and the skill they need more guidance and instruction on.  It is easy to see patterns on missed questions.  Recently one student, on three consecutive books missed Main Idea and Details.  So I was able to pull a small group and focus on this particular skill.


I have just started building my Storia library through Scholastic.  It is eBooks created for students. Books are leveled for students' independent reading levels.  A teacher can have a personalized bookshelf for each student and assign specific books.  There are read to me audio books, enriched eBooks that provide learning activities which help foster reading retention and comprehension,  and a Storia dictionary that helps  enrich student vocabulary. Storia also provides reference tools, reading reports for teachers, and students also have access to Storia at home.  Forty students have access to the same book at any given time on my specific shelf.  One of my main goals is to continue to add and purchase eBooks for my students.  I would love to eventually have all the books my students read available on their iPads.

My students and I love audioBoo.  Students record themselves reading a selected passage.  After they save the passage on audioBoo, students label what they read and include the date.  After students record their reading, it is saved to their  "My Boos".  Students then listen to the audio recording and complete a self-evaluation on their reading.  My third graders then set goals for fluency, expression, and automaticity.

Our district uses Fountas and Pinnell.  The Record of Reading app  can be used for students' running records.  It can be saved as a file or emailed.


 Like I stated in my previous post, my students love the Stick Around app created by +Tony Vincent!  It is a wonderful app for students and teachers.  My third graders have been creating puzzles that tie in with our language arts curriculum.  They have created puzzles for main verb and helping verbs, as well as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. My advanced students have worked on puzzles for Greek and Latin roots. We have also used it for a science essential objective where students had to label the parts of an ear.

We will have endless opportunities for learning next year with Stick Around when our district implements Words their Way.
Tips for using Stick Around

The amazing aspect of Stick Around is that puzzles can be shared.  Currently, one of our district tech coaches, +Brent Catlett created shared folders for our teachers. We are now putting the puzzles we create in shared folders so that all teachers have access to them.  Stick around can be used in any curricular area.

Notability is the go to app for Guided Reading!  Thanks to +Matt Villasana for his wonderful post on using Notability in Guided Reading.

One of our reading/language arts essential objectives in third grade is to present speeches throughout the year.  For the E.O.,  I paired up students so they could videotape each other presenting their speech focusing on their favorite dessert.  After all the speeches were presented, each student watched his/her speech on their iPad and completed a self-evaluation using the district reading rubric.


Some of my favorite apps to use during guided reading are Tellagami,  Spelling CityStory MeExplain EverythingPuppet Pals HDSock Puppets, Dream-X, and 30hands  I also love PBS Kids.

Example of how we used Tellagami with our Reading Vocabulary

Examples of how we used Explain Everything with our Reading Focus Skill of the Week

Focus Skill-Fact and Opinion

Focus Skill-Author's Purpose

Example of how we used 30hands with our Reading Focus Skill - Summarizing

Examples of using Story Me with our Reading Vocabulary


Examples how we used Dream-X for Language - Contractions


Tips for using PuppetPals
Tips for using Story Me
Using Tellagmi with Common Core - Scholastic
30hands Resource Guide
Spelling City

My students are looking forward to using the Mad Libs app to review parts of speech.  

The International Reading Association has some great free apps for Nonfiction and Fiction Text on readwritethink.

One of my favorites is the Venn Diagram used for comparing and contrasting.
Comparing and Contrasting Santo Domingo and Maine
from our story Cocoa Ice.

Let's not forget Kidblog!  Students not only practice their writing skills, but they can reflect on their learning, connect with other classrooms from all over the world, and create a portfolio of their writing.
Our classroom Kidblog site is Mrs. Evon's Fourth Grade Team.  Our third grade team is currently participating in a Global Blog Challenge thanks to +Janine Crain who set it up!  Thousands of students would love comments!  To follow along on Twitter go to #2014gbc!

21st Century Guided Reading at its Best!  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Our Verse...a Week of "Firsts"

A while back I remember +Brent Catlett shared the iPad Air commercial "What will your verse be?"  At the time I didn't think much about it, but recently this has become one of my all time favorite commercials!  It really has nothing to do with the iPad Air itself, but with what "verse" will the students I teach create?

This week my students and I the opportunity of many "firsts". Each of my student's is creating his/her own verse on a daily basis.  Recently "my verse" has changed dramatically with the opportunities my students now have at their fingertips.

Adam Bellow and eduClipper
One of our "firsts" this week was due to +Brent Catlett   organizing a Google Hangout with Adam Bellow.   Mrs. Manning, Mr. Sims, Mrs. Boyce, Mrs. Geldes, and Mr. Toelle where also part of our GOH.   I don't know who was more excited!   Prior to the GHO, I had my students come up with questions they would like to ask Mr. Bellow about himself and eduCippper.  You can find their questions on our Kidblog site!

Thanks to Mr. Bellow and all the students who had the opportunity to ask questions.  As students were talking, Mr. Bellow was listening to student feedback, asking students what they thought, while taking notes about what they shared. He is an inspiration to all of us.  Collaboration, teamwork, diligence, and hard work were all emphasized.  My students were intrigued by the fact that he started coding in the third grade.  Mr. Bellow also shared some of the great changes coming soon to eduClipper.  As he shared there were a lot of oohs and ahhs heard throughout the room!

Our classroom is currently using eduClipper to create a  portfolio of what we are learning in third grade.

Our Google Hangout with Mr. Bellow

Third Graders using eduClipper in the Classroom

 One of the highlights of  the day came when coach +Ann Feldmann was working with my students as  they were putting their screenshot of Google Earth and Skitch from our Mystery Hangout into eduClipper.  Aiden was beyond ecstatic when he found out Adam Bellow liked his Benjamin Franklin post that he had put in his social studies folder on eduClipper.

Thank you Mr. Bellow and +Brent Catlett for an experience of a lifetime for my students and myself!

Stick Around

 Students now have the opportunity to use one of my favorite apps Stick Around created by Tony Vincent.  Thanks to our district techs who realized it will help enhance student learning and engagement!   Even though my third graders have been using the app only a few days, they love it!

At first, I thought I would be the one creating the puzzles that tie in with our district curriculum, but I was completely wrong!  My third graders wanted to create puzzles for each other to Let the Learning Begin!!  Our language skill for the week was Main Verbs and Helping Verbs, so that was their assignment.   I gave them few instructions and once again I was impressed that they figured it out much quicker than I did!

I know there are some wonderful updates coming to Stick Around in the near future!

My third graders and I are hoping there is a Google Hangout with Mr. Vincent in our near future!

 My third graders creating, designing, sharing, and learnnig with Stick Around

Mystery Skype - Mystery Hangout

Another "first" for us was a Mystery Skype with Robert Tellgren's third grade class.  Thanks coach +Ann Feldmann for being there to help!  At our last iPad Academy +Brent Catlett shared some information about Mystery Hangouts with me.  So prior to beginning, we had to

We also had to assign jobs for our first Mystery Hangout
Mystery Hangout Jobs 

Up next first Mystery Hangout via Skype!  Photographs thanks to Kenzie and Heather!

 We were excited when we finally figured out our Mystery Class was right across the river in Council Bluff!  

After our Mystery Skype, we weren't finished yet!  Time to do some app smashing with Google Earth and Skitch!  We asked our new third grade friends what school they attended and what historical landmarks are found in Council Bluffs.  After they shared their information, coach  +Ann Feldmann  took us flying to Council Bluffs via Google Earth...that is after everyone found their house and where they lived!  We visited their school, the General Dodge House, Lincoln Monument, and the Ruth Ann Dodge Memorial, also know as the "Black Angel".  

Here is another great site I found to help with classes interested in Mystery Hangouts or Mystery Skypes.   Blogging through the Fourth Dimension and You Want to Mystery Skype

I couldn't be prouder of my Third Grade Team as we continue to create a new verse each day!
Here is our verse.....

I am so thankful I started Twitter months ago, even though I was hesitant.   I have learned so much not only from the colleagues I work with in my district, but also from educators from all over the world!  I am always open for any suggestions or new ideas.

Thanks so much to our district tech coaches as I continue to learn along with my third graders each day! +Ann Feldmann +Brent Catlett +Jennifer Krzystowczyk

My third graders and I look forward to sharing our next adventure as we continue to iPaddle through third grade!