Saturday, April 30, 2011

Movie making in the classroom: flip cameras, audacity, and imovie

Movie making in the classroom has many educational applications.  In my first grade classroom, we use it to record buddy reading to check for fluency and expression.  This has really helped increase the use of character voices instead of reading like a robot!

I also use the camera to document my teaching and for my own personal reflection.  Many times we will use it for closure to a lesson by having the students interview one another about what they learned.  In May I am hoping to have the students create their first green screen movie!
Here is an example of the power of green-screen in the classroom from Beth Newingham's Scholastic Blog:

Beth gives step by step instructions and tells exactly how to make a movie.  Also, you can check out her finished products on her personal class website:

Here are some resources that were on Free Tech For Teachers.

Making Videos on the Web - A Guide for Teachers

I am presenting on this at a county-wide educational conference in June.  I am still collecting resources to use in my presentation.
How do YOU use movie making in the classroom?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mother's Day cookbook and more student art projects!

Last year I had students write "MOM' and then cover it with fingerprints and a heart.  Next, use fancy scissors to cut it out.  Check out Kaboose for a more detailed description.

I used this poem:
My dirty little fingerprints I’ve left on every wall
And on the drawers and tabletops, I’ve really marked them all
But here are some that won’t rub off, I’m giving them to you
Because I’m thankful to have a mom that’s just like you!

This year I am going to try to record each child reading a Mother's day book on Audacity and burn it to a cd.

I also always have the mothers in for "Ladies Tea".  I call it this because I always have children with no mothers- this year I have two adorable students whose mothers are deceased.  It breaks my heart!

Here is Tagxedo, which is a new application where you can use words to create shapes.  Think wordle but in the form of hearts and doves and stars!  I am going to try to take the students down to the computer lab to create one describing their moms.  Here is my example using words from a blog:

A slideshow with pictures and music is a must- I'm inviting all the ladies into our classroom to eat lunch with us and stay for a few minutes afterwards for tea.  I'm also going to try to make a breakfast in bed kit to send home with each kiddo to give to their mom on Mother's Day.

You can download my template for the cookbook pages that the students fill out here:  I have my students create the recipe for what they believe is Mom's favorite food.  Their responses are hilarious!

Last year on the directions for how to cook the food, one sweet student put "You buy it at the store!"  Haha!  :) And his mother was our Room Mom!  It was priceless.  I also had responses like preheat the oven to 10 degrees or 5,000,000,000,000 degrees and cook for 5 minutes.  For the calories, I usually tell the students if it tastes good, it probably has a lot!  :)  We have a lesson on cooking to set them straight after this is all over with!

On the right is our laminated cookbooks with all the student recipes.  The left is the original artwork of each child, and the center is their fingerprint poem.

I think fresh flowers also add a nice touch.  Tip: our vases are Clorox wipe cans with the label stripped and a few bottles of glue placed inside as a weight!

Join up in some linky part fun!

FREE aloe-infused spa socks- perfect for teachers!

Airplus foot care is giving away aloe-infused spa socks to the first 1,000 people to "like" their page on facebook.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A graphic comparing how much teachers make around the world

Teachers Worth Around the World | Infographic |
Via:Master Degree
Ok, who's holding out on us?  I want to know who is STARTING at $43,000 teaching with a class size of 15 kiddos.  Cause my bags are packed and I'm moving to your district!  Ha... I think that's more like what I will expect my salary to look like with a master's degree after I've been teaching for... I dunno... 15 years?
Your thoughts?  :)  Cute visual, but I don't think it's accurate at to say the least.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple ways to use Ipods to increasing reading fluency

Here are some ideas for classroom teachers, home schoolers, and parents to increase reading fluency using an ipod touch.

My favorite activity is to allow the children to use Voice Memo (standard on all apple devices) to record themselves reading a book.  Then, they play it back and listen to themselves reading.  My students have not only increased their fluency, but they also have improved in using character voices!  I repeat this same activity with flip cameras during buddy reading.

You could also use Audacity, the FREE audio editing and recording program to create your own audiobooks. Have a parent volunteer come in and record themselves reading books from your classroom library.  Mystery guests could also include school personnel such as the principal, librarian, art/pe/music teachers, cafeteria workers or custodians.  Parents, you could get family members in on the act.  Your child would be delighted to have a mystery reader that could be grandmother, a baseball coach, uncle, or even the neighbor!  Use wind chimes or a phone chime to signal a page turn.  Background music could be added later for dramatic effect!  These files could easily be added to a CD or ipod.  

Kathy Shirley, ADE Class of 2003, helped integrate the iPod touch into her students’ reading exercises. By recording and listening to themselves read, students got instant feedback and became much more engaged. In a short six months, they gained almost two full years of reading comprehension. 

In my class, we use:
  • an ipod touch
  • my personal iphone
  • coming soon: Ipad (Ok, side story: my FANTASTIC group of parents this year really came together and helped out at the fundraiser.  We had just enough to get one of the first generation Ipads.  I ordered it two months ago, and I kept getting emails saying it wasn't shipped.  TODAY I found out that the old models are out AND that our sweet PTO is giving all teachers an extra $100 at the end of the year.  My amazing school secretary went ahead and got my Principals approval for me to use this money early and purchase... AN IPAD II WITH THE WONDERFUL MAGNETIC COVER!!!!  I'm a just a little excited!!!!)
I would love to hear more about how you use ipods with education.  Also, what are you favorite apps?

Join the link party about listening centers over at Primary Inspired.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Earth Day Linky Party!

Is your class stuck at school on Earth Day?  Why not take a virtual field trip to an aquarium to meet Winter the Dolphin?  Winter was hit by a boat and has a prothetic tail.  Devoted people have worked hard to save and protect animals like Winter.

You could also view Disney's Nature series: Oceans, and Earth are currently available for rental.

Speaking of nature, why don't you let your kids observe nature up close?  Check out the Eagle cam, or Black Bear Camera.  This site for teachers has everything from Coral Reef Cameras to Antarctica cams and African Game Reservations live feeds!

You can also check out an older post on hatching chicks in the classroom.

Our project is turning old newspapers into bookmarks- wait it gets even better- that are biodegradable and can be planted when the students are finished with them!

Every year my class anxiously looks forward to Earth Day!  We collect a few newspapers, a blender (mine), some towels, wildflower seeds ($1 for a huge box at the Dollar store), large bowls, popsicle sticks and cheese cloths- then the fun begins!


  1. Use a hot glue gun to glue 4 gaint popsicle sticks into a square. Next, cover it with a cheesecloth cut to size and glue it too.  (I don't have pics at home- I will post them Monday!)  Allow time for drying.
  2. Have students shred the newspaper into strips
  3. Place equal parts newspaper and water into the blender  **You can add food coloring here, but watch your towels when drying!**  
  4. Blend! (Students LOVE this part!  I let them press the buttons)  After blending, add in flower seeds.
  5. Drain your pulpy concoction through the cheesecloth/popsicle stick device over a bowl.  Press with a towel until most of the moisture is removed
  6. Leave in a sunny place to dry
  7. Cut in half to a more rectangular shape if desired
  8. Read with your bookmark!
  9. Plant your bookmark!

Now it is your turn!  How do you celebrate Earth Day?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Are you a Teaching Blog Addict?

Tamara over at Teaching with TLC has created a fantastic new resource: Teaching Blog Addict.  I am very excited to announce that I will be featured as a contributing member!  Giveaways galore is the name of the game right now- so head on over to TBA and see what all the fuss is about!

ps- Have YOU picked up my badge yet?  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Classroom Pics: Weather Activities

We completed some writing from the prompt "The Day It Rained..."  We did this activity after reading 'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs'.

The writing is attached to a real umbrella and suspended from the ceiling with fishing line.

Later we went outside to study the weather.  We recorded our findings in a weather booklet. 

Weather Activity Tub - Gr. 1-3

Coming soon: Earth Day Paper Recycling Project & Fractured Fairy Tales!

Free Math Apps- limited time only!

ThumbnailAll "Everyday Math"apps are currently FREE during NCMT until April 16th.  They range from basic number sense all the way to division.
Click here to download!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Egg-citing news!

Classroom Incubator Kit

I am super happy to report that my very first incubator has been shipped!  You can get your own classroom hatching set here!  My sweet father purchased this one for my classroom.

It should arrive in 2-3 weeks (I hope two weeks because I want to get started ASAP- we will be out for summer before too much longer!)  Anyway, I'm open to all advice/tips/tricks/lesson plans!  :)  

Do you hatch eggs?  If so, what kind?