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Available for Purchase Now!

In “Innovate with iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom” primary teachers Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen provide a complete selection of clearly laid out engaging open-ended lessons to change the way you use iPad in the classroom.

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Connect, Collaborate and Create with Twitter in the Classroom

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of ETFO Voice.

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Course Description

In this grade two 3-D Geometry iTunes U Course, students will explore attributes of 3-D objects using concrete materials and drawings. Students will also build and construct 3-D objects and models as well as develop language to describe geometric concepts.

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One Best Thing

Discover how to keep parents informed, connect globally and link to your curriculum. This One Best Thing leads your primary classroom students through the creation of a learning network on Twitter.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Different Ways To Generate Ideas Using Technology

After meeting with the 5/6 teachers at my school and discussing how we teach writing to our students, it got me thinking.  I have always taught writing by teaching the different forms of writing and modeling sentence structure, revising, editing etc through the forms.  The 5/6 teachers at my school first teach how to generate ideas, then how to write a great introduction sentence and so on.  This intrigued me because if you work on ideas first and develop a great introduction, then a great conclusion and so on. Then the thought is, that when you start to teach different forms of writing, students' writing pieces would be better developed. I started with searching the internet for intriguing pictures that would peak my students curiosity and imagination. To my surprise, there were plenty. The first lesson began with my team teacher creating an anchor chart of different ways to brainstorm ideas. The students came up with, webs, lists, talking to peers and drawing pictures. We then introduced the 5 W's - Who, When, Why, Where and What. We told the children that if they wanted to generate great ideas to use in a piece of writing, we need to answer the 5w's. I then projected a picture up on our white board and we used the popplet app to answer the 5w's. We then let the students pair up to complete their own popplet. Here is an example:

The next day I made a padlet wall with another image I found on the internet. Instead of making a QR code for my students to scan, I used the Chirp app. If you have not tried this app and you teach young children, you are missing out! See about this awesome app here Click Here Here is one of our padlet walls:

The third way we are working on generating ideas is with the Write about this app.Click Here There is an option for this app to create your own writing prompt. I found a fun image that I knew my students would love!

Prompt and photo courtesy of

I took a screenshot of the minion prompt and saved it to our school photo stream. All of our iPads have access to the photo stream so they could choose the minion image in the photo stream to use it in the app. I love that the students were able to generate the ideas on the app, then it can be saved to the photo roll. The students then embedded the prompt and their ideas onto their personal blogs.

How do you teach writing in your classroom?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Very Special Skype Call From A Very Special Author, Ame Dyckman

This blog post is to give a HUGE shout out to the talented and amazing author, Ame Dyckman.  If you ever get the chance to invite her into your room through Skype, JUMP at the chance.  Her bubbly demeanor and positive outlook is contagious even while dealing with a slow internet and temporary technological issues.

Our relationship began with a simple tweet I sent her on Twitter about reading her fabulous book Boy
+ Bot on the first day of school.  In return, Ame sent my class of 40 students, bracelets, stickers and bookmarks.  My students were so thrilled, they tweeted out their gratitude, questions and pictures to her via our classroom Twitter account.  Ame, responded to everyone of my students' tweets with a personal message.  They couldn't have been more excited to be tweeting with a real author, of one of our new favourite stories!

When Ame's new book came out a few weeks back (Tea Party Rules) we received another package in the mail.  We had not read the book yet, so I wanted to wait to open the package.  Unfortunately, my trip to the local book store was not a success (I did buy another copy of Boy + Bot because it is so popular in my room.)  I tweeted Ame and asked if we could Skype so she could read her new book to the class.  She got right back to me with a date.

This past Tuesday we finally got to meet Ame via Skype.  Like I said, she is full of energy and fun!  My students were captivated by her for an entire half of an hour.  You could hear a pin drop in my room when she was talking and that is very hard to do with 40 seven and eight year olds.  Ame read her new book, talked about her love of reading and answered any and every question my class threw at her, including what her favourite cereal was and how old she was.  We then opened up the package from her to find buttons, bookmarks and more stickers.

Thank you Ame, for getting my students pumped up to write and instilling a very important message to my students.  To keep reading.  This is a tweet I sent Ame this week that made me smile:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Using Twitter To Extend My Math Lessons

As a primary level teacher it was my goal to have students communicate their learning from the classroom to the world while leveraging student safety and the logistics of multiple devices.  Leading my students through the creation of a learning network on Twitter was the ticket. 
Twitter is a classroom tool that empowers students to develop their voice through global connections.  

My students learn from others on Twitter and share their learning with a broader community. Through whole-group Twitter activities (mirroring our iPads through Apple TV) and individual Twitter activities (tweeting independently using iPads), my students recognize that there are connections to be made beyond our Ontario classroom.
We have been using Twitter for over a year now and in the last few weeks, my students have really taken the lead on using it to extend their learning in math.  It seems like over the past few weeks, if we have a few extra moments at the end of the math period or for my early finishers, my students jump on Twitter and continue the math lesson.  However, my students have changed the role from student to teacher.  They are asking the questions and providing feedback when they have members of their PLN answering their questions.
Here are a few examples of how my students have been reversing the roles and teaching their peers on Twitter about what they are learning in class.

These extensions on Twitter help solidify my students math knowledge and it keeps them coming back for more.  They can't wait for the next day to see if anyone has answered their questions.  If someone does answer their question, I have my students check to see if the answer is correct and respond back to that person or class.  If the answer is incorrect they must tell them and give them an explanation on why it is incorrect.

Not only does this enrich the learning but it is a fantastic assessment tool for myself.  When a student can create their own question and argue the answer, I know that they have mastered the concept.