Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Snaps - How to Video with Google Drawings



Yesterday I wrote about using Book Snaps to have students engage with text in a creative and engaging way. Today I made a 2.5 minute video on how to create the "Snap Chat" like effect using Google Drawings as part of the Classy Videos course I am taking with Tony Vincent (the assignment was to create a narrated video and I chose Snaps as my topic). 

Beaufort County (SC) is a GAFE district so we predominately use Google for everything. It makes sense that any teacher in our district wanting to try out Book Snaps would use a Google application 
for it, hence the video. 

Google Drawings is not available as an app for the iPad but there are plenty of apps that can be used to make a Snap for those in primarily iOS districts. My two favorites for students would be PicCollage and SeeSaw (both are free apps). 

I am excited about introducing Books Snaps to our district and I am hoping to see some fun Snaps come out of our classrooms this year!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Snaps



Trending in ELA are 'Book Snaps'. It is play on Snap Chat filters where you use a book page with text, clip art, emojis, and Bitmojis to convey something about the book. 

If you look up ‘student book snaps’ on Google images you will get a better idea. I posted two above I made using Pic Collage on my iPad but I could have made these using PowerPoint, Publisher, or Google Drawings. I’ve seen examples of younger students making these with the SeeSaw app as well. 

Here is a good overview article if anyone is interested - https://bookcreator.com/2017/09/booksnaps-and-book-creator/

I like the creative element to them. I've seen a lot of teachers on Twitter (search #booksnaps) use them for book studies they are in but I really feel they have a lot of potential on the student side. If you have used them with students please feel free to post in the comments. I would love to hear how it went!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Reading Deal - Epic

https://twitter.com/EpicKidsBooks/status/1002636637191327744

As a parent you can subscribe to Epic (an online digital library for children ages 12 and under) for three months for $3 total...that is an insanely great price for access to a ton of digital books for children over the summer. 

There are a lot of great resources within Epic from ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and read-to-me stories.

You can cancel after the three months (but don't forget to do that or you will be charged the normal monthly fee - $8 I believe).

Classroom teachers can sign up for a free account but that is limited to use in the classroom only (not at home).

If you are interested you have to sign up by June 12th to get the deal.

Monday, April 30, 2018

ReadWorks - Three (outstanding!) Updated Features

ReadWorks, a free reading comprehension program, has created a new eBook feature which I love! I ran across it while I was modeling how to incorporate ReadWorks into reading centers.

Basically ReadWorks has taken some of their articles and converted them to illustrated eBooks with human voice audio (and some text highlighting).


The result is a more engaging differentiated experience for students. Everything is the same you still love about ReadWorks...you can assign the article to students, they can opt for the article versus the eBook, and there are always question sets.


The problem I ran across on student tablets was how big the eBook opens up. I've emailed ReadWorks and let them know that it is a problem. 


It is not an insurmountable problem but I did have to show third graders how to change the size of their screen to accommodate a full view of the eBook. 


Once students have the book open they can press play and navigate through the book and the question set.


This is a great addition to ReadWorks. To see a full list of articles that have been converted CLICK HERE

Another great new feature is the addition of the split screen for students. Students can now, at the touch of a button, have the article on one side of the screen to reference while answering the associated questions on the other side. It is a small thing but it is so nice that students don't have to click back and forth between the article and the questions. 



Yet another great new feature that I think is a game changer is the reading strip option. Students can click on this option and get a highlighted bar that they can pull down line by line (instead of being overwhelmed by a large amount of seemingly insurmountable text). 



To find out more about ReadWorks offers click on their information page HERE




Saturday, April 28, 2018

Instagram Post Activity - Using a Windows Device


I liked the idea of having students create fake Instagram posts but really hadn't got past the "idea" phase. Last week in my Classy Graphics course with Tony Vincent he had us working with pictures and gave us free reign on the assignment. I used several of the techniques he taught us to FINALLY create a sample Instagram post that could be easily duplicated by students.

I used Google Drawings, which is an under utilized tool in our district, to create the final product. This is a great activity to showcase several "how to's" in Google Drawings. I also used Pixlr to edit a photo of myself to remove the background I was standing in front of.

I made a "how to" video as well as the simple screen shot "how to". The video is a little more in-depth for any teacher wanting to try it out first. If you wanted students to make an Instagram post you might want to make a more specific video for your students to reference back to, particularly if this is an independent assignment. I used Screen Cast-o-Matic to make my tutorial. The free version is enough for most teachers (just sign in to make an account and you can download the software...if you aren't allowed to download software to your district device you skip the download part and use the software from the site).

I used Google Images to find what I need in a separate window but you can also search for images within Google Drawings. I didn't mention it in the video but wanted to mention it here.



If you try this activity with students I would love to see any finished pictures!

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Eye" See Your Point of View Activity



I was looking for Boston Tea Party resources when I came across an  adorable picture where events of the Tea Party where drawn in a giant eye. That picture led to a blog post that led me to another blog post that led me to yet another post and I absolutely loved all the ideas!

As far as I can tell the original idea stemmed from the drawing above. Apparently someone posted it on Pinterest and noted that it could be used for a point of view activity. Instead of the clouds and sun in the eye the student would draw what a character in the story or in history might see from their perspective. Brilliant!!!!

So for the Boston Tea Party the eye would be that of a British solider or supporter of the King. What a great way to teach that there is always two sides to every story. I think I would want students to explain what they were "seeing" on the back.




In my Boston Tea Party lesson plan I would have students write a letter home on the back as if they were a British citizen, solider, or sympathizer and explain their drawing in a creative way. For example I might write:



I can't wait to try it . It could be used in a notebook as well with the eye on one side and the explanation on the other. If I get some good responses I will post them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Copyright Free Music (associated problems) and Podcasts



Richard Byrne recently posted about three free music sites that teachers can use to find music and sound effects for podcasts and projects. It was super helpful and I bookmarked it for future reference.

He didn't mention Free Play Music, which is my "go to" music site so I would add that to any list you have going. I worked with students making Lion King trailers and in this site I was able to type in "African" and found some fun royalty music that worked with the trailers students were making.

Here is MY problem. I don't know what music to choose! I get overwhelmed with too many choices which is why I appreciate it when people cite their music in the video credits (Richard Byrne goes over that in his post). One teacher (art) who does that well is Tricia Fuglestad. I follow her for her outstanding use of green screen videos. She has a Vimeo channel and she gave credit to Kevin McCloud in one video where I liked the music. This took me on a fun internet search where I came across another free music site which features music by Kevin McCloud...the search also took me to YouTube where I could listen to Kevin McCloud's "best of" video to get ideas of some of his music I might want to use. 

Some of my go to music that I use for projects include:

- Daily Beetle by Kevin McCloud
- Building Blocks in Free Play Music
- The Story in Free Play Music (for an intro to a morning news show)

Our district has a subscription to Discovery Education and I generally use that for sound effects if needed. If they don't have something I need then I download it from another site.

One thing I want to try with students is making a podcast (with music and sound effects). I ran across a graphic organizer in a course I am taking online for a debatable podcast that would make a short podcast but might be easy for my first time out. It is definitely on my list to try before the school year is over.

Do you have any "go to" royalty free music please add it to the comments (so I can grow my list). Thank you!