Monday, May 23, 2016

Google Forms - Choose Your Own Adventure - My First Attempt

I just created my first Choose Your Own Adventure style story using Google Forms. As a tech coach that deals primarily with elementary school students I would definitely put this in a Gifted and Talented the end of the enrichment (it was kind of hard!).

I found the video above the best as far as instructions go on YouTube. I didn't have to watch the whole thing...I got the general gist by the 8 minute mark.

I liked her flow chart and used the Smart Art Hierarchy Tool to make mine (the teacher in this video used Google Drawings). I thought the Smart Art tool would be easier (since it provides a template) but I'm not sure it is (I would need to try it). Student might find that step too much and might be better off sketching their story out on paper or using numbered index cards. The teacher in the video had 16 levels to her story...I had 17 (if you count the is 18). That was a lot!

My flow chart was sketch of story and how it would flow from decision point to decision point..knowing I would add to it when I actually got down to the final writing in Google Forms. I am not sure students could handle that (I ran out of space in my boxes for anything other then a rough outline). It did keep me super organized though. Students definitely can't go straight into making the form without some kind of guide (I tried at first and started getting confused at the decision points). 

I used a common story as my starting point (Cinderella). I modified it to fit my 17 levels (so no shoe left behind or fairy godmother in my story). That was still tricky...trying to fit in a story in basically 5 levels.

I kept mine blissfully short for my first trial and added clip art to make the levels more engaging. 

I definitely think this might be a solid week project with in the last week of school??? I plan to share it next year but with the note that it might not be for everyone. 

Here is a link to my first try at a Choose Your Own Adventure story.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

End of Year Videos - Music Selections

I am helping several teachers put together videos to show at end-of-year award ceremonies. I thought I would share some of my favorite music to use.

- Meghan Trainor "Better When I'm Dancing"
- Ice Age 4 "We are Family"
- Brother Bear "On my Way"
- Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole "Somethere Over the Rainbow"
- Jack Johnson "Upside Down"
- Kids Bob "Make Some Noise"
- Hans Zimmer "You're So Cool" (instrumental and my "go to" for LOTS of video projects)

What we do is upload the final video to YouTube (as an unlisted you have to have the link in order to find it) and then we create a customized URL using TinyURL. The link is then shared with parents via newsletter, email, or text. This is a lot easier then burning CD's for the entire class and then parents can download the video on their own, if they wish, to keep it or share the link with extended family.

I'm curious to read what music other teachers use. Please let me know in the comment section below.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

iPad Adaptations Project - Keynote

I was working with a second grade class the other day using the Google Pages app (we used/modified the visual report template within Pages to create an animal report) . I was telling the teacher about the "magic move" feature in the Keynote app (free) and how it could be used to create a cute adaptations video.

I created the above sample project to show her and also to test if I thought her second graders could handle it (there is no sound). Her second graders could definitely do it. I think the problems would come up with research and writing.

Students would have to find 5-10 adaptations to highlight (I think I only came up with seven or eight for the penguin in this video). Second graders researching and reading skills are a bit all over the board, which is why I thought this step might need to be differentiated (high readers can pick their own animals, middle readers can choose from a list of animals and you can give them links to find the adaptations,emerging readers have the same option as the middle readers but would work with the teacher to find their animal adaptations within the text). I also find that second graders can write but their sentence structure is still pretty limited. As I was working on the project I saw how easy it was to use the same sentence starter in each slide and I had to conscientiously avoid it. I would definitely recommend using the project to teach students how to choose different sentence starters to vary the structure for readers.

If she goes for the project, I will post some student samples.

On a side of the things I don't like about Keynote and the Magic Move feature is that when you upload it to Google Drive or Google Classroom you lose the animations (darn!). It would need to be graded as is with the student either presenting to you or the classroom.