I have been using iPads in the classroom for a few years now. However, I always had to use my personal iPad since we didn't have enough iPads for every classroom.
Since I have changed schools, my new school has purchased enough iPads for every grade to have 6! I think that is fantastic and I make sure to utilize them whenever I can.
A few months ago we learned about Native Americans. I had the students break into groups of 2 and create a triptych about one of the 3 tribes we learned about. They then had to videotape themselves explaining their tribe. I made sure that 3 different tribes were recorded on each iPad. I then had them break into groups according to which iPad they recorded on. They watched each other's video as a review of the tribes before the test.
The kids really enjoyed this activity. I loved how excited they were when their group was up and how quiet the other kids were when listening to the other groups!
I had taken some time off from this blog to concentrate on my students and my own family. In that time, I bought a new home, changed school systems, and moved two teacher's classrooms(my husbands and my own.) It has been a busy couple of months!
Now that things have settled down, I wanted to get on here and share some new and exciting things I am doing at my new school.
At this school the big initiative is incorporating STEM lessons in the classroom. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). I love it because STEM is something I had been doing informally in the past but never used official STEM design briefs. Now that we are well into our school year, I am finding that STEM is a great addition to the classroom and my students have become greater problem solvers and critical thinkers!
Here are a few examples of the projects we have done.
Creating a comfy chair for their mother.
Inspired by the book: "A Chair For My Mother"
Creating an appropriate habitat for a given animal.
Brainstorming and creating mazes using magnetism to navigate a paperclip through.
STEM has not only been fun and rewarding for the students but for me too!
We are in the midst of our large Monarchs, Milkweed, and Mexico unit, which spans 2 quarters! It is a great unit that covers many science concepts for second grade.
The other day we discussed the importance of milkweed and the creatures one would find in a Milkweed Ecosystem. We then went on to create a mural of the milkweed patch, including everything you may see.
Here is how it turned out:
After they created a creature or plant, they created an information card labeling it's importance to the ecosystem.
I know it has been a loooong time since I have posted something. I actually decided to take a break from my school blog because I wanted to spend more time with my family and between this blog and my family one, I just wasn't making that happen.
I figured I would pop on real quick to say hi, see how you all are doing and share an activity with you.
A few months ago, I introduced a new activity to my students. I hadn't tried it before and was curious how my second graders would do. I found this idea on Pinterest. The idea was to have children summarize a story and then paraphrase what they wrote onto smaller cards.
Here is how it worked in my room:
I read the story, The Mitten.
Without telling them the other parts of the activity, I had them go off in small groups and summarize what I just read to them.
I then showed them a smaller card and said they now had to fit that summary onto the new card and couldn't use the back. I had a lot of smiles and shocked reactions but we went on to discuss how they might be able to accomplish this. We talked about how to reword their writing(paraphrase it) so it could fit without losing the main details of the story. I then sent them off in their groups to get to work.
They came back to the carpet and I showed them the final card which was significantly smaller than the original one. After more smiles and shocked reactions, they went off one more time to paraphrase the story even more so it fit this card.
After we came back together and discussed the activity, we took all three cards and put them together so they could see how their main summary compared to the paraphrased ones.
They really enjoyed the activity and I was very proud of how they did!
With the upcoming election on everyone's mind, I took a moment to speak to the children about the actual election process. We talked about how to vote, voter's rights, and why every vote counts. I also made sure to remain as neutral as possible when speaking about the candidates. I did not want to have some lovely parent emails waiting for me later. :)
The children were really fascinated with the process and to my surprise our conversation about the process lasted well over 30 minutes.
After we talked, I we held a mock election so the children could practice this process. Our voting topic was Favorite Pet. If I had more time, I would have created a voter ID card for each child. I saw a cute idea about that on Pinterest.
We then held a secret ballot on my iPad, using the app TallyPad. It is a great app to help keep track of class votes, surveys, game scores, etc. I covered the actual numbers so the children couldn't see the count. They went into the "voting booth" and cast their vote.
And the winner was.....
However, cat was a very close second. I took that as an opportunity to discuss how close this election is going to be and reiterate the importance of everyone voting and making sure the votes are counted properly.