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Penguin Fun!

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We had a lot of fun learning about penguins!  We enjoyed watching them in real time on the live penguin webcam at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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Then we created these penguin research reports.  The children read a variety of facts about penguins and sorted them into four different categories.  The categories were What They Look Like, What They Eat, About the Babies, and Cool Facts!

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We created a QR code for the Vancouver Aquarium webcam and added  them to the reports.  By using a QR code reader as the Scan app you can view the penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium at any time.

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The children can access the webcam by holding their iPad over the above QR code using the Scan app.  Try it! It seems like magic!

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Fun with Coding!

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We have been having a lot of fun recently learning how to code!  One of our favourite coding apps is called Daisy the Dinosaur.  It is a perfect app for our age group!

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The children have to use a code called Blockly to make Daisy the Dinosaur move.  They join pieces of code together to get Daisy to move forward, spin, grow and shrink.  It is a great app to introduce coding.

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We have also tried Scratch Jr.  The children really like working with this app.  Once they were familiar with how Blockly works they were right at home with Scratch Jr.

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In this shot, one of our students is sharing her expertise  on how to add words to their page.

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Each block of code makes the kitty do an action.

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The students like to create their own pages with the characters and backgrounds available within the app.  They can program the characters to do a variety of actions on each page.  Way too much fun!

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We also experimented with the Tynker app.  The children have a variety of different options with this app. It also uses Blockly which the children are starting to feel quite comfortable with!

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These three apps have rapidly become favourites!  I love the thinking they inspire!

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Sharing the Sunshine Fun!

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A couple of mornings ago a Tweet showed up on my iPad with the amazing note that this classroom blog had been nominated for a Sunshine award!  Talk about a lovely way to start off the new year!  Jill Clayton nominated mrsantonsclass as one of the blogs on her list of blogs that she wanted to recognize and to “share a little sunshine my way!”  I am tickled pink that this blog is on her list!  Thank you so much! Her blog The Bird’s Nest is an awesome site!

The object of this award is to recognize other bloggers as well as sharing a bit about yourself!  I love the recognizing other bloggers part but have to admit that sharing a bit about myself is not my strong suit! Luckily, there are rules!

While the purpose of this blog is to communicate with my parents and showcase the work of my students I hope you will bear with this diversion from the norm for this occasion!  When I told my students about this treat they were very excited and happy to provide the artwork!  

Here are the rules:

Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition! Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

Here are the 11 random facts about myself!  

1.  I love iPads and anything to do with iPads!  I love finding out about the different apps and how to use them and get kids to create with them.

2.  I love anything to do with Paris! If i won the lottery I would be on the next plane back there!

3. I am addicted to Chai Tea Lattes.

4. I love to read!  I read a lot!

5. I wish I was smarter!

6. I love yarn.  I have a lot of it!  I love to knit…  Unfortunately I have started a lot of projects and need to finish at least one of them!  My husband is hoping that his sweater will be finished some time this decade!  In my defense, I did finish a pair of socks for him.

7.  I love horseback riding!  I have always loved horses and finally got my chance to ride as an adult.

8. I have a lot of cookbooks.  I love looking at the pictures and reading them.  I think my husband and family wish I would try making some of the recipes too!

9. I spend a lot of time reading other people’s blogs and far too much time on Pinterest! And I love blogging! I have several blogs and it is fun to figure out how things work on the different platforms!

10. I have a great family that really supports me!

11.  I believe that it is okay to have too much fun!

Here are my answers to Jill’s questions!

1. If you had an entire day to spend by yourself what would you do? I think I would go and spend it at the barn!  There are always lots of things to do at a barn!  With a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks!

2. My favourite animal is a horse!  I started horseback riding at the ripe old age of 35!  Not an easy thing to do!  I love it!  I have owned several horses and am currently leasing a wonderful little quarter horse named Parker!  I love horses and horseback riding because they require total focus and concentration

3. What worries you about your job? I wish I could absorb more things!  I love iPads and technology and I always wish I could figure things out quicker or more easily!

4. If you were a photographer, what images would you capture? I love people pictures!

5. What is your favourite children’s book? Why? No fair!  How can you pick just one!  I love the Stella stories especially Stella Queen of the Snow!  I love the language and the pictures!  Love Green Eggs and Ham!  Love Sadie and the Snowman!  Love Winnie the Pooh!  I could go on and on!

6. What is hanging on your living room (any room) wall that you cherish the most? I have some quilts that I made that I am quite fond of…

7. Describe your most memorable road trip or vacation.  A couple of years ago I went to Paris with my husband. Then we went on to a place in Portugal where I got to take horseback riding lessons at a wonderful riding school in Alcainca with friends from home!  We all met in Portugal and stayed at the riding school and took lessons together!

8. What is your favourite type of cheese? Cranberry and pepper Boursin!  Yummy!  

9. If you cooked your best meal for your family/friends what would it be? Chicken Pot pie!

10. What do you think about t.v.? I wish there were more good things to watch!  My secret vice is home renovation shows…. I love anything by Masterpiece.

11. Who is a person that you would like to get to know more about? I love people so probably the next person I meet!

These are the bloggers I would like to recognize and encourage!

Barb Leyne  at GradeONEderful

Sandi at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes

Matt Gomez at MattBGomez 

Kristen  Wideen at Mrs. Wideen’s Blog

Kate Lechleiter at Journey with an iPad

Pana Asavavatana at Ms Pana Says 

Karen Lirenman at Learning and Sharing with Ms Lirenman

Michelle Hiebert at Kinderpals

Jenna Dixon at Techi Tikes 

Liz McCaw at Crazy for Kindergarten 

Leka DeGroot at Growing Apples

I hope Jill won’t mind if I ask everyone to answer her questions too!

Please take a moment and visit these blogs. I guarantee you will find something useful!  

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Travelling iPads! Fun!

On Friday morning, the iPads went travelling.  The iPads travelled to several primary classes and were a big hit with everyone!  We introduced a variety of apps to each class and let them explore.  Needless to say, the students appeared to really enjoy them and were fearless!  Each class worked with Doodle Buddy and tried out the vareity of drawing tools. We also worked a bit with Story Buddy.   We also introduced a new app called Chickionary.  This app is a word building app.  You are given a variety of letters and given a limited amount of time to create as many words as you can with using the letters.  I was really impressed at how focussed the students were trying to find as many words as possible before their time was up.  Several classes used this app.  We also introduced our favourites, Word Bingo, Math Bingo, and Montesorri Words.  The beauty of these apps is that they can be adapted to the skill level of the student.  

Over the next few days the iPads will be travelling around the school.  They have a very full schedule! 

In the afternoon, we worked with our buddy class using the camera and the puzzlemaker app.  Mrs. Baird told me about this app.  She had her students take their picture, import this picture into the puzzlemaker app and then do a puzzle of their picture.  I thought it was a great idea and we did the same thing with our buddies.  The buddies took a picture together and then had fun playing with a puzzle of themselves! 

This coming week we are blitzing our books!  We have to put them together and narrate them!  Lots of work! 

The iPads are leaving up on March 9th.  We are going to miss them!  They are a great student friendly and teacher friendly teaching tool!!

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Reading and Making Books

Today we started putting together all the pieces of our snowman book in Pictello.  We have created four pages for our books so far.  It takes a bit of time but I really feel that the product will be worth it.  The children who started their books today certainly seemed willing to put in the effort.  They worked steadily and were really attentive.  The rest of the class worked quietly on their assignments while a few students put together their books.  They were especially quiet whenever the writers were recording their stories.  Very professional, don’t you think? 

Pictello allows you to send a copy of the books created to their server.  If you have an iPad with the Pictello app loaded on it you can download the story and keep it forever.  It also allows the book to be sent as a PDF file. This version is simply the pictures without the accompanying text or recordings.  Either way, we can arrange to keep some sort of copy of their efforts before the iPads leave if all goes well.  I have been able to send a copy of one book to myself as well as the PDF files so I hope that I can do it with all the student books.

Today at storytime, we enjoyed The Monster at the End of this Book.  It is a book app that I downloaded on my personal iPad and shared with the class today using our computer on wheels projector and the iPad combination.  It is a really cool app that tells this funny story in a fun way! 

                              

You can’t help smiling at this story.  We read it twice and each time we had a good giggle at the end.

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Author Bios

Yesterday, Mr. Ball and I introduced the iPads to our staff on our professional development day.  We worked through a variety of apps and learned a lot of new things.  Over the next few weeks, the iPads will be visiting other classrooms so that the other students in the school can get a taste of this wonderful technology!  

Today we worked on our snowman project again.  We worked with Story Buddy to create the author’s bio page.  We have been working hard in several different apps to create a compilation of pages.  Then the pages will be imported into the Pictello app to create their very own story about their snowmen.  So we made the author’s biography page to put at the back of their book today.  The children drew a picture of themselves and then added a short bio of themselves using a text box on the page.  Adding text in this app can be a little tricky as it is not easy to go back and try to correct misspellings and so on.  We took a photoshot of their work which puts their picture on the camera roll of the iPad.  Items on the camera roll can be imported into other projects.  Over the next few days we will begin to work in small groups to put the books together.  We are looking forward to sharing them with you. 

     

 

             

I think they are pretty good for students who are six years old and almost seven! Look closely at Calvin’s bio.  He told me he was really close to being seven and I could tell that putting six on his story wasn’t going to cut it.  So we figured out how to tell that in his story!

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Wow! Snowman Labeling Project!

Today we worked with Doodle Buddy again.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this project!  I introduced text boxes to them and I thought it would be a big deal and I was even crazy to attempt it…. Wrong!!  The object of the lesson was to draw a snowman for our snowman book project and label all the parts.  This meant that the children had to open text boxes, move the text box to a spot adjacent to the part of the snowman, and then add the text.  That meant that the children had to open, move, and complete at least six text boxes!  Not a little job!  We brainstormed the parts we felt had to be labeled and I put these words on the whiteboard.  Of course, once they got started they added more detail and needed more words!  We had a big conversation about being patient about waiting for help if they got stuck because there was only one teacher and one aide and so on…. Then I let them loose.  Well of course my jaw dropped down to the floor because they took it all in stride and were moving text boxes and adding text almost immediately.  Within the first little while, I had some student assistants who quite happily went to the aid of their friends and the job was completed!  And the results were even better than I hoped for!  Take a look! 

                   

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